What Are the Best Gutter Guards

Updated July 23, 2019

We're told that all of the gutter problems we have (spillover, icicles) are due to clogged gutters.

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We're checking out Leaf Filter.  They claim they will clean the gutters, and once their product is installed, they will not clog again.

Question: What's the best gutter guard or gutter protection system?

Expert Answer: I have been installing LeafFilter gutter covers for eight years. I was also selling Gutter Topper when I started selling LeafFilter. Five years ago I stoped selling Gutter Topper and became a MasterShield dealer. Why all these products? What have I discovered that will help you(and not LCD)?

Gutter Topper was rated the best reverse curve gutter syestm in Consumer Reports OCT 2010 issue, but significantly lower than 2 Stainless Steel filter system. (Hint LeafFilter and a do it yourself filter Gutter Glove). The Glove system is virtual ripoff of the LeafFilter system. Guy who invented it(?) was a Leaffitler dealer before. Both use a 50 micron (1/3 the size of a human hair) woven surgical stainless steel to filter out all suspended particles from the rainwater allowing only pure water thru the filter. Why does water pull its way thru a micro mesh screen and not run off? Surface Tension. The contact between the underlayment and the filter pulls the water thru much the same a tent is waterproof tell you touch it. Obviously the more fingers touching the filter the better the filter draws. Well LeafFilter uses PVC (like Siding) ribs and Gutter Glove ridges. Both can be over run in heavy rain with Gutter Glove being the better handler.

Alex Higginbotham is the holder of every major patent in the micro mesh world. He invented LeafFilter,Leaf Solution, was unauthorizedly copied by Gutter Glove and his latest and greatest-MasterShield. On Ask The Builder's tv show the host tested Gutter Glove over a season and said it did not shed debris because it was mounted flat, same as LeafFilter.

He said periodic hand brushing or blowing off of the top of the filter would be required. What does LeafFilter the Grandpa of the micro filters say, well if you push the backet holding the filter up under the first row of shingles it will void shingle manufactors warranty.Truth- four of the five leading shingle manufacters are okay with doing it this way & it creates a pitched cover that self cleans with the rainwater and after when wind blows. (Tamco Shingles is still wondering in the desert with Moses).

Defects in the current darlings of gutter covers-Gutter Topper,Gutter Helmut, & Leaf Guard.They deceptively issue Lifetime warranties that only cover a limited part of the paint finish. They rely on series of dealers to come, sell, and go out of business when customers ask for their Lifetime free gutter cleaning. IN my market (NE & IA ) 3 Gutter Topper Dealers and 5 Helmut dealers kuput. Why the service because a reverse curve system relies on the water following the curve and going in the gutter thru an opening. With an act of God they promise that the small debris will not follow the curve with the water (Bottom Line Secrets exposed this lie) and CAN cause the fixed cover clogged gutter to be virtually impossible to clean. One widow in Des Moines IA was told she would have to replace all her Leaf Guard system to do a room addition. They could not say if the three year old part was still clean. WOW. LeafFilter gets kudos for its Manu Warranty that says if your gutters clog they will refund the purchase price of the materials. Gutter Glove gives an attendence award of a 10 or 20 year warranty period where if your product is devective they will give you new product to install.

If you have a Victorian home with sculped fascia and strap hung gutter or flat roof with edpm rubber buy all means hire LeafFilter. The strap hung system floats in the wind and lends itself to a pvc system that can be carved up to float on the gutters. The EDPM system gives off little micro balls of material and MasterShield for one will not warranty it, Funny

So advise time if you have a MasterShield dealer near you consider a product that will handle virtually any rain except in a valley (where 2 walls come together on an inside miter) Can be moved from old roof to new roof by competant teenager . The American Green Building Council calls it one the ten best inventions of the Century, BestCovery says its #1, LeafFilter #2, Gutter Glove #3. And offer a life of your gutters guarantee that says if they clog they will refund material price and every one of their dealers has agreed to refund the balace ie Life of the Gutter !00% money back warranty. One cavat if repairable they will do that for free first. Valley overrun my crew handles by installing a Barnett Valley Controller, they suck the water up like quicksand and also help against ice in the valleys.

Fyi Since Jan 2012 Alex has invented a nifty way to heat MasterShield so those front porches or whaterever you wish to pay for won't get ice cycles.

JIm Casper - Past Integrity Award Winner from the BBB

Leaf Filter reviews

Leaf Filter doesn't work, it makes things worse. They are terrible. We spent $3,400 and didn't have an existing problem but we thought we could avoid having our gutters cleaned every year as we have a lot of large trees. Now the water pours over the top. Our 4' overhang over our back deck is like it's not even there, the deck is soaked to the slider. Our firewood supply under the deck which is where we've stored dry wood for 8 years, is soaked. The ground around our foundation is soaked. Every time it rains, water splashes clear to the siding. Our boots that we leave on our covered front porch are all ruined as the water pours over the top and soaks our front porch. DO NOT install these. We have requested that they remove them and refund our money. They're so bad that, even if they refuse to refund us, I want the product removed and I will eat the $3,400.

Gutter guard cons

My personal opinion (and I know Jim Casper will jump on me for saying this) is gutter covers are a scam - they always clog up eventually, hold biodegrading material on top of the gutter (and trapped and constantly wet down in it) where it causes degradation of shingles and piles up and causes water runoff backup against the fascia and lower sheathing, and in general are a lot of money for accomplish nothing constructive in the long run. You still have to clean them, so unless you have a very large amount of leaves falling on your roof why not just clean the gutters periodically. If you do have a lot of leaves, a fine galvanized wire mesh works as well as anything else I have seen aside from the ones that shed the leaves off the front with louvres, but they also shed the water in any but the slighest rains, so in that case why bother with gutters at alll - they totally defeat the benefits of gutters.

I tell people there are better uses for your money than gizmos that don't cut the bait.

Consumer reports

Guest 1: Name a filter that you don't have to periodically clean or change? Products like Leaf Filter or any products that have a fine screen or micro-mesh filter eventually all clogged with very small debris. The tiny debris gets stuck in the filter - just as all filters are designed to do. This stuck debris creates a bridge wherein the water just flows right over the clogged filter and off and on to the ground. The only way to clean the filter is to remove the product and spray them off from the under-side of the filter. No system is fool proof but at least with a system like Gutter Topper you definitely won't have to climb ladders to cleanout the filters.

Guest 2: I don't know the answer to what is the best but I can tell you what NOT to buy. Do NOT buy LEAF GUARD gutters!!! We have them on the second story of our house and every year BIRDS NEST in them! The opening is just large enough for small birds to get in. Each year they will bring nest materials in four different spots of the gutters. My husband has to get to roof to gouge out nesting material. Very dangerous and we will have to remove these very expensive gutters soon.

Guest 3: We had our Leaf Filters installed Last October 2016 along with brand new gutters at the same time. We have had nothing but problems with little or no help from the sales guy or the installers. I am contemplating contacting the BBB at this point as every single time it rains there is this heavy drip drip drip all the way down the gutters (With not a steep pitch at all). They constantly drip over the top of the leaf filter which is why I know for a fact that they are a very very poor design. It is very annoying and very dangerous as last winter my wife's son went for a loop slipping on the stairs from the gutters dripping into a mound of ice at the top of our steps. Thankfully he is alright. The sales guy states that "The System Is Working Properly" and is also not responding to my texts anymore since I had to start a dispute with the finance company since I didn't want to pay for dripping gutters! I thought for sure they would investigate and at least contact me and hear my side of the story and maybe watch my many videos of the massive dripping over the leaf filter gutter and at least make them fix it but nope, they immediately somehow sided with the gutter guys. I am pretty sure the company is LEAF FILTER NORTH LLC. as I found them on Facebook and "Thought" it was a good idea. I recently texted the sales guy and asked him to please just take them off and throw them away! PLEASE! But he hasn't responded yet. Oh well, $2200 out the window for only 2 gutters! So BBB here I come if no response. I have to at least try.

Guest 4: The Leaf Filter salesman came out to my home yesterday and it pretty much felt like a high pressure time share presentation. He grilled me on why I could not make an instant decision and even gave me a speal about he could give me a discount today but not tomorrow and would hate to see me miss out on the discount by not committing today to the tune of $8,324. Luckily my phone rang and I was able to show him the door. Then to make matter worst, his "manager" texted me the next day and said that he had an "overstock" from an big job they just did and can give me an awesomely deep discount. I told him that he must be the second sales guy they send in to hammer the deal even more to you...just like at the time share presentations. He hung up on me!!! Personally, I think a company's product should speak for itself if it is that great and they should not have to use these type of deceptive tactics to sell their products. I was very disappointed and offended by their conduct.

Guest 5: Depending upon the product, gutter guards will have varying degrees of effectiveness. Some are foolproof at blocking debris but may allow considerable rainwater to spill over the eaves, for example.  Some reject most but not all leaves and debris, so they need to be cleaned occasionally. Depending upon their design, this can become a bigger hassle than cleaning gutters with no covers if the guards can’t be removed easily, for example.  Some gutter guards work great beneath broad-leaf trees but marginally at rejecting needles or seeds. Others are good for low-sloped roofs but allow too much spillover on a steeply pitched or metal roof. Still, others encourage massive icicles in snowy, freezing weather.

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