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