A rain barrel is a container for collecting and storing rainwater from gutters. They are an economical way of harvesting water from the sky and storing it for future use. Money can be saved by using rain barrels instead of turning on the tap for every little task you do around the house. They are also an important tool for the conservation of water resources. Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water, especially in areas where there is low precipitation.

Rain barrels can be used to reduce the amount of water that is lost from a property by evaporation, seepage, and runoff. They are environmentally friendly as they reduce stormwater runoff into rivers and streams which leads to flooding in some areas. Use them to irrigate your lawn, plants, or flowers, wash your car or clean your windows.

How Do They Work

Rain barrels work by collecting rainwater from a roof and storing it in a container or barrel. They are primarily made of metal, plastic, and wood, but can be made of other materials.  A rain barrel is typically placed on the ground or slightly raised near the downspout of a building's gutters. Roof gutters divert the water from the roof to the downspouts which then carry it to the rain barrel. The collected water can be stored underground, but can also be stored in tanks or other aboveground containers. They typically have a spigot on the bottom so you can easily access the water. This water can be then used as you need it. 

The components of a rain barrel are:

  • The barrel: Standard barrels come in sizes of 50, 65, and 80 gallons. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and styles. There are some that are made of rigid material and others that are collapsible and can be stored for the winter.
  • A spigot: The spigot allows water to flow out of the container. A sturdy spigot is used to fill up watering cans. The spigot needs to be low on the barrel but make sure you have clearance for the can.
  • A bottom drain hole: The drain hole lets water drain out of the barrel, which can be blocked with a plug when not in use. Make sure the hole is accessible for a hose, so you can get every drop of water out of the barrel. You need this to get all of the water out before it freezes in the winter.
  • A screened overflow pipe: This pipe routes excess water away from your home and makes sure the barrel doesn’t overflow when full.
  • A tight lid: A lid is needed to keep mosquitos and debris out of the barrel. This is also a safety measure for children and pets.

Pros And Cons Of Common Rain Barrels


Metal rain barrels are good for the environment because it doesn’t leach chemicals into the water as other materials can do.

Pros of Metal Rain Barrels:

  • Durable
  • Easy to Assemble
  • Available in different colors to match your home style

Cons of Metal Rain Barrels:

  • Wears out quickly
  • Need to be painted often
  • Leakage is possible if not sealed properly


Plastic rain barrels are an eco-friendly solution to water management problems.

Pros of Plastic Rain Barrels:

  • Durable
  • Lightweight and easy to move around
  • Do not require much maintenance or upkeep

Cons of Plastic Rain Barrels:

  • Cracks in freezing weather
  • Paint can easily peel off the barrel over time
  • Leakage is possible if not sealed properly  


Wood barrels have a natural look that is more in line with sustainable living practices.

Pros of Wood Rain Barrels:

  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Durable and long-lasting

Cons of Wood Barrels:

  • Tend to be heavy and are more difficult to move
  • Require upkeep
  • Expensive

If you have a rain barrel, let us know how you selected the one you have.

Leave a Comment:

Credit Card Processing