How to choose the right ice machine

Selecting the right ice machine can seem like a daunting task when you consider the wide variety of models available. Selecting the proper unit for your needs is crucial to running a smooth operation. Not having the right production capacity can be a nightmare. You also need to consider your unique setting and style of foodservice operation.

Air cooled or water cooled?
An ice machine removes heat from water to produce ice. Most ice machines come in two different options – air cooled or water cooled.

  • Air-cooled machines cool the water by moving the heat into the air surrounding the machine. These machines are noisier than water-cooled machines but use less water for ice production.
  • Water-cooled machines cool the water by moving the heat into waste water. These machines are generally quieter than air-cooled machines but use more water.

Level of ice production?
Under-sizing can be a nightmare, while having too big of an ice machine can mean unnecessary costs. Use the following guide as a basis for determining the best production level of ice for your institution.

Restaurants: 1-11/16 lbs. per customer
Cocktail Lounges: 3 lbs. per person
Salad Bars: Add 35 lbs. per cubic foot of display. Multiply by 2 or 3 depending on estimated refills required.
Fast Food:7/8 lbs. per customer or 7-3/8 lbs. per seat. Use 2 oz. per 8-10 oz. drink, 4 oz. per 12-16 oz. drink, 6 oz. per 20 oz. drink and 8 oz. per 32 oz. drink.
Lodging: 3 lbs. per room (substantially more if guests are allowed to fill ice ches
Health Care: 7 lbs. per patient bed and 2 lbs. per employee

For smaller operations, or as a secondary unit, a countertop ice machine might make sense. Countertop units come in a variety of styles, many with food-safe, hands-free options.

Also consider the type of ice you would like to serve. Nugget, or crunchable ice has become wildly popular in recent years.

Other Tips
Replacing your ice machine’s filter as often as the manufacturer recommends (usually six months) will extend the life of your machine, provide a better tasting and cleaner product and in some cases, extend the warranty of the machine.

Other accessories include ice bagging kits, ice scoops and holders, and caddies for easier transportation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *