How Much Does Dry Ice Cost?

Last Updated on February 22, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Dry ice, the solid form of carbon dioxide, has become an increasingly popular tool for cooling, freezing, and preservation applications. But how much does this specialty ice actually cost? This article will break down the key factors influencing dry ice pricing so you can better understand what goes into determining the cost and get the best deal.

How Much Does Dry Ice Cost?

Several factors impact the overall cost per pound of dry ice, which can range from around $1 to $5 per pound on average:

Production Costs – Dry ice production requires specialized equipment to compress and cool carbon dioxide gas into a solid block form. This involves high pressures and very low temperatures, increasing manufacturing expenses.

Transportation Costs – To maintain its frozen state, dry ice must be transported in insulated vehicles under strict temperature regulation. This cold chain transportation adds to overhead costs.

Supply and Demand – Areas with limited local dry ice production see higher prices due to transportation costs for the product. When demand is high, temporary shortages can also drive up pricing.

Quantity and FormBuying in bulk saves money, as does purchasing dry ice in large blocks rather than small pellets which require more processing.

Supplier Business Costs – Pricing factors in costs to the supplier like storage, staffing, facilities, and equipment maintenance. Larger suppliers enjoy economies of scale.

SavingAdvice.com reports that some dry ice providers sell 50lbs block of dry ice for about $35.00. Some other stores sell pallets of dry ice by the pound as well, and the cost varies.

Cryocarb.com states that dry ice is generally priced by weight, but the exact cost varies from one retailer to the next. On average, the price ranges between $1.00 to $3.00 per pound. Some retailers also offer discounts on bulk purchases.

CKSupply.com sells dry ice pellets at $1.50 per pound, with a hazmat fee of $5.95 included in the pricing. They also sell Cee Kay branded styrofoam coolers (Small, Medium, or Large) online or in-store at $12.00 each.

Typical Dry Ice Prices: Retail vs. Wholesale

Retail pricing for small dry ice purchases typically ranges from $1.50 to $2 per pound. This covers the supplier’s costs when selling single bags or small blocks to individuals.

Wholesale rates for bulk dry ice average $0.50 to $1.50 per pound for large blocks or pallets holding hundreds of pounds. Buying in bulk means big savings but requires proper storage space and handling equipment.

Online purchases can offer lower prices by consolidating orders and passing on savings. But shipping costs add to the total price.

Geographic region greatly impacts pricing too. Expect to pay more in areas far from production plants due to transportation expenses. Always compare local retailer rates.

What is Dry Ice and Why Use It?

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2). At room temperature and standard atmospheric pressure, CO2 transitions directly from a solid to a gas through sublimation without passing through a liquid phase. This unique property gives dry ice the advantage of being cold enough to freeze items without leaving behind any moisture residue as it changes from solid to gas.

Compared to regular ice, dry ice has much lower temperatures, typically -109.3°F (-78.5°C). This extreme cold makes dry ice ideal for applications like rapid freezing, cold storage, and cooling. Key uses include:

  • Shipping perishable items like food, pharmaceuticals, and biological samples. Dry ice prolongs freshness.
  • Special effects like fog and smoke machines for events or entertainment.
  • Flash freezing food or laboratory samples for preservation.
  • Industrial cleaning uses like blasting away residue. The low temp makes it very effective.
  • Cooling applications from festive drinks to emergency services. It provides rapid cooling power.

The lack of liquid residue also makes dry ice easier to clean up and reduces the risk of damage to surfaces.

Where To Buy Dry Ice

Dry ice can be purchased from:

  • Local gas supply and industrial gas companies – Often the most convenient source for smaller needs.
  • National chains like Airgas, one of the largest dry ice suppliers with retail locations across the US.
  • Online marketplaces like Dry Ice Pros and Continental Carbonic sell and ship dry ice in various quantities.
  • Direct from manufacturers for very large bulk orders.

When selecting a supplier, check delivery options, minimum order sizes, and reliability. Having a consistent source helps manage costs.

How Much Dry Ice You Need

Estimating the required amount of dry ice for your application prevents waste and unnecessary costs from over-purchasing. Key factors determining dry ice needs include:

  • Cooling space or volume dimensions – Larger spaces require more.
  • Perishable item sizes and quantities – More items means needing more dry ice.
  • Cooling time – Longer cooling durations require larger amounts to avoid fully evaporating.
  • Desired temperature – Colder target temps need higher dry ice ratios.
  • Insulation – Well insulated environments retain cold longer and need less dry ice over time.

Suppliers can provide dry ice calculators or advise on ideal amounts for intended uses. Monitoring temperatures and adjusting future purchases helps dial in your perfect dry ice quantity.

If you need dry ice for a wedding, then also read our articles about the cost of a wedding planner, a wedding DJ, or a wedding officiant.

Dry Ice Storage Can Impact Costs

Proper storage saves money by preserving dry ice for longer periods before it fully sublimates. Key tips include:

  • Use properly insulated containers like thick styrofoam coolers or insulated plastic bins.
  • Minimize airspace for less sublimation.
  • Maintain recommended storage temperatures like -109°F or colder.
  • Handle blocks as little as possible and don’t leave lids open.
  • Separate into smaller containers for access without warming the main supply.
  • Plan applications shortly after delivery or pickup to maximize use.

Waste from poor storage and handling adds unnecessary costs. Invest in decent storage solutions and follow best practices for maximizing dry ice lifespan.

Safety Tips for Working With Dry Ice

Dry Ice in a GlassMishandling dry ice poses safety risks and the potential for injury or damage requiring expensive repairs and medical care. Follow these precautions:

  • Use insulated gloves and eye protection when handling. Direct contact can cause instant frostbite.
  • Only touch edges of blocks, never the surface.
  • Avoid enclosed spaces without ventilation to prevent dangerous CO2 buildup.
  • Never ingest – dry ice can cause severe internal injuries.
  • Store in ventilated areas and follow manufacturer safety guidelines.
  • Properly label and secure during transport.

By safely handling dry ice, you avoid preventable accidents and associated costs. Always exercise extreme caution when working with dry ice.

Saving Money on Dry Ice Purchases

Here are great tips for reducing your overall dry ice costs:

  • Buy in bulk whenever possible – larger volumes mean lower per-pound pricing.
  • Compare multiple local supplier rates and negotiate for deals on large orders.
  • Consider joining with others needing dry ice to buy bulk quantities at a discount.
  • Purchase larger block sizes instead of pellets – requires less processing to make.
  • Discuss options like melted dry ice to increase bang for your buck if the application allows.
  • Look at alternatives like gel packs for smaller cooling needs that may have lower costs.
  • Properly store and handle dry ice to reduce sublimation waste so you maximize use from each purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of 1 kg of dry ice?

The retail price for 1 kg of dry ice is typically $1.50 to $2. Buying in larger bulk sizes of 10 kg or more can reduce the per-kilogram price of dry ice delivered to around $1 to $1.50.

What is the price of 20 kg dry ice?

Expect to pay between $30 and $40 for 20 kg of dry ice from most major retail suppliers. Purchasing whole pallet volumes can lower the per-kilogram rate. Always compare local market pricing.

Is dry ice cheaper than ice?

In most cases, yes. The production process and transportation for large refrigerated blocks of ice adds costs compared to dry ice.

For smaller everyday uses, regular ice may be cheaper and more convenient. But for large volume cooling needs, dry ice offers a very cost-effective alternative to traditional ice.

Final Words

  • Dry ice provides unique cooling advantages but costs more than regular ice.
  • Wholesale and bulk purchase rates offer the most savings.
  • Proper storage and handling prevents waste and unnecessary costs.
  • Compare local supplier pricing and negotiate rates for the best deals.
  • Applications, quantity, and transportation are key pricing factors.
  • Exercise caution when working with dry ice to avoid injuries and damage.

With some research and price comparison, you can find reasonably affordable dry ice for your specific purposes, especially when buying in bulk.

Just be sure to handle dry ice safely and calculate your ideal quantity to avoid waste and maximize the value you get from each purchase.

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