Keep Your Roof Clear of Snow With the Avalanche! Roof Rake Combo

After rigorous testing, this roof rake combo proved its worth through several big winter snow events. See how it outperformed the competition.

By Zach Lazzari | Published Jan 11, 2024 1:15 PM

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The Avalanche! Roof Rake undergoing testing pulling light snow off a metal roof.

Photo: Zach Lazzari for Bob Vila

Looking for a reliable snow roof rake that offers a combination of value and performance? I tested nine different roof rakes through a series of winter storms in Montana. Several of the models performed exceptionally well, but the Marshalltown Avalanche! Combo Pack roof rake stood out from the competition. With its durable fiberglass poles and multiple rake-head styles, I was able to rake snow on various roof pitches and heights with less effort than with many other models.

While raking snow is a simple process, finding the perfect roof rake is not so easy. Some handles flex too much, others don’t extend far enough, and some work well but don’t have the upgrade features users might want. For serious snow loads and regular use, I believe this is the best roof rake on the market with only a few close competitors.

Read on to see if this roof rake combo kit can help you manage snow this winter.

Marshalltown Avalanche! Combo Roof Rake: At a Glance

Rating: 9.5/10

The Avalanche! Roof Rake undergoing testing pulling light snow off a metal roof.

Photo: Zach Lazzari for Bob Vila

SPECS

  • Length: Extendable from 4 to 16 feet
  • Weight: 9 pounds
  • Material: Fiberglass shaft, stainless steel head and plastic head

PROS

  • Multiple head options make it easy to use as a snow slide or full rake
  • Fiberglass poles are rigid, durable, and aren’t cold to touch like metal
  • Durable design is built to last

CONS

  • Weighs slightly more than some models
  • Pole segments are not telescoping and require manual connections

Get the Avalanche! Combo roof rake at Amazon for $185.99.

What is the Avalanche! Combo roof rake?

Most roof rakes have design similarities, and there are generally two prevalent model types. One uses a push-style slide system with an open head to remove snow. The other uses a solid head to grab and pull snow off the roof. The Avalanche! Combo comes with a set of fiberglass extension poles and both head styles. The package includes the type of head that allows the user to push through the snow, allowing it to run off a plastic slide. It also has a solid rake head with wheels to pull heavy, stubborn snow loads off the roof.

The Avalanche! Combo roof rake is a fantastic design that uses durable materials and construction. It has the ability to rake light and heavy snow from just about any roof. It also has wheels on both heads to prevent roof damage. Users can work diligently knowing the wheels will roll over shingles and roof elements without pulling and tearing them away.

The reach length is determined by how many pole segments the user chooses to add. It can extend to 16 feet long with all segments attached. Each pole segment uses a simple push-button system to connect, and only a few seconds are required to attach each end. For most single-story homes, 15.5 feet of reach is plenty.

A gloved hand holding the gripped handle end of the Avalanche! roof rake.

Photo: Zach Lazzari for Bob Vila

Simple and Intuitive Assembly 

Because the package includes two heads, there’s little extra assembly. The pole sections simply seat together and secure the connection with a push-button design. For the solid rake head, no assembly is required other than seating the main pole into the rake insert. It’s very easy, and users can begin using the solid rake head in a matter of minutes.

For the open-style rake head, the user must connect the stainless steel arms to the three-way head bracket. The narrow end of each arm is then pressed into the slide-roller ends. There is a button on each end to press during insertion. When the buttons pop into the arm end, it is secured in place. The same process is used for most other brands. It’s a simple and intuitive assembly that requires 10 to 15 minutes of reading directions and putting everything together.

With the open rake head, one end of the three-way bracket is used to connect the handle segment. Like the other sections, it seats into place and is secured by the metal locking button. Users can remove or add segments to adjust the reach very easily at any time.

Simple Tools and Easy to Use, Roof Rakes Require Some Muscle

At 9 pounds, the Avalanche! roof rake isn’t overly heavy. It’s easy to lift the rake and reach the head upward to the roof. Because it’s a long rake, users will find a balance point that minimizes the overall effort. I find that holding the rake vertically is easiest. Then I lift from the handle and allow the head to simply fall onto the roof in a desired position. From this point, users will either push to use the slide or pull with the solid rake head.

On other models, aluminum handles seemed more flimsy when fully extended. They would flex a bit and stress the connections. I found the fiberglass handles on this model to work exceptionally well. They remain rigid and feel strong when working against stubborn snow and ice. They are easy to connect, the grip is great with either bare hands or gloves, and the ease of use is fantastic.

Using a roof rake is not complicated in general, although it does require some strength and physical effort. Users also must remain self-aware and be cautious to not hit vulnerable roof elements, such as vents and skylight windows. Otherwise, all that’s required is to simply reach the rake to the roof and push or pull to remove snow.

The Avalanche! Roof Rake undergoing testing pulling light snow off a metal roof.

Photo: Zach Lazzari for Bob Vila

Fiberglass Pole for Strength and Durability

In terms of durability and overall design, I think this roof rake excels. The fiberglass handles are the biggest asset in my opinion. Besides being rigid and strong, they aren’t as cold to the touch as metal alternatives. It’s worth noting that extreme pressure can fracture fiberglass. Of course, it can also bend and snap metal.

With regard to the two heads, I think they are built better than the competition. The open head has stainless steel arms with a protective coating. The slide is a plastic fabric that is a little thicker than most competitors, and it’s very slick. The solid head is stout and will be exceptionally difficult to damage. It’s also the only solid head I have seen with wheels attached, which is a major bonus for protecting one’s roof.

Many roof rakes use a similar handle-segment system that has the locking-button connections. This works well but is also a failure point if the button is not fully locked into place. If the user is careful to make the connections properly, this shouldn’t be an issue. Otherwise, the best materials and design standards are used on the Avalanche! Combo roof rake, so it should last for a very long time.

Is the Avalanche! roof rake worth the money?

I think users need to assess the snow removal needs at their property before answering this question. For my money, this rake, which is priced just under $200, is worth every penny. The fiberglass poles are high quality, and having both head styles adds value. However, I also have a regular need for snow removal on the roof. Some users might have different needs that call for a less (or more) expensive roof rake.

For users with roofs that rarely require snow removal, there are cheaper models out there. Users who only want a single-head style will find plenty of options that offer savings. But for those who want a versatile roof rake with a great design, I think the Avalanche! Combo package is the best deal out there. Of course, purchasing a single Avalanche! head style rather than the package is an option, and users can save some money with that approach.

Personally, I like the rollers and slide system when snow is fresh and fluffy. Wet, dense snow can compact quickly and make it difficult to penetrate. That’s where the solid rake design really performs. For folks living near ski areas and mountain passes that have exceptional storm events, the solid rake head is a must-have in my opinion.

The Avalanche! Roof Rake sitting in a few inches of fresh snow before undergoing hands-on testing.

Photo: Zach Lazzari for Bob Vila

Should you buy the Avalanche! roof rake? 

After some heavy testing and comparing this rake’s features and build quality to those in the overall market, I think this combo package is a great investment for anyone requiring regular use of a snow roof rake. Shoppers can find lighter-duty options for regions with less snow accumulation, but for those folks living in the mountains and regions where the snow piles up, I think a high-quality system is worth the price.

The payoff for buying a great roof rake is returned in the form of protecting the structure itself. Heavy snow stresses joints and weight capacity on many rooftops, and removing that snow can prevent damage to the structure. A collapsed roof is dangerous and expensive to repair or replace. The Avalanche! Combo roof rake is an ideal solution to help users protect their home and other structures.

There are a few other great roof rakes to consider as well. The Snow Peeler Premium was a close competitor. Snow Joe also has a great grip and effective open-head design on its roof rake. Shoppers can even find telescoping handle systems that make storage a breeze. While I loved the Avalanche! Combo, any of these options can do the job equally well. The most important thing is that the roof isn’t supporting the massive weight loads brought by winter storms. Invest in a solid roof rake and use it regularly throughout the snow season.

Get the Avalanche! Combo roof rake at Amazon for $185.99.

Meet the Tester

Zach Lazzari is a freelance writer splitting time between the great outdoors, travel, and DIY projects ranging from camper builds to home renovations and maintenance. His home base in Montana is the perfect testing grounds for winter products and snow equipment. With over a decade of professional writing experience, he also covers a variety of other projects and maintenance topics for BobVila.com.