Skip to content

Rain Chains vs Downspouts

Rain chains and downspouts are gutter systems to manage rainwater around a property. Both have their pros and cons. In this article, we’re going to compare the two types of gutter systems. By the time you reach the end, you’ll be sure of which way to go.

Rain Chains vs Downspouts

Downspout advantages


Rain chains have less water-holding capacity than regular downspouts. What this means is that during heavy rains, the gutter system connected to a rain chain will get overwhelmed and overflow, not being able to funnel all the water away.


Downspouts are generally significantly stronger and sturdier than rain chains. It will take a storm to get them off the wall, for example. For a rain chain, a strong gust might be enough for damage. Keeping chains close to the walls helps avoid some force of the wind – or just attaching the lower end of a rain chain to the ground with a hook works perfectly.


Downspouts are used to collect rainwater and take it away from the foundations of the property. That’s not the case with chains. Rain chains do not move the water. The point of moving the water away is that it prevents erosion.

Rain chain advantages

Rain chains don’t offer the same utility or water-carrying efficiency as downspouts. It’s not recommended to replace your entire rainwater gutter system with rain chains, especially if you live in areas with heavy rainfall. Chains do have their unique perks though.


Chains are much more attractive than downspouts. In fact, that’s the primary reason for their usage. They come in different styles, colors, and materials. For example, copper rain chains can patina over time, giving that beautiful vintage look. Additionally, chains can turn into ice sculptures when water freezes in the winters (though this can damage the gutter by putting too much load on it).


Rain chains don’t get clogged like downspouts do with leaves that float along the water in the gutters during rain and wind storms.

Pleasant sounding

Fancier rain chains have pails or cups apart from the central chain. This helps to slow water down as it moves from top to bottom. Water moves by trickling down on the next cup or pail. This creates a pleasant sound, much better than the drain-like flushing sound that downspouts produce.

Great for watering

Rain chains can be installed in gardens as an alternative, low-maintenance watering system. They can also be connected to step pots and planters with plants in them so that each cup provides water to a specific piece of soil.

Which one is right for you?

A rain chain is not a replacement for a gutter system built around downspouts. Also, if you’re living in areas with regular rains and strong winds, you will need stronger chains. It’s better to depend on downspouts for the utility while using rain chains in the front where they will be visible perfectly – purely for the looks.

Ideally, a rain chain is an aesthetic water feature that can be installed in a way that also provides certain utility. However, the main value out of chains installed around your property will be purely visual (and auditory when it rains).

Additional Source: How to Install a Rain Chain

Graves Development Resources | Land Developer in Omaha, Nebraska

Graves Development Resources (GDR) has been designing and building the market’s finest neighborhoods since 2000, with over 5,000 homesites and important commercial development projects throughout Douglas and Sarpy Counties.

Our pages showcase current neighborhoods where new home buyers may select from hundreds of home sites. We are definitely “phone friendly” and welcome the opportunity to provide you all the information you need before making one of the most important decisions of your family’s future. Contact us with any questions.

Published inBridgeportPier 15Springfield Pines