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The 5 Best Ice Melts (2023 Review)

If your area is prone to snowstorms, slippery sidewalks, walkways, and driveways may be an issue. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best ice melt products on Amazon to help you find the one that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Green Gobbler Snow and Ice Pellets and Redmond Ice Melter isolated on a blue grid paper background Courtesy Amazon

For people who live in the North, having ice melt or snow melt on hand is essential for survival during cold months and freezing temperatures. It keeps streets, driveways, and sidewalks ice- and snow-free for easy walking and driving by lowering the freezing point of water. To help you with your search for the right product, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best ice melts on Amazon. Here are our favorite options.


Compare Top Ice Melts

Product Form Quantity Packaging Type
Product Form Quantity Packaging Type
Snow Joe Blended Ice Melter Granule 25 pounds Bag
Green Gobbler Snow and Ice Pellets Pellet 15 pounds Pail
Prestone Windshield De-Icer Pellet 15 pounds Pail
Branch Creek Ice Melt Liquid 0.5 gallons Jug
Redmond Ice Melter Granule 10 pounds Bag

Top 5 Ice Melts


Easiest To See: Snow Joe Blended Ice Melter

Snow Joe Blended Ice Melter

Snow Joe Blended Ice Melter

  • $18
  • $20
  • 9% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This ice melt uses an anti-corrosion formula packed with calcium magnesium to clear ice quickly and effectively. It doesn’t leave behind a slimy residue, making it safe to use on grass and near trees or other vegetation. It works safely on a variety of surfaces, including concrete.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Works safely on wood and concrete surfaces
✔ Can purchase a pack with a spreader to apply it
✔ Has an anti-corrosion formula

✘ Doesn’t list the temperature limit
✘ Can’t spread it directly from the bag

What Customers Are Saying

Many satisfied customers praised this ice melt for being pet-friendly, easy to spread and see, and fast-acting. Customers were able to use this ice melt on various surfaces with no visible signs of corrosion. However, unsatisfied customers complained about the smell of the ice melt. Others said that it wasn’t as effective as advertised.


Best Pellets: Green Gobbler Snow and Ice Pellets

Green Gobbler Snow and Ice Pellets

Green Gobbler Snow and Ice Pellets

  • $39

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This ice melt comes in the form of round pellets that you can quickly spread across large areas by hand or with a spreader. It’s non-corrosive for safe use on concrete as well as grasses, plants, and trees. It also comes in a variety of pail sizes. It also comes with a detachable lid.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has a secure lid on the pail that minimizes the chances of unwanted spills
✔ Comes in multiple pail sizes
✔ Creates exothermic heat to penetrate snow

✘ Can be difficult to remove the lid, especially the first time
✘ Can track the pellets indoors

What Customers Are Saying

Happy customers found this pail of pellets to quickly and effectively melt ice in a variety of temperatures. Some customers used the pellets in their fertilizer spreader, reporting that it easily spread across the area. Unfortunately, many customers found the lid of the bucket to be difficult to open and reseal. Though satisfied with the effectiveness of the ice melt, many customers also found the product to be overly expensive.


Best For Cars: Prestone Windshield De-Icer

 Prestone Windshield De-Icer

 Prestone Windshield De-Icer

  • $13
  • $14
  • 10% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

If any ice remains after applying this product or you don’t have enough ice to warrant using it, you can use the bottle’s built-in scraper to help remove the remaining material. The scraper has a polycarbonate blade that’s more powerful than plastic scrapers.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has a built-in polycarbonate blade on the lid that’s stronger than conventional plastic scrapers
✔ Comes in a two-pack
✔ Removes ice from windshield wiper blades

✘ Doesn’t work well on thick, caked-on ice
✘ Contains pressurized, toxic chemicals

What Customers Are Saying

Customers had success using this de-icer as a preventative measure as well as a means of scraping their windshield before driving. Quick results and ease of use were common highlights. Alternatively, other users reported that the product was ineffective when it came to thick, heavy ice. Other unsatisfied customers said that the product didn’t spray as intended.


Best Liquid: Branch Creek Ice Melt

Branch Creek Ice Melt

Branch Creek Ice Melt

  • $29

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This melt’s pH-neutral formula makes it useful for clearing snow and ice from marble, hardwood, granite, tile, and other sensitive materials. It works on temperatures as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit and comes in multiple quantities and sizes. It is also safe to use around children and pets.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Doesn’t spread messy granules or pellets
✔ Comes in a half-gallon jug that’s equivalent to a 50-pound bag of traditional ice melt
✔ Has an unlimited shelf life

✘ Needs to be paired with a spray applicator
✘ Doesn’t work in sub-zero temperatures

What Customers Are Saying

Happy customers liked that this melt was eco-friendly and didn’t leave salt residue on their surfaces. They also stated that it spread evenly. On the other hand, some users had to use the majority of the container to get the ice to melt. Customers in extremely cold climates also found the product’s zero-degree rating to be insufficient.


Best For Small Surfaces: Redmond Ice Melter

Redmond Ice Melter

Redmond Ice Melter

  • $19
  • $21
  • 8% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This granule ice melt is dye-, urea-, and polymer-free. It comes in multiple bag sizes with chunks that melt snow 3.5 times faster than traditional rock salt. Furthermore, this ice melt works on temperatures as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit and comes in a 10-pound bag with a larger size available.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has a certification from the Organic Materials Review Institute
✔ Can hear it working with a popping sound
✔ Come in coarse granules that you’re less likely to slip on

✘ Only works down to zero degrees Fahrenheit
✘ Doesn’t come with a scoop or spreader

What Customers Are Saying

Happy customers enjoyed the attractive packaging, pet safety, and overall effectiveness of this ice melt. Though some wished that the bag was larger, 10 pounds was still enough to cover key areas outside. Unhappy customers experienced damage to their concrete surfaces. They also said that the granules were easy to track inside, staining their carpets.


Buyer’s Guide

Ice melt may sound like a straightforward purchase, but there are many options to choose from when finding the best product to fight off harsh winter weather. Considering the below factors should help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Liquid vs. Solid

Liquid is an effective ice melt type that stays in place and produces long-lasting results as long as it doesn’t rain. However, it can be pricey. Solid ice melt, meanwhile, is typically cheaper. It’s ideal for quickly treating large areas, such as roads and parking lots. Its two main downsides are that it scatters easily with foot or vehicle traffic and takes longer to start working.

Surface

Some ice melts work better on certain surfaces. For example, if you’re treating concrete, make sure your ice melt is anti-corrosive. Check a product’s description before purchasing it to determine if it’s safe to use on your intended surface.

Temperature

All ice melts have a temperature at which they’re no longer effective. If you live in a particularly cold climate, it’s particularly important to find ice melt that works in low temperatures. Some ice melts work in -50 degrees Fahrenheit or even lower temperatures, but others stop working when the temperature drops below zero.

Melting Time

If you need your ice melted within minutes, consider the type of ice melt you’re buying. Liquid ice melts typically melt faster than standard granule ones that may take 30 minutes or so to start working.

Pet Safety

Ice melts made from sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, or rock salt can be dangerous to animals, causing poisoning if ingested or skin irritation if walked on by a pets’ paws. If you have pets, check the product’s ingredients to ensure it’s a pet safe ice melt.


How To Prevent Ice and Snow From Sticking

A snowy or icy driveway can lead to hours of tedious shoveling, not to mention possible slips and falls. While you can’t control Mother Nature, there are some steps that you can take to limit the damage that snow and ice do to your driveway.

  • Invest in a snow blower: Snow blowers may not be necessary if you only experience a few inches of snow a handful of times per year. However, if you live in a cold climate, a snow blower can save you a lot of time and effort.
  • Try a physical barrier: A heavy-duty barrier, such as a tarp, is one way to keep your driveway protected without using salt or ice melt. Make sure you weigh the tarp down to keep it in place so that it doesn’t blow away in the wind.
  • Use heat mats: Heat mats are usually permanently installed under a driveway, automatically activating as the temperature drops. However, this is a pricey and labor-intensive option, so it may only be feasible if you’re building a new home or redoing your driveway.
  • Try sand or wood chips: As an alternative to ice melt, sand or wood chips can reduce ice buildup. However, make sure to clean up this debris once the storm passes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use ice melt before or after a snowstorm?

Applying ice melt can be beneficial both before and after snow falls. Adding ice melt in advance stops ice and snow from clinging to surfaces, making removal easier. Using ice melt after the fact helps get rid of it quicker.

How long does ice melt take to work?

How quickly ice melt works depends on how much melt you apply, how much ice you get, and what type of melt you use. Solid ice melt usually takes around 30 minutes to start working, while liquid ice melt starts as soon as it’s applied.

How does ice melt work?

Ice melt absorbs moisture, creating a liquid brine that generates heat to melt ice. The resulting slush is easier to shovel.

Which type of ice melt should I use on concrete surfaces?

If you have a lot of concrete surfaces to cover, look for an ice melt that’s made with calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is understood to be one of the gentlest ice melts. By breaking the bond between the concrete and the ice, it causes less corrosion.


Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

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