5 Must-Have Downspout Cleaning Tools to Keep the Water Flowing

Laura Hennigan
Written by Laura Hennigan
Updated January 19, 2022
A dark brown gutter system including a downspout
Photo: tamas / Adobe Stock

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Downspouts are an important part of gutter systems, and keeping them clear means that water will be safely carried away from your home’s foundation. Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to a host of potential issues, including water in your basement or pooling around the base of your home. Thankfully, there are several handy downspout cleaning tools that will help clean out your gutters and downspouts.

Read more for the different types of tools, plus their pros and cons:

Gutter Scoop or Spoon

Gutter cleaning scoops and spoons offer a threaded design to pull debris out of gutters and downspouts quickly. They attach to standard extension poles, allowing you to either scoop up debris, or simply push it over the sides of gutters so it falls to the ground. 

Benefits of Gutter Cleaning Scoops and Spoons for Downspouts

  • Easy-to-use design made from sturdy material

  • Inexpensive tool, costing less than $25

  • Ability to either scoop up or push debris out of gutters before it gets to downspouts

Drawbacks of Gutter Cleaning Scoops and Spoons for Downspouts

  • To reach higher downspouts, you will likely still need to use a ladder

  • Tool isn’t strong enough to tackle heavier or built-up debris

  • Scoops and spoons are not able to swivel or rotate, limiting what you can access

Gutter Cleaning Tongs

Using gutter tongs is a simple, straightforward method for cleaning your downspouts. By attaching the tongs to a standard broom or extension pole, you can pick up nearly two feet of leaves and debris with every swipe. By using the included rope, the tongs form an easy grabbing system that clears out build-up and helps keep downspouts clear. 

Benefits of Gutter Cleaning Tongs for Downspouts

  • When used with an extension pole, tongs are adjustable to almost any height

  • Low-cost solution, with a pair of tongs averaging around $30

  • Tongs are designed to pick out even small items, such as pine needles 

Drawbacks of Gutter Cleaning Tongs for Downspouts

  • Difficult to see what you are doing while standing on the ground

  • Tongs may not fully clear out heavy or stuck-on debris

Unable to angle tongs into tight and hard-to-reach spaces

Garden Hose or Pressure Washer Gutter Cleaning Attachment

A gutter’s downspout working during the rain
Photo: C5Media / Adobe Stock

Water can be a strong ally in the fight against downspout debris. Telescopic poles that attach to either a garden hose or pressure washer can work wonders in clearing out gutters. Since the poles extend from 40 to 90 inches, you can easily remain on the ground, instead of balancing on a ladder, while you complete the work. 

It will be a messy project, since the spray will likely send leaves and dirt flying over the sides, so be prepared to get damp. While telescopic poles are designed for garden hoses and pressure washers, some users have found success (and less getting soaked) by attaching a pole to an air compressor instead. 

Benefits of Telescopic Pole Attachments for Downspouts

  • Long extensions make it easy to reach even the highest downspouts from the ground

  • Telescopic poles are reasonably priced, usually under $50

  • Poles offer a rotating nozzle, so the spray can be positioned in any direction

Drawbacks of Telescopic Pole Attachments for Downspouts

  • May not be powerful enough to clear out excessive or stuck-on debris

  • Thin, light design can be prone to breaking easily 

  • Messy solution, as water and debris will fly everywhere while cleaning 

Wet/Dry Vacuum or Leaf Blower Attachment

If you already own a wet/dry vac or leaf blower, it may be worth investing in the gutter cleaning kit that is sold separately. This attachment works best with handheld vacuum and leaf blower models, as opposed to units that plug into an outlet. 

By connecting the cleaning attachment to the blower port with a hose, you will be able to use the power of air to clear downspouts of debris. 

Benefits of Vacuum or Leaf Blower Attachments for Downspouts

  • Flexible attachment allows access to awkward angles and tight spots

  • Works seamlessly with a tool you already own

  • Comes with extension wands to increase reach and access higher places

Drawbacks of Vacuum or Leaf Blower Attachments for Downspouts

  • Attachment nozzles may not fit into narrower gutters and downspouts

  • Made from thinner plastic, so the attachment is more susceptible to breaking during heavy use

  • Not able to clear out larger items, such as sticks and pinecones 

Gutter Cleaning Robot

If you are ready to completely outsource gutter and downspout cleaning, consider adding a robot tool to your arsenal. These robots are designed to get into even the smallest spaces to blast away dirt and debris, while you watch safely from below. It travels through gutters to tackle leaves and clogs, and features a high-velocity auger to effectively clear out messes of all sizes.

Benefits of Gutter Cleaning Robots for Downspouts

  • Works in manual and automatic modes, easily controlled with a handheld remote

  • Customizable auger ejectors to fit different sized gutters and downspouts

  •  Includes detachable handle, if you prefer to control where the robot cleans

Drawbacks of Gutter Cleaning Robots for Downspouts

  • Expensive investment, with units costing around $300

  • Unit requires frequent charging and does not offer long battery life

  • Robots may not pick out smaller debris, such as pine needles and twigs

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