Consider where and how often you will be using this tool. Do you need something compact you can take on a walk or to the dog park or is this a tool you’ll primarily be using on your own property, where portability is not a concern? Do you need a scooper that will make it easy to clean up waste without bending down or would one of the models without a long handle work for you? Some dog owners are unable to reach the ground easily due to injury or other condition and therefore a longer handle will make it easier to scoop. Some of the jaw-style scoopers require gripping a handle or trigger to open and close the scooper and this may prove difficult for those with a limited range of motion or strength in their hands.
The cost and environmental impact of your clean-up method and materials are also considerations when choosing a good scooper. Many of the models on the market rely on the use of plastic bags to avoid contact with dog waste. Unfortunately many of these will necessitate a bag for each pile of waste being scooped. The best scoopers that rely on bags for waste collection will allow multiple uses.
We’ve narrowed our reviews into two categories for the best pooper scoopers:
Rake & Bin style: Two-piece scooper usually including a bin/tray and rake/shovel component
- Not as portable
- Better for cleaning up more than one pile
- Not as destructive to grass and landscaping
Jaw-style: A one-piece scooper usually comprised of two hinged pieces that scoop waste
- Typically more portable than two-piece scoopers
- Often rely on the use of bags to keep waste out of hinge mechanisms
- May be more difficult to clean
While a pooper scooper can eliminate the need to use a bag to pick up poop with your hand, it’s important to remember that most scoopers will still need to be cleaned particularly if they malfunction or jam. The appeal for many of using pooper scoopers is that you will not use as many plastic bags, which are not always an environmentally friendly choice. However, for occasions where you would use a single bag anyway on walks or at the dog park, a scooper that relies on the use of bags merely makes it possible for you to scoop dog waste without using your hand but will not cut down on the use of bags. A rake-and-bin style scooper can be used to clean up multiple messes with one bag or without one altogether.
Rake-and-bin style scoopers may not be as portable or lightweight as the jaw-style scoopers but they are often more durable, often made with steel and wood handles, resembling garden tools. These also tend to be easier on your landscape as you have more control over how much turf or grass is being scooped up along with the dog waste.