- Materials: Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC), stainless steel
- Multiple color options: Yes
- Financing available: Yes
Gutters divert water away from your home, but they can clog and stop working without routine maintenance. You can invest in gutter guards to avoid the inconvenience of climbing a ladder and cleaning your gutters twice or more a year. These products won’t eliminate the need for cleaning but will significantly decrease how often you have to do it.
The 9 Best Gutter Guards of 2023
Our team researched extensively and created an in-depth methodology to identify the best gutter guard services and products on the market. Here are our top nine recommendations.
- LeafFilter: Our Top Pick
- LeafGuard: Best Reverse-Curve
- HomeCraft: Best Design
- All American Gutter Protection: Most Customizable
- Gutter Guards America: Best Materials
- Raptor: Best DIY Option
- A-M Gutter Guard: Best Screen Gutter Guard
- Amerimax Home Products: Most Affordable
- GutterBrush: Best Brush Gutter Guard
Gutter Guard Buying Guide
Gutter guards can be a self- or professional-install product, depending on where you make a purchase. Both variations typically have warranty protection, but the terms will vary among manufacturers and gutter service providers. The size, material, and appearance of the gutter guard should be key factors to consider when choosing a product for your home.
DIY gutter guard installation is fairly straightforward if you have basic tools, a ladder, and are comfortable with heights. Often, DIY gutter guard brands provide the required hardware, detailed installation instructions, and customer service lines in case you need additional assistance.
However, there are clear benefits to choosing a professionally installed gutter guard. Professionally installed products typically feature more durable materials and thus last longer than their DIY counterparts. Gutter guard installers also bring a trained eye, enabling them to point out gutter issues, such as sags, leaks, alignment issues, or missing downspouts.
Below, Kevin O’Connor demonstrates the installation of a gutter system with a built-in gutter guard tested to effectively handle 32 inches of rain per hour.
Self-install gutter guards are available from many gutter service providers, home improvement stores, and online retailers. DIY gutter guards typically are priced at less than $3 per linear foot; below are sample prices for three popular gutter guards currently available on Amazon:
- Raptor Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard: $125 for 48 linear feet ($2.60 per foot)
- A-M Screen Gutter Guard: $85 for 50 linear feet ($1.70 per foot)
- GutterStuff Foam Gutter Guard: $66 for 32 linear feet ($2.06 per foot)
Professional installers seldom provide pricing information for gutter guards without first inspecting your home to determine the required linear footage. During this inspection, the company will also assess the condition of the existing gutter system to look for damage that warrants gutter repair or replacement.
Many gutter guard brands come with warranty protection that typically corresponds to the size of the investment. Professional installs are more expensive but often include lifetime, transferable warranties. For DIY gutter guards, you will find that manufacturer warranties vary considerably, ranging from zero to 20 or more years. Cheaper DIY gutter guards, such as foam and brush guards, may not include any warranty protection.
You should also consider your home’s roof warranty. Some gutter guards involve a more invasive installation process, requiring you to lift shingles or put pressure on the drip edge. This can potentially void your roof warranty, protection that may otherwise be valid for 20 to 50 years.
Gutters most commonly have a 5- or 6-inch width, though 7-inch gutters are sometimes used in locations with heavy rainfall. Since gutters come in various sizes, it’s important to measure your gutters before buying gutter guards to ensure a proper fit. For a common K-style gutter, you need to measure from the backside of the gutter that touches the fascia board to the outer edge.
If curb appeal is important to you, choose a guard that either can’t be seen from the ground or comes in a color that matches your home’s exterior.
The micro-mesh designs offered by professional installers are typically not visible from the ground. Some installers provide multiple options for matching a more visible gutter guard with your home’s aesthetic. One company that impressed us, LeafGuard, offers its one-piece gutter and gutter guard design in up to 12 colors.
Gutter guard products are made from various materials, with professionally installed products often exhibiting superior build quality to DIY products. “The material of the gutter guard is essential,” says Andrew Johnson, CEO of Prime Seamless Gutters & Roofing. “Homeowners should look for durable materials like stainless steel or aluminum.”
Here is a breakdown of the materials commonly used to construct gutter guards.
- Plastic: Vinyl and other types of plastic are affordable materials often used for the frame of gutter guards that use a mesh screen. It can also be the primary material used in reverse-curve designs. It is good for keeping costs down and stopping rust, but it isn’t as strong as aluminum or steel and can warp or crack over time.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is typically used for gutter guard screens and bodies. It’s stronger than plastic but not as strong as steel. It is resistant to sharp temperature changes and won’t rust. However, if visual appearance is important, it should be coated to avoid forming a patina.
- Steel: Steel, or more commonly stainless steel, is the primary material used for mesh and micro-mesh screens. You may also see steel frames or bodies in higher-end gutter guards. It has the advantage of strength over aluminum but must either be a stainless alloy or coated to protect it from rust and corrosion.
- Copper: This is an expensive and unusual material in gutter guards, but it can be used to match existing copper gutters. While somewhere between the strength of aluminum and steel, it has chemical resistance to mold and mildew. You may need to use a protective coating to keep a patina from forming over time.
There are many different types of gutter guards, from DIY brush guards to professionally installed micro-mesh. Here’s a breakdown of each kind and their pros and cons.
- Screen: Screen gutter guards have large holes that keep out leaves and other large debris but do not provide protection against finer debris, such as pine needles or shingle grit. You can typically install them by lifting the bottom row of roof shingles and sliding the edge of the screen underneath it. Screen gutter guards are affordable and easy to install on your own, but they can blow off in windy conditions and become brittle over time.
- Mesh: Mesh guards are typically made of metal or plastic and have small holes that filter water while blocking debris. You can slip them under the bottom row of your roof shingles, snap them directly on top of your gutters, or attach them to the fascia—the “transition trim” between your home and your roof. Mesh gutter guards are slightly more expensive and more difficult to install than screen guards, especially if they install under your shingles. Lifting shingles, especially when it’s cold, can damage your roof or void its warranty. Additionally, some mesh gutter guard varieties are flimsy, and extreme weather conditions can easily damage them.
- Micro-mesh: Micro-mesh gutter guards are similar to mesh guards. They have small holes that keep out debris and allow water to flow through them. However, the holes on micro-mesh guards are much smaller than those on regular mesh guards, allowing them to keep out even small debris. Most micro-mesh gutter guards must be professionally installed. This is a costlier solution to gutter protection but is more effective, lasts longer, and requires less maintenance.
- Reverse-curve or surface tension: Reverse-curve or surface tension gutter guards are made from metal or plastic. Unlike other gutter guards that allow water to flow through the gutter, this type forces water to flow over the gutter and around a downward curve before dropping into the gutter beneath. Leaves and debris then slide off and onto the ground below. Reverse-curve gutter guards are more difficult to install on your own because they must be positioned at the same angle as your roof, which can be especially tricky for steep roofs. They’re also expensive and visible from the ground. However, they come in various colors and keep out most debris, even in the toughest weather conditions.
- Brush: Brush gutter guards resemble large pipe cleaners that fit into your gutter. When these guards are in place, large debris collects on top and water trickles down and out through the gutter spout. While this gutter guard type is easy to install, small debris, such as pine needles, can easily get stuck in the bristles, forcing you to completely remove the gutter guard to shake those pieces out.
- Foam: Foam gutter guards are another inexpensive and easy-to-install DIY option. They require sticking a wedge of polyurethane foam into the gutter to keep out large debris. However, debris can easily build up on the gutter guards rather than inside the gutters, and they must be completely removed to clean. These gutter guards are prone to deterioration over time.
Our Top Professionally Installed Gutter Guards of 2023
Getting gutter guards installed can help prevent damage to your home’s fascia, cladding, and foundation by keeping gutters free of clogs that cause rainwater to spill over. Gutter guards also cut down on how often you need to clean out leaves and debris but do not completely eliminate the need for routine maintenance. A professional installer saves you the hassle of a DIY install and typically offers a more durable product than what you can find from non-specialty retailers.
Here are our top picks for the best professional gutter guards:
|Gutter Guard (Brand)||Design||Warranty||Best For|
|LeafFilter||Micro-mesh||Lifetime, transferable||Leaves, seed pods, pine needles, insects, shingle grit|
|LeafGuard||Reverse-curve||Lifetime finish warranty, transferable||Leaves, seed pods, pine needles, insects|
|HomeCraft Gutter Protection||Micro-mesh||Lifetime, transferable||Leaves, seed pods, pine needles, insects, shingle grit|
|All American Gutter Protection||Micro-mesh||Lifetime||Leaves, seed pods, pine needles, insects, shingle grit|
|Gutter Guards America||Micro-mesh||Lifetime, transferable||Leaves, seed pods, pine needles, insects, shingle grit|
Our Top DIY Gutter Guards of 2023
You can purchase your own gutter guard materials and install them yourself. However, these options are typically less durable and installation can be challenging depending on the product, so take special care in choosing one that meets your needs and abilities.
Here are our top choices for DIY gutter guards:
|Gutter Guard||Design||Cost||Best For|
|Raptor Gutter Guard||Micro-mesh||$2.60 per foot||Leaves, seed pods, pine needles, insects, shingle grit|
|A-M Gutter Guard||Screen||$1.78 per foot||Leaves, seed pods, pine needles|
|Amerimax Lock-In Gutter Guard||Mesh||$1.33 per foot||Leaves, seed pods, pine needles|
|GutterBrush Gutter Guard||Brush||$3.65 per foot||Leaves, seed pods, pine needles|
Advantages of Gutter Guards
Not all homeowners agree on the benefits of gutter guards, and much of the debate can be attributed to misinformation. Whether you install a mesh gutter guard, a basic screen, or a reverse-curve design, clogged gutters can still happen with neglected maintenance. However, as long as you don’t fall for claims that you’ll never have to climb a ladder again, you can benefit from reduced maintenance costs and effort.
Gutter guards significantly reduce gutter cleaning frequency by blocking pests and debris while allowing water to flow through. This effectively prevents your gutters from clogging and you from having to clean them twice per year.
They’re also a great way to protect your home from damage. When your gutters remain free and clear, they direct water safely away from your house and avoid water damage to your basement and foundation. Water won’t back up and rot your fascia or damage your roof, either. Even when dry, leaves and debris that accumulate in your gutters pose a fire hazard to your home and its inhabitants.
The advantages of gutter guards make them a smart choice for most homeowners. However, no product is perfect. While they make cleanings easier and less frequent, they do not eliminate gutter cleaning entirely. Debris can accumulate on top of the gutter guard and require you to brush it away.
The best gutter guards can handle heavy rain with ease, providing efficient filtration and protecting your home from possible water damage. Though gutter guards don’t completely eliminate the need for cleaning, they save you time and stress by reducing the frequency. We recommend LeafFilter as our top pick for the best professional installation.
LeafGuard is another great option for its one-piece design that replaces your existing gutter system. We also ranked HomeCraft among our top picks, noting its unique, raised-diamond micro-mesh that elevates debris to improve filtration. For our top-ranked DIY gutter guard, we chose Raptor Gutter Guard for its durable micro-mesh design that offers protection against most types of debris.
We recommend comparing at least three different gutter guards to find the right option for your gutter system.
Note: BBB ratings are accurate as of May 2023.
FAQ About Gutter Guards
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our gutter guard recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each gutter guard product and provider. We conduct research by reviewing product specifications and provider website information, speaking with customer representatives, and analyzing customer reviews. We then score each provider against our review standards for specifications, services, reputation, warranties and discounts, payment options, and customer service to arrive at a final score out of 100.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at email@example.com.