9 Best Rainwater Collection Systems & Ideas for 2022

A water well pump sits on the edge of a well surrounded by greenery and with a metal pail hanging off the spout.

We as a species have harvested rain for millennia. Cisterns and other rain harvesting methods are popular in America, Europe, Australia, India, the Bahamas and various other nations, many of whom rely solely on rainfall for their daily existence.

Water supplies can become restricted for various reasons like drought or contamination, and luckily there are many practical solutions available to fill the gap. Rainwater harvesting systems collect dispersed stormwater runoff while also storing water that can be used to irrigate crops, flush toilets, wash clothes and cars, pressure wash or purify for drinking water.

There are many rainwater harvesting options depending upon how you want to process or filter the water.  In this article, we will discuss the best methods for collecting rainwater in 2022.

What is Rainwater Harvesting and What are the Benefits?

Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting rainwater runoff from roofs or other impermeable surfaces for use instead of relying solely on groundwater, a municipal water supply or other sources. 

Rainwater harvesting has many benefits, including:

  • Conserving groundwater 
  • Reducing stormwater runoff 
  • Reducing the demands on municipal water systems 
  • Providing a supplemental water source during times of drought or emergency
  • Reducing the need for artificial irrigation 
  • Helping offset the effects of urban heat island effect

Before Setting Up Your Rainwater Collection System

There are a few things you should consider before setting up a rainwater harvesting system. The first is the quality of your roof and gutters. It’s important to remember that any potential contaminants on your roof will end up in the rainwater you harvest so you want to make sure the collection surface is clean before you start collecting. Second, you’ll need to consider how you plan to use the water. If you’re planning on using your harvest for drinking water, you’ll need to take extra steps to filter and purify it. Finally, it’s important to check with your local government or HOA to see if there are restrictions on rainwater harvesting in your area.

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s look at some of the best rainwater collection systems & ideas for 2022.

Best Rainwater Collection System & Ideas

1. Rain Barrel

Three brown rain barrels sit on a concrete platform outside a red brick house, with a pipe directing runoff from the gutters to the rain barrels.

A rain barrel is one of the most common and popular methods of collecting rainwater. That’s because they’re relatively straight-forward, easy to set up and can be placed under a downspout to collect water as it runs off your roof.

Many rain barrels come with filters to keep out debris, and some even have spigots, so you can easily use the water for watering plants or washing your car rather than running up your water bill and wasting potable water on non-potable tasks. Rain barrels are pretty common and can often be purchased as complete systems that are easy to set up. There are many rain barrel options on the market with varying colors and styles to match your home’s exterior and sizes to suit the amount of rainwater you would like to collect– some of these kits will handle up to 1,550 gallons of roof runoff.

2. Rain Chain

A rain chain is connected to a wood cladded house and runs down to a wood barrel with a water hose next to it for connection and extensive landscaping surrounding the area.

A rain chain is an attractive alternative to a typical downspout. Usually made of metal or copper, they hang from the gutter and connect to a basin or barrel suited to fit the style of the home.

Rain chains are not only functional, but they can also add a bit of flair to your home’s exterior. Plus, they’re much easier to install than a traditional downspout. While they’re pleasant to look at, they won’t catch as much rain as a system fed by a downspout, so it’s important to consider how much water you’re hoping to collect when deciding on a rainwater harvesting system.

3. Gutter Guard

Gutter guards are not a part of the catchment of water like rain chains and barrels, but they’re an important consideration when planning your unique rainwater harvesting system. They’re fixed onto the top of a gutter and function like a filter, allowing water in and keeping debris out so the gutters can direct water more efficiently and the water you catch will have less debris. Gutter guards come in various materials including plastic, metal and mesh, and can be installed on both new and existing gutters.

They are a great way to reduce the maintenance required for your rainwater collection system and ensure that the water you collect is as clean as possible.


4. French Drain

A French drain is primarily a type of drainage system consisting of a trench filled with gravel or other drainage material redirecting water away from an area where it tends to collect, such as wet basements, retaining walls or any area where stormwater runoff needs to be controlled to prevent erosion or collection of mud or standing water.

 French drains are versatile and can also be used as a clever way to collect rainwater. By installing a French drain around the perimeter of your property, you can collect rainwater before it has the chance to collect in an area and become a problem. Since this type of system can potentially collect a large amount of water, you might want to consider an underground water storage tank. French drains are available in capacities from 250 to 20,000 gallons, so they’re a great fit for a range of collection needs.

5. Infiltration Trench

An infiltration trench is similar to a French drain, but instead of being filled with gravel, it’s filled with perforated pipe that is surrounded by soil. Infiltration trenches are typically used to collect and store stormwater runoff. However, they can also be used to collect rainwater for irrigation or other uses. As with the French drain above, a large capacity underground storage tank is an ideal place to direct the water.

7. Rain Garden

A rain garden is a type of garden designed to optimally absorb rainfall and runoff. They’re usually planted strategically with deeply rooted plants that can tolerate or thrive in particularly wet conditions without rotting.

Rain gardens are a creative way to collect and use rainwater in a way that beautifully enriches your property. Plus, they can help reduce the amount of water that ends up in storm drains and waterways.

8. Playground Rain Collection

A playground with blue painted equipment with drains, pipes and tanks designed into the setting.

Similar to the rain garden, this system is incorporated into a playground area and traps the water that falls on it, directing it to an underground cistern or barrel.

9. Green Roof

A green roof is one covered with live vegetation. Green roofs are designed to absorb rainfall and reduce stormwater runoff, whereas otherwise the water would potentially sit on the roof and unnecessarily add to the stormwater runoff. They can also help insulate your home, reduce noise pollution and provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. This system is based on roof runoff, so standard rain barrel systems work well with it.

A cityscape at roof-height focused on a roof covered in garden greenery.

Tank Depot Carries the Top Brands in Rain Collection Systems

No matter which top-quality rainwater collection system you choose, Tank Depot is the place to look. We carry a wide selection of rain barrels, systems and other accessories from the best brands in the industry. Plus, our experts are always here to help you find the perfect system for your needs if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the options.

Contact us today and let us help you design the perfect system for your home or farm!