Rain Chains What Are They and How to Use Them

Rain chains are an eco-friendly way to stop rain from running into your home. They consist of a long piece of flexible, plastic tubing that has been bent and attached to the edge or roofline so it hangs over the eaves.
They can be used on any type of house with a flat surface around its eaves (or even against walls). The length should be about 15 feet in height for every inch of rainfall you want filtered away from entering your property.
The downside is they don’t work until after large amounts have already fallen, which means if heavy rains fall quickly then there’s no time to attach them properly before water starts seeping in through gaps and entryways where there was none before.

Rain chains are a popular way to deter mosquitoes and other pests. They can be made with metal, wood, or plastic. What do you put at the bottom of a rain chain? Read more in detail here: what do you put at the bottom of a rain chain.

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A trellis, garden stakes, or other equipment that adorn and help your outdoor oasis grow are undoubtedly familiar to most gardeners. Rain chains, on the other hand, are a very aesthetic and effective gardening equipment that many gardeners may not be aware of. 

Rain chains are a kind of gardening equipment and décor that enables water to be redirected for drainage or gathering. They may be placed almost anywhere around your home and yard to collect water for a reservoir, replace your gutter downspout, or just liven up your outdoor area. 


Contents Table of Contents


  • What Are Rain Chains and How Do They Work?
  • What Are Rain Chains and How Do They Work?
  • Rain Chains: Why Should You Invest in Them?
  • What Is a Rain Chain and How Do I Use It?
  • Last Thoughts


What Are Rain Chains and How Do They Work?

Rain chains, which resemble a line of wind chimes, are usually used to assist in the direction of rain or flowing water. Most rain chain users will place them over a rain barrel, a birdbath, or some other basin or water feature to avoid water from filling these gadgets and causing yard flooding. 

Rain chains serve a variety of functions, including collecting water and replacing gutter downspouts on your roof’s drainage system. Regardless of the amount of yearly precipitation in your location, having a suitable drainage system is critical to the durability of your roof.

The majority of gutter downspouts are prone to falling off or are just an eyesore on your property. A rain chain is an excellent approach to achieve the same benefits as a traditional gutter downspout while being more efficient and visually beautiful, which leads us to our last argument.

Rain chains are not only useful tools, but they are also attractive garden ornaments. As a consequence, they’re available in a variety of styles, from contemporary minimalist chains to cup chains with iron molded motifs like birds or watering cans. 

Rain chains used for gutter drainage usually have a simple design, however ornamental rain chains used for added garden aesthetics are more intricate. 


What Are Rain Chains and How Do They Work?

Rain chains may seem improbable to be as successful at water drainage and redirection as a pipe or gutter downspout at first glance. 

It’s difficult to fathom how they might properly route water linearly into a specific area given that their design primarily consists of either a single chain or what’s known as a cupped chain, where the chain is frequently broken up by ornamental funnels or cup elements.

They’re able to do so because of their clever but basic design, which relies on surface tension to move water down the chain. 

Rain chains are often put where a downspout would normally be located on your roof. When it rains, the water will accumulate in your gutter system and trickle down your rain chain. Instead of rushing in all directions off the chain, the water will choose the route of least resistance down the chain in a straight line to the ground. 

Because the water flow is delayed throughout this procedure, it will reach the ground at a slower rate than a standard downspout, reducing the likelihood of soil erosion underneath the chain. If you’re worried about your soil or want to reduce splashback on your property, you may use a cupped chain instead of a single chain to slow down the flow of water. 

When replacing a gutter downspout with a rain chain, keep in mind that the chain’s end must guide water away from your home’s foundation. Otherwise, the chain may gather water underneath it, which might cause foundation damage if the water rushes towards your house or pools nearby.  

Rain Chains: Why Should You Invest in Them?

Rain chains have grown in popularity in the United States, despite the fact that they are a Japanese innovation that might date back to 1558-1600 CE. Although most American houses still have typical gutter downspouts, rain chains are a great addition to your home or garden for a variety of reasons.  

Alternative to a Traditional Gutter Downspout at a Lower Cost 

The rain chain is not only an attractive addition to your landscape, but it is also a cost-effective alternative to a downspout. The majority of simple rain chains cost between $50 and $70. Although most gutter downspouts are less expensive, often costing $5-$10, they sacrifice functionality in the process. 

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Yes, they guide water away from your roof, but the majority of gutter downspouts are constructed of aluminum. As a consequence, they are easily damaged or detached from the roof, necessitating repair and reinstallation on a regular basis.

Another disadvantage of a standard gutter downspout is that leaves and other natural debris may readily clog it. As a consequence, in order for them to work effectively, they must be cleaned on a regular basis. 

Rain chains, on the other hand, are usually constructed of more durable materials like stainless steel or copper, and are much simpler to clean than the interior of a downspout tube. 

Tools with a Wide Range of Applications

Rain chains have the advantage of being versatile enough to be used for a variety of applications. Rain chains may be used to replace an existing downspout, but they can also be used to support your gutter system, as we’ve previously explained. 

Some older homes may not have downspouts in the proper locations, resulting in dirt splattering at the foundation’s base. This may cause damage to the façade of your property as well as any flowerbeds underneath it. Instead of replacing your gutters and downspouts, you could simply install a rain chain. 

No issue if you decide after installation that a standard gutter downspout is preferable to a rain chain. The rain chain on your roof may be readily removed and reused for other purposes.

Although using rain chains as a downspout replacement is one of the most common applications, you may also use them to guide water into a planter, a collecting bucket, or over a crop or area of grass that isn’t getting enough water by hooking them onto a garden shepherd’s hook.

If you don’t want to use them for water collection or redirection, rain chains make excellent decorative items. You may buy a variety of elegant rain chains, all of which are simple to install and endure a long time.  

You may use a rain chain to construct an alternate fountain feature in your yard or hang it from your house instead of a traditional wind chime. Rain chains will attract the attention of every visitor, regardless of where you place them, and will add an added touch of charm to any outdoor area.

Creates a Calming and Quiet Environment

When it’s pouring outdoors, rain chains aren’t completely quiet, but their sound is more akin to a trickling stream than the noisy pattering of metal downspouts. A rain chain is a great alternative to a regular downspout if you’re tired of it being too noisy during the rainy season. 

Rain chains are significantly quieter than metal downspouts and create a serene, almost Zen-like ambiance. When it rains, instead of going inside, go out to your porch or deck and listen to the relaxing sounds of pouring rain and your rain chains. 

It’s even nicer if you have a covered deck or porch. Take a seat with a lovely fluffy blanket and enjoy the calming sounds of nature with a book or your favorite hot beverage. 

What Is a Rain Chain and How Do I Use It?

Rain chains are a simple item to set up and use. If you bought a rain chain just for garden decoration or water collecting, you can simply hang it on a shepherd’s hook that is at least a foot higher than your rain chain and admire its beauty. 

Here’s how to correctly connect a rain chain to your roof whether you’d want to replace your gutter downspout with one or want to use it as a decorative feature on your property.

How to Put a Rain Chain on Your Roof

  1. Mark the location where you want your rain chain to go and where it will divert water to the ground.
  2. Around the middle of the specified spot, dig a hole 30 inches wide and 6 inches deep.
  3. 34-inch stones should be used to fill the hole.
  4. Purchase a big flowerpot in the size you wish for the rain chain to channel the water. Ideally, you should look for a pot that is 11.8′′ x 13.8′′ x 13.8′′. This isn’t a job for a tiny pot.  
  5. Drill many holes on the flowerpot’s bottom. This will allow for a more regulated flow of water into the earth.
  6. Place the flowerpot on top of the hole, which should be filled with 34-inch stones.
  7. Remove the downspout from your gutter. If you’re putting a rain chain in a gutter that doesn’t already have a downspout, you’ll need to cut and drill a hole big enough to clip or place your rain chain within.
  8. In the hole intended for a downspout, hang the rain chain of your choosing. A rain chain with cups will further decrease any possible spatter or splashback, making it excellent for house protection. 
  9. Assemble the chain so that it hangs over or rests within the pot you’ve put underneath it. Otherwise, you’ll have to move it and maybe re-dig and re-fill the hole. 
  10. Fill the flowerpot with roughly 12 to 34 inches of stone. Allow the rain chain to rest within the pot if it is long enough. 
  11. Add a thin layer of river stones to the remaining area in the flowerpot.
  12. On top of the 34-inch stones, layer the remaining river stones around the flowerpot foundation. For a lovely border around the flowerpot, you should cover the 34-inch stone fully with river stones. 

Simply wait for rain after everything is in place.

Last Thoughts

Rain chains are a terrific way to brighten up the look of your garden or replace that old gutter downspout. Although replacing every downspout on your property with an ornamental rain chain might be costly, they’re perfect for repairing one or two when they break over time. 

Rain chains are, in the end, the ideal blend of beauty and practicality, and are sure to satisfy any gardener or homeowner.  

Chimes are similar to chains, so make sure to check out our lists of the best wind chimes and the finest Corinthian wind chimes!


Rain chains are an innovative way to save water. They allow you to collect rainwater with a chain and funnel it into a bucket or barrel. The pros of using a rain chain include the fact that they don’t require any electricity, they’re easy to use, and they’re not very expensive. The cons include the fact that some people may find them unsightly and that they can be difficult to install. Reference: rain chain pros and cons.

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