Ice Machine Buyer's Guide

Ice Machine Buyer's Guide

You've decided to purchase an ice machine. You've got a lot of questions and need some assistance going through the various sizes, varieties, and styles available.

Keep in mind that purchasing an ice maker is a long-term investment.

As your business grows, you'll need to purchase an ice machine that can meet all of your ice needs. We're here to assist you in finding the ideal ice machine for your needs.

Let's begin with the fundamentals.

  • What type of ice do you need?

There are three basic types of ice Cube ice, Flake ice, and Nugget Ice.

Cube Ice

In the commercial business, this is the most frequent type of ice. 80% of eateries choose for ice machines that produce cubed ice.

Cube ice is transparent and available in a variety of shapes, including rectangle, full cube, half cube, gourmet, contour, and other standard shapes. 1.25 inches is the largest dimension (3.18 centimetres). Cube ice comes in weights ranging from 1/6 to 1/2 ounce (4.8 to 14.0 grams) and contains very little liquid water.

  • Half-Cube or Full-Cube

Shape: A distinctive "rhomboid" shape. Each manufacturer's cube sizes and forms vary, but they're usually classified as a modular half-cube or full-cube.

Advantages: It melts slowly and fills glasses more completely. This means more money in your pocket and a cooler, higher-quality beverage for your consumers.

Used for: Mixed drinks, carbonated drinks, ice selling, salad bars, and ice dispensing.

  • Gourmet Cubes

Shape: They're usually shaped like a top hat or a miniature shot glass.

Advantages: The large size prevents clumping and enables for easy glass filling. The hard, slow-melting cubes are easy to scoop and are great for re-icing glasses. Its distinctively appealing appearance makes it ideal for use in mixed beverages and gourmet drinks.

Used for: Bars, upscale restaurants, banquet service, and waitress stations.

  • Contour Cubes

Shape: Ice in the shape of a pillow. Full dice: 1-3/8" x 1-3/8" x 5/8". These revolutionary crystal clear hard ice forms were created exclusively for foodservice.

Advantages: Allows cubes to nestle in the glass for maximum displacement, resulting in higher-quality cocktails for customers and increased profits for you. The unique design prevents splashing by allowing liquid to flow softly and readily over the contour features. Individually built to make handling and dispensing easier.

Used for: Mixed drinks, ice displays, carbonated drinks, ice retailing, salad bars, and ice dispensing.

Flake Ice

Flaked ice is the most cost-effective and suitable for quick chilling. Unlike cubes, which generate warm air pockets that melt your ice, fills in around items. When ice needs to be moulded to foods in cold pans or displays, this is the type of ice to utilize. It's occasionally used in soft drinks and speciality cocktails.

Shape: Small, hard bits of flaked ice. Chips or flakes that contain up to 20% liquid water.

Advantages: Preserves food for short periods. Conforms to the surface of items that it rests on. Gives customers perception of freshness. Great for icing down seafood or chickens in your kitchen prep area.

Used for: Produce, Seafood, or Meat Displays, Blended Cocktails, Fishing Boats, Salad Bars, and Hospitals.

Nugget Ice

Ice nuggets are becoming more and more popular. This unique and interesting ice is incredibly cost-effective, which is why it is so popular with consumers. It consumes less water and energy than cubed ice and melts more slowly than flaking ice. Dinks with quick food outlets, such as Sonic, are popular.

Shape: Hard, cylindrical, randomly sized bits of ice are actually flaked ice in compacted form. Not as crystal-clear as cube ice.

Advantages: Easy to chew. No wasteful foaming, perfect for cooling and maintaining the flavor of drinks. Ice doesn't stick together and stays free-flowing. Displays look crisp and stay fresh longer. Requires less work to re-ice displays. Machines are a bit more compact and are said to require less maintenance.

Used for: Carbonated drinks, Blended Cocktails, Produce, Seafood, or Meat Displays, Ice Dispensing, Salad Bars, and Hospitals.

Are there too many options? Are you having trouble deciding which option is best for you? Consider the following questions:

  • What do your clients want from their drinks, and what do they expect from them?
  • What image and personality does your company want to project?
  • Do you require ice in the kitchen or other areas where drinks will not be served?
What type of ice machine do you need?

There are two types of ice machines: Modular Ice Machines and Self-Contained Ice Machines.


An ice-making head plus a separate ice storage bin make up a modular ice maker.

Head Units

The ice maker and condensing unit in the head unit is standard. Air-cooled, water-cooled, or remote-cooled condensers are all options. It can produce between 300 and 2400 pounds of ice in 24 hours. It allows you to construct an ice machine to match your ice production and storage needs, as it comes in a variety of sizes and ice varieties.

Storage Bins

Storage The weight capacity of the bins ranges from 200 to 2000 pounds. It's critical to select a bin that can hold enough ice during peak business days while not overflowing during downtime.

Modular heads can also be used on an ice dispenser instead of a bin.

Self-serve ice dispensers are utilized in self-serve environments. They eliminate the time and effort required to manually fill bins while ensuring that consumers receive ice throughout service periods. Ice dispensers may hold up to 150 pounds of ice. up to 250 pounds a block of ice

Hotel dispensers are larger ice-making equipment that are specifically designed to deliver ice into buckets. Ice machines in hotels may hold up to 180 pounds of ice.


Self-Contained Ice Machines are ideal for a small bar, cafe, or kitchen because they take up very little space.

The ice producer and storage bin are combined in a self-contained ice machine. It's also known as an undercounter ice maker.

Undercounter ice machines are available in a variety of sizes but lack the storage capacity of modular ice makers. They will fit in compact spaces, underbar installations, or under most 40" countertops in a kitchen.

Are you unsure which option is best for you?

Consider how much ice you'll need and how much room you have for a machine.

  • Why A large restaurant with a lot of thirsty clients would benefit from a modular ice machine.
  • For a small bar or cafe, a self-contained ice machine might be ideal.

  • What type of condenser should I buy?

Air-Cooled vs Water-Cooled Ice Makers

The decision between an air-cooled and a water-cooled machine is crucial. The first thing to think about is the environment in which your ice machine will operate. The functionality and efficiency of your ice maker are influenced by temperature and air circulation.

Air-Cooled Ice Makers are less expensive and maybe installed anywhere there is access to water and electricity. The disadvantage is that they consume more energy, emit substantial amounts of heat, and are too loud to be placed near customer service areas


An ice maker that is water-cooled produces less heat, consumes less electricity, and is quieter than one that is air-cooled. Water-cooled machines are more efficient than air-cooled units and are ideal for situations where high water and ambient air temperatures would cause an air-cooled machine to shut down.

The issue is that, due to the high cost of water, these machines are not permitted in some places. Water-cooled equipment in most locations must be on a closed loop system, which means no water can be thrown down the drain. In a smaller restaurant, a closed loop and cooling tower may or may not be viable.

In general, a water-cooled unit should be used only if one or more of the following conditions occur where the machine will be installed: 

  • Ambient air temperatures above 80°F 
  • Air containing a high level of pollutants such as grease 
  • A lack of air circulation

Remote-Cooled Ice Makers 

Because some of the gear has been transferred, remote ice makers are quieter than traditional units. A separate remote condenser is required for distant air-cooled ice machines.

The condenser can be placed up to 50 feet away from the house, including on the roof. Because refrigeration lines must be routed to a remote location, installation costs may be higher than for self-contained equipment.

Remote Condensers 

Designed for use with remote-cooled ice makers, remote condensers enable quiet operation and energy savings. The remote unit removes the ice maker's largest heat-producing component, the condenser, from your kitchen entirely. The remote approach eliminates the majority of the heat from the service area and does not require the use of water.

The bottom line

Air-cooled ice producers consume the most energy (5.4 to 22.5 kWh per 100 pounds of ice), but they are less expensive and use less water than water-cooled machines.

Water-cooled ice makers use 4.7 to 14.2 kWh per 100 pounds of ice, which is more efficient than air-cooled ones. Because the heat used to make the ice is discharged outside the building, there is no impact on air conditioning expenditures.

Outside the facility, remote air-cooled condensers transport heat generated by the ice-making process. They reject heat outside of conditioned spaces, similar to water-cooled units, and so do not raise air conditioning loads. They also reduce noise levels inside by up to 75%, however extending lines to a remote place incurs additional installation expenditures.

  • What size storage bin do you need?

Ice Storage Bins are available in a variety of sizes and storage capacities to meet even the most demanding application requirements. Consider the following factors before selecting your bin:

  • Weekends are typically busier than weekdays.
  • Seasons (you'll probably use more ice in the summer than in the winter)
  • Peak hours (you'll probably use more ice during the day than at other times of the day)

It's critical to select a bin that can hold enough ice during peak business days while not overflowing during downtime.

Your bin is clearly too small if you run out of ice during busy hours.

Your bin is clearly too large if it is continually full and your ice is melting.

Typically, bins are sized to accommodate 10 to 12 hours of ice output. For applications like supermarket displays where the ice is only changed once or twice a week, larger bins should be used.

  1. What preparation is needed before I can install my ice machine?
  • Will your ice machine fit through the door?

It's critical to take measurements of the doors and hallways to ensure that your ice machine will fit.

Make sure your ice maker will fit vertically and horizontally in the place you're buying it for before you buy it. Make sure there's enough room for the ice machine, storage bin, and water filter.

For adequate air flow on the top, back, and sides of the ice machine, there should be 5 to 8 inches of space around it. If the space is limited, a top air discharge device may be an option.

  • Is there an electricity outlet and a plumbing connection nearby?

Make sure your ice machine's electrical connections, water source, and floor drain are all within 6 feet of it.

  • Do you have the right power supply?

Some ice machines can be powered by normal electrical outlets, but some require additional electricity. When you place your order, make sure the ice machine is the right voltage for your setup. You may need to see an electrician to ensure that you can correctly run the ice machine.

  • Is there enough plumbing for your machine?

Ice machines require a cold water source with a shut-off valve to operate. Separate drain pipes are also required for the ice maker and the storage bin. Don't forget about the necessary floor drain.

  • Does your ice machine have new water filters installed?

Water Filters are a vital component in keeping production of ice fresh and clean, and keeps your ice machine running in top order. They are effective at reducing chlorine, taste & odour

An ice machine water filter will remove cyst, bacteria, taste, odor, and sediment from your restaurant’s tap water, making it just as good if not better than anything that comes in a bottle. Ice machine water filters also have a built-in scale inhibitor that removes hard minerals which helps avoid build up.

  • Are your connections up to code?

The requirements of each local, state and national code are distinct. It is critical to ensure that your electrical and water connections comply with all applicable codes.

  • Are you purchasing a Remote Condenser?

If that's the case, consider the following: 

    • Is there an outdoor condenser over the ICE Maker?
    • Is it possible to easily access and penetrate the roof?
    • Do you have pre-charged tubing lines that are as long as possible?
Looking for a Commercial Ice Machine?

T : 1300 885 693
E :
W :