Last Updated on April 14, 2023 by Mattias
I remember the first time I saw a rain chain at my parents-in-law and thought to myself, “What the heck is that?”,
Now, nine years later. I decided to make an article and cover everything about rain chains.
Can they stand high winds? How does the rain water pass to the rain barrels? And are copper rain chains good?
You will get all your questions about rain chains answered below. Let’s take a look, shall we?
What is a Rain Chain?
A rain chain is an alternative to gutter downspouts, both a decorative and functional alternative for your home.
It carries the rainwater that flows from the gutter down at the bottom of the chain and away from the roof. An excellent alternative to collect rainwater without the need for gutters. .
Rain chains have always been more popular in North America, but recently it’s become more common in the rest of the United States.
In Asia, it’s been used for centuries, but the “chain” originated in Japan, where a rain chain is called kusari doi.
The Japanese tradition “kusari doi” was used to direct rainwater into large pots for garden and household purposes.
Rain chains are still used to keep water runoff away and can be found on temples and homes throughout Japan. Something worth taking a look at if you are there on vacation.
Do Rain Chains Work in Heavy Rain?
Yes, rain chains can work in heavy rain, but for the best results during very heavy rain, you must attach your rain chain to a gutter or a downspout.
Perhaps you’re wondering if your gutter or downspout needs to go down to the ground. That’s not needed since the rain chain takes care of that. Even if a plain gutter downspout might feel safer, you have nothing to worry about.
Make sure to have a high quality rain chain, and you’re fine.
A rain chain can work better than regular downspouts since they often get clogged with leaves or other dirt from the roof lines.
Can Rain Chains Stand Heavy Winds?
Yes, rain chains can stand high winds and won’t swing except during exceptionally strong winds like typhoons. But if it’s a light rain chain, it might be good to use it in areas with little wind.
If you’re worried, attach the bottom of the rain chain basin to the ground or with a hook. Then you can be calm during heavy rain storms.
What Types of Rain Chains are There?
Link and cup rain chains styles are the two types of rain chains.
One model we like is the pineapple rain chain. It’s an elegant alternative when choosing a rain chain. It’s nice to find a rain chain that has a functional design because a good design is essential since it’s like a piece of jewelry for your garden.
Just some good directions for you to consider when buying a rain chain.
There’s also the traditional rain chain, as seen in the picture. It’s just a metal chain, but it’s also possible to get other link styles. It’s possible to choose one link style and one cup style and find a combination you like.
There are a lot of chain links to pick from, some are more traditional while others are more modern looking.
The whimsical chain, as you can see in the picture below, is becoming more and more popular. The unique look can spice up your flower beds if you put them next to them + water plants. (this is, of course, possible with all rain chains)
Here’s an aluminum teardrop rain chain that often pops up in design guides when buying a rain chain for your home.
As you can see, there are all kinds of rain chains, so finding one that fits your design aesthetic shouldn’t be impossible.
What Are Rain Chains made of?
Pure copper is the most traditional material used to make rain chains. But it can also be made in stainless steel, lovely patina, or aluminum.
If the copper isn’t protected, it turns into a tarnished green color, which many people find beautiful. But if you want your copper to stay in copper, make sure to see if it has any protection.
If not, you can use lemon juice solutions, wax coating, or lacquer spray to make your copper stay protected from tarnishing.
If you choose aluminum, that won’t be a problem since it doesn’t oxidize or rust. Which means it will have the same color all the time.
Why Should You Use a Rain Chain?
The best water feature of a rain chain is that it can direct water into rain barrels and landscaped beds through the gutter system. (just make sure to install it right on your rain gutter) It’s also possible to attach a hose attachment to your barrel, which is kinda handy.
- The sound of the water from the rain chain makes beautiful sounds, almost like a wind chime. The soothing sounds can make anyone fall asleep; the rain chain isn’t just an outdoor decor for us. The flow of water is like mother natures music.
- Rain chains are pretty and are meant to stand out in your home. It makes a home more charming in a sense.
- They are easy to install, so you can do it yourself or ask a family member to hang them up. But if the top of your roof is high and the gutters are installed in uncomfortable places, you might consider hiring someone to install it.
- Rain chains are affordable, it’s easy to look at these beautiful accessories and think, “wow, and how much does this cost?! But that’s long away from the truth. They’re pretty cheap and can be a piece of nice jewelry for your home.
- They need little maintenance, while gutters need cleaning once in a while. Commonly, leaves and other dirt can make your gutter clog.
- It looks like an ice sculpture during the winter or cold weather, which is cool. If you live in an area with a dry climate, this isn’t something you will see. But since the ice makes the chain much heavier, it’s recommended that you take it down during the winter period. So your gutters don’t take any damage.
- It can be used as decoration, some people just hang their chains on the porch or under a tree. Just to enjoy the beauty of it. So if you want to keep your gutters but still have a rain chain, it’s possible to do this instead.
What Do You Put at the Bottom of a Rain Chain?
You can put a cement or ceramic jar at the bottom of a rain chain. It’s also possible to let it sit at the bottom of the barrel if you’re using rain barrels.
The jar, or “basin” as it’s called, looks like this and is also like a piece of jewelry. But even if they look nice, you must have a plan for the water to flow away from your house. Since they overflew in heavy rain.
The rain barrels come in different materials, you can get one in plastic or an “old school” one made in wood.
It’s also possible to lead the water away using a french drain. Check out this video, Adding Rain Chain and French Drain. It’s only two minutes long and can be worth looking at.
This method is very functional and gives your home a new design.
Rain chains work perfectly if you want to lead the water to any storage containers and collect the rainwater.
How to Install a Rain Chain?
A rain chain installation isn’t hard. Check out this video on How to install a rain chain. It’s Roger from the YouTube channel: This Old House. Put some earphones on and listen to the beautiful sound of the water pouring down.
At the end of the video, Roger shows some cool styles.
Where to Buy a Rain Chain?
There are many rain chain designs with different styles, but if you want to buy high-quality rain chains for your home. You should take a look at our list below.
Sure, you might find some rain chains at your local hardware store to replace your ugly downspouts, but if you want to find a more stylish one, look at these sites. It’s also possible to find a decorative basin or copper basin.
You should look at this list to make your home look like a Japanese garden.
You can find rain chains at home depot for a good price if you only want them for their functional benefits.
Here are some of our favorites:
This one is solid copper and would fit very well with this good-looking basin. And you can’t forget the gutter adapter.
It’s also possible to find decorative cups or swirl links, giving your garden a good look. Or why not put one in your rain garden?
Here’s another one, the “leaves design” is truly amazing.
Do you know anyone who loves to fish? Then this could be a good present for that person, check out that design!
Some stores give you a lifetime warranty, which is nice, while others have the standard warranty, so look up that before buying.
But are you just looking for a cheap rain chain that does the job? Then this one could be a good fit for you:
Can You Make a Rain Chain at Home?
Creating a rain chain is a satisfying DIY project and no doubt cheaper.
With some creativity, everything is possible.
Have you made any rain chains at home? Please share your picture with us, we would love to see it!
Do You Need a Gutter Adapter for the Rain Chain?
You may need to purchase and install a gutter adaptor to your rain chain if your home is custom-built and has custom-made gutters.
Does it Matter Where The Rain Chain Hangs?
You must position your rain chain above the drain pipe with the hanging hook, so the water flows to the correct spot.
How Much Does a Rain Chain Weigh?
A rain chain weighs between 5 to 9 lbs. It comes in many sizes. Take your time to find the perfect size just for you.
Are Rain Chains Better than Downspouts?
A traditional downspout is better than rain chains. Even rain chains bring your outdoor space to life and have an easy installation. Gutters are the better alternative since the water flow is better, especially during heavy rainfall.
The place of downspouts can also affect your drainage system. Since you want to lead the water away from your house, it can be a good idea to make way for the water to flow.
Rain Chains Summary
I hope you enjoyed this article about rain chains and how they can be used as a beautiful drainage replacement.
As you discovered, they come in many styles, and there’s undoubtedly one chain for everyone! Hopefully, you got some inspiration from this article.
By the way, here’s a picture from my parents in laws chain. It’s quite old. But it still does the job very well. Their downspouts got destroyed last week, so they’re planning to replace them with rain chains made in beautiful patina color.
Meet Mattias Jonsson, the head of content at RainSaucers. Passionate about gardening and water-related topics, he’s dedicated to providing expert information and resources to help improve your home, health, and wallet. Learn from his research and experience.