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Dry, Blocks, Or Cubes, Which Ice Is Best for Your Ice Cooler

An ice cooler is a must whether you are going to the beach with your family or camping on the weekend with your friends, or just a family barbeque outdoors to keep your food fresh and the drinks chilled. There are a lot of ice coolers to choose from but a few types of ice. As people might be confused or have a misconception about using a specific sort of ice. So, a very common question you might ask as a beginner or even a pro is, “Which type of ice should you in an ice cooler?”

Let’s answer that question by taking into account the available choices of ice. The most common choices include blocked ice, cubed ice, and dry ice. We will discuss some of the criteria based on which you can choose which type of ice you want to use.

Which ice cools the most?

Among the three types of ice, the one with the highest cooling capability undoubtedly goes to dry ice. As the blocked ice and cube ice are cool very similarly. But dry ice has its drawbacks as dry ice is so cold that it makes the meat totally frozen solid. For which, it becomes really tough to cook the meat. Also, if you contain beverages in cans or glass in an ice cooler filled with a dry cooler, then the beverages will expand in the cans and might burst to cause any sort of accidents, considering the fact that nobody wants to ruin their weekend due to an unwanted accident. So, it is advised not to use dry ice.

Though the cube ice can cool quicker than the blocked ice, it is just a matter of consideration whether you want to cool it a bit faster or slower. Because the temperatures measured are pretty much the same.

How long will the ice last?

The biggest concern of using a specific type of ice might sometimes boil down to how long it lasts as most of us go on a long weekend lasting 3-4 days. So, you might need to know which ice lasts the longest. The easy answer is the blocked ice as it lasts for 3.5-4 days on average, whereas the cube and dry ice last a maximum of 3 days and 2.5 days, respectively.

Which one is the most cost-effective?

The most cost-effective of the three types of ice is the “blocked ice,” as it can be made for free in your own refrigerator by freezing gallon jugs with water. The ice cube can be made at home but not at a quantity necessary for the long journey. As a result, you need to buy it from a shop costing 2.5$ for 15lbs. And finally, dry ice, which is the costliest of them all, costing around 30$ for 15lbs.

Which one is the most convenient?

And finally, you will prefer ice which is the most convenient to use. For example, dealing with dry ice is very dangerous as it is so cold that it might burn your skin while also making beverages burst due to extremely cold temperatures and meats frozen solid, which also drains out the moisture within the meat.

Now the problem with cube ice is that when it melts, it will accumulate water in the cooler that might be an inconvenience. You have to decide whether to throw water or keep it based on what is in the cooler.

As for block ice, we can easily store pure water in a gallon jug and freeze it. After usage, the melted water can be drunk as normal water in case of an emergency. Considering the above, it can be concluded that the blocked ice is the most convenient of the three types of ice.


It is advised to use block ice because it has the most ice retention capacity (can last longer) while being the most cost-effective and convenient to use. The final recommendation is to enjoy the weekend rather than stressing yourself with the small details.

Some Pro Tips:

Now for some pro tips before you go on that long-awaited weekend:

  1. Always try to clean & chill the ice cooler before putting the ice in the cooler. If it is kept in a warm place, always try to preload it and use a sacrificial ice bag to cool it down.
  2. There should be twice the amount of ice to the content present inside the cooler. If you store 5lbs of food or beverages, then you need to put at least 10lbs worth of ice in the ice cooler.
  3. The greatest foe for the ice cooler is the air itself. Whenever you open the container, the cold air gets out, and the warm air gets inside, due to which the ice melts even quicker. So you may see that, if you open it for a limited time, the ice melts slower.
  4. The heat is another foe for the ice cooler. So it would help if you always put the cooler under shade or else the ice might melt faster if it is kept under the sun.
  5. Using aluminum or thermal bubble wrap on top of the ice can help to reflect heat and light which helps to keep the hot air out and the cool air inside the cooler.
  6. One of the most useful ways to keep the cooler cold is limiting the ice cooler’s open. More specifically, you should mark ice coolers for “food” or “beverages” so that, people do not have to open every other cooler to find what they need.

Get Some Ice and Ride Out:

At the end of the day, the choice of ice can make or break a weekend. Therefore, just make fill up some gallons of pure water and freeze it in the refrigerator. Then put it in the pre-chilled ice cooler and set out for the journey. Everybody should be aware when it concerns the safety of the people around us, and choosing wrong the kind of ice could just bring some sort of accident. Nobody wishes to mess up an entire weekend just because the food went stale or doesn’t taste well enough or Coca-Colas or bud lights bursting in the cooler or causing any kind of accidents. So be aware but do not miss out on the fun, being too concerned.

Lastly, enjoy the ride to the destination, and always remember to make some good steak. Because you know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

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