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Gel Packs vs Dry Ice Packs: Which One Should You Choose?

Gel Packs vs Dry Ice Packs: Which One Should You Choose?


When shipping temperature-sensitive items, keeping them cold is vital to prevent melting or spoilage. Forget regular ice cubes; nowadays, it's all about dry ice and gel packs. But which one should you go for? In this guide, we'll help you make the right choice.


What Is a Gel Ice Pack?

 Different size variations of blue gel packs

Credit: Insulated Products Corp


Gel ice packs typically consist of a flexible plastic pouch filled with a gel-like substance that can retain cold temperatures for extended periods. They come in various sizes and shapes to accommodate different packaging needs. Some are flat and flexible, making them easy to stack and fit into tight spaces, while others are larger and thicker for maximum cooling power.

Gel packs can be of two types: reusable and disposable. The reusable types are typically made with a durable plastic shell and can be refrozen and reused multiple times. The disposable packs, on the other hand, are designed for one-time use. They are often made with thinner plastic and are less durable but are convenient for single shipments.


Why Use Gel Packs?


Here are some reasons why gel packs are a great choice for shipping temperature-sensitive items:


1) Perfect for Products That Do Not Require To Be Frozen


Gel cold packs are ideal for perishable products that do not require to be frozen. The melting point of these packs is around 30 degrees Celsius. Since they cannot reach the severe cold temperatures of dry ice, they do not cause freezer burn to objects that don't need freezing. Depending on what you're shipping and how heavy it is, they can keep the product's temperature between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.


2) Ideal for Quick Deliveries


Gel packs are a great option for products that need to be delivered to close distances within a couple of hours. Fresh produce, cheese, cheese, baked goods, or chocolate are ideal candidates for this coolant.


What Are the Drawbacks of Using Gel Packs?


While gel packs are great coolants, there are also some drawbacks you need to consider before using them. This includes:


1) They Last Only for a Couple of Hours


When used along with ice and an insulated container, gel ice packs remain frozen for a maximum of 6 hours. This means that for longer shipments or deliveries taking more than a few hours, they won't be able to keep perishable items adequately chilled throughout the entire journey.


2) They Tend to Melt Faster


Compared to alternatives like dry ice, gel packs have a tendency to melt more quickly, especially in warmer conditions. This could be a big problem when shipping temperature-sensitive items like meat and fish. The melted water from gel packs can cause these products to develop mold and fungus, leading to various issues with their quality and safety.


Benefits and Drawbacks of Dry Ice Packs Infographics


What Are Dry Ice Packs?

 Nice Pack's dry ice pack


Dry ice packs are specially designed cooling packs that mimic the properties of dry ice without actually being made of dry ice. Unlike traditional gel packs, which contain a gel-like substance, these packs are made using a unique material that remains dry even as it melts. This material has the remarkable ability to maintain extremely cold temperatures for prolonged periods, typically lasting 2-3 times longer than regular packs.


Why Use Dry Ice Packs?


Like gel packs, there are multiple advantages to using dry ice packs. Here are some of them:


1) They Don’t Become Wet When They Melt


Unlike traditional gel packs, dry ice packs remain dry even as they melt. This is a significant advantage because it prevents the formation of excess moisture during the shipping process. Excess moisture can lead to issues such as soggy packaging or water damage to the products being shipped.


2) Ideal for Long Journeys


Dry ice packs are perfect for shipments that require extended travel durations. They have the remarkable ability to stay frozen solid for much longer periods compared to regular gel packs, typically lasting 2-3 times as long. This makes them an ideal choice for shipping perishable goods like ice cream products and sorbet, as well as frozen meats, frozen food, and seafood over long distances or in situations where the delivery time may be prolonged.


What Are the Drawbacks of Using Dry Ice Packs?


Here are some drawbacks of using dry ice packs:


1) Not Suitable for Temperature Sensitive Products


Because dry ice maintains extremely low temperatures, it has the potential to freeze products that require refrigeration rather than freezing. This can result in freezer burn or damage to the texture and quality of the items being shipped, making them unsuitable for consumption or use.


2) It Can Be Dangerous to Handle


Due to its extremely cold temperature, dry ice has the potential to cause burns, frostbite, or other injuries if not handled properly. Always use gloves or cover your hands with a cloth when touching it.


Benefits and Drawbacks of Dry Ice Packs Infographic


Dry Ice vs Gel Packs: Which One Should You Choose?


gel packs vs dry ice packs


This will depend on the shipping duration and the type of products being shipped. Gel packs work well for short trips and items not needing freezing temperatures. Dry ice packs, on the other hand, are better for longer journeys and keeping food products frozen solid.




What can you use as a dry ice substitute (other than gel packs)?


Aside from gel packs, you can use frozen water bottles or regular ice packs. These can help maintain cold temperatures during shipping, although they may not last as long or be as effective as dry ice or gel packs.


Do gel packs contain hazardous material?


No, gel packs typically do not contain hazardous materials. The gel-like substance inside gel packs is usually non-toxic and safe for handling.




The choice between dry ice and gel packs depends on the goods you're shipping. If you're shipping frozen products that require precise temperature control and extreme cold conditions, dry ice packs are the way to go. On the other hand, if you're sending products that don't need to be frozen but still require to be kept cold, consider using gel packs.

Are you looking to keep your frozen food cold and fresh? Check out Nice Pack dry ice packs! Perfect for maintaining your desired temperature range during shipping, our ice packs ensure your frozen items stay frozen until they reach their destination. Shop with us today



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