- You can’t drive a car with a windshield covered in ice. Fortunately, even a stubborn coating of ice is easy to clear with a bit of elbow grease and a great ice scraper.
- The Hopkins SubZero 16619 is our top choice thanks to its flexible blade, built-in squeegee, sturdy snow broom, and extendable handle.
No one has ever woken up in the morning and said: “Boy, I hope there’s a thick layer of ice encrusted on my windshield today!” But on far too many frigid winter mornings, scraping snow and ice off of your car is an unavoidable chore if you plan to leave the property without a pair of snowshoes on your feet. Fortunately, we’re living in a golden age when it comes to ice scrapers and snow removal tools.
The best approach to dealing with an ice- and snow-covered car is to plan ahead and cover the windshield of your vehicle with a snow cover. These clever covers can be pulled off prior to your drive, whisking away the snow and preventing ice from adhering to the glass in the first place. Other fine approaches to dealing with winter weather are to get a job where you can work from home or to save up vacation days and hit the snooze alarm after a storm.
But unless you check the forecast without fail and said forecast is always accurate, allowing you to know precisely when to proactively deploy your snow cover, if you live in any state but Hawaii, there’s a good chance you’ll find snow and/or ice on your car at least a few times this winter.
If your region sees limited snowfall but plenty of cold mornings, then a simple ice scraper is probably all you need. For moderate snowfall, a scrape that also features a brush is a good idea, as these devices allow you to remove the top layer of snow and then chisel away at the ice coating the windows. For areas that see huge volumes of snow, you might need a larger snow broom type of device that’s big enough to push around snow that has piled up many inches atop your car.
In some cases, you will probably need a two-pronged approach to your automotive snow removal process, a large broom, brush, or pushing device to remove the snow, and a smaller, hard-edged scraper to deal with the ice. Here’s the good news: These things aren’t very expensive.
I can attest to their low cost and to the need for a varied approach personally because while I’m hesitant to admit this, I … I own four different snow scrapers. Yes, that allows me to bring some personal expertise to the topic, but it also just seems gratuitous.
Here are the best ice scrapers you can buy:
- Best ice scraper overall: Hopkins SubZero 16619
- Best tool for clearing deep snow off cars: SnoBrum Original Snow Removal Tool
- Best low cost ice scraper: AmazonBasics Snow Brush & Ice Scraper
- Best heated ice scraper: Perfect Life Ideas 12-Volt Heated Ice Scraper
Updated on 1/9/2020 by Caitlin Petreycik. Updated prices, links, and formatting. Added the Hopkins SubZero 16619 as “best ice scraper overall.” Added related guides.
The best ice scraper overall
The Hopkins SubZero 16619 is like several snow-clearing tools in one, with its flexible blade, built-in squeegee, sturdy snow broom, and extendable handle.
Winter is nothing if not unpredictable – one morning you might have a light dusting of snow on your windshield, and the next you could find yourself cracking through ice just to be able to see out of your car. That’s why it’s valuable to have a windshield-cleaning tool that works in any kind of winter weather. The Hopkins SubZero 16619 combines ice-crushing teeth, a flexible scraper blade, a heavy-duty broom, and a squeegee head to make quick work of clearing everything from frost to heavy wet snow.
While the SubZero 16619 is 51 inches while extended, it collapses into a 32-inch unit, making it easy to store. It features a soft foam grip and weighs less than half a pound – both important details if you find yourself giving your arms a workout while chipping away at some particularly stubborn ice.
Pros: Sturdy construction, combines several snow-clearing tools, lightweight, comfortable handle
Cons: The ice-crushing teeth are located opposite from the scraper, so you’ll have to flip the tool if you’re crushing and scraping
The best tool for clearing deep snow off cars
The SnoBrum Original Snow Removal Tool will help you clear snowdrifts from your car without scratching glass, auto paint, or vinyl wraps.
First, for the record, the name of this product is indeed pronounced “snow broom,” though based on the spelling, one could be forgiven for calling it “snob rum.” You’ll have to look elsewhere for an elitist liquor distilled from sugar cane extract, but if you’re looking for a tool that can help you push mighty volumes of snow off your car, you’re in the right place.
The SnoBrum Original Snow Removal Tool consists of a telescoping handle that can extend from 26-inches out to 46-inches in length, giving users of most heights (and arm lengths) easy access to the entirety of the windshield, hood, and even the roof of most vehicles.
What’s at the business end of this extendable handle? A rectangular head measuring six- by 17-inches that’s constructed from durable polyethylene foam. The foam head is sturdy enough not to bend or buckle even as you push against heavy snow load, yet the material is also gentle enough not to scratch the exterior of your car – that includes auto paint, window and windshield glass, and even those more delicate vehicle vinyl wraps.
Here’s the catch: This is not a true ice scraper, per say, so for thick, stubborn layers of ice, you’re going to need a different tool with a harder edge. For snow alone, the SnoBrum is ideal; for snow piled atop ice, remember that whole two-pronged approach we talked about earlier and invest in this tool and a scraper for the win.
A writer with MyCarNeedsThis.com calls the SnoBrum “simple but effective,” adding that “for all those times when you wake up to snow packing your entire car, using the SnoBrum is an effective and quick way to move large amount of dry and wet snow.”
Pros: Ideal for heavy snow load removal, gentle on paint, long pole provides great reach
Cons: Not sufficient for stubborn ice
The best low cost ice scraper
As the name suggests, the AmazonBasics Snow Brush & Ice Scraper features both a brush and a scraper for a fantastic low price.
No, you don’t need to get your vision checked, you’re seeing that right: the AmazonBasics Snow Brush & Ice Scraper really does cost less than ten dollars. And considering its rock-bottom price and decent quality, this snow and ice-clearing tool is truly an amazing value.
The overall length of the AmazonBasics Snow Brush & Ice Scraper is 25 inches, so most people will be able to reach past the middle of their windshield with it. The brush helps you clear away the snow resting atop that layer of ice, which can, of course, be scraped away using the chisel-shaped scraper.
A textured foam collar affords you a comfortable, secure grip while you brush or scrape, but do take note that the brush head can get in the way as you try to bear down on the ice with the scraper end. Ultimately, the design doesn’t make the process less effective, but it can be a bit annoying.
Pros: Amazingly low price, dual function tool
Cons: Design can make use of scraper awkward
The best heated ice scraper
- Perfect Life Ideas
Whether you have wrist strength issues or you just like gadgets, the Perfect Life Ideas 12-Volt Heated Ice Scraper will be a hot ticket item for you.
There is no magic bullet when it comes to removing ice from your car’s windshield, windows, and mirrors. You’ll need to put in the time and effort to scrape the stuff off regardless of which tool you use, but when you use the Perfect Life Ideas 12-Volt Heated Ice Scraper, the duration and energy required to remove icy build up will at least be truncated. Why? Because heat melts ice, and this unique ice scraper gets hot.
The unit plugs into the DC outlet in your car (AKA the cigarette lighter, though that terminology is on the way out) and features a 12-foot long cord that should allow access to all of the windows of your vehicle, with Ford Excursions and Chevy Suburbans representing possible exceptions.
Beneath the scraper, a simple heat coil – that looks not unlike an immersion heater – quickly warms up the tool, helping you to break up and remove ice. This heated ice scraper won’t do the work for you, but it will make it easier to loosen and separate chunks of ice that you can then scrape away, meaning you will need to exert less force to enjoy the same results as a standard scraper would proffer.
Now to be candid, this tool gets mixed reviews, as does, in fact, just about every heated ice scraper on the market. But while most users find it less than a quantum leap forward in vehicular ice removal solutions, the majority of people who own one at least feel that it speeds the process some. Given that the Perfect Life Ideas 12-Volt Heated Ice Scraper costs no more than a standard ice scraper, why not try it out? You can always cut the cord off and use it like any other scraper if you’re not pleased with its performance.
A YouTube video reviewer notes how the Perfect Life Ideas 12-Volt Heated Ice Scraper “fits comfortably in my hand” and has an “easy to grip” texture on the handle and demonstrated the easy on/off switch and the green power indicator light.
Pros: Reduces effort needed to loosen ice, long power cord, power indicator light
Cons: Rather flimsy plastic housing
Check out our other guides to car accessories
Your car, truck, or SUV should be stocked with a set of tools that will allow you to help yourself out of a situation when help is not likely to arrive any time soon. Here are the best ones you can buy:
- Best vehicle escape tool: Lifehammer Safety Hammer
- Best car jump starter: NOCO Boost Plus GB40 Jump Starter
- Best multitool: Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
- Best socket set: DeWalt 34-Piece Socket Set
- Best flashlight: J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight
- Best tire inflator: Helteko Portable Air Compressor
- Best folding shovel: DMOS Stealth Shovel
We cannot always tell if we are in good enough condition to get behind the wheel of a car. Thankfully, there are a number of top-quality personal breathalyzers available to help you avoid driving under the influence (DUI). The best personal breathalyzers are compact and give fast, accurate blood alcohol content (BAC) readings to within 0.001%. Here are our top picks:
- Best breathalyzer overall: BACtrack Trace Professional Breathalyzer
- Best high accuracy breathalyzer: BACtrack S80 Professional Breathalyzer
- Best breathalyzer you never have to recalibrate: AlcoMate Premium AL7000 Professional Breathalyzer
- Best breathalyzer that works with your smartphone: BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer
- Best affordable breathalyzer: AlcoHAWK Ultra Slim Digital Breathalyzer