15 Rain Barrels Under $500
Conserve water in style with these top-rated rain barrel picks.
Going green is great for Mother Earth, but it’s also great for your wallet. Simply adding a rain barrel to your driveway or patio can save $$$ on summer water bills. Instead of paying for water for lawn maintenance, take advantage of the free water that runs off your roof every time it rains. If you live in a drought-prone area, it’s a nice reserve to have when water usage is restricted. If you’re ready to reduce your utility bill and “harvest” water, we’ve created the ultimate shopping guide for rain barrels. Here’s everything you need to know, plus the best rain barrels and most stylish rain barrels you can order online under $500, $300 and even $100.
RAIN BARRELS 101
When shopping for a rain barrel, the first thing to consider is size. Rain barrels are measured by how many gallons of water they hold, and they can range from five to 5,000 gallons. The latter is more for industrial or business use. Most households only need about 50-75 gallons. The second thing you should consider is how often it rains in your area. If your town’s average rainfall per month is low, you don’t need an XL barrel. And, alternatively, if you do have a larger rain barrel it may require a pump to funnel water through a garden hose.
Rain barrels come in a variety of shapes and materials, from stone to metal. Plastic is the most popular because it’s also lightweight. However, plastics will fade in the sun. Real wood barrels are also available. Some even look like rustic whiskey barrels, but wood creates a much easier environment for bacteria to set up camp so it’s not a great option if you live in an area with high heat and humidity.
The most common misconception about rain barrels is that you can set them up and leave them alone. Rain barrels do require regular cleaning to prevent mildew and mold. But no matter how often you clean the barrel, never ever drink runoff water. Don’t give it to your pets. Don’t water any vegetable gardens with it, and please don’t use it to fill up backyard pools either because as water runs off your roof, it can pick up traces of harmful chemicals or really gross stuff like bird feces. So it’s best to leave your collected water for tasks such as watering a lawn or washing off muddy ATV tires. Also, remember that rain barrels can become a pool for mosquitos in the summer, so make sure you have a tight lid.
If you’re on a budget, we’ve spotted some great, top-rated rain barrels all under 100 bucks and with free shipping. The darker colors in these picks also help prevent algae growth by blocking more sunlight. If you're looking for just a simple, plastic option without bells and whistles, these are great picks.
If you have a little more room in your budget, $100-$300 is where you start to see more stylish options. This is helpful if your rain gutters runoff close to a patio or porch seating area. You don’t want an eyesore all summer long. We’re obsessed with this wicker-style plastic barrel from Plow & Hearth. It can hold up to 50 gallons, plus it features a cute planter on top. You definitely don’t want to plant anything edible, but some bright ornamental florals help make the rain barrel look less obvious. Another great buy in this tier is the Rain Wizard. These faux wood units come in several trendy colors and sizes so you can match with your patio furniture. I’m really digging the matte black barrel, and the smaller 40-gallon barrel is just barely over $100 at Target.
Who knew a rain barrel could be so cute? If you can splurge, these units are as Pinterest-perfect as they are functional. I’m obsessed with this terra-cotta rain barrel with brass spigots from The Home Depot. It would look so cute clustered with other terra-cotta planters of different heights and widths. And the faux, tree-like texture on this Impressions rain barrel comes in several colors, but the granite version looks super luxe.