Temperature: Dry ice is extremely cold, with a temperature of about -78.5°C (-109.3°F). It can maintain a consistently low temperature, making it very effective for keeping items frozen.
Duration: Dry ice generally lasts longer than regular ice, especially when it comes to keeping items frozen. It can last for several days in a well-insulated cooler, depending on the quantity and the outside temperature.
Sublimation: Dry ice undergoes sublimation, which means it transforms directly from a solid to a gas without going through a liquid state. As it sublimates, it releases carbon dioxide gas. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on your situation.
Safety: Handling dry ice requires some precautions, as direct contact can cause frostbite. Additionally, in an enclosed space, the buildup of carbon dioxide gas can displace oxygen, leading to suffocation. Make sure to use dry ice in a well-ventilated area and follow safety guidelines.
Temperature: Regular ice has a temperature of 0°C (32°F). While it can keep items cold and even freeze them in large quantities, it won't maintain temperatures as low as dry ice.
Duration: Regular ice typically melts faster than dry ice, especially in warm weather. It might last for a day or two, depending on the outside temperature and the quality of insulation in the cooler.
No Sublimation: Regular ice melts into water, which means you'll need to drain the water from the cooler as it melts. This can be both convenient and inconvenient, as it ensures your items stay cold but also requires maintenance to remove the melted ice.
Safety: Regular ice is generally safe to handle, but you need to be cautious about consuming water that might be contaminated by the melted ice.
Choosing Between the Two:
If you need to keep items frozen for an extended period, such as for camping or long trips, and you have a well-insulated cooler, dry ice may be the better choice.
If you need to keep items cold for a shorter duration or want a more straightforward and accessible cooling solution, regular ice can be suitable.
Consider your specific use case, the duration of cooling required, availability, and safety precautions when deciding between dry ice and regular ice for your cooler.