It's hard to say if two small booths showing similar new widgets at opposite corners of the giant SEMA aftermarket car show constitute a hot new category or just two guys with the same idea and time on their hands. But two such entrepreneurs we saw this year have an interesting product that caught our eye, and one that might appeal to motorists in northern climates.
The Ice-E-Liminator and Thermal Blade are about as simple as good ideas come. Both are windshield wipers with a built in heating element to melt snow and ice, and prevent the build up of frozen crud on wipers that can reduce visibility and increase winter driving danger.
Using supplied wiring and connectors, just hook them up to any fuse that has power when the ignition is turned on, and you're good to go. When temperatures get close to freezing, the heating element kicks on automatically as you're driving to help keep your blades pliable and the windshield clear.
Ice-E-Liminator retails for $125 a pair, including the wiring harness, which stays permanently installed in your car. Replacement blades cost $37.50 each. Thermal Blade charges $100 for two blades, and their harness adds $25.
Readers proficient in basic math will note that a set of blades and wiring costs about the same from either. Thermal Blade charges more for a replacement blade at $50, but they also offer the option of replacing just the blade squeegee, the rubber insert that does the wiping, for $5 per foot.
With winter approaching, now there are new choices for melting through the snow and ice.
See our wiper blades buying advice and Ratings and our special section on winter driving.
More from Consumer Reports:
2013 New Car Preview
Best & worst used cars
Complete Ratings for 200 cars and trucks
Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on Yahoo!. Copyright © 2007-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.