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Let’s Break The Ice: What Ice Machine Is Best

Let’s Break The Ice: What Ice Machine Is Best

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Commercial ice makers are one of the most common appliances in restaurants. They are available in different shapes and sizes so it is important to research what unit will contribute to the efficiency of your kitchen specifically. Commercial ice makers are the most efficient type of ice maker because they produce more ice than residential models, and they also have an increased capability to store the ice.

An efficient kitchen needs a machine that provides a continuous supply of ice cubes in large quantities at a fast rate. Ice cubes are an important commodity in the foodservice industry and in most restaurants, hotels, and bars. The commercial ice makers can be used in any type of setting where there is a need for a large supply of ice on demand. It is important for commercial ice makers to be durable, efficient, and easy to clean. They must also have an adjustable production rate for different size servings. Shopping for the right unit is imperative to the success of a kitchen.

Commercial ice makers are designed for the demands of the commercial environment. Commercial ice makers provide clean and safe ice production and can be made to order in a range of sizes and configurations to suit your specific needs. Find the right unit for your kitchen in our huge variety of commercial ice makers available in our online inventory!

Here’s how to choose the best commercial ice maker for your kitchen

When you need a new commercial ice maker for your business, you need to consider a few factors for what the best fit for you is. Here are the top 3 things you need to know when choosing the best commercial ice maker for you:


1.      Major Types of Ice:


Cube-Style Ice: regular ice cube that features a solid build. This contains nearly 100% of ice without the presence of air in between. These are best for large volume needs like bagging or dispensing. This is also the most common type of ice used for soft drinks, water, or mixed drinks. The advantages of cube-style ice are that they are versatile. They are solid which makes them melt slower which allows for many applications and versatility either in the kitchen for prep or for serving in the front end of your business.


Nugget Ice: layers of flaked ice frozen together. Nugget ice uses the process of creating pockets of air within the ice itself. These air pockets make the ice chewable and enjoyable for many. Crushed ice is made from large cubes that have been crushed into smaller pieces which make it more jagged and less enjoyable to chew on. Now, you can either have a hard nugget or soft nugget choice. While both still chewable, soft nugget ice is the mainly desired chewable ice as made popular by places like Sonic. The best advantages of nugget ice are that they absorb flavors of drinks (which is why many enjoy them to chew on) and they displace a lot of liquid which can save a large sum on drink costs.


2.      Types of Ice Makers:


Free Standing Ice Makers with Bins require a constant flow of cool water but so long as there is a proper line secured to it, they can be placed in any prime location of your business. This is particularly helpful when you need the unit in a high-volume production area. Under Counter Ice Makers are exactly what they sound like. They are space-saving ice makers essential for smaller workspaces as they can conveniently fit into smaller areas.


There are a few things regarding compressors to consider when considering types of ice makers since self-contained ice makers expel heat while in use. Air-cooled compressors use fans to redirect hot air generated by your ice maker unit. This is the most popular choice for compressors because it is the most affordable. You can also choose the water-cooled units which use water to redirect heat. These are sometimes connected to closed-loop systems which are usually found in larger operations like commercial facilities. This method causes an increased amount spent on utility bills.


3.      How many Ice Machines does your business need?

Ice machines are sized by their output within 24 hours (the “24-hour yield” or “ice yield”). Different units have different levels of output. For example, larger free-standing ice machines with bins typically produce more ice than the smaller under counter units. It can be as drastic as 50 lbs. of ice produced by the smaller unit to 2500 lbs. produced by the larger free-standing unit. Typically, for smaller businesses, the smaller units are sufficient with the same being true for the larger units in larger businesses.


For a replacement machine, did your previous unit have a large enough ice yield? Too large? For new businesses, it is important to properly estimate your growth. If you’re just starting out, here is a quick guide to gauging ice yields in typical fields:

Type of Service

Average Ice Required


1.5 lb. of ice per meal sold


3 lbs. of ice per seat

Water Glasses

6 oz. of ice per 12 oz. glass

7-10 oz. beverage

5 oz. of ice

12-16 oz. cup

8 oz. of ice

18-34 oz. cup

12 oz. of ice


1 lb. of ice per person

It is a safe bet to have more than one ice machine in your establishment for several reasons. One reason is the sake of having a backup. If one unit goes down, your business won’t have to shut down, you can continue with the secondary unit. Additionally, having another unit like an undercounter machine will help with convenience and efficiency. Keeping the ice yield gauge previously mentioned in mind, it might be ideal to have more than one unit depending on the amount of ice your business requires. Keep these things in mind when shopping.



3 Pro Tips To Remember When Installing Your Ice Maker:

1.      Water Supply and Drainage: obviously your ice maker needs a cold-water supply to operate. As with anything involving water, there is a chance of a huge mess so a cut off valve and good floor drains are essential. Ensure that your local codes for your drain type will allow for proper placement of your unit.

2.      Power Supply: make sure that you fully understand your machine’s power requirements. An electrician might be necessary during initial installation; however, you’ll want to ensure that you understand what your machine operates on (i.e.: 110V electrical supply or otherwise). Always check out your machine’s specification sheet before installation.

3.      Space and Ventilation: measure and know your space! Make sure that you have enough space that has proper ventilation before installation. Not only do you need to make sure your ice machine has the right amount of floor space, but you also need to make sure that the space has proper airflow. A well-placed machine will improve efficiency.


3 factors that can affect your ice production output:

1.       Ventilation: as previously said, a well-placed machine will most definitely improve efficiency. Especially for air-cooled units, ventilation is key and can drastically impact output. Poor ventilation is almost sure to create high temperatures which will cause your commercial ice maker to overwork which could cause breakdowns. This leads to loss of production and loss of profit.

2.       Water Quality: Ensure that the water feeding to your ice machine is at optimum levels. Hard water can leave mineral deposits that can cause internal breakdowns within the water lines. This will slow down the flow of your water to your machine which will cause a decrease in efficiency. It is best practice to ensure the water you feed to your unit is properly filtered and at the proper temperature.

3.       Cleanliness: Ice machine cleaning is essential. Follow all manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations to keep your machine operating at optimum levels. Internal components that get blocked can cause a major slowdown in production and cause a decrease in the quality of your ice. 


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