Pine trees typically shed about one-third of their needles from late summer to early winter. If that tree flanks a house, those needles can quickly find their way into the gutters, causing drainage problems if they’re not removed. While standard gutter guards will block larger leaves and twigs, they won’t stop pine needles from reaching the gutters.
Fortunately, there are guards designed to prevent pine needles and other small debris from infiltrating a home’s gutters. These guards consist of stainless steel micro-mesh that has close to 1,000 holes per square inch, preventing even finer shingle grit from passing through. Ahead, we’ll examine what features make this type of guard so effective at keeping pine needles out and review some of the best gutter guards for pine needles.
- BEST OVERALL: Raptor Gutter Guard Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Amerimax Home Products Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard
- UPGRADE PICK: LeafTek Gutter Guard Leaf Protection
- BEST DESIGN: Superior Gutter Guards Stainless Steel Gutter Cover
- BEST FOR WIDER GUTTERS: Gutter Guard by Gutterglove
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gutter Guards for Pine Needles
Understanding what types of gutter guards will work with pine needles and what types won’t is crucial when shopping for a set of gutter guards. Ahead learn more about gutter guard types and other important factors, such as materials and installation.
Types of Gutter Guards
Cleaning out clogged gutters is a tough job—one that’s even tougher when the gutters are covered by gutter guards, so purchasing guards that are effective against pine needles and small debris is critical.
The most affordable gutter guards consist of a plastic screen that covers the top of the gutter or a brush that sits inside the gutter. While these types of guards are an effective way to keep larger debris out of the gutter, they won’t work against pine needles or fine dirt and grit, which will pass right through them.
Rigid guards made from painted aluminum sheeting perforated with holes are a good option. The guard’s heavy-gauge metal construction is strong enough to resist warping or bending from any debris that may collect on top of it. When shopping for an aluminum guard, make sure the holes are small enough to prevent pine needles from passing through.
Micro-mesh is the best type of gutter guard for pine needles. This type of gutter guard consists of fine stainless steel or vinyl mesh that can block not only pine needles but also dirt as fine as sand while still allowing water to pass through. These guards typically have a V-shaped trough that guides water into the gutter, preventing it from flowing over the sides.
Material and Durability
Gutters are made from PVC, aluminum, or stainless steel mesh. Of these materials, stainless steel mesh is the best option. It’s rust-proof, resists bending and bowing under heavy weight, and is fine enough to prevent dirt from passing through. However, stainless steel gutters are usually the most expensive option.
Aluminum gutter guards consist of aluminum sheets that are perforated with holes and coated in baked enamel paint. While this sturdy construction makes this type of gutter guard one of the strongest options, these are also among the most expensive options.
PVC is much more affordable than either aluminum or stainless steel; however, it’s also more susceptible to cracking in cold weather or sagging under the weight of any debris that may collect on top of it.
No Holes, Gaps, or Openings
Gutter guards that have large holes won’t be able to stop pine needles from passing through them or getting stuck in the holes. When selecting a gutter guard, look for those that use micro-mesh or have small holes. While perforated aluminum gutter guards will keep pine needles out of the gutters, they will still allow tiny debris to pass through. Micro-mesh is as fine as some fabrics, which makes it capable of preventing pine needles and even fine dirt from passing through.
Installation and Maintenance
It used to be that micro-mesh or aluminum gutter guards required expensive professional installation, pricing many homeowners out of such a home improvement. But with more and more manufacturers designing gutter guards that the average homeowner can install, these high-end gutter guards are much more affordable.
PVC gutters typically require no tools and install by snapping onto the lip of the gutter. Metal gutter guards must be attached to the gutter using self-tapping screws and a cordless screwdriver. While this makes for a more involved installation process, it’s a job most DIYers can handle.
The key to making sure gutter guards work properly is to periodically brush off any debris that may get caught on top of them. While guards prevent debris from getting into the gutter, small branches and twigs can get caught on the guard, creating a dam that prevents debris from passing over them.
Our Top Picks
All the gutter guards below feature designs that are effective at keeping pine needles out of a home’s gutters. They are constructed of either micro-mesh or rigid aluminum sheet construction and have DIY-friendly installation procedures.
With a design that’s both effective against small debris and easy for DIYers to install, the Raptor Gutter Guard is a great option for those looking to avoid annual gutter cleanings without having to shell out a lot of money for a pro gutter guard installation. Raptor Gutter Guard consists of stainless steel mesh that’s tight enough to keep out even fine shingle grit.
The guard has a V-shape that creates a trough that runs the length of the guard. This design directs rainwater to the gutters, preventing it from flowing over the side. Its mesh material is supported by durable aluminum rails that clip into the gutter and are secured by screws. Raptor is also tailored to DIYers with easy-to-follow instructions written for newbies and installation requiring only tools most homeowners have in their garage.
- Material: Stainless steel micro-mesh
- Length per box: 48 feet (Twelve 4-foot pieces)
- Width: 5 inches
- Tight mesh construction blocks fine dirt
- V-shaped trough prevents water from spilling over the side
- Easy-to-follow installation instructions
- More expensive than other options
Get the Raptor Gutter Guard on Amazon or Raptor Gutter Guard.
Installing an entire house’s worth of gutter guards can be an expensive project even for those who do the installation themselves. This PVC vinyl gutter guard from Amerimax Home Products is a more affordable option than higher-priced aluminum and stainless steel guards. The guard consists of a layer of PVC with larger small diamond-shaped holes supporting a mesh screen backing that keeps out fine debris and pine needles.
Setting up these gutter guards is easy and requires no tools. Simply slide the flat side under the shingles and snap the front end onto the front lip of the gutter. With a white color that matches most gutters, soffits, and fascia, this guard is also a good choice for low roofs in which the top of the gutter is visible.
- Material: PVC with mesh liner
- Total length: 3 feet
- Width: 6.5 inches
- Affordably priced
- Mesh construction effective for pine needles
- Snap-in installation requires no tools
- Attractive white color
- Not as strong as a metal gutter guard
Get the Amerimax Home Products Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard at The Home Depot.
Though they’re one of the most expensive options on the market, LeafTek’s gutter guards are also among the toughest. Each sheet is covered in small holes capable of keeping out pesky pine needles, though it’s important to note they won’t block fine dirt. The guard’s ribbed shape adds strength while allowing wind to circulate into the gutter to aid in drying. A baked enamel finish protects the guards from rust and corrosion.
LeafTek guards have instructions tailored to DIYers; however, they take longer to install than other guard types since they must be secured to both the lip and back of the gutter with screws.
- Material: Aluminum
- Total length: 100 feet (Twenty-five 4-foot sections)
- Width: 5 or 6 inches
- Rigid aluminum construction is very strong
- Baked enamel finish adds durability
- Ridged design promotes airflow into the gutter
- Holes won’t keep out fine dirt and debris
- Longer installation process than other gutter guard types
Get the LeafTek Gutter Guard on Amazon.
Although gutter guards may stop leaves from getting into the gutter, they can also create a shelf that causes debris to build up on top of them. This innovative design from Superior Gutter Guards has a patterned surface designed to shed that debris. The guards consist of fine stainless steel mesh with a raised pattern that resists debris while directing water down into the gutter.
The mesh is supported by two aluminum rails that attach to the lip of the gutter with self-tapping metal screws, giving it sturdy supports on both sides of the guards. Superior Gutters are designed for DIYers with easy-to-follow instructions and an installation that can be completed with a cordless screwdriver.
- Material: Stainless steel and aluminum
- Total length: 48 feet (Sixteen 3-foot lengths)
- Width: 5 inches
- Raised design sheds debris
- Durable stainless steel and aluminum construction
- Mesh pattern keeps fine debris out
Get the Superior Gutter Guards Stainless Steel Gutter Cover on Amazon.
In addition to covering wide 6-inch and 7-inch gutters, Gutter Guard sets itself apart from other micro mesh guards with its V-bend technology. This design feature, which consists of small bends that run horizontally across the guard, creates a more rigid surface that can bridge the sides of wider gutters without bowing under the weight of debris.
As with other mesh guards, Gutter Guard consists of tight stainless steel mesh that prevents even fine dirt from passing through. The gutter has a trough design that directs water into the gutter, preventing it from flowing over the side. Gutter Guard gives the user two options for attaching the guards to the gutters—3M VHB tape or self-tapping metal screws.
- Material: Stainless steel
- Total length: 40 feet (Ten 4-foot pieces)
- Width: 7.25 inches
- Trough V-shape adds strength for wider gutters
- 2 installation options
- Fits wider gutters
- More expensive than other gutter guard options.
Get the Gutter Guard by Gutterglove at The Home Depot.
With its durable stainless steel construction and tight mesh design, the Raptor Gutter Guard is well designed for homes that sit beneath shedding pine trees. Those looking for a more budget-friendly solution to their pine needle problem should consider the affordably priced Amerimax Home Products Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard.
How We Chose the Best Gutter Guards for Pine Needles
We considered a variety of factors in reviewing more than a dozen gutter guards designed to keep pine needles and other small debris out. While cleaning gutters is a pain, cleaning clogged gutters covered by a gutter guard is nearly impossible. With that in mind, we limited our search to gutter guards with designs that would prevent pine needles and other small debris from passing through them and filling up the gutters. Installation was also a key factor in our selections. As professional gutter guard installation is very expensive and in many cases doesn’t make sense when compared to the cost of a professional annual gutter cleaning, we limited our search to gutter guards that cater to DIYers with simple installation processes and easy-to-follow instructions. Finally, we selected gutter guards with durable designs that will hold up to the weight of any debris that collects on top of them.
If you’re wondering if you’ll still need to clean those gutters after the guards are installed or if a standard gutter guard will protect your gutters from pine needles, then read on for answers.
Q. Why do you need a gutter guard for pine needles?
Homes with tall pine trees on the property will receive a steady rain of pine needles from late summer to early winter. These needles can quickly clog gutters, preventing your home’s drainage system from working properly. Gutter guards keep your gutters functioning as they should by keeping those pine needles at bay.
Q. Does installing gutter guards prevent you from cleaning gutters at all?
That depends on the type of gutter guard. Standard gutter guards won’t prevent pine needles and other small debris from clogging the gutters, requiring you to remove the guards in order to clear them out. Micro-mesh prevents you from having to clean gutters by keeping out all dirt.
Q. Can regular gutter systems be used to protect the gutters from pine needles?
No. The holes in regular gutter systems are too large to prevent pine needles and other small debris from passing through to the gutter.