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Ice Maker

Ice Machine: Choose The Right One! Check IT!

by Linus Li 23 Nov 2022 0 Comments

Ice is vital for daily life, especially highly required in summer. It is hard to image order a soda, tea, or water without ice. What a horror! A commercial ice maker is an absolute necessity if you run a restaurant, bar, cafeteria, or anywhere that serves food and drink. It's more complex than finding an old machine that will freeze water. You might be surprised at just how many options there are and all the factors you should consider to find the best ice maker for your needs

How to choose a suitable commercial ice maker/ice machine? There is something you need to know before you buy ice machines.

Types of Ice machine

1. Self-Contained Ice Machines

Self-contained machines include both the ice maker and container in one unit. They are larger and produce more ice than your typical consumer models but smaller than modular ice machines. They come in undercounter and countertop configurations and are easier to fit into tight spaces than modular ice machines.

The tradeoff, as you would expect, is that they don't make as much ice as modular machines or provide as much storage space. Smaller bars or cafes may suffice, all while allowing more space for other needs in the kitchen. You'll likely need a modular ice machine for larger cafeterias or restaurants.

gseice ice maker banner

2. Modular Ice Machines

Modular ice machines only make the ice, and you'll have to buy a separate storage bin to keep it in once it's made. They're the best choice for any commercial kitchen that needs to be able to keep a lot of ice on hand and ready. They produce large amounts of ice quickly and are designed to be easy to attach to a storage bin that's the size of your choosing. 

ice machine split design

They take up more space than self-contained ice machines but provide more capacity in the bargain. If you need a significant amount of ice produced every day, then a modular model is likely the best commercial ice maker.

sf ice maker

Types of Ice

There are six main ice shapes, so you can choose six main types of ice machines. You can choose the suitable machine according to your requirements

  • Bullet: Commonly used for cocktails and chilled foods in a buffet display.
  • Crescent:Common in many home freezers, they usually come in larger pieces than other types.
  • Cube:Probably the most standard option
  • Half Cube:Comes in smaller pieces than cube ice, also pretty common
  • Gourmet:Used for some high-end cocktails, it usually has a unique shape like an octagon or cylinder and promises a 100% water-to-ice ratio.
  • Nugget:Small, chewable pieces of ice that are very popular.
ice shape

Ice Production and Storage Capacity

After deciding on the type of ice machine and type of ice, the next step is to figure out how much ice you need. To do this, you need to consider two main points: the speed of ice-making and the storage capacity of the machine.

If you use a lot of ice cubes regularly, the productivity of your ice machine will be more important than the size of your ice cube. However, choosing a model with a large storage capacity is better if you're planning to buy an ice maker to serve a cocktail or fill a cooler for an occasional outing.

One pound of ice cubes is enough for about three drinks. With quick math, an ice machine that offers 20 pounds of storage will allow you to make about 60 drinks. If you can make 30 pounds of ice cubes daily, that's about 4 cups per hour.

If you're filling your cooler with ice cubes, plan on a 2:1 ratio of ice cubes to contents. A 10-pound ice cube provides the perfect amount of cooling for 12 cans of beverages. So if you're going on a weekend getaway with friends and don't want to buy bags of ice, consider an ice machine that can hold more than 20 pounds of ice.

Remember, ice-making statistics for any given machine are based on ideal conditions. If the ambient temperature around the ice maker is above 70°F, production is expected to drop. Also, if the ice maker is not adequately ventilated, it will produce ice slower. As a general rule, ice machines should have 1 inch of clearance on all sides to ensure proper ventilation.

Water Source

Your ice machine must be connected to a water source that can supply large amounts of water to the machine. Your water line must have a shutoff valve and meet the codes for your area. If you're replacing your ice maker, you probably already have everything you need for your water feature. If installing one in a new space, you may need to work with a plumber to ensure the ice maker is hooked up correctly.

Condenser type

There are two main types of capacitors to consider.

Air-cooled ice machines are the most popular choice because they are energy efficient, affordable, and use much less water than water-cooled ice machines. They use air circulation to maintain the cool temperature the machine needs to run.

A water-cooled ice machine is a good option in some specific environments where an air-cooled ice machine will not work well. That is if your ice machine is located with warmer temperatures or poor air circulation. Some cities ban water-cooled ice machines based on water consumption, so check local regulations before you buy.


Whichever commercial ice maker you buy, there are a few accessories you need to add.

Water Filter

A good water filter will help you produce better-tasting ice and extend your machine's useful life since it keeps impurities in the water from collecting.

gseice water filter

Storage Bin

A storage bin will be required if you purchase modular ice machines. Be sure you find right size for your needs and compatible with the ice machine you buy.

Ice Merchandisers

If you are selling bags of ice, you will need to buy an ice merchandiser to store and display for customers.

Ice Bags

It makes your ice portable and allows for selling ice by bag.

Now you know how to choose the right commercial ice makers for yourself. If you still have doubts, welcome to contact GSEICE, and we can help you to get a suitable commercial ice maker.

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