Informational Guide

How Gutter Cleaning Systems Help Make Your Job Easier

by Ian Haynes

Cleaning gutters is one of the least appealing jobs around the house. By their very nature, gutters are challenging to get at, and the process of cleaning them can be awkward and pretty messy.

Gutters get inevitably clogged up with leaves and other matter (even balls if you have kids around the place!) over time. The fall is the worst time for this, but whenever there is a violent storm, large quantities of leaves and twigs can be washed into the gutters.

Because they’re way up high and you can’t see the problem building up, it’s easy to ignore the fact that gutters need attention. The reality is that the build-up of leaves, moss, etc., prevents the gutters from doing their job: keeping large quantities of rainwater away from your house.

And, before you know it, you’ll end up with a veritable 'garden' growing up there, as the damp conditions created by the compacted leaf matter are perfect for all kinds of seeds to germinate.

The bottom line is that if you fail to keep your gutters clear, not only will they fail to function efficiently, the effects can be pretty serious in terms of damage to the fabric of your home: damaged guttering, rotting facias and damp creeping into the walls. Remember the old saying 'prevention is better than a cure'?

Gutter Cleaning Tools

Before we say more about the various gutter cleaning tools on the market, there's one note of caution we'd like to share: If your home is higher than one story, any method of gutter cleaning, whether you have the right tools for the job or not, is likely to be dangerous. Our advice, in that case, is to pay the professionals to do the job for you. Yes, it will cost more, but worth every cent if it keeps you safe.  

Gutter Cleaning Price Estimates

Making an effort to clear your gutters is time very well spent, no matter how unpleasant the job may be. There are plenty of professionals out there who’ll do the job for you. The costs of such services can be expensive, and the job ideally needs doing at least once a year - more frequently if trees surround your property - so the outlay stacks up over time.

Typical costs for gutter cleaning services vary across the country and depending on the size of the property but average out at between $100 and $175. There may be some savings to be made by entering into a regular contract, where the job is done every six months or so, but year on year those costs still add up.

Perhaps you’d prefer to spend your hard-earned cash on other things? Well, the good news is that, in reality, although gutter cleaning is messy, it requires little skill and just a bit of physical effort. Better yet, if you invest in the right tools for the job, the whole process becomes way more manageable and less onerous. 

The cost of specialist gutter cleaning products to help you complete the task isn’t as high as you might think and it’s a one-off cost instead of being a regular drain on your finances. The products recommended below, for example, typically cost between $20 and $50, which is substantially less than the cost of just one professional visit.

Making an initial investment in a relatively inexpensive home gutter cleaning system will end up in considerable savings over time. On that basis alone, it's well worth looking into buying your own.

Advantages of Having Gutter Cleaning Tools

There several key advantages in getting your own gutter cleaning system:

  • Efficiency
    It may be tempting to make do with what the equipment you already have lying around in your tool shed, but if you own the right tools for the job it'll be so much quicker    
  • Cost
    As previously outlined, the cost of getting someone in to do the job soon adds up. Since the cost of the gutter cleaning systems we’ve described here are relatively inexpensive, it’s clear that the equipment will pay for itself in a very short time – quite possibly with just one use.  After that, it will cost you nothing at all except a little sweat from your brow.
  • Safety
    perching at the top of a ladder wielding a heavy broom and a hosepipe is never going to be the safest activity. If nothing else, using gutter cleaning tools specifically designed for the job is going to improve safety immeasurably (though we still do advise caution, of course).  
  • Time-saving
    once you get into the routine of clearing your gutters regularly, it will be much quicker as there won’t be the build-up of debris to remove.   

The Tools That Will Make Everything Easier

Having the right tools to do this job will make all the difference. We have reviewed all the types of gutter clearing options in this article but there are essentially 3 types of gutter cleaning systems out there.

The first type is the simplest in that it just attaches to any standard garden hose. An excellent example of this type is the Buyplus Gutter Cleaning Tool. It’s a lightweight telescoping pole which extends from its minimum length of 26 inches up to 84 inches.

A rotating tip is attached to the end of the wand, and the copper nozzle adjusts the water flow, so you can get the right pressure to force the debris out of the gutter.

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The second option for cleaning your gutters is an extension kit which fits a garden blower/vacuum consisting of several sections of tubing.

You connect up the sections to get the reach that you need to blow the debris from the gutters. (This does rely on you already owning a blower, but as an add-on accessory it's reasonably priced.) If this is what you're looking for, take a look at the Toro 51667 Gutter Cleaning Kit.

Currently On Sale
Toro 51667 Gutter Cleaning Kit
  • Clean out the gutters with your feet firmly...
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  • Includes gutter nozzle, shoulder strap,...

The final type of gutter cleaning system is a one-off recently patented invention called the Gutterwhiz. You can find out more about it here. There’s nothing else quite like it on the market, designed by a man who was shocked to find his elderly father up on the roof trying to clean out his gutters and so set about finding a safer solution.

It's a manual grabber attached to a tall pole (sold separately) which is controlled by a rope to open and close the 'jaws' to grab the debris and remove it from the gutters. See the below video of the Gutterwhiz in use.

All About Gutter Guards

There are mainly 3 types of products which are designed to prevent a build-up of debris in gutters and downspouts. They each have their good points and are worth considering, but the bottom line is that gutters will still need attention from time to time when manual removal of the debris has to be done. 

This is a fact of life and one of the many responsibilities of a conscientious homeowner, no matter what guards are put in place.

Have a look at this handyman video which compares two types of guards – it's from the UK, but the problem of blocked guttering is universal!

Here’s a breakdown of the types of guards which are available:

  • Filters which sit over the top of downspouts to prevent leaves, or even stray balls (it happens!), from building up and causing a blockage. They are easy to install, reasonably priced, and do a reasonable job. However, they don’t solve the unavoidable problem of material building up in the gutters themselves over time. The task of cleaning gutters still has to be done.
  • Guards are fitted over the top of the whole length of the gutter preventing any debris from getting into the gutters. They’re fiddly to install, usually slipping under shingles and clipping on to the guttering and can be quite expensive. The problem is that over time, matter will inevitably build up on top of the guards. Although the rainwater is running freely beneath and there are no blockages, gradually the density of the material on top can become quite heavy, seeds can start to germinate, and a 'garden' can develop. So even with this type of guard in place, clearing gutters from time to time is still a necessity.
  • 'Hedgehog' type guards are a super-long spiky flexible brush which fills the gutter and prevents leaves from settling and allowing rainwater to run freely into downspouts. This is quite expensive, but it is very easy to fit since it just sits in the gutter with no attachments necessary. However, in time the hedgehog itself will become clogged with leaves and debris. It may take some time, but eventually, it will be necessary to remove, clean, and replace the hedgehog.  

Gutter Cleaning Tips

  • Be Patient!
    If your gutters haven’t been attended to in a while, the first time you have a go at clearing them yourself with your new tools it may take a while because the amount of resulting debris may be substantial. You’ll also be getting used to using a new bit of equipment and, as with anything, getting the knack can take time. Our advice is not to be put off by this experience because each time it will get easier, especially if you keep doing the job regularly.
  • Safety First
    Use of gutter cleaning tools by homeowners isn't recommended if your home is higher than one story. If you use a ladder to assist you, be sure it’s sturdy and stabilized and ideally have someone watching out for you while you work. Take special care when there are any electrical or telephone wires in the vicinity.
  • Wear Protective Gloves, Footwear, and Overalls
    Gloves can help protect your hands against dirty, rotting leaf debris that often contains bird, pigeon and squirrel droppings that are full of potentially harmful bacteria. Gloves can also prevent painful cuts from the torn metal shards of an old, ragged gutter. Sturdy footwear makes sense for a task like this and, as we’ve said, it can get pretty messy, so overalls might be a good idea.
  • Protective Eye Wear
    Eye protection is a must because one never knows what might fly out of the downspout when cleaning gutters. People have experienced rats, birds, frogs, wasps, and bees leaving at high speeds once they start removing a clog, so eyes are potentially at risk.
  • Check the roof for debris
    It’s a good idea to rake all debris off the roof first if you possibly can. Otherwise, the next rain will wash all that debris down into the clean gutter, clogging it up again.
  • Don’t forget to check downspouts
    Make sure the downspouts (leader pipe) are clear. When you’ve cleared the gutters themselves, there’s a good chance that some of the material may block the downspouts. After all the gutters are cleaned out, run the water hose down the downspout at full pressure. If there’s any clogging in the downspout, then this needs to be removed.


This may sound a little odd, but you might even find you enjoy this essential yet onerous task if you had the right tools for the job. There’s no doubt that seeing all that debris coming out of the gutters and downspouts is very satisfying. Even more so when you know you’ve saved so much money compared to paying the professionals to do the job.

There are some spectacular 'hanging gardens' in the gutters of homes in my area, where grass, weeds, and even tree saplings have taken root. Whenever I spot one, I’m perplexed – and also somewhat concerned – that the householders don't make an effort to keep on top of the relatively straightforward task of cleaning gutters.

In the long run, it would save them so much money, and it also looks so unsightly. Yes, I’m going to say it again: prevention is (always) better than a cure. Take a look at some of the options we’ve suggested above and see which one would work best for your home.

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.