How To Harvest Water: Best Rain Barrel System For Collecting Rainwater

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Best By Size…

50 Gallon
Good Ideas
75 Gallon
KYOTO
100 Gallon
Algreen

When my family and I rented a house in the Virgin Islands several years ago, I was surprised that the rental owners (and most island residents) rely on rainwater for a large part of their water supply.

It made me realize that many of us neglect rain as a fundamental natural resource that we can collect on our own, rather than solely relying on treated water reserves.

Here’s how you can become a home rain harvester.

Article Overview

What Are The Benefits Of Rainwater Collection?

Rainwater harvesting is the best way to reduce consumption of our precious groundwater resources, but there are many other benefits.

  • Rainwater is free from pollutants, as well as minerals, salts, and other natural and man-made contaminants.
  • Reduce your monthly water bill.
  • You can use unpurified rainwater for irrigation, bathing, toilets, laundry, and other home and yard necessities.
  • Rainwater collection systems help to reduce soil erosion and polluted runoff into lakes, ponds and rivers.
  • Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia offer tax credits or exemptions on the purchase of rainwater harvesting equipment.
  • You can harvest around 300 gallons of rainwater from only half an inch of rain falling on a 1,000 square-foot roof.

What Are The Best Ways To Collect Rainwater?

Install A Rainwater Catchment System

A water catchment system consists of large underground tanks that collect rainwater from your roof and gutters. This system then filters and pumps out water for your whole-house use, e.g., showering, laundry, cooking and more.

These rainwater collection systems, however, are expensive and must be professionally installed. You also must have a pump or pressure tank to move the water into your home.

Buy A Rain Barrel

Simple rain barrels are the most common method of collecting rainwater for their affordability and easy setup, use and maintenance. Most consist of durable plastic, and you can find them in various sizes. Rain barrels have a spigot where you can fill up buckets or hook up a hose to water your garden.

Use Everyday Household And Yard Items

If you stay on top of your local forecast, it’s easy to set out pots, watering cans, children’s swimming pools and other items you have on hand to collect rainwater. You can use this rainwater to handwash clothes and dishes and water your indoor plants.

Best Rain Barrels

You want to find a barrel that has a screen at the top to filter out debris and insects. Other notable features to consider are overflow spouts, construction quality and spigot location.

50-Gallon: Good Ideas Rain Wizard 50 Review

Good Ideas Rain WizardView on Amazon

Good Ideas’ 50-gallon rain barrel is the best bang for your buck. The design resembles a classic barrel, but it’s made of durable BPA-free plastic. It also has a flat-back to save space. The spigot is low to maximize water pressure. You can also link multiple barrels together if you eventually want to increase your capacity.

Pros

Cons

  • Budget-friendly
  • Mold-, mildew- and UV-resistant
  • Top screen keeps out debris and insects
  • Sturdy brass spigot for hose hook-up and overflow spout
  • Made in the USA
  • Can’t remove the top, and the removable screen is small, which makes cleaning difficult
  • Some customers complain about leaks

Price

75-Gallon: KYOTO Koolscape RBSS-75 Rain Barrel Review

KYOTO Koolscape Rain BarrelView on Amazon

The KYOTO Koolscape 75-gallon rain barrel is a spacious, durable product that has a beautiful faux-stone design (it’s made of plastic). It comes with an overflow spout, drain plug and brass spigot. The legs make it easier to fit a bucket under the spigot, unlike some other barrels.

Unlike Good Ideas, our 50-gallon pick, this barrel is much easier to clean. The removable top screen is large, giving you plenty of room to spray out the barrel. This barrel isn’t BPA-free, which may be a dealbreaker if you’re planning on using its reserves to water fruits and vegetables.

Pros

Cons

  • Durable through extreme hot and cold temps
  • Corrosion-proof top screen guard
  • Drain plug to remove water and sludge at the bottom of the barrel
  • Attractive, stone-like design
  • Sturdy brass spigot
  • On the pricey side
  • Not BPA-free
  • Drains slowly
  • Warranty is only 90 days

Price

  • $189.94
  • 90-day warranty
  • Available in 75, 55 and 50 gallons

100-Gallon: Algreen 85001 Barcelona Rain Barrel Review

Algreen 85001 Barcelona Rain BarrelView on Amazon

Algreen offers several different models and sizes of rain barrels, but we’ve chosen the 85001 Barcelona as the best 100-gallon barrel. If aesthetics are a key feature, this product masquerades itself as a terracotta planter — in fact, it does have a built-in planting surface in front of the rainwater input.

The Algreen Barcelona also provides dual water overflows and the option for linking multiple rain barrels with their linking kit (must purchase separately). You can also buy a pump kit to give you more pressure when watering your garden.

Pros

Cons

  • Durable roto-molded, BPA-free plastic that’s crack- and UV-resistant
  • Corrosion-proof top screen guard
  • Bottom attachment gives you access to 100% of water in the unit
  • Elegant design with authentic granite look and rock-like texture and planter
  • Expensive
  • Planter feature doesn’t drain
  • Some customers complained of getting a plastic spigot instead of the advertised brass spigot

Price

Other Best Rain Barrel Reviews

The following products didn’t make our “best” list, but each is worthy of serious consideration.

Mirainbarrel | RTS Home Accents

Mirainbarrel Review

mirainbarrelView on Amazon

Mirainbarrel’s 58-gallon rain barrel is a fantastic choice if you’d prefer a removable lid. This barrel is constructed with recycled food-grade plastic that’s sealed with waterproof 100% silicone caulk. It features a brass spigot and overflow valve that you can link to additional barrels.

One of my team member’s has this rain barrel and would recommend it. It has held up great for 5+ years outdoors, collecting lots of rain water. She hooks a hose up to it and is able to keep her flowerbed watered with 100% fresh, rain water.

Pros

Cons

  • Made with food-grade, reused plastic that’s thick and sturdy
  • Easy twist top lid with plastic mesh screen
  • Comes with a downspout adapter
  • Sturdy brass spigot and overflow valve
  • Expensive
  • Not as aesthetically appealing as some of our top choices

Price

  • $184.99
  • No warranty information available

RTS Home Accents Rain Barrel Review

RTS Home Accents Rain BarrelView on Amazon

The RTS Home Accents 50-gallon rain barrel is similar to Good Ideas, our top 50-gallon pick, with the same classic barrel design in durable plastic, an aluminum screen, a flat back and multiple barrel linking system. The main complaint, however, is that the pre-drilled spigot hole is too large and the spigot threads strip too easily.

Pros

Cons

  • Made of BPA-free durable plastic
  • Top aluminum screen keeps out debris and insects
  • Front overflow keeps water from pooling against your outside wall
  • Optional stand makes filling buckets from spigot much easier
  • High-quality brass spigot
  • Can’t remove the top
  • Spigot threads strip easily
  • Some users complaints that it leaks around the spigot

Price

How Do I Install A Rain Barrel?

Check out this handy video, which shows you the tools you’ll need and tips on installing a rain barrel at your home.

Should I Get Solar Panels For My Home?

If you live in an area where you get a good mix of rain and sun, you can harness both rainwater and the sun in your home. Or, if you get more sun than rain, solar roof panels could be an excellent solution for your home. Be sure to read our best residential solar company reviews to learn more.

How do you try to conserve natural resources in and around your home?

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Sally is a huge fan of fresh, organic food. One of her favorite hobbies is cooking with as many fresh herbs, spices and veggies as possible. And she's devoted to her all-natural skin products and cosmetics. It's saved her and her daughter from the curse of skin allergies. When she's not writing and researching (and being a Mom), you can find Sally getting down to earth in her home garden.

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