Short Answer: You can buy dry ice from many grocery stores including Albertsons, Costco, H-E-B, and Safeway. Most commonly, grocery stores stock one-pound bags for under $3 each. Not all grocery stores keep dry ice in stock, in which case you can also order it online through services like Dry Ice Delivered or Dry Ice Corp. If you order dry ice online, you’ll be subject to minimum orders of 10 to 25 pounds at a cost of around $1 per pound. Shipping costs can get very expensive for online dry ice orders, and shipping may also be limited based on where you live. For more details on where to buy dry ice, see below.
What Is Dry Ice?
In technical terms, dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide — the same gas we exhale while breathing. When this gas is frozen, it maintains frigid temperatures (-109.3 degrees Fahrenheit). It is called “dry” ice because carbon dioxide sublimates from solid ice form to gas with no in-between liquid stage. Dry ice has many applications ranging from industrial and commercial to consumer use. It famously causes the “fog” effect you may have seen at rock concerts or Broadway musicals, and it’s an easy way to keep food cold without the mess from melted ice. This can be especially beneficial if you’re shipping perishable goods and need to keep them cold during transit.
The Best Place to Buy Dry Ice
The best place to buy dry ice will depend on where you live and how much you need. If you only need a small amount of dry ice to toss in a cooler or use for a school science project, your cheapest option is the grocery store, where you can likely find dry ice for less than $3 a pound (most bags are a pound each).
However, not all grocery stores stock dry ice. If your local store doesn’t have any dry ice in stock — or you need a very large quantity for something like stage show special effects or commercial refrigeration — your better option is instead ordering it online through a dry ice distributor. If you take this avenue, you can expect minimum order requirements of around 10-25 pounds at a cost of around $1 per pound. Shipping costs can vary widely depending on how far away you live from the distributor and how fast you need the dry ice. Ground shipping from FedEx and UPS place costs at anywhere between $25 and $40, though it may be much more expensive for expedited or more long-distance services.
Where to Buy Dry Ice
Below, we outline the dry ice delivery services and grocery store chains that sell dry ice.
Dry Ice Delivery Services
There are dry ice retailers online that allow you to place an order for delivery. This is usually a good solution if you need bulk quantities or have no other dry ice retailers in your area. As mentioned above, if you’re ordering dry ice online, you’ll usually face a minimum order requirement and shipping costs can get very expensive. Some places also limit shipping to customers within a certain mile range to ensure the product arrives before evaporating.
Dry Ice Delivered
- Physical locations? No; online only. Shipping is, however, available nationwide throughout the U.S.
- Products available: Dry ice blocks and pellets
- Minimum order amount: 10 pounds
- Cost: Starts at $10 ($1 per pound for a minimum of 10 pounds). Pricing decreases slightly as you order bulk quantities of ice.
- Shipping: Dry Ice Delivered ships out of Baton Rouge, La. Shipping can be expensive. For example, a 10-pound package of dry ice shipped to Upstate New York within seven business days has an estimated shipping rate of around $40 through FedEx Ground. For overnight shipping, the rate skyrockets to around $115. Consumers who live closer to Louisiana may have less expensive shipping costs.
- Place your order at Dry Ice Delivered
Dry Ice Corp
- Physical locations? Dry Ice Corp has retail distribution partners in several Northeastern states in addition to an online store.
- Products available: Dry ice pellets are the only type of ice available online. Other forms of dry ice may be available when bought from a retail partner.
- Minimum order amount: Ice pellets may be ordered directly online in either 25-pound or 45-pound quantities. Retail partners may have quantities as small as 10 pounds available.
- Cost: Dry Ice Corp lists its online products at about $50 for 25 pounds of dry ice pellets and $70 for 45 pounds. Retail partners may have smaller minimum amounts of dry ice available (usually around 10 pounds) at a cost ranging between $1 and $1.60 per pound.
- Shipping: Shipping is only available for locations within 250 miles of Dry Ice Corp, which is headquartered in New Jersey. Shipping a 25-pound package of dry ice pellets to Upstate New York costs around $25 via UPS Ground. Shipping a 45-pound package costs around $30. Orders typically arrive within 24 hours, although Dry Ice Corp notes its shipping partner does not deliver on Saturdays, Sundays, or Mondays.
- Place your order at Dry Ice Corp
If you’re looking for much smaller quantities of dry ice, your best bet is to visit your local grocery store. Most commonly, you’ll find dry ice sold in one-pound bags with costs ranging between $1 and $3 per pound. Prices and availability may vary based on the season. Not every grocery store keeps dry ice in stock, even within the same chain — so it may be best to call your local store before visiting and ask if dry ice is available.
- Acme Markets
- Cash & Carry Food Service
- Costco (Only at some locations; see details in our dedicated article about Costco’s dry ice service)
- Fred Meyer
- Giant Food Stores
- King Soopers
- Publix (Find out more about getting dry ice at Publix in our dedicated article)
- Smart & Final
- Tom Thumb Stores
- Weis Markets
- Whole Foods Market
- WinCo Foods