The 5 Best Rain Barrels [Ranked]
In this post we examine five of the best-selling rain barrel kits. First we'll examine what they are and how they're used before diving into a detailed comparison.
Collecting rain water has been going on since before running water in a home was an option. Today, though, not everyone needs to collect rainwater to drink and use (Source).
Collecting rain, however, can be beneficial in several situations including as a resource during droughts or for gardening irrigation. These barrels are the perfect means for trapping water. They vary in their exact sizes and shapes, but they all collect water for you (Source).
This process is simple and doesn't even need any work on your part. They can even be a simple as a container or complex systems to trap as much water as possible (Source).
How They Compare
Some interesting distinctions between the kits- the Etna barrel is collapsible. The Good Ideas barrel has the classic whiskey barrel look. The Good Ideas urn has a more modern look and the largest capacity at 65 gallons. The Enviro World rain capture system actually has 3 different spigot locations- convenient depending on how you drain your barrel.
Rain Barrels Compared
Examining Buyer Experience
The first thing that customers noticed about these rain barrel kits was their style. These five products boast a variety of options from Good Ideas' barrel model to Suncast's cube.
Another variant that these offer is color. Some models do only come in one color. Yet, options such as the Enviro World and the Good Ideas' options do offer many color choices. The Suncast model was, by far, a fan favorite. This was, in large part, thanks to its solid 50 gallon capacity. Further, buyers say that it is a particularly durable model.
On the lower end of the spectrum, though, was the Good Ideas' Rain Wizard kit. Many customers complained of their product not looking as realistic as advertisements promised. Some customers also reported issues such as their brass nozzles being plastic rather than brass. This inconsistency was frustrating to customers.
When it comes to purchasing rain barrels, customers had a couple points of advice for new buyers. First, they recommend that you read the reviews carefully.
Not only to see what they wrote, but to make sure you are getting specifically what you want. For example, some barrels their excess drained by hand while some don't need any manual drainage.
Choosing A Rain Barrel
There isn't much content on the Internet regarding what to do with a rain barrel. We took a deep dive and examined how homeowners use rain barrels and the extra water source they provide.
Safe To Drink?
While this is all natural water, it's important to remember is not safe to drink unless you treat it and filter it. This is especially true if your rain barrel is collecting water from a drainage spout that runs through the roof.
It will carry pollutants and toxic chemicals. Just imagine, all of the water accumulated in the rain barrel will likely have been tainted with smoke stack manufacturing pollution and runoff debris filtered through bird droppings and dead insects.
HowstuffWorks.com says, however, that your vegetables and flowers can thrive using this water- as long as the water flow is at ground level.
Some other best practices when using the rain barrel, it's advised that the top is always kept firmly in place- you don't want to expose it to sunlight because this can cultivate algae growth. In addition, if the rain barrel has a screen protector, they should be kept secure so that mosquitoes and other insects attracted to water don't aggregate in it.
Another handy tip, you should do a quality inspection of the rain barrel seasonally to make sure it hasn't sprung any leaks.
Increasing The Quality
If you plan on using the rainwater and it's collecting water from a roof gutter, you can increase the quality of the collected water by cleaning out your gutters, removing debris so that it's cleaner when it falls from the downspout.
In cold winter climates, it's important that your rain barrel doesn't freeze- this can cause it to crack and destroy it. In this instance, you may want to discover alternate means of collecting water- ensuring that water is not pooling near and around your home's foundation.
Potable vs Non-Potable Water
Because the topic is so important, the distinction should be made between potable and non-potable water. City governments and states are responsible for chemically treating water to kill off bacteria. This makes the water potable and safe to drink.
Though in many other areas of the world where citizens access secondary water sources that are non-potable it can potentially be dangerous to their health.
That's not to say that non-potable water isn't usable- many individuals will find that this type of water is used to flush toilet systems and water flower and vegetable gardens. You just need to be sure that you are not cooking with it for drinking it.
Building Your Own Rain Barrel
If you're interested in building your own water conservation system by creating your own rain barrel, Hgtv.com provides DIY construction guidelines for doing so. The blueprints will walk you through purchasing a large plastic barrel, drilling holes in it, using pipe adapters and adding a spigot to the pipe.
One important point they made is if you are going to treat your roof, whether that is by spraying insecticide or treating the wood chemically, you'll want to unhook the rain barrel for at least two weeks or so to make sure you're not gathering chemically tainted water runoff.