Although we’re seasoned backyard gardeners, before we set up a hands-free drip irrigation system, we used several types of watering tools. One of the most necessary tools is an outdoor watering can that gets into the nooks and crannies of our plant containers and planters where our garden hoses can’t comfortably reach.
Typically, a classic outdoor watering can hold up to two gallons of water and features handles at the side and top for easier maneuverability. It also has a shower nozzle that gently showers water evenly over plants. By comparison, the indoor watering cans we tested topped out at 1.2 gallons in size for easier handling and smaller plants.
Each garden can range in size or has specific needs depending on the plants, so we realized that no matter what type of watering can (or garden tools, like pruning shears) you choose, it needs to be easy to use and be within your price range. This review includes watering cans under $50, have varied handle designs, range in capacity from ½ to two gallons of water, and are made from different materials.
We tested these watering cans multiple times a week over the span of two months in a backyard garden with plants in the ground, container beds, terracotta pots, plastic seed containers, and fabric grow bags in various sizes.
Important features to consider
Water capacity – When we couldn’t water the plants with our garden hose due to reach, we opted for a watering can. For bigger planters or multiple plants that need watering, a larger watering can that’s at least two gallons in water capacity will reduce the number of times you need to refill the can. However, if you have smaller planters or don’t want to lug around large amounts of water, a smaller one-gallon watering can be sufficient in your garden.
Material – Watering cans are typically made from plastic or metal (galvanized, stainless steel, or copper). Plastic watering cans are more affordable than metal cans and are lighter in weight. However, if you want to reduce the amount of plastic in your life due to potential microplastics leaching into your garden, then metal watering cans are your best bet.
Spout length – If you have plants that require ground watering or need to water a lot of small crevices between plants or containers, you may need to consider a watering can with a long and narrow spout. The longer spouts reduce crouching or bending over while using the watering can.
Spout type (shower vs stream) – Many outdoor watering cans have a shower head attachment. This allows for a wider area of watering compared to a single stream spout because there are multiple holes the water goes through. The shower attachment also streams out in an even slower pour than a single stream spout.
If you have plants that can’t get their leaves wet or have hard-to-reach plants in small crevices, you may want a single spout that reaches them directly near the root. Note that the single-stream nozzle pours water fairly quickly, so you may need to handle these more carefully than shower attachments; otherwise, you may damage the plants or interrupt the soil near the roots of the plants.
Ergonomics – Hauling two gallons of water can be heavy after a while, so it’s important to have comfortable handles on watering cans to help ease your wrists while working. Larger watering cans typically have two handles: one on the side to hold the can and one on the top to help pour the water out. Sometimes, one long handle is connected from the back to the top, which allows you to position your handle in many positions depending on what you’re watering or adjustable for easier weight distribution. We prefer a sturdy and thick handle on the top and bottom (or attached handle) because it’s easier to pour water without too much strain on our wrists.
Novelty - 2-Gallon Plastic Watering Can
The Novelty – 2 Gallon Deluxe watering can is our top choice when it comes to watering a large number of plants and containers outside because it can hold up to two gallons of water, its shower head attachment waters many plants evenly at the same time, and the long top to bottom handle makes it easy to pour the water over the plants.
The double holes on the top allow for easy refilling and are large enough to fill via a faucet or a hose. Embossed measurements on the sides of the watering can also allow you to see how much it can hold.Read more…
Its lightweight plastic material helps offset the weight of carrying up to two gallons of water. While other plastic watering cans had issues with sharp, uncut edges and flimsy quality, the Novelty watering can felt substantial in our hands. We also appreciate that it comes in an array of colors and is also an affordable option under $20.
The only downside was using the single-stream nozzle (after unscrewing the shower attachment) because the water doesn’t pour out as evenly onto the plants. So if you need a single stream nozzle, you may prefer our other choice, the Best Choice – Galvanized Steel Gardening watering can.
Best Choice Products - 1-Gallon Lightweight Galvanized Steel Watering Can
Our other top pick is the Best Choice Galvanized Steel Gardening watering can because its elegant green and copper design are perfect for those who want a durable but aesthetically pleasing gardening experience. This one-gallon watering can is great for those who have a small or medium garden.
It has a large hole at the top for straightforward refilling and a removable shower head attachment that covers a lot of watering space due to its extra-wide size. The single-stream nozzle with a long spout is also great for reaching smaller crevices or between plants.Read more…
We liked the smooth copper handles on the side and fixed on the top, making for easy and stable pouring. The copper material on the shower head and handles also have antimicrobial features that we appreciate. The galvanized steel is painted in green color and prevents it from rusting. Our only issue is the steep price for this smaller watering can.
Qilebi - ½-Gallon Plastic Watering Can
The Qilebi Watering can is smaller than your average can at half a gallon in size, but it’s perfect for those smaller pots and containers need an extra long spout to reach under leaves or through tightly fitted plants. Its plastic construction makes it very light, yet it feels higher quality than other brands of the same price point and material.
It also has a removable shower head that slips on the single-stream nozzle without leaking. We recommend the Qilebi Watering can for those with small patio gardens because its ½ gallon capacity would be perfect for watering about seven or eight small six-inch pots or four medium-sized pots before refilling. It’s also small enough to store easily in spaces with limited room.Read more…
This watering can also is great for gardeners who have children and also want to help their parents. Since it’s smaller, it’s easier for kids to handle around the garden.
Union - 2-Gallon Plastic Watering Can
Another option for a large plastic watering can is the Union watering can because it holds up to two gallons and is lightweight. We liked this watering can because of the large water capacity and the even and wide flow of the shower nozzle. You can also unscrew the shower attachment head and pour the water into a single stream.
We thought using the Union watering can was a good experience; however, we didn’t like that the refill hole at the top was relatively small, and it barely fit our garden hose head and caused some water to spill at times. Its price point is average and is a good choice if you can’t find our other top picks.
Fasmov - 1-Gallon Plastic Watering Can
We were impressed by the Fasmov one-gallon watering can because the plastic material felt durable in our hands, and the edging was cut properly so there weren’t any sharp edges. The one-gallon capacity for water is great for watering many small and medium pots in a patio garden or even a smaller outdoor garden. Its relatively small size also makes it easy to stow away or keep indoors.
This watering can only has a single stream spout, so it’s perfect if you have plants that need watering at the base of the plant. Its long neck and two-handle design help gardeners reach small crevices in their planters and reduce the strain on your arms.Read more…
Since the Fasmov plastic watering can only has a single stream nozzle it’s less versatile than the Qilebi watering can, however, it’s still great for small or medium gardens that have various potted plants requiring base watering. Or if you want a watering can that is functional for both indoor and outdoor plants.
Home Depot - 2-Gallon Plastic Watering Can (not recommended)
This Home Depot watering can is the most affordable option we tested, holds up to two gallons of water, and is made of durable plastic. However, after using this for several months outdoors, we didn’t like the handle design. There’s one handle at the top and an indent at the bottom to make pouring the heavy watering can easier, but we found it strained our arms and was awkward to hold.
The refill hole at the top also was too small for our hose nozzle and caused some water to spill out while refilling. Even though it’s super affordable, we wouldn’t recommend this watering can because of the awkward handles and water spillage.
Behrens - 2-Gallon Steel Watering Can (not recommended)
Although the Behrens 208 2-Gallon Steel watering can looks durable and very industrial, we didn’t have the best experience watering our plants with this galvanized can. We had two prominent issues with this watering can: the handles and the fixed shower nozzle. The side handle has folded metal on the inside and sharp edges that made it difficult to grip, and the swinging top handle didn’t offer any support.
While the Behrens watering can can hold up to two gallons of water and had a wide hole for refilling on the top, we felt uncomfortable holding the sharp side handle and maneuvering the swinging top handle while pouring the heavy watering can over plants. And since you can’t change out the nozzle, you can only use a shower stream. At over $40 per watering can, we didn’t think the Behrens was worth the price.
ADAMS USA - Watering Can (Not Recommended)
After taking the Adams USA Bloem Deluxe watering can outside the box, we knew there might be quality issues. The watering can had a layer of dirt all over it and needed wiping down before use. The quality of this plastic watering left a lot to be desired. There was uncut plastic at all the seams on the watering can, and a sharp, uneven single stream nozzle at the end that looked like someone had chopped it off with a knife.
Since the plastic watering can had sharp edges, watering our plants wasn’t a pleasant experience. Since this can holds 1.2 gallons, it gets heavy and leaves our hands hurting due to the sharp seam edges on the inside of the handles. Although this was a very affordable watering can, we would not recommend it for use in your garden.
Share this Review
Bryan Vu, Editor
Bryan is our cooking and kitchen expert, with more than 15 years of experience of cooking and testing kitchen products. When outside of the kitchen, he enjoys woodworking, photography, videography and figuring out how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. He thoroughly enjoys discovering the best, whether it’s ingredients or equipment, and finding products that can stand the rigors of daily use.