Drain the rain with these tools
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
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