There are essentially six different salts that are used as ice melt. Each has its pros and cons. Most brands use a combination of two or more salts, but the right type of salt will depend on the climate you live in and how you plan on using it. Here are the main types of salts and who they are good for:
Based on our research, calcium chloride is the best salt overall, though it’s a good idea to mix things up over the course of the season. Also, make a point of only applying the salt in the precise spots where you want to remove snow and ice. After it is done the job, remove any salt that is left over. This will minimize harmful runoff and dangers to pets and kids.
While researching the best snow and ice melt, we read through countless ratings and reviews from buyers and experts. Our guide features melters that have a track record of performance, quality, and versatility.
There are a few features that make the Green Gobbler 96% Pure Calcium Chloride Snow & Ice Melt Pellets special. First, of the many types of ice melters, calcium chloride is effective in the lowest temps. Green Gobbler claims its pellets work in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Secondly, you can use this melter in solid form or mix it with warm water (2.5 pounds of pellets per gallon of water) to create a sprayable defense against ice.
As I was researching ice melting salts for personal use, I found this product. I wanted to know what all the hullabaloo was about so I contacted Green Gobbler, and they sent me the pellets to test. Unfortunately, they arrived a couple of days after our only significant snowfall so far this season, and I’d already removed the snow and ice. So, I haven’t had much experience with the melter so far, but I was impressed with how quickly it melted the remaining snow when I just applied a minimal amount.
The bucket came with the wrong label on it. Instead of ice melt, it stated that the product was “Dust Down Pro.” The ingredients are the same. Calcium chloride is a multi-use product that is also effective for keeping the dust down along unpaved drives, so once winter is over, you might consider using your leftover pellets for dust control.
Morning Chores recommends the FDC Snow & Ice Melt Pellets because the reviewer found it could melt ice up to three times faster than other brands, though the reviewer did not mention which other brands were in the comparison test. The reviewer also noted that the pellets were not as effective on thick ice.
Pros: Melts ice in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit, acts quickly, has a variety of alternate uses
In addition to its blue coloration, Blue Heat Snow and Ice Melter is unique because it consists of a blend of salts: calcium chloride, sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, and ferric chloride.
We weren’t able to find the specific percentages of each, but at least at one time, the label listed the calcium chloride content as 52%, which is enough to lower the minimum effective temperature of these pellets to -25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since Blue Heat is a blend, it exhibits the advantages of each of the individual salts while minimizing the potential damage to concrete, plants, and animals. And, the coloration helps you avoid spreading melter in areas where it could be harmful.
Pros: Light-blue tint for easy visibility, effective in temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit, acts quickly
Like our top pick, the Snow Joe Calcium Chloride Pellets are almost completely comprised of pure calcium chloride. The concentration is just slightly lower at 94% instead of 96%. So, Snow Joe only rates it as effective to -25 degrees Fahrenheit, which should be good enough for just about anywhere.
The pellets are designed to generate heat for up to 24 hours upon coming into contact with snow and ice. Cost per pound, it’s also the most affordable option on our list.
Epic Gardening recommends the Snow Joe Pellets because the reviewer was impressed by the speeds at which it melts snow and ice, even in extremely cold temperatures. However, it didn’t perform as well as the Green Gobbler ice melt.
Morning Chores recommends this ice melt because of how well it does melting thick ice. And, the resealable bag was user-friendly and easy to store.
The reseal strips do have a tendency to come loose from the bag, so you may want to invest in a lidded bucket to contain the pellets after you open the bag.
The Pellets of Fire Snow & Ice Melter is made by Dart Seasonal Products of New Jersey, which also makes Blue Heat. The main differences between them are Pellets of Fire isn’t blue, and it has a much higher CaCl2 content (up to 90%) according to its Material Safety Data Sheet. This makes it effective at lower temperatures: -25 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
It does not attack concrete, either. Cost per pound, it’s a little pricey, but you also do not need to use as much to have as much of an effect as other salts.
Geek Wrapped recommends Pellets of Fire Snow & Ice Melter because the reviewer found it sticks around to prevent refreezing, and it got the job done even when using small amounts. Morning Chores says it worked well on just about any surface they tried, including a roof. The bucket was also easy to store. Epic Gardening liked its fast and efficient ice melting capabilities, but the reviewer was perturbed by the inclusion of other active ingredients besides CaCl2.
There are complaints of the pellets causing discomfort for dogs when it gets stuck in their paws. And, the lid of the bucket is a bit cumbersome to open and may arrive cracked.
Natural Rapport Pet and Kid Friendly Ice Melt is different from the other options in our guide in that it doesn’t contain calcium chloride. Instead, it’s mainly made of calcium magnesium acetate, which is known for being one of the more environmentally-friendly salts.
However, it isn’t very effective in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, this ice melt is the most expensive option in our guide.
Several websites devoted to helping raise happy pups recommend Natural Rapport Ice Melt. Top Dog Tips gives it the seal of approval because the reviewer found it easy to apply with the user-friendly jug and it works just as well as rock salt. How I Met My Dog also recommends this brand.
Thoroughly Reviewed tested out the ice melt and noted that the organic ingredients reduced damage to concrete, metal, and vehicles. The reviewer recommends applying the pellets before snowstorms to keep the wintry precipitation from sticking.
For the most part, reviewers observed that it did not cause their dogs pain, but there is a significant minority of buyers who claim it caused a burning sensation in their pets’ paws.
Pros: More environmentally-friendly than most salts, effectively melts ice, 100% satisfaction guarantee
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