Water butts are a simple way of collecting and storing rainwater. In the UK natural rainfall is usually sufficient to keep your outside plants watered but from June to the end of August they may need watering by hand. Plants in containers and hanging baskets have higher requirements for hand watering as any rainfall is dispersed away by the foliage.
So, why use a water butt? There are a few reasons:
Cost – If you have a water meter you will save money by using a water butt. Rainwater is free, you know.
Efficacy – Plants benefit from natural rainwater. Tap water can be an alien source of water as far as some plants are concerned. Rainwater has a neutral pH, is softer, and soaks into
the ground deeper than tap water.</p>
Available – An allotment is a good place where a water butt can be utilised as tap water is not always readily available.
Environmental – Save the planet some water recycling by using its natural precipitation. Not only that, but some of the chemicals in tap water such as chlorine and fluorine, for example, can be damaging to many plants.
Here are some of the best water butts on the market today:</p>
150 Litre Beehive Water Butt from Sankey
Capacity: 150 litres
Stand and diverter kit not included
Material: Shatterproof recycled plastic
This attractive looking terracotta effect water butt is designed so that it looks as though its made of a ceramic material. Although more expensive than some of the more functional designs, its aesthetically pleasing look may give you adequate compensation for the money.
It has a medium capacity of 150 litres comes with a black lid and a twist-flow tab. It is lightweight, weather resistant and shatterproof. The stand and water diverter kit as seen in the image is optional. If you buy this Sankey water butt, you can be secure in the knowledge that you are doing your bit for the environment as it is made of 100% recycled materials.
100 Litre Mini Rainsaver Water Butt, Diverter + stand from BeGreen
Capacity: 100 litres
Hose fit tap included, fits all standard fittings
Material: Recycled plastic
The 100 litre Mini Rainsaver is a very simple functional water butt and should be chosen if your needs for rainwater are low and budget cheap. For your money, you get a fully functional water butt with a stand and a water diverter. The Hose fit tap is compatible with all systems such as Hozelock and Gardena and the rain diverter fits the UK standard downpipes. Its small footprint ensures that it can be installed in very confined spaces.
This water butt is British made and all elements of the kit are made from recycled plastic.
227 Litre Water Butt, Raintap Diverter + Stand from Harcostar
Capacity: 227 litres
Material: Recycled plastic
The Harcostar water butt is a premium brand barrel-shaped water butt which holds up to 227 litres. The lid is spring operated and child safe and the water butt comes complete with a hose connector tap. Accessories include a Harcostar Universal Rain Trap to connect to almost any size of plastic downpipe and stand. The water butt comes pre-drilled and with easy-to-follow instructions.
The Harcostar water butt is manufactured in the United Kingdom using recycled materials and all accessories are designed to be fitted easily. It also comes with a 5-year guarantee.
In summary, this is a large and very functional unit but will not necessarily be aesthetically pleasing to some customers.
238 Litre Jacobean Dark Oak Hogshead Ale Barrel With Brass Tap
Manufacturer: Victoria garden & lighting company
Capacity: 238 litres
This is a top of the range luxury water butt with a high capacity volume of 238 litres. It is described as a water butt which has the charm of an original Hogshead barrel without any of the drawbacks. Made of the finest and most durable plastic material – and virtually unbreakable. It is highly weatherproof and shockproof and because of its lightweight, easily moved.
This water butt can be placed on the floor and used without a stand ( a stand is not included ) and the tap height is still suitable for a watering can. The tap, incidentally, is a beautiful brass one, not the usual black bog-standard tap included with most butts. To sum up, this is a very aesthetic water butt and also a very functional one.
Charles Bentley 120L Oak Wood Effect Garden Water Butt Including Easy Twist Tap
Manufacturer: Charles Bentley
Capacity: 120 litres
Downpipe filler kit not included
Height: 72.5 cm
This is another great looking water butt, made by Charles Bentley. If green, shiny water butts are not your thing then you might want to give this aesthetically designed water butt a good look. It is a small to medium sized water butt ( 120 litres ) that caters for your every day watering. It is made from recycled plastic and comes with a great wood effect lid which complements the rest of the barrel, completing the great look.
The butt comes as shown above with its easy twist tap. Unfortunately, this water butt does not come with a stand and will thus need to be raised in order to use a watering can. A stand will need to be purchased, or you could use your DIY skills if you are sufficiently motivated. A downpipe filler kit is not included with this butt, so you will need to drill the holes to fit one. In summary, a great butt, but needs some work to install.