The 50 Best Generators for Backup Power Supply

A generator can offer a convenient source of backup power to your home in case of power outages or emergencies, and makes a great portable source of power when camping as well.

There are some important factors to consider when purchasing and using a generator. Do you want gas-, propane- or solar-powered? Dual fuel options? Permanent or portable? If you want a portable unit, does it come with a wheel kit? Electric start or manual (recoil)? How many, and what types of outlets do you need?

You’ll need to determine your family’s power requirements in order to determine which level of wattage on your generator is suitable. If you plan on running electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops off your generator, you’ll want to invest in one with inverter technology for ‘clean’ power that runs without surges that could fry the components.

If you live in the state of California, you’ll also need to ensure that the unit you purchase is California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant. This ensures the unit meets an additional number of safety and emissions standards.

If your unit is powered by gas or propane, you’ll want to ensure it is used outdoors with enough ventilation. Do not refill until the unit has cooled down.

With the above tips and advice in mind, here are 50 of the generators we consider to be the safest, based on available features and average customer ratings and reviews:

1. WEN 56180 1800-Watt Portable Generator

This portable 1800 watt generator can provide enough power for your family in case of an emergency, or even when on the road during activities like camping. It features a lightweight and compact design that is capable of running for up to 7.5 hours on 1.45 gallons of gasoline.

Key features:

  • CARB and EPAIII compliant
  • Includes two AC120V 12.5A three-prong outlets and one cigarette-lighter-style 12V DC outlet
  • Built-in low oil shutdown

Cost: *Est. $196.99

2. PowerPro 56101 2-Stroke Generator, 1000-watt

This gas-powered portable generator features a gas/oil fuel mix that removes the need for oil changes and is certified for use in any national park or forest. It weighs less than 36 pounds so it is easy to take and set up just about anywhere.

Key features:

  • Built-in carrying handle
  • CARB and EPA compliant
  • 1 year warranty

Cost: *Est. $135.58

3. DuroMax XP4400E 4,400 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas-Powered Portable Generator With Wheel Kit

This portable gas generator is easy to take with you thanks to its convenient carry handle and built-in wheel kit. It can run up to 8 hours on a single tank of gas and features an easy, electric key start.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • Basic generator tool kit included

Cost: *Est. $388.70

4. Champion Power Equipment 46539 4,000 Watt 196cc 4-Stroke Gas-Powered Portable Generator with Wireless Remote Electric Start

This gas-powered portable generator is rated for 3,500 watts of power output and comes with a single 120V DUPLEX outlet (5-20R), one 120V twistlock (L5-30R), and one RV receptacle (TT-30R). This unit can run for up to 12 hours on a single tank of gas.

Key features:

  • CARB compliant
  • Remote control start
  • Includes engine oil

Cost: *Est. $449.99

5. Goal Zero 23000 Yeti 400 Solar Generator

This solar-powered generator allows you to power lights, televisions and more thanks to its built-in AC inverters and can even be built in a chain with other Yeti inverters for longer run times.

Key features:

  • Safe to use indoors
  • Solar panel sold separately
  • USB ports to charge your devices

Cost: *Est $459.99

6. WEN 56475 4750-Watt Generator with Electric Start and Wheel Kit

This gas-powered generator features two standard 120V wall outlets as well as an RV outlet and features a wheel kit for ease of portability. Thanks to the engine life digital readout, you know exactly when it’s time to change your generator’s oil.

Key features:

  • CARB and EPAIII compliant
  • Overload protection
  • Electric start

Cost: *Est. $359

7. DuroMax XP10000EH 18HP Dual Fuel Propane/Gas-Powered Portable Electric Start Generator, 10000-watt

This dual-fuel generator can be powered by either liquid propane or gasoline to suit a variety of needs and applications. It features multiple outlets including two 120v 20 amp 3-prong outlets, one 120v 30 amp twistlock, one 120v/240v 30 amp twistlock, one 120v/240v 50 amp heavy duty outlet and a single 10a 12v outlet.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • Built-in spark arrestor
  • Built-in oil warning light

Cost: *Est. $1298.97

8. Champion Power Equipment 75531i Inverter Generator, 3100 Watt

This portable gas-powered generator features wheels and a collapsible handle for easy portability and is perfect for use around the home or on the road – it’s even RV ready.

Key features:

  • 2 year warranty
  • Can run for up to 8 hours on a single tank of gas
  • Quiet 85 dB operation

Cost: *Est. $799.99

9. WEN 56200i 2000-Watt 79.7cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas-Powered Portable Inverter Generator

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has rated this generator as being as quiet as a normal conversation, making it ideal for home use. Thanks to clean power output, it helps prevent damage to your valuable electronics.

Key features:

  • CARB and EPAIII compliant
  • USB port included
  • 2 year warranty

Cost: *Est. $489.77

10. Champion Power Equipment 42436 1500-Watt Portable Generator

This 1500 watt gas-powered generator offers a portable and lightweight backup power solution for your home’s outage needs and features a 10 hour run time on 50% load. It can handle running a fridge, television and lights all at once.

Key features:

  • 2 year warranty
  • CARB compliant
  • Quiet, lightweight design

Cost: *Est. $201.88

11. Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas-Powered Portable Inverter Generator

This gas-powered generator is available in a choice of two colors and features a built-in muffler for ultra-quiet operation with a USFS-approved spark arrestor.

Key features:

  • CARB compliant
  • Smart Throttle for maximum fuel efficiency
  • Up to 10.5 hours run time

Cost: *Est. $989.10

12. Pulsar PG1202S Two Stroke Generator, 1200-watt

This 1200 watt two stroke generator offers an economical solution for those looking for backup power for their home or RV. It can run for up to 8.5 hours on a single tank of gasoline and features an easy to use recoil start.

Key features:

  • 1200 watt maximum output
  • Lightweight design
  • Ideal for powering fridge and small appliances

Cost: *Est. $132.99

13. Champion Power Equipment 75537i Inverter Generator with Wireless Remote, 3100 Watt

This inverter generator is very quiet at just 58 dB and comes complete with built-in wheels and collapsible handle for easy portability. Thanks to clean power output it is safe to use with even your delicate electronics.

Key features:

  • Remote start up to 80 feet away
  • 2 year warranty
  • CARB and EPA compliant

Cost: *Est. $986.62

14. Westinghouse WH7500E Portable Generator, 7500 Watts

With 7500 running watts, this portable gas-powered generator can easily power your home’s appliances and television. Thanks to the full enclosure, electrical connections are protected from weather and debris.

Key features:

  • Quiet operation
  • Easy to use control center
  • Easy to read LCD run meter

Cost: *Est. $964.36

15. DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas-Powered Portable Generator

This gas-powered portable generator can run for up to 8 hours on a single tank of gasoline and features an easy to use recoil start. You’ll get many years of use thanks to its high quality stainless steel frame construction.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • Low oil auto shutoff
  • 1 year warranty

Cost: *Est. $314.08

16. Champion Power Equipment 46596 4000-Watt Portable Generator

Thanks to its cast iron sleeve, this portable generator is built to last and features several outlets including one 120V outlet (5-20R), one 120V twistlock (L5-30R), and a single RV receptacle (TT-30R) for multiple power supply applications.

Key features:

  • Can run for up to 12 hours on a single tank of gas
  • 2 year warranty
  • EPA compliant

Cost: *Est. $272.27

17. Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQ Parallel Capable Inverter Generator, 2000-watt

This inverter generator features a powerful Yamaha engine and Pure Sinewave technology which allows users to power sensitive electronic equipment like cell phones and laptop computers. The unit can operate in parallel with others so as to increase power.

Key features:

  • CARB and EPA compliant
  • Built-in USFS-approved spark arrestor
  • Super quiet 51 dB operation

Cost: *Est. $599.99

18. Honda Eu2000i Inverter Generator Portable Gas-Powered 120v 2000w

This generator is ideal for a number of power applications around the home and on the road thanks to its lightweight and portable design. It can even provide clean power to safely operate your sensitive electronic equipment.

Key features:

  • Fuel efficient eco throttle system
  • Super quiet operation
  • Easy to use recoil starting system

Cost: *Est. $1,216.88

19. Champion Power Equipment 71531 Dual Fuel Portable Generator, 9375-watt

This portable generator can be powered by either propane or gasoline and features up to 9 hours of run time. It has a cast iron sleeve to help provide years of continuous use and features four standard 120V outlets to help power nearly anything you need it to.

Key features:

  • CARB compliant
  • 2 year warranty
  • Electric and recoil start

Cost: *Est. $972.33

20. All Power America APG3014 2,000 Watt 4-Stroke Gas-Powered Portable Generator

This 2000 watt gas-powered portable generator can handle your power needs for up to 9 hours on a single tank of gas and features a quiet, 68 dB operation. It’s easy to move thanks to its lightweight design.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • Features two AC 120-Volt outlets, one DC 12-Volt output
  • Built-in low oil shutoff

Cost: *Est. $211

21. Westinghouse WH5500 Portable Generator, 5500 Watts

This portable gas-powered generator features a manual recoil start that’s easy to use and 5500 watts of continuous power to handle nearly all your backup power needs. Thanks to a built-in muffler, it operates quietly so it won’t disturb your family or neighbors.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • Easy to use and read control center
  • Three year warranty

Cost: *Est. $654

22. DuroMax XP4400EH 7 HP Dual Fuel Propane/Gas-Powered Portable Electric Start Generator, 4400-Watt

Thanks to its dual power options, this portable electric start generator can run on either gasoline or propane, making it ideal for nearly any backup power application. It takes just seconds to switch the power supply over.

Key features:

  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • EPA compliant
  • Built-in wheels for ease of portability

Cost: *Est. $549.99

23. Champion Power Equipment #76533 4750 Watt DUAL FUEL Portable Generator w/Electric Start

This dual powered portable generator operates off either gasoline or liquid propane for convenience and features a cast iron sleeve. It can run for up to 8 hours off a single tank and features both an electric and recoil start for use in any situation.

Key features:

  • CARB and EPA compliant
  • 2 year warranty
  • Built-in overload protection

Cost: *Est. $600.02

24. Goal Zero 31901 Yeti 1250 Silver/Black XX-Large Solar Generator

This solar-powered generator features enough power to operate your home’s lights, tools, refrigerators, freezers and even health care equipment. It can be used indoor since there are no harmful emissions.

Key features:

  • Silent operation
  • Rolling cart included
  • Digital output display

Cost: *Est. $1,399

25. Powerland PD4000 4000-watt Portable Gas Generator, 7.5 HP

This powerful and durable portable gas-powered generator features a built-in muffler for super quiet operation and features two fully protected 20A 120 V outlets and a single 30A 120V twistlock outlet.

Key features:

  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • Runs up to 12 hours on single tank of gasoline
  • Easy to use recoil start

Cost: *Est. $300

26. Generac 6719 IX Series 2000 Portable Inverter Generator

This portable inverter generator features a built-in overload protection to help protect your appliances and electronics and provides up to 2000 watts of continuous power. Thanks to its super quiet operation, it can even be used on campsites without disturbing wildlife or your neighbors.

Key features:

  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Clean power suitable for electronic devices
  • Up to 4.5 hours run time on single tank of gas

Cost: *Est. $589

27. Champion Power Equipment 46533 4,000 Watt 196cc 4-Stroke Gas-Powered Portable Generator

This portable gas-powered generator can run for up to 12 hours on a single tank of gas and features multiple outlets including one 120V (5-20R), one 120V twistlock (L5-30R), and a single RV receptacle (TT-30R).

Key features:

  • CARB and EPA compliant
  • Durable steel frame
  • 2 year warranty

Cost: *Est. $329.50

28. Yamaha EF2400iSHC Portable Generator

This portable generator features a powerful Yamaha motor that can even power your air conditioner. Plus, with its clean power, you can even use it with sensitive electronic devices like cell phones and laptops. The engine speed automatically adjusts depending on the load required.

Key features:

  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • Quiet operation ideal for use at home or on the road
  • Runs up to 8.6 hours on a single tank of gas

Cost: *Est. $1,331.10

29. Generac 5939 GP5500 5,500 Watt 389cc OHV Portable Gas-Powered Generator

This portable gas-powered generator features splash lubrication to provide an extended engine life and boasts a large-capacity stainless steel fuel tank that allows for extended run times.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • Built-in low oil shutdown
  • Outlets are covered, circuit breaker protected

Cost: *Est. $620.10

30. WEN 56352 3500-Watt 212cc 7 HP OHV Gas-Powered Portable Generator with Wheel Kit

This portable gas-powered generator features an easy to read digital display to help owners manage their maintenance and oil changes and can run for up to 11 hours on a single tank of gas.

Key features:

  • Wheel kit included for ease of portability
  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • Built-in overload protection

Cost: *Est. $319.99

31. Generac 5747 XG8000E 8,000 Watt 410cc OHVI Gas-Powered Portable Generator with Wheel Kit

This gas-powered portable generator is easy to get up and running thanks to a single touch electric start and features an improved LED control panel for easy visibility as well as an hour meter to help track your usage.

Key features:

  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • Outlets are covered, GFCI circuit breaker protected
  • 2 year warranty

Cost: *Est. $1,232.10

32. Smarter Tools ST-GP7500DEB Propane/Gasoline Generator with Electric Start and Battery, 7500-watt

This dual fuel generator can run on either gasoline or propane and features an electric start for easy power up. Built-in wheels and handle make for easy moving and setup wherever you need a little extra power.

Key features:

  • CARB and EPA compliant
  • Quiet, 72 dB operation
  • Up to 9 hours of run time on a single tank of gas

Cost: *Est. $804.99

33. Champion 73536i Inverter Generator 2,000 Watt 4-Stroke Gas-Powered

This generator features a lightweight design with built-in carry handle for ease of portability and can easily power what you need it to. It can be stacked for increased power and produces clean energy that is safe to use with delicate electronics.

Key features:

  • Extremely quiet 53 dB operation
  • CARB compliant
  • Overload protection

Cost: *Est. $569.99

34. K-tor Power Box 20 Watt Pedal Generator, Emergency Charger

This pedal powered generator provides electricity without the use of gasoline or propane, so it’s safe to use indoors. Kids will get a kick out of pushing the pedals around to create up to 20 watts of power.

Key features:

  • Can be used with legs or arms
  • Universal outlet
  • Easily charges a number of different batteries

Cost: *Est. $189.50

35. Generac 5943 GP7500E 7,500 Watt 420cc OHV Portable Gas-Powered Generator with Electric Start

This gas-powered generator was designed with special splash lubrication in order to provide a long lasting engine life and features an electric start with battery and plug-in battery charger jack. The outlets are covered to help protect against debris and weather.

Key features:

  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • Stainless steel fuel tank holds large capacity of fuel
  • Built-in wheels for ease of portability

Cost: *Est. $999

36. Duromax XP4850EH Dual Fuel Propane/Gas-Powered Portable Electric Start Generator, 4850-watt

This dependable, heavy duty generator can be fueled by either gasoline or propane and features an electric start to get you up and running in no time. Thanks to its fully insulated motor mounts, this unit operates quietly, making it suitable for use in national parks.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • Built-in wheels and folding handle for ease of portability

Cost: *Est. $579.99

37. DuroStar DS4400 4,400 Watt Gas-Powered Portable Generator With Wheel Kit

This 4400 watt gas-powered generator can provide your family with the power it needs during an emergency. It can run for up to 8 hours on a single tank of gas, and features two 120v 20A 3-prong outlets (standard 120V plug) and a single 120v/240v 30A twistlock outlet.

Key features:

  • Super quiet 69 dB operation
  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • CARB and EPA compliant

Cost: Est. $368.64

38. Yamaha EF1000iS 1,000 Watt 50cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas-Powered Portable Inverter Generator

This stylish little generator features a specially designed sound reduction system that makes it quiet to operate and boasts a long 12 hour run time before needing to be refueled. It weighs less than 30 pounds, making it easy to move where your power needs take you.

Key features:

  • CARB compliant
  • Load sensing throttle control
  • 2 year warranty

Cost: *Est. $791.10

39. K-tor Emergency Disaster Kit: 10 Watt, 120 Volt, Hand Crank Generator, and 20 Watt Pedal Generator

Another pedal powered generator, this model can charge a dead cell phone in a matter of minutes, all without the use of fuel of any kind. Ideal for travel and indoor use, this generator is designed to last for years thanks to its high quality materials.

Key features:

  • Compatible with portable electronics
  • Manufactured in the United States
  • Compatible with all cell phones

Cost: *Est. $234.95

40. Generac 6461 Guardian Home Standby Generator, 16 Circuit 100-Amp Prewired EZ Automatic Transfer Switch

This generator is permanently installed to help protect and power your home automatically in case of a power outage. It can be run on either natural gas or propane, and is suitable for powering even sensitive electronics.

Key features:

  • 5 year warranty
  • UL, CUL, CARB and EPA compliant
  • Durable powder-coated steel enclosure

Cost: *Est. $3,527

41. Ryobi 2200-Watt Digital Inverter Generator RYI2200

This inverter generator has a running operation that’s so quiet, it’s no louder than a conversation. It features multiple outlets including two 120-volt AC and a single 12-volt DC. It can even be run in parallel for additional power output.

Key features:

  • Clean power for sensitive electronics
  • Fuel efficient-idle down technology
  • Made in the USA

Cost: *Est. $531.99

42. Powermate PM0133250 Propane Generator with Manual Start, 3250-watt

This propane-powered generator features an easy to use recoil start and covered outlets that help protect against the weather and debris. The easy to read digital multi-meter lets you quickly view voltage, frequency, engine run time and tracks scheduled maintenance intervals.

Key features:

  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • Wheel kit included for ease of portability
  • Up to 20 hours of run time

Cost: *Est. $553.19

43. Xantrex 802-1500 XPower 1,500 Watt Portable Powerpack

This portable powerpack can supply your home with up to 1500 watts of portable power and features an integrated portable cart design that makes it easy to set up where you need it. AC and DC plugs are included with this unit.

Key features:

  • 1 year warranty
  • Alternative to traditional generators
  • Produces no fumes or noise

Cost: *Est. $617.52

44. Sportsman GEN2000LP 2,000 Watt 2.8 HP OVH Propane-Powered Portable Generator

This propane-powered portable generator uses a standard gas grill propane tank and can run for up to 12 hours at 50% load. The propane regulator hose is included, and thanks to its lightweight design, it’s easy to move and set up anywhere you need it.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • Quiet, 65 dB operation
  • UL listed

Cost: *Est. $309.11

45. XtremepowerUS 2000w Watts Gas Portable Generator

This gas-powered portable generator offers an emergency power solution in a sleek and elegant design. The 4 hp engine is strong enough to power whatever you need it to. Includes two 120V AC outlets and a single 12V (8.3A) DC output for running DC appliances or charging batteries.

Key features:

  • Up to 15 hours use on a single tank of gas
  • Convenient carry handle on top
  • Easy to use pull start

Cost: *Est. $319.95

46. Durostar DS10000E 16 HP Gasoline Powered Electric Start Portable Generator with Wheel Kit, 10000-watt

This portable gas-powered generator features an electric start that lets you get up and running quickly and easily. Its 8000 watts can operate nearly anything from your home’s air conditioner to lights and fridge.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • Oil warning light
  • Super quiet exhaust features a built-in spark arrestor

Cost: *Est. $999.99

47. DuroMax Elite MX4500 4,500 Watt 7 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas-Powered Portable Generator With Wheel Kit

This gas-powered generator features an included wheel kit for easy of portability as well as dual collapsible handles. It features multiple outlets including two 120vAC 20A 3-prong, one 120/240vAC 30A twistlock and a single 12v DC battery charging outlet.

Key features:

  • Built-in idle control
  • Up to 8 hours of run time on a single tank of gas
  • 1 year warranty

Cost: *Est. $443.47

48. Sportsman GEN4000LP 4,000 Watt 6.5 HP OVH Propane-Powered Portable Generator

With 3250 watts of continuous power, this propane-powered portable generator can run for up to 10 hours on a single tank at 50% load and features two standard 120V AC outlets and one 12V DC outlet for battery charging.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • Built-in low oil shutoff
  • Easy to use recoil start

Cost: *Est. $429.59

49. PowerStroke PS901200D Gas-Powered Portable Generator, 1100-watt

This portable gas-powered generator can stand up to even your toughest power needs and features a reliable engine with built-in low oil shutoff and automatic voltage regulator to provide cleaner power that’s suitable for use with sensitive electronics.

Key features:

  • EPA compliant
  • 2 year warranty
  • Up to 8 hours of run time

Cost: *Est. $199

50. Westinghouse WH6500E Portable Generator, 6500 Watts

This portable gas-powered generator features up to 13 hours of run time at 50% load and can be started either manually or via electric start. The oil, funnel, and tool kit are all included to get you up and running right out of the box.

Key features:

  • Integrated wheel kit with collapsible handles
  • 3 year warranty
  • EPA compliant

Cost: *Est. $906.58

The 25 Safest Snow Blowers and Snow Removal Products

Snow blowers are fantastic for clearing large amounts of snow in a hurry, but they can be particularly dangerous when not operated correctly.

Possible injuries that can be caused by a snow blower include bumps and bruises, cuts, pinches, electrical injuries including electrocution and fires, burns, fractures and breaks, severing of digits and limbs, back and shoulder strain, and even crush injuries.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) estimates that there were only about 4 reported incidents of injuries to children under the age of 18 caused by snow blowers and snow throwers that were treated in hospital in the United States in 2014, while the overall injury rate was more than 9,000. Of those injuries about half are injuries (including amputation) to the fingers and hands.

The number of actual injuries caused by snow blowers is likely quite higher than this, as the data from the CPSC only looked at those injuries treated at a hospital, and minor injuries were likely treated at home or another medical treatment facility not included in the reporting data.

Here are some things to keep in mind when purchasing and using your snow blower:

When purchasing

  • For the most part, safety standards for snow blowers have been created by a mix of consumer groups, government agencies, producers, retailers, and suppliers and are completely voluntary for manufacturers. There are standards in place put forward by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) as well as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that all snow blowers manufactured in the United States must follow.
  • Look for a sticker on your snow blower that tells you it’s been approved by OPEI, ANSI, CSA, ASTM, ANSI, UL, CPSC or some other such safety association. Be cautious of purchasing a product that was made in China, as regulatory standards are much different there than in the United States.
  • There are several types of snow blowers including gas and electric, single stage and two stage. How hard you need the machine to work and the size of the area you need to clear will determine the style you’re likely to purchase.
  • Some safety features to look for include lights for better visibility in low light conditions; a handlebar dead-man control which will stop the impeller and/or auger when released, much like a lawn mower; and a tool for clearing clogs from the chute.
  • If your snow blower came with a warranty or registration card, be sure to complete the form and mail it in to the manufacturer. This way, you’ll be notified of any recalls or other safety information in the event of a problem with your model. Surveys done by Consumer Reports National Research Center show most people seldom or never take this essential safety step.

When operating

  • Never allow children under the age of 14 to operate a snow blower. Given their size and strength, a snow blower can easily overpower a small child and cause them to lose control of the machine. Be sure to explain that they must never put fingers or hands inside the chute or auger to clear any snow or ice blocks.
  • If using an electric model, ensure the extension cord you’re using is rated for outdoor use and that it’s plugged into an outlet with a GFCI to prevent electrical injuries. Keep cord away from the auger. If using a gas model, ensure the engine has cooled completely before refuelling.
  • Do not wear loose clothing or long scarves when operating your snow blower as these can easily become trapped in the machine, causing injury.
  • Start and run your gas-powered snow blower outside and not in your garage in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • You should wear eye and hearing protection when operating your snow blower, especially gas models which can be very loud. You should also check your local laws regarding noise ordinances in order to avoid a fine for operation of your snow blower.
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setup, use and cleaning of your snow blower, and don’t hesitate to contact them if you should have a question about something specific that isn’t covered in your user manual.

When cleaning

  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation before you begin cleaning your snow blower. The fumes from many household cleaners can be toxic and make you ill.
  • Ensure the snow blower is turned off or unplugged before attempting to clear a clog from the chute or auger. Always use a clearing tool, even if it’s just a stick or broom handle, to clear clogs and not your hands.
  • Ensure the snow blower is turned off before you clean any electrical component. Periodically tighten all nuts and bolts, as the blower’s vibrations can cause them to loosen over time.

In case of accident

  • In case of a cut, pinch or mild bump, immediately remove yourself from the area and seek first aid treatment when necessary.
  • If a more serious accident should occur, do not hesitate to contact 9-1-1.

With the above tips in mind, in no particular order, here are 25 of the snow blowers and snow removal products that we consider to be the safest, based on available features and average customer reviews and ratings:

Snow Blowers

1. Snow Joe SJ621 18-Inch 13.5-Amp Electric Snow Thrower With Headlight

This electric snow blower is easy enough to use that even beginners have no trouble. Thanks to its 13.5 amp motor it has the power to clear up to 650 pounds of snow per minute and can cut up to 18-inches wide and 10-inches deep in just one pass.

Key features:

  • Built-in headlight
  • Chute is adjustable 180 degrees
  • ETL inspected and approved

Cost: *Est. $192.97

This electric power shovel packs enough punch to clear up to 300 pounds of snow per minute, and it is ready to go with just a quick plug into your home’s electrical. Plus, it’s designed to reduce clogging so you don’t have to worry about stopping to clear it as often.

Key features:

  • Lightweight design is easy to maneuver
  • Throws snow up to 20 feet
  • Cord lock systems minimizes accidental unplugging

Cost: *Est. $99.99

3. Snow Joe SJ622E 15-Ampere Ultra Electric Snow Thrower

This electric snow blower features a 15 amp motor that can clear up to 720 pounds of snow per minute while cutting a swath 18-inches wide and 10-inches deep with every pass. The scraper blade allows the machine to effectively clear snow down to the pavement with less strain on the operator.

Key features:

  • Comfortable ergonomic grip
  • Instant start
  • ETL inspected and approved

Cost: *Est. $236.87

Ideal for sidewalks and smaller driveways, this electric snow blower can easily clear a 20-inch wide path at a depth of up to 10-inches. Because it’s electric, you don’t have to worry about gas or harmful emissions and its ergonomic design is comfortable to operate.

Key features:

  • Cord lock systems minimizes accidental unplugging
  • Throws snow up to 20 feet
  • Chute is adjustable 180 degrees

Cost: *Est. $179.99

5. Ryobi ZRRY40811 40V Brushless Cordless 20 in. Snow Blower

Like all other tools in the Ryobi lineup, this electric snow blower is compatible with the brand’s batteries which fit all its machines. It features load sensing technology that automatically adjusts the machine’s power to provide optimal performance and efficiency.

Key features:

  • Hassle-free push button start
  • Built-in headlights
  • Charger included

Cost: *Est. $391.93

6. Ariens 921024 Deluxe 24 254cc 24 in. Two-Stage Snow Thrower with Electric Start

This deluxe two-stage snow blower has the necessary power to tackle even the toughest of jobs and comes with an electric start for ease of powering up. Serrated steel augers provide great clearing power and the machine is self-propelled with multiple speeds for ease of operation.

Key features:

  • Clears paths up to 24-inches wide
  • Chute rotation is remote controlled
  • Consumer Report’s highest-rated snow blower brand

Cost: *Est. $928.64

7. WORX WG650 18-Inch 13 Amp Electric Snow Thrower

This powerful 13 amp electric snow blower can throw snow up to 30 feet and features a handlebar-mounted chute control that makes it easy to direct where you want to throw the snow.

Key features:

  • Chute is adjustable 180 degrees
  • Handlebar adjustment with quick clamps
  • Compact, lightweight design

Cost: *Est. $229.99

8. Troy-Bilt Squall 2100 208cc 4-cycle Electric Start Single-Stage Snow Thrower

This gas-powered snow blower can easily clear walkways and driveways up to 21-inches wide and 13-inches deep in just a single pass. The push button electric start means you can start clearing snow in less time.

Key features:

  • Lightweight, easy to maneuver
  • Chute is adjustable 190 degrees
  • 2 year warranty

Cost: *Est. $571.73

9. Ariens 921030 Deluxe 28 254cc 28 in. Two-Stage Snow Thrower with Electric Start

This deluxe two-stage snow blower has the necessary power to tackle even the toughest of jobs and comes with an electric start for ease of powering up. Serrated steel augers provide great clearing power and the machine is self-propelled with multiple speeds for ease of operation.

Key features:

  • Clears paths up to 24-inches wide
  • Built-in headlight
  • Consumer Report’s highest-rated snow blower brand

Cost: *Est. $1,031.22

This electric snow blower’s powerful 15 amp motor can throw up to 800 pounds of snow per minute and can clear a path up to 21-inches wide and 12-inches deep with just a single pass.

Key features:

  • Chute is adjustable 180 degrees
  • ETL inspected and approved
  • 2 year warranty

Cost: *Est. $271.72

11. Troy-Bilt Storm 2625 243cc 4-cycle Electric Start Two-Stage Snow Thrower

This powerful gas snow blower can can clear a path up to 26-inches wide and 21-inches deep with just a single pass and features an electric start for quick and easy operation.

Key features:

  • Clog-resistant discharge chute
  • Chute is adjustable 200 degrees
  • One-handed operation

Cost: *Est. $799.99

12. Ariens 938034 Path-Pro 136E 136cc 21 in. Single-Stage Snow Thrower with Electric Start

This powerful snow blower can clear a path up to 21-inches wide with just a single pass, making it ideal for clearing sidewalks and small- to mid-sized driveways. The backup recoil cord means you can always start your machine even when the power is out.

Key features:

  • Reinforced rubber augers
  • Electric start for ease of use
  • Consumer Report’s highest-rated snow blower brand

Cost: *Est. $599

13. All Power America AP-SB1810E Electric Snow Blower, 18-Inch

This electric-powered snow blower can clear up to 7,750 square feet of snow in an hour while clearing a path up to 18-inches wide and 8-inches deep in just a single pass.

Key features:

  • Lightweight, compact design
  • Throws snow 9.8-feet to 19.6-feet
  • Powerful enough for clearing ice

Cost: *Est. $174.37

This electric-powered snow blower can clear a path up to 18-inches wide and 11-inches deep in just a single pass, making quick work of storm cleanup. It’s easy to assemble and operate thanks to its lightweight design.

Key features:

  • Folds for compact storage
  • Double safety switch
  • Chute is adjustable 180 degrees

Cost: *Est. $139.99

15. Yard Machines 31A-63BD700 208cc Gas 22 in. Two Stage Snow Thrower

This gas-powered snow blower can clear a path up to 21-inches wide and 21-inches deep in just a single pass, making it ideal for both sidewalks and driveways. With 6 forward speeds and 2 reverse, it provides all the control you need.

Key features:

  • Chute is adjustable 180 degrees
  • Easy-to-use gas start
  • Pneumatic tires provide superior traction

Cost: *Est. $626.39

This gas snow blower is a real powerhouse and can clear a path up to 34-inches wide and 20-inches deep in just a single pass, making it ideal for both sidewalks and mid- to large-sized driveways.

Key features:

  • Throws snow up to 40 feet
  • Choose from 6 forward and 2 reverse speeds
  • Built-in LED headlight

Cost: *Est. $1,249.99

Accessories and Other Snow Removal Products

This heavy duty snow pusher makes light work of heavy snow by allowing you to easily clear away a snowfall up to 5-inches deep in just a single pass without having to bend or strain to push and lift like with a traditional shovel.

Key features:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Adjustable handle height
  • Ergonomic design

Cost: *Est. $59.99

This snow pusher is incredibly lightweight and easy to maneuver and is specifically designed for clearing wider paths of snow. It features a practically indestructible design that is also rust-proof and impact-resistant.

Key features:

  • Reinforced fiberglass handle
  • Durable UHMW polyethylene blade
  • Safe for use on wood decks, steps, sidewalks, and patios

Cost: *Est. $69.99

19. Garant GPRR24U Yukon 24-Inch Poly Blade Aluminum Handle Snow Roof Rake With 16-Foot Reach

This snow roof rake is ideal for clearing snow from those hard-to-reach, high up spots like on your roof, shed, or awnings. The aluminum handle extends up to 16 feet to reach nearly anywhere and its lightweight design won’t fatigue the user.

Key features:

  • Poly blade to prevent roof damage
  • Can purchase replacements blades
  • Moisture-resistant handle

Cost: *Est. $45.85

20. Easy Heat ADKS-1000 200-Foot Roof Snow De-Icing Kit

This roof de-icing kit comes in a variety of lengths to suit nearly any home and is ideal for helping prevent damage to your roof, downspouts, and gutters caused by snow and ice buildup, providing a clear path for water to run off.

Key features:

  • Compatible with most home designs
  • Easy to install
  • Package of 6 clips included

Cost: *Est. $99.99

21. MTD Genuine Parts Drift Cutters

This optional drift cutter attachment is compatible with most two stage snow blowers and is ideal for use in heavy snowfalls. It helps reduce drifts caused when clearing snow, cutting down on your cleanup time.

Key features:

  • Works in snow 24-inches+ deep
  • Easily mounts on sides of auger
  • Made in the USA

Cost: *Est. $29.15

22. Raider 02-1402 Snow Thrower Cab

This snow blower add-on offers the operator a spacious and protected area from which to do their snow cleanup. It helps to protect against blowing snow, freezing rain, and blowback caused by the machine itself. Quickly and easily attaches and detaches for cleanup and storage.

Key features:

  • Made from water-repellent fabric
  • Clear vinyl windows are freeze-resistant
  • Compatible with all two stage snow blowers

Cost: *Est. $93.45

23. Craftsman Snow Thrower/Mower Light

In case your snow blower didn’t come with a light, this unit allows you to increase your visibility in low-light or dark conditions. It can easily be installed on any snow blower in one of two positions for a versatile lighting solution.

Key features:

  • Directional beam pattern
  • Batteries included
  • Over 3 hours runtime

Cost: *Est. $18.99

24. Bully Tools 92200 Heavy Duty Sidewalk and Ice Chopper with Long Steel Handle

This heavy duty ice chopper is perfect for breaking up and clearing away frozen chunks of snow and ice and is made of durable 11 gauge steel for years of use.

Key features:

  • Made in the USA
  • Carbon steel blade can easily be resharpened
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cost: *Est. $26.46

This snow brush features a sturdy design to help clear even the thickest of snow off your vehicle and has a comfortable foam grip with integrated unbreakable ice scraper blade on one end.

Key features:

  • 4 rows of bristles clear more snow
  • Colors may vary
  • Comfortable, lightweight design

Cost: *Est. $7.98

How to Select and Safely Use a Thermos

Whether your lunch is hot or cold, a thermal food storage container can help to keep it at a safe temperature until you’re ready to dig in.

The CDC estimates that about 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases each and every year, which makes ensuring packed lunches are kept at a safe temperature of the utmost importance. Young children, pregnant women and the elderly are all at increased risk of contracting a foodborne illness.

The most popular brand of thermal food storage containers is Thermos and like Kleenex and facial tissue, the brand name is frequently used in conversation to refer to thermal food storage containers. Please note that in this post we will use the word thermos to refer not only to the brand but to thermal food storage containers in general.

There are several factors to consider when selecting and using a thermos in yours or your child’s lunch. Here are some tips and advice for selection and safely using a thermos:

Read the instructions that came with your container. The directions will let you know how long your container will keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. This will vary depending on the size of the container and materials used as well as whether or not it is double (or triple) insulated.

Pack hot foods steaming hot and cold foods ice cold. Foods will need to be packed at at least 165F (for hot items) and 40F or below for cold items to be safe to eat. If you open your thermal food storage container and find the food is not appropriately hot or cold, throw it out as the risk of foodborne illness has increased. Once opened, discard any uneaten food.

Your food will need some liquid. A thermos can only keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold if it has some liquid in it, such as soups and stews. Without any liquid, the container will not be able to maintain a food-safe temperature and so food won’t be safe to eat after two hours.

Pre-heat or pre-chill. Your hot foods will stay warmer longer if you pre-heat the container with hot water (either from the tap or kettle works just fine) and your cold foods will stay colder longer if you put the container in the fridge or freezer to chill first. You can also fill the container with ice water and let sit for a few minutes to chill quickly. Discard water before packing your food.

Pack just before leaving. Your food will remain at a safe temperature longer the closer you can pack them before heading out the door.

Be careful opening. Hot foods can and do burn and young children are especially vulnerable. Offer assistance or take your time when opening a hot thermos.

Hand wash. While some thermal food storage containers are dishwasher-safe, you’ll extend the life of your thermos by hand washing it.

When shopping for thermal food storage containers it’s important to look for a quality product that meets all safety standards. Depending on where it was manufactured, a product may or may not meet US safety standards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) provide guidelines for common materials used in the making of thermoses including plastics and metals. It’s worth noting that all Thermos brand products are:

– free of phthalates or meet the limits required by law
– made without BPA
– made without lead or meet the limits required by law

With the above tips and advice in mind, here are 25 of the thermal food storage containers we consider to be the safest, based on available features and average customer ratings and reviews:

1. Thermos 10 Ounce Funtainer Food Jar, Purple

This small-sized thermal food storage container is perfect for packed lunches and is available in a multitude of colors and motifs to suit nearly any personal style. The stay-cool exterior means you won’t have to worry about burns when picking up the container.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Keeps food cold for up to 7 hours and hot for up to 5

Cost: *Est. $14.99

2. Thermos Stainless King 16-Ounce Food Jar, Midnight Blue

This thermal food storage container is ideal for larger-sized portions and comes with a built-in spoon for easy packing and eating. The wide mouth is easy to fill and eat out of, and is available in a selection of color options.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Stay-cool exterior

Cost: *Est. $26.47

3. Thermos Stainless King 24-Ounce Food Jar, Midnight Blue

Ideal for the hungriest of eaters, this large thermal food storage container will keep food cold for up to 12 hours or hot for up to 9 hours. It features a wide-mouthed design that’s easy to fill and eat out of and has a stay-cool exterior.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Insulated stainless steel serving bowl built-in

Cost: *Est. $25.99

4. Thermos Stainless King 40-Ounce Beverage Bottle, Midnight Blue

This classically-styled Thermos features the brand’s patented vacuum insulation to provide maximum temperature retention, whether you’re packing hot or cold items. It will keep items hot or cold for up to 24 hours!

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Twist and pour function

Cost: *Est. $26.99

5. Thermos 12 Ounce Funtainer Bottle, Minions

A fun little water bottle for the little ones, this Minions-inspired container will keep beverages cold for up to 12 hours and is also available in a number of other designs and colors to suit nearly every style.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Hygienic push button lid

Cost: *Est. $14.99

6. Thermos Vacuum Insulated 18-Ounce Stainless-Steel Hydration Bottle

Available in a choice of colors, this Thermos water bottle features a flip-top lid for easy hydration and an additional clasp for security when traveling.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Condensation-free design

Cost: *Est. $15.27

7. THERMOS FOOGO Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel 10-Ounce Straw Bottle, Charcoal/Teal

Perfect for the kiddos, this drinking bottle is made of stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals leaching into your child’s drinking water. It also helps prevent the growth of potentially dangerous bacteria.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cost: *Est. $14.24

8. Thermos 12 Ounce Funtainer Bottle, Frozen Pink

This water bottle is the perfect size to hydrate little ones and comes in a multitude of colors and designs to suit nearly any personal style. It boasts a hygienic push button lid with pop-up straw and can keep beverages cold for up to 12 hours.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Built-in carry handle

Cost: *Est. $14.99

9. THERMOS FOOGO Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel 10-Ounce Food Jar, Tripoli Pattern

These stylish food storage containers are available in a number of colors and prints, and are designed to keep food cold for up to 7 hours or hot for up to 5 hours. Featuring a kid-proof design, its stainless steel interior helps to prevent the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Lid is ergonomically designed

Cost: *Est. $17.99

10. Thermos 10 Ounce Funtainer Food Jar, Batman

These food storage containers are easy to fill, eat from, and clean thanks to their wide-mouthed design. They can keep food cold for up to 7 hours or hot for up to 5 hours, and feature a stay-cool exterior to prevent burns.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Stainless steel interior and exterior prevent bacteria growth

Cost: *Est. $14.99

11. Thermos 12 Ounce Funtainer Bottle, Paw Patrol

This durable stainless steel drinking bottle features a number of fun designs and colors to suit nearly any style and can keep your beverage cold for up to 12 hours. It features a durable stainless steel design and hygienic push button lid with integrated pop-up straw.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Built-in carry handle

Cost: *Est. $14.99

12. Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle

This classically-designed thermos features an incredibly durable and well-insulated design that can keep hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold for up to 24 hours, as well as ice items up to 120 hours! The 18/8 stainless steel won’t rust and features no nasty chemicals to leach into your food.

Key features:

  • Leak-proof design
  • Made without BPA
  • Lifetime warranty

Cost: *Est. $24.99

13. Thermos Vacuum Insulated 24-Ounce Stainless Steel Hydration Bottle, Charcoal

This stainless steel hydration bottle is fully insulated and features Thermos’ patented vacuum technology to help keep liquids cold for up to 12 hours. Its design fits most standard cup holders in most automobiles so it’s easy to take with you.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Sweat-proof exterior

Cost: *Est. $20.49

14. Zojirushi SL-NCE09 Ms. Bento Stainless-Steel Vacuum Lunch Jar

This thermal food storage container set features three sizes of microwave-safe bowls and a stainless steel construction that can keep foods hot or cold for several hours. You can even combine hot and cold foods for a complete meal in the jar thanks to the insulated separate containers.

Key features:

  • Spork included for ease of eating
  • 5-year warranty
  • Tote bag included

Cost: *Est. $36.69

15. Stanley Classic Vacuum Food Jar 24oz Hammertone Navy

This vacuum insulated thermal food storage container can keep foods hot or cold for up to 15 hours at a time and features a wide-mouthed design that’s easy to fill, eat from, and clean.

Key features:

  • Made without BPA
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Completely leak-proof

Cost: *Est. $33.95

16. Thermos 10-Ounce Stainless Steel Food Jar, Black

This food storage jar is made with an unbreakable stainless steel interior and exterior that features the brand’s Thermax double wall vacuum insulation system to keep hot foods hot for up to 5 hours and cold foods cold for up to 7 hours.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cost: *Est. $19.64

17. Thermos 16-Ounce Drink Bottle with Tea Infuser, Black

Perfect for those who love a cup of tea on the go, this Thermos features a built-in tea infuser attachment that allows you to brew loose leaf teas on the go. Thanks to its vacuum insulation technology, this container will keep hot liquids hot for up to 12 hours and cold ones cold for up to 24 hours.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Leak-proof lid features one-handed push button for ease of use

Cost: *Est. $23.71

18. Thermos 18 ounce Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Hydration Bottle, White with Purple Accents

This stainless steel hydration bottle offers a stylish way to stay hydrated and comes in a number of designs to suit any style. With a comfortable textured grip and hygienic push button sipper lid, you can stay hydrated in comfort and with ease.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Keeps liquids cold up to 12 hours

Cost: *Est. $18.25

19. Zojirushi SW-EAE50AB Stainless Steel Food Jar, 17-Ounce/0.5-Liter, Aqua Blue

This thermal food storage container is available in a choice of three sizes and two colors to suit most lunch packing needs, and features an easy-open lid with dimples for better grip.

Key features:

  • Made without BPA
  • Fingerprint-resistant
  • Wide-mouthed opening is easy to fill, eat from, and clean

Cost: *Est. $27.95

20. MIRA Lunch Jar, Vacuum Insulated, Stainless Steel, 15oz, Blue

This thermal food storage jar will keep your hot foods warm for up to 5 hours and cold foods cold for up to 10 hours thanks to its high quality insulation. Its wide-mouthed, tapered design is easy to fill, eat from, and clean.

Key features:

  • Available in a choice of two colors
  • Made without BPA
  • Phthalate-free

Cost: *Est. $19.95

21. Thermos Food Jar with Microwavable Container, 12-Ounce, Stainless Steel

This food storage container from Thermos can keep liquids hot for up to 4 hours or cold for up to 6 hours. It features an inner liner that is both microwave- and dishwasher-safe for easy heating and cleaning.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Cool-touch, sweat-proof exterior

Cost: *Est. $19.99

22. CamelBak Forge 16oz Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug

This insulated travel mug was designed for one-handed operation and features an easy-to-use drink lever and durable stainless steel construction. It can keep hot liquids hot for up to 4 hours and features a finger carry loop for ease of portability.

Key features:

  • Self-sealing cap is leakproof
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Impact-resistant design

Cost: *Est. $20.49

Available in a choice of four colors, this food storage container can keep hot foods hot for up to 5 hours and features a wide-mouthed design that’s easy to fill, eat from, and clean.

Key features:

  • Free of phthalates and lead or meet the limits required by law
  • Made without BPA
  • Folding spoon included

Cost: *Est. $34.95

24. Zojirushi SVGG50AH Tuff Slim Stainless Vacuum Bottle, 17-Ounce, Metallic Blue

This thermos is available in a choice of two sizes and three colors to suit nearly any need and features a compact, lightweight design that’s perfect for on-the-go. The lid doubles as a cup so you don’t have to pack anything extra.

Key features:

  • Ice cubes fit in wide mouth
  • One-touch drinking operation
  • Made without BPA

Cost: *Est. $21

25. Corkcicle Vinnebago Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle/Thermos, 750ml, Black

This insulated stainless steel bottle is the perfect size for holding a bottle of wine and will keep cold beverages chilled for up to 25 hours and hot ones hot for up to 12 hours.

Key features:

  • Available in a choice of three colors
  • Triple walled design for maximum insulation
  • Durable stainless steel construction

Cost: *Est. $29.95

Distracted Walking a Major Pedestrian Safety Concern

Distracted driving is a well established problem, so much so that many states currently have bans in place when it comes to using technology while driving. But the problem of distracted walking is a relatively new one. Each year, more and more people are injured as a result of texting, talking or listening to music while on their cell phones. And while we might laugh at the woman who falls into the fountain while texting, or the man who walks into a wall while texting, the problem of distracted walking is a very real and serious one.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 5,000 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 76,000 injured in traffic collisions in the United States in 2012. That’s one death every 2 hours and an injury every 7 minutes. While it’s not clear how many of these are a direct result of distracted walking, the total rate of pedestrian fatalities compared to overall road deaths is getting worse each year.

The issue has become such a problem that some towns, such as Fort Lee, New Jersey, have banned texting while walking. If caught texting while jaywalking in that town, violators face an $85 fine. In London, England, some lamp posts have been padded in order to protect the large numbers of people using their mobile devices while walking. Even New York City has lowered the speed limit in some areas as a way to help cut down on the number of pedestrian injuries. Arkansas, Illinois, and New York have all tried unsuccessfully to ban using a mobile device while walking.

Common risks associated with distracted walking include:

  • Injuring someone else
  • Trips
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Fractures
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions
  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Death

In 2008, more than 1,000 people were injured seriously enough to seek medical attention at the emergency room as a result of texting and walking – double the year previous (which was double the year previous as well).

A study published in 2012 by researchers from New York’s Stony Brook University found that those who texted while walking were 60 per cent more likely to veer off line than non-texters.

Scientists call the phenomenon “inattentive blindness,” saying that the human brain has evolved to only be able to adequately focus attention on one task at a time. So when you’re texting or talking on the phone while trying to walk, you cannot give your full attention to both tasks.

“We were surprised to find that talking and texting on a cell phone were so disruptive to one’s gait and memory recall of [a] target location,” wrote Eric M. Lamberg, PT, EdD, co-author of the study and Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Technology and Management, Stony Brook University.

“People really need to be aware that they are impacting their safety by texting or talking on the cellphone,” he added, “I think the risk is there.”

When Safe Sound Family analyzed the data in the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) – which estimates the number of injuries nationwide based on reports by 100 participating hospitals – we found that there were nearly 5,000 estimated cases of injuries caused by phones and phone accessories that occurred on roads or highways and in other public places (not at home) that were treated in hospital in the United States in 2013.

The number of actual injuries caused by distracted walking is bound to be quite higher than this, as the data from the CPSC only looked at those injuries which resulted in medical treatment at a participating hospital, and minor injuries were likely treated at home or another medical treatment facility not included in the reporting data. There is also the stigma and shame associated with reporting an injury in which one is partially at fault, and so some people may not have been upfront with the fact that they were using a mobile device when their injury occurred.

It’s not just texting while walking that’s a problem. Talking, checking email, using social networking apps and even playing games all contribute to the problem of distracted pedestrians.

According to data via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the highest percentage of pedestrian deaths relative to all traffic fatalities occurs in New York City (51%), Los Angeles (42%) and Chicago (30%). After years of decline, pedestrian deaths have started to increase since 2009, and while there’s no reliable data directly related to cell phone use, experts speculate that the increase is due in part to distracted users on their cell phones while walking.

“We are where we were with cellphone use in cars 10 years or so ago. We knew it was a problem, but we didn’t have the data,” Jonathan Akins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, told the Associated Press in 2012.

Researchers from Ohio State University found that young people (under the age of 25) are more likely to be injured while on their cell phones, and men are more likely than women to be injured while using a mobile device. Their statistics showed that talking on the phone made up about 69 per cent of injuries, while texting only accounted for about 9 per cent.

“If current trends continue, I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of injuries to pedestrians caused by cell phones doubles again between 2010 and 2015,” said Jack Nasar, co-author of the study and professor of city and regional planning at The Ohio State University, in a 2013 release.

One of only a few studies focusing on the issue, it found that although pedestrian injuries overall had dropped, ER visits tripled between 2004 and 2010 for pedestrians using cell phones. No doubt as more data is collected on the issue, the numbers of those affected by distracted walking will continue to rise.

The solution to distracted walking is a fairly simple one: do not use your cell phone or engage in other distracting activities while walking. Focus solely on the task at hand – getting from point A to point B in one piece and worry about checking in once you’ve safely arrived.

If you simply cannot wait to take that phone call or check your email, one way to avoid potential issues associated with using tech while walking is to hold your phone up higher in your visual field so that you can see any potential risks as they come. Ensure you cross the road at crosswalks or signalized intersections and obey your traffic signals.

Another solution for avoiding problems is to take frequent breaks while you are using your device and walking – looking up every few seconds to assess your surroundings will help increase your safety.

Using softwares that read out messages to you, and voice recognition typing so that you can give commands with your voice instead of having to continually look at your screen can also help. And just as there’s an app for everything else, there are apps designed to help those texting while on the go – Type n Walk is available for $1.19 in the iOS App Store and the free Walking Text from the Google Play Store are just two such apps available for this purpose.

Screen Shot Type n Walk

Screen Shot Walking Text

If you’re using headphones, ensure the volume is at a reasonable level so that you can hear any potential dangers and alerts before they become an issue. You can also keep just one earbud in so that you can still have a decent level of hearing ability. It should also be noted that noise-cancelling headphones should be a no-no while walking so that you can still be aware of your surroundings.

Finally, start the safe device use education process early. “If you must talk or text, pull out of the stream of pedestrian traffic and stop walking while doing it. If you’re a parent, just as you teach your children to look both ways before crossing a street, teach your children not to use their mobile devices while walking or driving,” Nasar said.

Other safety concerns for pedestrians:

Traffic signals

This goes for both pedestrians and vehicular traffic, but not obeying traffic signals is another major area for concern when it comes to pedestrian safety. Many a driver has been frustrated after a pedestrian has begun crossing the road when their signal says not to. You’ll even see people trying to cross when the light is not in their favor. No matter how late you are or whether or not you think you can make the light, if the signal is not in your favor, do not begin crossing. Failure to yield on the pedestrian’s part accounts for about 15% of pedestrian fatalities, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

As for vehicles, aggressive drivers will often disobey their lights as well – speeding up to run through yellows when they should be slowing down; trying to get ‘just one more’ through on a left hand turn; or the ‘rolling stop/turn’ on a right led or at a stop side. All of these behaviors put pedestrians and other drivers at risk of serious injury or death.

Cross at appropriate places

Jaywalking, or crossing the road where there is no intersection or crosswalk, is another leading cause of pedestrian injury. Cross where appropriate in order to avoid injury and whenever possible, walk on a sidewalk – if a sidewalk is not available you should walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic so that you can clearly see oncoming vehicles and they can see you. Data from the NHTSA has found that crossing at improper places accounts for approximately 30% of pedestrian fatalities. Walking, playing, working, etc., in the roadway also accounts for 25% of fatalities.

Visibility

It can be difficult for drivers to see those walking at night or in inclement weather. When possible, wear light-colored clothing and walk in well-lit areas. Carry a flashlight, wear a headlamp, and wear reflective clothing for added visibility.