Rain Chains: How They Benefit Water

bird on a rain chain

Installing rain chains might be an attractive alternative to unsightly downspouts. Rain chains divert precipitation away from your home while also enhancing its appearance.

Rain chains have been employed by Japanese architects since the late 1500s, despite the fact that they are a relatively new trend in American building design. When they originally appeared on Sukiya-style teahouses, rain chains were referred to as kusari-doi.

Because of the coverage of the Winter Olympics in the city of Nagano, Japan during 1998, rain chains became popular in the United States.

For both aesthetic and functional reasons, rain chains may be a terrific addition to your gutter system, so read on to find out why.

Features and Uses

To avoid the unsightly appearance of gutter downspouts, use rain chains instead.

Downspouts can be used alongside rain chains, however, in most cases, rain chains hang vertically down to a water catch.

Gutters collect water from your roof during a rainstorm. You will find a hole where the downspout used to be, and it runs through the gutters toward it.

A rain chain is used to help slow water coming off of the roof. Chained to a water catch or redirector, water goes along its path in the chain.

The idea of combining aesthetics with practicality sounds like a winning formula. However, do rain chains really work?

Rain chains absolutely do work, there’s no doubt about that!

To move water from the gutter to the ground, rain chains use surface tension. There is a rain chain that hangs from a hole in a gutter system on the roof, which directs rainwater into the gutter system.

In other words, once the water starts flowing out of this hole, it will travel down the chain and eventually end up at ground level.

Even in locations that receive a lot of rain, rain chains still operate. (To find out which kind of rain chain works best in rainy areas, continue reading.)

Why Embrace Rain Chains?

link style rain chain

Why would you want to replace your gutters with rain chains? The simple explanation is that they’re more visually appealing.

At best, downspouts are unnoticeable; at worst, they’re an eyesore. Decorative rain chains enhance the practicality of downspouts.

As opposed to downspouts, rain chains make the sound of water flowing into a type of kinetic art. With a wide range of styles, rain chains allow you to fit the architectural structure of your home with its attractiveness.

Besides their aesthetic beauty, rain chains provide an acoustic ambiance on rainy days. Rain chains generate a beautiful tinkling sound, like a wind chime or a bell ringing. Over the unpleasant drip of downspouts, this tinkling is an improvement.

Furthermore, rain chains have a number of useful properties. To capture rainwater and conserve water, the use of rain chains in conjunction with barrels or other containers is quite beneficial. With rain chains, erosion is reduced and drainage is improved.

The best part is that rain chains take care of a lot of the maintenance that comes with downspouts. Your rain chain will wash away fallen leaves and twigs that used to obstruct your downspout. Now that the downspout curve has been opened, any previously trapped water may be easily drained.

Rain Chain Varieties

Both link-style and cup-style rain chains are accessible. It all comes down to personal choice and the quantity of rain you get on a regular basis.


cup style rain chain

Cup-style rain chains are similar to link-style rain chains in that they have little cups attached to them. These cups help tone down the movement of liquid as it descends to the bottom of the chain due to space at intervals down the chain.

The ‘cups can assume a number of forms: open-mouthed bass, spirals, suns, umbrellas, lotus petals and more — any beautiful design that would halt the stream of water. Rain chains embellished with cascading leaves are another variant on this motif that helps to delay the water’s descent to the earth.

In areas where rainfall is severe or soil erosion is a problem, utilize cup-style rain chains instead of link-style rain chains.


Traditional rain chains consist of a series of links suspended from your gutter in a vertical position. Individual links can be made in a range of forms, including ovals, circles, rectangles, diamonds, and teardrops, as well as the more traditional oval and circle.


Copper has long been the material of choice for rain chains. Copper will oxidize and develop a rustic green patina if left untreated. Patina will form on copper alloys such as brass and bronze, as well as on copper itself.

A rust-resistant metal rain chain, such as stainless steel or aluminum, is an option if you’d rather avoid patina. Alternatively, if you like a more vibrant look, you may get powder-coated rain chains.

When putting rain chains in windy places, avoid using aluminum, which is a lightweight metal. Instead, use galvanized steel, which is a heavier metal.

At the End of the Rain Chain

A rain chain’s primary function is to divert water away from the foundation of your home. As a result, you must consider what happens to rainfall after it travels through the rain chain.

Depending on how you intend to use the rainwater, you’ll need a rain catch at the bottom of the rain chain.

There are several ways to collect rainwater, which is a blessing. Read on to discover the best ways to conserve water.


After the water travels down the chain, it is collected in a huge cement or metal bowl. There are several ways to collect rainwater and use it in your garden, such as a mobile pot.

You should be able to drain or eliminate the water gathered in basins. (Mosquitoes are drawn to standing water.) Soil erosion can be exacerbated by overflowing water.)

French Drain

An underground French drain is a big basin that collects rainfall and then directs it away from the home. It’s possible to keep your home’s existing gutter system and only replace the downspout with a rain chain, putting the bottom of the rain chain on top of your French drain.

Barrels for collecting rainwater

Using rain barrels to conserve water is the greatest alternative available to you. Rain barrels, as the name implies, are barrels that hold rain. They frequently come with an attachment for attaching a faucet or hose. If you’ve gathered non-potable water, you may use it for things like washing your car, watering a garden, and so on.

There are also ornamental rain barrels, so you can combine use and beauty once again!

Water Features

At the bottom of your rain chain, you may add visual interest by incorporating a water element. You may use the falling water to your advantage by constructing spinning mills or small waterfalls. Make sure the water feature can be drained or flushed easily.


How creative! Check out this idea on how to make a rain chain using silverware. It doesn’t get any easier or inexpensive than that.

Wrapping Up

Downspouts may be unsightly and cumbersome, but rain chains are a great option. Looking for an eye-catching way to drain water? Make your home stand out by using this centuries-old style.

Most garden retailers and nurseries sell rain chains and they are being sold by a plethora of online businesses as well. Rain chains can cost as little as $50 to as much as $1000 or more.


Rain chains in Japan.