Crunchy fall leaves all over the ground mean two things: Fall is officially here and your gutters will likely need to be cleaned soon. If you’re tired of dragging out a ladder and scooping out leaves, twigs, and more from your gutters, then it’s time to invest in gutter guards like those provided by LeafFilter — but do you go with professional installation or a DIY option?
“DIY might be suitable if you are comfortable working at heights and consider yourself to have basic handyman skills,” says Nathan Garret, real estate agent and owner of Garretts Real Estate Group in Louisville, KY.
“Brush or foam guards are typically easier to install… It would probably be best to hire a professional if you are going with the micro-mesh guards or reverse curve guards since they may be more difficult to install. Especially if you have a two-story home or complex gutter system.”
The— both DIY and professionally installed types — will fortify your gutters and make regular cleaning easier. But there are good reasons for siding with either method.
Below, find a closer look at the best options for professionally installed and DIY gutter guards, as well as pros and cons to each method.
The absolute best gutter guards broken down by type
Reinforce your home’s gutter system with the help of the best gutter guard companies that offer professional installation services:
And for the ambitious fan of self-managed home projects, here are our picks for the best DIY gutter guards:
Prepare your home for the tiny forces of nature that threaten to stop up your gutters with the help of some of the most dependable gutter guards on the market.
Best professionally installed gutter guards
Top pick with a micro-mesh design: LeafFilter Gutter Protection
LeafFilter offers homeowners impressive gutter protection via a patented 275-micron micro-mesh design that filters out the smallest debris. While these gutter guards won’t completely eliminate the need for gutter maintenance (spoiler alert: none do), they can greatly reduce the level of debris buildup you’ll have to deal with.
Also worth noting is LeafFilter’s lifetime warranty coverage. This covers repairs or a refund in the event that clogged gutters lead to water overflow and home damage.
LeafFilter doesn’t list price estimates on its site, so we reached out to get an idea of what the average homeowner can expect. After a free home inspection and consultation, these gutter guards typically start at $10 per foot. Average prices for a small one-story home can range between $2,000 and $4,000.
- Stainless steel micro-mesh design is ideal for filtering out medium- to small-sized debris, from leaves and twigs to dirt and shingle grit.
- Available nationwide with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, or Vermont.
- Your services can include professional installation of new gutters if your old gutter system has seen better days.
- Installation costs might be higher than other professional install companies — and they’re generally much higher than DIY gutter guards.
- No price estimates listed online. For a complete estimate, call below to schedule a free consultation.
Best lifetime warranty: HomeCraft Gutter Protection
This gutter guard has all the features you’d expect from a reputable installer: stainless-steel micro-mesh screens, services that can also cover the repair of your old gutter system, and a lifetime, transferable warranty.
This warranty is said to protect your home from future blockages. It is also easily transferable to a new homeowner should you move.
HomeCraft services homes in certain cities across 10 US states: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Prices are not listed online and vary from one home to the next, but homeowners can expect total installation costs to start at around $800.
- Marine-grade micro-mesh design can be very effective at filtering out small debris.
- Lifetime transferable warranty is perfect if you plan to move in the future.
- Compatible with metal roofs.
- Full terms and conditions of HomeCraft’s lifetime warranty are not listed online, which means you’ll need to schedule a free inspection and estimate first.
- Some customer reviews highlight aggressive sales tactics and spotty communication following installation.
Best alternative design: Gutter Helmet
Most gutter guards work by closing off your existing gutter system with a kind of perforated cover. Others, like Gutter Helmet, offer something different: a reverse-curve design that harnesses the magic of surface tension to whisk away debris.
There are a few reasons to consider a reverse curve design instead of something like a leaf filter setup. This guard type prevents debris from building up in your gutter thanks to a simple nose-forward design that extends past the outer edge of your gutter.
According to our chat with a Gutter Helmet representative, an average one-story home is likely to be matched with installation costs starting at $20 per foot, or $4,000 in total. That number could also go up depending on factors like the size and location of your home.
- Unique reverse-curve design is more reliable than many DIY gutter guards according to customer reviews.
- Able to withstand up to 20 inches of rain per hour without losing effectiveness.
- Can easily cover existing gutter systems, reducing your chances of future repair or replacement fees.
- Need to be installed beneath your roof shingles, which could potentially nullify your roof warranty.
- Heavy downpours may reduce gutter guard effectiveness.
Best DIY gutter guards to install yourself
Best DIY gutter guard: Raptor Gutter Guard
Leading the charge for DIY gutter guards is Raptor Gutter Guard. With its aluminum, micro-mesh design, this setup can rival some professionally installed systems when it comes to filtering out medium- to small-sized debris such as leaves, pinecones, pine needles, and shingle grit.
With an aluminum, micro-mesh design, the Raptor Gutter Guard is capable of offering better filtration than other guard types. With its patented V-Bend Technology, this mesh guard is marketed as being more durable than the competition.
The Raptor Gutter Guard system is available for $125 at Amazon, which breaks down to just $2.60 per foot. Your purchase comes with 48 feet of gutter guard, plus the tools you’ll need for installation.
- Budget-friendly DIY prices are a welcome alternative to hefty installation fees.
- Patented V-Bend technology makes this gutter guard more durable than other brands.
- Easily installed, removed, and cleaned for breezy gutter maintenance year round.
- Do not come pre-cut, which means you may need to manually cut and trim to fit these to your gutters.
- Not a great fit if your house’s gutters are fixed in place by K-style brackets instead of more traditional hidden hangers.
Best for easy installation: GutterBrush Simple Gutter Guard
This simple yet effective option by GutterBrush is not like other guards. While other companies offer gutter guards that are fixed in place or sit atop your gutters, this gutter brush actually rests inside your gutter to catch and prevent debris from affecting water flow.
These cylindrical brushes are easily set in place or removed as needed come cleaning time — the hardest part may be climbing up to reach your gutters in the first place. The brush’s bristles are designed to fill your entire gutter and block debris. Choose one of several different sizes to match 5-inch or 6-inch diameter gutters.
Find the original gutter brush on Amazon in lengths ranging from 6 feet to 105 feet, which means you have options whether you’re covering your entire gutter system or just certain sections.
- Simple design is both effective at filtering out debris and easy to install or remove.
- Bristles are better than other metal designs at reducing winter ice buildup and aiding gutter melting.
- No worries about difficult installation processes, cutting excess gutter guard, or unsightly final results that may be visible from the road (cough, Gutter Helmet, cough).
- Small debris can still sneak by the GutterBrush’s bristles and build up in your gutters.
- Regular gutter maintenance will still be required.
Most budget-friendly: FlexxPoint
FlexxPoint provides a simple yet effective all-metal guard system that comes with an affordable price tag and range of custom options. Like other DIY gutter guards, the FlexxPoint 30 Year Gutter Cover System is available online and easily installed without help or high costs from a team of professional installers.
As the cheapest gutter guard solution on our list, the FlexxPoint 20 Year Gutter Cover System has costs starting at just $1.22 per foot. You have a choice between 9 size options, ranging from 22 feet ($44) to 5,100 feet ($5,600). Since you’re likely not dealing with a small shack or sprawling vista, you’re probably looking for between 102 and 200 feet — shop options for an average-sized home below.
- The most affordable gutter guards on our list.
- Backed by a 30-year product defect and performance warranty.
- Choose between black, brown, or white colors to find the perfect match for any home.
- Some customer reviews claim these lose effectiveness under heavy rain.
- Thin aluminum design may not be best for withstanding icy winters.
When to call a gutter guard pro and when to go DIY
Choosing between gutter guards you put up yourself and ones installed by professionals can be tricky. There are pros and cons to each: DIY can save you money in the short term, but professional installation may set you up with a more reliable gutter guard system that will last.
The case for DIY gutter guards
“Installing gutter guards can be a dangerous task as you are working with heights and getting up on a ladder,” says home maintenance expert and president of Window Genie David Flax.
But if you have experience with similar home improvement projects and feel comfortable maneuvering on a ladder, then a DIY route may be good for you. There are gutter guards available to purchase – such as those with a foam or brush design – that have a “drop-in” type of installation which can make the process easier but may end up not being as durable in the long run.”
As Flax pointed out during our interview, installing gutter guards can be a picturesque DIY scenario for homeowners and proud handymen or handywomen — but you have to be up for the task. There’s a lot of physical labor that comes with installing gutter guards on your own, from wielding a power drill to holding your own on a ladder for long periods of time.
If you’re good with all of that, then there are some definite advantages to DIY gutter guards:
- Super easy installation: For DIY gutter guards, the installation process itself is actually simple. Most simply slide over or sit within your gutters. Removal is also relatively easy when it’s time to clean.
- Reduced gutter maintenance: While a professional gutter guard system can be more effective than the DIY alternative at keeping smaller debris from building up in there, self-installed gutter guards of any kind still get the job done well enough that you won’t need to worry about cleaning them as often throughout the year.
- You can save a lot of money: Perhaps most notable is the price of professional installation. Average installation costs in areas like New York, NY can go up to $16 per foot. Most homes have 100 to 200 feet of gutters to cover, which could mean costs up to (and over) $3,000. With DIY gutter guards, you could potentially avoid paying thousands by handling installation yourself.
Reasons to call a professional gutter guard installer
If you have a two-story home or an extensive gutter system, DIY gutter guards may not be the best option — even if you’ve tackled other DIY projects. Unless you avoid contractors at all costs and can handle exterior home projects with ease, working with a gutter guard company for professional installation can be the better option.
“Many of the best gutter guard solutions on the market can only be installed by a professional,” says , Mike Reedy, roofing expert and owner of Quality Build Exteriors in Chesapeake, Virginia. “These products usually offer better warranties and a longer lifespan.”
Gutter guards installed by professionals are likely to last longer than most DIY alternatives (especially gutter brushes and foam gutter guards). Look for lifetime transferable warranties, such as the one offered by LeafGuard, that offers repair/replacement services under certain conditions and is transferable by the original property owner to subsequent purchasers of the property.
“Figuring out how many guards you need is another area where it’s great to have a professional’s opinion,” adds Matthew Dowd, owner and operator of The Brothers That Just Do Gutters location serving the Jupiter-Palm Beach area in Florida.
“They’ll be able to identify the most important areas, if not the entire system, to cover. Basically, any gutter run that has the possibility of debris blowing in from a surrounding tree or possibly being washed off a roof needs to be covered.”
Here are the pros to calling the, er, pros for gutter guard installation:
- Better chance at long-term gutter protection: Professionals may be better equipped at understanding your gutter guard needs. Depending on your home and location, you may not need to cover every inch of gutter.
- Better warranty coverage: Typically, a warranty from a professional installer is going to look better for long-term gutter support and maintenance than anything you get with a DIY gutter guard. Look for lifetime warranties and, if you suspect you’ll be moving in the near (or far) future, ones that easily transfer to new homeowners.
- Better gutter protection: If you want top-notch protection from small debris like dust, dirt, or shingle grit, professionally installed gutter guards are your best option. Guards with a fine mesh design are more effective than most DIY guards at gatekeeping your gutter system.
How to choose the best gutter guards
“The only DIY gutter job I’d recommend doing is one where you don’t have to get up on a ladder,” says Reedy. “Working for hours on a ladder is hard and dangerous, especially on a more tedious and difficult project like gutters and gutter guards. I’ve had many clients try it themselves first, then call us to finish the job.”
One of the biggest distinctions to make is whether or not you’re prepared for the labor that comes with DIY installation. Two-story houses may be more tiresome to equip with gutter guards on your own.
The next thing to consider is your long-term goals. Are you looking for an easy fix that cuts down on gutter maintenance? Then DIY can be a sufficient solution. If you want the highest quality gutter guards that will last (or a worthwhile warranty that will cover you for years), then calling a professional should be top of your list.
How we picked the best gutter guards
When comparing gutter guards of any kind, we took into consideration a number of things. In order to help you find the best gutter guards for your home, we stuck to the following criteria:
- Type and material: Since there’s no one-size-fits-all option with gutter guards, we looked at the top picks for aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, foam, and mesh guards.
- Warranty: The best gutter guards offer warranties that last 20 years or longer. We prioritized companies that offer additional security for your gutter guards like transferable lifetime warranties.
- Installation methods: We went with gutter guards that were a breeze to install: for DIY gutter guards, we prioritized simple systems that are easy to set up (and take apart to clean); for professionally installed guards, we looked for comprehensive services that didn’t take too long to get everything up and ready.
- Customer reviews: We stuck with companies that boast a majority of positive reviews from happy homeowners.