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Rain Chain Buying Guide

Rain gutter downspouts are a necessity for any home. Their main function is to funnel water away from the base of your house to protect its foundation, but they also help to prevent leaks in basements and crawl spaces, and help to prevent erosion. Many people also use them to direct rainwater into a rain barrel that can be used to water their lawns and gardens. A rain chain performs the same job as the downspout, but adds beauty to function. Widely used in Japan, these decorative chains give you plenty of unique options when it comes to funneling water away from your home.

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What is a Rain Chain?

A rain chain is a decorative and functional alternative to a traditional gutter downspout. Designed to visibly guide rainwater down from your roof to the ground, rain chains turn your downspout into a lovely and unique water feature. They not only add a decorative touch to your home, but also add the pleasing sound of water trickling down softly or the soothing sound of water rushing by.

Known as kusari dol’ in Japan (where they originated), have been used for hundreds of years to collect water into large barrels for household water usage. They are also often used in temple designs, with craftsmen creating large, ornate chains that complement the beauty of the temple. Rain chains help the Japanese practice the ancient art of Feng Shui while also conserving water.

Styles & Materials

While these can be made from 100% copper or copper-plated materials, it’s recommended that you buy only 100% copper to prevent fading and rusting over time. Copper rain chains also develop a lovely patina over time so if you dig the aged look, you're in luck.

Rains chains are available in a variety of styles so you can choose one that is perfect for your home.

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Link Style
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Cup Style

While link designs are closest to the original form, many people prefer a cup design because they tend to splash less. Cup rain chains are crafted to resemble flower petals, bells, birds, baskets, and many other artistic designs. Images can also be etched onto the cup to accent the shape. Link chains also come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Perfecting Your location

It’s important to consider where the rain chain is going to be placed before you decide on a design. Since cup rain chains rarely splash, they are ideal for areas by windows, doors, and walkways. Cup designs are also more efficient thanks to their funnel design which helps to channel the water down to the ground or into a barrel or base.


Installation is usually simple and requires very little time. Rain chains are made to hang from the hole where the downspout was and uses a gutter attachment piece that is usually included in your purchase. Often times a separate installation kit can be bought if your downspout opening is too large, or if water is running along the underside of your gutter and dripping off.

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