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Best watering cans

The rigorous Which? Gardening tests reveal the cans that are easiest to fill, carry, pour and clean
Ceri Thomas
Watering

; Watering cans can be so cheap and easy to pick up at the garden centre, they hardly seem worth thinking about. Yet this is one tool you could be using almost every day in the spring and summer, so it’s worth getting one (or two) that won’t make watering harder work than it needs to be.

The Which? Gardening researchers tested the cheapest options up to some of the priciest, and put them through their paces to find which ones will become old friends and which might get left in the shed.

Alternatively, take a look at the best garden irrigation systems

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Best watering cans

ProductWhat we foundTest scorePrice
For watering seedlings and plants, this well-made plastic can is hard to beat. It’s very easy to fill, comfortable to hold and, at 6.8 litres, not as heavy to carry when full as some of the larger cans. The long spout gives great reach, and the fine metal rose gives a fast but gentle flow that shouldn’t flood seed trays. You can remove the rose if you need to water pots more quickly, too.96%£28.99
Thanks to its tall, streamlined shape, this can is easy to use and ideal for tucking into tight spaces. The two separate handles feel comfortable when the can is full, despite it being quite heavy, and they don’t cover the small filling hole, so it fits easily under a tap. The rose gives a gentle flow suitable for seed trays, and the front section can be unscrewed for faster pouring and for cleaning.
94% £17.75

Combining practicality with stylish looks, this large metal can has a big D-shaped opening that makes it very easy to fill. The two sturdy wooden handles are comfortable to hold, even though the can feels heavy when full. The spout is long, and the big, cone-shaped rose gives a fast but even flow of water that wouldn’t suit tiny seedlings, but is OK with care for larger ones and ideal for most other situations.


94%£27

Full results for watering cans

Product nameOverall scoreFilling from a tapFilling from a water buttCarrying and lifting when fullPouring with a rose - seed traysPouring with a rose - soil and potsPouring without a rose - potsCleaning
96%
94%
94%
93%
89%
86%
86%

USING THE TABLE: OVERALL RATING The more stars the better. Ignores price and is based on: filling from a tap 15%, filling from a water butt 15%, carrying and lifting 20%, pouring with a rose – seed trays 15%, pouring with a rose – soil and pots 15%, pouring without a rose 15%, cleaning 5%. Filling from a water butt is a combined score of assessments for using the tap and dipping the can in from the top.

How to choose a good watering can

Filling

A large opening makes filling the watering can easier, but if the handle arches over the top, it can be awkward to get it under a tap. Water butt taps are particularly tricky.

Carrying and pouring

Despite the potential problems with filling from a tap, handles that arch in the same direction as the spout allow a more natural hand position when carrying a full can than handles that go across the width, so they feel more comfortable.

Roses

All but one of the cans in the trial came supplied with a rose, but many of them would be too coarse for delicate watering of seed trays. Some of the roses were not only coarse, but had such a random and uneven flow pattern that water went everywhere. It’s often difficult to check this until you’re using the can, but if you need the rose for a particular use, it’s worth having a close look at it if you’re in a garden centre or reading any description carefully when buying online.

Price

Although our Best Buy cans are more mid-range in price rather than a budget option, both our recommended cans cost less than £10, so there’s no need to spend a lot. Also, beware of style over substance. For example, the Eva Solo Globe got a low score because the stylised design makes it unstable – water slops out of the filling hole on the side and the rose pours with large, erratic drips.