Written by Terry Smith
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Best gutter guards [UK] that really stop leaves and debris block your gutter
This article was last updated on August 7th, 2021 at 3:27 am
It’s almost impossible to keep your gutters free of dirt and debris here in the UK. The autumn brings the leaves that inevitably get blown into the gutter and eventually end up blocking it , the winter rain, ice, and snow cause the dirt that has accumulated on your roofs to run down in there too. Then there’s moss, and other problems like weeds, and god knows what else. I wouldn’t be surprised to look in there and find myself staring into the eyes of some sort of creature either! So, what are your options when it comes to keeping your gutters clean and unclogged once you’ve cleaned your shed gutter?
One possible route is to simply call in a professional to do the job for you, but prices vary from company to company and with the Covid lockdown doing some bits at home makes a lot of sense. And remember, you’re not just cleaning the gutter, you need to clean your shed roof first. So if you are able, there’s serious money to be saved…
Another way of keeping at least some of the debris out of your gutters, is to install a gutter guard or gutter hedgehog. Each of these has its own pros and cons, which we’ll cover in this article, but at the moment they are probably the best option for most people.
Today, we are going to take a look at these products and try to help you make the right decision when it comes to your own gutter guards. We’ll also give you a few handy tips in our buyer’s guide that you can find at the end of this article.
Table of Contents
Best Gutter Guard Buyer’s Guide
Here you will find a little extra information about keeping your gutters nice and unblocked, and also a few things to think about before you buy. So, let’s crack on shall we?
In addition to a gutter leaf guard, you should probably be thinking about purchasing a downpipe guard too. There are some really great designs out there for these products these days, far from the eyesores of the past, and they can be found quite inexpensively. A downpipe guard will sit on top of your downpipe and can stop a wide range of debris from entering the pipe.
A good alternative to a downpipe guard is to buy more gutter brush than you need and bend it down there. It’ll stop most leaves and other unwanted things from getting in there and clogging it. It will also make it easy to clean later. In my case I bent the gutter brush at angle and it worked great:
Please be aware that a lot of, if not all gutter leaf guards will need fixing down so that strong winds and animals don’t blow or knock them out of place. Some guards will come with clips to attach them to the gutters, but many do not, and even some that do come with clips can prove to be problematic when actually trying to fit them to UK gutters. I would suggest looking at buying a trusted brand like Hedgehog’s clips, or, as a cheap alternative; use cable ties, as they work just fine and save some proper money:
I mentioned this above, but I thought I’d say it again here; these gutter leaf guards are just that. They are supposed to stop leaves and twigs from getting stuck in your gutter and causing problems. They will not stop every single piece of dirt and grime from getting in there, so please approach this with the right expectations but a quick blast with a pressure washer and you’re good to go. I use my Wilks 750 petrol pressure washer to do all cleaning in the garden.
Gutter grid, gutter mesh, or gutter brush?
The three main types of gutter protection available to you are gutter grids, gutter mesh, and gutter brushes, and as previously mentioned, none are perfect, with each having their own flaws in addition to their advantages.
Gutter grids are the most rigid of the three, and probably the most durable. Usually made of strong plastic, they won’t rust, and they are relatively easy to install, if a little fiddly at times.
Grid gutter guards tend to come in small pieces that you click together and then lay down over the top of your gutter. The holes allow the rain water to run through, but the rest of the grid will stop leaves settling in there, and hopefully a decent gust of wind will come by and blow the leaves away.
The problems most associated with grid gutter guards are that only larger debris and leaves will be caught on top, with smaller stuff still getting through. Also, the rigidity of the product can make it hard to fit into some gutters properly, particularly if there’s a bend.
Gutter mesh can be made of plastic or metal, and will usually come as a roll that you have to cut to the appropriate size. Obviously, this makes it the most work to install, but it’s a relatively simple job that the vast majority of people can handle.
Gutter mesh has an advantage over the grid type when it comes to fitting it around bends and corners due to its flexibility and how easy it is to cut to the right angle and shape.
The downsides for this kind of gutter guard are much the same as the gutter grid. Smaller debris will fall through the holes and eventually cause problems later on. Seeds can fall through and even start to grow in your gutters, and just like with the grid gutter guards, you will eventually have to remove it to give the gutter a good blast with a pressure washer and that might prove to be a bit tricky when compared with gutter hedgehogs.
If I was forced to make a decision, I think I would go for the gutter brush, if only because it is the easiest to install and remove. To keep it working at its best, it will need removing more often than the other two though, so if you don’t like going up a ladder, it might not be the best choice for you. Personally, I don’t mind heights and the convenience of popping off a few ties and pulling the brush out to be cleaned off makes it my favourite. It also looks good when installed. Take a look at my shed:
Gutter brushes are basically long brushes that sit in your gutter and collect debris on their bristles and redirect leaves away. They are incredibly easy to install, only requiring you to lay them in there, and the same goes for when you want to remove them. They do, however, need holding in place, and they can actually become very dirty themselves after a while and need to be taken out and cleaned off. Luckily this is a fairly easy task, but it is certainly a messy one.
Best Gutter Guard Reviews
Here we’ll review the best products available at the moment, compare them with similar products, and hopefully leave you feeling confident about your purchasing choices. We’ve tried to offer a good selection of products, but Covid-19 restrictions have reduced our options somewhat. Once things are starting to get back to normal, we will update this, and all our other review pages, with the latest and greatest stuff out there.
Anyway, without further ado, here are the reviews:
1. Genuine Hedgehog Gutter Brush, 4m
When it comes to brush gutter guards, the Hedgehog brand is one of, if not the most trusted names in the business. Even so much so, that other brands have started calling their brushes ‘hedgehog’ in an attempt to cash in on their reputation.
Constructed using a combination of stainless steel wire and UV resistant polypropylene plastic, these products are built to last you for years to come. Not bad for something that only costs around 15 pounds for 4 metres. Hedgehogs are offering this gutter brush in three different colours; black, brown, and white. I can’t really think of a reason to buy the brown over the black, but the white coloured brush goes perfectly with conservatory guttering.
Installation is a doddle with this product, it simply slides into your guttering and that’s that really. The only extra thing to do is to secure it down so it doesn’t blow away, and there are a few ways to do that as we’ll inform you in our buyer’s guide.
The hedgehog gutter brush does an excellent job of keeping leaves and twigs of all sizes out of your gutters and absorbs a lot of dirt and grime too. Unfortunately, that means that you’ll have to clean it off at some point, but it’s easier to clean the hedgehog brush than trying to scrub out a gutter.
This product is extremely flexible and will easily fit around bends and corners, something that can’t really be said about other types of gutter guard. This flexibility also gives you some other option and uses, but again, we’ll save that for the buyer’s guide later in this article.
At the end of the day, this product certainly lives up to the ‘Hedgehog’ brand name. It is well made, durable, and flexible, and I am certainly comfortable saying it is one of the best gutter guards out there.
2. GroundMaster Gutter Guard Brush
Although Hedgehog is probably the best-known name for producing brush gutter guards, there are plenty of other companies making very similar products. One of these companies is GroundMaster, whose gutter guard brush is priced around the same as hedgehog’s and making it a very close competitor, but can it hold its own against the better known brand’s product?
At first glance, they look identical. However, once I laid the GroundMaster in the guttering, I noticed that there were a few minor flaws. I saw minor, because they were, and if I hadn’t already had experience with the Hedgehog brand gutter guard brush, I probably wouldn’t have noticed them.
The two things that caught my eye were that in a couple of spots, the bristles on the brush seemed thinner than the rest of it, whereas the Hedgehog brush was very uniform. The other thing was while the hedgehog gutter guard lay perfectly, the GroundMaster that we tested had a couple of little ‘kinks’ (I suppose you’d call them) and this made those small areas raised up slightly higher than the rest.
Like I said these are small flaws and overall, it is a good product, but when you can get the Hedgehog gutter guard brush for pretty much the same price, I would rather go with that one if I’m being completely honest.
3. Parkland® 5m Gutter Leaf Guard Protection System
Gutter brushes aren’t to everyone’s liking, some find the messy job of removing them to be a bit of a nuisance, and I can see their point when I’m getting splattered pulling mine out if I’ve left it in there too long. Some of these folks prefer to install a gutter leaf guard grid system instead, and in my opinion, the Parkland protection system is one of the best of its kind.
The main pieces feel very solid, as they should be made of polypropylene, and they clip together fairly easily without the need of any screwing, or even the use of tools.
That’s not to say that installation is completely simple, I would still say it’s a bit fiddly, but once you figure out the best way to do it, it’s fairly easy. What I did was clip a few pieces together then unclip the actual drain fixings. This made it easy to slip the grid into place and then I just fastened the fixings back in place, which then holds the grid in place too.
To test the parkland gutter guard, I poured a bucket of leaves and twigs of various sizes that I’d collected over the gutter, to see how much of it the guard stopped. I’ve got to say that it performed really well, and only the smallest pieces of debris managed to get through.
The only thing that I didn’t really like about this product was that some of the small tabs that are used to link the smaller pieces of the grid together felt a bit weak, and one even broke off as I was flexing it into place.
Ultimately, this made no difference to how the grid functioned through, so I guess it’s nothing to write home about, and at just 8.99 for 5 metres of this stuff, you can’t really complain about tiny things like that. The Parkland gutter leaf guard is very good value for money.
Brett Martin might sound like the name of an American racing car driver, but in this case it is the brand that is offering us a grid style gutter leaf guard for 9.99 for 5 metres. At that price it is in direct competition with the Parkland product we just reviewed, and I have to say, it is hard to tell them apart.
They are both made from strong plastic for the most part, but both have the same fault of the connectors not being as durable as the main grids. Again though, I have to state that these connecting parts breaking or bending will not really affect how well the leaf guard works, and you can always fix them together with something else.
This product did feel a little lighter to me, and I would definitely recommend tying it down somehow to avoid it being removed by strong winds or by birds. We have normal sized drains, as far as I know, but I found that these were just a little too wide to slip in easily. This was easily rectified with the help of a handsaw, and I just trimmed a little off. I later measured and they were 10.5cm wide, so it might be worth checking your drain width before buying.
The Brett Martin mesh gutter guard did just as well as the Parkland grid system when it came to keeping leaves and other things out, but just like its competitor, smaller stuff still got through. This is unavoidable really, and something a lot of people tend not to understand about these products. They are there to stop the big stuff, and can’t prevent every single piece of debris and dirt out.
For its intended purposes, this is a decent product, and I would say very fairly priced. It’s a bit niggly getting the thing installed, but I could say that about most of these types of guard.
If you’re looking for a low-cost way to guard your gutter from leaves, and you don’t mind spending a little bit of time installing it, you could do a lot worse than going with this plastic gutter mesh from Blackspur. It is made from polyethylene, so it has a fair bit of strength to it, but is actually thinner than I expected, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For one, it makes it very easy to cut to size using a decent pair of scissors or snips, and two; it makes it easier to bend into place.
The flip side to this malleability, is that it can tend to want to pop out of place here and there, so you definitely need to clip it down, but I always take that as a given with gutter leaf guards anyway, no matter which type.
As I mentioned, this stuff is very inexpensive; a 5 metre roll will only set you back around 2 pounds, and when compared to buying a gutter brush, that’s one heck of a saving.
There are people out there who prefer to use metal mesh rather than plastic mesh like this, but the fact that this stuff will never rust has always made me favour it over the former.
The installation of a mesh gutter leaf guard is probably the trickiest of the three types if you try to tackle it alone, but with an extra pair of hands, it actually becomes rather straightforward as you have someone to hold things in place while you fasten them down.
In our tests, Blackspur’s gutter mesh performed admirably, stopping the majority of the debris we threw at it, and even doing a good job of stopping larger clumps of moss.
The only worries I have with this product, is that it will be quite a pain in the you-know-what to take out and then reinstall again, especially at height, and the thinness of the plastic makes me wonder if birds will be able to peck through it.
All in all though, I have to say that this is an excellent budget choice if you don’t mind spending the time getting it set up correctly, and making sure it is fastened down properly.
6. St@llion 2 Meter Black Plastic Gutter Guard Mesh
Another option for those of you looking to use a good plastic mesh gutter leaf guard, is this product from St@llion. Priced at 6.99 for just 2 metres worth of mesh, this is quite a bit more expensive than the Blackspur product, and it is advertised as ‘high quality’, but is any different?
Well, I have to say that when I first held it, I didn’t really see any difference; and certainly not enough to justify the extra cost, but once I tried working with it, I did notice some difference. Where the Blackspur mesh worried me a little with its thinness and slightly brittle nature, this stuff felt much stronger. It also had more flex in the material and you could even stretch it slightly, which comes in handy when installing it.
Apart from that though, I didn’t really notice anything special, and for the extra cost I was at least expecting some fittings with it, but alas they still have to be bought separately.
So, I guess to answer my own question: is it worth paying the extra for this product over the Blackspur? I’d have to say that it would come down to the individual and their needs. This stuff was easier to install, and feels stronger, but once fitted in it doesn’t do anything more than the, much cheaper, Blackspur mesh gutter guard.
I guess if you get a lot of debris falling in your gutter and you’re worried about the cheaper product collapsing or sinking under the weight of wet leaves and such, it’d be worth paying the extra for the peace of mind.
So, that about wraps up this article on gutter leaf guards. These products are very handy things to have as part of your home, and can prevent big headaches with clogged gutters if used correctly. We aimed to give a balanced, yet informative view on this subject, and we really hope we have achieved that. Until next time.