So, you are in the market for an ice maker. Let’s create two scenarios to give you a better picture of what to expect.
You are holding a party. Everything is going on well. Your guests have a drink in their hands; the food is awesome, and everyone is having fun. But wait! There’s a problem — when that time for refills arrive, you realize that you are out of ice. What do you do? That’s where a portable ice machine comes in handy!
Now, here’s scenario two: imagine owning a restaurant and having guests visiting to enjoy a scrumptious meal, and failing to guarantee a nice, cold soda, water or cup of ice tea? How do you think they would feel? Well, this is the reason why you need to invest in the best ice machines.
We understand these problems, and that’s why we are here to help you get the right ice machine for your needs. Go through our picks (both home and commercial ice machines) and pick the right one for your needs.
Top 24 Ice Machines of 2020 Reviewed
- Top 24 Ice Machines of 2020 Reviewed
- Best Portable and Countertop Ice Makers
- 1. Vremi Countertop Ice Maker Portable Stainless Steel Ice Maker with Ice Scoop and Basket
- 2. IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
- 3. Frigidaire EFIC101 – BLACK Portable Compact Maker
- 4. hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
- 5. Sentern Portable Electric Clear Ice Maker Machine Stainless Steel Ice Making Machine
- 6 EdgeStar IP210BL Portable Countertop Ice Maker – Black
- 7. Hamilton Beach PIM-1-3A Portable Ice Maker, 26 LB Capacity, Black
- 8. Koldfront KIM202W Ultra Compact Portable Ice Maker – White
- 9. NewAir AI-100BK 28-Pound Portable Ice Maker, Black
- 10. GE Profile Opal | Countertop Ice Maker
- 11. Ice-O-Matic GEMD270 273 LB Pearl Ice Machine and Water Dispenser
- 12. Magic Chef Portable Countertop Ice Maker Display
- Best Undercounter/Built-In/Commercial Ice Makers
- 13. Costway Commercial Ice Maker, 88 LBS/24H Automatic Freestanding Ice Cube Maker Machine
- 14. Whynter UIM-155 Stainless Steel Built-In Ice Maker
- 15. EdgeStar IB450SS 45 LB 15-Inch Wide Undercounter Clear Ice Maker
- 16. Festnight Commercial Ice Maker Machine
- 17. VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Maker 440LBS/24H with Water Drain Pump
- 18. EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker
- 19. Ice-O-Matic ICEU150HA 30-Inch Air-Cooled Undercounter 185-Pound Half-Size Cube Ice Maker
- 20. Costzon Commercial Ice Maker, Built-In Stainless Steel Ice Maker
- 21. Maxx Ice MIM50 Self-Contained Ice Maker – 50 Pound
- 22. Manitowoc UYF0310A Neo Undercounter Ice Maker
- 23. HOSHIZAKI AM-50BAJ Ice Maker Air-Cooled Self Contained Built-In 22-Pound Storage Bin
- 24. VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Maker
- How to Choose the Best Ice Machine: The Ultimate Buying Guide
To help you make a better choice in your quest for an ice maker, we are going to look at some of the best picks from both portable/countertop ice machines and commercial ice machines.
Let’s begin with Portable options that you can use at home or carry to your camping trip or boating expedition.
Best Portable and Countertop Ice Makers
1. Vremi Countertop Ice Maker Portable Stainless Steel Ice Maker with Ice Scoop and BasketBest Portable Stainless Steel Ice Maker
There comes a time when you need to make ice on-the-go. With a portable ice maker such as this one, that quest is certainly plausible. It is a compact machine that can make a maximum of 26 pounds of ice in an hour.
The removable storage bin has a carrying capacity of up to 1.5 pounds. Unlike other ice makers which are known to consume a lot of energy, this machine has a 120-watt condenser. In the wider industry, very few machines can boast of that kind of efficiency. It comes with intelligence features to prevent overflowing.
- Has an energy-efficient 120-watt condenser
- Comes with warning lights that help to prevent overflowing
- A compact and portable ice maker
- The quality of ice produced by the machine may not be great
- Lacks a pause button that allows cooling without producing ice
- Might be a little bit too noisy
2. IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine for CountertopBest Portable Ice Machines for Small Spaces
If you need lots of ice for use at home or in a commercial setting, having a dedicated machine is a must. The IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine is suitable for use on the countertop to produce up to 26 pounds of ice overnight. If you need quick ice, you can get nine pieces in only six minutes. It is a quiet, energy-efficient ice maker, which means you will not have to grapple with high noise levels. The fin condenser is made from a combination of copper and aluminum. It consumes only a little power, thus helping you to save a lot of money in terms of power bills.
The ice maker machine is simple to use – once you plug it in, turn the power button on, and select the size of ice you want. You will know it is full of ice when the smart indicator lights up. When the machine needs water, you may also see in indicator lighting up. You don’t require to alter the plumbing in your home to use this machine. Emptying remaining water is too easy, given it can be done by pulling the drain plug. It is safe for your health since the material from which it is made of food-grade.
- It is an energy-efficient ice maker machine
- Produces only 45dB of noise, which is so quiet that no interference
- It comes with an indicator light to warn you when it is full of ice
- It may not produce hard ice cubes
- The indicator may turn on before it is full of ice
- The indicator for low-level water is similar to the one for full-ice
3. Frigidaire EFIC101 – BLACK Portable Compact MakerBest Frigidaire Compact Ice Maker
This is one unique ice maker that you will love to own. It produces watery ice, which is incomparable to the white dry ice from a freezer. The ice machine has a capacity of 26 pounds of ice per day, which is suitable for home and small restaurant use.
Most ice makers use a lot of power to make a few ice cubes, but this one is different. The machine is power efficient, so you can keep the ice refill coming without worrying about ballooning electricity bills.
- A portable ice maker
- Produces two sizes of ice
- Requires no specialized installation
- May prove to be too loud for your liking
- The ice doesn’t freeze up to 100 percent
- The taste of the ice might be unpleasant
4. hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for CountertopBest hOmeLabs Countertop Ice Maker
We begin our list with hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine, a unique unit designed to be efficient and easy to use. The great thing about this unit is that it’s both functional and convenient. This particular machine has the capacity to produce a maximum of 26 pounds of ice in a day. You can use it to make ice cream and ice cubes at a much lower scale.
Even though it is not clear how much ice it can hold in the storage bin, it surely is an energy-efficient ice maker. Due to the way it works expect to get a nice pile of ice bullets.
- A portable and convenient ice maker
- Energy-efficient and likely to help you save money
- Includes an ice scoop and basket
- Does not produce ice of the highest quality
- Ice melts quicker after being produced
5. Sentern Portable Electric Clear Ice Maker Machine Stainless Steel Ice Making MachineBest Countertop Ice Machine with Ice Storage
If you want a portable machine with the ability to produce ice of the best quality, look no further. The Sentern Ice Maker produces quality, crystal clear ice cubes to keep your well-aged scotch flowing nice and smooth.
Its production capacity stands at a maximum of 48 pounds of ice per day. You can use it both at home and in a commercial establishment where the need for ice is higher. It has a storage basket which can carry up to 2.4 pounds of ice. The unit also comes with an air-cooled condenser, which is more energy-efficient.
- Has a higher production capacity at 48 pounds per day
- Produces crystal clear ice which is of the highest quality
- A compact and portable ice maker
- Produces ice that’s too hard to break and form individual cubes
- The auto ice making function may stop working without a warning
- Produces a 2.4-pound tray of ice at a time
6 EdgeStar IP210BL Portable Countertop Ice Maker – Black
Say, you have just arrived home from work and you need to fix a drink. You need an ice maker with a quick turnaround. The EdgeStar IP210BL Portable Countertop Ice Maker will start producing ice cubes in just 10 minutes.
It has a production capacity of 28 pounds of ice per day. The insulated storage bin has a carrying capacity of up to 2.5 pounds, so it can hold a good amount of ice to get you through up to the next refill. To make the deal even better, its power consumption is among the least.
- Starts to make ice in just 10 minutes after turning on
- Consumes very little energy
- The water entering the ice maker is likely to start leaking
- May stop working without a warning
- The ice-making cycle is not very efficient
- May not be a durable ice machine
7. Hamilton Beach PIM-1-3A Portable Ice Maker, 26 LB Capacity, BlackBest Affordable Hamilton Portable Ice Maker
On average, portable ice makers have a production capacity of 26 pounds per day. The Hamilton Bean PIM-1-3A is no exception. With that production capacity, it is capable of meeting all your domestic ice needs.
This ice machine can also store up to 2 pounds of ice in a specialized basket. It is an energy-efficient machine, given that it relies on an air-cooled compressor. Many people love the fact that it’s easy to use, produces ice quicker than other ice machines of its caliber, and works without producing much noise.
- Conserves energy so as to help you save a lot of money
- Capable of producing ice cubes in two distinct sizes
- A quiet ice maker
- The fan isn’t as strong as you would expect
- May break down without a warning
- The production capacity is average at best
8. Koldfront KIM202W Ultra Compact Portable Ice Maker – WhiteBest Ultra-Compact Portable Ice Machine
This ice machine is a real beauty and will complement the rest of your kitchen’s decor. It comes in a nice white finish and functions as expected. The machine has an ice production capacity of 26 pounds per day and is ideal for boats, cabins, and RVs.
Given that this ice machine is insulated, it does not consume a lot of energy to produce ice. It has a 1.5-pound storage capacity, which is ideal for use on the counter-top. Compared to similar machines, it is faster and runs relatively quietly.
- A portable ice maker for your convenience
- Faster than some machines in its class
- Easy to wipe and maintain
- Isolated cases of the sensor breaking down unannounced
- Sometimes slows down when producing ice
- Quality of ice not very impressive
9. NewAir AI-100BK 28-Pound Portable Ice Maker, BlackBest Portable Ice Maker with Large Production Capacity
If you are in search of the best ice machines, one of the things to look for is the quality of ice it produces. The NewAir AI-100BK ice maker produces ice of the highest quality and can manage to give you 28 pounds of ice per day. That’s enough ice for a small kitchen, boat or RV. To guarantee even better quality, the ice maker is insulated enough to ensure that the ice does not melt.
Even though it is not clear how much power this unit actually consumes, the fact that it can maintain ice when turned off makes it energy-efficient. It also scores extra points when it comes to maintenance of the environment. The carrying capacity of this machine is a gallon of ice.
- Produces ice at a faster rate than other machines
- The LED control panel is easy-to-use
- Portable for convenient use on-the-go
- Has a sensor which malfunctions without warning
- The package does not include a scoop
- Some reviewers have reported unmitigated breakages
10. GE Profile Opal | Countertop Ice MakerBest Portable Ice Machine with Self-Cleaning Feature
The Aicok Portable Ice Maker is designed to produce bullet-shaped ice. It produces 1.1 pounds of ice per hour, which translates to 26 pounds per day. That’s pretty impressive compared to other machines of its caliber.
You will appreciate the fact that this ice maker is very energy efficient. It features an advanced cooling system that does not rely on hydraulics. The machine has a basket which can carry 1.8 pounds of ice at a go, allowing you to enjoy cold drinks with your buddies while on the go.
- It is made compact enough for use on the countertop
- The Bluetooth-enabled device can be controlled via a phone app
- Produces high-quality crunchy ice cubes for home and commercial use
- Some users said they could not return faulty units
- Reports of the machine making a lot of noise while in use
- The warranty does not apply if bought from unauthorized resellers
11. Ice-O-Matic GEMD270 273 LB Pearl Ice Machine and Water DispenserBest Ice Machine and Water Dispenser
If you are looking for an extremely portable ice maker that doubles as a water dispenser, the Ice-O-Matic is a great machine to consider. In most cases, the ice is pearl white and crunchy. As a testament to its high quality, the ice retains the flavor of the original drinks from which it is made. Among the portable ice makers, this is perhaps the one with the highest capacity.
The ice machine produces 12 pounds of ice per hour or 273 pounds per day. That makes it a great unit for use in a commercial setting. At the same time, it can store up to 12 pounds of ice at a go. Simply plug it into a 115-volt outlet and start producing ice.
- The rate of ice production is comparable with similar machines
- Energy-efficient, due to the advanced cooling system
- Easy to use, thanks to the LED control panel
- Produces ice cubes without freezing them adequately
- Has a small storage capacity
- The time taken to produce ice varies depending on the size of the ice cubes
12. Magic Chef Portable Countertop Ice Maker DisplayBest Non-Skid Hallway Runner
Are you looking for an ice machine with a short turnaround? If so, we suggest that you consider the Magic Chef Portable Countertop Ice Maker. Firstly, you will love the fact that it produces ice cubes in just 7 minutes. The only problem is that the ice cubes aren’t properly frozen, but would be good enough if you want to use them instantly.
The machine can produce ice cubes at a rate of 27 pounds per day, which is what the majority of devices in this category offer. Even though it is not clear how much energy this machine consumes, its advanced technology means it is energy-efficient.
- It is fast enough when it comes to producing ice
- An energy-efficient ice machine
- A high storage capacity
- The ice produced is not of the highest quality
- Easily breaks down and stops producing ice
- Not ideal for commercial settings
Best Undercounter/Built-In/Commercial Ice Makers
13. Costway Commercial Ice Maker, 88 LBS/24H Automatic Freestanding Ice Cube Maker MachineBest Commercial Ice Maker for Hotels and Restaurants
The Restaurant business cannot survive without a dedicated high-capacity ice maker. If you have such a business, you need this Costaway Commercial Ice Maker on a daily basis. It has a production capacity of up to 88 pounds of ice a day.
The storage bin has a carrying capacity of 8.8 pounds, maximum. In terms of energy consumption, this ice maker is definitely the best. You can leave it on overnight without having to worry about high energy costs.
- Hight production capacity for a commercial establishment
- An energy-efficient machine
- Easy to install and use
- The ice melts as soon as it is produced
- The process of scooping out the ice may prove to be cumbersome
- Water pump prone to stalling without a warning
14. Whynter UIM-155 Stainless Steel Built-In Ice MakerBest Value Built-in Ice Maker
What are you looking for in a commercial ice maker? If it is a machine that can produce just enough ice for a small bar, restaurant or hotel, then the Whynter UIM-155 Stainless Steel Built-In Ice Maker is the best for you. It is capable of producing up to 12 pounds of ice in a day.
The storage bin is able to hold a maximum of 6 pounds of ice. Even though that may not look like it is much, it can serve clients in a small establishment. It comes with an automatic shut-off feature to help you save power when the storage bin is full. The quality of ice it produces is comparatively high.
- Has an automatic on/off switch
- Produces high-quality ice
- Makes negligible noise
- Relatively costlier
- Installing a water source may prove problematic
- May develop water leakage
15. EdgeStar IB450SS 45 LB 15-Inch Wide Undercounter Clear Ice MakerBest Stainless Steel Undercounter Ice Maker
You can easily mistake the EdgeStar IB450SS Ice Maker for a freezer. It is so well-insulated that it produces well-frozen ice. With a 45-pounds-per-day production capacity, this ice maker of suitable for any commercial establishment.
The storage bin can carry ice by up to 25 pounds, which is impressive. It has a front venting cooling system that’s energy-efficient. You have no reason to worry about paying high amounts of money in the form of energy bills.
- Produces ice of the highest quality, due to the kind of insulation it has
- An energy-efficient machine that relies on air-cooling
- Easy to install
- May produce a near-unbreakable sheet of ice
- The storage capacity may not be as stated
- Some users have complained about the machine being too noisy
16. Festnight Commercial Ice Maker MachineBest Energy-Efficient Ice Maker
Given that it works with water, an ice maker needs to be rust-resistant. The Festnight Commercial Ice Maker Machine is made from rust-resistant stainless steel. For that reason, you can expect it to serve you for a long time without requiring a replacement. It is perfect for both home and commercial use, given that it can produce up to 99 pounds of ice in a day. The ice-making cycle ranges from 11 to 22 minutes. With a storage capacity of up to 33 pounds, you will have no reason to say you do not have enough ice.
Unlike the countertop ice makers, this is a free-standing machine for use at home or in a commercial setting. You may want to use it in a bar, grocery, hotel or restaurant. It measures 17.6 by 15.7 by 31.4 inches and uses 270 to 500 watts of power to produce ice. Due to its size, it requires to be connected to a water source through an inlet pipe. Luckily, this is provided together with the machine. You may install it inside a kitchen cabinet or under the counter, meaning it is fixed rather than portable.
- The machine is made from stainless steel, which is rust-resistant
- It is a large-capacity machine that can produce up to 99 pounds of ice daily
- It comes with an outlet pipe to remove excess water
- Not clear if it has a full-ice indicator
- A relatively new product that is yet to get customer reviews
- It is not portable or for use in various places
17. VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Maker 440LBS/24H with Water Drain PumpBest Fast Ice Maker
This ice machine is designed for big large scale use. This VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Maker is large enough to produce up to 440 pounds of ice in a day. In this industry, that’s almost incomparable. The storage bin has a carrying capacity of up to 99 pounds of ice, which is more than you would require to run a laboratory, hospital, school, restaurant, supermarket, or coffee shop.
Although the 850-watt compressor can drive your electricity bill a bit high, it’s a small price to sacrifice for the high-quality ice that this machine produces.
- Has a very high production capacity
- Suitable for all kinds of commercial establishments
- Has a large storage capacity
- Not very energy-efficient
- Relatively costly
- Not made of stainless steel in its entirety
18. EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice MakerBest Non-Skid Hallway Runner
When it comes to producing high-quality ice, this machine stands out from the crowd. Unlike other ice makers which produce watery ice, this one gives out 100 percent frozen cubes. It can produce up to 12 pounds of ice per day, which is a little bit on the lower side, but a small sacrifice to pay.
At any one time, the storage container can hold 6 pounds of ice. Given that the machine has an automatic on/off switch, it is efficient when it comes to power consumption. As soon as the bin fills up with ice, the machine will automatically turn off. Amazing, right?
- Produces high-quality frozen ice
- Comes with an automatic on/off switch
- Easy to use
- Produces only a handful of ice cubes per day
- Prone to unmitigated jamming of the plastic rim with ice
- The ice maker may release unwanted substances into the water
19. Ice-O-Matic ICEU150HA 30-Inch Air-Cooled Undercounter 185-Pound Half-Size Cube Ice MakerBest Air-Cooled Undercounter Ice Machine
If you are looking for a high-capacity under-counter ice maker, look no further. The Ice-O-Matic ICEU150HA can make up to 185 pounds of ice in a day, serving all your ice needs at a go.
This machine has a storage capacity of up to 70 pounds to keep what remains for the next refill. Due to its high production capacity, the Ice-O-Matic ICEU150HA is ideal for commercial settings. It has an air-cooled condenser, which is considered to be more energy-efficient.
- Has one of the highest production capacities for ice makers
- Has a storage capacity of up to 70 pounds
- It is suitable for use in commercial settings
- Not portable
- May turn out to be too big for home use
- It is costly
20. Costzon Commercial Ice Maker, Built-In Stainless Steel Ice MakerBest Built-in, Free Standing Ice Maker
Every bar, restaurant or coffee shop deserves a high-capacity ice maker. The Costzon Commercial Ice Maker is designed for exactly that! The machine can produce 110 pounds of ice in a day. Better yet, it has a storage basket which can hold up to 33 pounds of ice.
The quality of ice produced by this machine is simply matchless. The ice cubes are properly frozen and ideal for use in drinks. It has a 200-watt compressor, with energy-saving capabilities. If you have a restaurant, you will be able to save a lot of money.
- Produces ice cubes of the highest quality
- Has energy-saving capabilities
- Easy to operate
- Not portable
- Not suitable for use at home
- The production capacity isn’t as high as that of other machines
21. Maxx Ice MIM50 Self-Contained Ice Maker – 50 PoundBest Self-Contained Commercial Ice Maker
Air-cooled condensers are popular in the world of ice machines because of their energy efficiency. The Maxx Ice MIM50 Ice Maker has an air condenser and therefore consumes very little energy. That makes it great for use in a commercial setting.
There’s a lot more to love about this machine. It produces up to 50 pounds of ice a day. From the information available on Amazon and other online shops, it is not clear how much ice this machine can store. Additionally, there isn’t much about the quality of ice produced by this machine.
- Has an air-cooled condenser, which is energy-efficient
- Easy to operate
- Easy to maintain, given the auto cleaning cycle
- Not clear the machine’s storage capacity
- Hard to tell the quality of ice produced
- May break down without warning
22. Manitowoc UYF0310A Neo Undercounter Ice MakerBest Non-Skid Hallway Runner
The Manitowoc UYF0310A Neo Undercounter Ice Maker produces up to 290 pounds of ice per day, which is good enough for a business setting. The storage bin can carry a maximum of 119 pounds, allowing you to keep ice flowing for guest refills.
This machine has a delay function which saves energy by putting the ice production process on a pause. We also can’t ignore the fact that the ice produced by this machine is of the highest quality. And yes, maintaining this ice maker is very easy.
- A high-capacity machine suitable for commercial use
- Easy to maintain
- Energy-efficient, air-cooled condenser
- Prone to abrupt stalling
- Some reviewers have complained about the production capacity not being as high as expected
- May stop working after a very short time
23. HOSHIZAKI AM-50BAJ Ice Maker Air-Cooled Self Contained Built-In 22-Pound Storage BinBest Hoshizaki Air Cooled Built-in Ice Maker
The HOSHIZAKI AM-50BAJ Ice Maker is ideal for all kinds of commercial settings, namely hotel suites, home kitchens, and office breakrooms. It can produce ice by up to 55 pounds per day, but the storage bin has a capacity of 22 pounds.
The machine consumes 9.9 kilowatts of power per 100 pounds, so it’s quite energy-efficient. The ice maker produces the top-hat-full ice cube, which is of the highest quality. Your guests will love the ice produced by this machine.
- Great for use in multiple commercial settings
- Energy-efficient operations
- Produces high-quality ice
- The production and storage capacity isn’t as high as you would expect
- A little more costly
- No reviews of this product on Amazon
24. VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Maker
The VEVOR 100V Commercial Ice Maker. is one quality ice maker that will serve you for years. The machine can produce a maximum of 110 pounds of ice a day, which is enough for a small to a medium-size business setting.
When it comes to storage, this machine has the capacity to store a cool 44 pounds of ice to keep your refills flowing. The VEVOR Commercial Ice Maker also comes with a powerful 310-watt compressor that’s energy-efficient.
- Has a high production capacity suitable for commercial use
- Has an energy-efficient compressor
- Comes with a water filter to purify the water
- Information on the production and storage capacity may be misleading
- The ice made may melt quickly
- May break down without warning
How to Choose the Best Ice Machine: The Ultimate Buying Guide
If you own a restaurant or a bar and want to keep a constant supply of ice, you have to rethink your options and get a quality ice machine. The same case goes for people who love taking ice tea or cold soda at home.
Keeping up with the demand for this cool commodity requires you to have a cool ice machine. When out shopping for one, you have to keep in mind several factors to ensure you get the best. We’re going to go through some of the things that will help make an informed decision as you begin your search.
Now, let’s start with the Basics.
Types of Ice Makers
There are two main types of ice makers: portable and commercial ice makers: Here’s what each of them entails:
What’s a Portable Ice Maker?
A portable ice maker or machine is a simple little contraption that’s designed to dispense ice. Just as the name suggests, these machines are small, easy to carry and don’t take up a lot of space when storing. A good number of these ice machines don’t need a water hookup so that you can easily take them with you while on the go. All you need is to find a place with some clean water or standard outlet and pour the water into it, and you will have your ice within a few minutes.
What’s a Commercial Ice Machine?
Think of this as a big sibling to the portable ice machine. It’s the kind of ice maker you will see in cafeterias, bars, and restaurants. There are different types of commercial ice machines you will come across. These include:
- Self-contained Ice machines
These are typical ice makers, but they come with an add-on — they have a built-in contain for storing the ice. They are quite big and usually produce a lot of ice compared to other consumer models. You can find them in both countertop and under-counter configurations.
- Modular Ice Machines
The only difference between these ice makers and the self-contained counterparts is that they don’t come with a storage container for ice — you have to buy one separately. These are ideal for kitchens that need to make a big chunk of ice to be used on hand.
Type of Ice
Let’s start with one of the most important factors – the type of ice! You see, whether you choose to buy a commercial ice maker or a simple portable ice machine for your home, you have to know what kind of ice you will get to chill our favorite liquor or cocktail. Some of the common ones you should consider are:
- Full-Cube Ice: This is perhaps the most popular type of ice, and its average dimensions are usually 7/8 x 7/8 x 7/8 inches. They are best for soft drinks, hotel ice machines, and cocktails. Brands to consider for these kinds of ice cubes include Ice-O-Matic, Scotsman, and Manitowoc.
- Flake Ice: This kind of ice is mostly used in food presentation applications where food needs to be maintained in its cold nature for advertising purposes. You will find it in displays, buffets, etc. The ice is usually soft and moldable and perfect for chilled vegetables and fruits as it doesn’t damage the produce. It’s also used in healthcare facilities where a cup of ice is needed for medical use. Almost all manufacturers will have a unit that makes flaked ice.
- Half-Cube Ice: Taking the shape of a crescent, the half-cube ice usually measures 3/8 x 7/8 x 7/8 inch. However, brands such as Hoshizaki have introduced crescent cube ice, which is similar to the half-cube ice, but measures 1 ½ x 1 1/8 x 1/2 inches. This type of ice is great for soft drinks and blended frozen drinks. You will find machines making half-cube ice in convenience stores, quick-service restaurants, and casual restaurants. Common brands in this space include Hoshizaki, Scotsman, Koolaire, Manitowoc, and Ice-O-Matic.
- Nugget Ice: This is small soft ice, and bears its name because it soaks up liquids, creating a crunchy, cold snack. Besides being chewable, the ice can be served right from dispensers and is mostly recommended for beverages. It usually blends quickly and smoothly into smoothies and margaritas. You will find machines making this kind of ice in diners and cafes, healthcare facilities, convenience stores, and quick-service restaurants. Some of the well-known brands in this sector include Ice-O-Matic, Follet, Hoshizaki, Manitowoc, and Scotsman.
- Gourmet Ice: Coming in a unique octagonal or square shape, this type of ice is larger compared to other types and usually comes with the highest ice-to-water ratio. Since it has a very low melting rate, you can pour it in your well-aged scotch and enjoy every sip without worrying about a refill. You will find this type of ice being used in an upscale restaurant where there’s high-end liquors, craft cocktail lounges and bars, and banquet and event halls.
The size is a crucial factor when it comes to an ice maker — whether you are looking to buy a portable model for your home or office or a commercial machine for your business.
Yes, you are buying a portable ice machine, so it’s small and can be carried from one point to another with easy, but don’t forget the fact some are bigger than others. Considering portable ice makers will likely spend most time sitting on your countertop, boat, RV, or kitchen, you should ensure that it fits well in the space.
When it comes to the commercial ice makers, it goes without saying that these units are usually large, but they too come in different sizes. Depending on the space you want to place the unit, you can choose from different sizes and types (built-in or self-contained).
The production capacity of an ice maker is determined by pounds of ice produced per day. The good thing is that most manufacturers will indicate the production capacity in their product specs, letting you know just how long you can expect to wait.
Do you want a machine that can dispense ice for a small number of people, say a family of five, or one that’s able to give you a huge number for a party? Well, you need to be confident that the machine will produce enough ice for everyone.
How fast can the ice maker produce ice? Do you need to wait for ages to get a few cubes? An ice maker should be able to dispense ice quickly — whether you are getting one for your home or business premises. Just as is the case with production capacity, manufacturers also indicate the speed of the ice machine on the specs section, letting you know how quickly you can expect your ice.
For the portable options, you may want to wait a little longer because you still need to add water into the machine manually to keep the ice flowing. Generally, though, the range is usually anywhere between 10 – 20 minutes after adding water.
The production rate of commercial ice makers are also indicated in the unit’s specs, showing exactly how much ice the machine can produce within 24 hours (in an ideal environment).
Intelligent Water Use
One of the best features of ice machines, particularly the portable options, is the intelligent water use. Basically, most of these ice makers usually re-use the ice cubes that you don’t use. Once it melts, the water is used to make new ice — and the process continues. Without such a feature, you risk wasting a lot of water, unless you plan to keep on transferring the produced ice to your freezer (if not use it all).
This factor applies mostly to commercial ice machines. The most popular condenser type is the air-cooled machines because they use less water, are affordable, and energy efficient. They use the circulation of air to maintain cool temperatures to keep the machine running.
The other type is the water-cooled ice makers. These are ideal in cases where an air-cooled unit won’t function. If you go with this one, however, be prepared to spend much on water bills because they require a lot of water.
The third type is the remote condenser. This one uses almost the same technology as the air-cooled counterpart, but the condenser is not attached to the machine. Instead, it’s moved outside the building. This helps keep the noise outside for better efficiency.
Ice machines come at different costs depending on the model you wish to buy and, of course, the price. While it can be a bit cheaper to buy portable ice machines, it goes without saying that the commercial models can cost a premium.
Portable ice machines cost anywhere from $100 up to around $500, especially for high-capacity models. According to real user reviews, it looks like purchasing a more expensive model will last you longer.
The commercial ice makers, on the other hand, can be very expensive because they are built for large production of ice. Most of them will cost above $500, with a good number going for thousands of dollars. One of the factors that affect the cost of commercial ice machines is the type of ice they make. For instance, models producing ice flakers will probably come at a higher price than those producing standard ice cubes.
While you can get a good number of ice makers with basic features to help you get the ice, you could find more with extra features at an extra cost to make the machine more efficient. For instance, some portable options come with self-cleaning and automatic timer features. Others allow you to choose between the different size of ice or types depending on your preferences.
An ice maker is like any other electronic or machine you can buy for your home. You see, we like to stick with the well-known brands to ensure that we get guaranteed quality. When buying an ice machine, you have to keep this in mind as well. Some of the brands that are known in the world of ice machines include:
- Ice-o-Matic: This is a common brand in the world of commercial ice machines. Not only does it manufacture full units, but it also makes a wide range of accessories, including water filters and ice bins.
- Avalon Bay: This one specializes in stylish portable ice machines for those who want a touch of class. Their ice makers are also known to be fast and less noisy.
- Manitowoc: Whether you want modular ice machines or self-contained units, this is a brand you can trust. It has solid reviews from happy users, with most praising it for high-quality standards.
- Magic Chef: Known for making a variety of portable/countertop ice machines, Magic Chef has received a lot of positive feedback from real buyers. Their units are fast and reasonably priced.
- Hoshizaki: This is a household name when it comes to ice makers and freezers. It makes cubelet machines, cubers, and flakers to suit different needs.
- Danby: When it comes to ease of use and durability, Danby beats them all. This brand is hailed for making ice quick and having a wide range of options to choose from.
- Koldfront: This one targets the low-end market, producing units that are very affordable for people on a budget. Their ice makers are easy-to-use, quiet, and efficient.
- EdgeStar: Specializing in both portable and commercial ice machines, this brand has become a leader in the world of ice makers. Most users claim that their units are efficient, easy to use and make ice really quick.
Hopping for an ice maker can be a tricky affair because of the huge options out there. There are small, portable options that you can place on your countertop or RV as you are on the go and enjoy a continuous flow of ice, and there are larger machines that are built for high production capacity for restaurant and cafeteria. All these machines also produce different types of ice, depending on the product specs. We hope that our detailed review has helped you narrow down on the best ice machine to buy and how to go about your purchase. Take your time to make a wise decision.