Dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) is a great alternative to regular ice in coolers if you want to keep items frozen. It's also used to make spooky fog drinks on halloween or used for shipping cold items.
But if you want to get some dry ice how much should you expect to pay and how do you know if it's a good deal or not? How much does dry ice cost?
Dry ice is usually priced by the pound and costs around $1-$2.75/lb. Walmart sells it for $1.00-$1.50 with other stores selling it for $1.50-$2.75. For commercial quantities you pay less, usually around $0.50/lb or less for larger orders. Blocks and pellets of dry ice are usually priced the same.
Here are a couple of different dry ice prices I sourced from online:
|Seller||Cost Per Pound||Minimum Order|
|Dry Ice Delivered||$1.00 + Shipping||10 lbs|
|Dry Ice Delivered||$0.50 + Shipping||250 lbs|
Another example of the cost of dry ice is the Dry Ice from Meijer.
At the time of writing this costs $2.39/pound and it is exactly the same dry ice that Walmart sells – Penguin Dry Ice
This pricing is backed up by the comments of this Quora response:
2 years ago I drove 9,000 miles in 30 days. I used a rotomoulded 70 quart cooler that I only used dry ice in.
Now where to get it. Ice distributors, Ice Cream wholesalers and certain grocery stores. I never had a problem and I drove about 3000 miles on the west coast and the desert Southwest.
I paid between 50¢ and $2.75 a pound. It always cheaper to buy it where it's being made. Make sure that you call ahead and confirm.
Get Large Quantities of Dry Ice For Cheaper
If you're ordering large quantities of dry ice for commercial usage then you should be able to secure significant discounts compared to what single blocks of dry ice cost in the supermarket stores.
Each city or major town likely have a dry ice manufacturer or distributor that creates and sells dry ice in bulk quantities.
You can purchase bulk quantities from these suppliers and when you do you get a significant discount when compared to what the average consumer pays.
The below video shows a dry ice manufacturing facility and the reporter says “the Ohio Department of Health is requesting 15,000 lbs per week“
I don't know how much they pay for that sort of quantity but I can almost guarantee it's going to be a lot less than $1.00/lb and likely a lot less than even $0.50/lb.
You should be able to find a supplier fairly close to you as there are lots of them around.
To find your local bulk supplier of dry ice simply google “dry ice [CITY] [STATE]” and you should get a variety of business you can call for quotes.
You can also check out the Dry Ice Directory which will help you locate dry ice manufacturers or distributors around the country.
Simply enter your phone number area code and it'll show you a bunch of dry ice sellers near you.
Dry Ice Pellets vs Blocks Cost
Is there any difference in price between dry ice pellets and dry ice blocks? Generally speaking the answer is no.
In most cases dry ice pellets and dry ice blocks will be the same price per pound of dry ice.
In larger quantities pellets may be slightly more expensive due to the fact they take up more room when shipping and storing as well as the fact that they sublimate (or disappear into gas) quicker thus you loose dry ice more quickly.
How To Get Dry Ice For Free (Sometimes)
When looking for dry ice in small quantities sometimes you can get lucky and get some for free from these large manufacturers and distributors.
Because they are used to selling in huge quantities sometimes they will give a regular person like you or me a couple of pounds free of charge.
This is because it isn't worth their time charging you a couple of dollars when they are used to working with businesses who pay them thousands of dollars.
They may also have off cuts they aren't going to use that they can give you or they'll just do it because they are really nice people.
This is by no means guaranteed and will only happen from time to time and given that dry ice isn't that expensive it isn't really worth the time trying to hunt around for some free dry ice.
Check out the story below from this Quora post where someone was lucky enough to get some dry ice for free
The only time I had to go out of my way to find it was in Arkansas and the guy working asked me how much I wanted and he said that it didn't matter, it was going to be such a small amount by his standards that he wasn't going to charge me.
Cost of Dry Ice Online
Dry Ice Delivered is one of the very few places you can purchase dry ice online and have it shipped out to you.
I'm sure many other suppliers can ship dry ice to you but you would need to call them to arrange your order and shipment. Dry Ice Delivered just lets you do it online.
Below is how much they charge per pound based off your order quantity. The prices are true for both pellets of dry ice as well as larger blocks of dry ice:
|Order Quantity||Price Per lb.|
Dry Ice vs Regular Ice Cost
What is the difference between the cost of dry ice and regular ice?
Is regular ice cheaper than dry ice or are they similarly priced?
Regular ice is 3-10x cheaper than dry ice per pound. Regular ice will cost around $0.19-$0.30/lb in 10-20 lb bags but dry ice costs $1-$2.75/lb in 1 lb bags. A 20 lb bag of regular ice might cost around $4-$6 whereas the same amount of dry ice would cost $20-$50.
This is why people will often use dry ice in conjunction with regular ice.
The smaller amount of dry ice will help keep food frozen and will also keep the regular ice completely frozen. Once the dry ice has completely disappears the regular ice will continue to keep things cold until it completely melts.
Below you can see some price comparisons for the cost of regular ice and dry ice at a couple of different grocery stores.
|Seller||Regular Ice Cost (20 lbs)||Regular Ice Cost (per lb)||Dry Ice Cost (1 lb)||Dry Ice Cost (per lb)|
As you can see dry ice is significantly more expensive than regular ice.
Even if you were to buy large quantities of dry ice and get it discounted all the way down to $0.50/lb it would still be more expensive than what you pay for regular ice (not in bulk) at your local supermarket or grocery store.