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How Long Dry Ice Last In A Cooler

How Long Dry Ice Last In A Cooler?

March 26, 2024 cooladmin No Comments

Are you planning a lengthy road trip? Dry ice can help keep your trip provisions chilled and fresh throughout the journey. Dry ice plays a vital role in preserving perishables from heat; however, its effectiveness depends on its storage. Yes. How long dry ice lasts in a cooler determines the integrity of your supplies, ensuring your food stays chill, your drinks stay frosty, and your adventure continues uninterruptedly. 

This blog will take you through how to maximize the lifespan of your dry ice in a cooler.

Dry Ice Vs Ice


Dry Ice

Regular Ice

Composition Solid carbon dioxide (-78.5°C/-109.3°F) Frozen water (0°C/32°F)
Cooling Power Lower Temperature, more effective at cooling Higher Temperature, effective but less efficient
Duration Lasts longer due to sublimation Melts over time, shorter lifespan
Handling Requires gloves/tongs to avoid frostbite Safe to handle with bare hands
Storage Needs ventilation, not in airtight containers Can be stored in any cooler/container


While both dry ice and regular ice serve the purpose of keeping items cold, dry ice offers greater cooling power and longer-lasting effectiveness with the need for careful handling and ventilation. 

Regular ice, on the other hand, is more simple to use and handle but may not maintain temperatures as low or for as long as dry ice. The choice between the two depends on factors such as duration of cooling needed, storage conditions, and handling preferences.

How To Use A Dry Ice Cooler?

Here’s how to use dry ice in a cooler effectively:

  1. Prepare your cooler by cleaning it and adding a layer of regular ice or ice packs at the bottom.
  2. Place dry ice on top of a protective barrier like cardboard or a towel, distributing it evenly throughout the cooler.
  3. Pack perishable items tightly on top of the dry ice.
  4. Seal the cooler securely but allow some ventilation to release carbon dioxide gas.
  5. Monitor the temperature regularly and replenish dry ice as needed.
  6. Handle dry ice with care and always prioritize safety precautions.

Follow these steps to effectively use dry ice in a cooler.

Does Dry Ice Last Longer Than Regular Ice?

Dry ice lasts longer than regular ice due to its unique properties and the differences in their cooling mechanisms:

1. Sublimation Process:

Dry ice undergoes sublimation, transitioning directly from a solid to a gas without passing through a liquid phase. Instead of melting like regular ice, dry ice gradually dissipates into carbon dioxide gas over time. As a result, it maintains its cooling power for a longer duration than regular ice, which melts into liquid water.

2. Lower Temperature:

Dry ice has a much lower temperature than regular ice. While regular ice typically maintains a temperature around the freezing point of water (0°C/32°F), dry ice sublimates at -78.5°C (-109.3°F). This lower temperature allows dry ice to keep items colder for longer, preserving their freshness and extending their shelf life.

3. Insulating Properties:

Dry ice also has insulating properties that help maintain a consistently cold environment within a cooler or storage container. As it sublimates, the release of carbon dioxide gas creates a protective layer that helps trap cold air inside, reducing heat transfer and slowing down the rate of temperature increase.

4. Efficient Cooling:

The rapid cooling effect of dry ice upon sublimation can quickly lower the temperature of its surroundings. This efficient cooling process ensures that items stored with dry ice remain at a safe temperature for an extended period, making it ideal for transporting perishable goods or keeping items chilled during outdoor events.

Best Ice Retention Coolers:

Here are the top 4 coolers that keep ice the longest:

  • Yeti:

Yeti coolers are widely regarded as industry leaders, known for their durability and superior ice retention. Their Tundra series coolers feature rotomolded construction, PermaFrost insulation, and a freezer-quality gasket, ensuring ice stays frozen even in hot conditions.

  • Pelican:

Pelican coolers are built to withstand rugged conditions and are trusted by outdoor enthusiasts and professionals. Their Elite Coolers boast thick insulation, a freezer-grade gasket, and rotomolded construction, providing excellent ice retention and durability in demanding environments.

  • RTIC:

RTIC coolers offer impressive ice retention at a more affordable price point. Their coolers feature rotomolded construction, commercial-grade insulation, and heavy-duty latches, delivering comparable performance to higher-priced competitors while remaining budget-friendly.

  • Orca:

Orca coolers are known for their rugged construction and reliable ice retention. Their coolers feature rotomolded construction, integrated insulation, and a durable lid gasket, ensuring long-lasting ice retention even in harsh outdoor conditions.

At Cool Results, we provide prompt cooler repair and maintenance services in and around Houston. Consider us if you need your cooler maintained.

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