Rain Chains vs. Downspouts

Rain chains are an appealing alternative to the standard downspout. They not only serve a functional purpose by drawing water away from the roof and channeling it into the ground, rain chains give your home a unique appearance that’s as individual as you are.

The basic difference between a rain chain and a downspout is that one is an open system and the other is closed. While rain chains (open system) guide runoff water downwards like downspouts (closed system) do, water pours freely over the rain chain. It is good to be aware that excess water from a rain chain could become problematic if it splashes somewhere it shouldn’t like a neighbour’s property or onto an exterior wall of your house. You can purchase a specific style of rain chain that reduces or minimizes splashing. Because of possible splashing issues, many gutter professionals recommend that rain chains be used for homes one or one-and-a-half storeys high and downspouts on 2-or-more-storey buildings.

Downspouts are usually integrated into the overall exterior design of the house, essentially intended to be as hidden or unobtrusive as possible. Rain chains, on the other hand, are meant to be seen. Often the rain chain is a focal point, and a particular style is chosen specifically for its decorative value. While both downspouts and rain chains can be used with rain barrels, rain chains have the added advantage of being incorporated into an ornamental feature such as a pond or the catch basin of a fountain.

A downspout is functional but a rain chain is functional and visually pleasing. If you want to add another esthetic element to your home’s exterior, rain chains are a viable alternative to regular downspouts.