What is one water source that provides pure water at zero cost? Rain, of course. So, why waste it?
You don’t need me to tell you that investing in a good rain barrel is worth it. It only costs a little amount of money but depending on how you use it, can help you save a ton of cash in the long run. For instance, by using a rain barrel you can collect rainwater for gardening or washing your car.
Now, let us figure out what’s the best rain barrel for your outdoor needs.
Ready? Let’s go!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you shop through the links on YardThyme, we may earn an affiliate's commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. For more information, read full disclosure here.
- Top 7 Best Rain Barrel Reviews 2021
- What to Keep in Mind before Buying a Rain Barrel
- Is a rain barrel a good idea?
- Do rain barrels save money?
- Why is rainwater not good for drinking?
- Why does my rain barrel water stink?
- How do I keep algae from growing in my rain barrel?
- Can I put bleach in my rain barrel?
- How do you disinfect a rain barrel?
- Do rain barrels attract mosquitoes?
- What can you put in a rain barrel to keep mosquitoes away?
Top 7 Best Rain Barrel Reviews 2021
There are tons of awesome rain barrels out there. And so, choosing one is a hard decision. Thankfully, Yours Truly has done the research so you don’t have to. The following are the best rain barrels on the market.
RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Rain Barrel
From afar the RTS Home Accents Barrel looks like an authentic oak barrel. The texture and the finish on the surface add to that illusion. But it is a polyethylene barrel that has been cast from an old oak barrel.
Moving away from the surface, the barrel has a feel of quality about it. It is sturdy because of the use of high-density polyethylene. And it can hold 50 gallons.
- The barrel has an aluminum cover to protect the water from leaves.
- It is child safe and pet safe due to a lack of any big opening.
- The barrel gives you the ability to chain it with other barrels.
- The brass spigot is sturdy and provides a shut off valve and hose thread for easier hose-linking.
- The barrel has a flat back allowing it to sit flush against the wall. This does a lot to increase the appeal of the barrel.
- The barrel has no proper diverter which is troublesome for areas with lots of rain.
- The aluminum screen is not effective against insects like mosquitoes.
Good Ideas RW50-OAK Rain Wizard Barrel
The Good Ideas Rain Wizard is one of the prettiest rain barrels you can buy. It has a beautiful oak-like design and texture that is as easy on your skin as it is on your eyes.
While the design resembles oak, the barrel is UV-resistant polyethylene with an oak finish. And due to it being plastic, the barrel is strong and resists mold. So, the 50 gallons of water that it holds are unlikely to smell.
- The barrel is child and pet safe because of a lack of any large openings.
- Plastic mesh screen keeps dirt, insects, and leaves out.
- With the included standard ¾ inches brass spigot connecting a hose is a breeze.
- Front overflow opening to keep the water away from your outdoor wall.
- The barrel sits flush against the wall which adds to the aesthetic appeal of the barrel.
- No diverter feature included.
RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon ECO Rain Barrel
Collecting rainwater is already great for the environment. But what if your barrel allows you to be even more environment-friendly? This is what RTS Home Accents ECO Barrel does. It is an oak-themed barrel that is made from 100% recycled plastic.
Moving on, the 50-gallon barrel has the oak finish as the previous barrels on this list. But hey, it is nothing to complain about. The barrel looks good and performs as it should. It’s a win-win situation.
- The plastic mesh screen does a good job of keeping the insects and leaves out.
- There are no large holes anywhere which makes the barrel pet and kid-safe.
- The front side overflow works well and keeps the water away from the outside wall.
- No diverter functionality included with the barrel.
- There are no holes to secure the mesh screen. You have to drill them yourself.
- You can’t sit the barrel flush against the wall as advertised. Once the barrel is full, the back of the barrel bends which makes it impossible to do so.
VINGLI 50 Gallon Collapsible Rain Barrel
The VINGLI 50 gallon collapsible rain barrel is for the people who just want to use the rainwater barrel in the rainy season and store it away for the rest of the year. As the name suggests, it is collapsible. So, you can just take the poles out and collapse this mesh barrel into a small size.
Furthermore, aside from its collapsibility, PVC mesh construction, there is nothing out of the ordinary about this barrel. It just works.
- The barrel can comfortably hold 50 gallons of water thanks to its mesh construction.
- The plastic mesh covering on the water-inlet keeps insects away.
- The included plastic spigot and outflow valve come in handy on more than one occasion.
- Kid and pet safe.
- You can’t move the barrel when it is full of water.
- No diverter functionality included.
- Due to its construction, the barrel needs to be on even ground to work.
WaterPrepared 55 Gallon Water Storage Tank
The Blue Water Storage Tank by WaterPrepared is a jack of all trades. It is not only a rain barrel but also a general-purpose water storage tank for emergencies. And while it will not win any awards in terms of design, it gets the job done.
The tank is UV-resistant polyethylene. This means any water you store will remain safe for use in case of an emergency.
- The storage tank is quite well made. So, the chances of any leaks are minimal.
- The included spigot makes using the stored water hassle-free.
- There is no diverter function.
- The tank has no outward flow valve to keep the overflowing water away from the walls.
Algreen Products Cascata Rain Barrel 65-Gallon
Algreen Rain Barrel is the prettiest barrel in its price range. The design resembles an authentic pottery item and it looks gorgeous.
In reality, the barrel is not authentic terra cotta. It is an all-plastic affair that has a terra cotta texture. And frankly, for storing rainwater, this is a good thing. The barrel is sturdy, and if you clean it regularly, can last a long time.
- The barrel has an included brass spigot for easy access to water.
- The crown planter is a work of genius.
- There is an overflow valve in the back that can be attached to a diverter kit.
- The screen guard keeps the insects out.
- Kid and pet friendly.
- There is no diverter kit in the box.
Emsco Group 50 Gallon Rain Barrel
The Emsco Whiskey Rain Barrel looks like it belongs in a distillery rather than a garden. It looks just like an oak whiskey barrel even though it is plastic.
Moreover, The Emsco Whiskey Rain Barrel is one of the very few rain barrels that come with a diverter kit in the box. That means you don’t have to purchase anything else when you get this barrel. Everything just works.
- The integrated top planter adds to the appeal of the barrel.
- The included hose comes in handy while watering plants and such.
- Comes with a complete diverter kit including hose gaskets.
- Does not sit flush against the wall.
- Not as sturdy as some other barrels on the list.
What to Keep in Mind before Buying a Rain Barrel
If you are new to rain barrels, this guide is for you. The sections down below detail everything you need to know about rain barrels. From the different types of barrels available on the market to the materials used, read on as I try to answer all of your questions.
Types of Rain Barrels
Rain barrels are categorized based on the material. For instance, plastic rain barrels are the most popular ones.
Plastic Rain Barrels
Plastic rain barrels are the most popular type out there. As the name suggests, these barrels are made from plastic. To be specific, these barrels are usually made from high-density polyethylene (HDP).
HDP barrels are cheap, non-reactive, and can last a long time. Furthermore, you can paint these barrels to your heart’s content.
That said, HDP barrels are not the longest-lasting barrels on the market.
Galvanized Steel Rain Barrels
If you want the longest-lasting rain barrels, go with a galvanized steel one. These barrels are tough, can store 1000’s of gallons, and can last an eternity. Suffice to say, these are not barrels but practical industrial water storage tanks.
One downside to these barrels is their weight. Due to the nature of the material, these barrels are quite heavy and thus not easy to move around.
Oak Rain Barrel
Perhaps the most beautiful barrels on the market, Oak rain barrels are a must-have if you can afford them. These barrels not only look good but can also last a lifetime.
However, if you crave that oak look but can’t afford it, plastic rain barrels exist that mimic the appearance of oak barrels.
Rain barrels come in a variety of sizes. For instance, you can purchase rain barrels with a capacity of 55 gallons. Or you can go crazy and purchase a single 5000-gallon one. Everything depends on you.
That said, generally, you don’t need a barrel any bigger than 55 gallons. 55-gallon barrels are exceptionally common which makes adding features like chaining a lot easier.
That’s it! These are all the basics that you need to know about rain barrels. Although the subject is vast and there are things that I didn’t explain here, the above-mentioned factors are the only things you need to know to buy the best rain barrel for your garden.
Now on to some nice features that may come with the rain barrel as a bonus.
Rain barrels are notorious for attracting insects like mosquitoes. So, if you install a barrel without a mesh cover, get ready to have a swarm of mosquitoes in your house at all times.
Rain barrels that come with a mesh screen don’t have an insect problem. Since insects like mosquitoes want to get to the surface of the water to lay eggs, the mesh layer keeps this from happening. No mosquito eggs equal little to no mosquitoes.
If you have small kids in your house, you need to invest in a rain barrel that is child safe. A barrel without child safety precautions in a house with little kids is an accident waiting to happen.
Several rain barrels come with child safety features such as barrel lids. These features keep the kids safe in case of an accident. Choose one which makes the most sense to you.
On one hand, rain barrels can save water erosion by not letting the rainwater flow all over the place. On the other hand, they can cause even worse water seepage when they spill.
A water spill happens when a barrel overflows. Such overflows are common especially in areas with a lot of rain. When a barrel overflows, it traps water near its base. In most cases, the position of the barrel is close to the foundation of your house. Water seeping into the foundation is always a bad idea. This is where a diverter comes in.
A diverter diverts the flow of rainwater away from the barrel when it fills up. This way the barrel never overflows and the foundations of your house stay protected.
If you plan on installing multiple rain barrels, look for a barrel that allows chaining.
The concept of chaining is quite simple:
You connect rain barrels in a way that when one barrel fills up, the water starts filling the next one.
Even if you don’t plan on chaining barrels together, it is always a good idea to leave the room for the future YOU to make changes. Maybe you’ll chain the barrels in the future or not but it’s always nice to have options available.
Finally, you don’t have to buy barrels with these features built-in. If you are a handyman with the tools and have the time, you can modify any barrel to your liking.
Even after an extensive guide, I understand that you may still have questions. The following are the answers to some of your most pressing concerns.
Is a rain barrel a good idea?
Absolutely. A rain barrel is always a good idea. And here are some of the reasons why:
In short, yeah, rainwater is a pretty good idea.
Do rain barrels save money?
Yes, rain barrels help you save a lot of money. How? By saving you water.
Water is a finite resource. So, not only does it cost you money to use it, aka water bills, but it is also imperative that you conserve it. Rain barrels help you save the rainwater for later use.
By using rainwater instead of tap water, you are saving money on water bills and doing your part in conserving this resource for future generations. In a report published by the EPA, an average homeowner can save over 1300 gallons of water just by employing rain barrels.
In short, deploy rain barrels and get ready to save some serious cash in the long run.
Why is rainwater not good for drinking?
Rainwater is not safe for drinking as it can be contaminated. The following are some of the contaminants that can be present in rainwater:
- Chemicals from pipes, roofing material, and paint
- Bird poop present on the roof of your house that gets washed up by rain
- Viruses, bacteria, and parasites
- Dust, soot, and airborne chemicals
These contaminants are especially prevalent in rainwater in areas with little rain. And most of these contaminants remain in rainwater even after boiling and using chlorine.
Therefore, rainwater is not fit for drinking, and you are better off with tap water or bottled water.
Why does my rain barrel water stink?
Rain barrel water can stink due to many different reasons. The common ones are:
- Bacteria buildup inside the barrel. This is the most common reason for rain barrel water to start smelling. Bacteria can build up quite quickly in stagnant water. So, be sure to use the water within a few days.
- An already stinky barrel can make the rainwater it collects go bad. Therefore, regularly clean the barrel.
- If water is sitting for a long time, insects like mosquitoes can lay eggs in it. This can cause rain barrel water to smell.
All of these reasons are easily preventable. All you have to do is keep the barrel clean, and don’t let the water sit for too long. Using the water as early as possible is the perfect way to keep it from smelling foul.
How do I keep algae from growing in my rain barrel?
Algae need nutrients and sunlight to grow. So, the easiest way is to cut the supply of these two essential things. Here is how you can do that:
- Keep your barrel in the shade if possible. No sunlight equals no algae.
- If you have a transparent barrel, paint the insides with a dark color to make it opaque. Opaque things don’t let light pass through which can slow down algae growth considerably.
- Cut off the supply of nutrients to the algae by making sure that there are no dried leaves and dirt in the barrels. Plus, make sure that your rain gutters are clean and don’t have these dried leaves and dirt which can end up in the barrel.
Furthermore, after taking these measures be sure to regularly clean your barrel with bleach. A clean barrel goes a long way in keeping the algae at bay.
Can I put bleach in my rain barrel?
Yes, you can. Bleach is an effective way to kill bacteria and viruses. But be sure to only use a safe amount of bleach.
According to the CDC, you can use a maximum of 1/8 tbsp of bleach per gallon of water. This amount of bleach is enough to kill most of the germs present in the water.
How do you disinfect a rain barrel?
You can disinfect a rain barrel by using bleach. The safe limits for using bleach are 1/8 tbsp of 5%-6% chlorine solution bleach per gallon of water.
After adding the bleach along with a gallon of water, let the water sit for a while. Scrub the insides of the barrel with this solution by using a scrubber. And when you are done, rinse the barrel with clean water, and let it dry for 24 hours.
Do rain barrels attract mosquitoes?
Rain barrels attract mosquitoes and quite a lot of them at that. And the key reason behind it is the mosquitoes’ love for water sources.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Some mosquitoes like Aedes Aegypti lay their eggs in clean, standing water. And rain barrels are essentially clean water bodies. So, they attract mosquitoes.
Fortunately, keeping mosquitoes away from barrels is quite simple.
The first thing you need to do is to keep the barrel covered.
Next up, treat the water by using small quantities of liquid dish soap. Dish soap creates a layer of soap on the surface of the water. The layer keeps the mosquitoes from laying eggs.
What can you put in a rain barrel to keep mosquitoes away?
You can use a variety of things to keep the mosquitoes away. Some of them are:
- Use liquid dish soap to keep the mosquitoes from laying eggs. A small amount of dish soap mixed with rainwater does the trick.
- You can also use vegetable oils like olive oil. Vegetable oils settle on the surface of the water in the form of a layer. As a result, mosquitoes drown when they attempt to land on the surface to lay eggs.
- An unconventional way is to keep a couple of goldfishes in the barrel if your barrel is in the shade. Goldfish love eating mosquitoes and their eggs. So, they’ll keep the mosquito population under check.
Finally, if you are wary of putting chemicals in the barrel, just keep it covered at all times.
If I were in the market to buy a new rain barrel, I would choose the RTS Home Accents ECO Barrel. It is eco-friendly and has all the features you would ever need. Plus, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. A pretty sweet deal If you ask me.