Best De-icing Salt in 2020 (May Reviews)

To help you choose the best de-icing salt for asphalt, concrete and other surfaces, we have tried out a multitude of top products, testing their ice and snow melting abilities, even in frigid and below freezing temperatures. We enjoyed items that were safe for pets to walk upon and those that would not harm grass and plants after use. Finally, we liked salts that arrived in large pails or buckets, making them appropriate for multiple uses throughout winter.

The best ice melt salt we tried was the Green Gobbler Fast Acting De-icing Salt, which ships in pails as large as 35 pounds and is highly effective in frigid temperatures as low as -10 degrees fahrenheit. It uses a relatively non-toxic variety of magnesium chloride, which is sourced from the ocean, that is safe for pets and the environment. We also liked the small pellet shape of the granules, which are able to be used in commercial spreaders. Keep reading to learn more about the Green Gobbler Fast Acting De-icing Salt and the other items on this list.

Top 6 Best De-icing Salt

 #1  Green Gobbler Fast Acting De-icing Salt

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: Highly effective on driveways, asphalt and concrete walkways, that is relatively safe for pets to walk on and can work in ultra-frigid temperatures up to -10 degrees fahrenheit.

Pros
  • Great for frigid temperatures
  • Safe for pets
  • Functions in ice spreaders
Cons
  • Leaves residue if over-applied
  • Can harden if not stored properly
  • Lid can be difficult to remove

This Green Gobbler Fast Acting De-icing Salt works well in extremely cold temperatures, as frigid as -10 degrees fahrenheit, and features a formula derived from ocean-sourced magnesium chloride, which is safe to use in multi-pet households and should not harm grass or walkways. It can be purchased in large pails, up to 35 pounds, and can be used in ice spreaders.

Though this product is rated to last a long time, several years, it can harden throughout the year if it isn’t stored properly, so be careful. Additionally, we found that it can leave a residue after use, but only if you over apply. In other words, a little goes a long way. The best ice scraper is another favorite winter accessory that is very handy.

 #2  Natural Rapport Pet Friendly Ice Melt De-icing Salt

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: Eco-friendly product that is extremely safe for pets to walk on and to accidentally ingest, with a formula that is okay to use on metal and wood, in addition to asphalt and concrete.

Pros
  • Best for pets
  • Safe on metal and wood
  • Easy to apply shaker bottle
Cons
  • Pails max out at 18 lb
  • Can clump together during storage
  • Can stain carpets if tracked indoors

This Natural Rapport Pet Friendly Ice Melt is an eco-friendly formula that is manufactured using primarily organic ingredients. As such, it is the best ice melt for pets, in addition to being safe for children. The product also excels on a wide variety of surface types, including concrete, asphalt, wood and metal. We also liked the easy-to-apply shaker bottle design, which made short work out of the application process.

Though this formula is extremely efficient, the pails that are available to purchase max out at 18 pounds, whereas our top pick maxes out at 35 pounds. Also, this product can stain indoor carpeting if an animal or person tracks some of it inside. For your car, try the best de icer car spray.

 #3  Redmond Ice Slicer De-icing Salt

Award: Biggest Bag

WHY WE LIKE IT: Bags max out at 40 lb, the most available on this list, and boast a formula that melts ice and provides stable traction, thanks to an ingredient list that features more than 60 minerals.

Pros
  • Provides excellent traction
  • Contains over 60 de-icing minerals
  • Free of dyes and polymers
Cons
  • Can leave reddish residue
  • Melts fast, but covers slightly lower surface area than top picks
  • Can corrode metals, such as aluminum

This Redmond Ice Slicer De-icing Salt is chock full of ice melting minerals and related ingredients, over 60 in total, and does an excellent job at de-icing and at providing stable traction while walking. The formula is completely free of harmful dyes, polymers and ureas, making it a decent option for multi-pet households, and the bags max out at 40 pounds of product, which is the highest metric on this list.

This is a robust and fast-acting product, but it can corrode metals, particularly aluminum, so be careful while using. Additionally, it can leave a reddish residue on concrete if you over apply. You may want to try the best de icer for sidewalks instead.

 #4  Harris Safe Melt De-icing Salt

Award: Lowest Functioning Temperature

WHY WE LIKE IT: Excels with concrete, including new installations, and is effective down to -13 degrees fahrenheit, with an organic and eco-friendly formula that is safe for pets.

Pros
  • Best for Concrete
  • Round pellet is pet-friendly
  • Organic and eco-friendly formula
Cons
  • Comes with a scoop, but you should purchase a shaker
  • Not for metal, such as aluminum walkways
  • One size available, 15 lb

This Harris Safe Melt De-icing Salt features a formula that is primarily composed of ocean-sourced magnesium chloride, which is particularly effective on concrete and excels with the de-icing of new concrete, which can be finicky. This product is eco-friendly, organic and safe for pets, in addition to being effective in temperatures down to -13 degrees fahrenheit.

Though this ice melter does an efficient job on concrete, it isn’t particularly effective on metal, such as aluminum, as it can cause corrosion. Also, there is only one size available, a 15 pound pail, which is significantly less than some of the picks on this list. Don’t forget the best long ice scraper for all of your ice challenges.

 #5  Snow Joe AZ-25-EB Melt-2-Go De-icing Salt

Award: Longest Shelf Life

WHY WE LIKE IT: Treated with an anti-caking agent which gives it a spectacular shelf life, with a formula that is enhanced with calcium magnesium acetate, which acts as an anti-corrosion agent, making this product great for aluminum and other metals.

Pros
  • Best for Concrete
  • Round pellet is pet-friendly
  • Safe with vegetation
Cons
  • Jagged edges, so not as safe for pets as some picks
  • Does not come with scoop and could use shaker design
  • Can leave a residue if overapplied

This Snow Joe AZ-25-EB Melt-2-Go De-icing Salt features a longer than average shelf life, which should last several years, thanks to being treated with an anti-caking agent. The formula is also enhanced with calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), which helps to resist corrosion when treating metal, such as aluminum walkways. We also liked that this product excels as a pre-treater and that the formula is safe to use around vegetation.

Though this item is safe to use with grass and plants, it does have jagged edges, and not a rounded design, so it is not the safest product to use around pets. Additionally, these bags did not come with a scoop and, to be honest, would be best suited to a shaker design, for ease of application. For the fall months, you may want to also pick up the best backpack sprayer for weeding.

 #6  Safe Paw Ice Melter De-icing Salt

Award: Safest for Children

WHY WE LIKE IT: Safest formula on list for children and pets, which can be accidentally ingested, with non-corrosive properties that is great for metal, such as aluminum walkways, in addition to concrete and asphalt.

Pros
  • Extremely easy to apply
  • Non-corrosive formula
  • Great traction after use
Cons
  • Maxes out at 25 lb
  • Works down to -2 F, while many on list work down to -10 F
  • Not for new concrete

This Safe Paw Ice Melter De-icing Salt is an extremely safe formula that doesn’t contain any salt whatsoever, so it is great for pets and will not cause any illness if accidentally ingested. This formula also contains anti-corrosion agents, making it excel with metal, such as aluminum walkways, in addition to standard sidewalk surface types. We also liked that it contains proprietary traction agents, which truly helps with walking after use, and the easy-to-apply shaker design.

Though this is an efficient product, the lack of salt does impact how effective it can be at frigid temperatures, as it is only rated to be used down to -2 degrees fahrenheit. Also, though it can be effective on concrete, it is not for use with new concrete walkways of less than one year old.

How We Decided

To help narrow down to the above list, we tested, first and foremost, for de-icing capabilities, looking for products that truly excelled at melting ice and snow quickly and efficiently, via sodium or a combination of minerals. To that end, we preferred formulas that helped to create a stable traction after the melt, which can assist with walking, and items that were rated to work with a wide variety of surface types, including concrete, asphalt, wood and, in some cases, metal.

As far as application goes, we preferred items that arrived in shaker-type containers, which truly helped us to treat a large surface area in the shortest amount of time possible. If a product came in a standard bag or pail, without a shaker design, we liked when it came with some type of scoop, which can achieve a similar result.

Safety was also a primary concern. The best de icing salt products are ice melters which work better than rock salt. They work by reducing the freezing point of water and are typically made of chloride calcium, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, or magnesium chloride. We focused on less corrosive ice melters that were more environmentally friendly, and ended up picking products that were safe for pets to walk upon and those that were certified to be eco-friendly, often using organic ingredients. This made it so the ice melt salt did not harm nearby flora, including lawn grass, after use. Finally, we liked formulas that could function in frigid temperatures, as low as -13 degrees fahrenheit.

De-icing Salt Buying Guide

 

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Pre-treatment
    Pre-treatment can be highly effective in beginning the melting process before snow falls or ice even forms. All of the products we picked are effective, to varying degrees, in a pre-treatment capacity. All you have to do is treat your desired surface area when snow is on the way, or when temperatures are about to dip below freezing, and ice will be prevented from forming. This can be extremely helpful for those looking to avoid traipsing around in the snow and ice during the winter months.
  2. Surface Area Types
    Some products excel with certain surface area types while remaining less effective than others. For instance, certain formulas that are highly effective with concrete and asphalt can contain corrosive agents that can cause damage, over time, to aluminum walkways and other metal installations. Some items can also damage nearby trees, plants and grass, so be careful to choose accordingly and be sure to thoroughly read the directions.
  3. Safe for Pets and Children
    If you have pets or young children, you are going to want to choose a safe and non-toxic formula that won’t cause serious injury if accidentally ingested. Additionally, the shape of the pellets can impact how safe it is for animals to walk on treated areas after use. In general, round-shaped pellets are safer than traditional jagged pellets, as the latter can get stuck in paws, causing pain and damage.

De-icing Salt FAQs

What is the best salt to melt ice?

This varies, depending on what you are looking for. Calcium chloride is generally considered the most effective, by a slim margin, though it tends to have corrosive properties when interacting with metal, in addition to being somewhat toxic. We prefer a magnesium chloride based product, such as our top pick, as we find these formulas to be nearly as effective as calcium chloride, while being safer.

What is the best salt to use on a driveway?

Assuming your driveway is made from concrete or asphalt, we’d have to go with our top pick, Green Gobbler Fast Acting De-icing Salt, or our number four pick, Harris Safe Melt De-icing Salt. Both of these will get the job done quickly, though any of the above items will do great work.

How can I keep my driveway ice free?

We would recommend that you do some pre-treatment, which involves you sprinkling your preferred product on the driveway just before freezing temperatures or a large snowfall.

Should I put salt on my driveway?

Being as how most driveways are made from concrete or asphalt, any of the above products should be safe to use on a driveway, with little to no chance to cause accidental damage. You can sprinkle some on as pre-treatment, before a snow fall, or in order to melt already fallen snow or frozen ice.

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Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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