Rustproof and corrosion-proof. Weighs only 6 lbs. Compact and collapses into three pieces for convenient storage. Sturdy aluminum construction.
Plastic wheels sometimes don't roll properly or fall off.
Wide angled head makes it simple to remove snow. Anti-slip grip. 24" polyethylene blade is strong and durable. Aluminum handles are lightweight.
Designed for moderate roof snow removal only.
Combines a durable, 18" blade with a "snow slide" that helps prevent snow from blowing. Easy to use; backed by a 2-year warranty.
Expensive. Some longevity concerns, as the pole has been reported to break with heavy-duty use.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
If you live where snow is plentiful, you probably are stocked with shovels and other tools to clear snow from pathways, driveways, your car, and other areas around your home. But have you ever given thought to your roof?
Snow building up on your roof can not only add stress to the roof, eaves, and gutters, but can also lead to ice dams, a condition that can result in water damage inside your house. Climbing up on your roof with a shovel is one way to take care of snow build-up, but you run the risk of damaging the roof or hurting yourself.
Roof snow rakes are an easier and safer way to remove snow from your roof. With these tools, you can take care of the situation from the safety of your lawn or driveway. Roof snow rakes also minimize the possibility of doing damage to your roof, particularly if it is topped with shingles or a similar material.
This guide will help you to understand all you need to know – from a rake’s basic design to its specialized features – before setting out to purchase a roof snow rake. We will also give you an idea of what you should expect to pay, and offer some recommendations of our favorite models.
A roof snow rake’s purpose is pretty straightforward: pull snow off your roof. Its basic design mirrors this simplicity, with two components – a pole and a blade – forming the backbone of the majority of roof snow rakes.
The materials used in the pole’s construction should be both lightweight and rust/corrosion-resistant. Aluminum (and to a lesser extent, fiberglass) fills both requirements. Comfort and ease of use can be added by going with a padded or anti-slip handle.
A long length (generally 15 to 24 feet) is an essential part of any roof snow rake, and this is achieved at the pole level in one of two ways: either through a segmented pole, or a telescoping one.
Segmented. This allows the pole to break down into several equal-sized lengths (usually three or four). The rake will be easier to handle with fewer segments, so if your roof is accessible with fewer, leave off a segment or two when using it. Segments should easily connect and disconnect, yet remain strong when joined together. A simple button-locking system is standard here.
Telescoping. Instead of segments that can be completely separated, a telescoping pole contains all segments within it. You can choose what length you want, and then secure the pole so it stays at that length (usually with a twist and lock system). Because it involves fewer parts, a telescoping system can be easier to store.
Usually 24 to 25 inches in width, the blade is the “shovel” end of the rake that attaches to the pole. It is often constructed from plastic or aluminum, and some have a graphite covering that allows them to slide easier over the roof. A wider angle will allow you to remove more snow at a time, but can also add to the “bulk” factor. The blade should also be lightweight, as the heavier it is, the harder it will be to use.
Some form of support struts are also generally used to secure the blade to the pole. These should be rugged and hold the blade firmly, while not infringing on your snow-removal efforts.
As mentioned, this isn’t a complicated product design-wise, but you will be facing some form of light assembly when the rake first arrives. For the majority of rakes, assembly should just be a matter of bolting the support struts to the blade and then to the pole. When it first arrives, verify that all hardware is included and read the directions carefully.
Note that you will also need to be “assembling” the rake every time you use it, particularly if it is made up of segments. Take a few minutes to put the rake completely together and take it apart, so you’ll know what you are doing before the snow flies.
While you should steer clear of heavy roof snow rakes that are harder to use, ones that are too light should also be avoided, as they are potentially too flimsy.
The nuts used to secure the roof snow rake blade to the pole and support struts can become loosened through use. One way to keep this from happening is to add a little superglue around the tightened nuts.
A couple of special features that you will find with some roof snow rakes include wheels and slides.
Wheels. Wheels on the blade of a rake help to protect against roof damage. With wheels, the blade never touches the roof. If your blade has wheels, they should be rugged and attach securely to the blade. Wheels work best on metal roofs.
There isn’t a whole lot to differentiate one roof snow rake from the next, and this is reflected in the tight price range. Rakes start around $40, with more expensive models going for around $70 to $80, occasionally more. Higher priced rakes can be lighter, or offer a higher quality design or construction. Rakes capable of reaching a higher roof can also cost a bit more.
Roof snow rakes work best for pitched roofs and are less effective for flatter roofs or those with a lesser pitch.
If you have an extra-long roof and will need additional pole segments, be sure that you can easily purchase them from the company or seller.
A top-heavy 20+ foot metal pole and a live power line is a recipe for disaster. When using your roof snow rake, know where all power lines leading into your house are and steer clear of them.
Soft roof snow rakes are a special type of rake that can be used safely to clear off solar panels and more delicate surfaces such as awnings.
Never use a roof snow rake while on a ladder. The combination of wet ladder rungs, a bulky rake, and snow cascading off the roof is a dangerous one.
Roof snow rakes equipped with wheels are recommended for metal roofs, as the wheels will allow the rake blade to float above the seams of the metal roof.
The easiest way to remove snow from your roof is by raking it in layers. Start at the bottom of the roof and pull off a foot or two at a time, slowly working your way up the roof.
Some roof snow rakes are designed with a slight curve in the pole near where it attaches to the blade. This curve gives users a better angle on the snow, allowing them to cut deeper into it.
Before you purchase a roof snow rake, inspect your roof carefully so that you are sure you will be able to use it. Roof defects like loose or curling shingles, or flashing that can hook the rake, can leave you unable to effectively use a rake on it.
Try to clear your roof off before the snow from a storm has a chance to “set” and compact. If you rake the roof soon after a snowfall, chances are the snow will slide off more easily.
While it may seem harmless, the rush of snow sliding off your roof while raking can be heavy and even harmful. Be sure that other people and pets (not to mention yourself) are standing away from the eaves when you are raking snow from your roof.
A curved blade can help to scoop snow better.
We also recommend a couple of additional roof snow rakes that stood out during our research. The best-selling Avalanche Original 500 Roof Snow Removal System will cost you a bit more, but it offers advanced features such as wheels and a slide, while claiming that it can remove a ton of snow every minute. It is a bit heavier (10 pounds) and shorter (16 feet) than other rakes, however. We also really like the Structon 24” Snow Roof Rake for its telescoping pole and comfortable vinyl grip. The 22-foot length and low weight will also allow you to reach more roof with less effort.
Q. What are ice dams?
A. Ice dams occur when ice builds up at the edge of your roof, trapping melting snow behind it. As the water accumulates, it can leak into your house, damaging your shingles, roof, walls, and ceilings. Once formed, ice dams can be difficult to remove without damaging your roof. Keeping the eaves and lower portions of your roof cleared of snow is key to stopping the formation of ice dams.
Q. Will a roof snow rake damage my roof?
A. Roof rakes are designed to minimize roof damage, but you should still be careful when using them. Try not to slam the rake down on the roof, or pull too violently on it to free snow. Additions like wheels can keep the blade of the rake from ever touching the roof, and the choice of blade material — plastic over metal — can also help.
Q. What kind of maintenance do roof snow rakes require?
A. A roof snow rake requires little maintenance. You should check your rake before each use to verify that all bolts attaching the blade to the pole are tight. Other than that, just be sure that it is either broken down or retracted and stored securely after each use.
Q. Which is more effective: a roof snow rake, or heat cables?
A. Heat cables are lengths of heated wire that are attached to the eaves of your house. When they are plugged in, they can help keep ice dams from forming. Heat cables are expensive to buy and use, and if you aren’t going to install them yourself, you will need to pay someone to do it for you. Once installed, they aren’t super-durable, and aren’t really effective in removing heavy snow. If you are worried about ice dams, we recommend a roof snow rake over heat cables.
BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.