Are there differences between car ice scrapers?
October 29, 2008 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Are there differences between car ice scrapers?

The winter is fast approaching. I've already had to scrape frost off my car windows a couple of times. I am curious to know if anyone has found any ice scrapers which seem to be significantly better than others?

I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Snow isn't much of a problem, and ice isn't too common, but in the dead of winter there will be frost on my window almost every day. That is my prime target, frost.
posted by wukkuan to Travel & Transportation (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm from Canada, and you want one that is made of hard plastic. I have found sometimes when it is thicker ice the softer/cheaper ones kind of dent and warp, which make it harder to get a solid swipe when it is just frost.

Though I will say, the best thing I ever used to scrape frost was/is BY FAR a cassette tape case. It is thin and just flexible enough to get solid contact on the windshield, easy to hold, and dirt cheap. And hard to break. I don't know if I have ever broken one scraping the windshield..... Many many times I have been scraping in the morning with a 'regular' scraper and ended up tossing it in the back seat and getting my tape case instead. And even though the car I drive doesn't have a tape deck, nor has it ever, I can guarantee you I have a tape case in the door for when the frost hits.
posted by gwenlister at 12:21 PM on October 29, 2008


Don't be temped by the ones with the fuzzy mitten attached; they just make you lean all over the car to clean the whole window.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:25 PM on October 29, 2008


I like a long handled one with a scraper on one end, and a brush on the other for clearing snow. The long handle gives you more leverage.
posted by kimdog at 12:28 PM on October 29, 2008


Credit/Library/Video Store type cards work really well for small, stubborn areas, provided you're wearing gloves! For the first pass, though, 2nding gwenlister. The handle/shaft should be plastic and sturdy, potentially with some sort of foam for easier graipping.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:28 PM on October 29, 2008


If you can, get one that is a single solid piece of plastic rather that ones that have a melted together connection. Also, the slightly longer ones with a brush on them are good, but can be a bit flimsy at times.

And yeah, the mitten ones suck. (Made that error once.)
posted by sperose at 12:31 PM on October 29, 2008


Far and away I've found the best ones are the simple single handed tools that are sold for a buck at gas stations and grocery stores. The two handed ones have always broken on me and I can't get as good leverage with them. Buy a small separate brush for clearing snow rather than getting a cumbersome all in one unit.
posted by Science! at 12:32 PM on October 29, 2008


I live in Iowa, we get snow or ice here daily in the winter months. I've found the best scrapers are the $2 ones that have the plastic hand and the flat metal bit that is a bronze color. They seem to do a better job that the big plastic ones with the brush on it.
posted by tubesaddict at 12:39 PM on October 29, 2008


I find the electric ones with the reciprocating shaft and heated blade to be the most effective.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 12:39 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


As a Minnesotan who used to live in North Carolina, I found a few solutions for the region's persistent, thick frost.

The scraper - I actually recommend a combination brush/scraper. When it's cold and dark and you're digging around in the floor of your backseat for your scraper, it's easier to just grasp for one tool. And it's so easy just to flip the thing over and brush off all the debris.

Long-handled is a must. Your average Walmart/gas station scraper will do just fine, as long as it's all molded from one piece of plastic.

The best thing I ever used, however, was this Prestone windshield de-icer. You spray a bit on and either brush with your scraper or run your windshield wipers and frost is GONE! It is kind of expensive, however, and doesn't last quite as long as I'd like. I recommend getting the plastic Windex-style bottle. The aerosol version is more effective and has a much stronger stream, but it squirts out more than you need and the can runs out right away.
posted by bristolcat at 12:42 PM on October 29, 2008


I forgot what it was called exactly, but my favorite scraper was branded something like the "Turbo Scraper!". It was red, long handled, and had a slight curve to it, apparently to improve your leverage.
posted by hwyengr at 12:44 PM on October 29, 2008


The most effective tool I've ever used is a three-sided architect's ruler.

But for a more traditional tool, I lean towards one with a long handle, with a wide scraping blade made of hard plastic... because I'm lazy, and I can clear the whole windshield with the fewest strokes. I got a sturdy one at a truck stop years ago, and haven't wanted anything else.
posted by toxic at 12:48 PM on October 29, 2008


Pro-tip: if you should ever have a huge buildup of ice on your rear windshield, do NOT whack the ice with the back of the plastic scraper in order to break it up, as you might shatter the windshield into a million tiny pieces which sucks when it's all cold and snowy. A, uh, friend told me that.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:36 PM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I prefer the kind with the metal edge. It may be brass. Take care not to bend it otherwise it won't contact the surface of the windshield properly. (Note to self---find one before moving to Vermont next year...)
posted by maniabug at 2:43 PM on October 29, 2008


I'm going to piggyback on this question, and ask why people use ice scrapers at all? Isn't it easier to just start the car, run the heater for 5 minutes, and then just slide all the ice/snow off?
posted by qvtqht at 3:58 PM on October 29, 2008


nthing something with a long handle with a hard scraper on one end and a brush on the other. It's worth the extra $5 to not accidentally touch your cold belly/hip/love handle/whatever-pops-out to the ice cold windshield as you try to reach across.
posted by messylissa at 4:30 PM on October 29, 2008


Seconding the Prestone de-icer, but be careful to get all of it off the windshield, or it can re-freeze right when you're trying to pull out into traffic.
posted by notnamed at 4:38 PM on October 29, 2008


2nd the glorious brass scraper, I have a few of these and they're freakin' amazing.

I'm going to piggyback on this question, and ask why people use ice scrapers at all? Isn't it easier to just start the car, run the heater for 5 minutes, and then just slide all the ice/snow off?

You've obviously never used the glorious brass scraper.
posted by nenequesadilla at 5:46 PM on October 29, 2008


I'm going to piggyback on this question, and ask why people use ice scrapers at all? Isn't it easier to just start the car, run the heater for 5 minutes, and then just slide all the ice/snow off?

No. That might work for frost only, but it doesn't work when it's -10F and you're dealing with a sheet of ice instead of just frost. (Snow hits relatively warm windshield, melts slightly, and refreezes)
posted by nathan_teske at 9:14 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I prefer the free ones that are given out by the banks here in VT. I don't know if they still do, but I am hesistant to use a metal scraper and the cheapo plastic ones work well for me. I also use a barnes and noble gift card that I have used up online as an emergency scraper in my wallet.

I also happen to have freakishly warm hands and can usually just get a windshield to usable with just my bare hand, but that would require you to get my warm freak genetics.
posted by koolkat at 9:41 PM on October 29, 2008


Pro-tip: if you should ever have a huge buildup of ice on your rear windshield, do NOT whack the ice with the back of the plastic scraper in order to break it up, as you might shatter the windshield into a million tiny pieces which sucks when it's all cold and snowy. A, uh, friend told me that.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:36 PM on October 29
Eponysterical
posted by clerestory at 5:40 AM on October 30, 2008


Thanks guys. The brass scraper sounds like the best idea to me. I'm going to give that a shot!

qvtqht: Letting your car idle to warm up takes longer than driving it to warm up, thus wasting gas. The emissions system in the car is also drastically less efficient when not moving.
posted by wukkuan at 7:00 AM on October 30, 2008


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