When it comes to choosing which type of gutter guard to install on your home, there are three basic styles: mesh or plastic screens, gutter filters that rest inside the gutter, and surface tension units that fit over the top of existing gutters. The type of gutter guard you choose to install will depend on the level of investment you want to put into your gutters.
Mesh gutter screens are typically in the middle range of gutter guards on the market; they're more expensive than gutter filters, but on average, they aren't quite as pricy as the surface tension-style units. Less expensive versions, which are made of plastic and that you can install yourself, can cost as little as 50 cents a foot. But those products don't always keep all debris out, meaning that you'll likely have to clean them out periodically [source: Hageman].
At the higher end of the screen spectrum are brands like Gutterglove, a relatively high-tech system that consists of two parts: a perforated aluminum channel and super-fine stainless steel mesh that is glued into grooves along both sides of the channel. The mesh filters out leaves and other debris, allowing rain to flow freely. Gutterglove also makes an "Icebreaker" model that melts icicles and snow. The high-tech option comes at a price, though; installing the Gutterglove on your home can cost as much as $2,500 [source: Gutterglove].
For the budget-minded buyer, the Gutter Brush might be a better option. The design consists of a cylinder-shaped brush that fits inside your existing gutters. The beauty of the design is its simplicity: the brush acts as a filter, allowing water to enter the gutters while keeping larger debris out. But it earns the highest marks in the affordability realm, as it costs as little as $3.25 per foot, and it's so easy to use, you shouldn't need to hire anyone to install it [source: Gutter Brush]. For a similar, but slightly more expensive design, the Gutter Filler is a porous polyurethane material that fits into existing gutters. The company claims that the product has rain-handling capacity up to 10 times your normal rainfall [source: Gutter Filler].
And finally, you have the surface-tension gutter guards, which fit over the gutter and are shaped in such a way that water runs into the gutter while debris flows over the edge of the roof. The Gutter Helmet, a popular design that was dreamed up by MIT alum Bob Demartini in the 1960s, falls into this category. The curved shape sends leaves and other debris off the roof, while channeling water through a narrow slit three-eighths of an inch (0.95 centimeters) in length. The Gutter Helmet also has a textured surface that makes the rain cling to it as it flows downward, the company claims [source: Gutter Helmet].