Our site is reader supported, this means we may earn a small commission when you buy through links on our site.
The Best Water Butts for Collecting and Recycling Rainwater
Last Updated on December 18, 2019 by John
Data never lies. And currently, there is clear evidence that increased population and climate change are pressurizing water resources.
So in addition to using mains water as sparingly as possible, you have decided to fit water butts for collecting and recycling rainwater. The objective being to reduce water bills, reduce stress on rivers and wetlands, and to reduce carbon footprint by minimizing the amount of energy used to pump and treat water.
Determined to beat the hosepipe bans and drought orders common in the summer, you set out to do some shopping. However, the options available are overwhelming. What brand are you to settle for? What type of water but are you to purchase? What of the size, colour, shape, and material?
Luckily, we are way ahead of your dilemma. We`ve reviewed the best water butts for collecting and recycling rainwater and highlighted the key features to consider while purchasing the same.
Now let`s dive into the meat.
Water Butt Buyers Guide
What to consider before purchasing a water butt
The market is flooded with these water barrels; all with heavenly promises and opaque language from the manufacturers. No doubt this can leave you confused on which “best” water butt to select – one that fit your need and budget.
Well, don’t be in a conundrum anymore. Just take the following features into consideration and select your way up to into the best water butt for collecting rainwater.
The size of the barrel dictates the amount of rainwater you can collect and recycle. Therefore, take into account your water needs and select accordingly.
The most common water butts are cylinders of 120 litres, but large capacity butts of up to 350 litres do exist. Their range is 100 – 350 litres. There are a few cases of big barrels holding up to 700 litres though.
Note, experts advise settling for a larger water butt especially if your budget and space allow. For it never hurts to have more stored water as with the climate change – there’s no telling the length of the drought period.
Water butt construction
Ideally, you want to settle for a water butt that is watertight, easy to clean, durable, lightweight, and that can stand harsh weather; all of which are dictated by its material.
Note, the most commonly used material is plastic, however, there are barrels made of wood, clay, and stone. The latter categories fall under decorative water butts category some of which are designed to be used as a garden chair.
Now each of these materials has its strengths and weaknesses. For instance, while a plastic barrel is lightweight and cheaper, there is a high chance of such a barrel cracking during winter. This is because when water freezes it expands and the plastic water butt is not elastic enough to take on the additional volume. Thus, select wisely.
Beyond science, it’s advisable to settle for eco-friendly water butts. Those made of combustible or recyclable materials to prevent environmental pollution in the form of landfills and ocean deposits.
And whatever you do, don’t overlook the lid. The lid should be as strong and sturdy as the butt to effectively stop debris, and small animals from falling into the butt and prevent algae growth.
This affects the stability of the water butt especially when filled with water. Some barrel shapes can only be stable when installed on a firm, flat surface; otherwise, they will topple when full. That means, it is vital for you to examine the slope of the area you`ll be installing the barrel before settling on a given shape.
Also, the shape dictates the amount of space occupied by the barrel. For instance, a rounded water butt will take up more space than a rectangular-shaped barrel of equal capacity.
The most common ones are barrels of standard shapes, however, there are slimline models designed to fit into narrow spaces. You can go for wall-mounted water butts if the space available is too limiting.
Simplicity is key.
Thus, go for butts that are easy to fit and that come equipped with everything you require to install and collect water – including clear instructions on how to go about the installation and water collection.
Also, does the barrel have a stand and a tap at the bottom as that will make it easier to access the collected water?
Again, go for the colour that blend with or in a way complements your surrounding!
And it goes without saying that the price should be within your set budget.
In-depth Reviews of the Best Water Butts
1. Harcostar 227 litre Water Butt & Raintrap Diverter and Stand
- Large 227-litre capacity, nice mid-range size for most gardens.
- Easy to set up due to pre-cut water inlet holes so no drilling required.
- Tap screws straight in rather than having to climb inside water butt to attach the tap like on lots of other models.
- Comes equipped with everything needed to install and use.
- Relatively high water capacity to store more water than most other water butts.
- Available in two colour choices; green and grey.
This water butt is perfect for those interested in collecting and recycling more rainwater for use in their gardens and do there part to save on resources.
At 227 litres, this can store more water than the standard barrels in the market today which hold around 100 Litres. Its installation is easy thanks to the pre-cut water inlet holes, one on each size so you can choose which one you need to use as well as the complete package, fitments, and stand – which makes it worth every pound too. In fact, a majority of people have reported taking a maximum of one hour to complete the fitting process.
On top of that, the tap holes are threaded in place which requires you to just screw it (the tap) in from outside. No more climbing in the butt to secure the tap! In addition, the lid is easy to fit, lock, and unlock thanks to its spring-loaded fastening clip.
Also, there are narrow bands to fit the straps around the butt for wall attachment necessary in case of a windy location or limited fitting area.
Note, you have an option of connecting multiple butts together too to increase your stored water capacity. However, you’ll need to purchase a connection kit in such a case as it’s not included in the butt package. All in all, you can never go wrong with this selection – high capacity with everything you need which is why we think its probably the best choice for most people and why it made our ‘Best Pick’
2. Charles Bentley 210 Litre Water Butt Set Including Tap with Stand Filler Kit
- A more stable and reliable 3-part stand.
- Simple and effective filler kit.
- Large capacity for various water collection in the garden.
This product is best suited for gardeners and landscapers who delight in having green lawns all year round. With a capacity of 210 litres, the butt can help water a small to medium-sized garden all summer long. It is easy to fit thanks to the included downpipe filler kit and especially when dealing with square-shaped downpipes.
The butt comes with a stable stand which though fiddly to assemble is suitable for both even and uneven grounds. Also, it has a lockable lid that requires an implement say a large flat head screwdriver to unlock. This makes it hard for children to open in a bid to peep inside which might be catastrophic. It also means that the lid remains locked most of the time preventing the entry of debris, organic matter, small animals, and mosquitoes – all which prevent water stagnating. It would be batter is it has a lever to open the lid and then maybe a place to attach a padlock should you need to lock it.
Care should also be taken when fitting the downpipe connector to prevent overflowing. PTFE tape can and should be placed around the tap thread to prevent leaking which is a common problem but one that is easily resolved. It’s also advisable to add layers of waterproof sealants around major fitting joints to minimize leakage and consequently save the collected water.
LARGE CAPACITY WATER BUTT
3. Harcostar 350 Litre Magnum Water Butt and Raintrap Diverter
- Massive capacity hence more water collected and stored for future use.
- Safe to use even with children around thanks to child-safe lid.
- Easy to fit at it comes with a universal raintrap diverter to connect to your downpipe.
- Good value for money with a 5-year guarantee for full peace of mind.
The Harcostar 350 Litre Magnum Water Butt is the real deal for gardeners, landscapers, and homeowners with relatively high water usage. At 350 litres in capacity, the butt can store an incredible amount of rainwater. So large is the capacity that you can easily save over £100 in water bills during the rainy season and much more during summer.
Its two taps make it easy to access the water whether the butt is sited on the floor or a raised stand. The height of the bottom tap is ideal for filling a small to medium-sized watering can. Keep in mind that for larger jerry cans, you may be required to add a stand to draw water from the bottom tap – a.k.a. increasing the effective capacity of the tank.
The butt includes pre-drilled holes for easy fitting. You got 3 at the top to fit linking kits, diverter kits, and other accessories; and 2 at the bottom to fit in supplied taps as your ideal height. Also, the lid is child-safe eliminating worries of a parent with little and curious angels. That means the water butt is worth every penny. Finally, its extremely well made and reinforced around essential bits where connectors go.
4. BeGreen 100 Litre Mini Rainsaver Water Butt Kit includes Butt, Stand and Diverter
- Pretty much affordable and a good choice for smaller gardens or narrow spaces thanks to the slimline design.
- Compact design, which takes very little space.
- Comes with a hose fit tap which is compatible with all standard fittings.
- Great build quality featuring recycled plastic.
This BeGreen 100 Litre Mini Rainsaver Water Butt Kit is probably the best for people with small gardens. It can be used in sheds and greenhouses too. Being a square sized 38 by 38cm, the butt can fit small confined spaces. That coupled with a capacity of 100L makes it worth the price.
It comes equipped with everything you will require to install and collect water as well as detailed instructions making the fitting process a smooth one. The diverter can fit 65mm and 68mm square downpipes which are standard in the UK, and can also be used with rounded pipes with little to no modifications.
The included 3-piece stand is moulded with stiffeners at angles to eliminate chances of buckling especially when full. It is also the right height for easy access to collected water with a watering can. The tap (despite being narrowed by the hose fit connections) runs smoothly compared to most taps. Overall, an excellent choice for minimal needs.
5. 134 Litre Rainwater Terrace Water Butt with 2 Tier Design
- Has an eye-catching design that also complements the garden.
- Good height to access and manage the top planter.
- Good capacity of 134 litres.
- Easy to transport because its components nest within each other to create a compact package.
This Rainwater Terrace Water Butt has a unique modular design that will appeal to gardeners and homeowners who value elegance. With integrated self-watering planters, you can grow herbs and flowers whilst collecting and storing rainwater. It’s thus easy to blend with your garden or home nature-like environment. Also, it’s easy to assemble and link to other butts (for increased capacity) requiring no special skills or tools.
The butt is easy to use too with the fast flow taps filing the watering cans in seconds and the water level indicator showcasing the level of stored water. The latter is essential when it comes to planning your water use. On top of that, the Rainverse Terrace is built of high-quality plastic material which boosts its durability even in harsh weather.
Water Butt FAQs
How to install a water butt?
The best option is to fit a water butt onto a downpipe using a rain diverter kit cause then you don’t have to worry much about what will happen to the water when the butt is full. However, you can have multiple barrels in a single location and inter-connect them with short hoses.
To install a single water butt with the aid of a diverter kit, here is a simple procedure.
Requirements: water butt, hacksaw, hole-cutting drill, pencil, tape measure, a butt stand, rain diverter kit
- Choose a suitable installation location. That is, a place roomy for the selected water butt, next to a drainpipe to help with spill offs, relatively flat, and firm to withstand the weight of the filled water butt.
- Place the stand on the selected firm and levelled ground; next to the downpipe.
- Put the barrel on the stand and mark its corresponding height on the downpipe with a pencil or marker.
- Cut the downpipe about 1.25 inches below the marked spot with a hacksaw
- Attach the rain diverter and refit the bottom of the downpipe tightly to ensure no spillage.
- Drill a hole 3 inches down (taking the top of the cistern as the reference). The hole should be big enough to fit a connector.
- Attach the connector to the butt. It easy, you just push it through the drilled hole and screw the fittings in place as per the manual.
- Nest, attach the connector to the diverter as instructed on the manual.
- Place the lid of the butt tightly to keep off pests, mosquitoes, and even kids from falling in.
How to maintain my water butt?
- Keep the butt covered tightly all the time to keep off debris, algae, pests, mosquitoes; and slime and scum from forming.
- In the case of scum formation, add drops of biological rainwater treatment to keep it clean for around 5 months.
- Empty and thoroughly clean the water butt yearly or say once every 3 years to remove any sediments.
- Keep the barrel protected from harsh weather elements as much as possible.
How to collect water with a water butt?
- Properly fit a water butt onto a downpipe from a gutter collecting water from the roof of the garage, home, greenhouse, and other garden structures.
- Check to see whether the butt has a tap at its bottom and that it`s fitted properly
- If not, you can fix a hose or just opt to scoop water out from the top with say a 4-pint jug.
- Wait for the rains
How does a rain trap work?
The rain trap enables water diversion from the downpipe into the water butt and redirecting water down the downpipe once the water butt is full.
How do you keep water from stagnating?
Stagnant water is characterized by a foul odour, surface scum, decayed organic matter, and algae growth. It’s a breeding ground for diseases causing pathogens and thus necessary precautions should be employed to help keep your collected rainwater from stagnating. Such include:
Requirements: Vinegar, mosquito dunk, fine screen, a barrel with a tight-fitting lid/cover
- Using the collected rainwater often.
- Go for dark-coloured, eco-friendly water butts that are certified and approved for liquids. Try your best to keep sun rays and light off the barrel as they only encourage bacteria and algae growth.
- Tightly cover the butt 24/7 to keep off organic matter. While at it, use fine screens at the end spout feeding your butt to eliminate the chances of decay matter in the collected water.
- Clean the roof and gutter regularly or use a rain-sensing mechanism that can keep the first 5 minutes rain off of the cistern especially when there has been no rain for a long time.
- Add biological treatment agents into the water to discourage mosquitoes and algae growth.
- Use vinegar to clean the water butt regularly in a bid to kill unwanted contamination.
Our Final Conclusion
The hundreds of models on the market can you leave someone overwhelmed when trying to select the best water butt for collecting water. However, you don’t have to feel depressed. You can never go wrong when purchasing from the leading brands just as Harcostar. In fact, one of the top 5 water butts reviewed above can surely be sufficient for your garden. If you`re not open to recommendations, follow the guidelines explained herein and select your way up to a quality, durable water butt.
How our readers help support our site
Our website supports our amazing readers with countless hours of research and testing to help you find the best product so you don’t regret making a purchase. You support us through our independently chosen links, which earn us a small commission and cost you nothing but helps support our research.
Last update on 2020-10-28 at 10:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API