If you don’t already have gutter guards to help prevent clogs from fallen leaves, cleaning your gutters is a necessary but messy job. Leaves and debris that pile up in your gutters will block the flow of rainwater and melted snow to your downspout. This water can back up and spill over the brim of the gutter, causing foundation and drainage issues for your home. In the winter, the melted snow can freeze and create an ice dam, forcing water under your roofing shingles and causing significant damage.
To avoid these issues, you should annually use one of the best gutter cleaners to ensure your gutters are clear from debris. Whether you climb a ladder and clear the debris with a scooper, or you prefer to stay grounded with the use of a hose extension, this important step in home maintenance can save you from some severe homeowner headaches.
- BEST OVERALL: The Gutter Tool – Gutter Cleaning Spoon and Scoop
- RUNNER UP: Orbit 58543 Telescoping Gutter Cleaning Wand
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Amerimax Home Products 8300 Getter Gutter Scoop
- BEST FOR PRESSURE WASHER: STYDDI Pressure Washer Gutter Rod Attachment
- BEST VACUUM ATTACHMENT: CRAFTSMAN CMXZVBE38640 Wet/Dry Vacuum Kit
- BEST GUTTER CLEANING KIT: AgiiMan Gutter Cleaning Pressure Washer Wands
Types of Gutter Cleaners
Gutter cleaning is a potentially dangerous project. Anytime you climb a ladder, you’re increasing your risk of injury. In response to these risks, manufacturers create new gutter cleaning methods often. Below are the most common and reliable types of products for cleaning your gutters.
Telescopic Hose Wand
If you’d prefer to keep both feet planted firmly on the ground while cleaning your gutters, you should check into a telescopic hose wand. These products attach to your garden hose’s threaded fitting and, in most cases, allow you to reach your gutters from the ground. They have hooked arms that reach and spray down into your gutters, providing a great angle to get the job done.
These products don’t require a pressure washer. They take the pressure from your hose and increase it with specially designed nozzles with restricted outlets that increase the water pressure. Their wands also adjust to reach higher gutters with watertight telescoping sections.
For a more aggressive approach, you can try a gutter cleaning claw. These devices affix to the end of a telescoping pole and reach down into your gutters to loosen and remove leaves and debris. While they can be a bit more labor-intensive than a hose attachment, they’re able to break up tough blockages much easier.
Not all “claws” are actually claw-shaped. Many of these products look more like small garden hoes or scoopers. In most cases, you’ll have to climb a ladder to use them, which can be dangerous, but they’re sure to clear whatever’s hanging out in your gutters. By physically reaching into the gutter and pulling the leaves toward yourself with the claw, you can remove debris from the gutter by hand.
Gutter Cleaning Scoop
If you’re comfortable on a ladder, you may appreciate a gutter cleaning scoop. These inexpensive options look like large candy scoopers and allow you to reach down into your gutter and scoop the debris accumulated at the bottom.
Gutter cleaning scoops are extremely effective, but their range is a concern. In order to clean an entire gutter, you’ll have to climb down and reposition the ladder many times. Leaning off the side of the ladder to reach further is a major risk, so you may have to move the ladder every 4 or 5 feet.
Pressure Washer Attachment
Pressure washer attachments can make short work of a dirty gutter. These long, hooked attachments screw onto your pressure washer’s handle, allowing you to position a nozzle directly into your gutter and remove leaves, debris, and the gutter gunk that builds up throughout the year. Some models even have dual-sided attachments that spray in both directions simultaneously.
These attachments bring a lot of firepower to gutter cleaning, but long wands can be flimsy and difficult to position in high gutters. Also, they create a lot of pressure, so, if you aren’t careful, you could make a mess of your home and yard—and even your neighbors’.
Wet-Dry Vacuum Attachment
Wet-dry vacuum attachments are another ground-based gutter cleaning product. These kits attach to your wet-dry shop vac and work by vacuuming or blowing the contents out of your gutter.
Most of these kits are universal and feature several lengths of rigid vacuum pipe and a hooked nozzle for reaching into the gutter. When attached to the vacuum side, you can suck the leaves into the vacuum’s drum. When connected to the blower side, you’ll blow leaves and debris out of the gutter.
You need a stout vacuum to get the job done, however. It’s also challenging to blow wet leaves, so this job is best to tackle after a few sunny days.
Similar to a wet-dry vacuum attachment, these kits attach to your leaf blower, allowing you to force the debris and leaves out of your gutter. They work incredibly well but can make a bit of a mess as they blow dirty leaves and sludge at high speeds all about your house and yard. But your gutters will be clean, and you won’t have to climb a ladder.
There are very few universal blower attachment kits available, but they aren’t universally reliable, so check with your leaf blower’s manufacturer and purchase a kit for your specific model.
Gutter Cleaning Kit
The product categories listed above can come in kits that are ready to go with everything you need. Pressure washer attachments often come with several lengths of extension wands and interchangeable nozzles. Vacuum kits have multiple lengths of universal rigid pipe, as well.
You can also find some kits that come with several gutter cleaning tools, like scoops, claw gloves, and extension poles. It’s worth spending a little extra time shopping for a kit. You’ll have everything you need in one purchase, minimizing frustration or the odds of forgetting something.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gutter Cleaner
Now that you know what types of gutter cleaning products you’re likely to find during your search, you can start to dig into the finer points of gutter cleaning. This section explains the most important considerations to keep in mind while shopping for the best gutter cleaner.
Before you start cleaning your gutters, it’s worth assessing their condition. If your gutters have seen better days, it might be better to have them replaced. Certain issues are fixable, like leaks and loose brackets. Dents and holes could be a different story.
A dent in your gutter can lead to a backup very quickly. A dent will affect the slope of the gutter, if only for a very small space. This change in slope will collect dirt and debris, creating a dam that obstructs flow. While clearing that dam will help, the fix is temporary and a backup will likely occur again quickly.
Holes will drip in wet weather and can cause damage to your foundation over time. You can use a sealant to patch the hole, but replacing the gutter might be a better option for large holes.
Gutter material is also worth keeping in mind. The most common materials are aluminum and vinyl, but copper is used as a high-end alternative. Aluminum gutters are very durable, so cleaning them usually isn’t an issue. It’s vinyl you need to be careful with.
Vinyl can be brittle in cold temperatures. Applying a bit of force to a vinyl gutter in cold conditions could potentially crack it or break a hanger. While it’s never pleasant to clean your gutters on a cold day, this is an even better reason to avoid it when the temperature drops. If you wait until it’s sunnier, vinyl can be very forgiving.
If you’re looking to purchase a gutter cleaning kit in order to stay on the ground while clearing your gutters, be sure to consider its length. Whether it’s a shop vac kit, garden hose attachment, or pressure washer wand, the device needs to reach over and into your gutters to be effective.
If you’re considering a gutter claw, length is still worth paying attention to. Most of these claws come as standalone attachments, so you’ll have to purchase an extendable pole separately. Choose something that will reach a manageable distance without being awkward while you’re standing on a ladder. A painter’s pole (available here) or broomstick will help, allowing you to reach at least 6 feet on either side of the ladder while still managing the apparatus safely.
Certain types of products won’t work without the necessary equipment. For instance, to use a pressure washer kit, you’ll need to own a pressure washer. If you want to blow your leaves out of your gutter, you’ll have to shop for a leaf blower or wet/dry vac, assuming you don’t already have one.
General must-haves could include gloves, eye protection, a garden hose, a garbage bag for debris, and likely a ladder. If you’re blowing your leaves out of your gutter, you’ll probably want to keep a rake handy, as well.
Keep in mind that regardless of the gutter cleaner you choose, you’ll probably still need a ladder at some point. It’s entirely possible for a branch or large obstruction to lodge itself in your gutter, so it’s not always feasible to clean them from the ground.
Believe it or not, there are robotic gutter cleaners available that you can drop into your gutter to avoid getting your hands dirty. You control them with a wireless remote, and they track up and down your gutter, throwing debris over the edge. They run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and have enough run time to tackle an entire home’s gutters in one charge.
However, these models are expensive. And, it’s a distinct possibility that your neighbors will want you to clean their gutters with your cool new toy as well.
Ease of Use
Before you choose a gutter-cleaning product, you might do well to acknowledge that they’re not all easy to work with. Using any type of wand, be it for a pressure washer or a leaf blower, does require a bit of skill and dexterity. These products can be somewhat physically demanding, particularly holding a leaf blower or pressure washer gun at a height and angle that reaches your gutters.
Beyond that, you’ll want to choose a product that is easy to set up. For claw-type gutter cleaners, a simple screw-on attachment method is best. For vacuum and blower attachments, find a product that attaches easily and securely to avoid it falling or blowing off while in use. Most pressure washers use quick-fit fittings, so look for an attachment that you can snap in easily and get to work.
Our Top Picks
If you’ve got an idea of what you’re looking for from a gutter cleaner, you’re ready to start shopping and comparing products. Below is a list of the best gutter cleaners you can buy for your pressure washer, wet/dry vacuum, and more.
Cleaning your gutters can be a hassle, so if you want to make sure you’re getting the job done the first time, The Gutter Tool Gutter Cleaning Spoon and Scoop is worth checking into. This product screws onto an extension pole, allowing you to grab leaves from several feet away. The claw pulls the leaves toward you, while the hook allows you to pull them under gutter hangers. This dual-sided design will enable you to clean your gutters while climbing up and down your ladder as little as possible.
The Gutter Tool Gutter Cleaning Spoon and Scoop does require you to climb a ladder, so if you aren’t comfortable with heights, it may not work for you. However, if you’re okay with ladder climbing, it’s very effective at cleaning your gutters quickly.
If you’re looking for a product to clean your gutters that’s easy to use and doesn’t require extra equipment, the Orbit 58543 Telescoping Gutter Cleaning Wand should be on your radar. This telescoping wand simply screws onto a standard garden hose to spray leaves and debris out of your gutters. This tool has a telescoping wand that adjusts between 40 and 70 inches, and a multi-position nozzle that allows you to select an angle that works best for your situation.
The Orbit has a built-in shut-off valve that allows you to shut the sprayer down or lower the pressure if needed. It’s also lightweight, weighing just over a pound, making it a convenient gutter cleaning option.
If you want to save a few bucks and don’t mind getting a little dirty while cleaning your gutters, the Amerimax Home Products 8300 Getter Gutter is an extremely capable tool. The Getter Gutter has a long, flexible scoop that flexes to fit your gutters, allowing you to scrape gunk and mud from the bottom. The scoop’s long tongue reaches under gutter brackets to remove leaves and gunk easier.
The Getter Gutter features a high handle, which keeps your hands out of the gutter so they remain clean. Also, since the Getter Gutter is flexible, you can fill the scoop, and then squeeze it closed to contain the leaves and avoid dropping any.
If you already own a pressure washer, turning it into a gutter cleaning machine is quick and easy with the STYDDI Pressure Washer Gutter Rod Attachment. This pressure washer wand snaps onto your pressure washer’s quick-connect fitting and has a maximum working pressure of 4,000 PSI.
The STYDDI comes with five different nozzles, including 0, 15, 25, 40, and 65 degrees, allowing you to select the perfect pressure and spray pattern for washing out your gutters. While the wand is only 13 inches long, you can purchase a separate extension wand (available here) to make the most of this sprayer attachment.
Make the most of your wet/dry vacuum with this CMXZVBE38640 gutter cleaning kit from Craftsman. This four-piece kit comes with two 18-inch extension wands, a hooked gutter nozzle, and a blower nozzle for concentrating your shop vac’s blower volume. It will fit a wet/dry vac with a 2.5-inch outlet, making it nearly universal to residential vacuum models. The universal fitment is also a benefit as you can use it along with your shop vac’s extensions to reach a bit higher than the kit alone allows.
The CMXZVBE38640 works optimally with dry leaves, so it’s best to wait for a stretch of fair weather before heading out to clean your gutters with this kit.
If you’re looking for a gutter cleaning kit for your pressure washer with a bit more reach, you should check into the AgiiMan Gutter Cleaning Pressure Washer Wands kit. It has a maximum operating pressure of 4,000 PSI, and it works with most pressure washers’ 1/4-inch quick-connect fittings.
This kit comes with six wands, a curved gutter rod, 10 O-rings, and five nozzles for adjusting the spray’s pressure and pattern. The kit has quick-connect fittings for attaching to your pressure washer’s gun, as well as for snapping nozzles in and out. When all of the extensions are in use, the Agiiman kit reaches gutters up to 102 inches high.
FAQs About Gutter Cleaners
Now, you have a pretty good primer on the best gutter cleaners but still might have some questions. This section is a collection of the most frequently asked questions about the best gutter cleaners, along with the corresponding answers. For more specific information, you can reach out to your kit manufacturer’s customer service department.
Q. Is there a tool to clean gutters from the ground?
There are plenty of options for cleaning gutters from the ground. You can choose from a pressure washer kit, a wet/dry vacuum kit, or some claw kits.
Q. How much PSI do I need to clean gutters?
Setting your pressure washer to 1,500 PSI should do the trick. While you might find some stubborn grime, pressure higher than 1,500 PSI usually isn’t necessary.
Q. How do you clear clogged gutters?
The tools recommended here will clear clogged gutters. The main concern, however, is where your downspout connects to your gutter. If you have a clog here, you may have to break it up by hand. Poking the clog with a screwdriver or pocket knife will loosen things up, allowing you to remove the debris.