The Best Ice Scraper and Snow Brush for Winter
Getting the best ice scraper and snow brush to clear off your windshield isn’t just convenient, it’s an important safety issue. If you live where it snows, you’ve seen someone either trying to see out of a partly cleared window, or driving around with a pile of snow on the roof. In many states, it’s illegal not to clear both your windshield and roof, but it causes multiple accidents every year. Clearing your car properly should be part of your planning for safe driving in the winter.
Putting the even the best ice scraper or best snow brush in your car is not going to cost you that much, especially compared to an insurance claim. Or anything, really, because these are mostly in the $10 to $30 range. We tend to keep both a broom-style brush and an ice scraper not just in the car, but also a second set outside it, so we don’t have to dump snow into the interior or try to get through ice to get at it. Lots of models come in two-packs or more for this reason, and when you find one you like, it makes a nice winter gift pack with something like a heated seat cover or wiper blade upgrade.
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How we picked the best ice scrapers and snow brushes
We don’t want to tell you how many cumulative years of winter driving we have between our editors in Canada and the northern US, but we might be looking at close to four figures. We purchased a variety of snow brushes, brooms, and ice scrapers, and used them through an entire New England winter. And we didn’t use them gently, either, going through thick ice, and even hitting them in below-zero temperatures to see if the plastic would crack.
We decided there still isn’t a perfect all-in-one winter tool, although if you live a little further south and don’t expect heavy snow, you’ll do fine. For those of us up north, however, we think it’s best to assemble an arsenal of snow and ice clearing tools to get the job done in any conditions.
For more information about what to look for in an ice scraper, snow broom, or snow brush, see our Table of Contents.
Table of contents
- 1: Editor's Pick: Mallory Cool-Force 26” Snowbrush
- 2. Best Snow Broom: Snow Joe SJBLZD Telescoping Snow Broom
- 3. Best Folding Ice Scraper: SubZero Snow Plow Snowbroom
- 4. Sno Brum Snow Removal Tool with Compact Telescoping Handle
- 5. Hopkins SubZero Ice Crusher Ice Scraper
- 6: AstroAI 62.4" Ice Scraper and Extendable Snow Brush
- Why You Need a Snow Brush and Ice Scraper
- What to Look for When Shopping for an Ice Scraper or Snow Brush
This is your classic all-in-one snow brush and scraper. Measuring 26 inches long, the Mallory snow brush offers ample reach while being compact for easy storage. It has four rows of sturdy plush bristles for removing snow, and a four inch wide scraper blade is equipped with ice chippers to break up ice. The Mallory also has a contoured foam grip that provides comfort and control. It's ideal for car owners looking for a simple, all-in-one solution that is compact enough to be left inside your vehicle. It's non-adjustable, however, which makes it hard to reach the windshields of many modern trucks or SUVs (or of any car if you're shorter). Either the SubZero or Snow Joe on our list are better choices if that's your situation. You should also keep in mind that this is a brush, so if you're not careful with it, you could scratch up your paint, especially if you get some dirt in the bristles.
A brush does a better job with packed and crusty snow than most snow brooms but packs up quickly, especially in wet snow. We wish the Mallory's scraper was thicker, as it took chips over the winter; and eventually the foam handle will disintegrate, or the scraper or brush end will fall out. But when you can get them for under $10 each in a two pack (there are two slightly different versions), it's the best value in snow brushes.
Low price, good grip, does most things well
Bristles pack up with snow and can scratch your paint if you're not careful, scraper is lightweight
The Snow Joe snow broom is extremely lightweight, and we were skeptical about it holding up over a tough winter. But in our destructive testing, where we hit the end and handle against a timber several times in subzero temperatures, the handle took no damage. The scraper cracked but didn't break and we were still able to use it afterwards, but it's not very heavy duty.
The head of this telescoping snow broom is constructed from durable, non-abrasive foam so it's safer to use on a car, presuming you're not dragging any dirt across the paint. It's designed to push snow quickly and weighs just 1.2 pounds, so it's very easy to use at arm's length when clearing a hood or roof. The handle twist locks from 30 inches to 49 inches, and there a built-in ice scraper to clear away any ice buildup on your windshield.
You can unscrew the handle from the head and clip it into the back, but it doesn't unscrew easily, so we keep it in the garage. If you want a telescoping snow brush that folds down more, check out the SubZero instead; or keep this at home and put our Editor's Pick Mallory in the trunk.
Price, telescoping handle, adjustable, foam head, lightweight, includes bracket holder
Feels flimsy, soft broom won't move thick snow, get a second scraper for heavy ice
Long-handled snow brushes and brooms are better to use than short or medium handle versions like the Editor's Pick Mallory, or the scrapers down below. More and more vehicles are just too tall to reach without at least a couple of feet of handle. That can also make them hard to use, as the brush or broom gets in the way when you're trying to scrape ice, and they take up a lot of room.
SunZero's answer is a pushbutton latch that allows the brush/squeegee head to fold 90° and lock flat against the handle. The telescopic handle adjusts from 52 inches to 26 inches, making it the only long handle model we've tested that's compact enough to fit into a trunk. Unfortunately, it's also got more moving parts than other brushes. In our harsh use testing, the spring-loaded latch sprung off, and the spring disappeared into the snow. We've got another one in use at the AutoGuide Garage and it's fine, but this is the only ice scraper or snow brush we've used that broke outright. We've also got the non-folding version (below), which has the same excellent, thick ice scraper blade.
The rest of it is good. A pushbutton lock to telescope the handle is easier to use when slippery than twist locks, and folding the head gets it out of the way when scraping. The non-folding version uses a twist lock instead of a pushbutton.
Easy to use telescoping latch, long reach, very good ice scraper, squeegee, and brush, folds for storage
Squeegee blade can slide out, locking head didn't survive our test
If you can't tell the difference between the Sno Brum and the #2 Snow Joe, you're not alone. We accidentally had them switched at one point, too. But the Sno Brum extends farther, 23 to 63 inches (over five feet!), and lacks the scraper on the end. We don't really mind that, because the Snow Joe's scraper is hard to use with the big broom end in the way.
Unlike all the other telescoping handle models, the Sno Brum uses a tent pole-style aluminum spring pushbutton to disassemble into four pieces. That lets you either store it, or add lengths as needed. As longtime veterans of camping and kayaking (some kayak paddles use a similar pushbutton), we don't have much confidence in this system to work when packed with snow and ice, or to be usable at all with gloves on. We wouldn't count on taking it apart and putting it together very often. Sno Brum has updated what was a plastic handle to aluminum, and the threaded connection into the head is the same as many brooms, so you could probably replace it easily. The 17 x 6.0-inch head is designed to not scratch your car’s paint or leave scuff marks, and is made from high-grade, durable foam and cross-linked polyethylene.
Extra long reach, breaks down for storage, made in USA
No scraper, expensive, can't adjust handle with gloves on
Hopkins, which also manufactures our #3 pick SubZero Snow Plow Snowbroom, also makes our pick for a basic ice scraper. Both of the telescoping SubZero snow brooms that we tested have excellent, heavy-duty scrapers, and we expect the Ice Crusher to be similarly tough.
The SubZero has ice chippers designed to break through thick ice, while a wide scraper blade provides maximum coverage for ice and frost removal. It's a compact, cost-efficient product, 11 inches long with a 4.5-inch wide blade. There's a contoured soft foam grip that makes this ice scraper comfortable to use, along with leverage points for the thumb and palm so you can apply more pressure when removing tough ice.
Although it's a fairly basic product, we prefer this ice scraper over others because of its more comfortable handle. Other more affordable scrapers have just a plastic handle, which gets uncomfortable to hold and use for an extended period of time. It is still made from plastic, so it's susceptible to breaking, especially in extreme cold. For leverage, the SubZero Ice Crusher is short, so keep that in mind if you're trying to scrape ice off a pickup truck or large SUV.
Price, wide scraper, contoured soft foam grip
Still made from plastic so it can break, short
Astro AI, which makes some tire inflation tools we like, also produces other automotive accessories like their do-it-all extendable brush and scraper. It comes with either one or two aluminum center sections, the shorter model at 47.2 inches and the longer at 62.4, a half-inch shorter than the Sno Brum. Unlike the Snow Brum, the AstroAI has what may be easier to use sliding buttons, similar to a vacuum cleaner hose, along with an insulating, non-slip grip.
The broom end is actually a broom, with 11.84 inches of soft bristles, and a locking mechanism (like the one that broke on the SubZero Snow Plow) lets it rotate 360°, theoretically giving you a better angle. We'd call that a gimmick, and leave it in one place to avoid any chance of breaking it.
We expect the brush will do a good job with light snow, and pack up and be largely useless in heavy, wet snow. The other end has an aggressive looking scraper and ice chipper. Fully assembled, the minimum length is an inconveniently long 51.8 inches, but you can remove a section and get it down to 36.4. Both ends pop off the same way, and it all stores in an included bag.
One-year warranty, completely modular, insulated/slip resistant handle
Lots of moving parts, brushes don't work as well as foam in heavy snow
Why You Need a Snow Brush and Ice Scraper
Visibility is extremely important to driving safely, and simply put, it's really unsafe to drive if your windows are blocked by snow and ice. If you deal with winter weather conditions and you aren't lucky enough to be able to garage park all the time, a good snow brush and ice scraper is a necessity.
Take a few extra minutes before you drive away to clear all the snow and ice from your entire car, including all the windows, the roof, bumpers, hood, trunk, and doors. Even if it doesn't affect visibility, the snow and ice on your roof, trunk, and hood can still pose a safety risk to you and other drivers. I've seen people drive around with their entire car covered in snow except for just one little hole cleared out on the windshield to see out of — this is NOT SAFE. Don't be that person — it's lazy, unsafe, and inconsiderate.
To make things easier, start your car and then clear off the snow and ice while it's warming up so the inside is nice and toasty by the time you're done. Also, don't use the plastic scraper part on painted surfaces because you will scratch up your paint (it sounds crazy, but I've seen people doing this before). The scraper part should only be used on the windows, while the brush part can be used all over the car.
What to Look for When Shopping for an Ice Scraper or Snow Brush
You might think a product as basic as an ice scraper won't have very many differences across multiple brands. But that's not necessarily the case, as some ice scrappers are made entirely of plastic, while others have a brass blade. Regardless of the type of blade you choose, you want to make sure it's extremely sturdy when scraping ice, since there are times where you have to apply a lot of pressure. It may also seem like a minor detail to observe what the handle is made from, but look for a product that has a comfortable grip. You may even want to avoid ice scrapers that have a hard plastic grip, since they could be slippery in the cold.
If you're shopping for a snow brush, take a look at all the additional features it has, and whether it includes an ice scraper and/or a squeegee. Brushes with an adjustable, telescoping handle can come in handy if you have a larger vehicle or even a pickup truck so you can get to the hard to reach areas. Keep in mind their size when collapsed, as you'll want to be able to easily store it somewhere that's convenient.
Read user reviews if you're opting to get a snow brush with bristles at the end, rather than a foam head or similar material. Some products that use bristles could potentially scratch your paint if you aren't careful when using them.
December 13, 2022: Added new product links, awarded Editor's Pick to Mallory Cool-Force 26” Snowbrush, added Subzero Snow Plow Snowbroom and AstroAI 62.4" Ice Scraper and Extendable Snow Brush to recommendations. Removed Snow Joe Edge Ice Scraper, Desired Tools Premium Ice Scraper, CJ Industries Fantastic Ice Scraper, Snow Moover Extendable Snow Brush, and True Temper Scratch-Free Snow Brush from recommendations.
December 12, 2022: Added new introduction and information about how we reviewed ice scrapers and snow brushes.
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After completing a degree project in automotive design, Dave wrote and photographed for almost a decade in print car magazines (remember those?), before transitioning to digital. He now subjects a series of old high-performance cars to the roads and weather in Vermont and wonders why they're always expensively broken. Please stop when you see him crawling under one on the side of the road.
More by David Traver Adolphus