Commercial ice machines are essential for different types of businesses, but they’re not one size fits all. Like in all areas of Tampa refrigeration, you’ll need to consider the size and type of your business when selecting an ice machine. If you’re a new restaurant owner or hospital administrator, which one makes the most sense for you may not be obvious. Use this guide to figure out which type of ice machine will suit your business’s needs.
Restaurants that serve drinks on a large scale are best served using a modular ice machine. Also known as an ice machine head, this model produces large amounts of ice and is best used alongside a separate unit that stores and dispenses ice. This type of unit tends to be available in 22”, 30” and 48” widths. It sits on top of and supplies ice to an ice machine bin, an ice dispenser or a soda dispenser, producing anywhere from 250 to 1,000 pounds of ice every day.
Under Counter Ice Machine
If you don’t need a ton of ice every day, a small under counter ice machine might make more sense for your business. Fitting comfortably under most 40” high counters, this type of machine is perfect for small bars, cafes and restaurants. This all-in-one unit combines an ice machine with a storage bin, producing up to 305 pounds of ice a day. Higher capacity models exist, but they are few and far between.
Countertop Ice Dispenser
Hospital patients tend to require a slightly different type of ice, and that’s where this type of machine comes in. The ice that comes out of countertop dispensers is shaped like nuggets, which are easier for patients to chew. These units have small ice storage bins that can create up to 400 pounds of ice in a day. The same machine dispenses the ice, making it convenient in healthcare settings.
Combination Ice/Water Machine
In some settings, it makes sense to have the same machine dispense ice and water. Compact combination ice/water dispensers work best in offices, cafeterias, healthcare facilities and break rooms. With their size, these units typically fit on any countertop without taking too much space but still produce up to 500 pounds of ice per day.
Other Factors to Consider
When selecting an ice machine, which type you pick is most important. However, there are a few parts that come with your ice machine that you should take into consideration.
- Condensing unit: Air cooled most condensers are the most cost-effective. Water cooled ones do work better for harsh conditions like high temperatures, grease, and working in a small space. Remote cooled units remove heat and noise from the kitchen but are much more costly.
- Types of ice: Cubed ice is the most common, and it’s the way to go for restaurants and bars. Nugget ice, which is made more quickly, is best for hospitals, health clubs and quick serve restaurants. Flake ice is almost exclusively used for food displays at grocery stores, markets and buffets.
- Size of machine: Observe ice usage at peak times, and consider the possibility of increase in demand. It’s always better to go too big than too small. New businesses need to consider future growth without overdoing it. If you’re looking for a replacement, decide whether the last one kept up with demand.
Our team at All Temp can help with any Tampa refrigeration needs, whether you’re in the market for an ice maker or need help with any commercial kitchen equipment. Contact us online or give us a call at (407) 857-7800 to schedule an appointment.