An image showing ice packs and ice cubes

Ice Packs vs Ice Cubes: Which Is Better?


Ice packs and ice cubes are the first items you go for when you've had a fall or want to maintain a cooler at a set temperature. But which is preferable? Are ice packs more effective than ice cubes, or vice versa? Continue reading to learn the answers to these questions.


What Are Ice Packs?

 A variety of different ice packs

Credit: The Lunch Box Ladies


Any kind of portable bag that is filled with dry ice, liquid, or refrigerant gel can be referred to as an "ice pack." These are typically used in the shipping industry, to keep coolers cold, and even for medical reasons like reducing swelling after a fall.


Types of Ice Packs


As was already mentioned, ice packs can be packed with a wide range of substances. Based on the substance it is filled with, here are the different types of ice packs:


1)  Dry Ice Packs

 Nice Packs Dry Ice

Credit: Nice Packs


Dry ice packs do not actually contain dry ice. Its name comes from the fact that it does not get wet. These ice packs are composed of a non-toxic material that expands when submerged in water. After being submerged, they need to be placed in the freezer for a couple of hours. After that, they can stay chilly and frozen for extended periods.

Additionally, dry ice packs like the ones from Nice Packs are reusable, do not leak, and can be cut according to the size of your preference. They are best used in the shipping business for shipping ice cream products, meat products, and more.


2)  Gel Packs

 A young man holding a green gel pack to his eye

Credit: Envato Elements/ Nuala-images


Gel ice packs are composed of a blend of water and other components in order to maintain the pack's structure and temperature for a long time. These packs are constructed of sturdy, puncture-proof polypropylene to prevent leaks caused by inclement weather and trauma. They come in a range of sizes and forms and are reusable.


3)  Instant Ice Packs

 A person with a ice pack wrapped around their wrist over a keyboard

Credit: Envato Elements/ varyapigu


Unlike other ice packs that can be used for a variety of purposes, instant ice packs are primarily seen in first aid kits. These packs have a pouch containing two chemicals. When the ice pack is squeezed, the pouch ruptures and the chemicals combine to produce an endothermic process that immediately decreases the pack's temperature.  An instant ice pack normally keeps its coolness for roughly 20 minutes, though this can vary based on the overall temperature of the surrounding area.

Despite the fact that these useful packs don't need a refrigerator to get cold, an instant ice pack is a non-reusable ice pack in contrast to the other reusable ice packs discussed on this list.


Are Ice Packs Toxic?

 A danger image with the mouth covered in red tape

Credit: The Atlantic


This depends on the ice pack manufacturers and the components used to make the ice pack. Anything that contains petroleum is guaranteed to be dangerous. However, most ice packs today are made of non-toxic materials and are BPA-free, making them perfectly safe.


What Are Ice Cubes?

 Some ice cubes on a wooden table not yet melting

Credit: Envato Elements/ Alex9500


An ice cube is a small block of frozen water that is used to keep food and drinks chilled while they are being prepared, preserved, served, and eaten. Ice cubes are also known as ice bricks or loose ice. Like ice packs, ice cubes are also used in the medical field. They are used to lessen discomfort, and swelling, and to hasten the healing process.


Which One Is Better?


When comparing cold packs to ice cubes, cold packs definitely win the debate. Here are a few reasons why:


1)  Ice Packs Have a Lower Freezing Temperature

 Some blue colored ice packs

Credit: Envato Elements/ vsoldatov7


The freezing temperature of ice cubes is 32°F (0°C). On the other hand, the freezing temperature of ice packs is -13°F(-25°C) and can even go lower. Ice packs are not only colder than ice cubes, but they can also survive longer when exposed to external environments.


2)  Ice Packs Don't Make as Much of a Leaky Mess

 Ice cubes that are melting on the grey tabletop

Credit: Envato Elements/ karandaev


When ice cubes melt, they turn into liquid water and create a mess. Ice packs on the other hand do not create as much of a watery mess. In certain cases, some types of ice packs like dry ice packs from Nice Packs do not let out any water at all. As a result, when used in coolers, you do not have to deal with the pool of water at the bottom. This prevents any breeding of bacteria and spoilt food.


3)  Ice Packs Are Reusable

 Bright purple ice packs in an open cooler

Credit: Arctic Ice


Another important benefit of using ice packs over regular ice is that they are reusable and can just be put back in the freezer after each use. The more you use them, the more you can save by not having to purchase ice.


Which Ice Packs Last the Longest?

 Nice Packs Maxi ice pack

Credit: Nice Packs


Dry ice packs survive the longest when compared to most ice packs. While a gel pack or an instant ice pack can last for a couple of hours before losing its temperature, dry ice packs can last up to an entire day in the right conditions. Additionally, when these packs melt, no condensation is produced. They preserve the highest level of food quality and continue to stay dry. Furthermore, they are the best ice packs since they are 3–4 times colder than regular ice and ice packs.

Another aspect that makes dry ice packs more advantageous is that a cooler's ability to maintain temperature for an extended period of time depends on whether there are enough ice packs to fill the cooler. On the other hand, a single dry ice pack can maintain a cooler's temperature steadily for a considerable amount of time.




When comparing ice packs vs ice cubes, ice packs definitely win the debate. Among ice packs, dry ice packs are the best type of ice pack that you can own. If you're searching for a dry ice pack that you can rely on, be sure to check out Nice Packs.