How to Choose the Right Ice Machine for Your Business
If you are in the food services or healthcare business, there is a good chance that you need an ice machine. An ice machine helps cool your drinks, preserve your fish, and even heal injured muscles.
There are different types of ice makers on the market. They are available in various sizes and styles. It is, therefore, daunting to choose the right one. To choose the right one, you have to consider an array of factors.
As a business owner, it becomes easier to purchase an ice machine when you know what you want. That said, here is how to choose the right ice machine for your business.
Size and Types of Ice Machines
The trickiest thing about buying an ice machine is determining how much ice you need. The type of ice maker you purchase will depend on your industry.
There are several types of ice machines that you can purchase for your business. Each is designed for specific usage. They include under-counter ice machines, dispenser ice machines, and modular ice machines.
Undercounter ice machines
Undercounter ice machines, also known as self-contained machines, are designed to fit under a 40″ countertop. They are suitable for business owners with small working spaces. For instance, in bars, owners place under-counter ice machines below the counter to allow easy access to the ice.
Most under-counter ice machines produce up to 300 pounds of ice per day. However, some models can produce more.
Dispenser ice machines
Dispenser ice machines are ideal for businesses that handle large crowds. The main advantage of this ice machine is that it prevents contamination and the spread of germs. They allow you to dispense ice directly into your glass or cup without any supervision. Apart from ice, some also dispense water.
In most cases, the ice from a dispenser is chewable. It is used in drinks such as soda and health facilities.
Dispenser ice machines are available in different sizes and can produce up to 800 pounds of ice daily. Depending on size, dispenser ice machines can store 8-12 pounds of ice.
Modular Ice Machines
Modular ice machines are suitable for businesses that require ice in large amounts. They usually fit on top of an ice storage bin. Additionally, you can modify the machine’s setting to produce the amount of ice you want per day. A commercial modular ice machine can produce up to 2500 pounds of ice daily. Storage bins, on the other hand, stores between 250lbs to 1700lbs.
Modular ice machines do not offer storage. It would be best if you bought an ice storage bin. The size of the storage bin is all up to you. Modular ice machines are meant for staff use only to prevent possible contamination. This is also a good type of residential ice machine to use for large gatherings of friends and family.
Types of Ice Cubes
Knowing the different types of ice cubes can help you choose the right ice machine. For instance, there are types of ice that melt faster, while others more melt slowly. Here are the main types of ice:
This is the most common type of ice you can come across. It melts slower compared to other types of ice. It is ideal for restaurants and bars. The different types of cubed ice include half cube, full cube, and regular cube.
Nugget ice is mostly available in health care facilities. It is also ideal for fast food restaurants. Unlike cubed ice, nugget ice is easy to chew and does not melt as quickly as some other types. It comes in handy when serving, beverages, blended drinks, and smoothies.
Flake ice is mostly used when displaying fish or meat. It can also be used to cool blended drinks. Flake ice is soft and easy to chew. It is suitable for buffets and grocery markets where there is usually a cooler to help keep the ice from melting fast.
Water-Cooled Vs. Air-Cooled Ice Machines
After you have decided what type of ice machine you want for your business, the next step is to determine whether you want an ice machine that uses air to freeze the ice or one that uses water. Before choosing your preferred condenser, make sure you consider how much space you have, how much ice you intend to produce daily, and your location.
They are very cost-effective because you do not have to spend a penny on water expenses. Their condensers require at least six inches of space around the intake and discharge areas.
They use water to make ice instead of air. There are instances where these types of ice makers can outshine ice machines that use air. Such instances include:
- When the temperatures exceed 80 degrees
- When there is a high level of contaminants in the air
- When the clearance space for an air-cooled ice maker isn’t enough
It is important to note that this ice machine uses a lot of water, which can be expensive. However, they are quieter compared to ice machines that use an air condenser.
When you use the above tips, you have a better chance of growing your business and satisfying your customers. Contact us here at Icon Mechanical for a specialist who can help you find the right ice machine for your business. In addition to ice machines, we also service and maintain refrigeration systems.