• How Do I open the barrel?

    The lid is a screw top. Left is loose. Sometimes the lid gets off its track in shipping or hot weather may cause the lid to stick. When this happens use WD-40 and a friend to help unscrew the lid.

  • Where are the instructions, parts and diverter?

    All parts and instructions are shipped or delivered inside the barrel. If you ordered a diverter with your barrel it is shipped inside the barrel.

  • Why do I need the Save the Rain 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. When you put your barrel away for the winter you simply close the flap on the diverter and your downspout resumes its original function without having to reassemble it.

  • Can I use the bung hole in the center of the lid to channel water directly into the barrel?

    The bung hole is intended to release the build up of pressure when the olives cure in the barrels. It is not part of the water collection system. We do not recommend adapting a direct feed into the barrel thru the bung hole, so there is no risk of water backing up your downspout and possibly causing damage to your home.

  • What are the dimensions of the barrel?

    The barrels stands 39″ tall with diameter of 24″, it weighs 20 lbs.

  • Why do you supply two elbows?

    When you receive your barrel there will be a packet inside with instructions, a spigot and two ¾” overflow elbows. One elbow will be placed in the open hole at the top of the barrel. We recommend attaching a ¾” ID hose or flex tube for overflow. The second elbow can be used for additional overflow if needed or for linking barrels together.

  • Why plastic spigots?

    We tried brass and found that brass was not a good mate to plastic. Brass corrodes and clogs with the introduction of certain bacteria and minerals and it is much stronger than plastic. In areas of extreme temperature change the brass will conduct the temperature at a different rate than the plastic and ultimately breakdown the molecules around the joint of the barrel resulting in leakage. The brass was also not easy to replace because strips the threading in the joint. So we decided to go with a plastic spigot that is easy to replace. This way the barrel will out live the spigot! We also like the way it looks.

  • Why do you paint the barrels?

    We want to encourage people to use recycled material as much as possible, however we understand that people have pride in their homes and gardens and want something with an aesthetic appeal. Our barrels are recycled shipping drums and have scratches, markings and a dull finish. We paint them to make them look better. The paint that we use is a recipe of industrial products not available for retail that is sprayed on at our plant. We offer our barrels in three environmentally compatible colors along with the original unpainted.

  • If I put my spigot 14″ above ground how do I get the water out when it falls below the spigot line?

    One of the benefits of The Great American Rain Barrel is the screw top lid. This offers a lot of flexibility in usage. If the water falls below the spigot line unscrew the lid and dunk the watering can inside the barrel. Or carefully tip the barrel forward to fill the watering can.

  • Will the water get too hot?

    No, that is a myth. The water will get warm but not hot. Plants also like warm water

  • Why do you have a series of small holes on top of the lid?

    Some newer manufacturers of rain barrels make larger holes in the lid with a screen below. We have 8 x 3/8″ holes in the top of the lid. There is no need for more. This lid serves as a tray and the water drains into the barrel, acting as a filter to prevent unwanted debris from getting inside. If the holes are too big the screen beneath could easily be damaged by debris exposing the water and inviting mosquitoes to breed. The firmer lid also serves as host to stones or plants to create a more interesting aesthetic for your barrel. The amount of roof runoff captured by your downspout determines how much water goes into the barrel not the holes in the lid.

  • How do I replace my spigot?

    Order a spigot directly from us. See products.

  • My downspouts are too large for the Save the Rain Diverter™.

    We now offer two size diverters to accommodate all plastic and metal downspouts. Measure the depth and width or diameter of your diverter to see which diverter will fit. The diverter is designed so that you can crimp the sides of the downspouts to fit the diverter.

  • My barrel is leaking?

    It is rare that our barrel will leak. But if it is not properly winterized it may cause damage to the molecules of the plastic and cause leaking or cracking. Should this occur empty the barrel, dry it and place duck tape inside the barrel on the crack. If a leak develops around the spigot or plugs use Teflon tape at the connection. If your spigot is leaking it will need to be replaced.

  • I have connected two barrels together and the water will not flow into the second barrel?

    For best results, place barrels side by side. Use a short piece of hose piece about 6″ to 1′ long. Sometimes it helps to elevate one barrel.

  • How do I get more pressure?

    Rain barrels are gravity fed. For additional pressure you can place the spigot in the bottom drain hole and attach a hose. This works best if you have the barrel elevated slightly.

  • Can I use the barrel to store drinking water?

    NO! Still water is a breeding ground for bacteria. The water collected from your gutters is not sterilized and the barrel is not sealed. Use the water in your barrel to offset your water needs. Do not use the barrel for drinking water

  • Why is The Great American Rain Barrel better?

    It is a recyled by product from our food importing business. It is incredibly durable. It is appealing and it is simple. With the proper care our barrel will last virtually forever. It is versatile and safe to use. Water will not back up your downspout; the spigot can be easily replaced. The barrel is easy to install. It can be opened and cleaned so there is no build up of odors. We are a strong and established business that has been in business since 1990 and sold over 100,000 rain barrels nationwide. We are experienced, we know what we are talking about and we stand by our product. Oh, and did I say it is recycled?!

  • Can I buy barrels and diverters directly from you?

    Yes, we offer wholesale and retail prices for our barrels. See where to buy to contact us for prices and resale information.

  • What if I want to paint my own barrel?

    The Great American Rain Barrel Company offers a selection of environmentally compatible paint colors to suit most settings.  If these choices are too limited for you, or you want to try something decorative, we recommend purchasing an unpainted barrel.  The most common product used is Krylon spray paint. Please be sure to read directions for use. Barrels are washed but we would recommend that you wash again.

  • Why do you place the spigot so high?

    We recommend placing the spigot 14” above ground so that a watering can be placed beneath it.  The barrel is only 60 gallons and is gravity fed. If the spigot were at the bottom it would have to push thru  a hose, perhaps 6’ or 15’, there is not enough pressure to push it into through a hose and up into a watering can.  The other consideration is that the barrel fills and you empty, fills and you empty, fills and you empty , so you are working in the upper quadrants. If you spend too much time in the lower part of your barrel you need another one! One of the easiest ways to get water out is to remove the lid and dunk your  watering can, especially  when the water level falls below the spigot line, or you can tip it towards you. You always have the option of raising the barrel and putting the spigot at the bottom. That will increase pressure and allow for a watering can. You can also attach a soaker hose. To do so we recommend using 4 cinder blocks on the long end.

  • How do I know which size diverter I need.

    By now you know that the Save the Rain Diverter comes in two sizes. Counter intuitively,  the small diverter is  the more universal size . Originally the small diverter was considered a standard size that could fit all downspouts. This was because the upper portion of the downspout can be crimped with needle nose pliers to fit into the top of the diverter and the lower part of the diverter would then rest in side the downspout, using  the tabs to hold it in place.  But overtime the proliferation of larger downspouts created enough demand that we created the large diverter.   The small fits downspouts that are approx 2 x 3 inches or about 10-11 circumference and 3″ round. If the downspouts is a little large than the diverter use needle nose pliers to crimp the edges so it will fit inside the diverter.  A snug fit is good and will hold it on place.  Use the 3×4 large diverter for downspout that measure something greater than 3×4 or 14″ circumference or a 4″ round.

  • How do I choose color for the unpainted barrel?

    The unpainted barrels are predominantly black or gray. The gray barrels bring olives from Spain and the black bring capers from Turkey. All the drums are emptied at our plant in Hyde Park and the contents are packed into jars and shipped across the country to retail stores for you to buy!  When you purchase an unpainted ran barrel you may get black or gray, based on availability. We do not guarantee colors. If you must have  a certain color please purchase a painted rain barrel.

  • What are the barrel specs:


    • 24D x 39H in.
    • 60 Gallon Capacity
    • Weight: 20 lbs. empty


    • Wide mouth hard top lid
    • Screw On
    • Perforated to receive water


    • 3/16” polyethylene
    • Recycled Food Grade Plastic Resin
    • UV Protected
    • BPA Free
    • 1 Year Limited Warranty

    What you get

    • Plastic spigot threaded for hose connection
    • Two Overflow fittings
    • Drain plug
    • Insect screen to keep water clear of debris
    • Available in 3 environmentally compatible colors
    • Link to other barrels with a .75-inch piece of garden hose (not included)
    • Spigot port 4 or 14 inches from ground
    • 1 year limited warranty on barrel and parts

    What’s Not Included

    • Save the Rain Diverter
    • Polished River Stones
    • Flex Tube for overflow (unless otherwise specified)
  • What are the diverter specs?
    Dimensions Small 11L x 3W x 2.5H inches Large 11L x 4W x 3.25 H inches
    Material Galvanized Steel
    Warranty 1 Year Warranty
    Weight Less than 2 lbs.


    The small fits downspouts that are approx 2 x 3 inches or about 10-11 circumference and 3″ round.   The large fits downspouts that measure something greater than 3×4 or 14″ circumference or a 4″ round. Don’t be deceived by thinking if you downspout is slightly larger you should go with the larger diverter.  In this case crimp the bottom of the downspout to fit into the diverter. A snug fit is good. Think of it like the downspout is funneling the water into the diverter.

    Details and Installation

    • Draw a line on the downspout approximately 9 inches above the top of the rain barrel
    • Move the barrel away
    • Use a hacksaw and cut the downspout at the line or marking
    • If the downspouts is a little larger than the diverter use needle nose pliers to crimp the edges so it will fit inside the diverter.  A snug fit is good and will hold it in place.

    if a downspout bracket is below your cut, remove the bracket and place it above the cut

    • Attach diverter and set angle
    • The diverter is designed so that you can crimp the sides of the downspouts to fit the diverter
    • Tools needed: a hacksaw & measuring tape
  • Why are the lids different?

    In the old days the barrels were used for storing food, mostly olives, in the barrels while they cure.  The curing is a fermentation process which causes a  build up of pressure. The barrel lids were designed with a raised circle in the middle roughly 2″ in diameter that actually has a screw cap. A key would be inserted into the cap and turned to release the pressure. Product is more and more commonly cured in tanks now so the need for the “bung hole” to release pressure has become obsolete.  Most barrel manufacturers have eliminated the cap do reduce plastic production.  As a result some lids will have the bung hole and some will be smooth. We do not recommend using the cap. If it is open debris could fall into the cap area and compromise the screen, allowing insects into the barrel and other unwanted debris. We do not guarantee which lid you will get.

  • How do I put the spigot into the lower port.

    The best way to do this is to lay the barrel on its side on a table or bench to get it closer to waist height. If you have a partner who could help that would be ideal but if not proceed anyway. Place the spigot and one washer on the port and push the neck into the hole. Ask your pal to hold the spigot in place while you reach into the barrel and put the washer and nut onto the neck and hand tighten as much as possible. If there is no one to help,  turn the barrel so the spigot is face down on the table, this will hold it in place while you reach in and tighten washer and nut onto the spigot neck. Ratchet down tightly on the nut to seal the spigot. (the spigot does not thread into the hole, place it in and use the washers and nut to create seal).

  • Do I need downspouts to collect rain water?

    Many people want to save rain water but do not have a gutter system. Certainly a gutter system is a natural way to harvest  the rain that washes over the roof as it directs it into a concentrated location and  fills your barrel quite quickly (most barrels fill in less than 1/4″ of rain). However there are still ways to collect rain water without gutters. Look at your house the next time it rains and identify a location where water flows off in a concentrated stream. Sometimes there is a pitch or valley in the roof where this happens, or perhaps a joint where two roof planes connect and place your barrel beneath it. Some people use rain chains to help direct the water. One note of caution is to be careful attaching metal to wood, as it will rot. 

    It  does not make sense to put a free standing barrel out in the open to collect rain water. It will fill inch for inch. In New England that would take about a year, while a rain barrel collecting off a roof will fill in a storm or two. 

  • I want to get a rain barrel stand, which one is the best for my GARB

    The stand that we recommend is a configuration of 4 x 12” cinder blocks at $2.50 a piece at Ace.  I have been tempted by  Hamptons Rain Barrel stand https://www.hayneedle.com/product/hamptonsrainbarrelstand1.cfmsource=mspla&kwid=RainBarrels%20level05&tid=RBC001-1

    but am suspicious of durability. Barrels weigh close to 500 lbs when full.


  • How does the barrel prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the water?

    The Great American Rain Barrel has a mosquito screen to prevent insects from breeding inside the barrel. The screen rests below the screw-on, hard top lid. The rain spills  onto the lid and drains thru a series of small holes. Beneath the lid is the mosquito screen which does not allow insects to pass thru. The hard top lid is intended to stay on at all times. Some customers choose to place Polished River Stones on top of lid for both an aesthetic appeal and also to help keep water clean and free of debris.

  • How do I recycle my barrel?

    If your barrel becomes obsolete there are several second uses that you can use it for if it is not destroyed. One of the most popular is to cut of the top of the barrel at its widest, highest point. The on opposite sides of the barrel drill two sets of small holes about 4” apart and thread with rope to fashion a handle. This can now be used for transporting yard waste, compost etc. Another use is to fashion a compost bin by cutting off the bottom of the barrel and setting it outside on the ground. YO could even cut out a little door if you are so inclined. This is a little more scientific than just dropping food waste into it does require mixing with leaves and turning. You may want to check this out:

    how to compost

    A last resort is to take it to the dump or  landfill. Products such as these are among the most difficult for dump managers  to deal with. That is why we recommend re-purposed barrels such as ours rather than the new trend of stamping out newly plastic rain barrels.

  • Is The Great American Rain Barrel safe to use on my organic vegetable garden?

    The Great American Rain Barrel is a re-purposed shipping drum that carries Mediterranean Specialty Foods from overseas to our plant in Hyde Park for repacking and distribution throughout the nation. A variety of brine based foods such as Olives, Capers, Peppers and Onions are packed in these barrels. All barrels are  made from 3/16″ polyethylene and are Food Grade, UVA protected and BPA Free.

  • I am considering purchasing the barrel for emergency water storage and am interested in your barrels because they are “food grade” so I’m wondering what the reasons are for not doing this.

    The Great American Rain Barrel is a re-purposed shipping drum for food products and is Food Grade polyethylene, UV protected and BPA free.  It starts as a  place to store and ship food products.  To  retrofit the barrel for water collection, holes are drilled into the lid and sides of the barrel so it is no longer sealed. It is designed to collect water off of your roof, which will have bacteria and contaminants.  Rain barrels are not for storing drinking water.

  • How do I link barrels?

    Rain barrels can be linked together to collect even more rainwater. To do so, place the barrels side by side. The first barrel that is collecting the water will have a plug in the upper port on one side. The side next to the second barrel will have the overflow elbow. Barrel number two will have an elbow in each port. Use a short piece of 3/4ID flex tube or hose to connect the two elbows. Once the barrel is full, the water will flow to the second barrel. Many barrels can be linked together. The first barrel should be plugged on one side and the last barrel should have and open overflow valve. For more information on connecting rain barrels please visit our youtube videos at https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+great+american+rain+barrel+company

  • Can the Rain Barrel Survive a New England Winter?
    • Winter is tough on barrels. ICE IN BARREL can cause permanent damage and is not covered by the warranty.
    • We recommend winterizing your barrel during freezing months.  Empty or drain your rain barrel, remove spigot  to  storing for winter. When possible, store your rain barrel in a protected indoor area. If the rain barrel must remain outside, either turn it upside down and secure it, or weight it down by storing garden equipment inside the barrel. Then put a heavy plastic bag over the top to prevent animal in-habitation and water accumulation which can freeze, expand, and potentially crack the barrel wall. Barrels will last for a lifetime with a little care.
    • Using the Save the Rain Diverter can provide an easy solution to reassembling your downspouts. During the water collection season, the diverter stays open and diverts water into the barrel. When you put your barrel away for the winter you simply close the flap on the diverter and your downspout resumes its original function without having to reassemble it.
  • I missed my program but would like to order a rain barrel.

    Communities in MA usually do a  program once a year and not all towns do programs. If you missed your towns program or your town did not offer one, but would still like to buy a barrel please scroll down to review your options.

    Thru a neighboring community program:  You can participate in neighboring programs unless it says for residents only.  Please check distribution time and date. You must be available or make arrangements for someone to pick up at that specific window. NO EXCEPTIONS. Not all programs allow this so please read information.

    Pick Up at our plant in Hyde Park, MA. If you are looking to purchase for pick up at our plant in Hyde Park, please click on SHOP and use the coupon puhp. Lead time is approximately 7 days, orders must be placed in advance and we notify your when your order is ready. Please do not come to our location before receiving notification as it is a manufacturing plant not a retail organization. Mon- Friday pick up only.

    Shipped via FEDEX. Visit one of our online vendors to have a Great American Rain Barrel shipped to your door:



  • Where is The Great American Rain Barrel Made?

    The Great American Rain Barrel is a byproduct of our primary  business, food importing. The barrels are shipping drums used to bring specialty food from Mediterranean countries. The shipping drums are made in European countries. Once they are shipped to our plant, in Hyde Park, MA, they are emptied and repurposed into The Great American Rain Barrel.

  • How do I transport a barrel.

    A rain barrel is 39-40″ tall and 24″ diameter. It will not fit into a truck. One barrel will slide easily into the back seat of most 4 door sedans, two barrels will fit in the back of most SUVS and Wagons. Plan on using ties with a pick up truck.

  • Do I need the Save the Rain Diverter

    Diverters are not ESSENTIAL to collect rainwater off your roof. However, they are EFFIECIENT and CONVENIENT. Without a diverter you will need to REMOVE the lower portion of you downspout away and attach an the  elbow joint that you often see at the bottom of the downspouts. During the winter months, when you winterize your barrel,  you will not be collecting water.  In this case you will have water spilling out of the downspout at about 4′ above ground. This may not be great for the foundation area as over time it the pressure creates a drill effect into the surface where the water lands.  A diverter provides an easy solution to this, the lower portion of the downspout remains intact,  when you are not collecting water you close the diverter to restore the downspout. The diverter also slows the water down  as it drain on a flat surface out the tongue onto the lid, this will minimize splashing,  and directs water onto the lid, without the diverter the water will splash onto the top of the lid and there will also be more spillage.  Our diverter does not work in every application, for example,  if you cannot place the barrel in front of the downspout, the tongue will not reach the barrel. In this case you may want to use and accordion adapter for your downspout

  • How do I put spigot in lower port

    Rain barrels are gravity fed. For additional pressure you can place the spigot in the bottom port and attach a soaker hose.  To do this you will need to remove the plug and place it in the upper port and then install the spigot in the lower port.

    First remove plug. Lay the barrel on its side and sit straddle on  the barrel. The will allow you to get the best angle. You may need a hammer to lightly tap it onto place and q wrench to tighten. If leak occurs at the joint, use plumbers tape. Another option is to order a second  spigot .  The long neck with two washers and a nut create the best seal for the barrel.

    To put the spigot in the lower port, set the barre on its side in a raised location, such as a wall, table or bench.  This will give you the  and best control. Remove one washer and the nut. It is helpful if you have a partner who can hold the spigot in place while the other reaches inside  to  attach the washer and nut.  The partner on the outside can actually turn the spigot to tighten, while the inside is held in place. Be sure to ratchet down tightly to create good seal.

    This works best if you have the barrel elevated slightly. We  recommend using 12″ cinder blocks to create a base.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive special offers and info about upcoming events.

Contact Us


    Create an Account! (close)

    Confirm Password
    Want to Login? (close)

    forgot password?

    Username or Email