Gutters 101: Which Gutter Guard is Best?

A house with a gutter guard system installed on a home

An Intro to Gutter Guards

Every home needs gutter protection from excess rainwater because overflowing gutters and leaking water from your gutters can cause serious and costly damage to your home. Gutter guards are an important investment to properly maintain the integrity of your home against harsh weather and water-related damages. Without a gutter guard protection system, your open gutters can collect leaves, twigs, and other types of debris, which can: 

  • Create leaks around windows and doors
  • Cause rot to develop around and damage your roof, eaves, soffit, and fascia
  • Damage your flower gardens and shrubbery
  • Seep into the ground around your foundation, which eventually causes cracks and basement flooding
  • Attract pests, critters, insects, and mold.

Gutter guards eliminate the above risks associated with clogged gutters. Gutter guards are designed primarily to act as a filter to block any debris from entering and clogging your gutters. When you choose the right gutter guard system that delivers on its promise, you can eliminate the worry of ever needing to clean your gutters again. Best of yet, gutter guards eliminate the costly and serious damage caused by clogged gutters.

Choosing the Best Gutter Guard

Shopping for gutter guards today can be overwhelming, the market is full of different gutter guard options to choose from, all varying in different price points and design. When shopping for gutter guards, try not to be too distracted by low-cost options, remember the goal in a gutter guard is to work effectively, every time, so you never need to worry about clogged gutters. What we find is that all gutter guards are not created equal in the marketplace, and although the promises and guarantees of never clogging are far and wide, many products do not deliver on that promise. 

One helpful hint is to seek out unbiased sources that you can trust to provide an honest product review. One of the industry's gold standards and original source for trusted and unbiased product reviews is Good Housekeeping, who rigorously test products against its claims to provide a backing that consumers can trust. View Good Housekeeping’s gutter guard review or view their choice for most trusted gutter guard system.

When shopping for gutter guards it is important to be informed so you can make the right decision for you and your family. In this article, we explore different gutter guards and compare the different types of gutter guards on the market today. 

Gutter Guard Filters

A gutter guard filter or gutter-insert fits into an existing open gutter. Gutter filters come in different styles but most are made from a variety of plastic foam materials, or also, rounded bristles. However, each is designed to be inserted into the gutter trough and repel leaves and debris while permitting rainwater to pass through.

If you have a standard open gutter on your home, gutter filters can be a low-cost gutter protection solution. However, they come in short 3-to-6-foot sections and require frequent trips up and down ladders to install each gutter filter section.

Installation also requires a caulk gun and a pair of shears to cut the material to fit between gutter hangers. This creates gaps where debris can collect. In addition, gutter filters don't eliminate gutter cleaning. The filters themselves become clogged with debris and have to be replaced or cleaned, or they themselves will cause the water damage you are trying to avoid.

Mesh Screen Gutter Guards

Gutter screens and mesh toppers are becoming a popular choice among gutter guards because they are inexpensive and readily available at local hardware stores. However, they are tedious to install, marginally effective, don’t last very long, and they won’t keep you off ladders. You will still need to clean debris from the top of the gutter screens.

Although they are somewhat effective against leaves, they do little to keep pine needles and other small debris out. Many gutter screens and mesh toppers are not very durable and can blow away or separate from the gutters in high winds.

When it comes to gutter guards, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It is important to ensure the fit is fully custom to your home in order for the product to deliver on its promise. Although there are customized mesh screen gutter guards available in the market, ultimately this solution won’t keep you off ladders and worrying about cleaning your gutters.

Gutter Guard Covers

Gutter covers, hoods, and helmets are secondary gutter parts that are installed above existing or new open gutters. These gutter guards channel water into the gutter through louvered slots or perforated openings designed to mount onto existing gutters. 

Although these gutter guards may appear easy to install, the majority of these gutter guards are not seamless and are not customized to your home. The product typically comes in 3 ft. or 6 ft. lengths, which are then installed by sliding the product under the first or second course of shingles, or they are glued or nailed to the roof which can void roof warranties. Since these gutter guards are not seamless or custom to your home, they can commonly sag and leak at jointed areas, compromising their effectiveness, and can also lead to costly water damage.

The LeafGuard® Gutter Guard System

A gutter cover, gutter hood, or gutter helmet can all be effective gutter guards for deflecting leaves, acorns, pine needles, and other debris that can clog gutters. All can do the job adequately. The one major and significant difference between all types of gutter guard covers, gutter hoods, and gutter helmets is this: Only one system, LeafGuard® is a seamless gutter guard, custom fit to the exact specification of your home, designed to never clog, guaranteed.

  • LeafGuard’s is built stronger and more durable than any other gutter guard system available
  • LeafGuard gutters have no gaps for water to leak through.
  • LeafGuard will not fail and collapse into the gutter bottom.
  • LeafGuard is not nailed, screwed, or glued to your roof. It will not void your roof warranty.

The LeafGuard® gutter guard system protects due to liquid adhesion. Liquid adhesion is a simple but powerful principle: water adheres to a surface and is pulled downward by the force of gravity. That “pull” corrals the water gently into the seamless gutter system, rather than allowing it to escape over the edge. Additionally, LeafGuard gutters are formed seamlessly from a single piece of aluminum, 20% thicker than the industry standard, and are fit to the exact specifications of your home. With LeafGuard, quality, and durability are built-in to withstand the harshest of conditions. In fact, LeafGuard is able to handle 32 inches of rain per hour, over three times the record rainfall ever recorded by the US Weather Bureau. Best of yet, LeafGuard is guaranteed to never clog, so you can say goodbye to climbing your ladders ever again to clean your gutters. Learn more about how the LeafGuard gutter guard system works.

That’s Not LeafGuard® 

When shopping for gutter guards, be on the lookout for a common tactic used by other companies… 

  • Leaf guards are a generic name in the marketplace for gutter covers, guards, helmets, and screens.
  • LeafGuard® is the registered trademark of a brand of gutters that is the original and only patented seamless gutter guard system guaranteed to never clog.  

As with many products that are the originals and innovators in the industry, their brand names become the commonly used name to describe similar products – Kleenex, Vaseline, and Xerox are examples of this.

Often companies that sell added-on leaf protection products, try to cash-in on the LeafGuard® brand name, by referring to their products as "leaf guards" or “gutter leaf guards.” However, even though these competitors call themselves "leaf guards." they are not the official LeafGuard® brand gutters and are not designed to deliver the promise only a LeafGuard® brand gutter guard system can. 

Instead, products referring to themselves as “leaf guards” are simply add-ons to existing, ordinary, open gutters. Essentially, they are adding a layer to open gutters, which in most cases, is a bulky-looking and noticeable attachment. An add-on gutter leaf guard only attempts to copy the functionality, reliability, and sleek styling of LeafGuard®. In reality, add-ons, whether covers, hoods, screens, or filters, are much less effective than a LeafGuard® one-piece gutter guard system. And if you have to install a new gutter under one of these add-ons, you are simply multiplying your costs for leaf protection. 

Often imitated but never duplicated, LeafGuard® is proud to be recognized as America’s most trusted gutter guard system, earning the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval 15 years in a row and is continuously recognized as a leading gutter guard system by home improvement experts. We hope this article helped provide additional information to navigate the crowded gutter guard market. For additional questions or support, LeafGuard’s team of experts are always here to help you so you can make the right decision for your home and family.  

View the latest offers and promotions on a LeafGuard gutters guard system.