Water is more than just a basic need; it is an essential element that guarantees the continuance of life. And despite being a natural resource, numerous factors including extremely high consumption rates, high infrastructure costs, and random weather patterns have made it an expensive item. Luckily, you can harvest rainwater and preserve it for future use by owning a rain barrel.

After all, the harvested rainwater can help keep your water bills low all year long. And with bigger or several barrels, you can preserve more than enough water for your household. Even though harvesting rainwater is the cheapest and easiest way to get clean water, there are several limitations to collecting water using this method. So before installing a few rain barrels on your homestead, Eco Peanut suggests you should consider the following pros and cons of owning a rain barrel.

Pros of Owning a Rain Barrel

rain barrel gravity feed to garden

1. A Great Way to Save Water for Your Plants During the Dry Season

With a rain barrel, you can harvest more than enough water to use in your home and water your garden. Compared to tap water, rainwater is naturally softened water that doesn’t have calcium, lime, fluoride, or chlorine; rainwater is the best option for your plants. After all, the water companies add these chemicals to help make tap water safer for human consumption. Unfortunately, these chemicals in tap water can cause stunted growth in some plants.

But with rainwater, you will never have to worry about stunted growth or high water bills. The collected soft water can keep your plants thriving and your lawn green all summer long. Rainwater might be all-natural, but if the air in your hometown is highly polluted, you should consider using filters, even if the harvested water is just for watering your garden. After all, the cleaner water, the more beneficial to your garden than polluted or chlorinated water.

2. Rain Barrels Provide an Ideal Way to Get Additional Water to Use in Your Home

With rain barrels, you have an opportunity to collect and save water for future use in your home. Other than watering your plants, even the drought-resistant plants, the harvested water can be used to clean the house, wash your car, wash your clothes, and even flush the toilet. You can also use the collected water to refill your swimming pool after the water level reduces because of the high evaporation rate.

3. Harvesting Rainwater Will Help Lower Your Water Bills

Harvesting rainwater every time it rains means that you will have more water to handle most of the work at home; therefore, you will never have to worry about high water bills. In fact, most people install rain barrels to help them spend less on water. And that is because; you will have fresh water in your barrels to use around the house. And by returning cash into your wallet every month, the rainwater harvesting system is that it will repay itself in no time.

4. Rain Barrels are Low-maintenance Items

Unlike other rainwater harvesting systems, rain barrels are low-maintenance items. After installing your barrels, gutter, and downspouts, the maintenance and repair costs can be quite low. Plus, you will never have to inspect your barrel all the time, particularly if the harvested water is not for human consumption. And that is because you won’t have to purify the water. And if you decide to purify the collected water, the purification cost can be lower than your monthly water bills.

5. Rain Barrels are Easy to Install

Empty water barrels are lightweight items that can be easily moved from one place to the other. And if you already have some gutters on your roof, installing downspouts directly to where you plan on collecting the water from is quite easy. In most cases, all you have to do is cut the downspouts and put the rain barrels beneath them. The fact that most barrels are recycled means that you will be diverting the waste from the landfills and using them at home.

6. Installing Rain Barrels can Prevent Soil Erosion and Puddling on Your Homestead

When rainwater hits the ground directly from your roof, it can cause soil erosion and even leave paddles in your backyard. And this can be quite dangerous to your home’s foundation. So channeling rainwater to the barrels can help keep your homestead safe and reduce the moisture content near your home’s foundation.

Cons of Owning a Rain Barrel

owning rain-barrels-in-garden

1. The Collected Water is Not Clean Enough for Drinking

Despite being softer than other sources of water, rainwater is not clean enough for human consumption. So you have to install the recommended cleaners and filters if you plan on drinking the harvested water. With the right filters, you can channel the water to the house for home usage, which means more expenditure.

2. To Collect Enough Water, You Will Need More Barrels

Rain barrels are smaller in size than most water tanks; therefore, they will limit your potential to harvest more water. So to get more than enough water for your entire household, you will have to connect numerous rain barrels. Unfortunately, the more connection points you have, the higher the likelihood of getting leakages or system failure. This means that you have to pay more to collect more water which can be disadvantageous to some people.

3. You May Struggle to Fill Your Barrels During the Dry Seasons

Thanks to the little to no rain that falls during the dry seasons, refilling or even keeping water in these barrels can be quite challenging. Therefore, you might not have enough water to water your garden even before the dry season ends. This can be a great issue if you plan on watering your plants in summer. So you might need bigger barrels to save more water.

Final Thoughts

Going green has numerous benefits, including lowering your expenses while ensuring that your family is safe. And by harvesting rainwater using barrels, you will lower your water bills and have more than enough fresh water for your plants. And with the pros outweighing the cons, installing rain barrels can help you become self-sufficient and enjoy fresh veggies and fruits that have been grown using chemical-free water.


  1. We use a lot of IBC totes for our off-grid garden needs–they hold 175 gallons each, and they’re easy to find. Set up four or five of those, and you should be set for a good long dry spell! They fill up during the rainy spring, and that water lasts quite a bit once the weather turns hot.

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