DIY Insulated Horse Water Buckets

on January 26, 2021
completed DIY insulated horse water buckets

Looking for an alternative to expensive heated water buckets or fancy insulated water bucket covers?

If you want to make your own insulated horse water buckets, here’s a super cheap and easy DIY fix.

Do You Need Insulated Horse Water Buckets?

horse in a stall in a barn

We live in North Carolina where winters are for the most part very mild.

But occasionally we get hit with lows in the teens.

This presents a problem for keeping our horses’ water from freezing!

I personally am not comfortable with using electric heated water buckets due to the fire risk. Our barn is quite a ways away from our house and there is no way I can monitor them closely enough.

I needed some way to keep the horses’ water from freezing on a 18 degree (F) night so I decided to DIY some insulated horse water buckets.

I am happy to report their water did NOT freeze!

I spent less than $20 insulating four buckets so this was a cheap solution as well.

Read on to learn how to do this yourself!

DIY Insulated Horse Water Buckets Materials

horse water buckets

Here are the water buckets I wanted to insulate.

Just your standard horse barn water buckets.

roll of reflectix and duct tape

I bought a roll of Reflectix at my local Lowes Home Improvement. It is essentially very sturdy foil bubble wrap with amazing insulating properties.

I bought the smallest roll (33 square feet) and it was about $17. I also bought a roll of cheap duct tape – any will do.

How To Make Your Insulated Buckets

starting insulated horse water buckets

I wrapped some Reflectix around the bucket (slightly at a angle since the bucket’s sides aren’t straight) and cut it.

I only overlapped it a few inches.

duct taping the side of the water buckets

I then slid it down so the top was lined up with the underside of the top rim of the bucket and taped it together.

You can see how it has to be at an angle to match the shape of the bucket.

how to tape the bottom of the insulated horse water buckets

Then I started folding and taping up the underside of the bucket.

I taped the first piece to the bottom of the bucket so it wouldn’t move.

completed bottom of a water bucklet

Here is a completed bottom of a bucket. You can see I was generous with the duct tape!

I then went around the bucket and secured any flaps with duct tape.

how to tape the top

I also went around the rim and secured the top to the rim. Since this is what is holding the insulator on to the bucket, you want to make sure it is very secure.

I added some Gorilla Tape I had to the top of the buckets to make sure it held. I’m not sure this is necessary but I had it handy so I figured why not reinforce it!

It took me about an hour to wrap and tape all four buckets.

So far they have held up to several weeks of use!

Overall a very easy and cheap fix for insulated horse water buckets in the barn in the winter.

This method would work for any water you need to keep from freezing – for your dogs, cats, chickens, garden, etc.

If you are new to horse ownership, be sure to check out my resource for determining the real cost of horse ownership here.

horse in red blanket - how much do horses cost


  • Data-Samtak Susan

    Excellent idea. Heat rises, so a floating piece of wood, cut to the shape of the bucket opening is a good way to insulate the “top” of the bucket. It works like a commercial waterer where the horse pushes the “barrier” out of the way to access the water underneath it. Be sure to cut and taper the piece of wood small enough so the horse can reach to the bottom of the bucket.

    November 23, 2022 at 4:16 pm Reply
    • princeharry

      That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

      November 29, 2022 at 12:22 pm Reply
    • Mary

      I like that idea too!

      December 10, 2022 at 9:01 pm Reply
  • Michelle LeVar

    This really worked for us! Got tired of removing ice from the buckets each morning over a long winter. So, why not give it a try, I thought. Glad I did. It got down to 17°F before I needed to remove a thin layer of ice. In spring I just swap out the buckets and set the newly insulated buckets for the next late fall and winter use. Horses never bothered the insulated ‘wraps’. Wish I’d discovered this years ago. Thank you from our horses and us ❣️

    March 26, 2023 at 9:41 am Reply
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