Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting and storing rainwater for future uses such as water plants. At a minimum, rainwater harvesting systems are comprised of a catchment area, a conveyance system, and a storage tank.
The basics of Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater systems come in all shapes and sizes, from simple catchment system under a downspout on your house to large above and/or underground cisterns with complex filtration systems that can store thousands of gallons of water. I’m thinking that you are here because you are looking for a rainwater harvesting barrel for home use.
Most rainwater collection systems, big or small are made up of the same basic components.
- Catchment surface – the most obvious one is your rooftop. The best catchment systems are made of hard, smooth surfaces such as metal roofs or concrete areas but your regular shingled roof will do as well. You will just need to make sure you filter the water if you need to. The amount of water that you will be able to harvest will depend on thea amount of rain, the size of your catchment area and the slope.
- Gutters and downspouts – Gutters and downspouts are the distribution systems. They channel water from your catchment area to a holding tank such as a barrels you will find listed below.
- Leaf & Debris screens – mainly used on house systems, a leaf screen will help keep leaves and other debris in your gutters.
- Storage Barrels & Tanks – Tthe storage tank is the most expensive component of a rainwater harvesting system. There are numerous types and styles of storage tanks to choose from based on your wants and needs. You can use aboveground or underground water storage. Water storage tanks can be made from all kinds of materials including; galvanized steel, wood, concrete, clay, plastic, fiberglass, polyethylene, masonry and more.
- Delivery systems – gravity-fed or pumped to the landscape or other end-use areas. This can be tubes, hoses or gutters. Again, this depends on your specific needs and application.
- Purification/filter/treatment system – Depending on what you are using your water for, you may need to treat the water. For water safe for human consumption. Please check with your local health department for information on filtration systems and certification requirements.
Rainwater Harvesting Advantages and Disadvantages
Reduce, Reuse, recycle. Water is a scarce commodity so reusing it is a great idea. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of rainwater harvesting.
- Makes use of a natural resource and reduces flooding, stormwater runoff, erosion and contamination of surface water with pesticides, sediment, metals and fertilizers.
- Reduces the need for imported water (the San Diego region imports between 80%-90% of its water from Northern California and Colorado River)
- Excellent source of water for landscape irrigation, with no chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine, and no dissolved salts and minerals from the soil.
- Home systems can be relatively simple to install and operate May reduce your water bill.
- Promotes water and energy conservation
- No filtration system required for landscape irrigation
- Limited and uncertain local rainfall
- Can be costly to install – rainwater storage and delivery systems can cost between $200 to $2,000+ depending on the size and sophistication of the system
- The payback period varies depending on the size of storage and complexity of the system
- Can take considerable amount of time to “pay for itself”
- Requires some technical skills to install and provide regular maintenance
- If not installed correctly, may attract mosquitoes (i.e.; West Nile Disease and other waterborne illnesses)
- Certain roof types may seep chemicals, pesticides, and other pollutants into the water that can harm the plants
- Rainwater collected during the first rain season is generally not needed by plants until the dry season. Once catchment is full, cannot take advantage of future rains
Here are the 5 Best Rainwater Harvesting Barrels based on Amazon best sellers.
1) Algreen Products 50-gallon Castilla Rain Barrel
This 50-gallon Castilla rain barrel is constructed from tough, root molded plastic able to withstand extreme temperatures and will not chip, fade, or crack over time.
The rain barrel comes with a convenient spigot and corrosion-proof screen guard.
The rain barrel doubles as a planter and measures 23 x 33-inch.50-gallon capacity rain saver barrel
- Made from tough, root molded plastic
- Convenient spigot and corrosion-proof screen guard
- Measures 23 x 33-inch
- Product Dimensions: 58.4 x 58.4 x 83.8 cm ; 6 Kg
- Shipping Weight: 8 Kg
- Item model number: 81313
- ASIN: B00BDVG9Q4
2) Good Ideas 50-gallon Impressions Linen Rain Saver
Good Ideas IMP-L50-KHA Impressions 50-Gallon Rain Saver Linen – Khaki is designed with a self-draining planter top and built-in overflow. It features dual spigot locations, allowing you to use a hose and spigot simultaneously and an anti-debris/bug screen. Constructed with thick and durable polyethylene resin, which holds up to the harshest elements, the exterior has the appearance of linen.
The graceful lines, curves and garnishes on the exterior make it an accent piece on your homes exterior and not something that just sticks to your house. The design optimizes space used and allows you to position the rain saver close to walls or flat areas.
The top is the only of its kind that acts as a planter space and also self-drains when excess water is present. There is also a channel built into the rim, which diverts overflowing water to the front and away from the barrel and home foundation. You can have peace of mind that you’re helping the environment by conserving water and giving your garden the best water it can get, devoid of harsh chemicals and rich in nutrients. And you can perform that conservation without sacrificing your home’s outer appearance.
- Palm Self-Draining Planter Top – BPA Free
- Dual Spigot Locations – Use a Hose and Spigot Simultaneously
- Features an Anti-Debris and Bug Screen
- Built-In Overflow
- 50-Gallon Capacity
- Self-Draining Planter Top
- Color Name: Khaki
- Product Dimensions: 73.7 x 73.7 x 111.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 10 Kg
- Item model number: IMP-L50-KHA
- ASIN: B00E0CURL6
3) Good Ideas 55-gallon Savannah Rain Saver
Good Ideas SV-RS-SAN Savannah Rain Saver – Sandstone is a thing of beauty and clever design. Constructed with thick and durable polyethylene resin, which holds up to the harshest elements, the exterior has the appearance of a colonial planter. The strong, regal lines and trim on the exterior make it an accent piece on your homes exterior and not something that just sticks to your house. The flat back design optimizes space used and allows you to position the barrel close to walls or flat areas.
The top is only of its kind that acts as a planter space and also self-drains when excess water is present. There is also a channel built into the rim, which diverts overflowing water to the front and away from the barrel and home foundation. You can have peace of mind that you’re helping the environment by conserving water and giving your garden the best water it can get, devoid of harsh chemicals and rich in nutrients.
And you can perform that conservation without sacrificing your home’s outer appearance with the very stylish and functional Savannah Rain Saver. Good Ideas developing new and innovative plastic products for the lawn and garden and agriculture markets.
- Colonial Style Design – BPA Free
- Self Draining, Planter Top
- Equipped with a Sturdy Brass Spigot Which Won’t Rust or Break Like Plastic Alternatives
- Mesh Screen to Filter Out Debris and Deter Pests
- Linkable to All Other Rain Wizard Rain Barrels-Requires Custom Fitting
- Color Name: Sandstone
- 55-Gallon Capacity Rain Barrel
- Product Dimensions: 53.3 x 53.3 x 104.1 cm ; 10 Kg
- Shipping Weight: 12 Kg
- Item model number: SV-RS-SAN
- ASIN: B00AU84VUC
4) Enviro World FreeGarden Rain Barrel
The Free Garden rain collection system is designed specifically with you the homeowner in mind. Its sleek never aging look fits naturally into any location around the home.
The flat back and square design allow it to fit flush to wall or corner installation.Injection molded and made from high-density polyethylene makes it easy to keep clean and looking brand new year after year.It comes complete with a powder coated steel screen, base .all brass standard size spigot, extension hose and child lock screws.
The spigot is located to allow for easy access with any watering can eliminating any need base.The two-sided overflow allows for multiple connecting containers from either side.
Your garden and lawn will love your preserved precious warm natural rain water.
- Large 55 Gallon capacity
- No cheap imitation that looks worn out after one season
- Sleek flat back square design fits naturally in any location around the home
- High-quality injection molded keeps it looking clean and new year after year
- Comes complete with all brass standard size spigot, extension hose, powder coated steel screen and child locking screws. No base required
- Product Dimensions: 59.7 x 59.7 x 83.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 8 Kg
- Item model number: EWC-10
- ASIN: B00FWN9QK0
Bosmere K756 Pop Up Water Barrel, 50-Gallon
This Pop-Up Rain Barrel holds 50 gallons of water. It is made of flexible, puncture-resistant, laminated polyester.
The mesh top keeps out debris and zips opens for easy dipping. Assembled it is 25-Inch diameter by 32-Inch high.
It includes a pre-installed nozzle and cap at the base for a hose connection. Save your rain water for those dry days.
Packs flat when not in use.
- Barrel can be folded down and stored at the end of the season
- 2-way zippered mesh top for easy access and keeps leaves out
- Is easy to place under a gutter/drainpipe
- Will not crack or break if left out in the cold
- Water tap at base of barrel with on/off valve
- Size: 50-Gallon
- Product Dimensions: 63.5 x 63.5 x 81.3 cm ; 3.3 Kg
- Shipping Weight: 4.1 Kg
- Item model number: K756
- ASIN: B003HDDQNA