It just turned April at the time of writing this; the Northeast snow finally melted from the long winter and spring rain showers began turning my yard into a melting pot of dog poo. One step outside my door gave me the horrific realization of neglecting a seasons worth of crappy responsibilities. Call it poocrastination if you will, but the job had to be done sooner rather than later.
I picked up a shovel and ventured out into the mine field, scooping, scraping, and smearing, only to realize my gear was marginally insufficient. After a few short minutes, I went back inside to research and purchase better tools for the job (really I just wanted an excuse to NOT do what I was doing).
Once the new gear arrived, I set out to test the performance of varying types and sizes to see what the best pooper scooper for dogs is. After plenty of testing, I definitely found them. And I definitely need to shower.
Heads up: we use the word “poop” 35 times in this guide.
Best Pooper Scoopers
These are the final 3 pooper scoopers that passed my tests with flying colors. I aimed to find the best of each main type of poop scooper: the traditional spade/tray, the scented bag bin/rake, and the new craze jaw scooper. Keep reading below for a mini review of each one.
My personal favorite? The Jaw Scoop; however, the swivel bin and a metal rake remain heavily used. I hope my best pooper scooper shortlist helps you find the right tools for you.
Petmate 71034 Arm & Hammer Swivel Bin & Rake Pooper Scooper
- No Touch Poop Scooper For Dogs: Great for any surface or animal, this poop scooper set includes one Arm &...
- No More Bending, Kneeling, or Squatting: The lightweight adjustable handle on this dog pooper scooper...
- Unique rake & swivel design minimizes messes: Raking waste (vs. using a claw) into specially fitted bag...
I was a bit surprised when this one arrived in the mail because the box was so small. The poles for both the bin and rake are detachable and have to be put together. The rake itself is nothing too impressive, the thick plastic makes it look almost toy-like. It does the job, but I prefer my small metal rake that I already owned.
The biggest selling factor for this product is the swivel bin. It comes with Arm & Hammer scented bags (you can buy replacement boxes on Amazon) that are custom sized for the bin and attach to the handles on the bottom of it. This is so easy to dispose of once you’re done. Since the handles of the bag go all the way to the bottom of the bin, they remain completely clean from any stinkiness, making it quick and painless to tie the bag up and toss it in the trash.
Again, the bags are a great feature for keeping it clean and painless, but the swivel bin itself is just so easy to use and what makes this one of my favorite picks. I will definitely choose the bin pooper scooper over the tray pooper scooper because you can fit way more in it without spilling and it’s easier to carry.
With all of this taken into consideration, any dog owner will find this dog pooper scooper massively useful. The swivel bin is a god-send if you have large dogs and even larger dog mess. It is easy to clean and should last you a long time.
- Convenient plastic bags
- Swivel bin is handy for a two handed poop operation
- Convenient storage
- Easy to put together
- Small bin
- Toy-like and flimsy
Nature’s Miracle Advanced Jaw Scoop
- Lightweight and easy to use. Picks up from all Surfaces - Grass, gravel or concrete
- Picks up from all surfaces
- Antimicrobial product protection
The Nature’s Miracle Jaw Scoop is certainly anything but ordinary. The innovative squeeze-handle opens the jaws at the bottom, and a simple release of the handle quickly closes the jaws and picks up the whole mess. This is without a doubt the easiest way to quickly pick up after your dog because you can do the whole thing with one hand. But there are two main reasons the performance is simply amazing:
- The springs resistance is very strong, resulting in a very strong clamp so you don’t drop any as you’re walking.
- The fine toothed jaw easily grabs onto poop in grass without ripping up tons of your yard or smearing it all over the place.
This tool earns it our pick for the best pooper scooper for grass! While some other scoopers have trouble working around grass by either letting the poop get tangled in it or tearing out your lawn, the Jaw Scoop does the best all-around job on grass lawns. In my opinion, all pet owners that have grass in their yard should consider this pooper scooper.
While it is possible to carefully pick up multiple piles at a time (didn’t think I would ever write about systematically stacking dog poop), this is mainly intended as a single pick-up tool.
If you’re like me and tend to let a week go by before picking up, this is great to use in conjunction with a bucket. Since my 55lb Shepherd mix can be mistaken for a horse, I like to use one of those cheap $1-$2 5gal buckets from Home Depot or Lowes.
Note: If you have a medium to large sized dog, definitely get the Jumbo sized Jaw Scoop Pooper Scooper.
- Jaws snap together for convenient poop scooping
- This pet pooper scooper can be used for both cat and dog poop
- Comes in different sizes
- Doesn’t rip up your lawn
- Spring loaded jaws
- You will probably need to buy a separate bucket
- Can only pick up single poops at a time
This is the Best Pooper Scooper for Large Dogs!
If you’ve got big dogs (I have a ~100 lb Bernese mix) then you know that an average pooper scooper won’t suffice for these extra large bowel movements!
The Jumbo size of the Jaw Scoop is easily the best pooper scooper I have ever used for my big dogs. The scooper on the jumbo model is roughly 7.6 inches long and ~6.75 inches wide, so it should be able to handle anything your large breed can throw at it!
Four Paws Classic Spade & Tray
- Makes cleanup quick, easy, and sanitary
- Pick up waste easily with this easy to use scooper
- Made of durable materials with a comfortable rubber grip
The Four Paws Classic is the quintessential pooper scooper. The metal tray can hold a decent amount, is very easy to dump into a garbage bin, and can get very flush with the ground making it really great for picking up from hard surfaces.
There’s not a ton of features to this one, the biggest reason this makes our list is due to the combination of quality and price. This is really cheap for coming with both the spade and the tray.
Four Paws comes in a Regular size or XL size. We purchased the regular, but plan on upgrading to the XL. In addition, we talk more about rake vs spade below, but I also recommend purchasing the rake/tray combo as opposed to the spade/tray.
Rake vs Spade
I ordered the spade and tray combo since I already owned a small metal rake and I wanted to compare the performance between the two and most importantly, see whether a tray and rake, or tray and spade, does the job better.
Small rakes work great for sweeping it onto the tray, and is my preferred choice especially when using it in grass. I also find that the bin and rake combo doesn’t smear the poop around as much as a spade. You need to make sure you use one of those mini rakes though where each tooth of the rake are close together – larger rakes that are too wide will make a mess if the poop is soft.
Using a spade in the grass can be awkward and difficult, especially if the poop is soft. It seems like the spade is best when used on a hard surface such as concrete/asphalt since you can scoop it up better and get underneath it, but let’s be honest, not too many dogs use that as their preferred pooping area. You also instinctively use the spade in a raking motion, so it just seems better to me to use a rake. Either way, when choosing a dog poop scooper, it is important to consider the surface your dog poops on as this will greatly affect which style pooper scoopers will be best for you.
Guide to Using Pooper Scoopers
While the process may seem straight forward, there are a few tips I bet most people would never think of, and they can drastically improve this terrible chore.
Extra Tips for Scooping Poop
Use the right type for the job
Like we mentioned above when discussing rakes vs spades, choosing the right pooper scooper for the job at hand is important. Here’s a quick look each type and what they are best used for:
- Rake: Good for grass pickup
- Spade: Good for solid surface pickup
- Grabber (jaw): Great for grass pickup; very easy to use
- Trays: The most common type; simple; typically long-lasting
- Rotating bin: Holds more poop than trays but tougher to keep clean
- Bucket: Great for those who let it accumulate a bit too much
Clean your poop scooper
Most people leave their scooping tools outside or in a shed – and rightfully so, but it’s important to periodically hose them down and even scrub them clean (especially after a messy day). Doing so will drastically prolong the life of your product by preventing rust and build-up. In addition, it’s nice to just keep these clean from the countless germs they come into contact with.
See Related Topic: 4 Best Dog Paw Cleaners 2020: Clean Muddy Paws
Use a dedicated trash bin
There’s no reason to make your main trash bin stink more than it already does. In addition, if you only have 1-2 dogs, using a smaller bin is much more appropriate. I use an old-school wide-mouthed metal trashcan that I keep outside the back of my house. It’s held up to the elements for upwards of 15 years now.
Yep, you read that right. There is a company appropriately called POOP-FREEZE that makes an aerosol spray can to make picking up loose stools easier. Once hardened, simply pick it up like you would any other day.
However, POOP-FREEZE reviews aren’t spectacular. I recommend just searching on Amazon for standard freeze spray
Disposing of Dog Poop
This one is the most obvious, but many people may not realize that some cities have specific rules in place for throwing away poop, and some completely ban it. Always check with your local waste department before shipping @#$% to your nearby landfill.
Dog poop can compost naturally just like any other organic matter. The important part is to do it in an approved manner and not just let it rot in your yard. You can use just about any normal composting bin for this, but I prefer keeping it separate. Here is a great pet-specific composting bin:
- Good way to use your dog waste
- Helps with other gardening tasks
- Takes a while before it turns into compost
Flush down toilet
This isn’t a fun method, but it is an option. Similar to above, if you are hooked up to a public sewer, you should check with your local waste department to see if this is acceptable. If you are hooked up to your own septic system, this is generally fine to do. Just make sure you dump it out into the bowl and not toss the whole bag in!
Install Sewer Line Attachment
The sewer line attachment achieves the same outcome as flushing it down the toilet, but eliminates having to bring it inside your house. This is a pretty cool method for those with a septic system. The product installs directly on top of your septic line clean-out.
- Locate your sewer/septic clean out
- Screw in Doggie Doo Drain to sewer/septic clean-out and remove Doggie Doo Drain plug
- Place waste in Doggie Doo Drain cylinder and rinse down with hose, replace Doggie Doo Drain plug
- Don’t need to bring the poop inside
- Quick disposal method
- Won’t rust
- Fiddly to attach
- Hard to clean
Dog waste “septic system”
Creating a new septic system specifically for your dog sounds a bit crazy, but it’s actually pretty simple to install and use. You basically dig a hole and stick the product down in there; there’s a lid on top that you can remove to add your pet’s waste. It works by using a mix of water and a concentrated formula that helps breakdown waste and control odors. Once fully broken down, it simply absorbs into the ground.
- Environmentally safe in-ground pet-waste disposal system
- For 2 large dogs or 4 small dogs; works like a miniature septic tank
- Galvanized steel tank; foot-operated lid opener; made in USA
- Has a foot operated lid
- For more than one dog
- Can get quite smelly
Pooper Scooper Buyer’s Guide
Let’s take a look at some of the features that you should look for in a pooper scooper:
Portability and Weight
If you have a large garden you want the pooper scooper to be lightweight and easy to move from one end of the garden to the other. There is nothing worse than struggling to lift and move a heavy, dirty and quite frankly smelly pooper scooper believe me!
Ideally, you want to get a pooper scooper that is long so that you don’t have to bend over to clean the mess. The handle should be long enough for you to scoop comfortably for your height, not too long and not too short.
One Hand or Two Hand
When we refer to two handed scoopers, we mean a shovel and rake/spade. A one handed pooper scooper is a spring loaded scooper that can be opened and closed with one hand. Both are great, however, there are surrounding factors that should be considered such as how you will be disposing of the poop. If you need a bucket, you’d benefit more from a one handed scooper so that the other hand is free to move the disposal bucket.
Rake Or Shovel Included
This depends on where your dog poops. If you have a lawn in your yard, you should opt for a rake. If your dog poops on concrete such as in your driveway, then a shovel would do the trick.
Easy to Use Bags
Have you ever cleaned up your dog’s mess only to have the bag tear? Poop bags need to be strong and easy to use. Using a bag that is too big is sometimes even worse than shoving poop in a tiny bag.
It is only logical that your pooper scooper will stay outside. Purchasing a rust resistant scooper is vital, otherwise you’ll find yourself buying a new one every year due to rust damage!
Adjusting the height of the handle will make the job much easier. If the pooper scooper you want to get is the perfect height then great, but if not, you will need one that is adjustable for your comfort.
Pooper scoopers get knocked around quite a lot. They aren’t exactly precious items that need looking after right? Saying that, the scooper must be durable nonetheless!
Easy to Clean
Go for a material that can be hosed down to clean easily. There is nothing worse than scrubbing off dry poop, yuck!
Pooper Scooper FAQ’s
Q: What is the best way to pick up dog poop?
A: Pooper scoopers with long handles are the best ways to pick up your pet’s mess.
Q: How do you use a pooper scooper?
A: Pooper scoopers most commonly come in the form of a rake/spade and pan or as jaws that open and close. Simply collect the poop into the pan, or pull the handle to gather the poop into the scoopers jaws.
Q: Should I clean my pooper scooper?
A: Yes, you should clean your pooper scooper frequently to stop it from smelling.
Q: How do you clean a pooper scooper?
A: The easiest way to clean a pooper scooper is by hosing it down.
Q: How often should you pick up dog poop in your yard?
A: Twice per week is usually enough for a small dog. Larger dogs, or if you have more than one dog, will make more of a mess and should be cleaned as much as 4 times per week.
Call a dedicated disposal service
These are popping up all over the place in cities across the world. You can setup a recurring pooper scooper service (similar to lawn care) where someone will come and pick up after your dog for you, and best yet, they dispose of it for you in their own method of choosing. The perfect solution for those that want nothing to do with scooping poop!