Do you want free water barrels to be more resourceful? Many people start with little steps first, like how to boil water without a pot to leave less of a carbon footprint.

But why take little steps when you can go big?

Perhaps, one of the biggest little steps you can take is learning how to harvest your own rainwater. More and more states are now making it legal due to the response to global warming and droughts.

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Rainwater barrels aren’t cheap, but this article will help you out by identifying nine ways to get rainwater barrels for free.

Let’s dive in!


1. Get a Rebate From the State

Free Rain Barrels - State Refund

If you are lucky enough to live in a state that actively supports the act of rainwater collecting, then you could get a rainwater barrel for completely free!

States such as California and Texas offer programs to help incentivize homeowners and businesses to harvest rainwater for conversational purposes.

But here’s the kicker: these rebates can differ depending on your city. Some cities will offer you a rebate as a tax credit for barrels, while others may only offer support if you invest in a complex water harvesting system that pays by the gallon per stored.

If you are interested in this route, start by doing research on if your state supports rainwater harvesting. If so, then investigate what your city offers in terms of rebates. The most common rebate for barrels can be anywhere between $50 to $500 towards barrels.

The downside of this method is that you need the money upfront to buy the barrels, but at least you get it back by the time tax season starts, and your water barrel will be in brand-new condition!


2. Check Classified Ad Websites

Free Rain Barrels - Classified Ads Sites

If you don’t mind your rainwater barrel being preowned, then classified ad websites such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace could be great places to search.

Why would they give away their rainwater barrels for free? There could be many reasons!

Occasionally, some people will move out of their homes and simply give their rainwater barrels away, or they might have upgraded to better quality and need the space cleared asap.

However, these are highly situational circumstances, and you might not be as lucky to find these opportunities. If you decide to go this route, check at least once daily so you know you don’t miss out

Also, keep an eye on certain ad posts. If some sellers struggle to get rid of their barrels, you may be able to negotiate with them an offer to get a better deal or hopefully free best-case scenario.

3. Check a Local Car Wash

Free Rain Barrels - Ask Car Washes

Weren’t able to find anything on Craigslist? Consider checking your local car wash.

It is important to know that rainwater barrels aren’t anything special. Ultimately, they are just large containers used to catch rainwater, so almost anything can be considered a rainwater barrel in terms of shape, material, and size if it is durable.

With that in mind, some businesses may have an abundance of containers that you could use to catch rainwater. 

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Get this, car washes are good places to get rainwater containers. That is because when they order soaps and detergents, they come to them in large plastic drums, and usually, the owners have no desire to keep the containers that it was shipped in.

Yes, really, it is worth a shot to ask your local car wash place if they have any of those drums lying around. They shouldn’t have any reason to deny giving them to you as they would just plan to recycle them anyway.

The bottom line is to be creative and think of what sort of goods can be shipped in large containers. That thinking can help you narrow your search on who to ask.

4. Ask a Local Baker’s Store

Free Rain Barrels - Ask Bakeries

Aside from car washes, a baker would be another unsuspecting place to try to get containers.

Why ask a baker? Chances are, they could come in a barrel when they order food products such as grains. It is common, however, for them to reuse those containers for storing ingredients later.

If the bakery manager is nice, they may be willing to give you a container for rainwater harvesting. That will depend if they reuse those containers often.



5. Go to a Soda Bottling Facility

Free Rain Barrels - Bottling Plants

If you live anywhere near a soda bottling facility, you may be in luck as they are generally a good place that would have some containers too.

Like the car wash and bakery stores, soda bottling facilities rely on shipments that come in large containers. For example, syrups used to make the soda generally come in a large barrel.

On a positive note, people have reportedly had good luck receiving these containers for free. That is because they are usually eager to get rid of them. So even if you have a good travel distance from the facility, it might still pay off, considering the good rep they get.



6. Ask a Local Rancher

Free Rain Barrels - Local Ranchers and Farmers

If anyone happens to have access to a large container lying aground, it would be your local rancher.

Ranchers use many different containers. While small, milk cans can suffice and be modified into a rainwater container. They may also use buckets and barrels to put produce in after gathering it.

A lot of times, when they order food for their livestock, they usually do it in large quantities that are shipping in large plastic food containers.

It is also worth keeping in mind that ranchers are usually resourceful. While they may have access to many containers, they may also not want to part ways with them. They may justify that they are using them constantly. If so, dont get offended if they say no to your request.



7. Go to a Recycling Center

Free Rain Barrels - Recycling Centers

Another likely place to find large plastic containers could be your local recycling center.

Most recycling centers should be ok with letting you into their scrap yards, and the chances of you finding a plastic container should be high, assuming that people are doing the right then and recycling their products.

You will need to be cautious, however. Some containers are known to hold hazardous chemicals, so be prepared and wear gloves and potentially a facemask for protection. Also, be sure to do a thorough cleaning of your container.

It’s also worth keeping your expectations low. Most of the time, containers that have been thrown away are because they have been damaged or are in very poor condition. So let’s be real; the chances of finding a brand-new rainwater barrel are very low.

If lucky, you may find a suitable container to restore or modify into a rainwater barrel. Generally, modifying a container to become a water barrel isn’t too complicated to do.



8. Make Your Own Rain Water Barrel

Free Rain Barrels - Make your own barrels

The most common way people make rainwater barrels is by using a garbage can. If you happen to have a spare lying around, consider modifying it. You only need a drill and a box cutter knife to cut holes into the can. After that, you just need to attach a spigot to the can.

If you are interested in doing this, consider watching the video below. He will walk you through how he modified his can.

It’s not just limited to garbage cans. People on the internet have modified old pickle barrels and water coolers into rainwater barrels. Thankfully, there are many guides and videos for you to reference if you want to try other methods.



9. Try a Rainwater Pit Instead

Free Rain Barrels - Rain Pit

If all else fails, then there is one other alternative worth mentioning, that being a rainwater pit.

Rainwater pits are essentially ponds that you dig up to collect rainwater. You create the pond using a pond liner.

Here is the major downside, chances are it will not be free. It requires a lot of materials, such as polypropylene tubbing, lots of crushed limestone, and roughly eight bags of cement.

This method is not recommended unless you have the space and want to create a large rainwater collecting system. It will require a lot of labor on top of the supplies.

If you want to see a demonstration of how it is made, check out the video below:

Final Words

So there you have it. By now, you should have a good idea of where to get rainwater barrels for free or cheap. 

Ultimately, getting one for free does require some luck. If you want to get a rainwater barrel for free, then just keep searching. You will eventually find one in some shape or form.

If you truly are a conservationist at heart, you will most likely get a lot of joy from harvesting rainwater. It will help the environment and benefit you because you won’t have to rely on anyone for water.

This Article was about Sourcing Watter Barrels. If you enjoyed it or learned something from it, we invite you to continue to browse our content. You can click on the link below to view our homepage for this prepper website. is the Premier Prepper Website on the Internet.

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