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Commercial Ice Machines Buying Guide

6 Oct 2023, 4:59 PM

Commercial Ice Machines
Buying Guide

Ice is an essential component for many businesses, especially those in the food and beverage industry. From cooling drinks to preserving perishable items, ice plays a vital role in the day-to-day operations of many establishments. Therefore, having a reliable and efficient ice machine is crucial.

Types Of Ice

When it comes to commercial ice machines, it's essential to consider the type of ice it produces. Different types of ice have varying characteristics, which can affect how they're used and the overall customer experience. Here are some of the most common types of ice:

Full Cube

Full cube ice is the most common type of ice and is often used in drinks that require a lot of ice, such as iced teas or sodas. These ice cubes are large and slow-melting, which means they keep drinks cold for longer periods. The larger size also makes them easier to handle and less likely to clump together.

Half Cube

Half-cube ice is similar to full-cube ice, but smaller in size. It's ideal for businesses that require a lot of ice but have limited storage space. Due to its smaller size, half-cube ice is more efficient in terms of ice production and storage.

Bullet Ice

Bullet ice, also known as nugget ice, is a popular choice for businesses that serve soft drinks and smoothies. These ice pellets are soft and chewable, making them ideal for blended drinks. Bullet ice is also known for its high water content, which gives drinks a slushy-like consistency.

Crushed Ice

Crushed ice is often used in cocktails, frozen drinks, and seafood displays. This type of ice is made by crushing full or half-cube ice, which results in small, irregularly shaped pieces. Crushed ice melts quickly, making it perfect for adding texture and volume to drinks.

Ball Ice

Ball ice is a type of ice that is spherical in shape, typically around 1.75 inches in diameter. It is often used in high-end bars and restaurants for specialty cocktails and drinks, as it has a slower melting rate than traditional ice cubes, which helps to preserve the drink's flavour and temperature. Ball ice is also visually appealing and adds a touch of elegance to a drink. It is made using special ice makers that freeze water in a spherical mould, resulting in a perfectly round ice ball.

Machine Storage

When it comes to commercial ice machines, it's important to consider storage options to ensure the machine is easily accessible and functional.

Since ice machines come in a variety of sizes, it's important to find a location that provides enough space for the machine and any additional equipment required, such as a water filtration system or storage bin.

In addition to space considerations, it's also important to consider the proximity of the machine to the point of use. This ensures that ice can be easily transported without melting, which is especially important for businesses that require ice for immediate use.

For example, a bar may need to keep its ice machine close to the bar area to ensure that drinks are prepared quickly and efficiently.

Water Or Air-Cooled Machines?

When it comes to commercial ice machines, there are two main types of cooling systems: air-cooled and water-cooled. Air-cooled machines use a fan to cool the condenser, while water-cooled machines use water to cool the condenser.

Air-cooled machines tend to be more energy-efficient and cost less to operate since they don't require a constant supply of water. They also don't require as much maintenance since there is no water filter or softener needed. However, they do require good clearance around the vents to ensure proper air circulation and cooling.

Water-cooled machines, on the other hand, can be placed in warmer areas with poor air circulation since they rely on a constant supply of water to cool the condenser. However, they do use more water and can be more expensive to operate. They also require a water softener to reduce the buildup of limescale.

How To Calculate How Much Ice You Need

Running a bar requires careful consideration of how much ice is needed to meet customer demand without overloading the ice machine or wasting excess ice. The amount of ice required will depend on several factors, such as the number of customers served, the type of drinks served, and the climate of the area.

To calculate the amount of ice needed, it's essential to estimate the customer count and the types of drinks served. For example, if the bar specialises in cocktails, it will likely require more ice per person than a bar that serves mainly beer or wine. It's also crucial to consider the climate of the area since hotter temperatures will increase the need for more ice.

As a general guideline, it's recommended to plan for one to two pounds of ice per person. This amount may need to be adjusted depending on the specific needs of the bar and the customers it serves. It's better to have excess ice available than to run out during peak hours.

Browse Our Ice Machines

Hoshizaki Ice Makers

These stylish and easy-to-use push-button ice dispensers are perfect for public self-service in lobbies and corridors. Hoshizaki Ice Makers are a convenient solution for keeping drinks cold and fresh.

Shop Hoshizaki Ice Makers

Ice Crushers

Our premium selection includes top brands like Waring and Santos. These ice crushers are ideal for high-output operations and consistent use in any setting.

Shop Ice Crushers

Foster Ice Machines

We offer a comprehensive range of ice makers from the top brand Foster. Our selection includes ice dispensers, ice flakers, and ice machines that are perfect for a variety of applications, from drink making to food presentation.

Shop Foster Ice Machines

Ice-O-Matic Ice Machines

Explore our innovative range of ice makers from Ice-O-Matic. These machines combine practical design with cutting-edge technology to meet your ice-making needs.

Shop Ice-O-Matic Ice Machines

Polar Ice Machines

Polar provides a wide selection of countertop and under-counter ice machines for your professional kitchen needs. Our range includes small manual fill units for mobile caterers that do not require a water connection, as well as larger automatic refill machines suited for larger commercial premises.

Shop Polar Ice Machines

Manitowoc Ice Machine

Manitowoc offers a variety of under counter, air-cooled ice machines. Their NEO ice maker by this brand is of particular note. It is a best in class under counter compact ice machine, ideal for use in restaurants, pubs, clubs and stadiums, as well as anywhere a reliable, efficient ice maker is required.

Shop Manitowoc Ice Machine

Caterlite Ice Machines

Compact and convenient, the Caterlite manual fill ice machines are a great source of fresh ice for staff rooms, waiting areas, small restaurants or even the home. Incredibly easy to use, simply manually fill the internal water reservoir and soft bullet-shaped ice is produced in either small or large sizes as preferred.

Shop Caterlite Ice Machines
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