9 Differences Between Granular and Liquid De-Icer


Road surfaces can get extremely dangerous during winter. This is because they are covered by blocks of ice and snow, which makes them extremely dangerous to use. However, there are de-icers, liquid and granular, to keep the ice and snow off the road as quickly as possible, and ensure safe driving irrespective of the weather conditions.

There are too many de-icing materials on the market that it is sometimes difficult to choose one over the other, or even to decide which one is the most appropriate. To unclog this maze, you need to look at the main differences between the main de-icing types: liquids and solids. While both solid and liquid de-icers have a similar function, they vary in terms of performance and features.

To understand which category of de-icers apply to a particular situation, it is important that you understand the main differences of each. However, liquid de-icers are ideally suited for use on all possible winter road surfaces. Let’s now look at the differences between the two de-icers.

1. Solid or Granular De-Icers Ideal for Icy Roadways

Granular de-icers are ideal for treating icy roadways. For instance, rock salt is preferred by a majority of ice and snow professionals during severe weather due to their ability to quickly break down and de-ice thick layers of ice and snow from paved surfaces and roads.

You are able to use snowplows to effectively remove ice and snow from the road and other paved surfaces. It has been demonstrated that road salt drastically reduces road collisions and associated injuries.

2. Solid De-Icers Are Cost-Effective

One of the advantages of granular de-icers is the fact that they are cost-effective. This is because they largely comprise of chemical compounds. They are also easy to handle and store.

3. Solid De-Icers have a High Retention

Since they are almost 100 percent chemical, solid de-icers dilute slowly. However, this also means that they have a high retention.

4. Solid De-Icers Have a High Skid Resistance

The first application of solid or granular de-icers involves large particles or rock salt. As a result, they have a high skid resistance.

5. Liquid De-Icers Are Suitable for Every Application

Liquid de-icers are increasingly gaining in popularity, especially during winter. Besides the fact that they can be applied to a surface before ice or snow accumulates, liquid de-icers can also be applied reactively on a road that is already frozen with snow or ice.

6. Liquid De-Icers React Instantly

With liquid de-icers, there is minimal wait time since they begin working almost immediately as they are applied.

7. Liquid De-Icers Have a Firm Grip on the Road Surface

Since liquid sticks on to a road’s surface better than rock salt, it is able to embed more firmly into the icy surface and therefore has minimal bounce and scatter compared to granular de-icers.

8. Liquid De-Icers Stay Active for a Longer Time

Liquid residue remains active long after application, sometimes a few hours after application, or even days depending on the prevailing weather conditions. Liquid de-icers, therefore, have a longer staying power than granular de-icers.

9. Liquid De-Icers Are More Versatile than Granular De-Icers

Since you can apply them directly on paved surfaces, liquid de-icers have less displacement and could be used as pre-wetting applications for treating solid chemicals.

While both solid and liquid de-icers have obvious advantages, liquid de-icers are more effective for many reasons. Besides their easy application and longer retention on road surfaces, liquid de-icers have less bounce and scatter rate than their granular counterparts. They can also be used in almost any winter road surface situation.

Dean is a self-professed tech geek with a fondness for computers, video games, and any novelty tech-savvy gadgets.