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Are you looking for a way to save water in times of drought or just to minimize your water usage? A rain barrel is good for the environment but also good for your bank balance, as it can help you save on municipal water use.
Sometimes, water usage is restricted at certain times due to drought, so it is vital that you have an alternative.
With almost every rain barrel set up, you will need to use a rain barrel diverter. This takes the water from the downspout and directs it into your barrel, where it can be stored for safe use.
Not sure where to start? We’ve looked at the best rain barrel diverters in this article.
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Let’s take a quick glance at the products we will talk about here.
Benefits of a Rain Barrel Diverter
A rain barrel diverter is a sealed system that is designed to help you to collect rainwater. It can also prevent your barrel from overflowing. It has other benefits when it comes to preventing overflows and debris building up and can even keep mosquitos out by creating a sealed system.
A diverter makes the process of collecting water simpler and you don’t have to monitor for overflows yourself, as the rain barrel diverter will shut off the supply to the barrel and let the water continue to flow out of the downspout if it is full.
The systems can often filter the water, as well as prevent waste. There are many benefits to collecting rainwater. The water you collect is perfect for irrigation around your yard or for a number of other uses, too.
You can use it to wash your driveways or the exterior of your house, especially if it has been filtered during the process. The water may even be suitable for washing your pets!
Collecting a reserve of water when it rains means that it can be used instead of municipal water and there are usually no restrictions on using water you have collected yourself. Be careful, though, as you need to check that you are legally allowed to collect rainwater in your state.
What to Look For
There are certain features that set rain barrel diverters apart and things you should be on the lookout for when you buy one, whether you are buying a new barrel or retrofitting a diverter to an existing one.
- Ease of installation. Installing a diverter can be a difficult task if the design has not been well thought out. It should be simple to install the diverter, whatever style or design it comes in.
- Durability and stability. If the seal is broken with the barrel or if there is a leak, it can defeat the purpose of having a diverter and mean you have no control over the water. The diverter, as well as the barrel itself, should be able to stand up to weather conditions and other wear and tear.
- Filter. A filtration system can be a very useful feature for rain barrel diverters to have. They allow you to collect cleaner water and, though it won’t be as safe and clean as municipal water, filtered water can prevent blockages and buildup of unwanted leaves and debris.
- Fit. The diverter will usually be either 2×3 or 3×4 inches, depending on how big the downspout is. Most lead into a closed barrel container, though there are some models with arms that can lead water directly into an opening in the barrel.
Installing a Rain Barrel Diverter
Installation doesn’t mean having to buy a brand new rain barrel. You can add your diverter to existing guttering and an existing barrel.
There are some simple tips to follow for the installation. Of course, each model of diverter will have its own unique guide to help you to install it, but there are also some universal tips to make your life easier.
Try to elevate the barrel so it is sitting on stone, breeze blocks, wood, or concrete. Make sure your base is sturdy, whatever you choose. A full barrel weighs as much as two average-sized people! Once your barrel has been elevated, you can easily access it at the bottom.
Ensure that the diverter is installed higher on the downspout than the top of the barrel. This will allow for an effective flow of water through to the barrel.
For a full installation guide on connecting your barrel to your downspout, check out this video.
Types of Rain Barrel Diverter
There are two main types of diverter:
Y-shaped diverters are the basic version. They are quite reliable but tend not to have any extra features, such as filters. The two endpoints of the diverter are designed to let the water flow down to the end of the downspout into the barrel. These can be tricky to install and they are quite bulky.
Hose style diverters are designed for the downspout to be cut and have a hose that runs into the rain barrel. These often have a filter and, in the winter, you can cover the outlet to ensure there are no issues with freezing.
You may be able to use your own hose to run the water between the spout and the barrel, but, if you do, make sure you are using a top-quality hose, such as a Flexzilla.
Best Rain Barrel Diverters – Our Reviews
Save the Rain Water Metal Diverter
- The Save the Rain Diverter captures water from your downspout and channels it into your barrel
- The ideal condition for the diverter is when the barrel is placed in front of the downspout
- During the water collection season the diverter stays open and diverts water into the barrel
This is a simple barrel diverter that does an excellent job with either 2×3 or 3×4-inch downspouts. The metal diverter is designed to be durable and long-lasting, as well as relatively simple to install.
There are two different models of this product, so make sure you get the right one to fit your guttering.
- Built to last, this is made out of galvanized steel, which stays strong over time.
- Choose when water is rerouted by altering the open/closed positions of the diverter.
- Comes in two different sizes to suit your guttering.
- Easy to install with a hacksaw. Simply measure up, hack off the bottom of the guttering, and pop the diverter on.
- There is no filtration system included with this diverter.
- As you can see from the design, it is quite open and doesn’t do the best job of diverting water. This can lead to some overflow.
If you don’t mind a diverter that isn’t able to filter the water and you are just looking for a simple yet rugged way to install a simple product to divert your rainwater, this could be the answer. Installed correctly, there is no reason this galvanized metal model won’t last years.
Gardener’s Supply Company Downspout Diverter
- Automatic overflow control directs water back to downspout when barrel is full
- Fits standard downspouts up to 3-1/4" by 4-1/4"
- Includes 5-foot, green leader hose
This is a hose style diverter, designed with some smart features, including overflow protection. This was originally made to fit British-style guttering, but it has been adapted for the sizes of gutters in the US.
- This diverter has an automatic control for overflowing. It directs water back when the barrel fills up, so you don’t get problems with overflow.
- It comes with a five-foot hose for attaching the guttering to the barrel, though it isn’t recommended you use this full length.
- Easy to install on standard downspouts and comes with clear instructions.
- Fits any rain barrel, as it is designed to let you adapt the barrel to fit the hose.
- You may need to drill a hole in your barrel in order to get this diverter to fit, which can be a little fiddly and annoying if you aren’t a confident DIYer.
- Some users have reported that this model can take up some of the space of the downspout itself, making it harder for heavy rain to flow through.
- No filtration system, something many of the hose-style diverters have.
If your area is susceptible to heavy rain, this may not be the best option for you, as it can alter the capacity of your downspout. However, if heavy rain is rare in your location, the Gardener’s Supply Company Downspout Diverter could be a good option for fitting a diverter to your rain barrel.
EarthMinded DIY Rain Barrel Diverter Kit
- CREATE YOUR OWN RAIN BARREL - the EarthMinded DIY rain barrel kit includes all parts needed to easily make a rainwater...
- EASY TO INSTALL - this rain barrel kit fits any standard 3 x 4 inch rectangular downspout. Straightforward and...
- ALL PARTS INCLUDED - FlexiFit downspout diverter, winter hole cover, 31-inch fill hose, rain barrel spigot, drain and...
What better way to get a diverter that works perfectly with your own barrel and guttering than to take a DIY approach? With the EarthMinded kit, you are expected to make the connections yourself, rather than it being ready-made, ensuring maximum effectiveness.
- In spite of being a DIY kit, there are instructions to help you to easily and effectively install this diverter.
- It comes with all the parts you need, including the spigot, drain, cover, seals, and screws. You simply need to add the rain barrel itself.
- The included FlexiFit diverter is designed to prevent water from overflowing and carry extra water back through the downspout for safe disposal.
- As this comes as individual parts, there is some work involved getting it set up, though instructions are clear.
- Only works with 3×4-inch guttering, not 2×3. Check you have the right downspout.
If you are happy to do a little bit of work to make sure you have a diverter functioning to its full potential, this flexible kit can be an effective way for you to install a diverter and save rainwater.
Inline Downspout Diverter for Rain Barrels
- Our Inline Diverter allows you to place your rain barrel in front of your downspout for filling.
- Just flip the lever and run unwanted water down your existing downspout when your barrel is full.
- The Inline comes with 3 pieces; 1-diverter, 1-B style offest elbow (ledge jumper) and 1-standard elbow (75 degree).
This is a very simple, Y-shaped diverter, which works with all different styles and sizes of downspout. It is made in the USA and offers plenty of durability, meaning it should last many years.
- Easy to control with a lever, so you can either collect rainwater or just keep the rainwater running through the downspout.
- High-quality build, made in the USA.
- Available in over 10 different colors and designs, so it won’t look out of place on your guttering.
- No filter system included.
- Some people have found installation more difficult than other models.
- Some small leaks and drips can occur, though not enough to cause major issues.
The Inline Downspout Diverter for Rain Barrels is an incredibly simple model, which doesn’t have any features to prevent overflows or to filter the water. It can simply be switched via a lever to start collecting rainwater.
The multiple designs and sizes mean that you should have no compatibility issues if you go for this diverter.
Oatey Mystic Rainwater Collection System
- RAINWATER COLLECTION SYSTEM: Diverter fits onto standard 2" x 3" residential downspouts, and a 4' high flow hose is...
- VERSATILE APPLICATIONS: Can be used to direct water into a rain barrel for storage or use around your lawn, or it can...
- MADE WITH UV-RESISTANT PVC PLASTIC: Two-piece assembly is made with UV-resistant PVC plastic for long-lasting...
The Oatey Rainwater Collection System is slightly different than the other models on the list. The two-part design needs to be installed into a downspout. The idea is to saw through the downspout and then attach the upper and lower parts where the gap has been created. The system then directs water via a hose into your barrel.
It is a slightly smaller system and designed for residential guttering. The collection system only works with 2×3-inch guttering, rather than 3×4.
- Made of PVC plastic, designed to be long-lasting and resistant to UV rays.
- The diverter can be painted to suit the color of the downspout.
- It comes with a hose that is four-feet long and designed for fast-flowing water.
- Designed to maximize water flow.
- Some people may not be comfortable sawing through their guttering, which is needed to use this diverter.
- You may need to use some additional tools in order to keep this in place. It isn’t as secure as many of the other diverters on the list.
- The hose isn’t as high-quality as you might expect. It is worth replacing this at some point with a more durable hose.
The customizable design of this diverter is appealing to some — nobody wants an ugly diverter that doesn’t fit your color scheme. If you have a smaller, 2×3-inch downspout this could be an option for you.
The plastic design also means this is one of the more affordable diverters on the market, so if you are on a budget, you might want to consider the Oatey Mystic Rainwater Collection System.
Fiskars Rain Barrel Diverter Pro Kit
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This is another kit that allows you to divert water into your rain barrel out of the downspout, but it has more features than a lot of the other options. Fiskars is a big brand in the area of garden equipment and this is a good example of the quality the brand offers.
The Fiskars DiverterPro Kit can handle even difficult, rainy conditions. It also has a filter system, something not many of the best diverters offer.
- A clever patented design allows overflow water to be diverted away from your home to protect your foundation.
- Can cope with even heavy storms,
- Can work with downspouts of either size.
- Comes with a filter that allows you to remove the debris from the water effortlessly.
- Has a limited three-year warranty.
- Some users have reported the hose not being quite as good quality as one might expect.
- It can take some time and effort to get it to fit snugly within the downspout at the point where the connection is intended.
If you are looking for a rain barrel diverter that has a way to filter water and prevent overflows, the Fiskars option could be worth exploring. The clever design can cope with heavy rain and it is also pretty robust when winter comes around.
EMSCO Rain Barrel Downspout Diverter Kit
- UNIVERSAL RAIN BARREL DIVERTER – The EMSCO Deluxe Downspout Diverter and Connector Kit links any style of rain barrel...
- CREATES CLOSED RAINBARREL SYSTEM – The rain water diverter improves rain barrel aesthetics by allowing the user to not...
- HELPS ELIMINATE WATER OVERFLOW – This diverter channels water from your downspout directly to your rain barrel. When...
This is a simple plastic diverter kit that is affordable and allows you to attach it to either 3×4 or 2×3-inch downspouts. Though not as rugged as some of the other options, it is good value for money and, if installed correctly, it can do a good job with your rain barrel.
- Works with almost every design of downspout and barrel.
- Made with FDA approved plastic, meaning you don’t have to worry about contaminating the water.
- Allows you to customize and fit it to your barrel and downspout, as needed.
- The tube size is pretty small, so this doesn’t allow much water to flow through.
- No filtration or control of water overflowing.
- Debris can block the small tube.
Though it isn’t the very best model on the market today, the EMSCO Rain Barrel Downspout Diverter Kit is affordable and allows you to attach or retrofit it to your own barrel with relative ease. If you need something to handle slightly more water flow, it could be worth paying a little more for the extra features of some of the competing diverters.
Which One Did We Choose?
Though it is important to match your diverter to your own specific needs and understand which features are most important to you, there is a clear model we recommend as the best.
The EarthMinded DIY Diverter Kit from Amazon stands out as being flexible and suiting the needs of virtually any customer. It can be installed pretty easily and even has a patented FlexiFit diverter, which can prevent overflowing water.
Once installed, this diverter remains firmly in place and the components are quality enough to last many years. It comes with a winter hole cover, so you can effectively retire your diverter for those cold winter months when doing a weatherization of your garden.
For more garden tools, check this post by anestwithayard.com.
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Last update on 2021-06-22 at 10:09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API