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8 best watering cans for indoor and outdoor plants

Ensure your plants never go thirsty, with the help of these tried-and-tested watering cans

Naomi Mackay
Friday 21 July 2023 17:30 BST
We considered design, functionality and price
We considered design, functionality and price (The Independent)
Our Top Picks

With hosepipes bans in place across some counties in the UK, you may be wondering how you’re going to keep your garden or greenhouse well hydrated.

The good news is you can still use a watering can – and you’ve come to the right place for finding the perfect one.

Watering cans are a great choice, particularly when it comes to watering plants that don’t appreciate getting completely drenched.

Whether filled from a tap or a water butt, they also help you keep an eye on water usage – especially useful for homes with water meters.

How we tested

When it came to testing the best watering cans for indoor and outdoor use, we took into account design, functionality and price.

The best watering cans for 2023 are:

  • Best watering can overall – Kent & Stowe watering can, deep violet: £22.49, Marshallsgarden.com
  • Best watering can for larger gardens – Kent & Stowe galvanised metal watering can: £33.66, Toolden.co.uk
  • Best watering can for serious gardeners – Haws the warley fall: £74.99, Haws.co.uk
  • Best watering can for small gardens – Burgon & Ball waterfall outdoor watering can in slate: £34.49, Burgonandball.com
  • Best indoor watering can – Room for Roots bohemian yellow watering can: £20, Roomforroots.co.uk

Kent & Stowe watering can deep violet

Kent & Stowe watering can deep violet 4.5l indybest.jpg
  • Best: Watering can overall
  • Capacity: 4.5l

With its stunning livery, who could not fall in love with this can? This 4.5l can is the perfect size for pottering around the patio, and means it’s not too heavy when it’s full up. The rose screws on the end, so is not going to come off easily, and the water flow is even.

The two handles make for easy watering – the folding top handle is handy for carrying, while the side handle allows for great balance when pouring. It’s also a good price for such a stunning can. If purple is not your thing it also comes in green, blue, cream and galvanised finishes.

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Gardman green watering can

Gardman green watering can indyest.jpeg
  • Best: Watering can for allotments
  • Capacity: 10l

This no-nonsense tough plastic can holds a huge 10l. It’s the sort of can that you can throw down, bash against containers and generally treat quite badly, and it will still stand up and do the job for you. Perfect for allotment growing, as you can make one trip to the water tap and get great coverage over a large area.

The rose delivers a wide flow – ideal for coverage of large containers and borders. It’s light too, which makes a full can easy to handle. It might not win any prizes for fancy design, but it’s a good, straightforward, no-nonsense can.

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Kent & Stowe galvanised metal watering can

Kent & Stowe 9l galvanised metal watering can indybest.jpeg
  • Best: Watering can for large gardens
  • Capacity: 9l

This large metal watering can has a great vintage look, thanks to its galvanised finish, complemented by a copper strip around the base. The rose screws – rather than pushes – on the end of the spout, so it won’t get lost in a hurry, and pours nicely, while it holds a good nine litres, so you won’t have to keep filling it up.

The only downside for us was the top foldable handle. This is useful for carrying a full can, but on our test mode it wasn’t tight enough and kept flopping over when we were watering. Still, it’s good value for a large can that looks this good.

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Haws the rowley ripple

Haws the rowley ripple – two pint copper indybest
  • Best: Traditional watering can
  • Capacity: 1.1l

This can certainly makes a statement! Its copper livery is complemented by a brass Haws stamp and rose. Its traditional look would look at home in a traditional cottage – or a modern home where copper accents are de rigueur. Its size makes it ideal for a plant-filled conservatory or a smaller greenhouse.

So, it looks great – but how is it in action? That lovely brass rose delivers the most delightful fine spray which is ideal for seeds, or you can take off the rose for a direct delivery of water from the spout.

  1. £64 from Haws.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Haws the warley fall

Haws the warley fall – 2 gallon in green indybest.jpeg
  • Best: Watering can for serious gardeners
  • Capacity: 9l

This Haws can, with its traditional styling, solid build and racing green livery with brass rose, looks like something a gardener would use for years and years. The extra long spout is perfect for reaching the back of borders and the rose delivers a superfine rainfall spray. This can carries a huge two gallons (or 9l), so keeps watering when most other cans have stopped.

Because of this it’s made for two-handed operation – this allows for very targeted watering, but you do need some strength to handle it. The Haws cans come beautifully packaged, which makes them ideal as gifts for the dedicated gardener.

  1. £74 from Haws.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Burgon & Ball waterfall outdoor watering can in slate

Burgon & Ball 5l waterfall outdoor watering can in slate indybest.jpeg
  • Best: Watering can for small gardens
  • Capacity: 5l

This lovely looking can comes in a fashionable grey colour. Its slimline body is useful if you want to tuck it away somewhere, although it looks so good you will probably want it out on display when not in use!

The handle is surprisingly comfortable for a metal one, with a rolled edge to stop it cutting into your palm, and it’s still quite light even when full of water. The rose spray offers a gentle watering action so won’t drown plants, but is very wide, so not so great for medium and small size pots.

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Burgon & Ball greenhouse & indoor can in buttermilk

Burgon & Ball greenhouse & indoor can in buttermilk indybest.jpeg
  • Best: Watering can for small greenhouses
  • Capacity: 1.7l

Good looking enough to sit on a display shelf when not in use, this dainty indoor water can designed by Sophie Conran has a stylish tapered spout, which allows for precise watering – vital for indoor watering to avoid puddles and spills!

Its slim handle is surprisingly comfortable and the can is lightweight even when full to the brim. The design, a blend of contemporary and traditional, allows for controlled watering, even though there is no rose. A can deserving of a place on the windowsill in any stylish home or greenhouse.

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Room for Roots bohemian green watering can

Room for Roots bohemian green watering can indybest.jpeg
  • Best: Indoor watering can
  • Capacity: 750ml

This lovely little watering can look as good on the shelf as its matching planter. This stoneware can, which holds 750ml of water, makes a change from the metal and painted options, and its glazed green finish has a touch of the Seventies about it. Small, and quite lightweight, your houseplants will get quite a solid watering from such a small object. The green is sold out, but you can buy it in a yellow finish (£20, Roomforroots.co.uk).

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The verdict: Watering cans

The Kent & Stowe watering can deep violet 4.5l comes out on top for its good looks, medium size, balance and rose action – all at a reasonable price. If you have more money to spend, and have the strength to wield it when full, the warley fall from Haws is a can that is sure to last a long time.

Our favourite indoor can is the Burgon & Ball greenhouse & indoor can in buttermilk – but if you need a rose and have more to spend, the Haws rowley ripple is a great choice.

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