Vintage Watering Cans: UK Reviews (2024)

Vintage Watering Can

The trouble with going for the rustic, ramshackle feel in your garden is that it can sometimes look a little bit forced. Having an old rusted watering can nestled amidst a clutter of mossy terracotta pots looks wonderful…but it takes time. Quite a bit of it, unfortunately.

And you can hop on eBay to find a watering can that wears the rust of a few accumulated seasons. But there’s something about paying for a rusty can, even if it looks good, that feels a tad pretentious.

Nonetheless, I do like “vintage” gardening equipment, whether it’s actually vintage according to the technical definition or not. If it’s a real antique watering can, even better.

In this little article I want to have a look at some of the vintage-style watering cans that you can buy online. They’re functional and beautiful. Just click the images to go through to the retailers.

Best “Vintage” Watering Cans: My Top 5 Picks

***Full Disclosure – Where appropriate, I’ve linked product images to commercial sites and Amazon (see Amazon Disclosure). If you buy from these sites, I earn a small affiliate fee, which helps me keep Urban Turnip going.***

Draper Galvanised Watering Can

Draper Galvanised Watering Can

The typical “vintage can” that most people imagine is actually made from steel in a traditional design, usually galvanized with a zinc outer coating, which protects it from rust. The main issue with these is, as they’re not made from moulded plastic, that they can be susceptible to leaking. Go with a good-quality brand like Draper however and you should be ok.

The weathering effect can be very nice. Galvanized cans will rust eventually, which may or may not be desired, as the outer coating does corrode. But it can take decades. So if you do want the rusted effect (not something I’m personally a fan of) then eBay may be your best bet.

If you take good care of it, then it’s likely that it’ll last much longer than a plastic one. They also settle into retirement as plant pots much more happily too.

Watering Can with Copper Finish (Selections)

Watering Can with Copper Finish (Selections)

Most cans in this style come with what are called “copper accents” (or “brass accents”). What this means is that some of the smaller parts, the handles and floret, for instance, are made with a coating of copper.

The weathering effect (copper turns a light green) can look very good and this is the main draw. Copper can, of course, be interchanged with brass, and a similar effect is achieved.

You can actually buy cans made entirely of hammered copper. They don’t come cheap though. It’s a material better suited to indoor cans, especially if they’re in the kitchen and you own a collection of copper pans (Delia swears by them apparently). Though I don’t know a single person who does.

This type has to be my favourite. All of the others listed below can also usually be found with brass or copper “trimmings”.

Patterned Watering Can (simpa)

Patterned Watering Can

You’ll often find patterned and painted cans, like the one pictured above. They’re very pretty if that’s what you’re looking for. If they’re painted, they’ll be powder coated. This refers to a process in which powdered paint is applied electrostatically, allowing for a more durable finish.

Painted Watering Can (Kent & Stowe)

Painted Watering Can (Kent & Stowe)

White? Yellow? Green? Black? These are lovely little cans that will sit perfectly on a patio or balcony. They’re usually of the traditional design (steel and zinc coating) with a painted outer. They come in a wide variety of options and are wonderful additions to any well-tended small garden (or big one for that matter).

And Finally, Plastic…

Plastic Watering Cans!

OK, so this is where you’re probably going to have to stick to the true definition of vintage. Old plastic watering cans do look interesting – they have a kind of faded plastic effect, no doubt the result of dozens of seasons’ worth of weathering in somebody else’s garden. This time, eBay and Etsy, the specialist vintage marketplace, are likely your best options.

Send in Your Own Pics!

Have you got a weathered watering can languishing in the corner of your garden? Send in your pics and I’ll pop them up here!

Featured image credit: Annie Mole

Scroll to Top