If you want to lower the amount of cleaning and maintenance to your gutters, you should think about investing in gutter guards.
Gutter guards were created exclusively to help alleviate the maintenance of having to clean out your gutters. They do this by preventing leaves and debris from getting into or building up within the gutter.
In this guide, you will see the top gutter guards available. We’ll also go over what to look for when considering gutter guard systems for your home and answer some frequently asked questions about installing gutter guards.
Best Gutter Guards
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Gutter Guards For 2020
- Raptor Gutter Guard
- FlexxPoint Gutter Cover System
- A-M Aluminum Gutter Guard
- Amerimax Lock-In Gutter Guard
- E-Z-Shield 10 Gutter Guard
- Spectra Metal GS5013M25 Gutter Guard
- GutterStuff Foam Gutter Guard
Gutter Guard Reviews
- Lengths Available: 47.5 inches
- Width: 5-, 6-, and 7-inch widths
- Installation: Screw-in, self-installed
- Made From: Stainless steel, aluminum
Gutterglove’s Raptor Gutter Guard is a dream come true for home and business owners who have trouble keeping debris out of their gutters.
The Raptor guards are the best gutter guards for pine needles and other small debris.
Made with professional-grade materials, these gutters are built to last. The stainless steel micro-mesh keeps leaves, pine needles, seed pods, insects, and more all completely out of your gutter.
The guard will not rust, collapse, or warp over time. These gutter guards were manufactured and designed to be installed quickly and easily, while still being flexible enough for installation with most roof types.
The installation guide included with your purchased guard is easy to follow and understand.
These guards were tested against the powerful downpours of the Amazon and handled the harsh conditions with impressive durability.
Even so, if anything happens to your Raptor Gutter Guards, Gutterglove offers fantastic customer service as well as a 25-year warranty.
- Lengths Available: 4-foot sections, lengths of 22’,102’, 125’, 204’, 510’, 1020’, and 5100’ per box
- Width: 5- or 6-inches
- Installation: Screw-in
- Made From: Premium domestic aluminum, stainless steel fasteners
FlexxPoint’s High Clearance Gutter Cover System is praised by happy customers as the best gutter cover for almost any household gutter.
The installation and use of this gutter cover is guaranteed not to void any existing roof warranties when correctly installed.
This gutter guard prides itself on its low visibility. The guard is also available in four colors – white, matte aluminum, thermal thawing black, and brown – that blend in with the gutters of any home and cannot be seen from the ground.
The stainless steel fasteners guarantee a secure, lasting installation. FlexxPoint backs up this USA-made product with a 30-year, no-questions-asked warranty.
That kind of warranty means that you can purchase and install this gutter cover with confidence!
- Lengths Available: 46.5 inch sections, lengths of 50 feet, 200 feet per box
- Width: 6 inches
- Installation: Screw-in with zip screws
- Made From: Heavy gauge .018 100% aluminum
The A-M Aluminum Gutter Guard stands out as one of the best DIY gutter guards to install. It also boasts fantastic performance when protecting your gutter from unwanted debris or overflow.
This gutter guard is a testament to solid design and manufacturing. Made of pure aluminum, it is guaranteed not to rust or deteriorate. It will not bend, warp or corrode while protecting your gutter from unwanted debris.
A-M Aluminum offers a lifetime warranty, so if your guard does rust, corrode, or warp, they’ve got you covered. All you need for installation are some ¼-inch zip screws!
- Lengths Available: 36 inch sections
- Width: 6 inches, but is compatible with gutters between 4- and 6 inches
- Installation: Lock-in
- Made From: Powder-coated steel
One of the best leaf guards for your gutter is the Amerimax Metal Lock-In Gutter Guard. It can be bent or cut to fit any metal K-style gutter, and the innovative design of these guards eliminates gapping.
Tight metal mesh easily keeps leaves and other debris out of your gutters. Each section is a single piece of metal mesh, with a flat end to slide under the roof shingles while an opposing, curved end snaps onto the outside edge of the gutter.
The metal mesh is made of powder-coated steel and is guaranteed to stand up to changing, inclement, and harsh weather conditions. The powder coating helps the steel to resist rust and corrosion.
The Amerimax Metal Lock-In Gutter Guard is made in the USA and has a 10-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
- Lengths Available: Ten 4-foot sections
- Width: 5 inches
- Installation: Lock-in/Snap-in
- Made From: Heavy-duty, black painted aluminum
For the best gutter protection, you should consider the E-Z Shield 10 Gutter Guard. These guards fit most 5-inch gutters used in over 80 percent of homes.
The solid, durable aluminum of these guards is resistant to corrosion and rust. They are easy to install, snapping right into place with little effort but offering strong stability and security.
They will stay in place through harsh weather conditions while protecting your gutters from any variety of debris.
E-Z-Gutter has been innovating and leading the gutter protection market since 1983, and continues to do so with this model of guard.
The additional black paint coating on these aluminum gutter guards allows seamless blending with your roof, and also allows the aluminum to absorb heat from the sun to melt ice or snow.
- Packages Available: 5in x 3ft, 5in x 4ft, and 6in x 4ft
- Width: 5 inches
- Installation: Lock-in/Self-locking C-clips
- Made From: Durable, coated aluminum
If you’re looking for an easy-to-install, inexpensive gutter guard, the Spectra Self-Locking Metal Gutter Guard should be one that you consider.
A pack of these gutter guards includes 25 guards as well as the self-locking C-clips needed to keep them securely on your gutter.
Installation only requires the C-clips and makes this one of the easiest guards to install yourself.
Made of durable aluminum coated with corrosion-resistant material, you can rest assured knowing that these guards will hold up against anything trying to clog your gutter.
- Lengths Available: 32’, 96’, 144’, 192’
- Width: 4”, 5”, and 6” widths
- Installation: Insert
- Made From: Foam
As far as foam is considered, the GutterStuff Foam Gutter Guards are the best gutter guards around. The foam insert requires no nails, screws, or tools to protect your gutters from debris!
The naturally-porous foam allows adequate water flow through your gutter, while the foam itself blocks and protects your gutter from being clogged or backed up by large debris like twigs, leaves, and seeds.
GutterStuff guarantees its cost-effective, easily-installed gutter guard foam will effectively meet your gutter guarding expectations and needs. That’s why they automatically back up their products with a 5-year warranty.
Gutter Guard Comparison Table
|Raptor Gutter Guard||47.5" sections||5", 6", 7"||Screw-in||Stainless Steel||4.7 / 5.0|
|FlexxPoint Gutter System||48" sections||5", 6"||Screw-in||Aluminum||4.8 / 5.0|
|A-M Gutter Guard||46.5" sections||6"||Screw-in||Aluminum||4.9 / 5.0|
|Amerimax Lock-In||36" sections||6"||Lock-in||Powder-coated steel||4.6 / 5.0|
|E-Z-Shield 10 Gutter Guard||48" sections||5"||Lock-in||Aluminum||4.1 / 5.0|
|Spectra Gutter Guard||36", 48" sections||5", 6"||Lock-in||Aluminum||4.5 / 5.0|
|GutterStuff Gutter Guard||48" sections||4", 5", 6"||Insert||Foam||4.3 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Gutter Guards: An In-Depth Guide
There are five different types of gutter guards generally seen on the market. All of these types come with their own pros and cons.
Brush Gutter Guards
Brush gutter guards are typically of the cheapest, simplest options for keeping your gutters clean and free of debris. The guards are exactly as they sound: they are cylindrical brushes with tall bristles that sit in your gutter.
These gutter guards are designed to act as a debris filter, keeping any debris that finds its way into your gutter up on top of the bristles. This will allow the water to continue flowing through to the downspout. Most often, they are made from durable materials that can withstand weather changes, rust, corrosion, and rot.
They are generally inexpensive and friendly to any budget. One of the other main benefits of using a brush model gutter guard is that there is very little effort required for proper installation. These guards simply sit inside of the gutter and don’t need to be tied down or secured with clamps, clips or screws.
Considering their simple design and installation method, brush gutter guards are a great, one-size-fits-all option. Homeowners don’t have to worry about not getting the correct guards for their gutters with these guards.
However, with the convenience of these guards, there are also drawbacks. The brushes can sometimes hinder water from being able to flow properly through the gutter and also don’t allow debris to slip off the top.
This means that, while the gutters themselves will stay clean, homeowners still need to clean their brush gutter guards regularly. Brush guard manufacturers will often claim that their guards are simply meant to reduce the amount of work involved in cleaning out gutters, rather than fully eliminating the need to clean them at all.
Foam Gutter Guards
Like the brush gutter guard, a foam gutter guard will be placed inside of the gutters and keeps debris lifted up out of the gutter while letting water flow through the sponge-like guard. Foam gutter guards are extremely common and can be found online or in home improvement stores with ease.
Manufacturers will often describe the foam material as being durable and capable of withstanding the weight of debris sitting on top of it. Manufacturers may also insist that their foam guards will not corrode or deteriorate. Foam gutter guards typically tend to be inexpensive and, again similar to the brush gutter guards, require minimal effort to install.
Unfortunately, foam gutter guards usually have more unfavorable traits than beneficial ones. Debris will still need to be cleaned out of or off the top of the foam, the same as the brush gutter guards. Water may also be soaked up into the foam, in a similar way to a sponge, instead of flowing through.
Grit from the shingles of the roof can get in or through the holes in the foam and into the gutters. Despite the claims of manufacturers, foam gutter guards may not be as durable as they’re advertised to be, and often don’t last more than a few years.
The inexpensive price of these types of gutter guards isn’t quite as attractive when you consider that the guards need to be replaced on a semi-regular basis.
Reverse Curve Gutter Guards
Reverse curve gutter guards are also sometimes referred to as surface tension gutter guards. These types of guards are considered to be more traditional in the sense that they sit on top of the gutter rather than inside of it.
The reverse curve gutter guard covers the entire open mouth of the gutter with a slight curve so that any water or debris gets directed toward the edge. The debris is intended to fall off the curve, while surface tension pulls the water into a small opening on the outside.
The design of these gutter guards is over a century old and has historically been proven to be an effective method of keeping gutters debris-free. As a bonus feature, reverse curve gutter guards usually has a small opening that keeps larger pest animals, like birds and rodents, out.
But due to the design of this kind of guard, the opening on the gutter guard will get dirty relatively easily as sediment and oil pass over it. The water pressure that enters into the slit isn’t strong enough to clean the oils and sediment off. Once the opening becomes dirty, water won’t cling to the surface and will instead run off the top of the guard.
Another problem of unexpected runoff comes in the event of heavy rains, which may give the water too much momentum to run into the slit. This has the effect of making the water run off and pass right over the gutter opening.
In addition, while the opening is often small enough to keep large pests out, small nuisances like bees or other insects are usually still able to find their way in. If that is true, then smaller particles of debris can also be washed inside along with the water. This will cause buildup in the gutters.
Reverse curve systems can also be arguably more expensive considering their downfalls. On top of the price, these guards will most likely have to be installed by a contractor or other professional, which will also add to the overall expense.
Screen Gutter Guards
Screen gutter guards are made up of perforated panels that filter water through small holes. Most debris cannot flow through these small holes. Typically, the screen gutter guards come in two different styles: hinged or flat.
A hinged screen guard is curved away from the gutter when installed. This creates a slope so that debris travels down and off the top of the guard. Usually, these guards are fastened to the outer edge of the gutter and can be lifted, which will allow access to the inside of the gutter for when it needs to be cleaned.
The aptly-named flat guard is a flat panel that covers the top of the gutter. It is typically installed underneath the shingles of the roof. This method reinforces the guard and makes it more durable, however, it does not allow for easy gutter access like you have with the hinged guard.
Also, by attaching a flat guard underneath the roof shingles, you may end up damaging the shingles accidentally. This may add another expense to gutter maintenance if not handled by a professional. Both styles are often made of metal, making them more durable than a flimsy plastic guard.
Whichever of these two styles of screen gutter guard you choose, you will find a durable, inexpensive product that will keep gutters clear of large, imposing debris. However, both styles have their own drawbacks.
Due to the rounded, sloped shape of hinged guards, debris may come from the top of the roof and may get stuck between the slope of the guard and the bottom of the roof.
That would mean that not only would it need regular manual cleaning, but it could completely block the flow of water into the gutter. Since they are usually attached to the outer edge of the gutter, they may also be blown up or even be torn completely off in the case of high winds or heavy rains.
Flat guards prevent both of these problems due to their flat shape and the ability to be reinforced underneath shingles. But as stated before, they can’t easily be lifted up to access the gutter, and installing them under the shingles may cause damage.
Flat guards can also collect debris on them since there is no downward slope for it to flow off the roof. This means the gutters would need to be cleaned regularly to prevent blockages.
Additionally, both styles of screen guards may need to be cleaned manually and regularly if smaller particles, like pine needles or grit from the roof and singles, go through the perforated holes and into the gutter.
Mesh Gutter Guards
Mesh gutter guards may also be called micro-mesh guards. They work similarly to screen guards. The super-fine mesh serves as a filter for water to flow through while capturing any debris and preventing it from clogging gutters.
Holes in the mesh guard are smaller than those found or used in a screen guard. This helps to fix the problem of having small particles of debris being able to get through. Also similarly to screen guards, mesh guards can be bought in two styles.
The first style of guard is one that sits flat on top of the gutter. The other style is one that is slightly angled down, using gravity to pull debris down and away from the roof. Typically, a standard mesh gutter guard is made of metal, which makes it durable and able to withstand extreme or harsh weather.
Mesh gutter guards can keep most types of debris out of your gutter, but the smaller holes that keep gutters clean and debris-free may also prevent water from being able to easily flow through.
It is possible that the water might get caught on top of the guard and could result in water ending up dripping off the side of the house. This can have the side effect of causing damage to the house and possibly even its foundation.
Slanted guards are specifically problematic in this area, especially if the water flow can gain enough momentum on the slant. This can cause the water to bypass the holes and run off of the gutter.
Oils and grime or grit from the top of the roof can end up collecting inside of the small mesh holes as well, causing blockages and ultimately preventing water from being able to get through.
Mesh can be flimsy depending on manufacturing and construction and may buckle under the weight of any significant debris build-up.
The force of rough weather or aggressive chewing or clawing by animals can also result in mesh destruction. Metal meshes are much more durable than plastic mesh, but can still be considered fragile.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Gutter Guard
With the decently wide variety of gutter guards and protection products, it might seem difficult to know how to narrow down the options to find the right fit for your gutter. There are certain variables that you can look for to ensure that your gutter guard will be efficient and durable.
- Keep in mind that metal guards are almost always more durable than plastic. They tend not to bend over time, which means that any debris running off the roof will continue to flow down rather than getting caught on top of the guard.
- The gutter guard should create a flat surface with the outside edge of the gutter, regardless of what kind of guard it is. If the guard sits beneath the gutter edge, it will usually create a lip that will capture debris instead of allowing it to run off.
- Guards with a lip on the inner edge, which is where the guard sits closest to the roof, can be reinforced by screwing the plate of the guard underneath the roof shingles.
Gutter guards that are made of sponge will often wear down easily and frequently trap debris. They will need to be manually cleaned on a regular basis to function as intended.
They might also collect water instead of allowing it to run through to the gutter to drain. This can lead to potentially serious water damage to your home and foundation, as well as encourage the possibility of mildew and mold accumulation in the gutters.
If the goal of using a gutter guard is to eliminate blockages, that should mean that you don’t have to clean out your spouting. Remember that technology and style differs depending on the manufacturer.
Take time to review any options you think may be favorable and find out which setup would be best for you and your home. Here are some more things to consider:
Every home has its own spouting, and it may vary greatly from your previous homes or the others in your neighborhood. Some have widths of three inches while others may reach six. You need to make sure that the gutter guard system or style you choose will fit your home by finding out the manufacturer’s recommendations.
You don’t want to spend money on a product that won’t work, and so the most important thing to know about a gutter guard is whether or not it really works as advertised. No guard is perfect, but it should take care of most if not all of your specific needs.
To get the most honest and accurate answer about whether the guard in question does, refer to the comments or customer reviews. There are thousands of people with experiences to share, and some may even be in your area, which will give you the best gauge for how the guard handles local flora, fauna, and weather habits.
If you tend not to be overly handy or good with installations, then you should give serious consideration to the pros and cons of buying gutter guards that require more complex installation.
Some of the best systems on the market may also take the longest time to install, but the effort is often worth it. Other systems also work reasonably well and require nearly no time at all to install. Find a balance between installation time and effectiveness that suits your capabilities and preferences.
If you are not comfortable on a ladder or handy with a screwdriver you should consider having someone mount them for you.
FAQ About Gutter Guards
Q: What is the purpose of a gutter guard?
A: Gutter guards are meant to do exactly as the name implies – guard your gutter. A good gutter guard will protect your gutter from natural debris build-up that could damage or deteriorate your gutter. It should also help to prevent pests, snow, and ice from getting into your gutters and causing unnecessary damage.
Q: What should you do about pollen buildup on your gutter guard?
A: High amounts of pollen can build up on top of even small micro-mesh guards. Excessive build-up may mix with rain to create a paste that will sit on top of your guard and can cause blockages. If there is a large amount of pollen building up on your guard, you should clean it with a hose or cloth.
Q: What is the best time of year to install a gutter guard?
A: The best time to install a new gutter guard system is at the end of winter or beginning of spring. When the snow melts and before new seeds, pollen, and nesting birds become active is the optimal time to install a guard. You don’t want any of these things blocking your gutter.
Q: What is the best material for a gutter guard?
A: Aluminum or stainless steel are both fantastic materials for gutter guards, as they will not rot, rust, warp, fade, or crack. Plastic tends to bend within seasons, depending on how drastic the weather differences may be. Foam, sponge, and brush will cling to debris, so while they are the cheapest, they usually aren’t the best.
Q: How effective are gutter guards?
A: The effectiveness of your gutter guard depends on a lot of factors. These can include not only the type of gutter guard, but also the style of your gutter, maintenance habits, weather, and more.
No guard is going to be 100 percent maintenance-free, so have realistic expectations of what you will need to do to make sure your guard is performing optimally. This may include regular or routine maintenance or cleaning.