Ever driven down the road and seen your check engine light come on?
After the initial shock of wondering what the heck could possibly be wrong, the next logical step for most is to get the problem addressed. And sometimes, the problem isn’t major – perhaps a bad sensor, a small mechanical error or something similar.
On the other hand, there is always the real possibility that your car has been telling you for sometime it is having some issues and the light was the straw that broke the camel’s back as the saying goes.
Now, we get it… you’re wondering what this has to do with your home’s gutters. Similar to that check engine light, oftentimes warning signs are there when it comes to our gutters. But just like the car trouble, we don’t always see gutter problems (for a plethora of reasons, one being height).
That is why today, we will teach you how to never have to worry about your gutters again! Here is what we mean:
- You will learn what the best gutter guards do
- Today, we will teach you the type of gutter guards
- Lastly, we will share with you the very best, ranked gutter guards!
The Best Gutter Guards For Your Home
What do gutter guards do?
Every fall, leaves fall, and some eaves will inevitably find their way into your home’s gutters every year.
In addition to leaves in the fall, birds love nesting in gutters each spring and regardless of the season, sticks and pine needles also clog downspouts and gutters. The correct gutter guard will protect your gutters from these issues – birds, leaves, sticks, pine needles – and prevent your gutters from clogging.
As we will explain later in this article, some gutter guards can do all three, but many can do one, perhaps two of the three. So the trick to finding the best gutter guards is finding a guard that can protect your home’s gutters from everything!
Lastly, options as homeowners is to either clean gutters 1-2x per year on your own, pay someone to clean your gutters (approximately $300 per year on average), or install gutter guards and let them do the work for you.
Now, if you’re thinking your gutters are not important to protect, obviously we are bias, but think again. An intact gutter system is vital to making sure rainwater and melting snow are displaced appropriately throughout the seasons. Protecting your gutters is a must to prevent bigger problems like foundational issues and leaks. Those brittle, dry leaves can become heavy monsters when they’re soaking in your gutters and downspouts for a few days!
All this to say, if you’re in the market for gutter guards, what are the best gutter guards?
The best gutter guards must do the following:
Rightfully so, some homeowners are turned off by gutter guards. They have had poor experiences with what we call low-quality gutter screens or vinyl gutter guards that simply don’t do anything but cause more issues.
While gutter screens, gutter mesh, and vinyl gutter guards are certainly the cheapest option, they do not last long, they need to be maintained, and they break easily. Simply put, you would be better off just cleaning your gutters instead of putting a cheap, low quality gutter screen on your gutters.
So if that is the case, what should be the best gutter guard for you?
- Look for a gutter guard that is self cleaning. This means you don’t have to clean the guards, which if you have to clean the gutter guards, why get them?
- Ideally, you want the entire gutter protected. Some gutter guards will protect your gutters from leaves, but not birds. And bird nests are one of the leading causes of gutter issues!
- What kind of warranty do they offer and can you adjust them? This last statement might seem silly, but some gutter guard companies have strict policies about their warranties. If you were to adjust a guard or get a new roof, you would have to call them to do it or it can void your warranty. Instead of you owning your gutters, these companies make money off service calls, and really they own your gutters!
All of this to say, we now know why you need gutter guards, what they do and what kind you need – so where do you start?
Common Types of Gutter Guards
Gutter guards can come in several forms including screen guards, surface tension gutter guards, and fine mesh gutter guards.
While the materials and design of each can vary, of the three, surface tension guards are your best bet. As you will later see when we rank the best gutter guards, our top pick is a surface tension guard.
Surface tension gutter guards are typically more expensive, but they do the best job. We will not rank any gutter screens or gutter mesh simply because they’re not real guards.
They are screens that are simply placed on top of gutters that usually break and sag, thus not doing their job (see below in photos).
Gutter screens we removed from a gutter installation in Alexandria, VA 2020:
What was underneath these “Gutter Guards” from the same job above:
That being said we will quickly explain each:
Screen Gutter Guards:
Screen gutter guards are the most common gutter guards you will find because they are easy to install. Pros for screen gutter guards include easy installation, inexpensive, work with all types of roofs and keep leaves out.
Cons: Easily damaged by sunlight and branches, can be seen protruding from gutters, REQUIRE maintenance/cleaning, difficult to clean, not durable.
Surface Tension Gutter Guards:
Surface tension gutter guards are the most durable on the list, but typically the most expensive. They are designed to withstand branches, snow, ice, and windstorms while keeping the bigger debris out. The positive with surface tension gutter guards is they last long and require zero maintenance when installed correctly.
Cons: Surface tension gutter guards are the most expensive on the list and have to be installed by contractors (sorry Home Depot DIY people). Sometimes, the difficult installation includes adjusting gutters, thus causing more work and they are easily underperforming during heavy rains. Homeowners report “Water flying off” their house during heavy rainstorms. This also depends on the specific surface tension guard!
Fine Mesh Gutter Guards
Similar to the screen gutter guards above, fine mesh gutter guards do not let anything inside the gutter system. Pros include easy to install, can withstand weather, customizable for roof types, simple to clean when compared to screens.
Cons: Still need cleaning and maintenance, limited availability and selection, and leaves can easily accumulate on top. They are usually just as expensive as surface tension guards, but they don’t work as well.
Ranking the Three Best Gutter Guards
3. Gutter Helmet
Gutter Helmet is a surface tension gutter guard that comes in at number three for a few reasons.
For starters, Gutter Helmet does a nice job of making sure leaves don’t enter your gutters, but they have quite a few cons:
Cons of Gutter Helmet:
- Birds can still enter and nest
- Rain water doesn’t always get into gutters
- Complaints of rain flying off roof during storm
- Over $20 per linear foot!
- Have to have them fix, adjust, and take off if you want to get work done to your house!
LeafGuard is a popular selection by many homeowners because overall, it does do a good job of keeping leaves out and protecting gutters. The design is made so leaves don’t enter the narrow entrance, however, water is supposed to flow right into your gutters.
However, the issue with LeafGuard is that when it rains hard, they don’t do so well!
The biggest issue with reverse curve gutter guards is that during heavy rains, multiple homeowners report water flying off their roof. Put another way, they don’t handle rain well, the most common complaint.
The small channel reverse curve surface tension gutter guards provide for the water through simply can’t manage all the heavy rain. Not to mention, they too are more expensive than #1 on the list!
So if the gutter guard can’t manage the heavy rain that accompanies spring and summer storms, what is the point?
Finally, we have your #1 gutter guard solution:
And here is your number one gutter guard for leaf protection – Raindrop Gutter Guards!
Raindrop checks the box for every single one. Unlike screen guards that are cheap but need cleaning, or surface tension guards that don’t require cleaning but don’t always perform, Raindrop gutter guards are known for their superior quality and performance.
Raindrop® is made from its own unique blend of polypropylene.
This special blend of polypropylene and UV stabilizers can and will withstand the harshest storms, hottest climates and coldest seasons imaginable. This means it’s perfect for any region and location. Not to mention the durability the polypropylene provides!
Raindrop gutter guards are designed to cover the entire gutter and prevent leaves, sticks, and birds from ever entering. Small debris such as some pine needles and other organic particles that enter are easily washed out by rainwater.
This is why we offer a lifetime no-clog warranty!
The gutter guards are installed under the roof shingles and attached to the front of the gutter creating a solid surface that can withstand heavy storms. Raindrop’s design is simple:
- Keep the leaves out
- Let the rain in
- Last forever
- Zero maintenance
Fit & Flexible:
Raindrop® is the most versatile gutter guard available, working with every style of roof and fitting the most common 5” and 6” gutters. They can even be modified to fit gutters ranging from 4” to 10”.
The “Flex-Flange” makes Raindrop® highly adaptable to work for every situation, thus installation is easy and simple. While we still recommend a pro installer to install gutter guards, Raindrop fits under the shingle and attaches to the front of the “K-style” gutters.
Good for Ice & Branches:
Ice and snow sitting on gutter guards like the flat-mount mesh guards can actually weigh down gutters. Due to their black color, Raindrop® Gutter Guards heat up from the sun during the cold months, naturally melting snow and ice to keep water flowing into the gutters year-round.
As the video showed earlier, Raindrop gutter guards can also withstand branches that would damage most guards!
Raindrop Gutter Guard Price:
In addition to looking the best, on average the price for the product you get with Raindrop is unbeatable. We might seem bias, but we seriously love the performance and price range Raindrop offers.
While cheap gutter guards don’t perform well and expensive gutter guards still require cleaning, Raindrop is right in the middle when it comes to price.
On average, a single-family home is looking at gutter guards can expect to spend somewhere in between $1,000-$1,5000 on gutter guards for their home. Or look at it this way – 3-4 years worth of paying someone to clean your gutters.
It is clear, while we might seem bias, the best bet for gutter guards is Raindrop. To recap, here is why:
- Best price
- Best warranty
- Best product
- Best design
- Least amount of hassle
That is all you need to know! Oh and before we part, feel free to use our sister companies gutter calculator here to figure out how much gutter guards would cost!