Manufacturers use several different types of materials to make gutters. There is wide variability in durability, curb appeal, weather resistance and price. These and other factors will determine which rain gutter system is best for your home.
Aluminum gutters are a popular choice because they are easy to install, fairly weather-resistant and economical. They are available in a wide range of colors and cost between $4 and $7 per linear foot. The curb appeal is good, but can diminish somewhat over time. The main disadvantage of aluminum that it is readily damaged and bent by flying debris and high winds.
Copper gutters may be the right option for owners of historic or high-value homes. The curb appeal is high, but if you want to retain the copper's natural color, it will be more expensive and difficult to maintain. If patina is what you want, forgo the sealants and let nature take its course. The cons of copper are the $15 to $30 price tag. This makes copper the most expensive gutter material. There's also a risk that copper gutters will be stripped off of your house by thieves for the metal value. This risk ebbs and flows with the price of copper.
Stainless steel gutters are not a very common for residences, both because of cost and upkeep (rust). However, it’s the most durable gutter material and will withstand extreme weather conditions. With proper maintenance, steel gutters will last a lifetime. Steel gutters cost $9 to $12 per linear foot. The drawbacks to steel are its low curb appeal and the maintenance required to prevent rust and corrosion.
Vinyl gutters have become very popular because they are easy to install and have a wide range of color options. The $3 to $5 per-foot price range makes vinyl one of the most economical choices. The curb appeal is good because vinyl is available in numerous colors and is generally fade-resistant. However, vinyl may not do well in extreme temperatures. Cold temperatures cause the material to become fragile and crack with continued exposure. Vinyl is also prone to damage during high winds.
Wood gutters would be a rare choice, but wood is sometimes used for restoration work. The curb appeal is high, but it requires more maintenance to prevent cracks or rot. It's also difficult to install and the cost ranges between $12 and $20 per linear foot.