Choosing a Commercial Ice Maker for Your Kitchen: Your Complete Buying Guide

Ice is essential for all kinds of businesses in warm climates and for the service industry all throughout the year. Your customers or clients are even likely to raise hell if you’re using too much, too little, or the wrong kind of ice. It’s essential that you know what to look for in a commercial ice maker before you decide on one for your business.

Here is everything to think about when it comes to ice machines.

Consider Capacity

You need to start by thinking about the amount of ice your machine needs to produce on a daily basis. This depends on the kind of facility you run or the type of business you’re using it in.

Restaurants, health care facilities, bars, and hotels all have different requirements. You can get an idea of what you need if you have current up-to-date numbers on how many people or meals you serve a day.

Restaurants serving 200 meals per day should consider around 1-2 lbs of ice per meal. That includes drinking water, sodas, and mixed drinks of any kind. This means that you need a minimum of 200-400 lbs of ice each day.

You should also never be in a situation where you’re waiting for ice or it runs out. Add an extra 20% on top of that number you come up with. This could mean that you’re budgeting for 500 lbs of ice per day under these conditions.

It will then come into play which times of the day and which days of the week you need the most ice. You won’t have an even and steady flow of customers, so ensure that you have the amount of ice you need at the moment you need it.

Shape Matters Too

Depending on your service, you need to think about the shape of the ice that you’re producing. Cubed, nuggets, or flaked ice all have different purposes.

Cubed ice is the most common that you find in bars and restaurants. You also find it in bagged ice.

Cubes are often found in mixed drinks and other beverages. You need to then consider whether you want full, half, or regular cubes. Each type will melt differently, which can change how much your customers buy.

Nuggets are popular because customers love to chew them and they have a way of quickly chilling a beverage. They’re also used in the healthcare industry because they melt slowly and don’t disrupt the drinking process. Fountain drinks, blended cocktails, and smoothie bars all use nugget ice.

Flaked ice is another that you’ll commonly find in the healthcare world. Flakes are also used in situations where you’re looking to present food since they easily mold into whatever shape they need to be in. This is great for fish and meat markets, salad bars, cold bars, and anywhere that you need food to stay cold.

Compressor is Important

The compressor that you choose is important when you’re thinking about your energy costs. One of the higher line-item budget concerns of most businesses is how much they’re spending on utilities per month. The compressor on your ice machine can make a big difference.

There are air-cooled and water-cooled options available. Commercial ice machines come in either version but you’re seeing more people use air-cooled these days as they’re more energy-efficient. Look at the ratings listed on the machines that you’re considering before you make a final decision.

Air-cooled machines have a fan circulating air around the refrigeration components. They take out the excess heat and keep things cold. The downside for some owners is that they might not like the warm air that comes out of the vents on this machine.

Water-cooled ice machines circulate water all around the refrigeration components to get rid of excess heat. They require a lot more water than an air-cooled machine and can’t recirculate that water back into the system. That water is wasted but it’s often a better option if you’re in an area with grease, poor circulation, or the risk of other contaminants.

Choose The Right Bin

Your bin is an essential part of your ice machine. After the ice is created, it’s held here before it’s ready to use. Your bin doesn’t need to directly correspond to how much ice your unit can produce. It all comes down to what you need.

Think about how much ice you need at your peak times and then make sure the bin is sized to those requirements. If you don’t think about this in advance, you could get stuck with a machine that doesn’t have the ice you need when you need it.

Ask the professionals at a place like Ice Maker Depot before you make a call on this one.

Thinking About Filters

You should absolutely have a well-maintained water filter system. This ensures that you have high-quality water going into your ice. It also ensures that you keep impurities out of the system.

A water filter on your intake pipe will protect the purity of your ice. It also keeps your machine lasting longer by keeping it free of damaging contaminants.

If your region has hard water or has a likelihood of calcifying within your machine, you could be spending thousands per year on service calls.

If you purchase a filter from the company that provides the machine, they might cut you a deal. They might also extend their warranty knowing that you’re working to take care of your machine.

Choosing a Commercial Ice Maker Can Make or Break You

If people come to your business once and find that you don’t have ice, they might never come back. You need to have what they need every time they come, under any conditions, or else you could suffer negative consequences. Your commercial ice maker will ensure that you’re prepared.

Make sure to bookmark our page so that you know what choices to make when outfitting your business with equipment.

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