Most of us don’t need to buy dry ice often so when on the rare occasion that you need it, it’s natural to wonder where to buy dry ice or how much does dry ice cost even.
Well, in this post we’ll answer those and other questions you have about buying dry ice, the cost of it, handling and storing it, how to use it safely and more.
What will I learn?
So what is dry ice?
Just like the ice cubes that are made of water in solid phase, Dry ice is carbon dioxide in solid form. It doesn’t have a liquid state. So, rather than melting, dry ice sublimates from the solid state to the gas state. That’s why it’s called dry ice.
Unlike regular ice, like cubed ice or crushed ice, dry ice is NOT safe for consumption.
This means that you shouldn’t use it in things like cocktails.
If you are looking for ice to consume, like to put in soda or other beverages, make sure you check out my post on where to buy bags of ice.
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Dry ice is often used as a cooling agent. It works better than regular ice does for keeping products cold or frozen because it doesn’t melt and cause a mess as regular ice cubes do.
Dry ice is also used in fog machines at places like concerts and theatres because it creates a dramatic effect.
Where Can I Buy Dry Ice Near Me?
Short answer: Many grocery stores and big box stores including Kroger, Publix, Albertsons, Walmart, and Costco sell dry ice. Other places that sell dry ice include gas stations like Sheetz and 7-Eleven, and butcher shops. You can also order ice online and have it delivered to your doorstep.
For more places to buy dry ice and details on how much it costs, how to handle it, and other important tips and information about dry ice, make sure you read the rest of the post!
FYI, if you don’t see your favorite store in this list or don’t have one of these stores near you, usually the same stores that act as drinking water refill stations also sell ice and dry ice. So if you have one of those around you, check with them.
Grocery Stores that Sell Dry Ice Near You
Before we get to the list, let me answer one of the most often asked questions about who sells dry ice, “does Walmart sell dry ice?”. The answer is yes, Walmart does sell dry ice, as you will see from the list below!
Now, many larger grocery stores have dry ice available. But, it’s not available on the supermarket floor.
Instead, you will need to ask the manager of your local grocery store for the quantity of dry ice you require, and it will be brought to you.
Below, I’ve listed grocery stores that offer dry ice.
Please note that while some retailers will sell dry ice at all of their stores, others will only sell it at select locations. So, it’s important you call ahead so that you don’t waste a trip there only to find they don’t indeed sell it at your local store.
Here’s a list of grocery stores that offer dry ice:
- Acme Markets
- Chef’Store (Formerly Smart Foodservice)
- Fred Meyer
- Gelson’s Market
- Giant Food Stores
- Harris Teeter
- Ingles Markets
- King Soopers
- Smart & Final
- Tom Thumb
- Weis Markets
- Whole Foods Market
- WinCo Foods
Gas Stations that Sell Dry Ice
It’s not just grocery stores that sell dry ice. Many gas stations also provide dry ice as well.
While grocery stores don’t usually allow you to handle dry ice yourself, many gas stations will allow this. If that’s the case, be sure you are following the right safety precautions, such as wearing thick gloves, when handling dry ice. For tips on packing, handling, and storing dry ice, make sure you read the rest of the post.
It’s important to note that some of these gas stations may only offer dry ice at select locations. That’s why you should call ahead at your local station to ask if they sell dry ice. You don’t want to waste a trip, right? So, give your nearby station a call before you head out!
Here’s a list of gas stations that sell dry ice.
Online Dry Ice Delivery
There are also companies and even online grocery stores, that allow you to order dry ice online and have it delivered right to your home.
Some of these companies also allow you to buy dry ice in bulk.
Here’s a list of places that sell dry ice online:
Other Places to Get Dry Ice
Okay, so above, you have quite a lot of places to buy dry ice including grocery stores, gas stations, and online delivery companies. Those aren’t your only options for getting dry ice near you though.
There are a few other places where you can buy dry ice.
44. Butcher shops
Since many butchers use dry ice to store meat, they may offer some of their excess dry ice for sale.
Contact local butcher shops to see if they have any dry ice for sale. To find butcher shops near you, simply enter the phrase, “butcher shop near me,” into Google and hit enter. You’ll get a list of places near you and their contact information. Start calling butcher shops to enquire about dry ice.
45. Some FedEx locations
Some FedEx locations may provide dry ice for packaging and mailing products that need to be kept cold, like frozen meat or fish.
Just contact your local FedEx to ask if it has any dry ice for sale.
46. Some UPS Stores
Some UPS stores have dry ice, again for packing and mailing products that need to be kept cold, like fish or frozen meat. So, contact your local UPS store to ask if they have any dry ice for sale.
47. Local ice companies
There could be local ice companies in your city that sell dry ice.
For example, in the Midwest, Arctic Ice is one of the biggest dry ice manufacturers and sellers. They sell dry ice in bulk or small quantities like a 5 or 10-lb block.
Here are a few reginal dry ice companies that may have locations around you:
- CK Supply
- Penguin Brand Dry Ice
- Arctic Ice Inc
- Airgas Dry Ice
To find places near you, simply enter the phrase “dry ice company near me” or “dry ice company [name of your town or city]” into Google and hit enter. This should show you any ice companies that sell dry ice near you. Contact them to ask if they sell dry ice.
Types of Dry Ice
There are a few different types of dry ice available.
- Blocks of dry ice: If you require a large piece of dry ice, then you will need to purchase it in a block. Dry ice blocks can measure 10″ x 10″ x 12″ and can weigh up to 60 pounds.
- Slabs of dry ice: You can have slabs processed and packaged to suit your particular specifications. Dry ice slabs are ideal if you want a piece of dry ice that covers the majority of your cooler or container.
- Pellets of dry ice: Pellets are ideal for smaller storage needs. You can usually order pellets by weight. Each pellet is usually around the size of a sugar cube or a little larger. There are three types of pellets, which are rice pellets, carbonic pellets, and regular pellets.
How Much Does Dry Ice Cost?
Dry ice usually costs $1 to $3 per pound. The cost of dry ice varies though depending on things like the amount you need and where you buy it.
It’s usually cheaper to buy dry ice online, in bulk. So, this is a good option if you need a lot of ice.
You can find great prices for dry ice at large retailers too, like Kroger or Albertsons. These are a great choice if you are looking to buy dry ice in smaller quantities, but still want to get a good deal on the price.
How to Handle, Pack & Store Dry Ice Safely
It’s so important to be aware that dry ice is a dangerous substance that must be handled with care so you can work safely with dry ice.
There are so many safety concerns you should be aware of when it comes to dry ice:
- Dry ice should NEVER be swallowed. It can burn internally, and it releases gas as it turns from a solid to a gas.
- Dry ice causes burns on the skin.
- If it’s stored in a sealed container, dry ice can cause an explosion.
- An excess of carbon dioxide fumes can cause asphyxiation.
So, care must be taken when you are handling, transporting, and storing dry ice.
Packing and transporting dry ice safely
Here are some tips to ensure that you transport dry ice safely.
Use the right type of container
Getting the right container for the dry ice is important.
DO NOT store dry ice in a tightly sealed container or any container with a screw-top lid that will not vent. If you store ice in a tightly sealed container, gas can build up and cause an explosion. Styrofoam works well as a storage material because it’s insulated and not airtight. So, use a Styrofoam container.
Make sure the package is secure in your vehicle
If you are picking up the ice yourself from the grocery store or gas station, you will need to ensure that you secure the ice in your vehicle.
When you place the container of dry ice in your vehicle, make sure that it can’t shift during transportation. Large blocks and slabs of ice could break through the container if the vehicle makes a sharp turn. So, ensure the package is properly secured in your vehicle.
Transport the ice in the trunk or bed of your vehicle if possible
If you can, it’s best to place the container of dry ice outside of the vehicle’s interior cabin. This can protect you from carbon dioxide leaks.
Ensure the container is not leaking carbon dioxide
Before you leave, it’s important that you take the time to make sure that the container is not leaking carbon dioxide. When you are driving, your eyes will be on the road, so you may not be able to detect any carbon dioxide leaks. That’s why it’s important to check there are no leaks before you start driving.
Handling dry ice safely
Dry ice can burn the skin if it comes into contact with it, and the gas it releases is also dangerous. That’s why it’s important to handle dry ice properly.
Here are some tips for handling dry ice safely.
Wear protective clothing
Because dry ice can burn your skin, it’s important to wear protective clothing. Wear gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, closed-toe shoes, and goggles.
Keep dry ice away from your face
When you are moving any dry ice, make sure you keep it away from your face. This will prevent any ingestion of carbon dioxide leaks.
Use dry ice in a well-ventilated area
Be sure to only use dry ice in a well-ventilated area. As I mentioned before, an excess of carbon dioxide fumes can cause asphyxiation. So, make sure you always use dry ice in a well-ventilated area.
Do not use your bare hands to handle the ice
Never use your bare hands to handle or break the ice. Ice can be handled with a towel or a pair of tongs. Remember to always wear protective clothing, such as gloves, as I mentioned earlier.
If you need to break up the dry ice, ensure that you use a chisel and hammer. Do not break it up with your hands.
Storing dry ice safely
After you have purchased your dry ice, you will need to find a place to store it. Just like when packing and handling dry ice, you also need to be careful when storing dry ice.
Ideally, you should buy dry ice the same day you plan to use it. This is because dry ice starts to sublimate immediately from the time of purchase.
In a typical insulated container, dry ice will sublimate at a rate of 1% per hour.
So, as I said, buy it on the day you plan to use it.
Below, I’ll give you some tips on how to store dry ice safely and so that it lasts as long as possible.
Store the container in a cold area
To keep the sublimation rate of the dry ice low, make sure you keep the container in a cool area. Make sure you keep the dry ice out of direct sunlight. DO NOT store it in a freezer.
Store the dry ice in a well-ventilated area
As I mentioned before, excess carbon dioxide gas can build up and cause asphyxiation. This can occur in people and animals. So, make sure you keep the container in a well-ventilated area to prevent a build-up of carbon dioxide fumes.
DO NOT store dry ice in confined areas, like walk-in coolers, refrigerators, freezers, or vehicles.
Freezers and refrigerators may seem like they’d make the ice last longer, but they are tightly sealed meaning it’s dangerous to store dry ice in there due to the risk of explosion.
Keep the container lid closed as much as you can
If you want your dry ice to last longer, then open it as infrequently as you can. Keep the container lid closed as much as possible, as this will slow down the sublimation process.
Add crumpled paper to the container
Adding some crumpled paper to the container will help to slow down the sublimation process and make the dry ice last longer.
As you can see, there are many places where you can buy dry ice in bulk or small quantities, such as grocery stores, supermarkets, and big box retailers, like Walmart, Albertsons, and Kroger.
You can also buy dry ice at many gas stations like Speedway, 7-Eleven, and Wawa, butcher shops, and local ice stores. And, you can also order ice online and have it delivered to you.
So now that you know where to buy dry ice near you, it’s a matter of calling these stores to find the cheapest place that sells dry ice near you so you can save more money!