how long does dry ice last in a cooler?

How Long Does Dry Ice Last in a Cooler? [Pictures, Videos]

How long does dry ice last in a cooler? 

We usually think of using traditional crushed ice chips, ice blocks, or ice packs in a cooler. But if you’re like us, you recently started looking into dry ice and want to know more. It only makes sense that you’re wondering: how long does dry ice last in a cooler?


If you’re feeling antsy and want to make sure this article is worth your time (it is!), here’s a brief outline of the topics we’ll cover. We designed this post to answer the most frequently asked questions about dry ice.

How Long Does Dry Ice Last In a Cooler
Arctic Ice Packs also keep food frozen, at 5 degrees F.

And, of course, answers to the most important question of all: how long does dry ice last in a cooler?

What exactly is dry ice?

Before diving into the ins and outs of using dry ice in a cooler, here’s a quick review. (Not to insult your intelligence, but we definitely needed to refresh our memories!)

how long does dry ice last in a cooler
Here, you can see dry ice in the form of small pellets.

Dry ice is simply carbon dioxide in a very, very condensed form. It comes in see-through blocks or pellets. As long as it’s condensed, it’ll keep the contents of your ice chest frozen. (Not just cold, frozen.) When exposed to air, it evaporates back to its original form, gas.

Back to Overview

How long does dry ice last in a cooler?Answer to:

Just like we always say, ice retention depends on multiple factors. According to seasoned fishers, dry ice lasts for about 24 hours in a cooler.

how long does dry ice last in a cooler
(Save big by checking Amazon’s discounts now.)

Cook’s Illustrated performed a cooler comparison test to compare the different kinds of ice. They put ice cream in two soft coolers, one with regular ice, and the other with dry ice. After three hours, the ice cream in traditional ice was liquid. In contrast, it took 9 hours for the ice cream to turn soupy in the cooler with dry ice.

In our experience, six to -twelve pounds of ice per 24 hours will maximize how long dry ice will last in a cooler.

In general, dry ice ice will last in a cooler for 15-26 hours.

Dry ice isn’t long-lasting, but since it keeps your stuff frozen solid, there’ll definitely be times when it’s better than regular ice. For example, keeping your meat cold during your weekend hunting trip.


How long does dry ice last in a Styrofoam cooler?

Dry ice will last in a cooler about as long as other coolers. This might be surprising, but it’s true! Styrofoam coolers just have shorter lives than rigid coolers, just like dry ice.

Back to Overview

Dry Ice Coolers for Sale: Helping You Find the Best Cooler for Dry Ice

Can you put dry ice in a Yeti Cooler? What is the best cooler for dry ice?What is the best dry ice camping cooler?

If you’re wondering where to start, look no further. We’ve gathered the best list of dry ice coolers for sale, so you can find the perfect fit for you. (You can also use regular ice or long lasting ice packs in these coolers.)

#1 Best Cooler for Dry Ice: Pelican Coolers

Which coolers are best for dry ice
Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers are the best coolers for dry ice. (Amazon Link)

Pelican Coolers are among the best coolers for camping, boating, hunting, and fishing. They’re certified grizzly-bear proof, have awesome ice retention, and are easy to use. Plus, you can get a Pelican brand cooler for dry ice that has wheels! Read more at “Chuggie’s Complete Review of Pelican Coolers for Sale.”

You could stop here and skip to the instructions at the bottom of “How long does dry ice last in a cooler?” right now, if you wanted to. Pelican Coolers are amazing and will serve you well. 

#2 Best Cooler for Dry Ice: Igloo Coolers Sportsman & Marine Series

how long does dry ice last in coolers
Igloo Sportsman Coolers are the cheapest, best value coolers for use with dry ice. (Amazon Link)

Another option is an Igloo Sportsman. Igloo Coolers are of good quality, but not quite as durable as the top-tier coolers. If you don’t intend on using a cooler in rugged, back country settings, you’ll be just fine. Plus, Igloo Coolers are inexpensive.

Find out more specifics at “Review of Igloo Coolers for Sale: All the Info You Need, in One Place.”

#3 Best Cooler for Dry Ice: The Yeti Tundra Series

can you use dry ice in a yeti
You can definitely use dry ice in a Yeti Tundra. (Amazon Link)

To answer the first question, yes – you can certainly put dry ice in a Yeti Cooler!

The Yeti Tundra Series is a great line of coolers, with capacities ranging from the Yeti Roadie to the Yeti Tundra 350. These rugged ice chests are all dry ice compatible, and Yeti offers an excellent list of instructions for using dry ice in their coolers. Caveat: Don’t use dry ice in a Yeti Hopper.

#4 Best Cooler for Dry Ice: Orca Coolers

How long does dry ice last in a cooler
Orca Coolers are also dry ice compatible. (Amazon Link)

You’d be doing yourself a big favor by investing in an Orca Cooler. They’re durable, have great ice retention, and are well-loved by outdoors people all over the country.

Read more at “Chuggie’s In-Depth Review of Orca Coolers for Sale” to find answers to any questions you may have in addition to “how long dry ice last in a cooler?”

There are many more runner-up coolers that work well with dry ice. Check out:  The 8 Best Coolers Like Yeti But Cheaper to Avoid Breaking the Bank.

Back to Overview

Using Dry Ice in a Cooler: Benefits

First and foremost, we need to look at the benefits of using dry ice in a cooler. That’s the whole reason we’re asking the question “how long does dry ice last in a cooler?”

  1. Whereas ice blocks and chips can leak and cause dampness in your cooler, dry ice will never melt.
  2. It will keep the contents of your cooler frozen, as between -109.3°F or -78.5°C
  3. Dry ice is affordable.

Using Dry Ice in a Cooler: Safety

#1. You need to protect yourself when using dry ice in a cooler. First of all, it’s essential to wear gloves while you’re handling it, because it can burn you pretty badly. If you don’t want to buy gloves, oven mitts and hand towels work well.

how long does dry ice last in a cooler
Safety gloves don’t cost much, luckily. (Amazon Link)

#2. Store ice in a ventilated area.

#3. Never store dry ice in a freezer!

#4. Wear goggles and face-shielding device .

#5. Keep children from touching the dry ice.

#6. Get rid of the dry ice by putting the cooler in an outside, open area. Don’t flush it down the toilet or put it in a trash can.

#7. If you have blistering skin from dry ice, go to a doctor as soon as you can!

We want to give a shout out to Wiki How’s article entitled “How to Store Dry Ice” for sharing these incredibly vital safety rules.

 Back to Overview

FAQs: How long does dry ice last in a cooler?

Using dry ice in a cooler: How to Pack a Cooler with Dry Ice

Without a doubt, the way you pack your cooler with dry ice impacts retention time. Here are very important guidelines for packing dry ice in a cooler, as well as increasing the dry ice lifespan.

    • Remember to put on your gloves for safety.
    • Use crumpled up newspaper for filling in open spaces (no matter how small). Or, as Yeti suggests, you can wrap each piece of dry ice with multiple layers of newspaper.
    • Place the dry ice on the bottom or top of the cooler. For maximum results, opt for the top of the cooler.
    • Dry ice will last longer in a cooler when all of the air space is filled. Use dry ice nuggets or ice water to fill these air pockets.
    • Store your ice chest in a cool place.
    • Only open the cooler when absolutely have to. Plan ahead to minimize opening.

Conclusion: How Long Does Dry Ice Last in a Cooler?

In our experience, dry ice lasts for about 15-25 hours in a cooler. However, as you can see from the table above, it all depends on how much dry ice you’re using and how much you’re shipping. Additionally, it will last longer if you use and pack it correctly.

Above all, remember to handle dry ice with the utmost care! You’re important to us and we don’t want to see you hurt.

Back to Overview

2 thoughts on “How Long Does Dry Ice Last in a Cooler? [Pictures, Videos]”

  1. I really like that you mention the way you pack the ice having an effect on how long it retains it’s effectiveness. It makes sense that storing the ice with newspaper filling the air pockets could be a good way to ensure it all retains it’s cool. Thanks for the post, this will be very helpful for when I get dry ice that I need to use for a long time to ensure I don’t have to keep ordering more each day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *