Your Ultimate Buying Guide For Commercial Ice Machine

Your Ultimate Buying Guide For Commercial Ice Machine

Ice is the most required item on any restaurant menu, so every restaurant owner must carefully pay attention to detail, as it can give your signature entries. However, maintaining a supply chain of clean, fresh, and perfectly shaped ice gets challenging, especially when it plays a critical role in protecting the health and providing customer satisfaction.

Ice is that one product that every guest gets served at restaurants, bars, and cafes. This growing popularity makes commercial ice machines a necessity more than a luxury. Ice keeps our drinks cold, keep fish fresh at the local market, and helps heal sprained muscles naturally.

So, if you’re shopping for an ice machine, make sure you choose one that can keep up with the demand for the cool commodity while creating the best type of ice for its intended application. To make it simple, we’ve curated the information you need before investing in a good-quality ice machine that will churn out fresh, clear ice for your soft drinks, bar beverages, and frozen signature drinks.

We understand there are plenty of options available in the market, but the goal is to choose the best with the right deal.

What is a commercial ice machine?

In simple words, an ice machine makes ice for commercial food businesses. It has an attached water source and a waste drain designed for ease of use and attached to the main water supply to get filled manually. It also produces a huge amount of ice that comes in use straight from the machine or an ice cooler.

Why invest in a good-quality commercial ice machine?

A commercial ice machine helps create a large amount of ice instantly. They're designed for frequent use whilst being able to endure fast-paced and hectic working scenarios.

How do ice machines work?

In an ice machine, the water enters it via the pump installed in the back, which travels to the evaporator. This evaporator gets connected to coiled copper pipes with which the compressor pushes refrigerant to cool the water.

When the ice maker gets turned on, the compressor increases its pressure which further changes its temperature. On the other hand, when it goes through the narrow types, it loses heat and gets condensed. Similarly, when it travels through an expansion valve, it evaporates and turns into gas. This entire process creates heat energy, and any air surrounding the refrigerant pulls heat from the pipes and the evaporator to freeze the water.

The ice cubes formed to trigger the sensor that tells the compressor to stop forcing heated gas into the condenser and send it to a bypass valve. The hot gas cycle attached to the evaporator loosens the ice from the tray without melting it, which gets collected in the ice machine bins.

What are the different types of ice made in ice machines?

Before you start hunting for a robust, and highly-functional ice machine, think about the type of ice cubes you’ll need at your restaurant. Ice machines help create a variety of shapes and sizes of the cube, suitable for different recipes, and drinks. Some of the most popular ones include:

Ice cubes

It is a standard square cube of ice that melts slowly and greatly used for cold drinks that are generally used. These ice cubes are quick to produce and are most commonly seen in pubs and bars. Ice machines mostly generate ice cubes in varied sizes to perfectly slide down in your glasses.

Flaked ice

It is mainly used for storage and counter displays. Shredded from a solid block of ice, this ice type creates shavings that can further get molded into different shapes. Flaked ice is mostly used for cooling wine, champagne, and cocktail blending.

Nugget ice

When the flaked ice is shaved and compacted, it forms into nuggets that are mostly preferred on slushies to keep the drink cold for a longer time.

Crescent ice

This ice features a rounded top with a flat bottom to reduce the splash while pouring the drinks on top. The shape of this crescent ice causes less mineral content while being formed, which means the ice is hard and will melt slowly.

Spherical ice

Spherical ice is gaining more popularity than standard ice cubes, which melt very slowly. Also, it looks very attractive, making it a premium choice for drinks like “on the rocks.”

What are the factors that make quality ice cubes?

Factors like dilution rate, cooling rate, and cube clarity decide the quality of ice cubes and their shape. So, let’s find out what these factors are:

Dilution rate

Dilution refers to the rate at which the ice melts once being formed. Good quality ice melts slowly compared to the otherwise. It also depends on the residual water content of the ice, which further affects the surface area of the cubes. That is, large cubes melt slowly.

Cooling rate

In simple words – the larger the surface area, the quicker drinks will get cooled.


Clarity refers to the ratio in which the ice cubes are pure and transparent. Many commercial businesses want attractive, clear cubes, which the commercial ice machines are designed to produce. Also, the ice machine prevents any build-up of impurities and excess air

Water filters

Installing a water filter help prevent a lot of problems beforehand. For instance, water naturally contains deposits and chemicals that can cause a residue to build up over time in the machine. With time, it troubles the machine to function smoothly, resulting in ice with a bad taste and unpleasant smell.

A water filter reduces the deposit build-up, resulting in less pressure on the ice machine. It also means better ice due to the removal of chemicals.


Buying an ice machine requires a lot of homework. With the right information, you can choose the right ice machine, which can make it a profitable experience for both you and your customers.

Are you looking for quality kitchen equipment like ice machines, ovens, and commercial refrigerators? We can help. Browse through our restaurant supply store in the USA to find the right fit for your commercial kitchen.

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How to choose the right commercial ice machine?

Here are a few factors to consider before investing in a good-quality commercial ice machine:

  • Types of ice cubes you want

  • Maximum demand for ice production

  • Bin system and capacity

  • Cooling system

  • Ice machine maintenance

  • Water treatment systems

  • Brand

How to size a commercial ice machine?

The golden rule is to select an ice maker that produces 20% more ice than your daily restaurant requirement. For instance, if you serve 500 pounds of ice per day, buy a 600 lb ice maker. If the demand exceeds 1000 lbs per day, make 10% additional output suffice.

How much ice can a commercial ice machine make?

A commercial ice dispenser can produce 500-800 lbs of ice per day.