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7 Best Ice Melters That Are Safe for Pets – Reviews & Buying Guide

Winter can transform our home into a magical wonderland with crisp white snow adorning the branches of trees, delicate icicles glistening like tiny jewels in the sunlight and landscapes lays hidden under a thick white blanket. But with all this wondrous beauty, snow and thick ice can also create slippery sidewalks, blocked driveways and entranceways, thereby turning our cities and homes into potentially hazardous and life threatening social spaces.

So while you wait for the snow plow to arrive, a Snow and Ice Melter or Deicer will help you to keep your entranceway, driveways and the sidewalk clear of snow and slip-free from icy conditions.

Our pick

THE BEST ICE MELTER

North American Salt 53851 Extreme 8300 magnesium Chloride Ice Melter

As well as being a super fast acting ice melter due to the naturally sourced magnesium chloride flakes, it is environmentally friendly and can be used on most surfaces around your home, even concrete, a surface that can crack from the harsh chemicals that are synonymous with many ice melters.

How Does An Ice Melter Work?

Ice melters work by firstly attracting moisture from the surface of the ice and surrounding air.

Some ice melters can function by releasing heat or energy, which is called an exothermic chemical reaction or they can depend on an endothermic reaction, where they absorb on heat or light like solar power that allows them to dissolve the ice or snow moisture and turn it into a liquid slush or brine solution.

Ice melters depend on a chemical compound reaction to dissolve the snow and ice and there are a few combinations that many manufacturers use in their products. But some chemical compounds are only suitable for certain temperatures and for use on particular surfaces.

Here is a list of the most commonly used chemicals and the temperatures that they work best at:

  1. Calcium Chloride (-25o F)
  2. Magnesium Chloride (-15o F)
  3. Sodium Acetate (-15o F)
  4. Calcium Magnesium Acetate (-15oF)
  5. Potassium Chloride (-12o F)
  6. Sodium Chloride -(20-22o F)
  7. Various Other Blends (usually -20 to -22o F)

How to Choose the Best Ice Melter

Before you buy an ice melter, here is a breakdown of the different chemical compounds that are found in many ice melting/deicing products.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is used in most residential and commercial properties and is ideal for melting tough ice fast, but it can damage vegetation, and also some concrete areas after long term use. In addition to forming brine, calcium chloride also generates heat, which speeds up the melting process. The best way to spread ice melting pellets over surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks is by using a salt spreader or a walk behind spreader cart.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate

This chemical blend is more environmentally friendly and less corrosive than chloride, but it does not work so well at colder temperatures.

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium Chloride is also environmentally friendly, and is very effective for temperatures at around -13 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Potassium Chloride

Ice melters that use potassium chloride are environmentally friendly and are safer for pets. But like magnesium chloride, it can damage plants, and may not be good for pets with kidney problems. It can be used on concrete surfaces as it has a low corrosive effect.

Sodium Chloride/Rock Salt

Rock salt is usually the cheaper option, and it works fast on melting ice, but it can damage surfaces, especially concrete, and it is not recommended for those who have pets as it can make them sick, and in some cases, it can be lethal if it is ingested. It is not the best option for the environmentally-minded as it can damage some plants. While it is a good option for melting ice and snow, it is only effective at temperatures around -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Urea/Carbonyl Diamide

This deicer is especially ideal for residential use as it is safe for pets, with almost no risk of damaging pavements, but it not very effective at melting thick ice.

Helpful Tips For Using An Ice Melter

Although ice melters use powerful chemical compounds to keep your driveway, side-walk, or other paved areas clean and slip-free, here are some nine helpful tips that will help you get the best application out of your ice melter.

  1. If possible, before the harsh winter weather hits, seal any surfaces where you will use ice and snow can build up with a commercial-quality sealant. The sealant will prevent moisture from seeping into the pores and any cracks.
  2. Read the manufacturer's instructions before using the ice melter. Some products are not recommended if you have pets, or the product may be harmful to plants. While others can be corrosive on some surfaces.
  3. Remove as much snow as possible first before you apply the ice melter pellets or flakes as this will make the ice melter more effective.
  4. Some ice melters can be used to remove ice on roofs, but make sure you check the products details first as the deicing agent such as rock salt can spread and may eventually find its way into the water system.
  5. When using a calcium or magnesium chloride product, it is important to cover your hands or use a salt spreader. In particular, calcium chloride solutions can get very hot, so wait for the solution to cool before transferring the liquid into a sprayer or an ice or salt spreader.
  6. Spread the ice melter pellets or solution evenly, follow the instructions, and keep the pellets away from pets and children
  7. If you have pets, and you have not chosen a pet-friendly product, it is still a good idea to clean your pet's paws after they have been outside as some pets can still be sensitive to non-toxic or pet-friendly products.
  8. Some ice melter products show a visible blue tint that shows treated and untreated areas. This is a handy feature as it allows you to keep an eye on the application of the product.
  9. If you prefer to use a natural alternative, here are some great super environmentally-friendly and natural ways to keep your property ice-free. But be aware that some natural products may not be that effective on very cold temperatures, on thick ice, or they may not provide very good coverage for large areas.

7 Best Ice Melters — Product Reviews

1. Safe Paw Non-Toxic Ice Melter

If you have a fur-baby, one of those loveable pets that make our lives so delightful, they can be affected by a lot of ice melters, but the Safe Paw ice melter is specially designed with our furry friends in mind.

Many rock salt ice melter products can also make children seriously ill, and they can be harsh on vegetation and concrete surfaces around your home due to their highly corrosive ability.

The Safe Paw Non-Toxic Ice Melter is different. It does not give off any heat as it is draws heat from the sun, and the patented dual-effect compound that is made up of crystalline amide core and infused with special glycols, creates a non-corrosive and non-toxic composition that penetrates deep into the ice, destabilises it and causes the ice to melt.

The ice melter is very effective at quickly dissolving ice and crusted snow on most surfaces like asphalt, concrete, and paving around your home.

It has been designed with a clever timed-release formulation that can stop the ice from freezing up to three days, thereby giving you guaranteed anti-slipping traction. The pellets can work in very low temperatures, and they leave a bluish color so that you can keep track of where you have applied it.

What we like:

  • Very good ice melter
  • Pet and plant friendly
  • Ideal for most surfaces
  • Non-toxic
  • Leaves a bluish color

What we don't like:

  • Not ideal for very thick ice
  • Expensive

2. Scotwood Industries 20B-RR Road Runner Premium Ice Melter

The Road Runner Premium Ice Melter by Scotwood Industries uses the combination of three chemicals: Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and Sodium Chloride in their pellets, which makes this deicer very effective at melting snow and ice up to -15 degree Fahrenheit below zero.

It works well on most surfaces though it not ideal for fresh concrete surfaces, or concrete that has not been sealed property and it is environment-friendly.

What we like:

  • Affordable
  • Ideal for most surfaces
  • Ideal for -15 degrees
  • Fast
  • Gives good coverage
  • Environmentally friendly

What we don't like:

  • Not ideal for all concrete surfaces

3. Snow Joe MELT25CCP 25-LB Professional Strength Ice Melter

The Snow Joe Professional Strength Ice Melter not only absorbs moisture from its surrounding to form brine, but it also generates heat that quickly melts away snow and ice, which helps to speed up the melting process.

Its professional strength is due to the 94% calcium chloride pellets, which can tackle even the thickest ice on most surfaces like driveways, steps, pavement and entranceways for temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 24 hours.

The pellets are conveniently packaged in a resealable bag, so it is easy to store, and the pellets are kept safe from moisture until you are ready to use the product again.

What we like:

  • Professional strength ice melter
  • Fast
  • Ideal for most surfaces
  • Resealable bag

What we don't like:

  • Not recommended for fresh concrete
  • Takes longer to melt thick ice in colder temperatures
  • Not pet-friendly

4. Pellets of Fire CPP50 Snow & Ice Melter

The Pellets of Fire Ice Melter uses the chemical compound calcium chloride, so it is fast and highly effective at melting snow and ice, especially in colder temperature of -25 degrees Fahrenheit.

The pellets work extremely well on most surfaces, they give good coverage, and you can even use it on your roof. A little bit goes a long way, and you do not have to worry about any refreezing overnight. The pellets come in a 50-pound bucket, which is great for storage and for keeping the contents dry, and depending on how much you need to use, it should last you all winter.

What we like:

  • Works really fast
  • Long lasting effects
  • No overnight refreeze
  • Ideal for -25 degrees
  • Economical
  • Ideal for most surfaces
  • Safe to use on roofs

What we don't like:

  • Harmful for pets
  • Can corrode steel
  • Not environmentally friendly

5. FDC 96% Pure CALCIUM CHLORIDE Snow & Ice Melt Pellets

As well as being environmentally friendly, this powerful high quality ice melter from FDC can melt up to three times faster than other ice melters, for temperatures as low as -40 degrees fahrenheit., so it can quickly dissolve snow and ice.

The pellets contain 96% pure calcium, and 4% calcium silicate (an anticaking agent) and they use an exothermic chemical reaction, where they generate heat to quickly melt heavy snow and ice, while reducing the amount of refreezing.

The pellets can be spread over the ice directly or dissolved in water and spread as a liquid. The pellets can also help with dust control on any dirt roads around your home. You only have to apply a small amount, and the pellets have a long lasting effect, so you do not have to worry about any slippery surfaces.

The FDC ice melter can be used for a wide range of surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, patios, and roofs, and it can be used on concrete as long as you use the product as directed. It is non-toxic, so it safe for pets and for use around your garden and will not leave any residue. The pellets come in a 5 gallon bucket for easy storage.

What we like:

  • Works immediately
  • Ideal for temperatures to -40ºF
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Non-toxic
  • Dust control for roads
  • Non-corrosive on concrete when used as directed.

What we don't like:

  • Expensive
  • Not very effective on thick ice

6. North American Salt 53851 Extreme 8300 Ice Melter

The North American Salt Company is one of the largest supplies of salt and other minerals and their high quality snow and ice melter Safe Step Extreme 8300 uses naturally sourced magnesium chloride flakes that provide rapid ice penetration.

This high quality product will quickly melt snow and ice to -15° fahrenheit, therefore keeping most surfaces slip-free around your property in harsh conditions.

It is environmentally safe, and it is safe to use on concrete when used as directed, and will not leave any residue.

The North American Salt Company also manufacturers other similar products like the Safe Step® Sure Paws ice melter, which is an all natural ice melter that does not irritate pets sensitive paws or skin, while also being super effective on melting ice.

What we like:

  • Very good product
  • Fast acting
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Can be used on concrete when used as directed

What we don't like:

  • Can clump in bag; best to store in bottles
  • Expensive

7. Natural Alternative NATURLAWN Ice Melter

For a natural environmentally and pet friendly alternative, the Naturlawn Ice Melter is a great choice not only for reducing snow build up and slippery thick ice, but it will not harm the vegetation around your home.

It has anti-corrosion abilities, so it is ideal for concrete, as long as you use the product as directed, and it leaves a blue colour so that you can see where you have applied it.

The ice melter is fast acting for temperatures to -16 degrees fahrenheit, and it starts to work immediately with a crackling sound as soon as it comes into contact with moisture. Once it forms a brine, it melts the ice and lowers the freezing point of the ground, which effectively reduces the buildup of ice and snow, and prevents any refreezing, and it does not leave any greasy residue.

Although it is one of the more expensive deicers on the market, it works extremely well to give you peace of mind by keep your pathways, driveways and pavement safe to walk on during the winter months.

What we like:

  • Great value for money
  • Good quality ice melter
  • Fast acting
  • Environmentally and pet friendly

What we don't like:

  • Expensive

Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best ice melter is the North American Salt Company’s 8300 Extreme Ice Melter. 

Our pick

THE BEST ICE MELTER

North American Salt 53851 Extreme 8300 magnesium Chloride Ice Melter

As well as being a super fast acting ice melter due to the naturally sourced magnesium chloride flakes, it is environmentally friendly and can be used on most surfaces around your home, even concrete, a surface that can crack from the harsh chemicals that are synonymous with many ice melters.

We also like the North American Salt Company as it makes a wide range of ice melters, especially ice melters that are specifically designed for those who have pets.

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