what are snow melting mats? snowman in front of door with a melting door mat.

What are Snow Melting Mats and Do They Work?

In Winter by Jamie

Are you tired of having to shovel snow and break ice from your driveway? Then snow melting mats might be your saviors. What are snow melting mats, how efficient are they, and how to use them: I cover it all in this article.

What Is Snow Melting Mats?

Snow melting mats are electricity-powered mats that heat up to melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour; they provide a safer walkway from your vehicle into your home during the winter, plus commercial properties use them too. There are even snow melting mats designed for staircases to help you in the most rugged winter scenarios. 

You have to be aware that snow mats have a low probability of being effective under powerful storms, and since they are not all manufactured in the same way, some of them will be more effective than others. Instead of shoveling the snow, you might want to think about investing in a snow blower during these heavy snow falls. 

On the other hand, keeping light snow falls from slowing down your day you may want to invest in some high-quality snow melting mats. 

How Do Snow Melting Mats Work?

The most fundamental idea behind snow melting mats is that they need to be placed in the area that is most likely to accumulate snow before it actually starts to snow. After the mat has been properly installed, it can then be activated to begin producing heat. Because of the resulting heat, snow and ice will not form in the area where you’ve placed the mat.

Snow melting mats can be positioned wherever you see fit. You are not restricted in this regard. The size of the mat will need to be proportional to the size of the space it will cover.

The majority of homeowners put heat mats at the front door, on the steps, and along the walkways leading up to their homes. These are the places that see the most foot traffic and are therefore most likely to accumulate snow and ice.

Do Snow Melting Mats Actually Work to Melt Snow?

Snow melting mats are very efficient in melting snow. Imagine opening the freezer and putting a hot pan inside it. The hot surface of the pan could easily melt the ice surrounding it. As snow falls on the hot surface of the mat, it will melt almost instantly

How Much Snow Do Melting Mats Melt Per Hour?

The best snow melting mats can melt about two inches of snow per hour. Generally speaking, if manufacturers advertised a significantly higher number (like 5 inches), then you’re either dealing with an extremely powerful commercial snow melting mats or it’s just a marketing scheme.

How Hot Do Snow Melting Mats Get?

This depends on the type of snow melting mats you buy, as well as the brand that made it. For example, the HeatTrak mats maintain a temperature that is 40 degrees warmer than the surrounding air and may melt two inches of snow every hour.

5 Different Types of Residential Snow Melting Mats

1. Standard Melting Mat Cozy Products ICE-SNOW Ice-Away Heated Snow Melting Mat for Outdoor Use , Black

A standard melting mat usually describes a mat that’s larger than a door mat but not large enough to cover your entire driveway or walkway. These serve for small spaces and are usually made with some sort of reinforced rubber.

They’re not a good solution if you have a long and wide pathway but can do an excellent job in other cases, such as melting the snow at the front gate.

This Cozy Products snow melting mat is a good option. It has a waterproof construction, measures 35 x 37 inches, and comes with a 15-foot power cord.

2. Heated Stair Mat HeatTrak Heated Snow Melting Mats for Stairs - Heated Outdoor Mats - Snow Melting Mats for Winter Snow Removal - Trusted Snow and Ice Melt Products - No-Slip Stair Heating Mats (10" x 48")

When your outdoor space also consists of several stairs, winters require that you tread lightly. Frozen or snow-covered stairs are a real danger but heated stair mats can have the day.

These mats are usually designed in several sizes to accommodate stairs of different lengths and widths. They are sold by the piece and you can order as many as you need, based on the number of stairs you want to heat. They can usually be connected to one another but make sure that the total amperage does not exceed the power of your outlet.

HeakTrak makes some of the best heated stair mats out there. They are available in multiple length options and can be connected to one another. Each tread has 0.7 amps and offers complete melting power.

3. Heated Door Mat HeatTrak Heated Snow Melting Mats for Entrances - Heated Outdoor Mats - Snow Melting Mats for Winter Snow Removal - Trusted Snow and Ice Melt Products - No-Slip Heating Entrance Mats (30” x 48")

Heated door mats are exactly what they sound like: mats designed to be placed at the entrance that are heated and will melt snow. A heated door mat is particularly useful if your front door is not covered (for instance, if you don’t have a covered front patio).

Since snow falls directly in front of the entrance, chances are it will create a slippery surface, and a heated door mat can prevent that. Due to its positioning, it should also be easier to plug in compared to other snow melting mats.

The Summerstep heated door mat is a powerful product that promises to melt about 2 inches of snow per hour. It’s 24 x 36 inches and is very cost-effective, using about $2-worth of electricity to run on a snowy day.

4. Long Walkway Snow-Melting Mats Summerstep Home WM12x120-RES Residential Snow Melting Heated Walkway Mat, Anti-Slip, Ideal for narrow walkways and snowy paths to hot tubs (Requires SMPC Power Cord), Black, Single Item

Imagine having to walk down a long pathway from your car to the entrance, only to find how difficult it is to cross that snowy surface. A long walkway snow melting mat is usually long and narrow, and available in multiple length options that can cover pathways of different lengths.

Summerstep makes some pretty solid snow-melting mats. The mats add additional traction with an anti-slip rubber tread. They are built to withstand extreme circumstances throughout the season to prevent the continuing accumulation of extra snow.

5. Driveway Melting Cables SNOWMELTZ Heated Driveway System for Concrete/Asphalt/Pavers - 240V - 37 Watts per Square Foot –Moisture & Temperature Automatic Activator (85 Square Feet)

These melting cables are not your typical melting mat. If you are just pouring concrete in your yard, you might want to consider installing a driveway melting cable system underneath. You can place them below the pavers, in concrete, sand, or asphalt.

I would recommend this if you’re looking for a more concealed solution as opposed to mats which some might consider in aesthetic.

SNOWMELTZ offers such a system, which is available in multiple length options. This snow melting cable kit comes with automatic activation and can detect both temperature and moisture.

How Much Do Snow Melting Mats Cost?

There’s a range of prices for snow melting mats. When determining the cost of snow melting mats, several considerations need to be made.

As you’re browsing the market for these mats, you’ll notice that each one is tailored to fit a certain area in and around a house. Both the size of the area that needs to be covered and the potential number of times it will be used are taken into account in the design.

You may spend as little as $150 for a little mat or as much as $1,500 for a large area mat, all depending on the brand, quality, and size of the mat that you decide to buy.

The pricing will change depending on the size of the region that you intend to melt snow in. If you go for driveway mats, you may expect to pay more than $5,000 to get the right mats, and even then, they might not cover your whole driveway.

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Snow Melting Mat?

The cost to operate a heated driveway that is one thousand square feet in size ranges from $120 to $600 each winter, depending on the type of system used, the amount of snow that falls annually, and the rates charged by the local utility company.

Depending on the prices of power in your area, heated driveway systems can run anywhere from $4 to $8 in electricity per hour for every 1,000 square feet of surface area.

What are the Best Snow Melting Mats?

You will likely come across all sorts of brands that make these products but the best snow melting mats come from HeatTrak and Summerstep. Both these brands have a versatile product offer, make quality melting mats, and are adapted to fit the requirements of their customers.

Read our guide on the 9 best snow melting mats you can find on the market today by clicking here!

Snow Melting Mats FAQs

How Long Do Snow Melting Mats Last?

The lifespan of snow melting mats is based on the quality of the product. For example, if you purchase snow melting mats from a brand like HeatTrak, you can expect them to have a lifespan of 4 to 5 years, with proper care. Cheaply-made products may last as little as 6 months.

Can You Build Your Own DIY Snow Melting Mat?

When it comes to the construction of a snow melting mat, there are, regrettably, no shortcuts available. Keep in mind that you are utilizing energy to melt the snow, which will result in water being left behind. If you don’t use of the appropriate supplies, you can be putting yourself in a potentially hazardous circumstance.

Do Snow Melting Mats Connect to Each Other? HeatTrak Heated Snow Melting Mats for Stairs - Heated Outdoor Mats - Snow Melting Mats for Winter Snow Removal - Trusted Snow and Ice Melt Products - No-Slip Stair Heating Mats (10" x 48")

You can connect snow melting mats to each other provided that you don’t overuse the power unit. The total amperage of the mats as well as the rating of the circuit breaker determine the max number of mats that can be plugged into a single outlet. The majority of circuits found in homes are capable of handling 15 amps. Stair mat options always connect while other models vary on model and brand.

Can You Secure Snow-Melting Mats to the Ground?

Certain mats can be secured to the ground. For example, the HeatTrak Walkway Mats have grommets that make it easy for any homeowner to secure them to the ground. Just use screws that are suitable for the driveway’s surface.

Are Snow Melting Mats Dangerous?

You can relax knowing that snow melting mats are incredibly risk-free. They have been put through rigorous testing to ensure that they can resist severe conditions without compromising their reliability or safety. In point of fact, snow melt mats are a more risk-free means of removing snow than other approaches.

Can You Leave Snow Melting Mats on All the Time?

You can leave snow mats on all the time during the cold season but you can roll them and store them away throughout the rest of the year. Of course, the decision to leave snow melting mats on all the time depends on how cold winters are in your area. If you’re experiencing a winter with little to no snow, then you don’t have to leave them on all the time.

What’s the Difference Between Residential and Commercial Snow-Melting Mats?

The thermoplastic material that is used in the production of residential mats is not as long-lasting as the rubber material that is used in the production of industrial mats. They are ideally suited for locations with a high volume of foot traffic, where hundreds of people walk on them daily.

You can also drive on them. Residential mats are designed to accommodate a limited number of individuals each day and are therefore more suitable for usage in residential settings.

Can You Roll Up Snow-Melting Mats When Not in Use?

At the beginning of winter, heated driveway mats can be unrolled and spread out on the driveway. After the cold season has passed, you can roll your snow mats and store them away properly to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

Final Thoughts

Over a million people go to the hospital every year as a result of slipping and falling. As winter settles in, the chances of such a thing happening will increase exponentially. Now that you know about snow melting mats, you avoid these problems (at least at home) and create a no-slip zone throughout the yard and all the way to the front door.

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.