What Are Gutter Cleaning Robots and How Do They Work?

iRobot gutter cleaning robot

Cleaning gutters is a hassle. Although it’s a chore that you probably won’t do very often, it’s still dirty, difficult, and, at times, dangerous work. Making it less of a pain is always a welcome possibility, which is where a gutter cleaning robot comes in. But what are gutter cleaning robots and how do they work?

Gutter cleaning robots are fairly intuitive and easy to use. All you have to do is place them in the gutter and watch them work. However, like most things, they’re not right for everyone. There are plenty of ways to make gutter cleaning easier, and while a gutter cleaning robot is certainly a good one, it’s far from the only one.

What Are Gutter Cleaning Robots?

iRobot Looj gutter cleaning robot
Photo Credit: Tony Buser / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

A gutter cleaning robot is exactly what it sounds like: a robot that cleans your gutters. It runs on treads and is controlled by a remote control, and it has a rechargeable lithium ion battery. You place it in your gutter and it moves along the length of the trough to clean out debris and brush away leaves. When it’s done, it should leave your gutters clean and free of unwanted gunk and grime.

Only one model of gutter cleaner was ever released to the public, the iRobot Looj 330. It was made by the same company that made the Roomba robot vacuum, iRobot, but it was discontinued in 2017. 

How Do Gutter Cleaning Robots Work?

The Looj 330 gutter cleaning robot works by using an auger (essentially, a tool used to bore holes in wood) with soft spinning blades on the front of the device to break up debris. It then pushes it out of the gutter and onto the ground for you to collect. Bristles behind it sweep the gutter to catch anything that it missed. It should also come with different sizes of augers, presumably for different sizes of gutters.

How Effective Are Gutter Cleaning Robots?

Unfortunately, the iRobot Looj gutter cleaning robot has its fair share of problems. It suffered from issues, such as:

  • Poor battery life.
  • Getting stuck frequently.
  • Flipping part of the way when it encounters a solid clog, like a stubborn clump of leaves or a tennis ball.

There were also a few design flaws. For example: 

  • You can’t control it from the ground, and instead have to climb a ladder and stay there while it does its work. This can be a problem for those who can’t climb a ladder and it takes away a lot of the convenience.
  • It’s unable to turn corners, so you’ll have to move your ladder and manually place it again after it’s done with one section of the gutter.

How Else Could You Make Cleaning Gutters Easier?

cleaning leaves from gutters
Photo Credit: IndyEdge / Canva Pro / License

If you want to take some of the hassle out of cleaning gutters, but don’t think a fancy gadget like the Looj gutter cleaner is right for you, there are alternatives. Here are some examples of how to make gutter cleaning easier:

  • You can hire a professional.
  • A gutter cleaning vacuum can suck up the leaves and debris in your gutters.
  • A power washer can wash away blockages and buildup, leaving your gutters looking as good as new.
  • Gutter guards can prevent debris like pine needles from getting in in the first place, though they’re not without their own problems.

FAQ About Gutter Cleaning Robots

Are gutter cleaning robots safe?

Generally, gutter cleaning robots present few hazards. They’re small and not very powerful, so the odds of them directly causing an injury to you or damage to your gutters or roof is low.

Is a gutter cleaning robot easier than cleaning gutters manually?

Gutter cleaning robots can make a difficult chore that much easier, so when they work, they’re certainly a better option than cleaning gutters manually. They involve much less physical exertion than doing it yourself, even if there is some in the form of climbing the ladder and moving it around.

Is a gutter cleaning robot worth it?

It depends. Gutter cleaning robots cost a couple hundred dollars on average. If your robot works, and doesn’t fall prey to the issues that some have, then it could certainly be worth the money. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide whether the money spent is worth avoiding a chore that only comes around a few times a year.

Leave Gutter Cleaning to the Pros

Gutter cleaning robots are a handy gizmo that can take some of the hassle out of cleaning your gutters manually. However, that’s assuming that it works as intended, which isn’t a guarantee.

If you want to hire someone to clean and maintain your gutters for you, we connect you to the best local gutter cleaning pros near you.

Main Photo Credit: Nicolas Toper / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Austin Geiger

Austin Geiger is a writer who's passionate about home care. He enjoys writing about home maintenance practices, as well as projects to turn an outdoor space into a backyard paradise.