Rubber vs. Steel Cutting Edges - Winter Equipment Company

Rubber vs. Steel Cutting Edges

March 27, 2018


The cutting edge used to clear away snow and ice during a weather event does matter and not all are created equal. In this post, we’ll take a look at two common blade options – steel and rubber. We’ll address the features, benefits, and challenges associated with both.


Best for icy conditions

If it’s de-icing time and your municipality desperately needs to clear away stubborn hard snow-pack or ice, steel is the way to go. For locations that experience weather below 32¬∞ F, steel is especially effective if you are unable to incorporate a chemical strategy as part of the snow and ice removal plan.

Low price

These are the most common and economical blades. In fact, about 60-75% of existing snow plows currently in circulation use steel cutting edges. Keep in mind, low cost often results in increased seasonal blade changes.

Can cause damage

Now, for the bad news. Even though steel is very effective at clearing away snow and ice, it’s tough composition can cause damage to roadways.


Steel is also very noisy when it scrapes against pavement and may not be an option for dense residential areas.


Rubber cutting edges are basically the antithesis of steel blades. They’re quite different and come with their own types of benefits and challenges.

Shock-absorbing qualities

Rubber cutting edges are great for residential neighborhoods. They’re gentle on decorative pavement or brick since they contour to the surface of the road and absorb shock. When rubber blades encounter road obstructions, they glide over them effortlessly. Steel blades can become damaged upon impact when they encounter road obstructions. Snow Plow operators are also at risk of accident or injury when steel blades collide with road obstructions.

Bad for ice and hard-packed snow

The bad news about rubber cutting edges is that they won’t be much help in clearing away hard packed ice and snow. The one exception to that rule is if your municipality has an effective, aggressive, and quick-acting chemical strategy for these conditions. However, even if de-icing is taking place, there’s no guarantee that the rubber cutting edge can remove snow and ice all the way down to the pavement. Therefore, rubber blades are best suited for light, fluffy snow or slushy conditions or when bare roads are not required.

Still not sure which cutting edge is right for you? We can help. Send us a message at or give us a call at 888-294-9485 and one of our knowledgeable sales reps will assist you.

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