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Commercial Ice Machine Buying Guide
Choosing the perfect commercial ice making machine to meet your needs.
29 August, 2020 by
Commercial Ice Machine Buying Guide
Momo Madisha

Choosing the right ice machine for your needs

Delivering excellent products and services to customers is a priority in the foodservice industry. This is why choosing the right ice making machine is important. Thinking of buying an ice machine but you don’t know where to start? There are different ranges of machines which can offer great value for your money. Before you decide to purchase a machine there are many factors you need to consider. This is a guide created to walk you through the different types of ice machines, types of ice offered by the ice machines we offer, and ice storage bins.


Commercial ice machines fall into four basic types: modular or ice machine head and under-counter ice machines. 

1. Modular Ice Machine

These commercial ice-making machines produce large amounts of ice in a 24-hour cycle and should be used in conjunction with an ice storage bin that can store and dispense the ice. Modular ice machines are designed to sit on top of and supply ice to an ice machine bin. These commercial ice-making machines have an outstanding capacity of producing 100 kg of ice per day to well over 500 kg per day.


  • They produce large amounts of ice for different applications, mostly in large restaurants.

  • You can interchange or swap the ice storage bins and bases

  • Choose a method to collect the ice

2. Undercounter Ice Machines

Undercounter ice-making machines, also known as self-contained ice machines are a combination of an ice machine and an ice storage bin, they mostly fit under most 900mm high counters. An undercounter ice-making machine removes the worry of having two separate units, thereby saving space in you. An under-counter ice machine will meet the output needs of small bars, cafes, and restaurants. The Ice outputs generally top out at about 150kg per day, though a few higher capacity models do exist.


  • Allow you to have as much ice as you need at all times.

  • They have a large production and storage capacity 

  • Only need to install them once


Choosing the right ice-making machine also requires you to understand the different types of ice to meet your needs. Certain types of ice melt slower, are easier to chew, or have specific shapes to accommodate specific applications. Below we provided a more detailed explanation of common ice types.

Cube/Dice Ice

Cube ice in a glass Cube/dice ice in a glass

These are great for commercial businesses such as restaurants and bars because they melt slower than other types of ice. Cubes are important if you are serving high-end cocktails or liquors as they dilute drinks less quickly. You can choose between full cubes, half cubes or regular cube size.

Gourmet Ice

Gourmet Ice in a glassGourmet Ice

Mostly desired ice cubes for hospitality professionals, mixologists, and upscale minded consumers. It takes longer to melt with its non-conventional larger shapes.  It’s clear, cylindrical, and hollow in the middle ensuring an even melt and rapid chilling . 

Flake Ice

Flake Ice in a glassFlake Ice

Flake ice are small and soft in order to cool food rapidly, they do not take a specific shape. This makes them great for food displace in grocery stores, markets, and buffets. They are softer and easier to chew than cube ice. They are used in displays for chilled meats, seafood, or salads

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Defining quality ice

Rate of dilution:
This refers to how quickly the ice melts from the moment it is used. high-quality ice is considered to have a slow melting rate. The higher the water residual content the quicker the ice melts. The surface area of the ice is also related to the rate of dilution. The larger the surface area (the bigger the ice) the slower it melts. Just as a side note when it comes to the shape and size of the is consider its convenience. 

Rate of cooling:
The greater the surface area of the ice the faster the food is cooled. Slow dilution rate will mean that the surface area of the ice should be smaller and for a fast cooling rate, the total surface area should be larger.

This refers to the transparency of the ice. Ice with white colour in a drink is not considered attractive. The discolouration of the ice is due to trapped air in the ice, a pitfall of freezing stagnant, still-standing water. A major factor in determining the quality of ice includes appearance and aesthetics.

Why make use of multiple ice makers

Multiple ice makers allow you to save on labour and downtime. Your staff will not have to constantly be running from the ice been to the ice bucket. This saves you time and reduces the chances of cross-contamination. Making use of multiple smaller ice machines helps ensure that you always have ice when in need this also means that if one breaks down you will still have a substantial amount of ice while making a plan to fix or replace the broken one. 

Factors affecting ice machine output. 

a) Ventilation / Air Temperature:
The amount of ventilation and air temperature can dramatically affect the output. In circumstances that there is poor ventilation and high temperature the ice machine will work harder than usual.

b) Water Temperature:
The water that is being fed into the machine to make ice should be at the right temperature. If the water is too warm it will take longer and more effort for the ice maker to form ice

c) Water Quality:
Water leaves mineral deposits on in water lines and internal components, this slows down the inlet of the water into the machine and in turn, slows down the production of ice. 

d) Cleanliness:
To ensure that your machine stays at optimum output follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations. This helps prevents buildup from blocking water flow and obscuring sensors.

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Things to Consider When Installing an Ice Machine

a) Space and Ventilation:

Take measurements to make sure you have enough space to fit the machine, filter, or bin. Space should be enough to allow adequate airflow to maximise ice production.

b) Water Supply and Floor Drain:

The temperature of the water is important, ice machines should get cold water supply with a shutoff valve. Also, consider having a floor drain. It will need a floor drain. 

c) Power Supply:
Before you purchase an ice machine check if it comes with a cord and plug or not. If it does not you will require an electrician to hardwire the machine for you. It is essential that you understand and meet the power requirements of the ice machine.

Cleaning your ice machine

Cleaning the ice machines is essential in order to remove mineral deposits that affect the rate of ice production. To maintain the features and ensure that your machine functions to its full capacity, regular cleaning is important. cleaning and sanitising the ice machine should be done once in every six months for efficient operation. The machine’s manual provides you with the appropriate procedure to clean your ice maker. Below we provide you with general steps that will guide you. 

Step 1:
Ensure that the ice machine is empty or doesn’t contain and ice.

Step 2:
Locate and press the button labelled clean/wash.

Step 3:
In the ice machine manual, you should find specifics on the amount of cleanser you should add to your machine. Add the recommended amount of machine cleanser. 

Step 4:
Wait until the clean cycle is complete then remove the internal components so you can clean them next.

Step 5:
Make use of half the amount of water mixed with ice machine cleanser to clean all the components that you removed. The other half is to be used to clean all ice machine surfaces and bins.

Step 6:
Use clean water to rinse all the areas. 

Commercial Ice Machine Buying Guide
Momo Madisha 29 August, 2020
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