Wooden Rain Barrels: What are Your Best Options?

Wooden rain barrels can have more of a rustic appeal than generic plastic water harvesting tanks. They can be more expensive and difficult to find, but can be well worth it, depending how you want the exterior of your home to look.

How to Choose a Wooden Rain Barrel

Some people create a whiskey rain barrel from, you guessed it, an old whiskey barrel. Although you can make one yourself, if you cannot find a custom barrel to use, there are companies, like the one shown below, that will build one for you.

Alternatively, you can buy a faux wooden rain barrel. Yes, there are decorative rain barrel planters that look like old wooden barrels, but they are actually made from a durable molded plastic. Plastic rain barrels are lighter in weight so they are easier to move – and there aren’t any issues with wood rot.


Anthony Quill is setting out to prove, like a fine wine, wine barrels get better with age.

Along with his family, Quill owns and runs By the Barrel, a company that specializes in making rain barrels out of wine barrels.

“A new barrel can cost a couple thousand dollars,” says Quill. “They’re all handmade. There’s a lot of work that goes into them. So it’s pretty wasteful to have such a nice barrel go to waste.”

The barrels come from vineyards or wineries in California’s Napa Valley or Washington State. Quill says they’re made of white oak, they’re ¾ of an inch thick and they make more durable rain barrels than plastic does.

“We have a lot of customers that come that bought plastic rain barrels that cracked when water freezes, they usually crack along the water line,” says Quill.

What People Think About Wooden Rain Barrels…

While durability is a strong selling point, a lot of Quill’s customers say they buy his barrels for their look.

“I like the aesthetics of them,” says new customer Randy Duncan. “I think they look a lot better than the plastic ones. In fact, they look more rustic, and I have an older house and it just fits with the décor.”

Quill is one of a handful of vendors in the Twin Cities selling wooden rain barrels made of wine or whiskey barrels. Prices for such barrels range from $150 to $250. Quill’s rain barrels cost $199.


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