LAST UPDATED: November 19, 2020

The Best Ice Melt (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021

Best Choice Green Gobbler Pet Safe Ice Melt Green Gobbler Pet Safe Ice Melt
Best Value Redmond Ice Slicer Nature's Blend Redmond Ice Slicer Nature's Blend
Premium Pick Harris Safe Melt Harris Safe Melt

Ice melt is critically important for thriving in frigid climates, as it keeps driveways and sidewalks clean, usable, and safe. Both visible and invisible ice (i.e., black ice) can pose a serious threat to life, limb, and pride, not to mention property when your icy driveway turns into a skating rink and converts your garage door into a new automotive braking system. Even worse, ice can turn a parking lot on an incline into a disaster, turning your vehicle into a missile shooting downhill at rocket speeds bent on destruction and oblivion. So, yes, ice melt is indeed a worthy purchase. There are many options available, and some work better than others in different circumstances. Some are made to incinerate ice even in temperatures far below zero, while others are intended for safe use around children and pets. Whichever works best for you, pick some up now to avoid inadvertently sitting on your walkway.

The Best Ice Melt

Green Gobbler Pet Safe Ice Melt has a long list of features most ice melts don’t. The most apparent is that this ice melt is far less harmful to people, pets, and the environment than other standard ice melts. This is because the backbone of this ice melt is magnesium chloride that is harvested from the Dead Sea. It is extremely low in toxicity when compared to other major ingredients in competing ice melts, like large amounts of concentrated potassium or sodium chloride. The magnesium chloride in this ice melt works hard, melting ice in temperatures as low as negative 10-degrees Fahrenheit. The pellets are specifically designed to be easy to load into a spreader as they are small and round for easy feeding and far fewer jams.

Although eco-friendly, this de-icer does not play well with skin, soil, or plants. It can also leave a greasy residue when tracked inside.

Key Features
  • 10-pound jug
  • Fast-acting, spreader-friendly pellets
  • Pet-friendly, eco-friendly formula
  • Made with mildly exothermic magnesium chloride from the Dead Sea
Specification
  • Brand Green Gobbler
  • Model B07HNNXRXT
  • Weight 10.1 pounds
PROS

Effective down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit

Minimal concrete corrosion

30-day money-back guarantee

CONS

Not safe for use with bare hands, on soil, or near plants

May leave a greasy residue when tracked inside

Pick up some Redmond Ice Slicer Nature’s Blend ice melt before the kids decide they want to make homemade snow cones with real snow. While it may not do much for that snow cone’s flavor, this ice melt is safe for accidental consumption should the six-year-old’s “perfect” snow cone source turn out to be not-so perfect. The eco-friendly formula consists of over 60 different minerals designed to dissolve snow and ice and can treat up to 400 square feet. Its fast-acting granules are completely organic and will not stain flooring, although it may temporarily discolor concrete surfaces. Each crystal is completely free of dye, urea, polymer, and other artificial or chemical ingredients. The Redmond Ice Slicer Nature’s Blend is a great value option and is OMRI listed.

These crystals may be a bit sharp for bare feet and paws, but they are unlikely to cause any burns.

Key Features
  • 10-pound bag
  • Fast-acting granules
  • Non-toxic, child-safe, and eco-friendly formula
  • Treats up to 400 square feet
  • Made with 60+ minerals
Specification
  • Brand Redmond
  • Model DNB10
  • Weight 10.0 pounds
PROS

Great value

Completely organic and will not stain flooring

Dye-free, urea-free, and polymer-free

Cuts chloride impact by up to 50% and alkaline impact by up to 167%

OMRI listed for organic use

CONS

Pet safe but not pet friendly

May temporarily discolor concrete

They say a jack of all trades isn’t a master of one, but Harris Safe Melt might just disprove that. It uses a magnesium chloride formula similar to higher-end and far more expensive ice melts, and it is considerably safer to use around pets and people than standard ice melt chemicals. This safer-to-use approach extends to surfaces like concrete where Safe Melt causes significantly less damage than other ice melts. It not only is adept at being safe but also at working in very low temperatures. Safe Melt will melt down ice at ambient temperatures as low as negative 13-degrees Fahrenheit. Harris Safe Melt is a master of more than one vocation, and each of them is very valuable in ice melt.

Like similar products, this de-icer is not safe for use with bare hands or around vegetation. It is also expensive and can be difficult to open.

Key Features
  • 15-pound pail with scoop
  • Fast-acting, spreader-friendly pellets
  • Pet-friendly, eco-friendly formula
  • Made with mildly exothermic magnesium chloride from the Dead Sea
  • OMRI listed for organic use
Specification
  • Brand Harris
  • Model B07XZMYCK9
  • Weight 16.2 pounds
PROS

Effective down to -13 degrees Fahrenheit

Minimal concrete corrosion

Does not leave a residue

CONS

Not safe for use with bare hands, on soil, or near plants

Can be difficult to open

Expensive

As the name of the company implies, Natural Rapport Pet Friendly Ice Melt has something of an understanding with nature. It keeps pets and children who play near it safe by not using harsh chemicals. Also, because of its safer nature in general, it’s far less corrosive than others on surfaces ranging from metal to concrete. This safer disposition even includes grass and vegetation, being far less harmful than most other ice melts. Despite all of this, the Natural Rapport Pet Friendly Ice Melt packs a punch against ice. The ice melt has a time-release formula, allowing it to keep melting ice for three times longer than other ice melters. This is key when keeping already-melted areas from refreezing.

This ice melt uses rather large granules compared to competitors and may temporarily create blue or green discoloration on concrete. It can also irritate sensitive pet paws.

Key Features
  • 10-pound dispensing jug
  • Fast-acting, time-release granules
  • Pet-safe, eco-friendly formula
  • Made with a proprietary formula
Specification
  • Brand Natural Rapport
  • Model B0197B0Z4I
  • Weight 10.0 pounds
PROS

Calcium chloride-free

Biodegradable, non-hygroscopic compounds protect the soil and plants

ProtectRX organic technology reduces corrosion rates by up to 75%

Made in the USA

CONS

Larger granules than most ice melts

Unfriendly to some pets

May temporarily discolor concrete

Getting a reasonable amount of quality ice melt might be challenging, but the Snow Joe Melt EB has it covered. On top of being economically efficient, this ice melt is also safer on people and paws than most others, being far less likely to cause irritation or rashing, thanks to a more advanced mix. This ice melt also has an anti-caking agent included to extend shelf life and make it easier to spread. It acts fast, quickly melting down ice in targeted areas so they can be traversed safely. This ice melt does all that while remaining quite affordable, being far less costly per pound than some ice melts that lack both Snow Joe Melt EB’s gentler aspects and its fast-acting capability.

While some have had no issues with pet paw irritation, several users have reported this product causing pain or irritation on their pet’s paws.

Key Features
  • 10-pound jug
  • Fast-acting, time-release granules
  • Eco-friendly formula
  • Made with CMA
Specification
  • Brand Snow Joe
  • Model AZ-10-EB-JUG
  • Weight 10.0 pounds
PROS

Great value

Calcium chloride-free

Minimizes corrosion

CONS

Pet safe but not pet friendly

When incredibly powerful ice melt is required, in temperatures well below freezing, Pellets of Fire Snow & Ice Melter is a perfect choice. This ice melter is true to its name, as it will burn through ice on contact in temperatures as low as negative 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The calcium chloride pellets that make up this ice melt are hygroscopic in nature, drawing in moisture to melt ice faster. This ice melt is not about being safe or environmentally-friendly; it is wise to wear gloves when spreading it. What it is about is watching ice and snow melt away before your eyes as the Pellets of Fire do as advertised, even in temperatures where ice should never melt. Pellets of Fire is about brute force.

Unfortunately, this de-icer is neither pet-friendly nor eco-friendly. It is also expensive due to its lack of non-bulk sizes.

Key Features
  • 50-pound pail
  • Fast-acting, spreader-friendly pellets
  • Made with purified calcium chloride
Specification
  • Brand Pellets of Fire
  • Model CPP50
  • Weight 50.0 pounds
PROS

Excellent value for size

Effective down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit

Works on contact

Great for commercial use

Made in the USA

CONS

Not available in smaller quantities

Not pet-friendly or pet-safe

Not eco-friendly

Expensive

Keep It Green Snow & Ice Melter is an eco-friendly ice melt that performs in even the most extreme environments. Few eco-friendly products can claim effective performance at sub-zero temperatures, but this de-icer is effective down to negative 25 degrees Fahrenheit. These fast-acting granules are non-toxic, lacking calcium chloride, common ingredients in many traditional competitor’s formulas. Instead, it uses sodium, urea, and CMA to melt ice and snow while minimizing corrosion on concrete, metal, and other surfaces. The 12-pound jug is larger than more common 10-pound jugs while still being easy to use. While quick to start working, these large crystals also work for extended periods. Keep It Green Snow & Ice Melter also include a time-release fertilizer, giving it a springtime use.

Unfortunately, these granules are larger than many competing products, and while pet safe, they are rather unfriendly to pet paws.

Key Features
  • 12-pound jug
  • Fast-acting, time-release granules
  • Non-toxic, eco-friendly formula
  • Made with sodium, urea, and CMA
  • Includes time-release fertilizer
Specification
  • Brand Keep It Green
  • Model B00C0E2F84
  • Weight 12.2 pounds
PROS

Effective down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit

Calcium chloride-free

Minimizes corrosion

Time-release fertilizer feeds your lawn when washed off of driveways and walkways

CONS

Larger granules than most ice melts

Pet safe but not pet friendly

Transfer sheets of ice into mere puddles with Blue Heat Snow and Ice Melter with Heat Generating Pellets. These fast-acting pellets begin the melting process immediately upon contact with water, frozen or otherwise, and are perfect for use with spreaders. The non-toxic, eco-friendly formula uses calcium, magnesium, and sodium and creates high, ice-melting temperatures down to negative 25 degrees Fahrenheit, making this a great earth-friendly choice in frigid northern winters. Not only is this a toxin-free formula, but it is also a stain-free product, great for use on a variety of surfaces. This 20-pound bag is large and heavy, giving users the ability to cover large surfaces with ease. Blue Heat Snow and Ice Melter with Heat Generating Pellets is also made in America.

This 20-pound bag is great for some but is overkill for others. The bag’s size also increases the upfront cost.

Key Features
  • 20-pound bag
  • Fast-acting, spreader-friendly pellets
  • Non-toxic, eco-friendly formula
  • Made with calcium, magnesium, and sodium
Specification
  • Brand Blue Heat
  • Model BH20
  • Weight 20.5 pounds
PROS

Excellent value for size

Effective down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit

Works on contact

Non-toxic and won’t stain

Great for large areas

Made in the USA

CONS

Not available in smaller quantities

No scoop included

Expensive

Pet owners know the pain of picking the wrong ice melt, but Just For Pets Pat & Paw-Safe Snow & Ice Melter was designed with dogs and cats in mind. Pets can tread on these smooth, round pellets without fear of them sticking between furry toes or paw pads. These pet-friendly pellets are non-toxic and eco-friendly but can easily be distributed with a spreader. This formula lacks chlorides, giving pet parents peace of mind whenever Rover wants to explore and making it safe to use around soil and plants. This product works on contact, melting ice quickly, and it is effective in temperatures as low as 15 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale. Just For Pets Pat & Paw-Safe Snow & Ice Melter also comes with a money-back guarantee.

This ice melt comes in a nine-pound jug in name only and is quite expensive. Then again, our pets deserve the best!

Key Features
  • 9-pound jug
  • Fast-acting, spreader-friendly pellets
  • Non-toxic, eco-friendly, pet-friendly formula
  • Made without chlorides
Specification
  • Brand Just For Pets
  • Model B07WTMQHPZ
  • Weight 8.4 pounds
PROS

Effective down to -15 degrees Fahrenheit

Works on contact

Safe for use around soil and plants

Money-back guarantee

CONS

Very expensive

Nominal 9-pound weight

Want to see Fido do a happy dance? Watch him do it outside, anytime thanks to Safe Paw Ice Melter. This ice melt ensures that there will be no more crying or whining thanks to smooth pellets and a pet-friendly formula. These fast-acting pellets can cover wide distances easily with any spreader, and they are effective down to two degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale. This non-toxic, eco-friendly de-icer is made without salt, chlorides, or acetate, and it comes in a 22-pound Flexicube container for ease-of-use. These biodegradable pellets are safe to use on concrete and around plants and soil, and they are both non-corrosive and non-conductive, minimizing their negative impact on driveways, cars, and other high-value items. Safe Paw Ice Melter is an American-made de-icer.

The only real knock against this product is its price. While not exorbitantly priced, this 22-pound package isn’t cheap either.

Key Features
  • 22-pound Flexicube container
  • Fast-acting, spreader-friendly pellets
  • Non-toxic, eco-friendly, pet-friendly formula
  • Made without salt, chloride, or acetate
Specification
  • Brand Safe Paw
  • Model B07L9BFBL1
  • Weight 22.3 pounds
PROS

Effective down to -2 degrees Fahrenheit

Non-corrosive, non-conductive formula

Non-toxic and biodegradable

Safe for use on concrete and around soil and plants

Made in the USA

CONS

Expensive

Best Ice Melt Buying Guide & FAQ

When the blizzard is past and it’s time to venture out into that winter wonderland, ice melt is sure to make the excursion safer and drier. While rock salt and ice melt are similar in nature, ice melt has its own unique properties that allow it to achieve results that rock salt could never dream of achieving. (That is if salt actually could dream.) Ice melt comes in a variety of different variations with some types using a simple chemical composition to defrost ice and others relying solely on minerals to get the job done. Some are non-toxic, making them great around kids, while others are pet-friendly. Whatever your specific need, the right ice melt can make for a safer winter wonderland, but be sure to use as directed.

Do You Need Ice Melt?

If you live north of the Mason-Dixon line (and even if you live south of it), ice melt can be a huge winter helper. Ice melt is beneficial in a variety of weather conditions. To work best, be sure the clear as much snow and loose ice from the surface to be treated, then watch that ice melt get to work melting and removing troublesome and hazardous ice patches. (Failure to clear loose ice and snow will force the product to work harder and may require additional applications after the first one.) Ice melt can also be applied before a winter storm to minimize or even eliminate future snow and ice removal on walkways, driveways, and more.

De-icing products double as both convenience and safety solutions. With a properly cleared driveway and sidewalk, entertaining friends and family is a much safer proposition, so when the forecast is predicting a white Christmas, a dose of ice melt makes it easy to prepare for guests before Santa even leaves the North Pole.

There is nothing quite like enjoying fresh-fallen snow, but sometimes, that snow leaves an icy gift right outside the back door. With a little bit of ice melt on the back porch, you can fully enjoy that snow in person in all its cold, crisp glory.

  • Ice melt removes ice from pre-cleared surfaces and can be applied before a winter storm for easier snow removal.
  • Ice melt makes it easy to entertain safely on frigid winter days and nights.
  • Ice melt makes it easy to enjoy nature’s beauty in your backyard.
Shoveling snow
Ice Melt

Types of Ice Melts

While most of us may realize that ice melt is different than mere rock salt, some may be surprised to learn that ice melt comes in quite a few different types. Sure, the bag may have a kid or a dog on the packaging, but does that mean that it’s pet-friendly or child-safe?

Heat-Generating

Rock salt melts ice using salt’s natural ability to lower water’s melting point, and while a few ice melts use this same principle to break the ice, most melt that slick nemesis by generating heat — lots of heat. Heat-generation is the primary alternative to salt-based methods, and often, this approach is much more effective and long-lasting than the salt-based approach.

Calcium chloride, a common chemical base for many de-icers, can generate temperatures up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit upon coming in contact with water, such as ice and snow. Unfortunately, this also can make such products rather unfriendly to pets and children, particularly when the granules or pellets get stuck between an animal’s paw pads.

Magnesium chloride and CMA are alternative ingredients to generate lower, but still, long-lasting heat to melt ice. Of course, these products may take longer to work, but they can still get the job done.

Pet-Friendly

Do a little research on ice melt, and it becomes clear that not every product that seems to be pet-friendly is good for use are our furry friends. While they are not universally defined, we use the terms “pet-friendly” and “pet safe”. They sound the same, so what’s the difference?

“Pet-friendly” ice melts are products that are salt-free, non-toxic, and unlikely to get stuck between furry toes and paw pads. As such, truly “pet-friendly” ice melts usually will come in round pellets rather than granules.

While “pet safe” ice melt is non-toxic and usually salt-free, its rough, granular form is not friendly to your best friend’s paws. These granules can get stuck between Fido’s paw pads, and once they contact water, they will begin to burn his toes. If this happens, rinse his feet off, but don’t worry if he licks his feet in the meantime.

Eco-Friendly

Don’t look now, but toxins are everywhere, including in that hardware store ice melt. That said, non-toxic de-icing products do exist. Often, they carry a variety of labels which may or may not mean the same thing. There are two main categories of non-toxic ice melt products: eco-friendly and kid-friendly.

Eco-friendly or environmentally-friendly de-icers are safe for the planet, unlike their conventional counterparts. This category may include both natural and organic products, but none of these labels mean you should eat the stuff. Eco-friendly products will not harm soil, plants, or animals, but some still may not be safe for use around kiddos.

Kid-Friendly

We all know that kid. He’s the one always sticking something in his mouth. He may only be two, but watching him play outside it like watching a garbage truck pileup. He puts everything, and we do mean everything, into his mouth. Thankfully, there is an ice melt for that.

Kid-friendly or child-safe ice melts are non-toxic products that are perfect for use around that one kid. Child-safe deicers can be ingested without causing any serious health concerns, although we may want to talk with the kid who can’t get enough of that (salty) white ice cream on the ground!

Kid-friendly ice melt products may or may not be organic or eco-friendly, but they can go a long way in giving parents that seemingly rare treat known as peace of mind.

A dog and a kid on icy sidewalk
Ice Melt

Best Ice Melt FAQ:

From Maine to Alaska and Alabama to Montana, ice melt has its place, but even with thorough research to determine which deicer is better than the rest, some questions may still pop up here and there, nagging at us for answers. So, take some time now, and get some answers to those questions.

Q: Which is better: ice melt or rock salt?

A: For specialized applications, ice melt tends to be a better choice than rock salt. Ice melt can be purchased for use in extreme cold and child-safe and pet-friendly formulas.

Q: What can I use instead of salt on ice?

A: Consider using alcohol or vinegar as salt-free de-icers, although they can degrade or corrode certain materials. Sand creates traction on ice and is non-corrosive, but it will not melt ice.

Q: What household items will melt ice?

A: Due to its salt content, brine is a decent household de-icer. While alcohol and vinegar products are another decent option, they can corrode or otherwise damage metals and other materials.

Our Top Pick

OK, let’s cut to the chase already. Overall, our top pick is Green Gobbler Pet Safe Ice Melt. This eco-friendly, pet-friendly formula is an excellent choice for most people and is effective down to negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit. It uses Dead Sea magnesium chloride to create a mild heat reaction that won’t burn paws and which minimizes concrete corrosion. While it is best to avoid touching this stuff with bare hands, it’s sure to get the job done, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. What’s not to love?

Final Thoughts

Our top all-around pick goes to Green Gobbler Pet Safe Ice Melt, an excellent eco-friendly, pet-friendly ice melt. Redmond Ice Slicer Nature’s Blend is our price-conscious runner up. It is completely non-toxic, making it completely safe for use around kids and pets, although it can be uncomfortable for tender paws.