Fall leaves can make a real mess of your gutters. Lots of products promise to free you from the job of cleaning them out, but which gutter guards are up to our heavy West Coast rain?

Installing gutter guards on your home is supposed to spare you the hassle of cleaning your gutters. Professional installer Darrell Babboni says without guards, you can run into trouble.

"Gutters clog, they overflow, you don't have them cleaned, now you're ruining the siding on the building, you got water coming in the basement,' he said.

Consumer Reports went to great lengths to find the best gutter guards. Testers hooked up hoses and pipes to simulate different amounts of rainfall. Twenty gutters guards were left outdoors for more than a year. There were several types.

"We had a surface-tension type, which is really a cover, and this allows the water to follow the surface and go into the slots and into the gutter," John Galeotafiore of Consumer Reports said.

But the surface-tension guards Consumer Reports tested had a hard time handling a severe downpour.

Another type made of foam inserted into the gutter also had problems.

"None of the inserts were good at keeping out debris, and that can lead to clogging," Galeotafiore said.

And there are screens with big holes. But one from Raingo let debris in. And part of it actually collapsed into the gutter.

Which guard did work well? A plastic gutter guard screen from Euramax, model 85198. It's very good at keeping debris out and water in. And it's a best buy at around 30 cents per foot.

Consumer Reports says even it you pay someone a few hundred dollars to install the do-it-yourself gutter guards like the recommended Euramax, it's a lot less than some pro-installed systems that can cost up to 10 times as much.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen