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If you’re tired of climbing up a ladder to scoop leaves out of your gutters several times a year, it might be time to invest in gutter guards for your home.
“Proactively installing gutter guards ahead of a storm or seasonal change can help prevent damage traditionally caused by clogged gutters,” says Jeff Beck, Chief Growth Officer of Leaf Home Solutions. “Getting ahead of the problem can prevent more significant issues such as foundation damage or mold or mildew buildup. They can also put a stop to pest infestation by restricting access to insects and animals.”
As you shop for gutter guards, you’ll want to consider factors such as the style—screen, micro-mesh, reverse curve, foam, etc.—as well as the material it’s made from and its installation requirements.
Here, the best gutter guards to outfit your home.
Best Overall: Gutterglove Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard, 10-pack
Material: Aluminum and stainless steel | Dimensions: 48 x 5.5 inches | Style: Micro mesh
Micro mesh blocks debris of all size
Works with any gutter and roof style
Nothing we could find
To keep debris of all sizes out of your gutters, one of your best options is Gutter Guard by Gutterglove. These guards are crafted from stainless steel micro-mesh that keeps out leaves, pine needs, roof grit, and more, and the innovative design also prevents debris from building up in gutters, reducing the amount of maintenance you have to do on a regular basis.
Each Gutterglove panel is 4 feet long and 5.5 inches wide, and they can be used on both 4- and 5-inch gutters of various styles. The brand’s patented V-Bend Technology allows the guards to filter rainwater more effectively than other products, and the Gutterglove is UL approved for rainwater harvesting. Each package comes with 10 panels that you can secure using the included screws or 3M VHB tape, and when you register the product with the manufacturer, you’ll enjoy a 25-year warranty.
Best System: LeafGuard Gutter Guards
Material: Aluminum | Dimensions: Custom | Style: Reverse curve
Custom fit to your home
Guaranteed not to clog
Requires professional installation
More expensive than just purchasing guards
If you need new gutters and are willing to pay for professional installation, the LeafGuard system is a worthwhile purchase—the brand guarantees that the gutters won’t clog for as long as you own your home, or they’ll clean them for free. LeafGuard gutters feature a one-piece aluminum design that’s custom fit to your home, and they have supports every 2 feet for unmatched durability.
This system comes with both gutters and guards, which can be installed on all roof pitches and types, and its unique design has a small opening at the edge of the gutter. When it rains, rainwater is able to run around the hood into the gutter, while leaves and other debris are deflected over the edge. LeafGuard gutters can handle up to 32 inches of rain per hour—way more than you’ll likely ever experience—and the downspouts are 30% larger than the industry standard to help channel water away from your home.
Best Micro Mesh: Superior Gutter Guards
Material: Aluminum and stainless steel | Dimensions: 36 x 5.5 inches | Style: Micro mesh
Blocks large and small debris
Made for DIY installation
Made in USA
May require additional screws for installation
If your gutters frequently get clogged with fine debris like pine needles or shingle grit, the Superior Gutter Guards are a great option. Made from a fine stainless steel micro-mesh that blocks out even the smallest particles, these USA-made guards only allow water to pass through. They come in 3-foot panels, and each package has 16 pieces—enough to cover around 48 feet of gutters.
The Superior Gutter Guards are designed to fit on 5-inch gutters and are compatible with most roof types. They’re meant for DIY installation, helping to save you money. The stainless steel screen has a raised design that helps to draw in rainwater while repelling leaves, and the metal construction easily holds up against heavy rain.
Best Hinged: Amerimax Home Products Hinged Gutter Guard
Material: Galvanized steel | Dimensions: 36 x 6 inches | Style: Mesh
Easy to install
Hinged design allows access to gutter
Won’t block fine debris
Not stainless steel
One of the problems with permanent gutter guards is you’re forced to remove the panels if you ever need to access the inside of your gutters. The Amerimax Home Hinged Gutter Guard solves this problem thanks to its hinged design, which you can simply flip up if you ever need to clean out debris. The guards are made from a galvanized steel mesh that will block large leaves and debris, with a convex design that won’t collapse under ice or snow.
These hinged guards come in 36-inch panels that fit most standard k-style gutters, and they’re easy to install using the included hinges, which clip onto the front of your gutter. The product is affordable and versatile, but the downside is that the mesh won’t block fine debris like shingle grit.
Best Foam: GutterStuff GS-K5 Foam Gutter Guard
Material: Polyether outdoor foam | Dimensions: 48 x 5 x 3.5 inches | Style: Foam
Extremely easy to install
Treated with UV protectant and germicide
Invisible from the ground
Debris can gather on top of foam
Water runs off in heavy rain
Foam gutter guards are some of the easiest to install—all you have to do is push them down into your gutters—and the GutterStuff is one of the best options in this category. These foam gutter guards are made from polyether outdoor foam that’s treated with UV protectant and germicide for durability, and they come in both 4- and 5-inch sizes to fit standard gutter models.
Because the GutterStuff is made from a solid piece of foam, it blocks out both large and small debris while letting water pass through. Each section of foam is 4 feet long, but it can easily be cut down to size using just a utility knife. Plus, the foam is completely invisible from the ground once installed, so it won’t take away from the appearance of your home.
Best Solid: Amerimax Solid Gutter Cover
Material: PVC | Dimensions: 48 x 6 inches | Style: Reverse Curve
Easy to install
Fits several gutter sizes
Made in the USA
Small debris can clog opening
Can come loose during high winds
Gutter guards that are made from mesh can let fine particles through, but the Amerimax Solid Gutter Cover is made from a solid piece of PVC that stops both large and small debris. This product has a reverse curve design that uses surface tension to channel water through its slotted channel while directing debris off the surface.
These gutter guards come in 48-inch pieces, and they fit all standard 4-, 5-, and 6-inch gutters. You can easily install them yourself without any special tools—all you have to do is slide the flat end under your roof’s shingles and hook the other edge to the front of the gutter. The flexible design accommodates roofs of different pitches, but the downside is that they can come loose during heavy winds.
Best for Leaves: Amerimax Hoover Dam Gutter Guard
Material: Powder-coated steel | Dimensions: 36 x 7 inches | Style: Screen
Dam design holds up to heavy rainfall
Fits several gutter sizes
Blends in with roofline
Easy to install
Fine debris can fall through
To keep large leaves out of your gutter, you’ll want a product like the Amerimax Hoover Dam Gutter Guard. These guards have a unique, dam-like design that features several ridges, helping to keep water flowing into the gutter during heavy rainfall, and allowing accumulated leaves to dry up and blow away. They fit on most 4-, 5-, and 6-inch K-style gutters.
Each of these panels is 3 feet long and around 7 inches wide, and they’re made from powder-coated steel for longevity. You can easily install them yourself, if desired—simply slide the guard under the first row of shingles, then screw the panel to the front lip of the gutter with self-tapping screws. The guards come with a 15-year warranty, and they’re a great option for homes that get a large number of leaves.
Best for Pine Needles: Amerimax Snap-In Gutter Guard
Material: PVC | Dimensions: 36 x 6.5 inches | Style: Screen
Easy to install
Filter helps block fine debris
Can sag or warp over time
Thin pine needles can slip through many mesh gutter guards, but the Amerimax Snap-In Gutter Filter contains a filter that prevents these needles and other small pieces of debris from ending up in your gutters. The snap-on guards are crafted from PVC, and they come in 3-foot panels that will fit on most K-style gutters.
To install these panels, all you have to do is slide one side under your roof’s shingles, then snap the other side onto the front of your gutter. When it rains, water will pass through the screen, leaving behind leaves, pine needles, and other debris.
Best for Heavy Rain: A-M Aluminum Gutter Guard, 5-inch
Material: Aluminum | Dimensions: various lengths x 5 inches | Style: Screen
Patented design holds up to heavy rain
Durable metal construction
Work with any type of roof
Installation screws not included
If you live somewhere that experiences heavy rains, the A-M Aluminum Gutter Guards are the way to go. These aluminum guards feature 380 small holes per linear foot, allowing ample water to pass through, and the ridged design helps to ensure water goes into your gutter instead of running off the roof.
These gutter guards are made from 4-foot panels, and because they’re designed to be installed onto the gutters' hangers, not the roofline, you can use them with any style of roof. They work on both 5- and 6-inch gutters and the brand offers a lifetime warranty against rust, rot, or deterioration.
Best for Cold Climates: All Weather Armour ArmourGuard-Ice Micro Mesh Gutter Guards
Material: Stainless steel and aluminum | Dimensions: Custom | Style: Micro mesh
Built-in heat cable
Micro mesh blocks large and small debris
Prevents ice dams and icicles
Requires professional installation
For homes in cold climates that get ample snow and freezing temperatures during the winter, ArmourGuard Ice is a unique three-in-one guard system that has a built-in self-regulating heating cable. During cold weather, the cable keeps the frame and internal gutter system above freezing, eliminating icicles and keeping water flowing—key to preventing ice dams.
This system includes a stainless steel micro-mesh, as well as extruded aluminum channels, and it can be installed onto any existing gutter system. The fine mesh blocks out debris of all sizes, only allowing rainwater to pass through, and the aluminum cover protects the heating cable from UV rays, animals, and other damaging effects of winter. The cable comes with a 10-year warranty, and the guard itself is protected for a whopping 40 years.
Gutter Guard by Gutterglove (view at Home Depot) is one of the best options for most homes. The micro mesh keeps both large and small debris out of your gutters, and the product is backed by a 25-year warranty. You can even use it for rainwater collection! If you need new gutters, as well, consider the LeafGuard (view at LeafGuard) system, which includes seamless one-piece gutters and is backed by a no-clog guarantee.
What to Look for in a Gutter Guard
There are several types of gutter guards that you can choose from, including screen, micro-mesh, reverse curve, and foam. Screen gutter guards involve strips of mesh-like material, usually made from PVC or metal, that block out large pieces of debris while letting water pass through. Micromesh products are similar, except the holes are extremely fine and block finer particles.
Reverse curve gutter guards are made from a solid piece of metal or PVC, and they use surface tension to channel water into the gutter through a small hole while directing debris away. Finally, foam gutter guards are made from long pieces of foam that are simply inserted into your gutter, making them quick and easy to install.
When shopping for gutter guards, you'll have plenty of options for materials, including vinyl, aluminum, sponge, and steel. Each material has its own benefits: vinyl is generally the most affordable option, but Beck advises going for steel or aluminum if you're prioritizing durability. Sponge guards are another option designed to let water soak through and larger debris fall away. “It's important to note that while sponge guards are an affordable option, they contain holes, increasing the likelihood of debris gathering," says Beck.
Ease of Installation
Gutter guards can be a fairly expensive investment, and you can often save money by installing them yourself. Many products are DIY-friendly, involving screwing or clipping the guards onto your gutters. However, some more complex systems, such as those involving heating cables, require professional installation, which may drive up the cost of your project.
How do gutter guards work?
“Gutter guards place a layer of protection on top of your gutters; it's your gutter's first line of defense against debris and clogs,” says Beck. “As water flows down your roof and passes over the guards, they prevent debris buildup while allowing water to get in and drain away from your home.”
Can you install gutter guards yourself?
Many gutter guards are designed to be installed by homeowners, and some can even be installed without the use of tools. These gutter guards are often designed to slip under the bottom level of shingles on your roof, and then they either snap onto the front of your gutters or are screwed into place. When installing gutter guards, it’s important to use the right type of ladder and follow safety best practices.
How do you know the length and amount of gutter guards that you need?
When purchasing gutter guards, you may want to initially buy just one panel to ensure the style fits on your gutters properly. Once you’ve determined that the guards will work on your home, measure the exterior walls of your house to estimate how long your gutters are. From here, take the total distance and divide it by the length of each gutter guard—for instance, if you have 150 feet of gutters to cover and each panel is 3 feet long, you’ll need around 50 panels to complete the job.
Should you keep them up year-round?
Many people choose to leave gutter guards on their home year-round, especially if the panels are installed with screws. However, if your home is prone to ice dams, guards can make the problem worse if they freeze. In this case, you may want to consider temporary guards that are easy to remove in the winter.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer for The Spruce. She has micro-mesh gutter guards on her two-story home, and she loves that they virtually eliminate the need for any maintenance.
When selecting products for this list, Camryn considered their effectiveness against different types of debris, ease of installation, and their durability. She looked for products with a good warranty, and she also spoke with Jeff Beck, Chief Growth Officer of Leaf Home Solutions, for tips on selecting and maintaining gutter guards.