Best & worst driveway ice melters

Don't Waste Your Money

With wintry weather hitting the Tri-State again, many people are wondering which driveway ice melters are most effective, and whether windshield de-icers really work.

We Put Melters to the Test

I have done several tests over the years, comparing different types of ice melter on the same snowy and icy sidewalk, with the same results each time.

This is one case where products claiming they are "tough"really do live up to their claims. 

The problem is that salt, which is cheap and fairly effective, loses its effectiveness once the temperature drops much below 20 degrees.  And that's where you really need it.

The Winner is....

So based on results of three separate "Don't Waste Your Money" comparisons in the past 5 years, here is what we found.

  • 1st Place: Chemical Pellets ("Prestone Driveway Heat," "Fire and Ice," others)
  • 2nd Place: Environmentally Safe Melters ("Safe Step," others)
  • 3rd Place: Rock Salt, a great value, but simply not effective below 15 degrees

This is why road crews add calcium chloride to the salt they spread on roads.  Many of the chemical pellets contain calcium chloride or similar additives.

Which Can Ruin Your Sidewalk?

You might think chemical melters might be hazardous to your side walk, but most of them are safe for concrete and asphalt. 
It's actually rocks alt that causes the most harm to concrete and metal.

If you are concerned about plants and your lawn, however, the environmentally friendly melters are the way to go. 
They break down, causing no damage to plants or animals, and in many cases will work down to zero degrees.

Windshield Ice Melters
I have done a separate test of windshield ice melters. CLICK HERE to read those results.
As always, don't waste your money.
Dont Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
Follow John on Twitter @DWYM


Print this article Back to Top