How To Choose The Best Ice Melt: A Complete Guide

One of the things that we all hate about the winter season is the snow and ice that it brings not to mention the cold winter weather too.

When the temperatures start dropping and the first snowfall begins to fall, your sidewalk, concrete driveway, and other concrete surfaces can get coated with ice buildup.

This is not only slippery but also dangerous.

Snow particles and ice if left alone for a longer period of time can damage cement.

It makes it softer and weaker than usual so snow removal is essential for keeping your property safe and attractive.

It can be a challenging task to deice these concrete surfaces without causing any permanent damage to them.

But you don’t have to worry about it, as there are tons of ice melt products available in the market that you can use to get rid of the ice coating on concrete (or other surfaces).

However, choosing the right one isn’t easy at all.

So how do you choose the best ice melters for concrete for instant traction?

Well, that’s exactly what I’ll be answering today!

In this article, I will talk about some of the best de-icing products out there and how they can prove helpful for getting rid of ice on concrete surfaces.

In a Hurry?

This is a comprehensive list of all the features you should be looking for when buying snow-melt products from your local home depot.

Look for one that is effective at -10 degrees Fahrenheit that is:

  • Inexpensive.
  • Long-lasting.
  • Granular in nature.
  • Safe for people and pets.
  • Biodegradable.
  • Work with zero degrees Fahrenheit

Are you looking to buy some de-icing salt that would work best that has the features above?

Are you new to this whole process and not sure what quality and quantity of the product you should be getting?

Have no fear, here are some of the best options and the different types of de-icing products that are available and how they work.

Best Ice Melt For Concrete

1. Calcium Chloride Pellets

  • This product is like a rock salt that works at much lower temperatures, so it has a low risk of making the freeze-thaw cycle worse.
  • works great on sidewalks, stairs, entrances, and parking areas.
  • This one works on both snow and rain, so there is no need to worry about that anymore!
  • Another important thing to note here is that this ice melter can get messy and stain clothing.
  • It works well on icy surfaces but leaves residuals when used on water because it has a high freezing point of water and a freezing temperature of 140° F (60°C).

  2. Potassium Acetate Pellets

  • One of the best options in terms of non-corrosive nature when compared with Sodium Chloride etc.,
  • both effective ice melt and safe for all surfaces including new concrete, asphalt, vinyl siding, roofs among others.
  • Work well on calcium-sensitive floors such as terrazzo and marble.
  • should not be used on natural stone surfaces.
  • It has a low environmental impact, is a safe product for pets, and is for other wildlife.
  • However, it will not work well on snow or ice as it has a very low freezing temperature of -40 degrees Celsius.

3. Magnesium Chloride Pellets

  • The popular choices used chemical salts for ice melters.
  • This ice melter for concrete is meant to be used on large areas such as roads, parking areas, entrances, and sidewalks.
  • This will not leave any residue or mess on your concrete when the snow melts.
  • It can be used safely on calcium-sensitive floors such as terrazzo, marble, and natural stone.
  • Magnesium chloride ice melts dissolve quickly and may damage grassy areas so they should not be used near vegetation.

4. Calcium Magnesium Acetate Pellets

This one works best with low temperatures below 10° F (or -12°C) which makes it ideal for heavy snow areas that require quick thaw cycles. 

One of the major advantages of using this chloride-free ice melter for concrete is that it does not leave any residue as calcium chloride does.

Also, there are no health hazards associated with this ice melter for concrete and it cannot cause any damage to vegetation.

5. Calcium Chloride Pellets

  • These ice melt pellets are often cheaper than other ice melts products.
  • It is the most effective in colder temperatures but can damage vegetation when it becomes wet and freezes so you will need to be careful where you apply it.
  • It is extremely effective at melting the thickest of ice and snow.
  • This product is also effective with not only ice but it can also be used to clear snow.
  • Its calcium chloride pellets are great for concrete with the granules being small in size with a good spread coverage.

6. Acetic Acid Pellets

  • Acetic acid ice melts raise the pH level of the surrounding environment, which inhibits the freezing process.
  • This prevents calcium build-up because it raises the pH level of concrete to keep calcium salts in solution.
  • It can be used safely on most surfaces but is not recommended for use on terrazzo flooring.

 7. Ammonium Nitrate Pellets 

  • Also known as “urea-based ice melt”. 
  • Non-chloride-based, which reduces its effect on concrete surfaces while still doing a great job at removing ice from sidewalks, driveways, and driveways.
  • This works by forming calcium carbonate on the surface of the concrete which works to melt through the ice and snow.
  • Ammonium nitrate is safe for calcium-sensitive floors but can damage vegetation so it should not be used near grassy areas.


Q: Can ice melt work on all types of snow?

Yes, non-chloride salt ice melts work on all types of snow. There are different formulations that can be used depending on the temperature and type of precipitation.

Q: Can I use ice melt around the house?

A: Yes, you can use ice melt around the house. However, you should be careful not to get it on your car or your plants and be careful to choose an ice melt that is safe for concrete.

This will help to avoid damage to your property.

Q: Do animals get sick if they eat ice melt?

A: Most ice melt has a chemical reaction that can be harmful to animals, but Safe Paw is a type of common deicers that is safe for them.

It’s a popular ice melt that is the safest product to use if there are animals around, especially if they might eat the ice melt.

Ice melt usually contains things like calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and magnesium chloride, which can be harmful to animals.

When it comes to the composition of snow-melt products, it’s important to note that they are different from traditional rock salt. 

Table salt is made up of only sodium chloride, while snow- or ice-melt products contain sodium chloride as well as other minerals such as magnesium or calcium.


So what is the best de-icer for your needs? That depends on where you live, the type of surface you’re trying to clear, and how much money you want to spend and it’s best to ask your concrete contractors for pro advice.

But hopefully, this article has given you a good overview of the different types of de-icing products that are available and how they work.

And if you still have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

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