From the moment you open up your restaurant, coffee shop or bar, you can be certain that you will be using your ice maker almost every other minute. In fact, at times the demand for ice in a restaurant becomes too much that you will begin to think of buying a second ice maker, or better yet look for a place to store the already made ice. On that note, let’s look at a detailed review of some of the best ice makers for restaurants, as well as the main features to look for in a great commercial ice machine.
Before you even start looking for a commercial ice maker to buy, ask yourself, what is it that you offer? If you often sell cola, beer and cocktails, the best ice maker for you might be one that produces large sized cubes. As for soft drinks and water, a good ice maker should be able to deliver smaller sized ice cubes but in huger amounts. In addition, there are other commercial ice makers that vary in the amount of ice they produce per day, or in the shape of their ice cubes. All the same, each type of ice maker has its own pros and cons. We shall look at the different ice types later. Continue reading to learn more about selecting a good commercial ice machine.
Major Types of Commercial Ice Makers
Countertop Ice makers
They resemble a typical water dispenser, and have the capability to produce about 400 lbs. of ice per day. Sounds good? Well, they also cost less. In addition, these machines produce ice the nugget style, which is both money saving and appealing to many customers. They are a great consideration if you are on a low budget or if you already have a bigger machine.
Under counter Ice maker
With the ability to produce about 350 lbs. of ice per day, this could be the best ice maker for startups or medium sized restaurants. If you buy two of these machines however, you get the chance to make as much ice as your customers can take and store the extra ice produced by the machines. Under counter ice machines vary in sizes, but they also have the advantage of taking less space compared to their competitors.
Ice Machine Heads
For big restaurant owners, there is probably no better type of ice machine to buy than the ice machine heads. To start with, they are small and compact; thus won’t take up much of your space in the kitchen. Second, these machines could make as much as 1000 lbs. of ice per day. Still, the ice head machines are designed in a way that you can place them on top of an ice machine binary a soda dispense.
You probably have different ice needs depending on what you offer in your kitchen, and that’s why we can’t say yet what the best ice maker would be for you. However, here is how ice machines deliver their ice.
- People love nugget shaped ice because they are softer and easier to chew
- Great for restaurants that sell smoothies, cold soft drinks and blended beverages
- Great when you sell seafood, fish, meat or salad because they make very small , soft flakes of ice
- They are soft to chew because of their small size and different shapes
- They melt slower, and thus could be money saving on your side
- Can make full ice cubes or half sized (smaller) ice cubes.
Once you realize that the shape of ice delivered should matter to you, you should probably also consider the technology used in making ice by your machines. Most ice makers fall under the remote cooled category, air cooling technology or water cooling category.
- Air Cooled Machines-Very cost effective, use less popular and perhaps the most common type of commercial ice makers you can get. They are also very popular with customers.
Water Cooled Machines
For restaurants that experience hot room temperatures, or in restaurants that generally don’t have good air circulation, a water cooled ice maker could be the best option. However, if there is good air circulation in the restaurant, the air cooled ice machines are probably still the best choice for commercial purposes.
Remote Cooled Machines
They are remote cooled because their condensers are installed somewhere different from the kitchen, and uses refrigerator lines to cool the water in their machines. They are great space savers, but very expensive and difficult to maintain.
Finally, note to buy an ice machine with the idea that your Spanish, Thai or other restaurant will grow in size and production as time moves on. On the other hand, think about the amount of ice consumed in your restaurant during the peak days, and probably make a plan to buy an extra machine.