The 6 Best Gutter Guards to Prevent Debris Buildup and Clogged Gutters

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The 6 Best Gutter Guards to Prevent Debris Buildup and Clogged Gutters

The 6 Best Gutter Guards to Prevent Debris Buildup and Clogged Gutters

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Overflowing gutters are a HUGE nightmare for any homeowner.

Dirt, leaves, pine needles, and other debris blocking your existing gutter system are not only a pain to clean; they increase the risk of serious roof damage too!

With the right gutter guard, though, you can easily prevent situations like these.

Keep reading this guide to learn more about different types of gutter guards, how to protect your gutter system, and the best gutter guards for your home!

6 Best Gutter Guards for Your Home

Raptor Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard: Best Overall



If your rain gutters keep getting clogged up by both large and small debris, it may be time to get micro-mesh gutter guards for the BEST gutter protection.

These ones from Raptor are fully constructed from stainless steel, so they’re reliable, durable, and tough enough to withstand harsh weather conditions.

What Exactly Makes These the Best Gutter Guards for Your Home?

Well, because Raptor gutter guards are micro-mesh, their holes are small enough to capture fine debris such as pine needles and shingle grit.

In fact, the brand uses 30Mesh, which has a whopping 900 holes PER SQUARE INCH for optimal filtration.

This type of gutter guard will keep out all foreign particles from your existing gutters—while still allowing water to pass through—keeping them clean and clog-free!!

Another thing we appreciate about these micro-mesh gutter guards is their superb product design.

Only good quality aluminum and stainless steel are used, so they’re less likely to break, warp, or corrode over time.

The company’s V-Bend technology also adds structure to the mesh, making the gutter guards strong enough to handle the weight of large debris WITHOUT getting damaged.

Sounds like a product we want installed in our own homes!!

The only catch? Raptor’s gutter guards are a little pricey compared to other options in the market. However, you’re really paying for a quality product that will last you a long time, so it’s definitely worth the investment.



LeafTek Aluminum Gutter Guard: Best Value



Looking for a gutter guard that’s a bit more affordable but still very effective at protecting your gutter system?

Check out this one by LeafTek—although it’s made of aluminum instead of stainless steel, it’s definitely still sturdy enough to handle HEAVY DOWNPOURS!

Besides its build material, the LeafTek Aluminum Gutter Guard also has a different design compared to the previous option: Its whole body is constructed of thick aluminum instead of fine mesh, and it has fewer holes per square inch, sized at around 1/8″ diameter each.

What Does That Mean?

This means that while it won’t keep out fine debris as well as fine mesh gutter guards, it STILL PREVENTS other debris (leaves, twigs, insects, etc.) from entering your existing gutters.

Some people actually prefer this over micro-mesh systems, especially if they live in very rainy, humid, and cold climates where water evaporates VERY slowly.

Because the stainless steel mesh is so fine, water droplets can get stuck in between holes and cause algae or mold growth.

Fortunately, the surface tension of water isn’t a problem for this type of gutter guard.

Another unique part of LeafTek’s design is its patented raised vent ridges, which direct air flow downward through the holes of the gutter guard.

This useful feature encourages leaves and other types of debris to blow away from the gutter cover, AND it also helps dry out water collecting in your gutters, greatly reducing the risk of pests breeding there.

Clearly, you get HUGE value for money with the LeafTek Aluminium Gutter Guard!!



Frost King VX620 Plastic Gutter Guard: Best Budget Pick



If you just need a quick fix for your gutter system, or if you don’t want to spend much money on a gutter cover, then your best option is this Frost King Plastic Gutter Guard, which sells for less than $5 a pack!

Seeing as this is the most affordable option on our list, you’d probably be surprised that it still functions quite effectively.

It actually works well at keeping leaves, twigs, and small animals OUT of your gutter system! Don’t expect it to filter out smaller particles, but it WILL prevent most clogs.

Here Comes the Best Part...

Unlike some other types of gutter guards, this is also very easy to install.

We love that its flexible, plastic material can quickly be unrolled, cut, and attached over your gutters using only simple tools!

It’s simple to remove as well, you won’t have a problem with your roof warranties in the future.

But There Are a Few Drawbacks

Plastic guards are a lot less durable than steel and aluminum gutter guards.

Although it’s rust and corrosion-resistant, it’s prone to warping, breaking, and cracking, especially when exposed to extreme temperatures.

You should also know that plastic screen guards can’t handle too much weight, so larger animals scuttling around your roof might damage them without you knowing.

Over time, you MAY incur more costs because of all the repairing and/or replacing that needs to be done.

With that said, if you decide to go for this budget option, just make sure you take care of it VERY WELL!



GutterStuff GS10957 Foam Gutter Filter Insert



Not great with tools and DIY repairs? Boy, are foam gutter products THE products for you!

Here's How Easy They Are to Install

Unlike some of the other gutter guards, you don’t need ANY tools or equipment to install foam ones. You don’t even need to lift up your roof shingles (which compromises your roof warranty)!

All you have to do is cut them to size (if necessary), and insert them in your gutter system! It’s as easy as that.

Now, the foam gutter guards by GutterStuff actually come in different shapes to fit various gutter styles.

It doesn’t matter if you have older, half-roumostnd style gutters or the more common K-style gutter because GutterStuff has the right foam guards for those!

Once installed, they’ll trap debris effectively WITHOUT disrupting natural water flow, making for easy gutter cleaning.

However...Watch Out for These!

Because these gutter guards are such an easy and economical solution, you may be wondering why they’re not the most popular type of guards for your home.

WELL, that’s because foam isn’t as low-maintenance as steel, aluminum, or even plastic!

Foam-type gutter guards are soft and porous, so insects and small animals can settle there without you knowing. Foam can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew, especially when it’s saturated with rainwater!

That’s why you need to check on them regularly in case they need replacing. It’s a little bit of a hassle, but this gutter guard system shouldn’t cause you too many problems if you maintain it well!

With that said, these gutter guards are still a great option if your priorities are AESTHETICS and LOW COST.



A-M Aluminum Gutter Guard



This A-M Aluminum Gutter Guard is another popular option among users looking for sturdy and reliable gutter guards that are relatively easy to install!

Like some of the other gutter guards on this list, it’s constructed from aluminum.

But It's Not Just Ordinary Aluminum

However, this brand takes it a step further by using INDUSTRIAL-GRADE aluminum, which is supposed to be extremely high-quality.

In fact, any incidents of rust, rot, or product deterioration are covered in its lifetime warranty, so you KNOW these gutter guards will last you a long time.

This gutter guard is also easy to install because it has tabs with holes for the fasteners. Just pick up some zip screws at your local store to put it in place! No need to mess around with your roof shingles during installation!!

Here’s a tip: If you want a seamless finish, you can easily cut the material at an angle so they connect perfectly at the corners.

NOW, just how good is its performance, though?

Well, A-M’s gutter guards feature a unique bubble design that promotes airflow and filtration.

Because of this, leaves and debris are blown away, AND water can still get through to your gutters. This gutter guard has 384 holes per foot of material, so it can do its job well.

HOWEVER, you should know that some users experience problems with water flow when there’s HEAVY rainfall.

We recommend installing splash guards as a precaution, as the A-M gutter guard may not be able to direct the water fast enough into your gutters.



Amerimax Home Products 636025 Lock-In Gutter Guard



The last gutter guard on this list is Amerimax’s Lock-In Gutter Guard.

Like some of the other screen gutter guards we mentioned, it comes in a sturdy steel mesh material, but this one is unique because it also has a SELF-LOCKING mechanism for easy installation.

How Exactly Does That Work?

Instead of using screws or other fasteners to hold it in place, this type of gutter guard just needs to be inserted under the shingles then locked to the front lip of the gutter.

SO easy and convenient, right?

Before you go out and purchase it, though, know that this gutter guard is designed specifically for K-style gutters, so it may not fit properly in other types.

Because it needs to be placed under your shingles, roof warranties may become an issue for you in the future too!

If these aren’t a problem, then you’ll still be satisfied with the performance of this product. It’s made of stainless steel, so it’s definitely heavy-duty (and able to withstand the forces of nature!)

The holes are a bit bigger compared to others, so some smaller substances may still pass through, but these shouldn’t cause any serious clogs as soon as you clean your gutters every now and then!

Now, because this is a slightly more premium option, it’s priced a little higher than most gutter guards as well.

However, we DO think you get what you pay for—it’s a great product to have, especially if you don’t want to go through the hassle of replacing your gutter cover periodically.



What Are Gutter Guards For?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not ESSENTIAL to have gutter guards for your home.

If you prefer to leave your gutters exposed, you can certainly do so! However, gutter guards come with a lot of great features that could minimize serious damages and safety hazards in the long run.

How Gutter Guards Work

Gutter guards are usually fastened over your roof gutters to prevent dirt, debris, insects, and animals from entering and damaging your home gutter system.

These gutter guards are usually made of some thick material that’s sturdy enough to hold quite a bit of weight, and they have many holes to encourage water to filter through and go straight into the gutters.

Without an effective filtration system, water will flow all around the sides of your home, possibly causing serious structural damage.

Other Benefits of Gutter Guards

Besides keeping out debris and other foreign substances, gutter guards also prevent fire hazards AND add structural strength to your home!

Did you know that when leaves, twigs, and other dry organic material pile up in your gutters, even a small spark can quickly ignite a HUGE fire? Gutter guards minimize this risk because they prevent any clogging and build-up on your roofs.

The best gutter guards (usually made of durable materials like steel, aluminum, and copper) also strengthen gutter systems.

Because they’re anti-corrosion and anti-rust, they won’t wear out quickly or decay even after long periods of time.

PLUS, they help your gutter support the weight of accumulated debris, reducing the risk of any serious damage.

Types of Gutter Guards

There are many different types of gutter guards in the market, so how do you choose the right one for your home? Learn more about each kind below:

Foam Gutter Guards

Foam gutter guards are a popular option among those on a budget.

Why? They’re affordable, but they’re still practical, effective, and VERY easy to install.

These gutter guards just need to be cut to size then inserted into your gutters, so you won’t need professional installation AT ALL. You save on both product AND labor costs!

However, be careful if you live in an area that regularly experiences extreme rainfall. Unlike tougher and denser materials, foam soaks up water, so your gutter guards may rot or form molds over time.

You’ll need to check on these gutter guards regularly just in case they need replacing.

Foam is also not as effective at keeping out small animals and insects, so if you decide to get these gutter guards, just make sure little creatures aren’t hiding in them!

Surface Tension Gutter Guards

What’s cool about surface tension guards or reverse curve gutter guards is they have a unique design to improve water flow.

The textured and downward sloping surface increases surface tension, which encourages water to flow straight into the gutters, but it also stops debris from getting in.

However, because reverse curve gutter guards have to be inserted under your shingles, they also require professional installation. Yup, you’ll need to pay extra for labor costs, AND you might risk your roof warranty too.

Overall, although reverse curve gutter guards are quite effective and long-lasting, they can be a pain for the average homeowner. Plus, if they don’t match the aesthetics of your house, they’ll stick out like a sore thumb too!

Fine Mesh Gutter Guards

Instead of using reverse curve gutter guards, many people opt for fine mesh gutter guards, which are a bit pricey but also VERY durable, effective, and easy to maintain.

In fact, our top pick, the Raptor Stainless Steel Gutter Guard is made of micro-mesh! We think this is one of the best gutter guards because it offers optimal protection for your existing gutters.

Micro-mesh gutter guards work because they’re made of sturdy materials (usually steel, aluminum, or sometimes nylon), so they’re strong enough to withstand a good amount of weight and pressure.

AND, unlike screen guards, they have smaller holes, so they can filter out all the dirt, debris, and grime that come with rainwater.

There’s a small risk of them developing molds due to excess moisture, but as long as you clean them from time to time, this shouldn’t be a problem!


Speaking of screen gutter guards, these are still great options if you don’t mind some fine debris getting through and entering your gutters.

Their larger holes keep out larger items like leaves and twigs, but they won’t be able to filter water as effectively as fine mesh gutter guards.

The great thing about screen gutter guards, though, is they’re one of the easiest to clean.

With fine mesh, dirt can get trapped in between the tiny holes, but you can simply hose down these gutter guards and have them debris-free in no time!

Brush Gutter Guards

Brush guards are another popular budget option because they’re incredibly affordable, and they require ZERO tools for installation.

How does a gutter brush work?

Unlike other gutter guards which use holes for water filtration, brush gutter guards use bristles to catch debris. Like foam guards, though, all you have to do is insert these inside your gutters! Easy, right?

However, the catch is these need to be cleaned CONSTANTLY.

A lot of dirt and organic matter can get twisted in the bristles, so you’ll have to take them out and rinse them off one by one.

Otherwise, the debris could accumulate, making your roof (and your gutters) a HUGE MESS!

With that said, these are incredibly convenient if your gutters don’t collect a whole lot of leaves, twigs, and branches anyway.

It’s an economical way to be proactive about gutter protection—it’s just not a heavy-duty solution.

Gutter Guard Buying Guide

Now that you know which type of gutter to purchase, how do you pick among different brands and designs? Our advice is to choose based on these important characteristics:

Material and Durability

The best gutter guards are the ones that are made from durable and high-quality materials so that they won’t need constant replacing.

Naturally, these options will probably be pricier, but remember that it will save you loads more in the long run.

Our favorite gutter guards are those that are constructed from stainless steel, aluminum, or copper.

These tough metals can withstand different pressures, temperatures, and weights, so they’re really the best for the job.

More affordable materials like plastic aren’t too bad, but they’ll certainly wear out much faster.

If you have the budget for more expensive gutter guards, I’d recommend getting those instead because cheaper options could break and cause damage to your gutter system.

Ease of Installation

Unless you’re a seasoned handyman, you’d probably prefer a gutter guard that’s very easy to install.

The most convenient options don’t require any tools or equipment whatsoever, but they may not be the best gutter guards for your home.

For instance, though foam and brush guards require no professional installation, they simply aren’t as effective at protecting your gutters. Fortunately, most gutter guard installations are relatively easy and only require simple screws!


We touched on price earlier, but we just want to say this: The most expensive option isn’t necessarily the best gutter guard, but usually, quality does go up with the price.

That’s why plastic, vinyl, and foam-type gutter guards are priced lower than ones made of aluminum, steel, or copper.

Ultimately, how much you spend on gutter guards is up to you, but just know that a cheaper product will probably need more frequent replacements in the long run.


Lastly, the best gutter guards have a warranty period of some sort, so you won’t need to buy new ones if they corrode, rust, decay, or deteriorate over time.

Talk about getting your money’s worth, right?

Always check out the warranty policy of the brand you’re purchasing from so you’re properly informed just in case the product fails on you!

If possible, look for companies that offer lifetime warranties; that way, you won’t have to spend loads on repairs in the future.

How to Install Gutter Guards

After buying your gutter guards, the next step is, of course, installation!

Know that you can always opt for professional installation, as this will make things MUCH easier for you, but if you want to save on labor costs, then you can definitely try to DIY. Here’s how:

DIY Installation

Option 1: Just Insert the Gutter Guard


If you’re using foam or brush-type gutter guards, you’re in luck—you can perform installation in 3 easy steps!

  1. Clean out your gutters.
  2. Unwrap the gutter guards and cut them to fit your gutters, if necessary.
  3. Insert them into your gutters, making sure the whole area is covered.


Option 2: Lock in Place


The second-easiest method—locking the gutter guards into place—requires zero tools for installation too.

  1. Clean out your gutters.
  2. Cut the guards to fit your gutters, if necessary.
  3. Insert the gutter guard under the first or second row of roof shingles.
  4. Lock the other end to the lip of your gutter.


Option 3: Use Screws


If neither of the options above is available to you, then you’ll need a few screws to attach your gutter guards in place.

  1. Clean out your gutters.
  2. Cut the guards to fit your gutters, if necessary.
  3. Insert the gutter guard under the first or second row of shingles, if specified in the instruction manual.
  4. Use a drill and screws to attach the guard to the lip of your gutter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Unprotected Gutters Bad?

You can certainly choose to leave your gutters uncovered. However, you’ll need regular gutter cleaning, maintenance, and check-ups to make sure that they aren’t clogging up.

Over time, accumulated debris in your gutters can even cause animal/rodent infestations and serious roof damage.

These are also incredibly hard to clean and repair by yourself. With gutter guards, you can easily prevent these problems.

What's the Best Gutter Guard?

The best gutter guards are those that are durable, effective, and easy to use. Given this, we’d recommend using mesh or screen guards because they possess all three characteristics.

In our opinion, the Raptor Stainless Steel Gutter Guard is one of the best gutter guards for your home.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Gutter Guards?

Typically, it costs around $1,200-$1,500 to install 200 feet of gutter guard material.

Plastic and PVC guards don’t cost much to install, but surface tension guards are on the higher end of the price range because they’re trickier to install.

How Do You Clean Gutter Guards?

Before climbing up to your roof and cleaning your gutter guards, make sure you use safety equipment and follow all safety precautions.

First, sweep off all debris caught by your gutter guards. You can use your hands, a brush, or a blower to speed up the process.

Then, remove the guard (if possible), so you can rinse it out. Make sure nothing’s stuck to its surface! Lastly, hose down your gutters to remove any lingering traces of dirt.

Reattach your gutter guards, and you’re done!

What Are the Disadvantages of Using Gutter Guards?

Although gutter guards provide superb protection, they still need to be checked, cleaned, and maintained regularly. The installation has to be done properly to guarantee effective performance too.

In some cases, gutter guards may weigh down your fascia and cause damage, but again, this is usually caused by poor maintenance.

Make sure to inspect your gutter guards from time to time to prevent any serious problems!

To Sum It Up

In summary, gutter guards are great tools to help you protect your gutters AND reduce the frequency of gutter cleanings. Here are our top picks:

For those on a budget, check out the one made by Frost King, which costs less than $5! It’s very easy to install, and it works like a charm—just make sure it doesn’t get weighed down too much, or else it’ll get damaged!

Another great option is the one produced by LeafTek. Although it’s a bit pricier, it’s very thick, sturdy, and secure—perfect for more heavy-duty applications!

Overall, though, our favorite is the steel guard from Raptor because it’s the most effective and convenient product for homeowners. This is also the most expensive, but you definitely get your money’s worth with this one!


Now that you know all the important information on different types of gutter guards, how they work, the pros and cons, as well as the installation process, you’re definitely READY to go out and get your own!

There are tons of options out there, so choose wisely!

If our guide helped you out, please feel free to leave a comment below or share this with a friend. Thanks for reading!

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