Here Are the Best Gutter Guards to Avoid Debris Buildup in Your Gutters

The best gutter guard is Raptor Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard

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Commerce Photo Composite

The Spruce / Amelia Manley

Keeping up with cleaning your gutters is a big job. That’s why so many homeowners install gutter guards to make this chore easier and less frequent. “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 Jeff Beck, Chief Growth Officer of Leaf Home Solutions, a home improvement company headquartered in northern Ohio. Not only does adding these make cleaning your gutters faster, but doing so can also prevent damage and the need for costly repairs.

The Raptor Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard is our top pick for its effective micro-mesh, affordable price, and easy installation.

Here are the best gutter guards for your home.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Raptor Gutter Guard Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh

4.7
Raptor Gutter Guard Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh

Amazon

What We Like
  • Works with all gutters

  • Micro-mesh

  • Durable materials

  • Keeps out small and large particles

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

These gutter guards are made of high-quality stainless steel micro-mesh, which is durable, and effective at keeping out large and small debris. They are easy to install, and fit any type of gutter. Considering that you need to get a ladder and climb up to attach any gutter guard, knowing that it fits before bringing all of your materials up the ladder is a big load off your mind.

Also, if you use your gutters to collect rainwater for future use, these are the best gutter guards for you. The micro-mesh is fine enough to keep even small particles from contaminating your collected water. Not only do they keep out larger items, such as leaves and animals, but they also bar pine needles, dirt, and insects. A trough funnels even heavy rains through the gutter.

These are a bit pricey, around $2 per foot. The package holds 12 panels. But given that they work for so many situations and are durable, many people believe this is a good investment. If you are into gutter DIY and install them yourself, it can make them very affordable. Fortunately, the purchase includes self-tapping, corrosion-resistant screws and all the tools needed to install them.

Style: Micro-mesh | Material: Stainless steel︱Dimensions: ‎47.5 x 5.5 x 0.25 inches

Best Budget: Gutterglove Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard, 10-pack

4.9
Gutterglove Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard

Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes with all installation hardware

  • Micro-mesh

  • Comes in smaller panels

What We Don't Like
  • Larger package is expensive

Who else recommends it? Forbes also picked the Gutterglove Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard. 


What do buyers say? 8,000+ Home Depot reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above. 

Leaves and pine needles are two of the most common nuisances that cause homeowners to look into gutter guards, and the Gutterglove is one of the best for these problems. They are also effective on dirt and grit from your shingles and even small insects.

Another micro-mesh gutter guard, this option from Gutterglove comes in smaller increments of 4 feet; if you only need smaller sections, this is a great option to keep costs down while still getting great protection from debris. While you can purchase a 48-foot package, it can get more expensive, however.

This is another easy-to-install option. You can use the included 3M tape to secure the gutter guard, although we recommend reinforcing it with the self-tapping screws.

Style: Micro-mesh | Material: Stainless steel︱Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.5 x 0.375 inches

Best Screen: Superior Gutter Guards

Superior Gutter Guards

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Screen design funnels water

  • Micro-mesh

  • Comes with hardware for DIY installation

What We Don't Like
  • Helpful to have extra screws

  • Ladder or boom adds to cost

The raised screen on these gutter guards draws rainwater into the gutter. The guards are micro-mesh and work to keep leaves, pine needles, dirt, and insects out of the gutter. The only thing getting through is water. While you likely can’t see the design or enjoy how it looks, you can be happy knowing that it is funneling the water where it needs to go.

These are designed for DIY installation. The purchase comes with self-tapping screws and a driver bit to get them installed quickly. (It can be helpful to have extra screws on hand, however.) If you use your ladder to install them, you avoid the expense of renting a boom.

Style: Micro-mesh | Material: Stainless steel︱Dimensions: 38.8 x 6.6 x 4.5 inches

Best Aluminum: A-M Aluminum Gutter Guard, 5-inch

A-M Aluminum Gutter Guard, 5-inch

Amazon

What We Like
  • Heavy-gauge aluminum

  • Lifetime warranty

  • Multiple sizes and lengths

  • Not as visible

What We Don't Like
  • Small particles can get through

  • Installation screws not included

Many gutter guards have only aluminum lips, but the A-M aluminum gutter guard is made entirely out of aluminum. Aluminum doesn’t rust, and these are made with heavy-gauge aluminum. Better yet, the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty against rust, rot, and product deterioration. Unfortunately, because they are made with thicker aluminum rather than a fine mesh, small particles, such as pine needles, can still get through the larger holes.

This product fits all 5-inch gutters and is designed for easy install, although you need your own screws. There are also options for 6-inch gutters, as well as multiple lengths. You also can get a custom fit and length, which is important for the gutter guard to be effective and to last.

Another advantage is this gutter guard is not visible from the ground, a plus if your home is part of a development or community with strict rules, or if you just prefer a more streamlined look. A-Ms also complement rain chains and other home improvement items that are decorative and functional.

Style: Screen | Material: Aluminum︱Dimensions: Various lengths x 5 or 6 inches

Best Plastic: Amerimax Solid Gutter Cover

Amerimax Home Products Solid Gutter Cover

Home Depot

What We Like
  • Easy to install

  • Fits a variety of size gutters

  • Keeps out small particles

What We Don't Like
  • Fails faster

  • Not great in heavy winds

There are pros and cons to using a solid gutter cover such as this one from Amerimax made of PVC. Leaves, small insects, pine needles, and even the smallest pieces of dirt have a hard time getting into the gutters with these guards. However, water can enter the gutter via a small opening underneath the nose on the outside edge.

These are easy to install and fit for gutters 4 to 6 inches wide. The main drawback is they are not as durable as the metal counterparts. Because they are solid on top, they also collect debris, which can weigh them down and ultimately cause failure. During heavy winds, they are particularly vulnerable to being blown off.

Style: Reverse curve | Material: Plastic︱Dimensions: 48 x 6 x 1 inches

Best System: LeafGuard Gutter Guards

LeafGuard

Courtesy of LeafGuard

What We Like
  • No-clog guarantee

  • Very durable

  • Good for all conditions

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Requires pro installation

If you want something customized for your home, consider the LeafGuard gutter system. These are expensive and require professional installation, but it’s hard to beat their guarantee. If your gutters clog at any point while you own your home, LeafGuard cleans them at no cost to you. These gutter guards are a bit larger than some other options but can hold up in heavy wind and rain.

These gutter guards use the surface adhesion principle of water: This means rainwater stays on the gutter guard and travels around the hood and into the gutter. Debris, large and small, does not travel with the water and instead falls right off the gutter guard, which is reinforced from within the gutter and very durable.

Style: Reverse curve | Material: Aluminum︱Dimensions: Custom

Best Brush: The GutterBrush Simple Gutter Guard GutterBrush Gutter Guard

GutterBrush Gutter Guard

The GutterBrush Simple Gutter Guard

What We Like
  • Simple to install

  • No hardware or tools needed

  • Rainwater flows freely

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Debris accumulates on top

  • Can be unsightly over time

The concept behind a gutter guard brush is quite simple: A stiff-bristle brush rests inside the gutter to take up space that would otherwise become clogged with leaves, pine needles, insects, and other debris that can cause problems. With the brush in place, rainwater flows freely around without being obstructed.

The nice thing about a brush is you simply set it into the gutter without needing any tools. This brush also has multiple width and length options, as well as a helpful sizing guide. A brush can accumulate leaves and debris, but you still come out ahead because less gunk accumulates in your gutter. You also may get the impression that your gutter remains clogged, even though water flows freely underneath.

Material: Nylon︱Dimensions: Various︱Style: Brush

Best Foam: GutterFoam EZ 4 ft. Foam Filter Plastic Gutter Guard K-Style

GutterFoam EZ 4 ft. Foam Filter Plastic Gutter Guard K-Style

Home Depot

What We Like
  • Economical

  • Treated to prevent insect-borne illnesses

  • UV resistant

What We Don't Like
  • Not for heavy-rain locations

One of the most economical options is a foam gutter guard. These appear similar to pool noodles and fit right into gutters to keep debris out. The big benefit is they keep mosquitos at bay. The Gutter Foam EZ gutter guard is treated to withstand solar UV rays, and has germicide to prevent harmful viruses such as West Nile and Zika.

Unfortunately, foam gutter guards also do a decent job of keeping water out of the gutter. Light rain just filters through the foam and into the gutter fast enough to avoid buildup. Water from heavy rain, however, accumulates on top of the foam faster than it filters. It needs somewhere to go, and that somewhere may likely be your walls, damaging them. Homeowners in areas that experience frequent heavy thunderstorms should avoid this product.

Style: Foam | Material: Plastic︱Dimensions: 48 x 5 x 3.5 inches

Best for Cold Climates: All Weather Armour ArmourGuard-Ice Micro Mesh Gutter Guards

ArmourGuard-Ice Micro Mesh Gutter Guards

All Weather Armour

What We Like
  • Heated aluminum frame

  • Micro-mesh keeps out debris

  • Custom sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Requires pro installation

  • Higher electric bill

If you live in a cold climate, you need to consider steps to prevent ice dams from forming in your gutters. Ice dams occur when melting snow on the roof travels to the gutter and refreezes, causing a clog. ArmourGuard ice gutter guards are heated to keep water warm and flowing. They also work to reduce debris and dirt. The stainless steel micro-mesh prevents typical buildup, while the aluminum frame is heated to keep the gutter warm.

These require professional installation, which adds to the cost. They also need to be hooked up to a source of electricity, which may require running extra wires. You may see an increase in your electric bill as a result.

Style: Micro-mesh | Material: Aluminum and stainless steel︱Dimensions: Custom

Best Hinged: Amerimax Home Products Hinged Gutter Guard

Amerimax Home Products Hinged Gutter Guard

Courtesy of Home Depot

What We Like
  • Easy to install

  • Allows access to gutter

  • Budget-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn'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 need to access the inside of your gutters. The Amerimax Home Hinged Gutter Guard solves this problem with its hinged design—simply flip up the guard if you need to clean out debris. Guards are made from a galvanized steel mesh that blocks large leaves and debris, with a convex design that shouldn'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 the mesh doesn't block fine debris such as shingle grit. 

Style: Mesh | Material: Galvanized steel | Dimensions: 36 x 6 inches

Best for Leaves: Amerimax Hoover Dam Gutter Guard

Hoover Dam Gutter Guard

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Dam design holds up to heavy rainfall

  • Fits several gutter sizes

  • Blends in with roofline

  • Easy to install

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly expensive

  • Fine debris can fall through

To keep large leaves out of your gutter, consider the Amerimax Hoover Dam Gutter Guard. This guard has 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. These guards fit 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.

Style: Screen | Material: Powder-coated steel | Dimensions: 36 x 7 inches

Best for Pine Needles: Amerimax Snap-In Gutter Guard

Amerimax Snap-In Gutter Guard

Home Depot

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Easy to install

  • Filter helps block fine debris

What We Don't Like
  • 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. Crafted from PVC, the snap-on guards come in 3-foot panels that should fit 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 passes through the screen, leaving behind leaves, pine needles, and other debris.

Style: Screen | Material: PVC | Dimensions: 36 x 6.5 inches

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Raptor Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard. Not only is the micro-mesh effective at keeping out leaves, pine needles, dirt, grit, and insects, it is also easy to install, with all hardware included in the kit. The Gutterglove Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard has similar features and comes in smaller lengths for a more economical option.

What To Look For in a Gutter Guard

Type 

There are several types of gutter guards to 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. Micro-mesh products are similar, except the holes are extremely small and block finer particles.

Reverse-curve gutter guards are made from solid pieces 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.

Material

When shopping for gutter guards, you have plenty of options for materials, including vinyl, aluminum, sponge, and steel. Each material has its benefits. Generally, vinyl is the most affordable option, but Jeff Beck, Chief Growth Officer of Leaf Home Solutions,  advises opting for steel or aluminum if you're prioritizing durability. Sponge guards are another option designed to let the rainwater 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," Beck says.

Ease of Installation

Gutter guards can be a fairly expensive investment; often, you can 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.

Visibility

Some gutter guards fit over the top of your gutter and are visible from below. These are often reverse-curve or micro-mesh styles that attach to the edges of your gutters. Gutter guard brushes and foams that sit inside the gutter are less visible. Plastic gutter guards that match your gutter’s color can be good ways to use top-fitting gutter guards that aren’t visually jarring.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. Growing up in harsh winters and sweltering summers in the midwest, Katie learned the importance of keeping debris out of the gutters. When selecting recommendations, Katie considered different types of gutter guards that would be effective and easy to install, even for a DIY-type like her. She also included the insights of Jeff Beck, Chief Growth Officer of Leaf Home Solutions.

FAQ
  • How do gutter guards work?

    Gutter guards prevent debris buildup as water flows down your roof, over the guards, and drains. Different gutter guards function differently depending on their design.

  • Can you install gutter guards yourself?

    Many gutter guards are designed to be installed by homeowners, and some can even be installed without tools. These gutter guards are often intended to slip under the bottom of shingles on your roof, then snap onto the front of your gutters.

  • What length and amount of gutter guards do you need?

    When purchasing gutter guards for the first time, choose a single panel to ensure the product fits properly. Once you’ve determined the guards fit, measure the exterior walls of your house to estimate the necessary lengths of the guards. From here, take the total distance and divide it by the length of each gutter guard.

  • Should you keep gutter guards up year-round?

    Many people leave gutter guards on their homes year-round, especially if the panels are installed with screws. However, guards can cause issues if your home is prone to ice dams. In this case, consider temporary guards that are easy to remove in winter.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Here Are The Best Gutter Guards Of 2022. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/home-improvement/best-gutter-guards/

  2. Adhesion and Cohesion of WaterU.S. Geological Survey

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