Sugar, Spice, and Everything Ice: The Best Commercial Ice Makers for your Kitchen in 2021

the best commercial ice makers

Ice is the backbone of the beverage industry. Every quick-serving and efficient commercial kitchen needs a reliable ice maker to serve its drinks. Given the massive market for chilled beverages – so massive that it exists regardless of the season, purchasing a non-stop ice maker is a low-effort guarantee that your parched customers leave with a smile. In this post, we discuss the features, types, sizes, brands, and most popular commercial ice makers today.

Types of Commercial Ice Makers

If you’re new to the world of icemaking, you’ll be surprised by their diversity. Commercial ice maker machines can serve ice in a variety of shapes, and utilize many different mechanisms to produce them. Some of the most popular ice maker machine types are as follows: 

Air-Cooled Ice Machines: Employing cold air to cool down condenser coils, air-cooled ice machines are your most energy-efficient and water-efficient ice machines. They’re available in countertop, self-contained, and larger variants, all of which are discussed below.

Water-Cooled Ice Machine: As the name suggests, the water-cooled ice machine uses water to cool its condenser coils. While less energy-efficient than the air-cooled ice machine, they are best for locations where little temperature control is available, or the climate itself is highly ambient.

Under-counter Ice Machines: The perfect answer to icemaking for cramped kitchens, the under-counter ice machine does its job inconspicuously, though it may include less storage capacity than the larger and more standard-sized ice machine.

Remote Condenser Ice Machines: These ice machines include a separate unit for condensation, to keep noise pollution to a minimum in the commercial kitchen or dining area.

commercial ice makers

Well-Known Brands of Commercial Ice Makers 

The best commercial ice maker brands are competing in terms of energy efficiency, longevity, water-saving abilities, speed, size, cost, and ease of use. When browsing through our selection of the best commercial ice maker machines, here are some of the brands to look out for: 

  • Avantco
  • Scotsman
  • Ice-o-Matic
  • Manitowoc
  • Maxx Ice

Whether in terms of popularity or sheer quality, these top-rated commercial ice machines have proven time and again to be the best bang for your buck.

Benefits of an Ice Maker

A commercial ice maker is rarely optional in most kitchens, and their benefits frequently outweigh their costs. Here are some of the most important benefits of stocking your kitchen with a commercial ice maker: 

Ease of Use: Most modern ice makers require little to no intervention from restaurateurs. 

Cleanliness: In-house Commercial Ice Machines ensure that your ice is sourced from only the cleanest water you’re comfortable with, ensuring the safety and hygiene of both your customers and staff. 

Convenience: The convenience of a commercial ice machine in a restaurant cannot be overstated. Accessible, powerful, and simple to control, ice adds a character to customer beverages that simply cannot be replaced. 

Here are a few other features to consider before buying your commercial ice maker:

  • Size and Capacity
  • Speed of Production
  • Condenser Type (Is it air-cooled, water-cooled, or does it have a remote condenser?)
  • Power Source (i.e., the voltage required to function)
  • Water Source
  • Type of Ice (Nugget, Cube, Half Cube, or Gourmet?)

The Best Commercial Ice Makers

Here are some of our most popular commercial ice makers, ranked according to their popularity with our customers:

The Best Air-Cooled Ice Machine:

commercial ice maker
Manitowoc IDT1500A 48" Full-Dice Ice Maker, Cube-Style – 1,688 lb

Renown for being one of the best commercial ice makers, Manitowoc brings a previously unattainable level of full-size efficiency with its air-cooled IDT1500A. A full-size unit with a production capacity of 1,688 lbs. per day, the machine is ideal for large coffee shops and bars that require a full-day supply of ice handy. Made of slick and durable DuraTech stainless steel, the icemaker comes equipped with a self-contained condenser and a front evaporator. Perhaps its biggest differentiator, apart from its sheer power and capacity, is its intuitive interface. From ice-making features, preference settings, asset info, and maintenance support, the machine also includes regular preventative maintenance whose status is available on its digital controller, along with an ever-available display of the stage of ice production, the IDT1500A is a user-friendly powerhouse for the busy commercial kitchen. 

The Best Under-Counter Ice Machine:

commercial ice maker
Manitowoc UDE0065A 19.69" Full-Dice Ice Maker with Bin

Manitowoc’s stamp of undeniable quality comes into full play in this handy under-counter commercial ice maker machine. The UDE0065A 19.69" shouldn’t be underestimated because of its designation. Despite being a through-and-through under-counter machine, its ability to produce up to 100 lbs. of cube-style ice and 31 lb. storage capacity make it a contender in any commercial ice maker machine category. A perfect fit for a busy restaurant or café, this machine also includes a stainless steel like its larger sibling for easy cleaning and handling. Its air filter captures dirt and grease for longer and more consistent performance. AlphaSan technology is added to various parts of the ice maker to protect these select locations from microbial invasion and discoloration, ensuring that a full day of uninterrupted ice production brings you the quality you deserve.

The Best Water-Cooled Ice Machine:

commercial ice maker
Scotsman NS0422W-1 Prodigy Plus Series 22” Water Cooled Nugget Ice Machine

Another contender for the best commercial ice maker brand, Scotsman brings to the realm of water-cooled ice immense efficiency and quality. Known for using as little as 1/5th the amount of water used by other commercial ice makers, the energy-savvy Scotsman produces clear ice nuggets of high quality with ease. NS0422W-1 is a money- and energy-saver that produces chewable nugget ice stored in a handy 455 lbs. bin. AutoAlert lights allow easy detection of hardware issues and cleaning times, and its interface includes user-friendly diagnostic software as well. Consuming less than 4 KwH per 100 lbs. of ice, its nugget ice occupies more space than the average half ice cube, thus lowering drink production costs. This 22” wide machine can be equipped with an additional 900 lb. 

The Best Combination Ice and Water Machine:

commercial ice maker
Scotsman HID312AB-1 Meridian Countertop Air Cooled Ice and Water Dispenser

This push-button combination machine outperforms other commercial ice makers in the same category with ease. The HID312AB-1 is a countertop machine that utilizes 12 gallons of water per 100 lbs of ice. Its 12 lb bin is standard for combination dispensers of this size, and its air-cooling engine is capable of producing 260 lbs. of ice over 24 hours of usage. Its design is specially contoured to occupy lesser space on commercial kitchen platforms and serving areas, and its stainless-steel evaporator and removable sink and grill simplify maintenance. The device requires 115V to operate, producing nugget ice and chilled water at a cool 4.9 KwH per 100 lbs of water. The HID312AB-1 Meridian is sold with an optional stainless-steel stand with or without a door.

The Best Remote Condenser Ice Machine

commercial ice maker
Scotsman NS1322R-32 Prodigy Plus Series 22” Remote Condenser Nugget Ice Machine

Of all top-rated commercial ice machines in this list, Scotsman’s NS1322R-32 is the most powerful. With a production capacity of a whopping 1360 lbs. per day, this remote condenser ice machine is engineered to go above and beyond the status quo of commercial ice production. Its nugget ice consumes 40% less water and 15% less energy during production, making the machine a formidable power saver to boot. Its separately sold remote condenser ensures that the typical noise and extraneous heat of an ice machine can be safely isolated to a less critical location, such as the outside or storage area of your commercial kitchen. Coolant lines connect the ice machine to the condenser, ensuring that ice production continues undeterred by their distance. Prodigy Plus machine is an excellent choice for your commercial bar, kitchen, or restaurant!

Chef Buyer brings the best of the world of icemaking to your doorstep, offering free shipping and readily available customer service on all the above top-rated products and more. Make sure to check out all our buying guides and other blog posts to make well-informed decisions before stocking your commercial kitchen!

Posted by Damon Shrauner on 
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