Rain Chain Vs Downspouts: What Are The Differences?

I bet we are familiar with downspouts because almost all of us have at least one around our house. But how many of us know about rain chains? Though they work pretty much in a similar way, their appearance and working style have differences. That’s when the rain chain vs downspouts comparison begins.

Downspouts are sheet metal or tubing that runs from the roof gutter to the ground. Rain chains are also attached in the same way, except they are not enclosed like pipes. Both of them work as water drainage systems. However, while downspouts don’t look that special, rain chains are enchanting.

While downspouts are more traditional, rain chains are fairly recent in terms of popularity. But which one is better for your house? Are they worth having? You will find out everything about them today.

Rain Chain Vs Downspouts: What Are They And How Do They Work?

Rain chains and downspouts are a beautiful addition to your house, especially to improve its drainage system. They perform similar tasks but in different ways.

Rain chains are like hanging ornaments. They need to be attached to your roof’s gutter system. Whenever it rains, the water will flow following the ring. The rings are available in various types and designs. They help create a mesmerizing sound on rainy days.

Downspouts are also popular and suitable for heavy rain flow. They are made of metal sheets or pipes. The pipes are connected from the gutter system to let the water flow without splashing all over.

Unlike rain chains, downspouts are more practical and effective when it comes to drainage systems. You can set up downspouts as long as you need to divert water where you want.

The Differences Between Rain Chains And Downspouts

Understanding the differences between rain chains and downspouts will help you figure out which one you need. I’ve included a list of the pros and cons of both these features in the article’s next part. But if you would like to read a detailed description, take a look at the following.


Rain chains can change the visual of your outdoor landscape. Since it looks like a decorative ornament, which it is, anyone will love it immediately. It also adds an artistic touch to your house.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the downspout. It is more like an “out of sight and out of mind” feature. You add it for rainwater drainage and barely think about its existence until it rains. Downspouts do not have the visual appeal like rain chains.


The installation ease and procedure vary from design to design. Some rain chains are simpler to install. You only have to attach the chain clip to your roof’s gutter system.

On the other hand, many rain chains require different drainage systems or barrels to be added separately. These are more challenging to perform.

And downspouts are like that too. They are often simple to install, while they can be challenging other times. However, if you have DIY skills, you can install them without much trouble.


Rain chain and downspouts’ price is determined by how long they are. Typically, a rain chain is about 8.5 feet long and can cost $25-$250. If you don’t have a gutter or basin, the total price can rise to more than $300. A 20-foot downspout is around $120-$300.


This is where everything will change a little more. For effective water drainage, there is no better option than downspouts. They collect more water for drainage without splashing it. But rain chains come without any enclosed pipe and splash water during heavy rain.


Since your rain chain will be connected to the roof’s gutter system, you can clean both of them at once. Rain chain’s open design makes it almost maintenance-free. If anything gets stuck, you can remove it by poking it with a screwdriver head.

But you have to watch out for the winter. As ice amasses the rain chain during winter, it starts to get heavier. It will put more pressure on your roof and gutter and may end up causing tears or crack. So it is better to remove the rain chain during this time of year.

But you don’t have to go through that trouble for downspouts. The rainwater eventually keeps the pipes clean. However, you still need to perform routine cleaning and do not need to remove the downspout in winter.

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Pros And Cons Of Rain Chains

Here are some of the pros and cons of rain chains:


  • Rain chains are stylish, attractive, and used as a part of the decoration.
  • They are available in various shapes and designs.
  • They create a mesmerizing sound during the rainy days.
  • Easy to use and takes very little time to install.
  • Rain chains barely require much maintenance.
  • Comparatively less expensive than most downspouts.


  • Rain chains cannot gather as much as water like the downspouts do.
  • They cause water to splash outside the design.
  • They are not suitable for heavy pouring.

Pros And Cons Of Downspouts

Here are some of the pros and cons of downspouts:


  • Downspouts are more practical.
  • You don’t need to pay a lot of attention after installing it.
  • Downspouts gather more water.
  • They can handle heavy rain.
  • Even during heavy pouring, rainwater will not be splashed outside the pipes.


  • Downspouts are not visually attractive.
  • They sometimes cost more than rain chains.
  • The installation process can be a little tricky.
  • They need to be cleaned out from time to time.

Final Words

As you can see in the rain chain vs downspouts comparison, both of these structures have advantages and disadvantages. While downspouts are seen regularly, rain chains are still very uncommon in households.

Nevertheless, they are equally important and almost work in the same way. You can go for rain chains if you want something that can also work as a decorative system.

On the other hand, if you want something more effective and practical, downspouts are the best options for you. Whichever you choose, as long as it’s doing what you wanted them to do, it is the right one for you.