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Calcium Chloride vs Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt: Which to Choose

Calcium Chloride vs Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt: Which to Choose

Justin Rollin

If you're a facility or commercial property manager, it's essential for you to understand the pros and cons of calcium chloride vs magnesium chloride and which will benefit your specific property. You should consider the surfaces you will be applying your ice melt to, as well as your budget and your environmental impact. In this article, we'll explore the unique properties and benefits of both magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, helping you make an informed decision for your ice melt needs.

What Is Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt?

What Is Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt?

Magnesium chloride ice melt is an increasingly popular choice of ice melt due to its environmental friendliness. It is a fast-acting option that melts ice before it forms while leaving little residue in its wake and saving you clean-up time. It's also not irritating when it comes in contact with skin. The biggest drawback is the cost of magnesium chloride ice melt, which is higher than traditional rock salt.

Pros of Magnesium Chloride for Ice Melting

  • It is environmentally friendly and will not harm surrounding plant life and critters;
  • It is fast-acting and yields immediate results;
  • It is not irritating to the skin if exposed to it;
  • Leaves little residue;
  • Works at temperatures below zero degrees.

Cons of Magnesium Chloride for Ice Melting

  • It is one of the most expensive ice melts;
  • Sometimes there are supply issues for this product as it is not always easy to get.
Looking for an Effective Ice Melting Solution?

Looking for an Effective Ice Melting Solution?

Why not try magnesium chloride? Explore Ninja De-Icer's premium magnesium chloride products and experience superior ice-melting power.

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What Is Calcium Chloride Ice Melt?

Calcium chloride is a widely used snow and ice management solution often favored by governments, large businesses, and municipalities. It's very efficient at melting ice immediately after application while preventing more ice from forming, and can remain effective even in extremely cold temperatures. Calcium chloride is also popular thanks to its more affordable price. However, there are a few downsides to this de-icer — primarily its harmful effects on metals, pets, and plants.

Pros of Calcium Chloride for Ice Melting

  • It is effective in temperatures starting as low as -25ºF;
  • It has a large melting capacity and works quickly;
  • According to the EPA, it is environmentally safe;
  • It is not very damaging to surfaces like concrete when compared to many other ice melts.

Cons of Calcium Chloride for Ice Melting

  • It can be damaging to plant life if overapplied;
  • It is more expensive than rock salt.
Struggling with Ice? Discover the Power of Calcium Chloride!

Struggling with Ice? Discover the Power of Calcium Chloride!

Try Ninja De-Icer's premium calcium chloride products and conquer icy conditions with ease.

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Top Calcium Chloride Products for Ice Melt

Explore the top-rated calcium and magnesium chloride ice melt products, your go-to solutions for effective ice and snow management:

  • Sizzle Premium Ice Melter: With its unique pink blend of sodium chloride and calcium chloride, is designed to excel even in the harshest weather conditions. Capable of rapidly melting snow and ice, it remains effective at temperatures as low as -25°F. This cost-effective, user-friendly product is the ideal choice for ensuring safety on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, and pathways, making it a dependable option for the coldest conditions.
  • GreenMelt® Ice Melt Blend: This is a top-tier professional ice melter formulated with a combination of sodium and calcium chlorides, ensuring rapid ice and snow melting. Its unique green tint facilitates precise application even in adverse weather conditions. Effective down to -5°F, this high-quality product outperforms regular rock salt thanks to the added magnesium chloride. Moreover, it is designed to minimize staining when used as directed, making it a reliable choice to combat winter's toughest challenges.
  • Thunder Melt Ice Melter: This is a high-performance liquid salt melt designed to tackle snow and ice effectively, even in frigid conditions down to -16°F. Its eye-catching violet color ensures precise and visible spreading. Thunder Melt stands out with its unique blend of ASTM-1 grade rock salt treated with a proprietary liquid, Organic Carbohydrate, and a Corrosion Inhibitor coating. This combination not only provides fast and long-lasting results but also minimizes bounce and corrosiveness, making it an eco-friendly choice for effective de-icing.

Top Magnesium Chloride Products for Ice Melt

Top Magnesium Chloride Products for Ice Melt
  • Lightning Premium Ice Melter: The 50 Lb Lightning Premium Ice Melter Bag is a powerful ice melt solution containing a blend of sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, a corrosion inhibitor, and a proprietary mixture that ensures superior ice melting performance, effective even in temperatures as low as -20°F. This ice melter is so powerful, you can use 50% less to achieve the desired results, and with its aqua-colored granules, this environmentally-friendly product is easily spread.
  • Jiffy Melt® Ice Melt Blend: This is a premium ice-melting product trusted by professionals, renowned for its exceptional performance in cold conditions. With a blend of sodium chloride and magnesium chloride, it excels at lowering the working temperature, ensuring rapid ice breakup. Effective down to -10°F, Jiffy Melt® outperforms standard rock salt, making it a cost-effective and practical choice for commercial applications where reliable ice melting is crucial.
  • Dead Sea MAG: This is a powerful magnesium chloride ice melt harvested directly from the Dead Sea. It features a unique, spherical pellet shape that is popular for its ability to “bore” into snow and ice. This will create a layer of melted snow and ice underneath the top layer, which can then be easily removed. This is a non-toxic, environmentally-friendly solution that’s safe for people, animals, and concrete, and is effective down to -13ºF.

Calcium Chloride vs Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt: a Comparison Review

Calcium Chloride vs Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt: a Comparison Review

There are several pros and cons to keep in mind when considering magnesium chloride vs calcium chloride ice melt, as every area and situation is unique and may require different products. Below we've listed some of the primary benefits of both de-icers.

1. Cost: Effective Ice Melting with Less Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride ice melt is applied at higher concentrations (32-38%) than magnesium chloride (21-28%). This higher concentration translates to greater potency, requiring less calcium chloride ice melt to achieve equivalent results. Consequently, this not only enhances the efficiency of ice melting but also translates into significant savings in both labor and product costs.

More cost-effective: Calcium chloride

2. Temperature: Calcium Chloride for Low-Temperature Ice Penetration

2. Temperature: Calcium Chloride for Low-Temperature Ice Penetration

When it comes to melting ice, both calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are effective ice melters. However, they have different temperature ranges at which they excel. Calcium chloride is renowned for its ability to generate heat and melt ice at extremely low temperatures, even as low as -25°F. Choosing between the two ultimately depends on the specific temperature conditions you are dealing with and the level of ice melt performance you require.

Lower temperature: Calcium chloride

3. Effectiveness: Calcium Chloride vs Magnesium Chloride

Calcium chloride de-icer does not just penetrate the ice better in freezing temperatures, it will also actually melt the ice significantly faster than magnesium chloride. According to a study by SGS Testing Services, within the first five minutes of ice melt application at 0ºF, calcium chloride will melt 40% more ice than magnesium chloride and 75% more after 30 minutes pass.

Faster ice melt: Calcium chloride

4. Eco-Friendliness: Magnesium Chloride's Environmental Advantages

Any ice melt that contains chloride will do some level of damage to concrete and metals, though the degree of corrosion will depend on the amount of chloride in the product. Both calcium and magnesium chloride contain less chloride than some other ice-melting alternatives, but will still be corrosive.

The real difference between the two is that, unlike calcium chloride, magnesium chloride de-icer is not as harmful to lawns, pets, vegetation, or people. Though you should not apply magnesium chloride directly to plants or grass, you can breathe easier when applying it to sidewalks, parking lots, or similar surfaces, as it is considered much safer.

More eco-friendly: Magnesium chloride

Calcium Chloride vs. Magnesium Chloride
Feature Calcium Chloride Magnesium Chloride
Cost More cost-effective due to higher concentration. Less cost-effective.
Temperature Effective in extreme temperatures as low as -25°F. Effective in colder temperatures.
Effectiveness Melts ice faster; 40% more in first 5 minutes. Slower ice melting compared to calcium chloride.
Eco-Friendliness Can be harmful to lawns, pets, and vegetation. Safer for lawns, pets, vegetation, and people.


How Should You Store Calcium and Magnesium Ice Melts?

Properly storing calcium chloride and magnesium chloride ice melts is crucial to maintaining their effectiveness over time. These ice melts should both be stored where they cannot come into contact with any moisture, as they will start to absorb the moisture over time which will result in clumping of the product and less effectiveness. To properly store ice melts, keep them in a cool, dry place, away from the elements.

The Best Ways to Minimize the Environmental Effects

The Best Ways to Minimize the Environmental Effects

To minimize the negative environmental impact of ice melters like calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, it's essential to use them judiciously. Start by applying them sparingly, following the manufacturer's recommended dosage. Avoid excessive usage, as it can lead to runoff and potential harm to nearby vegetation and aquatic ecosystems. 

Finally, always clean up excess ice melt after the ice has melted to prevent it from being carried away by rainwater or snowmelt into storm drains. The longer it sits on a surface, the more damage it will do, so remove the salty slush ASAP. To avoid damaging grass and other plant life, be sure not to plow the snow containing ice melt onto the grass.

Choosing the Right Ice Melt: Calcium Chloride vs. Magnesium Chloride

When it comes to the choice between calcium chloride and magnesium chloride ice melt products, the decision ultimately hinges on knowing which is best for your unique application, whether that be a municipality, a retail parking lot, or anything else. Both offer effective solutions for combating icy conditions, with calcium chloride excelling in extreme cold and magnesium chloride proving more eco-friendly. 

Don't forget, Ninja De-Icer is your trusted de-icer provider, offering a wide range of de-icing solutions to suit your needs. Contact us today for personalized recommendations and to get a quote!