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Which watering cans are best?

Whether you have a window box, a few houseplants or a huge yard, a watering can is useful for keeping your plants hydrated. The trouble is, not all watering cans are equally suited to all tasks, so you need to consider which is right for you. 

Size and spout type are two of the most important factors, but you should also consider what materials they’re made from and if you have a color preference. The Behrens Steel Watering Can is an excellent choice for outdoor use.

What to know before you buy a watering can


Watering cans come in a range of sizes from small 1/3-1/2 gallon capacities to huge 3-gallon ones. The size you need will depend on a range of factors. For indoor use, a compact can that holds a gallon or less is ideal. It should be big enough that you can do the rounds of your houseplants without refilling multiple times, but not so big that it’s hard to store in your home. For outdoor use, something between 2 and 3 gallons is ideal. It shouldn’t be too heavy for you to carry when full nor so small that you’ll only be able to water a couple of plants before refilling. 


You’ll usually find them made from either plastic or metal. Plastic cans are lightweight, affordable and don’t rust but they aren’t as strong as metal ones. Metal cans are highly durable and can last for decades if you treat them right. Inexpensive ones may rust, but quality galvanized steel cans withstand corrosion. 

Spout type

Watering cans have either regular straight spouts that pour a directed stream of water or rainmaker spouts that are circular with many small holes in them to gently sprinkle water over a larger area. Rainmaker spouts are great for evenly soaking beds and watering lawns, while straight spouts work better for targeted watering around the base of the plant or whatever else is needed. Rainmaker spouts are often removable, giving you the option to use either, but you shouldn’t assume it will definitely be removable because they’re occasionally fixed in place. 

What to look for in a quality watering can

Ergonomic handle

An ergonomic handle makes hand watering more comfortable. This might not matter much if you’re only watering a few houseplants or a windowsill herb garden, but if you intend to water your whole lawn and flowerbeds by hand, you’re going to want a can that’s comfortable to use for long stretches. 

Color choices

Of course, the color of your watering can makes absolutely no difference to how it performs, but it’s nice to have options, especially for indoor cans that might stay out full time. Some manufacturers offer one color only, while others sell the same can in several colors. If you’re looking for a particular hue, you might need to shop around. 


Outdoor watering cans should be weather-resistant so that they aren’t damaged by being left out in the elements. Plastic ones should be UV-resistant so they don’t degrade in the sunlight, while metal versions should be rust-resistant so they’ll be fine if rained on or if you leave water inside.

How much you can expect to spend on a watering can

Small, basic watering cans start at roughly $10-$15, while large, durable outdoor ones can cost $30-$50.

Watering can FAQ

Is a watering can necessary? 

A. Not all gardeners or plant enthusiasts find that they need a watering can. Some are happy using a hose or sprinkler system for watering. However, small cans are great for watering indoor plants and large ones for outdoor container gardens, especially on balconies or in yards without an outdoor spigot for a hose. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s necessary for your style of gardening, but it’s useful to have one as a backup, even if you don’t use it regularly. 

Is hand watering better than hoses or sprinklers? 

A. Hand watering isn’t necessarily better than using a hose or sprinklers, but it does give you more control, which is great for plants that don’t like being overwatered or getting their leaves wet. Hand watering is also a great alternative when there’s a hosepipe ban in place due to drought in your area. You can easily fill your can from a rain barrel or with gray water from your bath or sink to water your plants or lawn without wasting water. 

What’s the best watering can to buy?

Top watering can

Behrens Steel Watering Can

Behrens Steel Watering Can

What you need to know: This durable galvanized steel watering can is perfect for outdoor gardening.

What you’ll love: The galvanized steel is rust proof so you can leave it out in all weathers. You can choose from 2-, 2.5- and 3-gallon capacities. It’s stronger than plastic versions and pours nicely. 

What you should consider: The rainmaker spout isn’t removable, so it isn’t ideal for plants that need targeted watering.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top watering can for the money

WhaleLife Indoor Watering Can

WhaleLife Indoor Watering Can

What you need to know: If you need to water houseplants, this compact, affordable can is ideal.

What you’ll love: The long, straight spout is perfect for targeted watering. You can choose from eight colors. It’s light with an ergonomic handle, making it easy and comfortable to use. 

What you should consider: There are some reports of it leaking through the bottom seam, so don’t leave it full of water. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Colapz Collapsible Garden Watering Can

Colapz Collapsible Garden Watering Can

What you need to know: Are you short on space? If so, this collapsible watering can is the ideal option. 

What you’ll love: You can remove the spout completely to use it as a bucket. It holds 1.5 gallons as a watering can or 2 gallons as a bucket. You can remove the rainmaker head as needed. 

What you should consider: It isn’t as durable as a solid watering can. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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