How to Buy an Ice Machine?

 

Learning how to buy an ice machine can be very helpful when purchasing an ice maker for residential or commercial use. Ice machines can be expensive, so selecting the right ice machine is often a critical decision.

 

Important questions to consider when deciding to buy an ice machine include:

 

-          How much ice do I need?

-          What type of ice do I need?

-          What type of ice machine cooling do I need?

-          What size ice machine do I need?

 

We’ll examine why these questions are essential to evaluate in further detail below.

 

How Much Ice?

 

When helping customers buy an ice machine, we typically start by asking how much ice they need in 24 hours. This helps to immediately narrow-down certain ice machines which may suit their exact needs.

 

In general, it is often preferable to have an ice machine which produces more ice than is required in a 24-hour period. For example, imagine a restaurant serving approximately 100 people per day. Hoshizaki recommends 1.5 to 2 pounds of ice per person served at a restaurant. A reasonable estimate for that restaurant’s daily ice usage is approximately 200 pounds of ice per day.

 

If that restaurant purchased an ice machine which only produced 150 pounds of ice per day, it would risk having no ice for some its customers towards the end of the day. However, if the restaurant purchased an ice machine which produced approximately 400 pounds of ice per day, it would more than cover the restaurant’s approximate daily usage. In addition, Hoshizaki ice machines have an automatic shut-off feature once the ice bin is full, so the ice machine would never make more ice than is required by the restaurant.

 

This helpful chart below from Hoshizaki can give you an idea on approximate daily usage for your industry:

Application

Approximate Daily Usage

Restaurant

 

1 ½ LBS. of cubed ice or 2 LBS. of flaked ice per person served.

 

Night Club or Bar

 

3 LBS. of cubed ice per customer

 

Lodging - Food Service

 

1 ½ LBS. of cubed ice or 2 LBS. of flaked ice per seat.

 

Lodging - Banquet Service

 

1 LB. per seat

 

Lodging - Guest Service

 

5 LBs. per room

 

Convenience Store

 

12-16 oz. cup - 8 oz. of ice
20-32 oz. cup - 10 to 16 oz of ice
32-64 oz cup - 1 to 2 lbs of ice (1 ½ full of ice)

 

Fast Food

 

12-16 oz. cup - 8 oz. of ice
20-32 oz. cup - 10 to 16 oz of ice
32-64 oz cup - 1 to 2 lbs of ice (1 ½ full of ice)

 

Schools and Universities

 

1 ½ of cubed or 2 LBS. of flaked ice

 

Correctional / Institutional Dining Hall

 

1 ½ LBS. of cubed or 2 LBS. of flaked ice

 

Supermarket Case or Salad Bar

 

32 LBS. of cubed ice per cubic foot to fill or 30 LBS. of flaked ice to fill

 

Health Care - Food Service

 

1 ½ LBS. of cubed ice or 2 LBS. flaked ice per person served.

 

Health Care - Nursing Station

 

3 to 5 LBS of ice per room per day.

 

 

What Type of Ice?

 

Not all ice machines make the same type of ice. As a result, it’s important to determine what type of ice is required when buying an ice machine.

 

Hoshizaki makes five types of ice including crescent ice cubes, top-hat ice cubes, gourmet ice cubes, flaked ice cubes and nugget ice cubes.

 

To see the pros and cons of each type of ice, please see our blog post – Types of Ice.

 

What Type of Ice Machine Cooling?

 

Ice machines are typically either air-cooled, water-cooled, or remote-cooled. Each type of ice machine cooling offers its own distinct advantages.

 

Air-cooled ice machines are by far the most common type of ice machine. An air-cooled ice maker uses an electric fan motor to pull air in from the front, cool the condenser, and discharge heated air from the back of the machine. Air-cooled units need to be installed in well-ventilated areas, such as an open space kitchen. This method of cooling will disperse heat, but does not perform as well in temperatures exceeding 90°F.

 

Water-cooled ice machines are less common, and use water circulation to cool the condenser. Instead of the heat being dispersed in the surrounding environment, additional water lines are installed which allows water to run to circulate and cool the machine. This method of cooling works well in rooms with high temperatures, and thrives where air-cooled units would not. 

 

Remote-cooled ice machines use a condenser which is placed outside of the ice machine. The heat and even the noise are transferred to a remote-condenser, usually installed on the roof of the building. The line from the condenser can be as far away as 100 feet.  But there is a higher installation cost as you need to buy the condenser separately. Also keep in mind there will be additional construction needed for the condenser lines.

 

What Size Ice Machine?

 

Before buying an ice machine, it is necessary to ensure it will fit within the desired space for its location. Ice machines may vary greatly in terms of length, depth, and height. For this reason, it is a good idea to look for ice machines which will fit within the available space.