Several types of commercial equipment are needed to run a successful food and beverage business. Among the most important, must-have, types of equipment are commercial ice makers. Commercial ice makers are essential for making customers refreshing cold glasses of water, refreshing beverages, and memorable cocktails. Ice is also essential in preserving food and is also used in food presentations. Apart from its uses in the food service industry, commercial ice makers, like nugget ice makers, are used in healthcare for physical therapy where they are applied to bruises and wounds. Hospitals also use certain types of chewable ice to hydrate patients unable to drink water.
Indeed, ice has many uses and it is important to consider what you will be using your ice maker for in order to make the most informed decision. You will also need to consider how much ice you will need on a daily basis as well as what other components you may need in order to maximize the use of your ice maker. However, before all of that can be considered the very first step is to decide what type of ice you need. The most common types of ice are cubed, nugget, and flake.
Cubed ice is commonly served in beverages. Cubed ice makers are designed to produce either half dice/small dice or full dice/medium cuts. Full cubes are commonly used in bars where they are served with hard liquor. Think “scotch on the rocks”. Full cubes are also used to store in coolers and are sometimes preferred in hotels for bucket ice dispensing. Half dice is commonly used in soda drinks, juices and water. This type of ice fits better inside of a glass and is easier for the customer to consume. Half dice ice is also easier on blenders that are used to make shakes or blended cocktails.
Nugget ice looks like a pellet and is highly chewable. Some people know nugget ice by one of its nicknames, “Sonic Ice”. Nugget ice cools the drink product down similar to the way cubed ice does, but it easier to consume. It is because of this that it is also used in the healthcare industry for patients that need it is a means to hydrate their bodies. It is also great for topical applications.
Flake ice looks like snow. Most people know flake ice from seafood displays or cold buffet displays. Flake ice is wonderful for preserving food because it keeps the product at ideal temperatures. Unlike cubed ice or nugget ice, flake ice spreads the cold in a delicate way that prevents the food product from becoming too cold in one specific spot.
Once you have determined the right ice type, you will need to consider how much ice you will need. Bars and smaller businesses find sufficient that undercounter ice makers make and store just the right amount for their needs. Undercounter ice makers are all in one units. They make and store ice and do so with a relatively low profile. They can produce anywhere between 50-250+ pounds of ice and can store anywhere between 15-90+ lbs of ice.
Medium to larger sized businesses benefit greatly from having an ice maker head. These ice makers need to be set on top of a separately purchased bin or dispenser. Bins hold the ice which can later be scooped out while dispensers are activated through pushing a button or lever that drops the ice into a bucket or container.
Once you have determined the right ice production you will need to think about where you are placing the ice maker. If the ice maker is going into a crowded, poorly ventilated are that may be reach temperatures of above 90 degrees you may need to consider a water cooled or remote cooled unit.
Water cooled units use water not only for the production of ice but also for the cooling down of the ice maker as it produces ice. They perform well in hot or cramped conditions however they do require a large amount of water.
Remote cooled unit require a remote condenser to be placed away from the ice maker. The condensing unit defers the heat outdoors allowing the ice maker to perform better indoors.
Self-contained air cool units are the most commonly ordered units. This tends to be the case because most places have air condition and enough clearance around the unit for it to take in the surrounding air to cool itself down. This is the same cooling method used by residential refrigerators.By now you will have narrowed your search extensively and can begin to compare brands. We offer all the top name brands in the industry. We carry all of their accompanying accessories and look forward to helping you compare and contrast specifications and pricing. Let us help you find your perfect commercial ice maker.