Choosing the right tool to clean your gutters can be a bit confusing, which tool is best for the job? Well, in this article we discuss the costs, advantages and disadvantages of 5 of the most popular gutter cleaning tools on the market.
The gutter scoop is a handy and inexpensive tool to use when cleaning your gutters. The most significant advantages of the gutter scoop are its ease of use and how cheap it is to buy. When using the gutter scoop, the user scoops the gutter’s mess up standing on a ladder or roof. For wet and muddy debris the scoop can be pretty handy, but it may become more of a hassle than cleaning your gutters by hand when cleaning drier debris. It is a common tool in most hardware stores, including Bunnings where you can pick it up for as little as $3.50 (that’s less than a pair of gloves).
Some disadvantages of the gutter scoop, include having to work from the roof or ladder. Some gutters are also very narrow, and you may not be able to get the scoop into them. They don’t clean 100% of the mess from a gutter system and cause spillage over the sides of the gutter, creating a mess at ground level. And they are no help with clearing or unblocking downpipes.
Gutter Sense Tool
The Gutter Sense tool is a tool whereby the user can control and clean their gutters from the ground’s safety, no working from the roof or using ladders to clean your gutters. The user simply attaches the Gutter Sense tool to any extension pole; then use the string provided to control the tools scoop-shaped arms. This tool will grab the debris even relatively small leaves.
The Gutter Senses advantages include, it’s lightweight design, it’s safety (working from the floor), it’s relative cheap pricing, and ease of operation. Being able to clean your gutters from ground level is an important factor for a lot of people. Working from ladders and roofs can be dangerous, excessively so for the elderly where balance may be an issue and injuries can be life-threatening. This safety level, coupled with a lightweight design, has made this tool a popular choice with many people.
The Gutter Senses disadvantages include that you won’t see what is left behind in your gutter after you have scooped out what you can, which could lead to a gutter blockage after a clean. The tool also can’t be used to clean unblock or clear down-pipes. If you have debris such as seeds, sand or wet mud, this tool will be ineffective with these sorts of debris’s as well. Depending on the user and the type of debris, this tool can also be painstakingly slow, partially because you can’t see what you are doing.
Telescopic Wand/ Pressure Cleaner
Telescopic wands are a relatively cheap way to clean your gutters from the safety of the floor with the aid of high pressured water. Like the Gutter Sense tool, it is used from ground level but uses high pressured water instead of manually controlled arms. It is a tool that is very easy to use. Simply connect your garden hose to the bottom of the wand, position the wand arm to point into your gutter system and when you are ready, turn the water on and get blasting.
Advantages of the high pressured wand are the low cost of the tool and the safety factor from working at ground level. It’s also a great way to wash down dusty debris in your gutter system that no tool can grab or remove. This tool can also unblock or clear down-pipes with it’s high pressured water. Positioning the wand arm to the entrance of your down-pipe, then shooting water down it until you can visibly see clean water coming out or you can hear a healthy flow of water.
The wand is perhaps my least favourite tool for cleaning gutters because of the following reasons. If you have full gutters or gutters with medium-large sized leaves, this tool will do no more than fill your gutters with water, push a few leaves together, create a blockage and most likely block your downpipes. Due to lack of visibility, you may unintentionally be blasting water over the gutter’s back lip into your roof space. These can potentially cause roof and home damage, and because of that, I don’t recommend this tool.
Manual Removal ( By Hand)
Cost: $3.00 – $5.00
Perhaps the least favourite method of gutter cleaning, the old fashioned hand cleaning method. A simple process whereby the user dons gloves and manually removes the gutter debris by hand. This method is completed from the roof or ladder and can be a little riskier for those that are a bit older.
The main advantage of manually cleaning your gutters by hand is that you can see what your up against and what you are doing. This means you can do a thorough job and feel peace of mind knowing your gutters won’t be causing you any leaks. It is also one of the cheaper options, only requiring gloves, a ladder and a bucket/ gardening bag. Whilst not popular, this is an inexpensive way of cleaning your gutters effectively.
Disadvantages of this method include having to work from either a ladder or from the roof, where a fall can cause injury and property damage. It’s also very difficult to pick up some debris such as fine dirt and sloppy mud. Tight gutters also become a problem if you can’t fit your hand into them to remove the debris. It’s not always nice sticking your hand into dirty and smelly gutters either, and it’s very common to get cuts and abrasions from tiles, gutters and roof sheeting. Whilst an effective method, it isn’t popular for many.
Cost: $5000 – $20000
An industrial vacuum cleaner is by far the most expensive tool for cleaning your gutters, a tool a homeowner is unlikely to buy. Many professional gutter cleaners use them though, and here’s how and why. Most times these large vacuum units are fixed to a tray back ute or trailer, a long vacuum hose then runs to one’s gutters. This hose is attached to a vacuum tool that is made to fit t any gutter system. The pure power of these vacuum systems allows for the removal of any debris including, sticks, leaves, seeds, sand, wet mud, water and many others. It makes short work of gutter debris and leaves your gutter system as clean as it can possibly get.
Disadvantages of these systems are the high cost of a unit, making it difficult to justify for a homeowner who needs their gutters cleaned once a year. Which in most cases, means you will have to find a contractor, which presents its own problems or issues. Choosing the right professional gutter cleaner can be a chore, and that’s why we have written another article outline how to select a reliable, professional gutter cleaner.
Whilst all of these tools have their pros and cons; if we had to select a method that ensures you get the best gutter clean possible at a reasonable price and keeps you safe, we would recommend using a professional gutter cleaning service. From around $200, you can rest assured that you will have no costly damage from full gutters and no injuries from a slippery ladder.