We bring you all the guidance, tips and advice required to set up an environmentally-friendly water butt in your garden - we'll tell you all about the types of wooden, wood effect and plastic water butts available to buy, how to install, use and clean one, as well as helpful information about the various add-ons and accessories available to get the best out of your water harvesting experience.
A water butt is a simple - but very effective - container for collecting precious rainwater from your roof gutters which has been diverted along a downpipe redirector for use in your garden for watering plants and vegetables, spraying greenhouse produce and a range of other essential tasks.
It's estimated that an average of around 100,000 litres of rainwater falls on roofs in the UK each year - so a water butt really is the ideal device for harvesting into this natural resource for use in our gardens, particularly during drier periods.
These barrel-shaped containers are great for gathering and storing water for use in your garden - the harvested water is also good for washing your car because its slightly acidic nature makes for a slightly more efficient rinse.
Once the water butt is full the rain water will continue to drain along the downpipe the normal way, ignoring the storage container altogether.
We aim to bring you all the information you need to help you choose the ideal water butt for your needs - we also feature a range of rain butts and accessories from leading UK stores so, whether interested in a cheap slimline plastic butt or a large deluxe wooden one, you're sure to find something that appeals here.
We feature water butts, barrels and tanks in a range of different colours, designs and storage capacities, as well an extensive choice of accessories including butt stands for mounting your unit, butt taps, water diverter, water filters, electric, battery and solar-powered butt pumps, barrel linking kits, water butt cleaner and downpipe filler kits.
If you want to buy a water butt then you are probably already environmentally aware and keen to conserve water - or perhaps you have a water meter which has prompted you to try to be a bit more economical with the amount of water you use!
Either way, saving natural resources is always a wise decision since it often saves a lot of money in addition to leaving the world a better place for your children and grandchildren. Talking of children - many butts have child-safe features for your peace of mind if you have toddlers or infants playing in your garden.
This 200 litre capacity recycled plastic woodgrain-effect water butt kit will look great in any garden. It also includes a stand to allow access to a watering can, a rain diverter device to collect water from your roof and comes with a five-year guarantee.
Setting up a water butt or rain barrel is simple and can be carried out with anyone with basic DIY skills. It involves placing the butt on level ground near to a downpipe. Then you attach a rainwater diverter hose to the downpipe which is in turn attached to a connector on the water butt. Many people opt to install a mesh guard over their gutter to keep the water going into the butt free of dirt, leaves and other debris. We discuss the butt installation procedure more thoroughly in the Buying Advice section of our site.
It's worth remembering that a water butt can be installed in locations, other than just beside a wall on your house. Any outdoor building which has a rain gutter can accommodate a butt or barrel. Some people choose to place one beside an outbuilding, garage, or even a greenhouse with an attached gutter.
Outdoor water usage rises up from 7% to nearly 50% during the summer months - so it makes sense to invest in a water butt to have a supply of rain water to hand for all your gardening needs. An electric water butt pump is a great accessory for anyone who wants to attach the container to a garden hose. The pump is submerged in the butt and forces water into the hose to allow you to spray your flowers and plants as you would with a garden hose connected to an outdoor tap.
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a butt for water conservation - the top quality commercially available products are so much more efficient and visually appealing than simply having an old metal tank or huge plastic water pot in your garden to collect rain water. Various sizes are available including mini, slimline, medium, large and extra large. Popular litre capacities include 100L, 120L, 200L, 210L, 250L, 300L and 500L.
Plastic is the material most commonly used for water butts. Many come as a three-piece combination comprising the butt, a lockable lid and base stand. Most of them will also include an attachable tap for easy access to the stored water, and also a butt filler kit. These water tanks are normally round in shape but they are also available in square or rectangular styles.
Real wooden butts made from converted whisky or wine barrels which have been seasoned for outdoor use add real charm to a garden setting, but these are not anywhere near as readily available as plastic butts. There is, however, the option to buy a wood effect water barrel - these are very convincing when it comes to emulating the appearance of oak and other woods, and usually have a brass, pewter or chrome tap attached.
The vast majority of plastic water collection butts are green or black, as both these options merge in discreetly with most garden settings, There are, however, other choices in grey, blue, granite, sandstone, purple, white, orange, red and pink.
It's also possible to buy a hose connector for some butts to attach your garden hose directly to the container. If you have a large garden there is the option to chain several water butts together with flexi-hose connection kits. These can be fitted to the top or bottom of each container, allowing one to overflow into the other or both butts to fill up at same rate.
You can buy a cheap and basic slimline 100 litre water butt barrel for around £20 but a larger capacity container which holds an impressive 250 litres of rain water will set you back about £40 to £50 . Popular brand names for plastic butts include Harcostar, Ward, Cloudburst, Space Sava, Sankey, Kingspan, Be Green, Prestige, Steward, Strata, Wickes, Rainsaver and Whitefurze.
There's no lack of advantages to be gained from setting up a rainwater butt in your garden. Here's just a few of the obvious benefits.
There really is something for everyone regarding capacity - butts range from an extra small device which holds 36 litres to a massive 2,000 litres for someone with a lot of watering to do!
If you want to keep costs to a minimum there's the option to skip the stand or make one yourself out of something suitable - just make sure your butt is standing upright on firm and completely ground. If you do decide to buy a proper butt stand, you will also need to ensure it's placed on solid and flat ground.
Basic stands will cost around £10 to £20. In case you wish to wash your car the professional way with a lot of pressure, you could even add a pump to your water butt. The price range is between £50 and £300.
A bit of advice here - do not go for a higher capacity storage than you need if water freezes in your area during the winter months. You will have to drain the butt completely or risk the water freezing and cracking it, and the warranty will not cover the damage.
These butts generate very little water pressure - the effect of gravity is increased slightly with the use of a butt stand. However, if you're really keen to get a more powerful flow of water out of a butt, you'll need to invest in a small battery-powered or electric pump - or even a hand-cranked pump.
Another thing that's worth mentioning - when you set up a water butt you should consider putting something inside a butt to ensure the water remains clean. Even though you are not going to drink from it, it doesn't really make sense to collect rainwater in your water butt and cultivate any kind of water borne disease in it, or even algae.
You could consider purchasing an immersible disc made of copper and silver which mimics the germicidal properties of real silver or you could use plant based liquid water cleansers that will, in addition, also stimulate the growth of friendly micro-organisms and keep the stored water alive.
Water butts are available to buy at major UK stores including B&Q, Evengreener, Selections, Tooled Up, Wickes, Pondkeeper, Homebase, Argos, Amazon, Tesco Direct, eBay, Wilko, Dobies, Garden Street, Greenfingers, Harrod Horticultural, Unwins and Keen Gardener. You'll find dozens of ground-standing or wall-mounted water butts here, at very competitive prices, from many of these leading retailers.