Photo of Anne Marie Van Nest

Anne Marie Van Nest

Professional Gardening Expert

Best Watering Can & Best Plastic Watering Can

It’s a bright, sunny day and the large, tropical Brugmansia on the patio is “flagging”, visibly shouting “I’m thirsty, I’m wilting, and I need water now!” What’s the best watering can to transport life-saving water to this parched plant? Beyond holding enough water to revive the plant, there are many other characteristics that make a really terrific watering can.

The ideal watering can is durable, functional, well-balanced, not too large or too small, and has a removable rose. Material, shape, attractiveness, and color play a lesser role in the rating of a watering can.

Watering can materials are a consideration mainly for durability and weight. Most are made of heavy gauge steel (galvanized by dipped in zinc) or injection and blow molded plastic with the metal ones being more durable but with the added weight and cost. Plastic watering cans, although lighter in weight, still can last for years (even more than a decade for the “best” ones). Injection molded watering cans have a longer life expectancy than blow molded ones. Keep plastic watering cans stored out of direct sunlight so UV rays don’t degrade them for longer life. Galvanized steel watering cans should have reinforced edges. A good tip is to dry out galvanized cans before storing to reduce corrosion opportunities. Also use a red plastic watering can designated for herbicide purposes to avoid unwanted plant or watering can damage.

A great watering can is the right size for the person so that it is easy to carry when full. It should be the right weight so that there isn’t undue stress on fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck, and back. Staggering from the tap to distant plants, slopping water as one arm stretches longer and longer, is not going to encourage many trips. Even getting two watering cans for a balanced load, pack mule style is not the answer if the watering cans are too heavy. A gallon of water weighs 8 lbs. (3.7 kg). An extra large, three gallon (11.3 liters), plastic watering can, full of water, weighs in at around 25 lbs. (11.3 kg). Conversely, a “tea-cup” sized watering can, better suited for indoor window sill plants, is too small and is not an efficient means of watering outdoor plants.

Watering cans, whether upright or long reach, should be well-balance both during transportation and also once the pouring starts. As the water weight is transferred in the can, the can should continue to be easy to hold and control. A good design with a high collar and the spout end higher than the water level will reduce the number of spillage accidents.

A critical component of a good watering can is in the rose, the water diffuser at the end of the spout. These should be able to be turned upward for a fine spray when watering seedlings or facing downward for ordinary sprinkling duties. Lastly, roses should be removable for occasions when large streams of water are needed. Many watering cans have a handy peg, designed into an out of the way place, for rose storage when not needed. For the best watering control, start watering to the side of the desired plants, then move over the plant, and keep the water pressure constant. Some consider the quality of a watering can’s rose as the number one criteria for a good watering can. Non-corrosive brass roses are highly prized. Whatever shape and hole diameter, roses that slip on must fit snuggly and not “fall off” accidentally. A filter to strain out any large clogging, leaves or other debris in the watering can is essential to keep the rose flowing unimpeded.

To avoid measuring guesswork, good watering cans have measurement lines in imperial and metric to mix accurate amounts of fertilizers.

The design of watering can handles plays an important part of the overall function and balance. Many good watering cans have a single, continuous, “ring” handle or an upper handle and side handle for both convenient carrying and easy hand maneuvering while pouring. The finger-grooved and padded grips found on some watering cans cause for less finger strain. Some of the older designs have a handy handle to set the watering can on the hose spigot while filling.

The traditional upright design is easier to store since it takes up less horizontal space but the sleek, long reach design can water plants further away. Whichever style, it should have an opening large enough to easily get it under the tap but small enough to stop water from slopping on your shoes when transporting.

Attractive watering cans that are well designed and highly functional deserve an honored resting place in the garden (or even kitchen counter) as an ornament when not in use.

Choose the best watering can to keep easily transport water to your parched indoor plants. In the best plastic watering can and other watering can, look for durable construction.

Best Watering Cans by Anne Marie Van Nest

The Best You Can Get

  • Haws (Metal): Professional Long Reach

    Anne says: Items reviewed:

    1) Professional Long Reach Can #186
    (3.5 liter (3.7 qt.), 4.5 liter (1 gallon) and 8.8 liter (2.3 gallons))

    Traditional designs with top drawer quality. Over a century of watering can manufacturing experience.

    Durable, functional and long lasting!

    Haws hot dipped galvanized coating is available in many colors including graphite, aqua, ruby, and titanium color lacquer.

    Detachable, adjustable brass rose in oval or round shape for excellent gentle seedling watering or a direct stream for everyday watering.

    Reinforced seams and quality construction.



    • Gold medallion quality, 15- to 20-year life expectancy
    • Attractive! How can you not resist British Racing Green?
    • Hot dipped zinc galvanized (traditional or painted)
    • An instant heirloom
  • Haws (Plastic): Deluxe

    Anne says: Items reviewed:

    1) Deluxe Can #169
    (5 liter (1.3 gallons) & 7 liter (1.8 gallons))

    Quality injection or blow molded plastics.

    Detachable, moveable, plastic and brass oval or round rose for soft watering or direct streams.

    Light weight, yet sturdy and durable.

    Handy angled spout with parking space under handle when not in use.

    Six liter Practican only weighs 6.3 kg (14 lbs.) when full of water.

    • Dual handles for precision handling
    • Quality blow or injection molded
    • Detachable, plastic and brass oval rose and angled spout
    • 5- to 10- year life expectancy (depending on model)
  • Dramm: 5 Liter, 7, and 10 Liter Swiss Watering Can

    Anne says: Items reviewed:

    1) 5 Liter Watering Can #12360
    (5 liter (1.3 gallons))

    Detachable, round plastic rose for gentle watering jobs or more generous streams. Or detachable, plastic angle spout for precise watering.

    Long reach and upright styles.

    Six bold, attractive colors that coordinate with other Dramm watering products.

    Continuous, smooth ring handle for good balance, easy, and comfortable operation. Innovative handle design that provides strength without extra weight.

    Injection molded plastic with thick 1/8” watering can walls.

    • Attractive bold colors
    • Durable, high-grade plastic
    • Continuous, smooth ring handle
    • Extra large opening for easy filling
    • Durable, yet light weight, functional, and long lasting!
  • Gardener’s Supply: French Watering Can

    Anne says: Items reviewed:

    French Watering Can #06-341 & #36-436
    (11 liter (3 gallons))

    For all:

    Light weight, yet tough and durable.

    Huge, three gallon capacity saves trips to the tap or water barrel.

    Quality, polyethylene plastic material.

    Large opening for easy filling.

    Large rose for big watering jobs.


    • Durable, high-grade plastic
    • Continuous ring handle for good balance and easy operation
    • Detachable, round plastic and stainless steel rose
    • Extra large capacity
  • Oxo Good Grips: Pour and Store Watering Can

    Anne says: Items reviewed:

    Pour and Store Watering Can (8 liter (2 gallons))

    Smart, clear plastic spout for easy water level viewing lines up with the handy measurement lines on the watering can body.

    Detachable, round, fine spray, plastic rose stores under the handle of the watering can when not in use.

    Sleek, innovative modern design in fun, bold colors creating a very functional and easy to use watering can. So attractive it can be used as an ornament when not watering plants.

    Comfortable, padded, non-slip handle for easier gripping and less finger and hand fatigue.

    • Durable, high-grade plastic
    • Comfortable padded, non-slip handle
    • Detachable spout in an unique space-saving design
    • Detachable, plastic rose

You will be happy with any of these

  • Enki: Super Oxygenating Watering System

    Anne says: Water that’s better than ordinary tap water with the added benefits of oxygen. Increased oxygen levels in the water increased plant growth (roots, fruiting, and foliage).

    Fill with regular tap water (usually 40% oxygen) and plug in for five minutes. Viola, a gallon of water is now super oxygenated with 150% dissolved oxygen. The easy plug-in electrolysis unit in the base of the watering can adds bubbly oxygen to the tap water.

    The attractive, clear plastic, upright watering can is right at home on the kitchen counter.

    Use within 30 minutes for the best benefits.

    • 4.5 liter (1 gallon)
    • Super oxygenating watering device
    • Durable, sturdy, high-grade plastic
    • Easy plug-in electrolysis unit adds oxygen to the water
    • Transparent pitcher to watch the oxygenation happen
  • American Tack: Metropolitan Watering Can

    Anne says: Ergonomic, padded comfort grip to ease the pressure on hands when transporting and provide a more secure hold when pouring.

    Heavy duty, galvanized steel finish is leak and rust proof.

    Removable rose for a gentle spray or full stream.

    Continuous ring handle for ease of carrying and pouring.

    Traditional upright style.

    • Model #WC410 holds 6.6 liters (1.75 gallons)
    • Heavy duty galvanized metal
    • Ring handle for easy carrying and pouring
    • Traditional upright style
    • Brass fittings and nylon washers
  • Classic Watering Cans from Slovakia: Oval, Classic, Blue Classic

    Anne says: Items reviewed:

    1) Oval Watering Can #R90
    (5 liter (1.3 gallons), 8.7 liter (2.3 gallons))

    2)Classic (and Blue Classic) Watering Can #R175 & #R176
    (4.75 liter (1.25 gallons), 8.5 liter (2.25 gallons))

    For all:

    Traditional upright design or classy, long reach, oval shape.

    Galvanized steel hot-dipped in zinc for extra durability.

    Double handles (Classic model) or ring handle (Oval model) for easy carrying and pouring.

    • Galvanized steel (traditional or painted)
    • Double or ring handles for carrying and pouring
    • Detachable, extra large brass and steel rose for high volume watering
    • Functional, attractive design
  • Blomus: Aguo Watering Can

    Anne says: Very modern looking design that is functional and so attractive.

    Very durable construction built to last!

    So attractive, you will rush to get the water spots off and proudly display it were everyone can admire it.

    • Model #65210 holds 5 liters (1.3 gallons)
    • Sleek, cool, stainless steel construction
    • Stylish, modern design is trendy, yet classy
    • Traditional upright style with long reach spout
    • Large stainless steel rose
  • Insect Lore: Backyard Bunch Watering Cans (Children’s)

    Anne says: Items reviewed:

    1) Manny Mantis #81171

    2) Webster Spider #81172

    3) Buzzby Bee #81174

    4) Dot Ladybug #81175

    5) Flutter Butterfly #81173

    For all:

    Small upper handle for little hands.

    Bright colors with prominent faces on the exterior.

    Creative watering can face themes for good kit appeal.

    Large expressive, oversize eyes for extra gardening fun.

    • All metal, galvanized construction
    • Double handles for carrying and pouring
    • Large metal, perforated “nose” for even watering
    • Functional, cool design
    • Recommended for ages 4 & up

Related Articles

For the best water can, make sure it is not just decorative. Choose the best plastic water can and other watering cans for ease of maneuvering for less strain on your fingers. Your best water can choice should also have a good balance so you don't put stress on your back as you carry water to your favorite plants.