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The best ice scraper

Never use boiling hot water to remove ice from a windshield. The thermal shock can cause the glass to shatter.
Never use boiling hot water to remove ice from a windshield. The thermal shock can cause the glass to shatter.(BestReviews)

When Mother Nature unleashes snow, slush, and freezing rain, you know you won't be going far until your windshield is clean. The most important tool to own in this situation is an ice scraper, not a plastic gift card or other improvised tool.

An ice scraper and snow brush will make an easy job of removing unwanted ice and snow from windshields, headlights, taillights, and car doors. Models with a built-in snow brush are great to have, since heavy snow can be just as much of a driving hazard as ice. There are also ice scrapers that can tackle bigger assignments, such as driveways, sidewalks, and porch steps.

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If you are searching for a new ice scraper this winter, read our helpful shopping guide. Our top pick is the BIRDROCK HOME Snow MOOver 55-inch Extendable Foam Snow Brush and Ice Scraper, a combination scraper and brush that extends far enough to reach every vital area of a vehicle.

Considerations when choosing ice scrapers

Design

Standard ice scrapers

Many car owners tend to keep a standard handheld ice scraper in the glove compartment, central console, or trunk. This style of scraper typically features a straight edge for removing ice from the windshield and a sturdier ice pick for breaking up heavier accumulations. A standard ice scraper works best with smaller vehicles and in locations where heavy snowfall is not as common.

Extendable ice scrapers

A step up from the standard handheld model is the extendable ice scraper. There is still a straight edge scraper on one end, but the handle can be extended to reach more challenging areas. Quite often the manufacturer will include a snow brush, broom, or squeegee on the other end for heavy-duty snow removal. Long-handle ice scrapers work with the same principle but cannot be extended or retracted.

Ice scraper mitts

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Scraping ice and brushing snow can be a very wet, cold task to perform. Some manufacturers embed a standard plastic ice scraper in specially designed mittens to keep your hands warm during use.

Snow brooms

After a severe snowstorm, there are often several inches of snow that must be removed before the windshield is ready for scraping. Many extended ice scrapers include a snow broom or foam squeegee to brush away the accumulated snow efficiently. Some snow brushes include a rudimentary ice scraper on the handle, but investing in a higher grade ice scraper with an attached snow broom may be a better way to go.

Features

Ease of use

An ice scraper is designed to work as an extension of your arm to remove snow and ice from vehicles, sidewalks, driveways, or steps.

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A standard model should have a handle wide enough to form a strong grip. The blade should have enough of an edge to break up ice without creating scratches or divots on the windshield or car body.

An extension handle should not collapse easily, and a solid handle should have enough length to reach all the affected areas.

Blades

The blade is its most important feature of an ice scraper because the wrong blade can make the job much harder or even cause damage to the windshield. Most ice scraper blades are between 5 and 11 inches wide, although wider is not always better. An ideal ice scraper blade will have a reinforced design, with some flexibility.

Price

Most ice scrapers on the market are not expensive, but consumers will pay more for models with additional features or higher-quality materials. An inexpensive mitt or handheld scraper can cost less than $10, while an extended scraper with a snow brush attachment will run between $15 and $25 on average.

FAQ

Q. I just bought a new car. Will using an ice scraper damage my windshield?

A. Ice scrapers designed specifically for windshields should not cause scratches or other damage. They are constructed from hard plastic and designed to follow the contours of the windshield. A metal scraper or snow shovel designed to clear driveways and sidewalks, however, can cause some damage.

Q. Can I use a plastic ice scraper to remove snow and ice from the body of my car?

A. Most ice scrapers are intended for windshield or headlight use only. They can scratch the exterior paint of your car. It's better to use a foam or soft-bristle snow brush to remove snow and ice from the rest of the vehicle.

Ice scrapers we recommend

Our take: This extendable snow brush and ice scraper combination is perfect for reaching the roofs of taller vehicles and the nooks and crannies other scrapers can't access.

What we like: Extends to 55 inches. Pivoting brush accesses hard-to-reach areas. Includes three different ice-scraping designs.

What we dislike: The swivel action of the brush head can cause loss of control. Fin is not as effective as a snow brush.

Best bang for your buck: Hopkins Subzero Ice Crusher

Our take: The Hopkins Subzero is a basic model with few frills, but it is affordable enough for users to keep several on hand for emergencies.

What we like: Wide foam handle feels solid in hand. Very affordable price point. Separate chipper blade for thicker ice. Scraper blade is 4.5 inches wide.

What we dislike: Total length is only 11 inches. Does not provide much reach. Some reports of scratched windshields.

Our take: While not ideal for removing snow and ice from vehicles, this heavy-duty ice scraper does a great job busting up thick ice from the door to the driveway.

What we like: Heavy-duty all-steel construction. Breaks through multiple layers of ice easily. Works well on sidewalks, driveways, and porch steps.

What we dislike: Not designed for windshield ice removal. Some quality-control concerns with welds and seams.

Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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