API® De-Icers: What’s the Difference?

Winter is almost here! As usual, it brings its freezing temperatures, wind chills, and snow. With its arrival, be sure you are prepared to keep your buckets, stock tanks, ponds, and bird baths ice-free in these gruesome months ahead.

When it comes to choosing a de-icer, it can be overwhelming with the variety of options you have to choose from. Not only do you have to decide what wattage works best for you, but also the type of de-icer you prefer whether it’s sinking, floating, or one that fits in your tank’s drain plug. One thing to remember about de-icers is that their purpose is to de-ice and keep your water open, not to heat it.

When using a de-icer, it’s important to remove the calcium / mineral buildup on a regular basis. By maintaining your de-icer it will function properly and more efficiently. 

Calcium / mineral buildup on the heating element(s) will cause the unit to not dissipate the heat and will cause damage and potentially failure to the De-icer.

All API® de-icers are intended for outdoor use only. To make your choice easier, we will highlight the differences in all 21 of our API® de-icers so you can feel confident in keeping your water ice-free this winter!

Wattage
To help understand the following differences, let’s first discuss wattage. The wattage is the measure of electrical flow to the unit. When it comes to a de-icer, the higher the wattage in the de-icer, the more efficient the unit will be at heating the water. The higher the wattage, the faster it will heat your water and the less overall energy it will use to do so.

Tank Size Less than 70 gallons 70-100 gallons 100-300 gallons
Recommended Wattage 500 watts 1,000 watts 1,500 watts
These are general guidelines to use for sizing your de-icers, but can be affected by regional extremes, abnormally cold temperatures, or strong winds.

Here is a list of all our API® de-icers categorized by what products they are most compatible with and how many gallons they are suited for to help you decide which one is right for you.

Buckets
The bucket/utility de-icers look very similar and all use multiple thermostats for efficient operation. The low-profile, finned design provides a large surface area, allowing the de-icer to run cooler while putting out the same amount of heat as conventional de-icers. This helps reduce the amount of mineral buildup and extend the life of the unit. They can be used in plastic containers and have a durable, coated-aluminum base. They all include a 6-foot cord with anti-chew protector which is LOCKNDRY compatible and cULus Listed.

Which is right for me?

For up to 30 gallons

DT250 – Bucket/Utility De-Icer, 250 Watt

  • Can be used in buckets, tanks, or bird baths
  • Suitable for up to 30 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 48°F; turns off when water is 66°F
  • 250 Watts

W250 – 250 Watt Auto Waterer De-Icer

  • Created specifically for automatic waterers/drinkers, but can be used in buckets, tanks, and bird baths
  • Suitable for up to 30 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 48°F; turns off when water is 66°F
  • 250 Watts

For up to 60 gallons

DT500 – Bucket/Utility De-Icer, 500 Watt

  • Can be used in buckets, tanks, or bird baths
  • Suitable for up to 60 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 48°F; turns off when water is 66°F
  • 500 Watts

For up to 70 gallons

W500 – 500 Watt Auto Waterer De-Icer

  • Created specifically for automatic waterers/drinkers, but can be used in buckets, tanks, and bird baths
  • Suitable for up to 70 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 48°F; turns off when water is 66°F
  • 500 Watts

Tanks
For tanks, you can choose from de-icers that float, sink to the bottom of your tank, or models that sit in your drain plug. Below is a chart rating each style when it comes to efficiency, animal safety, which ones are best for plastic tanks or best for Rubbermaid® tanks.

Purpose Floating Sinking (and Drain Plug models)
Efficiency Best Average
Animal Safety Average Good
Best for Plastic Tanks Average Good
Best for Rubbermaid® Tanks Average Good

Floating
The floating de-icers will keep your stock tank completely ice-free all winter. The thermostatic control coupled with thermal feedback protects the units from overheating and ensures efficient operation. The stainless-steel heating element is positioned above the thermostat for safety even in low-water conditions. The floats are completely enclosed in a rugged, plastic housing and will not sink over time. They include a 6-foot cord with durable anti-rub protector that is LOCKNDRY compatible.

Which is right for me?

For 70-100 gallons

7621 – Floating De-Icer, 1000 Watt

  • Can be used in metallic and non-metallic stock tanks. Use in a non-metallic tank requires a metal guard to prevent fire danger (model 88R, sold separately)
  • Suitable for 70-100 gallons
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • 1000 Watts
  • UL, CSA listed

For 100-300 Gallons

7521 – Floating De-Icer, 1500 Watt

  • Can be used in metallic and non-metallic stock tanks. Use in a non-metallic tank requires a galvanized wire guard to prevent fire danger (model 88R, sold separately)
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • 1500 Watts
  • UL, CSA listed

521G – Floating De-Icer with Guard, 1500 Watt

521G shown with included galvanized wire guard (model 88R)
  • Can be used in metallic and non-metallic stock tanks.
  • Includes a galvanized wire guard (model 88R) to protect rubber, plastic, or structural foam tanks
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • 1500 Watts
  • UL listed

DT15 – 3-in-1 De-Icer, 1500 Watt

  • Can be used as either a floating, sinking, or drain-plug de-icer in metallic and non-metallic stock tanks with the removable cover and float
  • Includes patented drain plug adapter
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons
  • Turns on when water is 48°F; turns off when water is 66°F
  • 1500 Watts
  • cULus listed

Sinking (and Drain Plug)
The sinking and drain plug de-icers operate at the bottom of the tank where it is less likely to be disturbed by livestock, protecting both the equipment and animals. The strong, durable, stainless steel heating element is thermostatically controlled for efficient operation. Their rugged and weather-resistant construction handles the elements and the thermostatic control coupled with thermal feedback protects the unit from overheating. Their thermostat is positioned above the heating element to ensure safety in low-water conditions. They include a 6-foot cord with durable anti-rub protector.

Which is right for me?

For 70-100 Gallons

10N – Sinking De-Icer, 1000 Watt

  • Sinking de-icer can be used in metallic and non-metallic stock tanks
  • Includes a galvanized wire guard (model 88R) for use in plastic tanks
  • Suitable for 70-100 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • 1000 Watts
  • LOCKNDRY compatible
  • UL, CSA listed

For 100-300 gallons

15N – Sinking De-Icer, 1500 Watt

  • Sinking de-icer can be used in metallic and non-metallic stock tanks
  • Includes a galvanized wire guard (model 88R) for use in plastic tanks
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • 1500 Watts
  • LOCKNDRY compatible
  • UL, CSA listed

15A – 2-in-1 Sinking De-Icer, 1500 Watt

  • Can be used as either a sinking or drain-plug de-icer in metallic and non-metallic stock tanks
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • Power cord is designed to fit through a ¾-inch drain hole and the patented drain plug adapter seals around the cord
  • Includes a galvanized wire guard (model 88R) for use in plastic tanks
  • 1500 Watts

DTS15 – Sinking De-Icer, 1500 Watt

  • Sinking de-icer can be used in metallic and non-metallic stock tanks including Rubbermaid® tanks
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 48°F; turns off when water is 66°F
  • Durable Teflon® coated aluminum base for easy cleaning
  • LOCKNDRY compatible
  • 1500 Watts
  • cULus listed

99DP – Universal Drain Plug De-Icer, 1500 Watt

  • Drain plug de-icer can be used in most metallic and non-metallic stock tanks
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • Includes a patented cord that detaches to pass through drain hole
  • 1500 Watts
  • LOCKNDRY compatible
  • cULus listed

2002DP – Universal Drain Plug De-Icer, 1500 Watt

  • Drain plug de-icer specifically created to fit drain holes ¾-inch diameter or larger in metallic and non-metallic stock tanks
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 60°F
  • Not LOCKNDRY compatible
  • 1500 Watts
  • cULus listed

15DP – Drain Plug De-Icer, 1500 Watt

  • Drain plug de-icer specifically created for Rubbermaid® tanks only
  • Butterfly-shape heating element
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • 1500 Watts
  • LOCKNDRY compatible.
  • cULus listed

Pond
The pond de-icers keep your pond completely ice-free, allowing fresh oxygen to reach your pond for healthy fish. The thermostatic control coupled with thermal feedback protects the unit from overheating. Their thermostats are positioned above the heating element for safety in low-water conditions. They all include a 15-foot cord with anti-rub protector that is LOCKNDRY compatible and are UL, CSA listed.

Which is right for me?

For 70-100 gallons

P7621 – Floating Pond De-Icer, 1000 Watt

  • Floating de-icer specifically created for ponds. Use in a non-metallic pond or with a plastic or rubber pond liner requires a galvanized wire guard to prevent fire danger (model 88R, sold separately)
  • Suitable for 70-100 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • Enclosed in a rugged, plastic housing and will not sink over time
  • Strong stainless steel heating element
  • 1000 Watts

For 100-300 gallons

P7521 – Floating Pond De-Icer, 1500 Watt

  • Floating de-icer specifically created for ponds. Use in a non-metallic pond or with a plastic or rubber pond liner requires a galvanized wire guard to prevent fire danger (model 88R, sold separately)
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • Enclosed in a rugged, plastic housing and will not sink over time
  • Strong stainless steel heating element
  • 1500 Watts

P15N – Sinking Pond De-Icer, 1500 Watt

  • Sinking de-icer specifically created for metallic and non-metallic ponds
  • Suitable for 100-300 gallons of water
  • Turns on when water is 42°F; turns off when water is 73°F
  • Includes a galvanized guard (model 88R) to protect rubber and plastic-lined ponds
  • 1500 Watts

Bird Bath
The bird bath de-icers help attract wild birds to your property year-round by keeping your bird bath’s water ice-free all winter long even in sub-zero temperatures. All models come with a built-in thermostat and are cULus listed.

Which is right for me?

For up to 15 gallons

300 – Bird Bath De-Icer

  • Can be used in pottery, plastic, or concrete bird baths
  • Stainless steel guard and auto shut-off for safety
  • Suitable for bird baths of 15 gallons or less
  • Turns on when water is 46°F; turns off when water is 64°F
  • 15-inch cord with anti-rub protector
  • 200 Watts
  • CSA listed

250D – Pail and Bird Bath De-Icer, 200 Watt

  • Can be used in metallic and non-metallic buckets, bird baths, and pans
  • Stainless steel guard for safety
  • Suitable for container of 15 gallons or less
  • Turns on when water is 46°F; turns off when water is 64°F
  • Includes adjustable clamp to attach unit to the container
  • 6-foot cord with anti-chew protector
  • 200 Watts

For up to 30 gallons

BDT250 – Bird Bath De-Icer with Aluminum Base, 250 Watt

  • Can be used in buckets, bird baths, or pans
  • Large heating surface area runs cooler than conventional de-icers
  • Suitable for container of 30 gallons or less
  • Turns on when water is 48°F; turns off when water is 66°F
  • Durable, coated aluminum base and low-profile design
  • 10-foot cord with anti-rub protector
  • 250 Watts

Already using one our API® de-icers? Let us know which one you like the best!

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