When you need to water your plants, “you can’t beat a trusty watering can”, says Garden Answers contributor, Geoff Hodges. They are essential for areas of your outdoor space that you can’t reach with a hosepipe – and for when there’s a hosepipe ban.
This is also true for houseplants as Geoff continues, “Splashing water everywhere can damage furnishing… and can lead to damping off, botrytis (grey mould) and other plant diseases.” At Modern Gardens, we’re quenching plant thirst with the best watering cans for your foliage.
A watering can come in handy when you need to apply liquid feeds to all your prized plants and weedkiller to the ones you want to see the back of. Geoff recommends buying a second watering can specifically for your weedkiller. After all, you don’t want to have any mix-ups. Historically, water cans have been made from galvanised steel, but plastic has taken over – since it's lighter and cheaper to produce. They’re an attractive addition to your home.
We’ve rounded up a wide range of watering cans to cater to every requirement. Firstly, there is material – and we’ve given our thoughts on the best plastic and best metal watering cans for your plants. Next, we’ve got advice from Geoff on the best cans for the outdoors, showcasing our favourite companions for hanging plants, seedlings and for a vegetable patch. We have also featured some of the best indoor watering cans for your easy-to-care-for houseplants and herb garden.
What do I look for in a watering can?
Weight – A lighter can is easier to carry around when you’ve filled it up to the brim.
Balance – This is important as it can affect all aspects of utilising your new can: holding, carrying and pouring. Modern Gardens recommends reading reviews before you buy – or, go into a store. Geoff advises “if it feels awkward when empty, it’ll only feel worse when full".
Handle – A handle should be strong, solid and comfortable. If a handle has been poorly designed, it’s going to be uncomfortable to use for longer lengths of time.
Mouth - With a wider opening, you can easily fill a can from a water source. However, you’ll notice that a narrow-er opening prevents spilling. So, finding a balance here should help.
Cross Bar – To make your watering can much easier to carry and use, most designs will feature a cross bar (or second handle) at the top, making the experience well-balanced and not front-heavy.
Rose – Believe it or not, a watering can’s sprinkling spout is often referred to as a 'rose'. Cans with a one-piece spout and rose tend to be cheaper and less efficient. Watch out for a quality rose.
Best Watering Cans
Best eco-friendly watering can
Made with recycled plastic and with wind energy, this Elho Green Basics Watering Can is 100 per
- Made from recycled plastic
- Has good grip
- Large fill hole
- Slightly heavy
- Not for seedlings
Best watering can for storage
With a dual design, this collapsible watering can double as a bucket, making it an essential
- Large capacity
- Dual and durable design
- Perfect for campervans
- Not made from recycled plastic
- Could do with a back handle
Best budget watering cans
From Strata, we have this sturdy watering can. It’s good value for money and comes with a short
- Easy to fill
- Great budget option
- Fine, gentle rose included
- A bit thin
- A little sharp around the edges
Best premium watering can
From Haws, we recommend this Deluxe can from Haws. It’s good, sturdy and has a large capacity.
- Sturdy and well-balanced
- Comes with an all-brass rose and downspout
- Rose sprinkler head is hard to clean
Best watering can overall
Ideal for those with a larger outdoor space, this 10L plastic, green watering can is perfect for
- Great value
- Weather resistant
- Fast flow from the rose
Best versatile watering can
Coming in a stylish, lime green, this 3.8-litre watering can would make a medium-sized addition to
- Spray rose included
- Ideal size for watering patio plants
- Easy to fill
- The gentle spray is not suited to some plants
- Plastic is a little cheap-looking
Best metal watering can
Next, we have this Burgon & Ball Waterfall Watering Can made from Galvanized coated steel. This
- Long-lasting, high-performance
- Super stylish
- Ergonomic, single-handed design
- Customers advise gentle pouring
Best medium-sized metal watering can
Stylish, strong and coming with a folding handle, this Moulton Mill watering can is perfect for
- Includes rose
- Strong with folding handle
Geoff notes: "Houseplants require careful watering and there are lots of attractive cans to choose from. Indoor cans tend to be smaller (up to 2 litres) with a narrower spout so you can deliver the water slowly in a controlled way."
Best indoor watering can
Small, well-balanced and a mini version of the Haws watering can, this model is for indoor plants.
- Brass-faced rose
- Removable spout
- Only good for indoors
Best stylish indoor watering can
Burgon & Ball’s collaboration with Sophie Conran has given us this beautifully balanced
- Easy to pour
- Targeted watering
- Hardwearing powder coating
Best versatile indoor watering can
German brand Scheurich is known for their beautiful houseplant accessories, leading the industry
- 2-in-1 watering can
- Easy to fill
- No rose
Burgon & Ball have made this delightful one-litre watering can, forged from galvanised coated
- Easy to fill and hold
- Precise pouring control
- Lightweight and durable
- Colour is not as vibrant as expected
Best budget indoor watering can
From Etsy, we have this indoor watering can, designed with a long spout to allow for precise
- FSC-certified beechwood handle
- Long, thin spout for precise watering
- Sleek design
- When too full, it does leak a little
Geoff comments that "many suppliers now produce misters," which have hand-trigger and pump action to give your plant the water it may need. Some of them will come with adjustable nozzles, too.
We like misters because they're generally opaque and you can see how much water you have left. However, algae can build up quickly. These are well-suited to plants that need a humid, water-dense environment.
Need more inspiration? Check out our buyer's guide on plant misters. We've listed a few favourites below.
Best decorative plant mister
The faux-metal nozzle is actually made from sturdy plastic that is rust-proof. Available in a
- Vintage style with wonderful colours available
- Stylish, attractive design
- Some customers dislike the plastic nozzle
Best water spray for value
Fine Mist Spray Bottle with Top Pump Trigger, Indoor Plant Watering Can Water Sprayer for Flowers
- Value for money
- Simple, easy design
- Doesn't work if it's tilted
- Some customers have commented that they had to cut the inner tube in order for it to fit the bottle
Add ImageCreate Product Card
16. Mossify mistr™
Best automatic mister
Continuous Automatic Water Mister for Garden- Rechargeable Water Mister for Garden. Automatic
- Produces a fine mist
- Powerful spray
- Accessible to people with motor issues
- Do not place near electronics
How do I store my plastic watering cans?
Though cheaper and full of colour, thinner plastic watering cans won’t last forever outside. Geoff explains that, “Cold, frost and high UV levels damage and degrade them”. However, he advises that a good-quality, thick plastic watering can “should last as long as metal ones do”.
To avoid distortion:
• Empty it between uses
• Store it upside down.
• Don’t leave it outside during cold weather – especially with water inside
What is a watering can rose?
Geoff has given us some expert advice on each type of rose.
Metal Roses – These usually come with metal watering cans and are generally made of brass or copper. Whereas, plastic cans are kitted out with roses of plastic, metal or both. Geoff says, “As long as the rose has been constructed and welded correctly, metal roses are less likely to leak.”
Plastic Roses – You’re faced with a few advantages and disadvantages with a plastic rose. Though you can remove the front easily to clean out any clogs in holes, they do often leak or dribble. "The best watering cans have a built-in water filter, which prevents the rose blocking,” adds Geoff.
Removable Roses – Whether screw-in or push, roses need to be easy to remove. However, they shouldn’t be so loose that they can’t take the weight of water when pouring and falling off, “especially when watering seedlings and young plants".
Hole Size – Hole size will differ between roses. Large holes deliver the water faster, so watering gets ticked off the list a little quicker. However, the larger droplets could damage seedlings. Geoff advises using a rose with smaller holes as this will be better suited to young plants.
Downspout – Some watering cans have a downspout, which Geoff says makes watering pots and containers easier because water can be directed at the soil or compost exactly where it’s needed.
Up or Down? - Oval-shaped roses can be swivelled to face up or down. Facing up, the water comes gentler and finer – “better for seedlings and young plants”. This way, it won’t disturb the compost. On the other hand, facing down, the water is delivered faster and cans with a round rose simply water forwards, with no change in speed or flow.
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Piper Huxley is a Homes, Garden and Wellness Product Writer for Modern Gardens Magazine, an all-rounder. When she’s not writing about houseplants, she’s tending to her own growing collection…