A commercial ice machine can be an asset to your business – they provide a consistent flow of cold, fresh ice for drinks, salad bars, food cases, etc. However, before you make this big investment, there are several things you need to consider, ranging from how much ice you will need daily to the type of ice the machine produces. Making careful choices now will ensure you have a more efficient operation and many happy customers.
What is a Commercial Ice Machine?
Commercial ice makers can produce large amounts of ice in short periods of time, as well as store the ice and keep it cool.
Benefits of a Commercial Ice Maker for Your Business
A commercial ice maker can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, and you might be wondering if it’s something you really need. Here are some benefits to having a commercial ice maker in your business:
Investment – Investing in a good ice machine can pay off in the long run. A good ice machine that’s well maintained should last many years.
Improve Drink Taste – Ice dispensers have filters in them to provide the best-tasting ice possible. If the ice tastes great, the drinks will too.
Other Uses – Ice machines aren’t just for bars and restaurants. They can be used for keeping food cool in shops, break rooms, child care centers, medical buildings, etc.
Different Types: There are different types of commercial ice makers with different capabilities. Chances are you’ll find what you need for your business.
Commercial Ice Machine – Get One For Your Business
Top Pick: VEVOR Commercial Ice MachineRunner Up: Manitowoc Air Cooled Undercounter Ice MachineBest Value: Foster Commercial Ice Maker
Ice Production110-120 lbs/day132 lbs/day350 lbs/day
Ice Storage33 lbsNot specified265 lbs
Ice Cycle Time8-15 minutesNot specifiedNot specified
MaterialStainless steel, food-grade PPNot specifiedStainless steel
FeaturesAdjustable and removable feet, 2 water filters, drainage pump, control displaySmall footprint, forward sliding bin, pop-out air filters, multiple cube choicesQuiet operation, air cooling system, water filter
BenefitsHigh production, easy control, various adjustmentsEasy access and maintenance, flexible placementHigh production and storage, perfectly shaped and diced cubes, quiet operation
WarrantyNot specifiedNot specified1-year warranty
Price Range$$$ (Top Pick)$$ (Runner Up)$ (Best Value)
VEVOR Commercial Ice Machine
Top Pick: Our pick for the best commercial ice maker is this model by Vevor. This commercial ice maker can produce 110-120 lbs of ice cubes per day, with an 8- 15 minute cycle time, and has a 33 lb capacity ice storage bin, ensuring you never run out of fresh ice.
This unit is made from stainless steel and food-grade PP material. Features include adjustable and removable feet, 2 water filters and a drainage pump, and an easy display where you can control the temperature, timer, ice thickness, etc. If you are a busy business with a big demand for ice, this ice machine may be the right one for you.
Manitowoc Air Cooled Undercounter Ice Machine
Runner Up: This ice machine by Manitowoc can produce a large amount of ice with a small footprint. It has a smaller size, allowing it to go neatly underneath a counter and a forward sliding bin for easy access and pop-out air filters for easy maintenance.
This ice maker has a 132 lb production capacity, and you can choose between full cubes, half cubes or regular dice cubes.
Foster Commercial Ice Maker
Best Value: If your business needs a lot of ice, check out the Foster Commercial Ice Maker. This quiet operating automatic modular ice machine produces up to 350 lbs. per day and has an ice bin that can hold up to 265 lbs.
It promises perfectly shaped and diced cubes and quiet operation. It has an air cooling system and a water filter and is backed by a 1-year warranty.
Euhomy Commercial Ice Machine
This stainless steel ice machine by Euhomy fits a variety of spaces, including under the bar counter, in the food truck, or coffee shop. It produces 100 lbs of ice daily and has a 33 lb capacity storage bin.
An easy-to-operate LCD screen allows you to adjust the ice size, use the auto-clean function, and more. This ice machine is energy star certified.
SYCEES Countertop 2-in-1 Ice Maker & Ice Shaver Machine
This multi-functional ice machine offers you the availability of making ice cubes and shaved crushed ice at the same time. It can produce 18 ice bullet cubes every 11 minutes for one operation cycle, making up to 44 lbs in 24 hrs. It can then shave those ice cubes in seconds.
A powerful compression cooling system allows this ice machine to have a quiet operation, and it is ETL certified.
Newair Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
Another one of the smaller machines on our list, Newair’s nugget ice dispenser provides crunchy ice or shaved from your countertop. It is lightweight and portable, while still capable of making 44 lbs of nugget ice per day.
The compact size of this model makes it perfect for smaller store corners, health clubs, bars, or even your home.
Scotsman Undercounter Ice Maker
Scotsman ice machines produce gourmet ice using a self-contained, air-cooled condenser. It can produce 64 lbs of ice per day and has a compact design for placement in smaller areas.
This unit features a water quality sensor, user-friendly controls, and a gravity drain.
Newair Portable Countertop Ice Maker
Newair uses proprietary Frozen Fall technology in its ice-making process, promising great-looking, great-tasting ice every time. It can produce up to 45 lbs of ice per day.
Versatile controls allow you to choose the thickness of the cube ice and the large viewing window makes it easy to check the ice production progress and capacity. This ice machine uses up to a gallon of bottled water.
GSEICE Commercial Stainless Steel Ice Maker with Advanced Touch Screen
This ice machine is equipped with a large 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen which allows you to control the entire ice production process with the push of a button. It produces 60 pieces of ice at a time and 200 lbs of ice per day.
The built-in blue light displays the fresh ice and provides ambiance, and the EMBRACO brand compressor provides strong cooling, low noise, and low energy consumption.
COSTWAY Split Commercial Modular Ice Machine
Costway’s modular ice machine has all the features to meet your ice demands. It can produce 353 lbs of ice per day and the storage capacity reaches 198 lbs.
This unit offers a low-noise compressor, user-friendly LCD control panel, and quick ice-making time. Unlike some modular ice machines, its split design allows you to save space by keeping the ice machine head on top of the storage bin. This machine also has ETL certification and automatic shutoff. It comes with ice scoops, a water supply pipe, a drain pipe, tape, and a water quick connector.
Scotsman Meridian Nugget Ice & Water Dispenser
Machines with water dispensers can improve your customer experience by offering fresh ice water. Scotsman ice machines are quite expensive but can be a worthwhile investment and popular addition to your business or breakroom. This one can produce up to 500 lbs of ice in 24 hours.
This machine’s features include removable front panels and storage bin, specially designed contoured sides for enhanced breathability, and durable stainless steel evaporator and exterior panels. In addition, this unit boasts the industry’s smallest operational footprint relative to capacity.
What to Look for When Buying Commercial Ice Machines
Choosing the right commercial ice machine can make all the difference in your business’s efficiency, customer satisfaction, and bottom line. To help you navigate this decision, let’s expand on the points already highlighted, adding some practical advice.
When considering size and placement, remember that your business layout and customer volume can significantly influence the type of ice machine you need. Small cafes or office settings may find an under-counter model ideal due to their compact size and low to medium ice output. However, for high-demand environments such as restaurants or hotels, a freestanding unit would be more suitable.
The water source and power requirements are also important considerations. Most commercial ice machines require a steady water supply and an outlet with sufficient power. Ensure your workspace can accommodate these requirements before finalizing a purchase.
Production speed is another factor directly influenced by your customer volume and their ice consumption habits. Here are some typical speed tiers:
Small volume: These machines produce around 50-150 pounds of ice per day.
Medium volume: They generate between 150-500 pounds per day.
High volume: Capable of producing 500-1000 pounds or more per day.
Noise level is an important but often overlooked factor. While some machines have noise-reducing components, larger units can still generate noticeable noise. A quiet environment might demand an under-counter or remote-cooled model.
Bin capacity, or how much ice the machine can hold at any given time, directly affects your service capacity. Machines with larger bin capacity allow for less frequent ice replacement, ideal for peak service times.
Regarding use and types of ice, consider your needs carefully. Cubed ice is popular for cocktails, while flaked or nugget ice is best for healthcare or food presentation applications.
Lastly, energy consumption is crucial for ongoing operating costs. Ice machines with energy-saving features such as auto shutoff, sleep mode, or ETL certification can lower your utility bills over time.
How do you choose a commercial ice machine?
Choosing the best commercial ice maker means taking a good look at what your needs are and whether you expect growth in the near future. An ice machine may be a bit more than you need now, but as your business grows you may find your needs change.
How big of an ice machine do you need for a restaurant?
This depends on how much ice is typically used. A very busy restaurant that serves a lot of drinks will want a machine that can keep up with the demand.
How long does a commercial ice machine last?
A well-built, well-maintained commercial ice maker can last for many years. Look for units that are made from durable materials, and for ones that offer a warranty.
This article, “Commercial Ice Machine – Get One For Your Business” was first published on Small Business Trends