Water butts buying guide

If you live in an area of the country that endures regular hosepipe bans during the summer, you may struggle to keep your garden watered during the dry months. Almost 100,000 litres of rainwater falls on our roofs each year so by collecting it in a water butt, you have a ready source of water that can help keep your garden looking lush and green. Tesco stocks a range of plastic water butts in various styles and sizes depending on your taste and budget. Below are a few hints on selecting the right water butt for your garden.

How a water butt works

A water butt can be connected to a downpipe so that it collects rainwater from your gutters. If you are using a downpipe, you will also need an overflow pipe or a rain diverter to redirect water into the butt. Once it's full, water flows down the drainpipe. A gutter filter will also keep out unwanted debris.

To fit a diverter or an overflow pipe, your butt will need a hole in the side, and to fit it directly to a downpipe it will need a hole in the lid. Butts either already have these holes provided or have a guide as to where to cut a hole.


Look at how to the bottom of the water butt the tap is located. It needs to be fairly low so that you can drain out as much water as possible. However, the lower down it is, the quicker it's likely to clog up with debris. You will also need a water butt stand to allow enough height if you want to get a watering can underneath. Look also at how quickly the water will flow from the tap. Some have a fast-flow tap that are wider than conventional taps, however, this is at the expense of them being too large to connect to a hosepipe.


Think about how much water you're likely to need depending on your plant varieties and the size of your garden. Tesco stocks a range of sizes starting from 100l. A number of water butts can also be connected together to increase your reservoir.


Consider a water butt with a removable lid so you can clean it every so often. Make sure it's well fitting to keep out unwanted debris and insects. If you have children, you may want to look for a lid with a childproof fitting.

Tips on fitting a water butt

  • Install the water butt only on a firm, flat surface that is strong enough to carry the weight when filled with water.
  • Empty the water butt when there is a risk of freezing.
  • If the water butt is accessible by children, secure the lid to the barrel.
  • If necessary, drill the hole for the tap only at the marked location.
  • Consider a water butt stand allowing the water to be dispensed directly into a watering can.
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