Best Gutter Downspout Diverter for Filling Rain Barrels

The average rainfall per year in the US is slightly over 30 inches. Depending on where you are located, a sustainable rainwater collection system could both save you money and keep you prepared. If you are looking to install a rain barrel, it would be smart to invest in a gutter downspout diverter to prevent overflow issues and reliably feed your water storage. There are many types and models of downspout diverters to pick from.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best downspout diverters, put them to the test, and now the results are in: the overall best, a starter option, and an upgrade option. If you need to fill your rain barrels, one of our picks will finish off your project perfectly.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Rainwater Collection Kit

The Best Downspout Diverter

Rainwater Collection Kit

Versatile, Easy to Install, and Durable

A reliable and complete diverter that won’t break the bank and gives you better control than most other solutions.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

This versatile kit can capture up to 85% of your downspout rainwater while still giving you overflow protection. It offers versatile configurations with dual spigots, integrated filters, and shutoff valves.

Here is what you get with the kit:

  • Fits 2″ x 3″ or 3″ x 4″ downspouts (residential)
  • White PVC
  • Double spigot with shutoff valve
  • Integrated leaf filter
  • Winterizing plugs

With simple installation combined with versatile solutions, it’s easy to see why this Rainwater Collection Kit is the best.

Oatey Mystic Rainwater Collection Kit

Simple Downspout Diverter

Oatey Downspout Diverter

Simple, Inexpensive, and Effective

With a chop-and-swap installation paired with a low cost, this is the most common solution available.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

A breeze to install, the Oatey is a popular choice for residential rain barrel diverters. With a hacksaw and some elbow grease, slap it on your existing gutter system to capture rainwater.

You can feed an open top barrel or a sealed system where it will really excel. With sealed barrels, the outflow tube will let overflow rainwater run down the gutter instead of overflowing the barrel.

Here is how the Oatey diverter measures up:

  • Fits 2″ x 3″ downspouts (residential)
  • White PVC (paintable)
  • 4′ outlet hose
  • Winterizing plug

If you are looking for an inexpensive and simple option to finish out your project, the Oatey Downspout Diverter is what you need.

EarthMinded DIY Rain Barrel Diverter

Upgrade Downspout Diverter

EarthMinded DIY Diverter

Versatile, Durable, and All-Inclusive

With included hole bits and hardware, this diverter gives you versatility for your custom rain storage solution.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

EarthMinded offers several downspout kits, but this one is the most comprehensive and versatile of all of them. It includes bits and hole saws to go along with the diverter fitting that pulls water out of virtually any type of downspout.

Here are the full specs:

  • Fits almost any downspout
  • Black PVC
  • 31″ outlet hose
  • Rain barrel drain spout

If you are looking for a versatile kit to complete your setup like a pro, grab an EarthMinded DIY Diverter.

Everything We Recommend

Rainwater Collection Kit

Rainwater Collection Kit

A reliable and complete diverter that won’t break the bank and gives you better control than most other solutions.

Where to Buy

$32* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Oatey Mystic Rainwater Collection Kit

Oatey Downspout Diverter

With a chop-and-swap installation paired with a low cost, this is the most common solution available.

Where to Buy

$29* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

EarthMinded DIY Rain Barrel Diverter

EarthMinded DIY Diverter

With included hole bits and hardware, this diverter gives you versatility for your custom rain storage solution.

Where to Buy

$40* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

The Diverters We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several brands and types of diverters that we compared: Oatey, EarthMinded, Clean Rain, Quattro, Raindrop, Wisy, Save the Rain, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of diverter brands and types. We narrowed it down to downspout diverters that were relatively easy to install and narrowed our focus to our own solution: rain gutters feeding a rain barrel.

We’re always looking for new and better solutions, so if you have a downspout diverter that you swear by, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested equipment annually so we can try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it will beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best downspout diverters have a few features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Material
  3. Durability
  4. Diversion Capacity
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a diverter that will redirect large quantities of water to your water storage without overflowing. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the rainwater diverters that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a diverter shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. They all have very similar costs, so it is easy to budget and predict the cost of a rain barrel project with a diverter.

You never want to spend too much money on one thing when it comes to sustainability gear. It’s better to diversify your projects and budget to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.


Being outdoors and exposed to the elements, it is important to consider the material type used for the diverter. Brass and PVC are typically the go-tos for outdoor plumbing, and the same materials work well here.

The type of material used also affects longevity and durability.


Dry rot, UV degradation, and rust are all durability concerns that you don’t want to have to deal with based on the material type, but the material thickness and quality straight from the manufacturer also affect durability.

Diversion Capacity

Diverters redirect water, but usually not all of it. Depending on your downspout size, a diverter may not redirect enough water for your storage solution.

Make sure that your water storage plan won’t be throttled by your diverter. Some diverters also allow you control of the flow, whether it’s the amount redirected or the ability to shut it off completely.


Diverters with great versatility offer solutions for a wide range of applications and give you plenty of options when they are in use.

The most versatile models we tested included solutions for different drain pipe sizes and shapes, as well as shutoff valves, flow rate limiters, and debris blockers. Finding solutions that best fit your needs is easier when you pick a versatile model that can adapt to your specific project.

How to Use a Downspout Diverter

Most people install their downspout diverter to feed a rain barrel through a roof gutter system. Different diverter kits use different methods to attach to gutter downspouts.

With some diverters, you’ll need to drill holes in downspouts while others will want you to cut the entire downspout and re-attach it.

Most diverters are difficult to clog with debris, but a leaf guard system for your gutters can help prevent this.

The rain barrel system (or cistern) is important to consider when you are picking the diverter placement. Diverters work with gravity so you will always want plenty of clearance for your storage below. Consider capacity for future expansion as well. We’ve already reviewed rain barrels extensively, so be sure to check out the best rain barrels:

Best Rain Barrel for Prepping and Emergency Water Storage

Who Needs a Downspout Diverter?

Everyone needs water and should consider what they would do if the tap runs dry in an emergency. Downspout diverters can help you redirect water into storage containers for better preparedness and/or improved sustainability.

Unlike just feeding a downspout into a rain barrel, they prevent overflow by letting water continue to run through the downspout when the rain barrel is full. This prevents minor flooding and damage to your foundation.

Downspout diverters are suggested as part of a water solution for this kit:

No matter what threats come your way, a rain barrel with a diverter is nice to have around so you can have a replenishable source of spare water.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best gutter downspout diverter are useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical survival experience:

Heggen, R. (2000). Rainwater catchment and the challenges of sustainable development. Water Science & Technology. Volume 42. Issue 1-2. Pages 141-145. (Source)

Nicholson, G. (2005). Homemade downpipe diverter. ReNew: Technology for a Sustainable Future. Issue 93. Pages 25-27. (Source)

Lo, A., et al. (2015). Rainwater Harvesting: Global Overview. Rainwater Harvesting for Agriculture and Water Supply. (Source)

The Final Word

Collecting rainwater is one of the best methods to quickly and easily get sustainable water storage. There are several methods for collecting rainwater, but a gutter diverter into a rain barrel is one of the easiest and most common.

Here are a few other guides and reviews our subscribers have found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found the Rainwater Collection Kit to be the best option given its value, material, durability, diversion capacity, and versatility.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Downspout Diverter

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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