Meta: Being a plant parent is tough without the right tools. We rounded up the best watering can options for indoor and outdoor plants to help you keep your plants alive and thriving.
Whether you’re in the gardening game or you have a few indoor plants that add some life to your home or workplace, you’ll need a great watering can to help give all of your plants a drink. Using a watering can versus other methods helps to ensure that your plants get the proper amount of liquid and you don’t damage them with an overly steady stream of water.
We know that choosing the right watering can seem confusing with all of the options out there, so we put together a review of our three favorites along with a handy buyer’s guide and answers to your most important questions to help you make the most informed choice.
Although finding the best watering can for your needs seems simple, there are plenty of questions that may come up along the way. We’ve put together a few of the most common to help save you time in your hunt.
1. Are there different types of watering cans for different uses?
There are plenty of different kinds of watering cans. The necks, nozzles, and materials of each can mean that each can will work best for a different purpose or in a different location. Let’s look quickly at what the most obvious differences are and what they mean.
Metal vs. Plastic: Plastic cans are less expensive overall and more lightweight, but not as durable as metal varieties. One thing to consider when deciding between these two types of watering cans is off-gassing. Plastic watering cans can contaminate the water in them, or the air around them if they’re kept inside, where galvanized metal cans won’t.
Size: The correct size can depends on what you’re planning to use it for, but we’ll talk about that a bit later. For now, we’ll focus on the fact that cans come in all shapes and sizes. They come as small as a few ounces and as large as a few gallons.
Handle and Neck Position: You’ll find many different necks and handle positions on watering cans as well. The locations of these features make a difference in how much water comes out of the can at a time, which plants you’re able to water with each can, and even how easy the can is to use in a variety of scenarios.
2. Do all watering cans have measurement markings; are they necessary?
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Not all watering cans come with measurement markings, but that doesn’t have to mean those cans are bad news. Cans without measurement markings aren’t as easy to use if you regularly mix your water with fertilizer or other products, but they are excellent for general watering or if you don’t mind measuring mixtures outside of the can.
3. How many watering cans do I need?
Most gardeners keep at least two watering cans on hand: one for plain water and one for fertilizing mixtures. Traditionally these cans were very specific in color: red for fertilizing mixes and green for plain water.
You can have more than two if you’d like an indoor set and an outdoor set or if you fertilize or treat plants with more than one mixture and want one can for each plus one for plain water. There is no right number, so do what’s right and most natural for you.
How We Reviewed
To ensure we gave the most impartial view of the watering cans in our review section, we looked at a specific set of criteria. We looked at effectiveness in terms of water flow rate and how much control you could have over a particular can. We also looked at the material, giving higher ratings to cans made of steel or heavy-duty plastic than weaker plastic cans.
One of the other categories we looked at when writing the best watering can reviews was added features. We considered things like optional spouts that you could exchange to change up water flow, whether or not the can had adjustable characteristics like length or girth of the neck, and warranty information or how well a manufacturer stands behind their product.
Overall Price Range
Watering cans can range in price quite a bit depending on size, shape, and materials. The overall price range for the cans on our list is anywhere from $5 to around $30. If you choose a high end, extra-large can, you could be looking at spending nearly $40 or more, so make sure you look into what you need and compare prices at different retailers before buying.
Watering Can Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Product
When you’re looking into purchasing a new watering can you want to keep several things in mind including size, shape, length of spout, whether or not the can has measurement markings, and your individual watering needs. All of these things will make a difference in finding the best watering can for you.
The first thing you should do is look at how and what you need to water. If you are watering a plant that sits low to the ground, you may need to purchase a can with a longer spout to reach the center of the plant through or under branches. If you are watering only a few inside plants, you’ll likely only need a small can.
The shape of the spout and whether or not a can comes with a sprinkler attachment can make a difference in whether or not it works for you as well. You’ll want to consider how much water you want hitting your plants at a time. If you want more, a shorter and more stout spout helps, but if you want a light sprinkle, look for a thin spout with a sprinkler attachment.
The Top 3 Best Watering Cans
Now that you know a little bit more about how to find the best watering can let’s take a look at our favorites and give you some information about each one to help you find the right can.
This watering can is made from heavy-duty plastic, so it can handle a lot more wear and tear than other plastic cans. It is well balanced when empty so you won’t have to worry about it tipping over when it’s not in use. The spout gives you a nice even and light spray, but the rose end can come off if you want a more intense stream.
- No-spill opening
- Removable rose tip
- Two handle positions
- Cannot see the water level easily
- Measurement marks difficult to use
- Plastic can off-gas into your water
- Multi-position handle
- Heavy-duty plastic body
- 3.2 Gallons
- Detachable rose spout
Where to Buy
Amazon.com, zenhydro.com, rainmakersprayers.com
If you’re looking for a watering can for indoor watering, you’ll like the Union Elephant 2-quart can. This can is an adorable elephant shape to help add some cute to your watering chores. The downside is that this can doesn’t come with precautions to avoid water spilling out, so you’ll have to monitor how full it is to prevent accidents.
- Great for indoor plants
- Novelty shape
- Fits more water than you expect
- Water can spill over the edge
- Difficult to control pour
- No rain spout
- Novelty elephant shape
- Blow mold plastic body
Where to Buy
Amazon.com, Walmart, thatsweetgift.com
This classically styled watering can is made of heavy-duty steel, which makes it incredibly high quality. It is fully recyclable, so if it ever does crack or break you won’t have to worry about it ending up in a landfill. It’s a lightweight can that balances well on the ground but is a bit more challenging to balance while holding due to the handle not being centered on the can.
- High-quality material
- Classic shape
- Simple to carry
- Well balanced when empty
- Inexpensive for steel
- Cannot remove rose tip
- Watering holes are small
- Handle not centered for easy carrying
- Galvanized steel
- Permanent rose head
Where to Buy
Amazon.com, Ace Hardware, Walmart, Home Depot
Where to Buy
Zenhydro.com, Amazon, rainmakersprayers.com
Where to Buy
Walmart, thatsweetgift.com, Amazon
Where to Buy
Ace Hardware, Walmart, Home Depot, Amazon
Although which watering can is the best watering can for you depends on what you will use it for most often, we are particularly big fans of the Behrens Steel Watering Can. It is not only the only steel can on our list, which means it will last the longest out of all the cans on our list, it is also a classic style that has been proven effective over many years.
We like that it is fully recyclable, that it is rather inexpensive, and that it is widely available at many retailers and on time. We also like that it fits two gallons of water, which means that it has the capacity to water a small garden or all of your indoor plants with a single filling.
We don’t like that the rose spout on the Behrens can is not removable, which gives you less control over the flow of water as you pour.
Overall we think that the three cans we reviewed here are all great options for your watering needs. The Rainmaker and Behrens cans are excellent for outdoor watering, while the Elephant can is a perfect choice for smaller indoor jobs. We love that the Elephant also adds a sense of whimsy to your weekly chores.