The 8 Best Gutter Guards to Prevent Leaves and Other Debris from Blocking Your Gutters

The Gutterglove Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard is lightweight and comes off fairly easily for gutter maintenance.

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Gutter Guard
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Tired of overflowing gutters? Gutter guards can prevent debris from getting into gutters and downspouts, reducing blockages, water damage, and the potential for cracked foundations. It's important to note, though, that gutter guards won't stop moss and algae from forming, and you'll still need to periodically perform gutter maintenance, which is typically recommended once or twice a year, depending on where you live.

"At best, they'll give you a few more months in between maintenance appointments," says Jeremy Bligh, gutter cleaning and maintenance professional at The Gutter Clean Company.

To find the best gutter guards, we researched gutter guard materials, guard styles, the type and size of debris each blocks, maintenance needs, price, and how easy each is to install and remove.

Our top pick, the Gutterglove Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard, will keep out leaves, pine needles, pests, and roof debris. It's also lightweight and is easier to install and remove than most of its counterparts since you have option to use adhesive tape for installation instead of screws. It also comes with a 25-year warranty.

Here are the best gutter guards.

What We Recommend

Best Overall: Gutterglove Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard

Gutter Guard
Courtesy of Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: This gutter guard will keep leaves, pine needles, pests, and other debris out of your gutters.

Keep in Mind: You'll still have to periodically brush off your gutters to get rid of any accumulated debris. Plus, moss and algae can still form, even under the best gutter guards.

Our overall choice for the gutter protection, the Gutterglove Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard is made from a corrosion-resistant aluminum rail and stainless-steel micro-mesh. It efficiently handles both small and large debris, like leaves, pine needles, and roof grit, and its design requires no bottom frame yet won't sag. The system also allows the water to flow freely through the guard so as not to cause any overflowing—even in a heavy rainstorm.

The lightweight aluminum extrusions that run along either side of the guards securely hold the mesh in place to prevent any holes from forming, and the product is designed to be used on any type of roof, even flat ones. When it comes to quality and durability, this product is on par with professionally installed systems that are built to last—it comes with a 25-year warranty—but is just a fraction of the price.

The well-written instruction manual makes it easy to install, even by yourself, and you have the option of either using corrosion-resistant screws or self-adhesive tape, both of which come with the package. A magnetic hex head driver bit is also included.

While these micro-mesh gutter guards effectively prevent debris from entering your gutters, you will need to brush them off every so often to clear any accumulated debris, like pine needles.

Product Details:

  • Type: Micromesh
  • Material: Stainless steel, aluminum
  • Installation: Screw-in, snap/lock-in, tape
  • Size: 47.5 x 5.5 x 0.375 inches (20 in the pack covering 80 feet)

Best Budget: Frost King VX620 Plastic Gutter Guard

Gutter Guard
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Ace Hardware

Why You Should Get It: It's affordable and is easy to cut to size using scissors.

Keep in Mind: It's not a lifetime solution and won't prevent pine needles or smaller debris from getting through.

For a budget-friendly option, the best gutter guard is this plastic version by Frost King. You can get 20 feet of gutter protection for less than $4. Featuring 0.25-inch mesh holes, this gutter screen is ideal for keeping large debris, like leaves, out of your rain gutters. The flexible plastic mesh comes in a roll and is very customizable—simply cut it to size with scissors. It also works well for most roof and gutter styles.

For installation, you have the choice of slotting it into place (though this will require more regular check-ups to make sure it hasn't sagged), securing it with zip ties, or screwing it into your gutter with sheet metal screws and tucking the inner edge under the roof's shingles (the most secure option). That said, you should check your roof's warranty to make sure your preferred method of attachment doesn't void the warranty.

Because it's made of plastic, this gutter guard won't rust or corrode, but since it's not a micromesh or foam gutter guard, it also won't keep out smaller debris or pine needles. However, if leaves are your main concern, this will do the trick nicely.

Keep in mind that it will still need to be brushed off periodically and that plastic mesh gutter guards aren't intended to be a permanent solution. You may need to replace them after a few years, but this budget option can hold you over until you're ready for a more durable gutter guard system.

Product Details:

  • Type: Mesh
  • Material: Plastic
  • Installation: Slot into place, zip-ties, screw-in
  • Size: 20 feet x 6 inches x 0.185 inches

Related: The 8 Best Pressure Washers For Every Outdoor Cleaning Job

Best System: FlexxPoint Gutter Cover System

Gutter Guard
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart

Why You Should Get It: It comes with a 30-year warranty and won't void your roof warranty.

Keep in Mind: As with the majority of (if not all) gutter guards, these are not recommended for cold climates prone to freezing temperatures.

The FlexxPoint Gutter Cover System is used by both contractors and homeowners across the country. Manufactured by a family owned and operated company in Ohio, these guards are durable and built to last—as evidenced by the fact that they're backed by a 30-year warranty. Unlike some models, this 102-foot gutter cover system doesn't void roof warranties because it snaps right into the gutter instead of under the shingles.

The perforated design has much smaller holes than many other similar gutter guards and is designed to keep out debris while allowing water to flow freely.

Foundational damage caused by overflowing won't be an issue either since these guards have a three-point design. Three tiny walls run the length of the gutter guard, acting like dams to slow the water flow—even in heavy rain and when covered with wet leaves—so that all the water goes into the gutter and not down the side of your house.

This design also allows for greater airflow since the leaves rest on these little dams instead of sticking to the gutter guard's perforated holes and blocking them. When the leaves are dry, they'll either blow away in the wind, or you can brush them off with no worries of ruining the installation. These guards are available in black, white, brown, or matte aluminum so that they can blend in with any house color and style without being an eyesore.

Product Details:

  • Type: Perforated
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Installation: Screw-in
  • Size: 4 feet x 5 inches (25 in the pack covering 102 feet)

Related: LeafFilter Review

Best Brush: GutterBrush Brush Leaf Gutter Guard

Gutter Guard
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Home Depot and Walmart

Why You Should Get It: Great for keeping leaves out of the gutter, this functional product is easy to install and remove; all you have to do is slide it in or out of the gutter.

Keep in Mind: While this gutter guard won't allow large debris to get into the gutter, the debris also won't slide off as with flat gutter guards. It will stick to the bristles of the brush, meaning you'll have to periodically remove them for cleaning.

You'll spend longer getting up and down the ladder than you will installing these brush gutter guards. The easiest gutter guard to install on our list, the GutterBrush Brush Leaf Gutter Guard features a steel wire core with UV-protected bristles and simply slides in and out of your gutter channel, meaning you can potentially finish adding them to all your gutters in just minutes.

They're just as easy to take out, too, when it's time to perform the recommended regular gutter cleaning. This brush gutter guard's flexible design allows you to move the brush under bars and other obstacles in your gutter system, and you can simply bend the brush's wire core over at the end of the gutter to secure it in place. This economical solution requires no hardware or drilling and will keep leaves, pine needles, and other debris from clogging up your gutters.

However, this debris is likely to get stuck in the brush's bristles as opposed to sliding or falling off like it would with metal gutter guards. "While brush guards are great for keeping leaves out of the gutter, moss and algae won't wash away in the rain and will just sit on top of the brush," Bligh says.

This means that, depending on where you live, you'll need to take the brushes out every so often (especially in autumn when those leaves start coming down) and hose off the collected debris before placing them back in your gutters.

Product Details:

  • Type: Brush
  • Material: Polypropylene, steel
  • Installation: Slide-in
  • Size: 3 feet x 4.25 inches (19 in the pack, plus two 18-inch pieces, covering 60 feet)

Related: The 9 Best Wheelbarrows for All of Your Home and Gardening Needs

Best Mesh: Amerimax Home Products Lock-In Black Metal Mesh Gutter Guard

Gutter Guard
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: They can be used with all types of shingles, including tar and metal styles.

Keep in Mind: They're only suitable for 4- to 6-inch K-style gutters and need to be installed under your roof's shingles.

The Amerimax Home Products Lock-In Black Metal Mesh Gutter Guard has a simple installation process; simply slide the mesh screen under the first row of shingles, then snap it onto the front edge of the gutter. That being said, you could also screw these mesh guards into place if you live in a particularly windy area and don't want rely on your shingles to keep them in place.

Made of powder-coated steel that won't rust, the guards are built to last—the company provides a 10-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

This cost-effective solution is lightweight and won't weigh down your gutters, but the mesh guards are also sturdy and rigid enough not to bend under the weight of wet leaves. These guards also won't warp in the heat, and, though they're not the best option for areas prone to rainstorms, they won't dent under the pressure of heavy rain. Each 3-foot guard is notched to fit into another with a slight overlap, meaning you won't be left with any gaps that leaves could potentially fall through.

They also feature a lip that snaps onto the edge of the gutter and look clean and sleek once installed. If you have a problem with pine needles in your yard, these mesh gutter guards will keep out the majority of them, but some may get through, depending on how they land.

Amerimax's mesh gutter guards fit on most types of roofs, including those with tar or metal shingles, but make sure you check your roof's warranty to make sure that installing gutter guards underneath the first row of shingles won't void the warranty.

For a custom fit, you can use a table saw or other rotary tool to cut the gutter guards down to size (with some patience, you could even use a wire cutter)—just be sure to use a hammer to tamp down any rough edges before handling them.

Product Details:

  • Type: Mesh
  • Material: Steel
  • Installation: Snap/lock-in
  • Size: 36 x 6 x 0.25 inches

Best Hinged: Amerimax Home Products Hinged Gutter Guard

Gutter Guard
Courtesy of Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: These gutter guards don't have to be removed when you're cleaning your gutters; just lift them up on their hinges, like you would a door.

Keep in Mind: These guards may rust over time.

If you've made it this far down the list, you're well aware that no gutter guards will totally eliminate the need to clean out your gutters. Moss and algae will still form, so yearly gutter maintenance will remain a necessity. These hinged gutter guards by Amerimax make cleaning gutters much easier, though, thanks to their flip-up design. They simply lift up when you want to spring clean the gutters, and, when you're done, you can just drop them back down into place.

Two clips attach to each 3-foot mesh piece and the front edge of the gutter while the other side of the guard simply rests on top of the shingles. If you prefer, you can also bend the flexible mesh so that the guard slips under your shingles, but check to make sure this won't void your roof's warranty. These hinged gutter guards' flexible design means you can bend them to fit around the gutter corners, too. The clips take a little effort to push down into place, but once they clip in, they're not going anywhere.

These mesh guards will keep out leaves, larger debris, and rodents, and their curved design means they won't collapse under the weight of wet leaves. Debris can roll off much easier, too.

While the galvanized steel is durable and hardwearing, these gutter guards tend to rust after a while, so gloves are a must when handling them. The pieces also don't slot into each other, so you'll have to slightly overlap them when installing to ensure that smaller debris doesn't get through the gaps (we recommend buying a couple of extra pieces to make up for the overlap).

Product Details:

  • Type: Hinged mesh
  • Material: Galvanized steel
  • Installation: Snap-on
  • Size: 36 x 5.5 x 0.625 inches

Related: The 10 Best Leaf Blowers for Clearing Leaves and Debris

Best Foam: GutterFoam EZ Foam Filter Plastic Gutter Guard 8 Pack

Gutter Guard
Courtesy of Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: Absolutely nothing but water will get through these gutter guards.

Keep in Mind: Moss and algae will still be able to form in the gutter underneath the gutter guards, so you won't be able to forego annual gutter maintenance.

Not only are these gutter guards a total breeze to install—they're long foam blocks that you just push into the gutters—there's no chance that any leaves, pine needles, or other debris will be about to get past them and into your gutter. Water, however, has no problem getting through. Absolutely zero tools are required for installation, except maybe a utility knife to cut end pieces to size.

These foam gutter guards have a UV protectant that keeps them safe from sun damage, and they're also prepped with germicide to stop insects and mosquitos from using your gutters as a breeding ground.

For gutter maintenance, you can slide them out and dust them off by thumping them on the ground. Once you've cleaned the gutters, simply slide the guards back into place. Periodically running a long-handled gutter brush over the guards to get rid of any accumulated leaves and debris is also recommended.

The great thing about these guards is that they come in several styles to suit your home and environment. For example, the GutterFoam ProFR has a fire-retardant compound. Our pick, which is the original option with enhanced UV protection, is made for K-type gutters to fit most modern homes, but half-round and fascia-style foam gutter guards are also available from the company so you're sure to find the perfect fit.

Product Details:

  • Type: Foam
  • Material: Polyether outdoor foam
  • Installation: Slide-in
  • Size: 48 x 5 x 3.5 inches (8 in the pack covering 32 feet)

Best Strainer: Joylight Gutter Guard Stainless Steel Filter Strainer

Gutter Guard
Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: These strainers are easy to install and a cost-effective alternative to traditional gutter guards.

Keep in Mind: Depending on your surroundings, they will need to be checked and cleared of accumulating leaves and debris quite often.

If you're on the fence about buying a gutter guard system and don't want to spend too much time or money, you could try these strainers from Joylight. Made from rust-proof stainless steel, these gutter protectors will prevent leaves and larger debris from getting into the downpipe while smaller debris should be able to be swept away during rainfall.

With this option, you dodge all the cons that typically come with gutter guards, including spending a lot of money, time-consuming installation, moss and algae build-up, and reinstallation after you take them off for gutter maintenance. To install these strainers, simply push them into the downspout holes. The strainers are pliable and can fit downspout holes that are 1.7 to 2.6 inches in diameter.

Just like all other gutter guards, however, these are also not recommended for use in areas prone to below-zero temperatures. If leaves are left to gather around the strainers in winter, they will likely become covered in snow and ice and could potentially block the flow of water to the downspouts. It's best to use these strainers, which come in a pack of four, from spring through fall, and then remove them at the end of fall as part of your regular gutter maintenance.

Product Details:

  • Type: Strainer
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Installation: Place inside downspout holes
  • Size: Two sizes available; 4.1 x 2 inches and 4.1 x 3 inches

The Bottom Line

Our overall top pick for the best gutter guard is the durable Gutterglove Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard. This product does a great job of keeping out everything, from larger leaves and rodents to smaller debris and pine needles. It's made from lightweight aluminum so it won't strain your gutters and roof, and you can secure it with screws or adhesive tape. The 25-year warranty provided by the manufacturer speaks to this product's quality and gives customers peace of mind.

What to Know About Gutter Guards Before Shopping

Style and Material

There are many different types of gutter guards that don't require professional installation, the most popular and effective being micro-mesh, perforated metal, foam, and brush guards. Metal gutter guards are also available in reverse-curve styles designed so that leaves and debris can slide off instead of resting on them.

It's also important to note that gutter guards might void your roof warranty if their installation process requires sliding under shingles. To avoid any surprises, read your roof warranty before selecting a gutter shield.

Micro-Mesh: Featuring finely woven screens, micro-mesh gutter guards have tiny holes that block pine needles and small particles while allowing water to enter and flow through the gutter system. Micro-mesh guards are lightweight and don't add stress to your roof. These gutter filters are typically made of nylon, aluminum, or stainless steel and effortlessly slide under the first row of shingles or snap over the gutter.

Perforated: With larger holes than mesh guards, the design of perforated gutter guards is better for water flow but worse for small debris. They are usually constructed of durable metal or aluminum that is resistant to rust and corrosion.

Brush: Brush gutter guards are one of the most affordable and accessible options available. They are basically giant pipe cleaners that lay inside your gutter and catch debris in their rigid bristles, which are made from a strong plastic or nylon material. Although brush guards are cheap and easy to install, they require a little more maintenance than the other designs. The good news is that they are easy to clean: just remove them from your gutters and spray with a hose or knock them against a hard surface to clear debris before putting them back into place.

Foam: Like brush gutter guards, foam options sit inside the gutter and take up quite a bit of space. However, they allow water to soak through but prevent anything else, like leaves, pine needles, or roof debris, from getting into the gutter. Made from polyether outdoor foam, these guards are often treated to protect against the sun, fire, mold, and insects. Though inexpensive and easy to install, these guards aren't typically considered a durable option for long-term use since foam can disintegrate over time.

Surroundings

The best gutter guards for your home depend on the climate of where you live and your surroundings. Gutter guards are not a one-size-fits-all solution, which is why the jury is out on whether they are worth installing.

Brush guards are great for stopping leaves from blocking your gutters and are ideal for areas with only a few trees. If, however, your home is surrounded by trees with leaves that coat the ground during fall, these gutter guards will likely need to be taken out and cleaned every few weeks (at least).

Superfine mesh gutter screens are the best option for homes with evergreen trees, asphalt shingles, lots of small debris, and insects. Perforated covers are one of the best gutter guards for keeping leaves out.

Guards with larger holes are a great choice for areas with heavy rainfall, though, as options with smaller holes can cause what's called surface tension, where rain just rolls right off and not through to the gutter. This could cause foundation issues over time. "Some gutter guards prevent the water from flowing freely, so you'll have the same problem if they got blocked anyway from debris without guards," Bligh says.

Cold and snowy areas are better off without gutter guards or with removable guards that you take out at the end of fall. Snow and ice can cause dams that clog gutters, which can be made worse when gutter guards are in place, potentially even causing damage to your house. Sloped gutter guards can somewhat deal with light to medium snowfall since they allow for the ice and snow to melt quicker and fall off.

Unless you have winter-proofed your gutters by adding some kind of heating element, like heated cables or heat tape, most professionals recommend removing gutter guards in the winter. Foam and brush gutter guards are the easiest to remove.

Installation

While professional installation is always best, a lot of these gutter guards are easy enough to install by yourself (not to mention more economical) as long as you carefully read the instructions. Screw-in gutter guard systems might need two or more people to install them, but other options, like snap-in, brush, or foam inserts, are incredibly easy to install solo.

Cleaning the gutters before installing the guards is a must. A good ladder, preferably an L-shaped or multifunctional one that leans up against the house and not the gutters, is recommended when installing your gutter guards, as are protective gloves.

Your Questions, Answered

Do gutter guards cause ice dams?

Unfortunately, yes. In general, gutter guards are not recommended for cold areas prone to freezing temperatures. Ice can easily build up and rest on top of the gutter guard, meaning that during the next heavy rainfall, water will slip right off and run down the side of your house.

Easily removable gutter guards, like the brush guards or a hinged style that you can just flip up when it's snowing, would be a better option for anyone living in colder areas, but according to the pros, the best gutter guards for cold areas are no gutter guards.

How do you clean out gutters with gutter guards?

Whether you have gutter guards or not, your gutters will still need to be cleaned regularly. This is because even though guards can keep out things like leaves, pine needles, and acorns, they won't be able to stop the accumulation of moss and algae. In addition, small seeds that birds flying overhead may drop can fit through any guards other than micromesh, causing plants to grow in the gutters. "The temperature and moist atmosphere in a gutter make the ideal environment for plants to grow," Bligh says.

Having to remove gutter guards and reinstall them after cleaning is arduous and the main reason they are not recommended by professional gutter cleaners. "When we remove the gutter guards to get them cleaned, most customers say they don't want them put back in," Bligh says. Easily removable gutter guards like the brush, foam, snap-in, or hinged flip-up types do make gutter cleaning easier than screw-in guards.

If you do have screw-in gutter guards that you don't want removed, many professional gutter maintenance services now use gutter robots that can get into the gutters and clean out the debris. While this works to some extent, it's not as efficient as being able to thoroughly clean gutters without gutter guards. Pressure washers are another popular method of cleaning gutters with gutter guards.

How do you hang Christmas lights with a gutter guard?

"Since you hang Christmas lights onto the fascia and not on the actual gutter, you'd go about installing them as you would normally," Bligh says. When installing lights or any seasonal decorations, however, it's best not to lean the ladder against the gutters. Gutter guards can dent and lose some of their effectiveness, so the ladder should rest against the house instead. The same care should be taken not to dent the guards during gutter cleaning, too.

Who We Are

This article was written by Kat de Naoum. Kat has over 10 years of commerce writing experience and is also the commerce editor-at-large at Thomas-Xometry, the leading U.S. online platform for supplier discovery and product sourcing. For this article, Kat spent hours researching and reviewing the best gutter guards and spoke to Jeremy Bligh, a gutter cleaning and maintenance professional at The Gutter Clean Company. She also researched factors such as each product's material, type, and price and how easy it is to install and remove.

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