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Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best wind chimes

Wind chimes turn the breeze into music. Perhaps this is why people have been enjoying their melodic sounds since ancient times. In fact, the remains of wind chimes made from bone, shells, bamboo, and wood dating back to 3000 BC have been found in Asia.

While those ancient wind chimes had spiritual significance, today, most people just like to hear the pleasant tinkle, ring, or gong of the wind playing through the chimes. But which ones produce the best sound? Which sets are worth hanging in your yard, and which are better left on the store shelf?

If you’re ready to hang a set of wind chimes in your backyard and enjoy the sound, check out our five recommendations. If you’d like to learn more about wind chimes in general, including how to pick the best set for you, read the shopping guide.

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Many wind chime makers can engrave the sail to your specifications, making the wind chimes a lovely gift for a wedding, birthday, or other special occasion.

Wind chime parts

Wind chimes are percussion instruments that make sounds when moved by the breeze. When discussing wind chimes, it helps to know their parts.

  • The metal or knotted string loop at the top is for hanging the chimes.

  • The suspension cords stretch from the hanging loop to the suspension platform. They can be synthetic cord or thick string.

  • The suspension platform is usually round. It can be made of wood, plastic, ceramic, or metal.

  • The tubes hang from the suspension platform. They produce the sound and can be metal, glass, seashell, bamboo, or other materials. Their material, width, length, and number determine the types of sounds produced.

  • The clapper, or striker, is suspended in the middle of the tubes. As the wind blows through the chimes, it causes the clapper to strike the tubes, creating the sounds.

  • The sail dangles from the clapper on a thick cord and hangs below the tubes. It helps catch the wind and provide momentum to swing the clapper back and forth. It can be made of wood, bamboo, ceramic, glass, shell, or plastic. The larger the sail, the stronger the wind needed to move it.

When purchasing wind chimes, keep in mind that the stated length is usually the total distance from the top of the hanging loop to the bottom of the sail, not just the length of the tubes.

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Expert Tip
If you live in an apartment or have neighbors nearby, be sure your chimes aren’t going to bother other people. Some apartment complexes forbid outdoor wind chimes altogether, so check with management before hanging them.

Wind chime tube materials

You’ll find wind chime tubes made from a variety of materials.


Metal is the most popular and the most musical. You’ll find metal chimes made of copper, aluminum, and steel. High-quality, artisanal wind chimes are often tuned to specific notes or tones and sometimes designed to play the notes found in popular songs or hymns. Metal is the most durable material.


Bamboo wind chimes are also popular, especially if you like Asian or natural themes. Lightweight bamboo tubes produce a soothing, natural sound somewhat reminiscent of running water or rain, but they can’t be tuned the way metal tubes can. Bamboo is not as durable as metal, and the tubes may eventually crack if hung outdoors.

Capiz shell

Capiz shell wind chimes are not really musical; their sound is more of a gentle clatter. They are colorful and add a tropical touch to your yard. They are not nearly as durable as metal or bamboo chimes, so they should be hung in a protected location.

Glass or ceramic

Glass or ceramic wind chimes produce a lovely and soothing sound like the sound you hear when gently tapping a fork against a metal glass, but they aren’t really musical. These wind chimes are delicate, so they aren’t for use in any location subject to strong winds.

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Did you know?
Most artisanal or high-quality wind chimes begin ringing when wind speed is over six miles per hour.

Wind chime sounds

Do you like a pleasant tinkling sound, or do you prefer church bells or gongs? The size of the tubes – both diameter and length – determines the type of sound the wind chimes produce. This is the most pronounced with metal tubes, but you’ll also notice the effect with bamboo chimes.

For the highest tones, look for wind chimes that are less than a foot to two feet long (from the top of the hanging ring to the bottom of the sail). Their sound is more of a ringing tinkle than a deep bell.

For sounds in the middle range, look for wind chimes that are two or three feet long. These chimes often have more tubes than longer wind chimes and so produce a wider variety of tones.

For the deepest sounds, you’ll want wind chime tubes that are four feet or more in length. These chimes produce low, long-lasting baritone, tenor, or bass tones reminiscent of a church bell. You’ll need a high hanging spot to showcase these chimes.

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Did you know?
In quality wind chimes, the placement of the clapper is carefully calibrated to produce the best sound.


  • Hang the wind chimes directly from their hanging ring. Adding extra cord can alter the tone and allow the whole wind-chime assembly to sway rather than just the clapper and sail.

  • Hang your wind chimes in a spot where you can enjoy them, such as near a patio seating area, the front or back door, or on a balcony.

  • Hang your wind chimes high enough so you won’t accidentally walk into them.

  • Hang your wind chimes in an open area where breezes from various directions can reach them to produce the best sound. Try to hang them where walls, trees, screens, and other objects don’t block the airflow.

  • Hang your wind chimes in a protected spot. Intense heat and sun can weaken the wood and hanging cords.

  • Take down your wind chimes if the wind is exceptionally strong.

  • It’s best to take down your wind chimes in very cold weather to prevent damage.

"While glass or ceramic wind chimes create interesting sounds, and bamboo wind chimes can be soothing, metal wind chimes produce the purest, most musical tones."

Wind chime prices

Wind chimes vary widely in price, depending on materials and quality.

  • For $10 or less, you’ll find inexpensively made wind chimes designed for appearance only.

  • For $20 to $50, you’ll find small, decent-quality wind chimes that look and sound good.

  • For $50 and more, you can buy large, good-quality wind chimes.

  • For $100 and more, you can find artisanal wind chimes tuned to specific tones or music.

Don’t forget appearance when shopping for wind chimes. While sound is the most important factor, you also want chimes that look good and add a decorative element to your garden or patio.


Q. Can I hang wind chimes indoors?
Absolutely! While it’s true you won’t get much of a breeze indoors, a small set of wind chimes near a window will provide a pleasant sound.

Q. How should I take care of my wind chimes?
A quality set of wind chimes can be quite expensive. Take care of your investment by applying wood oil to any wooden parts each year. Wipe down the cords and tubes with a gentle dish detergent on a wet rag every few months to remove dust, bird droppings, or cobwebs.

Q. Does it matter how many tubes my wind chimes have?
Yes, the more tubes, the more tones the wind chimes can produce. You’ll generally find that medium-length wind chimes have the most tubes and longer wind chimes have the fewest.

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