Choosing Ice Melt

Ice melt selection is often based on many factors.  Different variables affect which ice melt product is best for your application.  Some products are better for some conditions than others.  Below are categories that are most often considered.

Find more detailed descriptions of characteristics below.

Ice Melt Key

This is the best product rating.This is a middle product rating.This is an average product rating.
CharacteristicCope Performance BlendCalcium PelletsMAG PelletsHalite Rock Salt


Performance blend with liquid coatingCalcium ChlorideMagnesium ChlorideSodium Chloride

Ideal Use

Melting needed quickly and over timeMelting in less than an hourMelting near vegetation or petsLarge areas away from vegetation with time to melt

Spread Rate

4oz/sq yd3oz/sq yd3oz/sq yd5oz/sq yd

Melting Temperature

Down to -25°Down to -25°Down to -13°Down to +15°

Melting Speed


Melting Duration


Spread Flow



CleanMost CleanMost CleanLeast Clean

Pet/Plant Safety






Not all ice melt products perform at their peak in all wintry temperatures.  Basic rock salt, also known as halite, is only effective down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you are anticipating colder temperatures, then other products should be used.  Magnesium pellets work down to negative 13 degrees while Cope Performance Blend and calcium pellets are still melting all the way down to negative 25 degrees!

If your biggest concern is melting ice in a hurry, the best ice melt product to spread is calcium pellets.  They have the fastest melting speed followed by Cope Performance Blend and magnesium pellets.  Rock slat is the slowest, but it can boast a long melting duration.

Consumers are often concerned about protecting pets and plant life in the areas where ice melt will be applied.  Some products are safer for pets and plants than others.  Rock salt is not recommended for areas where pets frequent.  The best option for protecting animals and landscaping is magnesium pellets.  Cope Salt also carries other products specifically formulated to preserve nature and vegetation.

It is not surprising that basic rock salt is the least expensive ice melt.  If your only concern is a good reliable product at the lowest price, then you can’t go wrong with rock salt.  More expensive ice melts offer other advantages such as those described above.

As you can see, not all ice melt products are the same.  Different ingredients influence their effectiveness and cost.  Assess your needs and priorities when choosing ice melt for your property.  The chart on this page is designed to clearly show the differences between products and aid in the selection process.