The best water butts in 2023
Wet weather doesn't have to mean gloomy gardening. Conserve water for hot months with a water butt from our comprehensive guide.
Turning wet weather into a windfall, water butts are a great way to conserve water while keeping your garden well-maintained and healthy. Coming in a wide range of materials and sizes, a water butts will help you harvest rainwater, and give your garden some extra drought-resistance.
In this guide, we’ll give advice on the types of water butts available, standout water butts on the market, and how to choose the best water butt for you.
If you’re interested in more watering accessories, browse our selection of the best watering cans and self-watering planters.
How to choose the best water butt
There are three main considerations when it comes to choosing the best water butt for your garden: size, material and budget.
The size of your garden will influence the size and water capacity you'll need. If space is limited, consider a smaller water butt with a capacity of under 200 litres. Those with small gardens may also benefit from having a water butt that mounts on the wall to reduce how much patio space it takes up. For a large garden, a capacity of 200 litres or more is suitable. In most cases, you'll also need to buy a stand, so you can fit a watering can under the tap to fill it, a hose, and a diverter kit, to connect it to your down pipe.
When it comes to materials, water butts are typically made from plastic or steel. Both are extremely durable but plastic water butts are often cheaper, with recycled plastic water butts being an environmentally-friendly option.
By collecting rainwater in a water butt, you can conserve water while keeping your garden well-maintained and healthy.
Types of water butts
Most water butts are supplied with a stand and can be placed on the ground in the corner of the garden. However, some water butts can be mounted on an external wall, a good option for smaller gardens where ground space is precious. You can also run guttering from a shed roof into a water butt as an efficient way to harvest rainwater – if you don't have one in your garden, you might find our comprehensive guide to the best garden sheds useful.
- Buy a downpipe rain trap from Garden Trading, Water Butts Direct and Amazon.
Mounted Water Butts
Perfect for gardens with minimal free floorspace, mounted water butts, like the Pure Raindrop Water Butt, are lightweight and designed to sit on external walls in the garden. This type provides more flexibility regarding the height of the tap because you have full control over where, and how high, it's fixed to the wall.
Plastic Water Butts
Plastic is the most common water butt material, with a number of recycled plastic options available. Cheaper than their steel counterparts, plastic water butts come in both the mounted style or the traditional barrel with a stand such as the Cloudburst Water Butt.
Steel Water Butts
Steel water butts are durable and long-lasting. Typically heavier and more expensive than plastic, these water butts are designed to stand on the ground. Traditional barrel water butts also vary a lot more in capacity.
More like this
You can also run guttering from a shed roof into a water butt as an efficient way to harvest rainwater – if you don't have one in your garden, you might find our comprehensive guide to the best garden sheds useful.
How do I install a water butt?
- Place your water butt next to a downpipe.
- Cut through the downpipe a few centimetres below the top of your water butt.
- Attach a water diverter to the base of the cut in the upper downpipe.
- Attach the lower half of your downpipe to the diverter.
- Many water butts already have one, but if not, drill a hole for the connector hose.
- Attach the connector hose to the butt and the downpipe.
- Collect rainwater as and when you need it.
From galvanised steel to recycled plastic, here's our pick of water butts:
The best water butts
Harcostar Water Butt 168L
For a simple, no-nonsense water butt, try the Harcostar Water Butt. Made in the UK from recycled plastic, it comes in the traditional barrel shape, and can be bought with a diverter, a child-safe lid and a hose connector tap.
It is now on sale for 25 per cent off.
Buy the Harcostar Water Butt 168L from EvenGreener
Black Slimline Space Saver Water Butt 100L
If you’re pushed for space but still want to reuse rainwater, try this slimline model. Manufactured in the UK from recycled plastic, it has all the features you need, but with a small patio footprint.
Buy the Black Slimline Space Saver Water Butt 100L from EvenGreener and Water Butts Direct
Pure Raindrop Water Butt 75L
This award-winning water butt has a built-in five litre jug that fills automatically, ready for use. Any additional water will then fill the 75 litre teardrop container below it. It's supplied with a five year guarantee and can be fitted directly onto your drainpipe.
Buy Pure Raindrop Water Butt at Crocus
Rainwater Terrace Water Butt 134L
This water butt comes supplied with a diverter for the down pipe, a stand and has integrated planters. With a capacity of 134 litres, it's a good, mid-size option and each water storage box has a transparent drain tube to show the water level.
Buy Rainwater Terrace Water Butt 134L at Water Butts Direct
Cloudburst Water Butt 200L
Made from recycled plastic, the Cloudburst Water Butt has a child-safe lid, a tap and a diverter kit to attach to a down pipe. It has a capacity of 200 litres and comes with a stand.
Buy Cloudburst Water Butt 200L at Even Greener
Madison Rain Barrel with Fountain 185L
For a show-stopping water butt, check out this rain barrel. Fitted with a fountain, it collects 185l of rainwater as well as providing a stunning water feature. It comes fitted with a hose too, so you can directly water patio plants.
Buy the Madison Rain Barrel with Fountain 185L from Water Butts Direct
Noblesse Decorative Water Butt 270L
This understated water butt would suit contemporary gardens. Despite its simple design it holds a generous 270L and also doubles as a planter to soften the look. It’s also child-safe.
Buy the Noblesse Decorative Water Butt 270L from Water Butts Direct
Elho Green Basics Rain Barrel 200L
Made from recycled plastic in a wind-powered factory, this water butt is a good option for the eco-conscious gardener. The frost-proof water butt can hold up to 200 litres and has an integrated planter for extra growing space for plants or flowers.
Buy Elho Green Basics Rain Barrel 200L at Crocus
Garantia Stone 2-in-1 Water Butt 350L
This water butt from Garantia doubles up as a planter. With a capacity of 350 litres, it can collect a huge amount of rainwater and has a smooth, natural stone look.
Buy Garantia Stone 2-in-1 Water Butt 350L at Robert Dyas
Rain Catcher Wall Mounted Water Butt 160L
A mounted water butt is a good option for small gardens with limited patio space. This recycled plastic water butt has three outlet connections at the bottom that can be used for the tap supplied or for connecting to another water butt.
Buy Rain Catcher Wall Mounted Water Butt 160L at Water Butts Direct
Bamboo Water Butt 110L
This water butt has a bamboo-effect finish and holds up to 110 litres of water. Made from UV stabilised materials, it's supplied with a matching stand, lid, rain diverter and tap.
Buy Bamboo Water Butt at Two Wests & Elliott
Galvanised Steel Water Butt 185L
Finished in a Georgian style complete with Tudor roses, this handmade water butt is made from galvanised steel. It has a decent capacity of 185 litres and there's a hose-ready, brushed chrome tap set into the side of the water butt at watering can height.
Buy Galvanised Steel Water Butt at Harrod Horticultural
Barrique Oak Wood Effect Water Butt Barrel 250L
To blend a water butt into more bohemian gardens, try this oak-effect water butt. In the style of an old wooden beer barrel, it has a hefty lid and a ¾ inch brass tap, so you can easily connect a hose to tackle a hosepipe ban.
Buy the Barrique Oak Wood Effect Water Butt Barrel 250L from Water Butts Direct
Graf Garden Water Storage Tank Aboveground Amphora 250L
This terracotta-effect Grecian urn offers and alternative to utilitarian plastic water butts. With a a big 250L volume., you can also plant up the top, making a useful piece of kit part of your garden design.
Buy the Graf Garden Water Storage Tank Aboveground Amphora 250L from Crocus
Graf Water Storage Wall Tank Water Butt Woody Wall 350L
If you worry that a plastic water butt will compromise your garden design, this ingenious wooden water butt will seamlessly blend into almost any style of patio. It holds an enormous 350L and sits flush to a wall, so you can have a high volume of water without compromising on space.
Buy the Graf Water Storage Wall Tank Water Butt Woody Wall 350L from Water Butts Direct
Ecosure City Water Butt Planter 180L
Stylish and elegant this dual purpose butt has a large collection capacity plus a planting space to help make it a focal point of your garden. Made from frostproof and UV stabilised plastic it comes with a brass tap and is available in a wide range of colours, from muted milstone and black to bright orange and purple.
Buy the City Water Butt Planter from Ecosure
Arthur Jack Water Butt (Small)
Durable, rust resistant, and capable of holding 180 litres of rainwater, the Arthur Jack Water Butt delivers on both practicality and on looks. This water butt’s water access tap can be placed in multiple locations, to suit the personal needs of the gardener.
Buy the Jack Arthur Water Butt (Small) from Arthur Jack
Wall Mounted Water Butt In Black
Holding 105 litres of rainwater, this robust, wall-mounted water butt is an ideal choice for gardeners who want the benefits of a good water butt, without having to give up precious floor space. Frost, weather, and impact-resistant, this water butt has a durability you might not expect for something with such a slim, unobtrusive design. However, this water butt is only suitable for unrendered brick walls, and should be affixed to brickwork, not the mortar.
Buy the Wall Mounted Water Butt In Black from Etills
Technik Evergreen 475 litre Trunk Water Butt Tank
This charming oak log design masks a reliable and surprisingly practical 475 litre water
butt. Made from durable polyethylene, it includes a charming ¾ inch brass tap and has a childproof lid that sits firmly on top of the butt.
Buy the 475L Evergreen Tree Trunk Water Butt from Water Butts Direct
Need further inspiration? Buy water butts from Water Butts Direct, Drainage Superstore, and Crocus.
This Product Guide was last updated in March 2023 and we apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.
Don't miss our May issue. Subscribe now and get your first 6 issues for just £14.99
Whatever the size of your outdoor space, our latest guide will ensure success all year round. Comes with 4 seed packs. Only £9.99!