I Tested the Raptor Gutter Guard: Is it Worth the Cost?

Want to avoid cleaning your gutters? Ditch the leaf scoop and dig into this review to find out if the Raptor Gutter Guard protection system will have you covered.

Raptor Gutter Guard

Photo: Tom Scalisi

There probably aren’t too many folks who would choose to spend a beautiful autumn afternoon cleaning gutters. The nasty black sludge that collects in the bottom of gutters is a result of decomposing twigs, leaves, dirt, seeds, and other undesirable debris. Fail to remove it and serious harm could come to your home, due to potential leaks and damage to the foundation from rainwater.

But what if you could avoid the majority of nasty gunk collecting in the first place? With a trusty gutter guard in place, you might be able to do just that. I performed hands-on testing of the Raptor Gutter Guard, one of the most DIY-centric gutter guard systems available, to find out just how easy it was to install and how well it performed. Read on to see who should consider these micro mesh gutter guards, who shouldn’t, and why so you can make the right choice for you home.

Raptor Gutter Guard: At a Glance

Raptor Gutter Guard

Photo: Tom Scalisi

Rating: [8.5/10]

PROS

  • Incredibly durable build quality
  • Easy to remove for cleaning access
  • Flexible installation options

CONS

  • Durability makes for difficult cutting
  • No pre-drilled holes

Get the Raptor Gutter Guard at Amazon for $114.90

What is the Raptor Gutter Guard?

A gutter guard is a simple device that prevents leaves, twigs, seeds, grit from asphalt shingles, and other small debris from gathering in a gutter. Gutter guards come in various shapes and sizes, but they all function to filter large debris away from the gutter without interfering with the gutter’s job of moving rainwater away from the home’s foundation.

The Raptor gutter guard is a micro-mesh-style system made from stainless steel and aluminum. When working properly, the mesh allows water from the roof to flow into the gutter while keeping debris out. The debris then collects temporarily on top of the guard until it falls off or the wind blows it away. The result is a free-flowing gutter system that requires less-frequent maintenance.

What makes the Raptor system unique from other micro-mesh systems is its V-Bend and trough technology (basically, bends in the mesh), which Raptor states provides durability and improved water flow.

How easy is it to install the Raptor Gutter Guard?

The Raptor gutter guard system comes with almost everything you need to install it, including the screws and driver bit for a power drill. In general, I found the Raptor gutter guard system easy to install, but there are some things the DIYer should understand at the outset:

The type of brackets your gutter system utilizes will have a lot to do with ease of installation. Hidden hangers that install inside the gutter make installation a breeze, as the Raptor gutter guards fit right over the top without issue. However, if your home has K-style brackets that strap to the roof, you’ll have to do some cutting to get around those brackets.

If you must cut a Raptor gutter guard, be sure to eat a good breakfast! The aluminum rails that support the mesh are thick, and even though I had a good set of tin snips, I struggled to cut through the material. Cutting the mesh was frustrating as well. I recommend using longer-handled snips for the mesh and a hacksaw for the aluminum rails.

The Raptor system offers two installation options. One method involves sliding the gutter guard under the lowest course of shingles, while another allows for installation across the top of the gutter. Due to the age of my home’s shingles, I was unable to slide the gutter guard underneath, so I chose an over-the-top installation.

To secure the gutter guards, simply screw them into the front lip of the gutter with the included screws. Raptor’s instructions make it clear that the front lip needs to sit perfectly flush, which isn’t difficult to achieve but will not happen on its own.

How easy is it to use Raptor gutter guards?

After installation, the job is pretty much done, so the simple answer to the question above is that they’re extremely easy to use. But an issue could pop up that would require attention, so the real question is: How easy is it to service Raptor gutter guards?

The answer? Better than any other gutter guard I tested (and I tested quite a few)

During testing, I loaded my roof with mulch, then hosed it down, to simulate gutter build-up. Mucho mulch collected on the top of the Raptor gutter guard. In most real life circumstances, a bit of build-up would probably blow off on its own, but the mulch represented a lot of build-up, enough to require cleaning the gutter guard. If I didn’t service it, rainwater could certainly be trapped and potentially damage my house.

Because the Raptor gutter guard is so durable, removing it from the gutter was as easy as pulling a cookie sheet out of the oven. The guard didn’t bend or flex, allowing me to lift the debris away from the gutter instead of dumping it back inside, which proved to be the case with some other systems. Note: This step might not even be necessary if the Raptor gutter guards were installed under the shingles, but I was pleased to learn how easy they are to remove, clean, and replace if necessary.

Raptor Gutter Guard

Photo: Tom Scalisi

How well did the Raptor Gutter Guard perform?

Easy installation and serviceability wouldn’t account for much if a system clogs or allows junk into the gutters. The good news is that the Raptor gutter guard performed exactly as it should.

Micro mesh is an almost foolproof system. It keeps virtually everything out of the gutter while giving leaves and twigs less to grab onto compared to a brush or wire system. Raptor’s mesh goes a step further, utilizing the trough system to keep water from overflowing, which it did very well. Very little water spilled over the edge of the gutter.

During testing, most of the debris washed down the roof, onto the Raptor gutter guard, and off. What debris did remain brushed off easily, thanks to the micro mesh’s tiny spaces.

Is the Raptor Gutter Guard system worth the price?

Raptor gutter guards are only available on Amazon, and they cost about $115 for 48 feet of gutter guard (roughly $2.40 per linear foot). If your home has more than 48 feet of gutters, unfortunately, you’ll have to buy another set. But is the price worth it?

There are a few things to consider. For one, Raptor gutter guards are fairly easy to install, which means that an avid DIYer can handle the job and save a significant amount of money over hiring a pro. Also, this system does an excellent job of keeping the gutters clear, potentially preventing expensive foundation damage. Finally, this was by far the easiest system to remove and service, allowing for speedy gutter guard (and gutter) cleaning, when necessary.

Based on the convenience and prevention factors alone, the Raptor gutter guard system is worth the money. Add in the durability and longevity of corrosion-resistant aluminum and stainless steel, $2.40 per linear foot seems to be more than a fair price to pay for the protection and simplicity the Raptor gutter guard system provides.

Is the Raptor Gutter Guard system right for you?

Ultimately, the Raptor gutter guard is a high-quality gutter protection system that will help to keep gutters clear of debris and sludge. But it may not be right for everyone, and it mostly depends on the approach to and outlook on gutter maintenance.

Face the fact: If you’re looking for a set-and-forget solution, there isn’t one. All gutter guard systems will require attention at some point. They will catch some debris, and more debris will pile up, and that could give rainwater and snowmelt a pathway into your home.

However, if you’re on the hunt for a system to minimize gutter cleaning frequency, the Raptor gutter guard might be just the ticket. It boasts flexible mounting options and durable materials, will fit almost any standard 5-inch gutter (6-inch Raptor gutter guards are also available), and is likely to last a very long time. And, since the Raptor gutter guard is easy to install and remove for servicing, responsible gutter owners will be able to quickly clean and maintain the system with more ease than I experienced with other options.

Get the Raptor Gutter Guard at Amazon for $114.90