1. Downspout

In order to begin harvesting rain water or “roof runoff” you will need to situate your systems in proximity to an appropriate collection site, adjacent to a downspout or other accessible drainage system.

For more information on site selection, please refer to the installation page.

Downspout Filter (Optional)

A filter could be necessary if there is debris in the runoff – installing a downspout filter will remove debris before it enters the barrel and help prevent clogging.  This filter should be checked and cleaned periodically.

Leaf Eater Advanced Rain Head ~ 35$

  • This downspout filter could be used as an inlet to the rain barrel.

In-Line Downspout Filter – Slim Line ~ 45$

  • People have said that this filter looks better than others and is easy to maintain


2. Diverter

Diverters move water from the downspout into the rain barrel.  Some diverters include a downspout filter and can work as an overflow.

Fiskars Rain Barrel DiverterPro Kit ~ 35$

  • This diverter comes with a downspout filter to remove debris.
  • Will work as both a diverter and overflow device.
  • Some people have said the inside chamber can be leaky, but this problem can be fixed

Oatey 14209 Mystic Rainwater Collection System ~ 25$

  • This diverter works with a 2×3″ downspout.
  • Comes with 4′ hose to connect to the rain barrel.

Flex-Drain 85010 Downspout Extension ~ 13$

  • This diverter is cost effective and easy to install.
  • Requires a separate overflow connection

Rain Harvesting Pty Downspout First Flush Diverter ~40$

  • This diverter stores the first gallon of runoff before diverting the runoff to the barrel which should improve the quality of the water collected.
  • Reviewers have noted this diverter does not have problems leaking, but does require more maintenance than others


3. Inlet

The inlet is a screened opening for the water to flow through and into the barrel while removing debris.  This can easily be created by cutting a hole in the top of the system and using 1/8″ screen to cover the hole.

Some systems pipe the rainwater directly from the diverter to the barrel (this method may require a downspout filter to avoid debris entering the rain barrel or clogging diverter).  Prefabricated options are also available, see below for details.

Prefabricated Options


4. Storage Vessel (Barrel)

The barrel stores the harvested rainwater and can be prefabricated or recycled, several options are listed below.

Prefabricated Options

Enviro World Corporation Rain Barrel, 55 Gallon ~ 90$

  • This prefabricated rain barrel system does not come with a diverter, and will need to be purchased separately.
  • People have said that this product is easy to set up, a removable lid with a filter is included, but the spigot is not made of metal and the system can leak because of this.

Upcycle 55 Gallon Gray Rain Barrel ~140$

  • This system has multiple locations for spigot placement increasing the design flexibility of the system
  • Online reviews have stated that this system does not leak (which is an issue for prefabricated barrels) i
  • The placement of the overflow fitting is angled upward which can result in kinking of the overflow hose

Good Ideas RW50-KHA Rain Wizard Rain Barrel 50-Gallon ~85$

  • This is an inexpensive option for a prefabricated barrel and online reviews say that the system has lasted without leaking.
  • There are two locations for spigot placement on this barrel.
  • Some reviews have stated that the holes in the filter are so small that water can splash over in high flow runoff events.

“Upcycled” (Recylced) Options


5. Spigot

The spigot is used to attache a hose to the system and fill a bucket/pail with your harvest rainwater.  A bulkhead fitting is typically required to attach the spigot.

Rain Barrel DIY Spigot Brass Ball Valve and Bulkhead Fitting ~ 20$

  • Bulkhead fitting is included, but Teflon tape may be needed to ensure no leaking.

EarthMinded Brass Spigot ~ 15$

  • Bulkhead fitting required (purchase separately)


6. Overflow

The overflow hose and fittings divert water award from the house and collection system in the event there is too much water  in heavy rain events

EarthMinded – Rain Barrel Overflow Drain Kit – 20$

  • Comes with the required hole saw included.
  • The hose has a 1 1/4″ diameter to allow for a high flow rate which will help avoid drainage problems during overflow events.