Ice machine buying guide

Commercial ice machine buying guide

Choosing one ice making machine over another might seem a bit of a challenge with so many products on the market, but Catering Appliance Superstore have put a little bit of extra effort in to help you make the right choice. Simply have a quick read through this ice machine buying guide, make sure you are clear on your requirements, and then use our advanced ice machine search filters on the left hand side of the product list, and our quick and easy product comparison tool, to choose the most appropriate product for your business.

As with every commercial appliance purchase, the trick is to get the right product to ensure good results and maximise efficiency, without overspecifying and spending too much money on an all singing all dancing product you just don't need.

The three main factors to consider are:

  • Quantity of ice required per day
  • Ice type
  • The space you have available or the positioning of your ice machine
 

Quantity of ice

This is more or less the most important part. Get the amount of ice right and you'll probably buy a product which can service your needs, without paying over the odds. Catering Appliance Superstore stock ice machines capable of producing from 25kg of ice per day, right up to over 200kg per day. Obviously you don't want to find you are running short of ice and have to return or exchange your machine (incurring unnecessary cost), but few businesses can afford to splash out on high spec machinery they'll never make full use of.

50g is a generous helping of ice, and if you multiply this by an estimate (or actual figures if you have them) of the number of drinks sold by day at peak trading in your catering business, you'll get an idea of your ice production requirement. Add 10% to 20% for wastage and you have a figure to narrow your search by (using our customer filters).

 

Ice type

This is very simple for most businesses, as ice machines generally produce cubes or thimble shaped nuggets and either are perfectly fine for beverage service (personal preference plays as much as a role here as anything). Cubes can last longer in the open but the difference is not huge. Flake ice and half cube ice makers are also available, for other uses such as fresh produce display or high end foodservice. Again, you can use our customer filters to select the type of ice (or types) you would like to search by. If you need crushed ice for cocktails we advise a seperate ice crusher in addition to your ice maker.

Types of Ice cubes made by commercial ice machines

 

Size and positioning

Some of our machines can be either free standing or built in as a fitted unit. All products are listed with external dimensions so you can quickly see which of them will fit into the space you have. In terms of positioning, consider whether the machine will go under a worksurface or if you would prefer a countertop machine. It is even possible to situate smaller ice makers on the back bar top or undercounter for maximum service efficiency (you'll never need to run back of house with an empty ice bucket), though plumbing can be more difficult front of house and you might be restricted in size and daily output. If high output capacity isn't a consideration then a manual fill machine could be a viable, compact and inexpensive option for you.

 

Other considerations

You should be able to narrow your search considerably on the Catering Appliance Superstore website using just these three factors. From there, variables such as price and energy efficiency will help guide you further, or if you have a trusted brand in mind you can filter your results even more. Finally, don't forget to check the type of condenser your ice machine uses - air cooled condensers are the most efficient and cheapest to run but can be ever so slightly noisy. Water cooled are much quieter but use and waste a lot of water, so it depends whether you want to situate the ice machine front of house or back of house, and whether you operate a busy music bar or a serenely quiet 5 star restaurant.

By Philip Wearmouth | Catering Appliance Superstore