Snow season is well underway and now is the time to prepare for icy walkways. There are many options when it comes to de-icing walkways and driveways, so we took a look at a few to decipher what is best for the right job.  

First is NaCl, or sodium chloride. Rock salt is the most generic and cheapest that sits at around 20 cents per pound. While this is cheap, it is not considered environmentally friendly and does not function under extremely cold temperatures. It may help increase friction between boot and ice. 

The next step up is Magnesium Chloride, or what some consider even better Calcium Chloride. This type, while running anywhere between $1.30-$5.00 per pound functions well under extremely cold conditions and some are advertised to be healthy for pets as well as environmentally friendly. “I’ve used salt a lot,” said Elly Kantor while visiting Wilson Hardware Co. “This has been coming out, so I’ve been using that because it’s supposed to be better for the pets and the grass.” 

The third product tested was Branch Creek’s Entry, a chloride-free product that CEO Nate Clemmer says is the most environmentally friendly product ever on the market. “When you make something that’s safer for the environment,” said Clemmer, “Safer for people and pets, they go hand in hand. The product works differently than ice melts on the market.” 

This new product only leaves water residue while others may still leave pellets that, according to Clemmer, may still be safe for pets but could be an irritant. “With pets, it’s still a granular, and so anything that gets through a pet’s paw is an irritant even if it doesn’t burn. The magnesium chloride won’t burn, it’s like a rock in your shoe,” said Clemmer. Another perk may be the lack of residue after the product is used, whereas others may leave a residue that gets attracted to shoes and into buildings. 

The price of this new product is comparable to magnesium chloride and, according to our experiments, is just as effective. Find more information here.