There are a lot of reasons why using regular ice cube trays will not produce enough ice daily. You may be looking for the right ice maker for your family, lifestyle, or business venture. We have done all of the research and have all you need to know about ice makers.
When shopping for an ice maker, you will run into a lot of different kinds. It is important to know what they all are and what will suit your needs the best. These are the most common types of ice makers:
Portable and residential ice makers use fans and require extra clearance for air intake.
Commercial ice makers are essential for businesses. You will want a water-cooled ice machine if the work environment is hot. Remote cooled units have a separate condensing unit that can be stored away from the machine. Remote units are quieter than other commercial ice makers.
It is important to know what your ice-making needs are for your use of the ice maker. The environment around the ice maker also factors into your choice. Keep reading to see different capacities, ice shapes, and cooling systems.
Portable ice makers
Let's start with the smallest size; portable ice makers can be taken on camping trips and also used in the kitchen as a small residential unit.
Air-cooled ice makers
Most residential and portable ice makers will use an air cooling system. This is more energy-efficient than water cooling.
One drawback to these types of ice machines is that they give off heat and require extra clearance for vents. It is best to leave at least a six-inch clearance around vents.
Portable bullet ice maker
A portable ice machine like this is perfect for RVs and camping. It is less than nine inches wide and about a foot deep. You can easily fit this appliance, even with limited counter space. This machine is air-cooled and produces bullet-shaped ice.
You can even adjust the size of your ice from small to large on some ice makers. You will be able to get around 26 pounds of ice per day with a machine this size.
Countertop nugget ice maker
Next, nugget ice is a popular choice because it melts more slowly than crushed ice and cools drinks quickly. This ice machine also uses a fan-powered cooling system. This is perfect for camping in hotter times of the year and can make a batch of ice in 20 minutes.
With this countertop unit, you can get 24 pounds of ice a day. This ice maker is perfect for entertaining. You can get a lot of ice for gatherings to cool drinks down quickly and keep them cold.
Residential ice makers
You have a few options for ice makers for the home; portable units also work well in the kitchen. There are also under-counter units and refrigerator ice makers.
Countertop square ice cube maker
This countertop ice maker makes square cubes of ice. It uses an air-cooled system and can produce up to 33 pounds of ice in a day. Cube ice is great for everyday use in drinks; this ice cube shape melts relatively slowly.
Freezer ice makers
Many refrigerators these days include ice makers in the freezer. You have the choice of crescent-shaped or cubed ice. With a built-in dispenser, you can also get crushed ice.
Even if you do not have an ice maker in your freezer, you can have one installed. There are usually a few plugged holes along the walls of your freezer that you would use for the installation. For a freezer ice maker, you will need to connect it to a water line to produce ice.
You can get a refrigerator with a built-in ice maker and dispenser. If your household needs more ice than a few trays a day, it may be worth the upgrade.
Under-counter gourmet ice cube maker
Under-counter ice makers are on the larger side of residential ice makers. These ice makers are large enough to sit right under your countertop and are over 20 inches wide. Ice makers this size are often marketed for commercial use in compact kitchens, making 65 pounds of ice a day.
This ice maker is air-cooled and makes gourmet-style ice cubes; they look like slightly rectangular cubes. Under-counter ice makers are great for outdoor bars; they will, however, need to be connected to your water pipes.
Commercial ice makers
Ice makers for commercial use can produce large amounts of ice. Restaurants, bars, hospitals, and hotels all use these kinds of ice makers. If you need to supply large amounts of ice constantly, these are the ice makers for you.
Remote condenser ice makers
Some commercial ice makers have remote cooling systems. The condenser itself can be stored in a neighboring room or space away from ice storage. This will make your environment much quieter.
Along with the sound dampening, it will not heat up the surrounding environment, whereas air-cooled systems generate heat. Since the system is split you can store a larger amount of ice at once than a standalone model.
If you have a business that requires a lot of ice and the atmosphere is quiet, this is the perfect ice maker for you.
Water cooled ice makers
Water cooled commercial ice makers can be very costly to operate. They require a constant stream of cold water to make ice. If water costs are low in your area and the environment is very warm, this is a good option for you.
Water cooled ice makers do not rely on the temperature of the surrounding area, unlike air-cooled systems. You can find water cooled ice machines that make over one thousand pounds of ice a day.
Half cube ice maker
This is a smaller air-cooled commercial ice maker. Unlike a remote system, the heat and sound are going to be present. If that is not a concern for you, then these ice makers will be a good choice. They can make 90 pounds of ice a day.
This ice maker makes half-cube ice cubes. They are half the size of a full ice cube, so they naturally melt faster in drinks. Half cubes are better used for blending, perfect for a cafe or smoothie shop.
Modular ice maker
This modular ice maker is a form of remote air-cooled condenser. The cubed ice maker is contained in the upper portion, and there is a container below for storage. This ice maker has great insulation and can keep stored ice frozen for up to seven hours.
An ice maker of this size can produce up to 400 pounds of ice in a day. The storage capacity for this unit is 350 pounds; this decreases the chances of ice overflowing.
Crescent ice cube maker
This ice maker is water cooled and can make up to 160 pounds of ice in a day. The storage capacity is only about 80 pounds, so you will need to be careful of ice overflowing.
This ice maker makes crescent-shaped ice, similar to many refrigerator ice machines. This ice maker is large enough to sustain a small bar, office, or waiting room.
Flake Ice maker
You can get different sizes of ice produced by a flake ice maker. These can vary from small snow like flakes to larger flat pieces of ice. The kind of ice that is best for you will depend on your preference and/or use for the ice.
Smaller flake ice is best for businesses that make snowcones or other frozen ice treats. Larger flake ice chips are great for grocery stores. The larger surface area is great for keeping raw food displays fresh.
There are ice machines in travel, residential, and commercial sizes for every ice shape. When choosing an ice machine, you will need to decide based on the ice's purpose as well as the quantity needed.
To wrap it up
Portable or countertop ice makers are the best choice if you need something for a small space. For everyday use in your kitchen, you can add an ice maker to your freezer. If you have the space, an under-counter ice maker will make plenty of ice for your household.
For business purposes, keep in mind the amount of ice you will need daily. If you know how many customers you need ice for, you can easily determine just how much you will need per day. For more information on ice makers, consider these articles: