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De-Icers Efficiency Overview: What Melts Ice the Fastest?

De-Icers Efficiency Overview: What Melts Ice the Fastest?

Justin Rollin

As winter rages on, the challenge of icy surfaces remains a prominent concern for everyone. That's where Ninja De-Icer, a leading provider of liquid de-icers and bulk rock salt, steps in. Join us as we dive into the fascinating world of de-icers, learn what makes ice melt faster, and discover how Ninja De-Icer's innovative solutions can help your winter ice and snow management.

What Are Common Compounds in De-Icer Products?

What Are Common Compounds in De-Icer Products?

De-Icer refers to substances commonly used to accelerate the melting of ice and snow. Check out each product and you'll see that the list of materials used in each is very similar.

Here are some of the most common compounds used in de-icing products:

Of the above materials, rock salt and calcium chloride are the most popular.

Best De-Icing Products

Below are some top de-icing products to help you tackle winter's icy challenges with ease.

Thunder Melt Ice Melter

Thunder Melt Ice Melter is a top and highly effective solution for combatting everything winter throws at you. With a potent chemical composition of sodium chloride and calcium chloride, it can melt snow and ice efficiently, even in frigid temperatures as low as -16°F. Its bright violet color aids in visual spreading, ensuring precise application. Thunder Melt is the go-to choice for quick burn, high-performance ice melting that works fast and lasts long, making winter weather management a breeze.

Lightning Premium Ice Melter

Lightning Premium Ice Melter is another of our favorite ice melts for tackling ice and snow. Boasting a powerful blend of sodium chloride pre-treated with magnesium chloride and coated with a corrosion inhibitor, it is expertly designed to swiftly and efficiently melt ice. With an impressive effectiveness down to -20°F, Lightning Premium Ice Melter ensures superior performance in the harshest winter conditions. Its distinctive aqua color aids in precise application.

Ice Away Rock Salt

Ice Away Rock Salt

Ice Away Rock Salt is another highly effective de-icer, prioritizing both ease of use and efficient ice melting. Featuring specially-sized, chunky halite rock salt crystals, it's designed for maximum effectiveness and straightforward spreading, making it a practical choice for various applications. It’s most effective down to 5°F. For a simple and reliable solution for ice and snow, Ice Away Rock Salt is a top pick, particularly in parking lot applications.

Headwaters® HOT Brine Liquid De-Icer

Headwaters® HOT Brine Liquid De-Icer is a leading and highly efficient ice-melting solution. Utilizing a potent combination of sodium chloride and calcium chloride, this eco-friendly ice melter incorporates the Headwaters® HOT liquid additive, while maintaining the cost-effectiveness of regular salt brine. What sets it apart is its exceptional performance, capable of melting up to 57% more ice at temperatures as low as <0°F compared to straight salt brine alone. When it comes to battling extreme winter conditions, Headwaters® HOT Brine Liquid De-Icer is the go-to choice for unmatched effectiveness.

How Ice Melts Work 


How Ice Melts Work

Generally speaking, all ice melters work similarly. They reduce the freezing point of snow or ice and transform this mixture into a liquid or semi-liquid slush. Solid chemical salts break through the snow or ice and result in a brine solution. This brine works its way underneath the ice or snow, helping to break down the bond it established with the surface. As soon as it's loose, the ice or snow can be removed more easily. 

In many cases, these materials are applied in anticipation of snow or ice. This proactivity helps to prevent the bond from forming on the surface and melts the ice and snow as it comes into contact with the brine. Despite common de-icing materials working similarly, their performance varies drastically. Some determining factors include speed of melting, how much material is applied, and the duration of the melting action. 

Factors Affecting De-Icer Efficiency

Let's delve into some of the factors that impact the efficiency of de-icers.

1. Temperature

Let's first examine de-icer effectiveness by looking at the range of temperatures in which it can provide de-icing action. The “practical” lowest temperature limits for these materials mean that the product is effective within 15-20 minutes of being applied. Here's additional information on the effectiveness temperatures of different types of de-icing materials (ranked):

De-Icer Temperature
Calcium Chloride -25º Fahrenheit
Magnesium Chloride -20º Fahrenheit
Calcium Magnesium Acetate 20º Fahrenheit
Potassium Chloride 12º Fahrenheit
Urea 15º Fahrenheit
Sodium Chloride 5-15º Fahrenheit
Various Blends Ranges from -20º to 0º


In terms of temperature adaptability, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are the most effective, particularly for lower temperature ranges where other de-icers' efficiency diminishes.

2. Penetration Rates  

Let's look at different penetration rates for some of the types of de-icers:

  • Calcium chloride de-icers penetrate ice at all temperatures at a rate that's twice as fast as other de-icers;
  • Sodium chloride de-icers penetrate ice at lower rates than calcium chloride. However, they do perform similarly to calcium chloride over 45-60 minutes at milder temperatures of 15-25º Fahrenheit. But they are substantially inferior compared to calcium chloride at 5º Fahrenheit or lower;
  • Urea and potassium chloride are significantly less active than calcium chloride and sodium chlorides, and they become nonpenetrating at 15º Fahrenheit and lower.

3. Ice Melt Process

What melts ice the fastest? This is a common question that's considered when choosing salt for de-icing. The most effective de-icers take action quickly, helping to penetrate the snow or ice by undercutting the material.

There are differences in how fast these compounds turn into a de-icing brine at low temperatures. Both calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are liquid in their natural states. In addition, when the solid forms of these compounds come into contact with water they work swiftly and naturally release heat.

As soon as calcium chloride and magnesium chloride come into contact with the snow, they pick up water and form a strong brine. By emitting heat, they are able to provide additional ice-melting effects, creating more water, which in turn creates more brine. This process repeats until the material is gone.

Compound Natural State Action Upon Contact with Water Ice Melting Method
Calcium Chloride Liquid Forms a strong brine and releases heat. Melts ice by heat emission.
Magnesium Chloride Liquid Forms a strong brine and releases heat. Melts ice by heat emission.
Potassium Chloride Solid Forms a brine solution and absorbs heat. Melts ice by absorbing environmental heat.
Sodium Chloride Solid Forms a brine solution and absorbs heat. Melts ice by absorbing environmental heat.


4. Other Factors to Consider 

Other factors include:

  • How much material is needed
  • How long will each de-icer work
  • The shape of the de-icer

Look at the volume of ice each can melt pound-for-pound within normal temperature conditions over a reasonable amount of time. When you are reviewing the materials based on volume, most users will first choose calcium chloride followed by magnesium chloride, then sodium chloride. 

In addition, you can consider how long each de-icer will provide ice melting action. The longer the action, the fewer applications you'll need. Natural state liquid de-icers such as calcium chloride and magnesium chloride will continue to work the longest. Finally, look at the shape of the granules. Round particles have a smaller surface which means they're more effective at boring down vertically instead of horizontally. 

To Sum Up: What Melts Ice the Fastest?

In conclusion, salt melts ice the fastest. You can use some combination of sodium chloride, calcium chloride, and/or magnesium chloride. This combination will work more effectively than plain rock salt. 

People buy various types of salts to melt ice. Even though rock salt is cheaper to buy, it can be more corrosive to concrete in addition to vehicles. Ice melt blends will melt the ice faster, and it's less corrosive to cars and asphalt.

Looking for De-Icing Solutions?

Looking for De-Icing Solutions?

See the must-have products for a hassle-free winter with Ninja De-Icer. Don't miss out on these winter helpers!

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Environmental Impacts of De-Icers

There has been an increasing emphasis on the environmental impact of de-icers. Nearly all studies have concluded that factoring in the alternative of hazardous solutions, the benefits that come from de-icers outweigh the negatives. Despite this, it's important to address these concerns. 

The residue is one thing to consider. Of the materials discussed, the only ones that can potentially leave a solid residue on internal flooring are de-icers that naturally occur as a solid (e.g. sodium chloride). The impact on vegetation is another consideration. All de-icing materials can potentially damage plants, however, magnesium chloride is the safest option for vegetation.  

The effect on concrete should be considered as well. Products with calcium chloride tend to have a lesser impact on concrete.  

Unveiling Ice-Melting Secrets with Ninja De-Icer

The exploration of the fastest ice-melting solution has led us to valuable insights. We've learned that the choice between sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride can significantly impact efficiency. Ninja De-Icer, a trusted provider of de-icers, offers a range of solutions to cater to your winter weather needs. 

To explore these options further and to get a quote, don't hesitate to contact us. Remember, when it comes to conquering icy challenges, Ninja De-Icer is your ally in making ice and snow melt fastest and ensuring safer winter conditions!