Gutters keep water out of your home, but they can clog and stop working if you don’t regularly clean them. Homeowners who don’t want to constantly climb up a ladder to clean their gutters can invest in gutter guards. These products don’t eliminate the need for maintenance but significantly decrease how often you have to do it.
The This Old House Reviews Team has researched the best gutter guards and compiled our findings. This guide compares our top nine recommendations.
Top 9 Gutter Guards of 2023
Our research shows that the following companies have the best gutter guard systems:
- LeafFilter: Our Overall Top Pick
- LeafGuard: Best Reverse-Curve
- HomeCraft: Best Design
- All American Gutter Protection: Most Customizable
- Gutter Guards America: Best Materials
- A-M Gutter Guard: Best Screen Gutter Guard
- Raptor: Best DIY Option
- Amerimax Home Products: Most Affordable
- GutterBrush: Best Brush Gutter Guard
Gutter Guard Buying Guide
Consider the following factors before buying gutter guards.
This refers to both your roof warranty and your gutter guard warranty. Your roof comes with a warranty that lasts 20–50 years, but you could potentially void it if you purchase gutter guards that require you to lift up the bottom row of your roof shingles.
DIY gutter guards, such as foam and brush guards, don’t typically come with a warranty because they’re designed to be a temporary solution. Professionally installed guards, such as micro-mesh guards, usually have a warranty that lasts multiple years.
Decide if you want a temporary gutter guard with easy installation, such as a foam or screen guard, or a high-quality, permanent solution that requires professional help, such as a micro-mesh or reverse-curve guard.
A professionally installed guard will typically last the life of your home and drastically reduce the frequency of gutter maintenance. Most DIY options aren’t as durable, and they can be more challenging to install than they appear.
Gutters are most commonly 5 or 6 inches, though 7-inch gutters are sometimes used in locations with heavy rainfall. Measure your gutters before buying gutter guards to ensure they will fit properly.
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, such as All American Gutter Protection, offer up to 30 colors for those who want a perfect match with their home’s aesthetic.
Gutter guard products are made from various materials, with professionally installed products often exhibiting superior build quality to DIY products. Here is a breakdown of the materials commonly used to construct gutter guards.
- Foam: Typically only used for its namesake product, foam gutter guards, this material is prone to degradation from harsh sunlight and pests. Its porous nature also invites the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause costly damage to your roof and fascia.
- 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.
Our Top Gutter Guard Providers 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. Here are our top picks for the best professional gutter guards:
LeafFilter Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard
Our Take: Best Overall
LeafFilter’s stainless steel micro-mesh gutter guard is installed by professionals using a three-step process. First, structural hangers are attached to the fascia board, or the trim that runs along your roof’s edge. They then add a frame across your gutters to create a platform for the gutter guard to lay on. This installation method ensures that your gutters stay protected for years to come.
It should be noted that gutter guards do not eliminate the need for gutter cleaning. However, they greatly reduce the frequency.
Call for a Free Quote: 800-940-4391
Learn More: LeafFilter review
Our Take: Best Reverse-Curve
LeafGuard has been in the gutter guard industry for 29 years, and its gutter system is backed by the Good Housekeeping Institute. The company offers a unique rain gutter and gutter guard combination seamlessly constructed from a single piece of aluminum. The reverse-curve design easily blocks debris while routing water into your gutters using the scientific principle of liquid adhesion. Professional installers custom-fit the product to each home during installation.
Learn More: LeafGuard review
HomeCraft Gutter Protection Gutter Guard
Our Take: Best Design
HomeCraft’s guards use patented, diamond-raised technology that performs better than hooded or reverse-curve options. The guards are made from a combination of marine-grade stainless steel and finely woven micro-mesh to block debris while allowing water to flow through.
Call for a Free Quote: 855-434-3836
Learn More: HomeCraft Gutter Protection review
All American Gutter Protection Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard
Our Take: Most Customizable
All American Gutter Protection installs micro-mesh gutter guards custom-fit to your gutters. They come in more than 30 color options to match your home’s aesthetic. All American also installs new gutters if your current ones aren’t in good condition.
Call for a Free Quote: 888-495-7725
Learn More: All American Gutter Protection review
Gutter Guards America
Our Take: Best Materials
Gutter Guards America manufactures a micro-mesh gutter guard with highly durable materials that will last the life of your home. It backs up this quality construction with a transferable lifetime warranty and 100% money-back guarantee.
Its high-quality gutter guards are manufactured in the United States using a seamless aluminum frame and surgical-grade stainless steel mesh screen. The absence of plastics, vinyl, and adhesives means you won’t have to worry about any materials swelling, cracking, or degrading over time.
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:
Best Screen: A-M Gutter Guard Aluminum Gutter Guard
Pros and Cons of A-M Gutter Guard
✔ Is an affordable, DIY option
✔ Has a low-profile design that sits below the gutter edge
✔ Is made from sturdy and rustproof heavy aluminum
✘ Does not include installation screws
✘ Allows smaller debris to slip through the filter
- Aluminum material
- Five inches wide
- Available in 23-, 50-, 100-, or 200-foot lengths
- Lifetime warranty
What Customers Are Saying
Several Amazon reviewers in wooded areas said this gutter guard kept leaves, twigs, and branches out of their gutters. However, some customers said that it required more maintenance than they expected. For example, the gutter guard formed a valley that collected debris and caused pine needles to get stuck in the holes, forcing customers to clean their gutters multiple times per year. (Most gutter guards require cleaning every one to two years.)
Best DIY Option: Raptor Gutter Guard Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Cover
Pros and Cons of Raptor
✔ Offers DIY-friendly micro-mesh stainless steel guards
✔ Accommodates various installation styles
✔ Has a 25-year product warranty
✘ Is hard to cut for installation
✘ Has smaller mesh holes that can cause overflow issues
- Stainless steel material
- 5, 6, or 7 inches wide
- 48 feet long
- 25-year warranty
What Customers Are Saying
Based on more than 100 Amazon reviews, satisfied customers said these gutter guards were easy to install because of the instructions, drill bit head, and surplus screws included with the product. The main complaint was that the holes in the mesh were so small they wouldn’t allow all of the water to pass through during a downpour, causing water to flow over the gutters instead.
Most Affordable: Amerimax Home Products 636025 Lock-in Gutter Guard
Pros and Cons of Amerimax
✔ Are easy to cut for customized fitting
✔ Work with most gutter styles and sizes
✔ Are rust-resistant
✘ Have a paint coating that can cause overflow issues
✘ Allow small debris to still pass through
- Steel material
- 4, 5, and 6 inches wide
- 3 feet long
- Available in multiple pack sizes
- 10-year warranty
What Customers Are Saying
Though these guards can be challenging to install, several Amazon customers said they were easier than types requiring fasteners and tools. Some reviews said water rushed right over the gutter cover instead of going through it because of how slick the paint coating is on the steel.
Best Brush: GutterBrush Simple Gutter Guard
Pros and Cons of GutterBrush
✔ Is available through many retailers, including Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowe’s
✔ Has the quickest installation compared to other guards
✔ Fits with most gutter styles
✘ Filters large debris only
✘ Has frequent clogs
- Polypropylene bristle material
- 5 inches wide
- Available in 6-, 15-, 30-, 60-, or 120-foot lengths
What Customers Are Saying
Multiple Amazon customers were realistic about how well these gutter covers would work, understanding that they could only keep out large pieces of debris. Because of this, customers occasionally had to rinse smaller debris from the guards. Several customers complained the gutter guard didn’t work well in yards with many trees and became easily clogged by leaves and twigs.
Types of Gutter Guards
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 gutter guards have large holes that keep out leaves and other debris. You can 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.
Gutter screens also have larger holes than mesh or micro-mesh options, meaning they won’t stop finer debris from entering your gutters. Consider the types of trees in your yard before committing to this design.
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.
These 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 tear or damage them.
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.
While some DIY micro-mesh gutter guards exist today, most options 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 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. A professionally installed micro-mesh option will block more debris and have a larger impact on the amount of maintenance your gutters need to function properly.
Foam gutter guards are another inexpensive and easy-to-install DIY option. They require sticking a wedge of 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.
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.
DIY vs. Professional Installation
For the most part, DIY gutter guard installation is simple. If you have basic tools, a ladder, and good balance, you satisfy the job’s basic requirements. Often, DIY gutter guards feature simple installation techniques, instructions, and help lines in case you need assistance. If you want to avoid the hassle of scheduling and have a tighter budget, you can install most DIY gutter guards with a bit of elbow grease, determination, and a free weekend.
However, there are clear benefits to choosing a professionally installed gutter guard instead. Professionally installed products are typically designed to last longer than their DIY counterparts, featuring more durable materials and better product warranties. Aside from superior product quality, professional installers have valuable experience that can improve the life of your gutters and save you time and money.
Gutter guard installers also bring a trained eye, allowing them to point out gutter issues, such as sags, leaks, alignment issues, or missing downspouts. While installing DIY gutter guards is a serviceable option for most DIYers, opting for a professional product is the best choice for many homeowners.
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.
We recommend comparing at least three different gutter guards to find the right option for your gutter system. Use the tool below to find the best gutter guard experts near you.
FAQs 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.