Best Portable Ice Maker – Quick Overview Table
Portable Ice Machine – Buyer’s Guide
It is a hot summer day and you are sweating. You go inside after doing some work and grab some water. Reaching into the freezer, you take out some ice and plop them in. Drinking it, you feel refreshed and ready to get back out there. Keeping our beverages cold, ice is a relatively new addition to the American household. Prior to the 1960’s, ice was not common in most homes. While a trade in ice has existed for millennia, it was mostly centered on preserving large quantities of food or only for the rich.
With the advent of the home refrigerator units, it became possible to keep perishable goods for longer. In addition, the inclusion of a freezer allowed for food to remain frozen. Suddenly making it became incredibly easy. In over half a century, the technology has continued to improve, creating an entire industry of appliances and additions to existing units to help quickly freeze it. Going well beyond a simple tray, these portable ice makers vary dramatically depending on need and manufacturer.
If you are interested in getting your own portable ice maker, then there will be a lot of factors for you to consider. Along with the overall cost, you will have to factor in the design, the ease of use, power consumption output, and more. In addition, you may want to consider certain brands and models if you have a specific use in mind. Below is our complete guide to portable ice makers.
What Is A Portable Ice Maker?
For decades, making ice has been tied to the refrigerator and freezer. More recently, stand alone appliances have been created specifically for the purpose of freezing it. Serving no other function, these portable devices use electricity to power fans. Many will also hook into a water line to automatically create it as needed. The appliances can differ a great deal, weighing upwards of 20+ pounds. While some fit into the freezer, others can be taken just about anywhere there is power, creating ice where you need it the most.
These devices are sold by a number of different companies. The competition has helped to keep the overall cost of the appliances low while also leading to a range of additional features. Things like easy to operate control panels; as well as insolated storage bags can make transportation easier. There are also some models that reuse any extra water that results from melting; creating a system that wastes only a fraction of the water it takes in. A final benefit of the competitive industry is limited warranties that protect you against possible malfunction of your device.
Best Portable Ice Maker – Why You Should Have One?
While some consider a portable ice maker to be frivolous or unnecessary, other people swear by them. A typical freezer will take several hours to fully freeze into cubes. From an energy standpoint, the process is pretty wasteful and time consuming. Compared to a freezer, an portable device will require only 10 minutes to fully produce the ice. In addition to taking a fraction of the time, it will also be able to produce far more in that shorter amount of time.
They are a great idea when you are on the go. Many people swear by their use when camping in their RV. Those with a small kitchen or apartment also like these appliances as they help to make up for a small freezer and limited space. For example, if you want it on your boat, then the portable model is perfect for your needs.
While you may not consider one of these appliances at first, they provide a number of benefits that you and guests will appreciate. With a production time averaging 10 minutes, you will have more than enough production to keep up with even the most demanding parties. As you can locate it outside for something like a BBQ, you will be able to impress your guests with a constant stream of self-made ice.
Some people also prefer portable models because they are significantly more efficient than freezers. A portable ice maker will use significantly less energy to create it. Over the course of months and years of use, the difference in your energy bill will be noticeable. Small, efficient, and highly practical, it is no wonder the industry is as large as it is.
People enjoy their portable device because it separates production from where food is stored. This is beneficial because it can sometimes take on the odors of food in the freezer. The end result is cubes that smell or are otherwise unpleasant. Removing any issue of taste, the portable models ensure that the quality and consistency of your ice will remain great. Because it remains completely separate, there is no worry of it developing a foul taste over time as well. Whether it is the first time you use it or you are several years into steady use, your machine will guarantee a quality and consistency that no freezer can match.
The majority of portable models will provide options for the size and consistency of what it produces. So, if you want giant cubes, then all you need to do is put the machine on that setting and you are good. The same is true for things like shredded or smaller cubes. It can be customized to meet your needs as a consumer. A range of specialty portable appliances exist as well. Designed for highly specific uses, they will help you do things like make flavored cubes or make things like shaved cubes.
- Whether you are on a boat, going camping, or otherwise enjoying the outdoors, the appliance can make it possible for you to have it wherever there is electricity
- It requires only 10 minutes on average to produce it saving you more than an hour of waiting
- Makes ice trays a thing of the past
- Quality and consistency of ice is guaranteed with portable models
- Control over the cube size and composition
- Reliable technology allows for the continual production with few problems that can develop
- Maintenance is easier than with other kitchen devices
- Highly efficient with energy used compared to a refrigerator
- May not be worth the cost if you have only 1 or 2 parties in mind where you would use it
- Can be heavy and a challenge to move depending on the model and whether or not there is water inside
- If there is a malfunction, you will need to ship it if it is under warranty, and consider a new model otherwise
- Can take up a lot of room on your counter space
How Do Portable Ice Makers Work?
While there is some variation among portable appliances, the majority works as followed. Depending on the model, there will either be a pipe or insertion point for water. For manual portable appliances, there will typically be a basin on the top or on the side for water to be poured into. For automatic models that tie into your plumbing there should only be an intake valve.
Once the water is in the device, the next step is to freeze it into the desired shape. The water us sucked from the basin or intake and are poured into a molding tray. If you have several options for the size of the cube, then the tray will change depending on the options available. Once the tray is filled, the cooling process will begin. With a smaller area to cool than a freezer, the portable machine can more quickly remove the heat from the chamber, freezing the cubes in the process. Being specially designed for this, a portable machine will only require around 10 minutes to completely freeze the cubes.
Once the cubes have been frozen, an internal timer in the portable machine will activate. It will dump the cubes into a basin below. Many portable makers will include a large tray for cubes, allowing you to store some temporarily before use. There is not much difference between small and large appliances, save for the scale. The larger the machine, the more cubes it will be able to make.
Variations on this method include very large machines that use a different process for production. In addition, there are a small range of specialty products designed for things like flavored cubes and specific kinds of shaved ice.
How To Select The Best Portable Ice Maker
There are four major questions you are going to want to ask before you purchase your best portable ice maker. The first question is how much ice do you need? There are two major considerations here. The first is the normal amount of people in your house. How many cubes do they consume? The second thing to consider is parties and events. How many people typically show up and will a smaller unit work fine? What you want to get is the smallest, least expensive product for your need. As a final consideration, be aware that any product can be pretty big and take up a lot of room. So, if you want one in your kitchen, be prepared for it to take up some counter space.
The second question you want to consider is storage. Portable devices typically cannot store what they produce for that long. They are meant to create it, but not hold it indefinitely. So, you will need to empty the bucket once it is full. This will require either using it or storing it if you do not want it to melt. The larger the machine, the more it will be able to store. In addition, the price also increases with size and capacity.
A third consideration is the size of the cubes you want. Some portable machines produce only a single kind of cube. Other machines are a bit more fancy, providing you with several different options when it comes to size. If you like variation or have picky people in your home, then you will want to go with a model that provides variety. Be aware however that these models are far more expensive. Basic models will produce a small, medium, and large sized cube with the large size being what you would get with a tray.
The last thing you should consider is the maintenance of the portable machine. Basic maintenance is easy and requires little more than wiping down the inside walls and the outside. You can also use lemon or other light acids like a cap full of vinegar to stop anything from growing. Beyond basic maintenance however, there will be a gap between how easy the portable machines are to clean depending on their manufacturer. Be sure to consider maintenance and replacement of pieces when you make your purchase, as these things may have to be done after several years of use.
Before making the order, shop around and see what brands produce portable ice makers. Compare them based on the criteria listed above until you narrow it down to a few choices. Ask your friends if they have any recommendations among your list. In addition, review customer reviews online to see what other people thought about the ice maker that you are interested in getting. People tend to feel strongly about portable ice makers and they will provide a detailed account of their experience using it. Through their experience, you will see how they liked or disliked it, giving you the information you need to make a fully researched decision. Do so will take an hour or so and keep you from a great deal of potential time and hassle.
Portable ice makers are a fun addition to any home. They are a fast, quick, and efficient way to produce a lot of cubes. Whether for a busy family or for a party, a portable machine can ensure that everyone remains happy, even during the hottest months of the year.
All You Need To Know About Ice Makers
It may be difficult to conceive, but imagine a time during which a person could quite literally go his entire lifetime without seeing as much as a single cube of ice; a time when ice was reserved for the well-off, and suppliers had to import it in great quantities from cooler climates. Today we pretty much take ice for granted.
Anytime we want, we can produce it on such a massive and sophisticated scale that we even have ice games, like hockey, in the middle of a summer heat wave! However, as little as two hundred years ago, this was not the case.
It was not until 1748 and the achievements of William Cullen at Glasgow University that refrigeration became a possibility, and artificial ice making itself only came over a hundred years later in 1851 with the exploits of the American physician, John Gorrie, and the rest they say is history. By the 1920s ice making was a major industry all on its own, and a vital part of many others.
Fast-forward to our present day and age, and it becomes impossible to overstate the importance of ice machines and ice makers. They are part and parcel of our daily lives and rightly so!
The commercialisation of the ice making process has made possible today, that which would have been found only in science fiction yesterday. Today we can store foods, in several different stages of development, for unprecedented lengths of time, as well as transport them effectively to several different destinations because of the large scale amounts of ice produced industrially and locally.
Ice makers have made it possible to produce, on demand, certain vital chemicals and products like Nitrogen dioxide, famously known as laughing gas, among others, which are very vital in treatment of patients and in surgical procedures. This is only possible because of the vast amounts of ice that ice makers make available for temperature regulation.
Coming a bit closer to home, it would be quite difficult planning that summer picnic or camping trip without making allowances for at least some source of ice at hand.
Given the far reaching effects of its produce, little wonder that ice makers are needed everywhere, and by all and sundry, in almost any setup you can think off from entertainment and sports to high-end technology and research-bartenders, restaurateurs, dairy farmers, livestock farmers, pharmacists, surgeons, campers and hikers, sit-at-home parents, office workers, physio-therapists, sport jocks or athletes, scientists all these people, and more would have their lives made easier by ice makers.
Types of Ice Makers
Generally there exist two types of ice makers: Consumer Ice Makers and Commercial Ice Makers. As can be gleaned from the title, consumer ice makers are used by the population at large while commercial ice makers are used for industrial purposes for the mass production of ice.
Consumer Ice Makers
In the old days commercial ice makers were usually a part of the freezer compartment of the refrigerator, where ice dropped into a collection bin provided for that specific purpose. Such models still exist actually, but do not enjoy the privileged place of yesteryears. On the contrary, today when you hear of a consumer ice maker, what is commonly referred to is the standalone device or appliance.
These are those used to fill various needs that are common to one and all ranging from the common like cooling drinks in the kitchen or outdoors or at the bar to the rarer and less mundane like producing ice packs for the calming of inflammations. There are two types of consumer ice makers namely countertop ice makers or portable ice makers and under counter ice makers.
Countertop Ice Makers
These are ice makers that can easily fit onto a countertop, thus they are also commonly known as portable ice makers. They are small, and also very fast in action. It can take as little as 10 to 15 minutes to come up with the first batch of ice cubes. Water is pumped into small tubes with metal pegs immersed in them. The metal pegs are equipped with a cooling and heating system so that once they have frozen the water around them, they can heat the interior, thus allowing the ice to slip off into the collecting bin. They normally produce bullet shaped, and cloudy looking ice.
Under-Counter Ice Makers
These are so called because they are built to fit under a kitchen counter or bar counter. This notwithstanding, they can also be used as freestanding units hence they are also known as freestanding ice makers. Like the countertop ice maker they are also very fast acting, however, they produce crescent shaped ice as opposed to bullet shaped ice which is produced by countertop ice makers.
Because of their speed in acting, both countertop and under-counter ice makers produce cloudy or opaque ice. Air bubbles get trapped in the rapid process giving the cloudy appearance.
Commercial Ice Makers
Commercial ice makers or ice machines produce ice in industrial scale. The ice they produce is usually of higher quality because running water and drains are used leading to very clear, practically pure ice. There are three types of commercial ice machines namely: Flake ice machines, Tube ice machines, and Cube ice machines.
Flake Ice Machines:
As the name would suggest, flake ice machines create flake ice. Flake ice is formed with sea water, or water with a very high concentration of salt also known as brine. The flake ice makes this particular ice machine a really important feature in the commercial space because the vast usefulness of flake ice which ranges from food preservation to construction.
Cube Ice Machines:
These are relatively small ice machines as far as industrial ice machines are concerned, with sizes ranging from a mere 30kg to about 1755kg. They are normally vertical structures with an evaporating chamber situated at the top and an ice bin situated at the bottom. As can be expected from their names they produce cube shaped ice of varying sizes
Tube Ice Makers:
Tube ice makers produce tube shaped ice. Water is frozen in tube shaped chambers to produce the effect. They are a favourite for those who work with beverages, fresh fruits among others because of its rapid cooling effect. Tube ice can also be eaten on their own, so are also a favourite for those who love to chew on ice from time to time.
On the whole Commercial ice makers aim to fill a particular need and the choosing of any is usually a well-thought through process.
Types of Ice
The rapid advance and proliferation of ice machines has led to a corresponding increase of different types of ice over the same period, each with its own peculiar characteristics and advantages over the others. Several sub-categories exist, but ice can broadly be divided into three categories: Cube Ice, Nugget Ice, and Flake Ice.
This is especially good for soft drinks, mixed drinks, and is also a favourite for those who sell ice in one way or another especially in bags. Other names such as crescent ice or half-cube ice all fall under this category.
They are particularly advantageous in that they have a high ice-to-water ratio meaning that they tend to be very dry, and slow to melt leading to maximum cooling which, in turn, also leads to a resulting reduction in the need to produce. They do especially well for soft drinks and it’s ice makers will be found in any bar, kitchen or restaurant that is worth its salt. Cube ice is also great for large scale applications like bagging and bulk cooling.
They do really well for fountain beverages, blended cocktails, and cooling salad. Other names for this type of ice abound such as pebble ice, and sonic ice, but they simply refer to the different manufacturers who have realized and invested in the widespread popularity of nugget ice. Nugget ice has many uses, but its popularity lies especially with those who love to chew on ice!
This is a trend that is so significant business wise that it has led to the production of business models and drinks centred on this. Sonic with its drinks and ice bags is a prime example. While being significant, edibility is not the only reason for the growing allure of much vaunted nugget ice: It readily absorbs the flavours of drinks it is poured in which further adds to its appeal when cocktails and beverages are concerned.
They also mix readily with frozen drinks and smoothies because of their high surface area. Their relatively dry nature makes them popular among restaurants, bars and properly equipped dispensers.
This sort of ice is known for its soft feel, wide surface area, and rapid cooling effect which make it rather attractive for food displays like fresh fruit markets, seafood markets and meat stores. While not as chewable as nugget ice, chewers will settle for it even though it is less likely to turn up in drinks.
It is more likely to see it in use in hospitals where there is always the danger of patients choking on ice or inadvertently swallowing more solid specimens like nuggets or cubes. Preservation across a wide spectrum of niches is the primary appeal for this sort of ice.
Freestanding vs. Built-In
Appliances nowadays do not only fill a need, far from it. Manufacturers often also have in mind to fill a need in a certain way. Style and appearance, as well as structural design are as much considered as the mechanism and principle underlining the entire machine.
As a result of this, it is not uncommon to come across machines which are built with a view in mind of blending seamlessly with your home interior, otherwise known as built-in appliances, neither is it strange to see other versions of this same machine designed to stand freely, ready to be used anywhere and at any time.
While appliances by definition are aimed at making daily life easier, not all of them make a perfect fit for everyone. There are target niches, target production scales, as well as target accessories that when considered together, provide a unique experience.
The choice as to which to go in for is therefore a pertinent one, one that should not be taken without adequate consideration of the characteristics of different types, their respective differences, their pros and cons, and how these all relate to the particular circumstances and needs.
While built-in machines are bulkier, taking up a lot of room, corresponding freestanding machines come smaller, more often than not with a view to mobility.
Built-in machines tend to need specialist help in setting up. This is just as well because they are designed to be part and parcel of whatever location into which they are installed both aesthetically and structurally. Freestanding machines on the other hand tend to be pretty easy to handle often coming with simple “plug ‘n play” procedures that can work on any standard outlet.
Most importantly, the method of ventilation for built-in and freestanding models of the same appliance is different. Built-in appliances, because they are designed to fit seamlessly with whatever niche they are intended for, tend to be ventilated at the front. This avoids over-heating in these appliances. On the other hand, an appliance that requires adequate amounts of space to ensure that proper ventilation occurs at the sides or at the back or both is considered a freestanding appliance.
They generally do the same thing, albeit differently. Trying to choose between one and the other would invariably turn to economic considerations: built-in appliances are generally more expensive than their corresponding freestanding units, but they tend to be more durable and also tend to work slightly better. Also if you have the space, are really into aesthetics and do not mind the extra cost, then built-ins would be an excellent choice for you.
Freestanding models are easier to move around, offering more options for usage, and with proper care will last long enough for you not to feel the pinch of its shorter life span.
Ultimately the choice remains with you. Rate of production, cost of running, availability of space, demand among other things should all play a part in the decision making process.
Compressors are often considered the heart of the refrigeration and freezing process. A refrigerant vapour is compressed into liquid by the compressor and channelled to a condenser along the circuit.
Compressors are sometimes classified according to how the refrigerant liquid is cooled in the setup or along the circuit. In this light we can distinguish three types namely: Air cooled compressors, water cooled compressors and remote cooled compressors.
Air Cooled Compressors
An air cooling compressor would have air as the medium by which the cooling process is carried out. Air is passed over the condenser and this siphons heat away from the high pressure, high temperature refrigerant vapour.
Water Cooled Compressors
In a water cooling compressor, water is the chosen medium for heat exchange. The high heat capacity of water makes this a very effective medium for heat exchange bearing greater capacity for work.
Remote cooled compressors
Despite what the name suggests, these are not compressors which work on remote control. Remote cooled compressors represent a class of compressor where the cooling mechanism is not internal to the setup itself, but lies outside. They are relatively cheaper than the other two, and thus represent a reasonable choice for low capped budgets.
The first two are known as internal or self-contained systems and are good for almost any application and offer user friendly “plug and play” operations. The last type, however, is known is an external system and is good for kitchens with limited ventilation, significant problems with heat and/or low ceilings.
Water Filters for Ice Machines
Ice is water-water in solid form, and as such should have no taste. The reality is that water that has not been filtered will give rise to foul-tasting and often bitter ice. Water, even tap water is seldom pure, and is often host to several impurities such as salts and chlorine, or sometimes even worse, bacteria! The obvious solution to this is a proper water filter, preferably, one that you change often. Six months tops. There are some manufacturers even offer extended warranty if you can prove that you change your filters every month.
hy is this? Because it is important!
Properly filtered water leads to healthier, purer, and on the whole, better tasting beverages
Properly filtered water is usually free of sediments and deposits or slime and lime which, in addition to being the main contributors to foul and bitter tasting water, can often rest or settle on the evaporator surface of the ice machine leading to reduced efficiency and more energy costs for operation.
Proper filtration eliminates bacteria which are often found in water.
On the whole filtration leads to fuller experience and prolongs the life-span of your machine.
There are many types of water filters for ice machines, some emphasising certain functions over others. You will normally have to choose amongst the one cartridge, two cartridge, and three cartridge water filters, and the choice usually depends on the size of the machine: one cartridge filters are a good fit for undercounter and smaller modular machines. Medium sized modular machines need two cartridges, while 3 cartridge water filters are best used for large modular units and remote condenser types.
Ice Machine Bins for Modular Ice Machines
Modular Ice machines have come a long way over the years, no doubt. With the sophistication and impressive work rate of ice machines today, it is commonplace for some of these commercial ice machines to easily produce several hundred pounds of ice per day. This delightful advantage brings an accompanying need which is the need for a convenient receptacle for all the available ice. This is especially important if your business depends heavily on availability of suitable ice throughout the day. The choice of ice bin to go with your ice machine is a crucial one to say the least.
Your choice of bin should depend largely on the capacity of your ice machine or on the volume of ice it produces in a day. Another very good indicator towards making a choice would be the volume of ice you will need on hand during a typically busy period. The average ice bin will hold up to half of the daily production, but since they are generally not insulated, melting can ensue after a few hours.
Thus, it is vital that you try to the best of your ability to match the rate of ice production to the rate of use, so that the situation does not arise where ice sits long enough in the bin to start melting.
How Do Ice Machines Work?
The ice maker runs on a relatively simple mechanism, the same mechanism on which all refrigeration works. Every ice maker unit is composed primarily of four basic components namely: The compressor, popularly called the heart of the refrigeration process, the condenser, the evaporator, and the throttle valve. Every other thing evident on an ice machine serves only to make the job of these four more user friendly.
To start off a refrigeration cycle, the compressor compresses low-pressure refrigerant vapour to high-pressure refrigerant vapour. This vapour is passed on to the condenser which condenses this high-pressure vapour into high-pressure liquid. The resulting high-pressure liquid is passed through the throttle valve to escape as low-pressure liquid which is passed over to the evaporator where heat exchange occurs and ice is resultantly formed.
This is the principle-the skeleton if you like which is to say that you will not see all this happening; a delightful experience involving the main ingredient water, the filter, the ice tray, immersive pins, thermostats and an ice bin is what you should expect, and are likely, rightly so, to get; a simple “plug ‘n play” scenario in which you plug your machine, pour in water through the filter, and wait a short while for all your ice problems to be solved.
Commercial Ice Makers
Commercial ice makers are ice makers are those that either give an industrial or massive yield of ice, commonly known as industrial ice machines, or they are those ice makers which are either countertop ice machines, or undercounter machines that are high yielding, and used in business operations. They are a usual fixture to be seen upon or below the counters of businesses that either sell ice, or require ice as a supplement for their products like bars, restaurants, hotels, hospitals and so on. They offer a wide range of ice types, shapes and sizes as well.
Commercial ice makers usually come in three types namely: Modular Ice Machines or Ice Machine Heads, Undercounter Ice Machines, Countertop Ice Machines.
Modular Ice Machine Heads
Modular ice machines are made of two parts: the upper part or the ice machine head, and the lower part known as the ice dispenser or ice bin as the case may be. The ice machine head that produces the ice is like a box integrated box comprised of every component required for transforming water into ice.
Every component except where to store the resulting ice that is. So it is mounted upon an appropriate ice bin or ice dispenser to perform the job of ice storage. Thus the name modular ice machine, which signifies consisting of two parts.
Ice machine heads commonly come in 22 inch, 30 inch and 48 inch widths and an ice bin of like proportions would be appropriate for ice storage, although certain models come smaller and require adaptations. For example the flake ice machine head comes in 21inch width, and would require an assessory known as a bin top adapter to make up for the lost inch to maintain proper balance on the ice storage bin.
The different versions of modular ice machine heads can produce anything from 250 pounds of ice to well over 1000 pounds of ice in a single 24 hour cycle.
As can be expected this tremendous work rate makes them immensely popular as commercial ice makers; a real favourite for businesses as far as commercial ice makers go.
Another reason for the popularity of the ice machine head is due to its modular nature; when it breaks down repairs do not require a total overhaul of the entire machine. It suffices just to repair the head. In the event of the need for replacement only the machine head need be replaced by a suitable, properly functioning model, leaving the ice bin or ice dispenser intact and in place.
Thus each part of a single unit can be maintained separately. Ice machine heads could even be swapped or used interchangeably on the same ice bin to meet different ice needs that may crop up during the day.
Countertop Ice Makers
These are ice makers that are designed small enough to fit on any counter or table top, but large enough to produce and hold a significant amount of ice. They are very compact, and come with a vast array of options despite their small sizes. They are the fastest ice markers on the market with ice batches usually ready in or around 10 minutes.
They are very easy to use and require no installation beyond plugging them in, and filling them up with water. Two types of countertop ice makers can be distinguished: portable ice makers and commercial countertop ice makers. Portable ice makers are the smaller and faster of the two, but do not produce as much as commercial versions of the ice makers. Typical output for countertop ice makers ranges from 26 to 50 pounds for portable ice makers, up to hundreds of pounds for commercial ice maker models.
Undercounter Ice Makers
These are ice makers which are designed to fit perfectly under a counter or bar setup. They are usually slick in appearance and give a nice flushed look in tandem with the cabinetry once installed.
They are vented from the front to avoid overheating, and when they are used on their own as a standalone unit they are known as freestanding ice makers. They require a water line and a drain line to be installed in any environment. In a single 24 hour cycle, they are capable of producing ice in the range of 50 to over a hundred pounds for the commercial models. Their capacities to store ice are much higher than that of countertop ice makers, but lower than modular ice makers. This has often led to their description as smaller, all-in-one compact versions of modular ice makers.
Ice makers abound these days, and it is fast becoming uncommon to walk into a restaurant or bar and not see one installed in one way or the other. The truth is we need ice-badly! Whether it is for our drinks at the bar, or for fruit juice at home, the camping trip with the RV, ice makers have ensured that our cool satisfaction and expectations are no longer dependent on, now trivial, factors like the time of day or the season of the year.
Surprising as it may seem, it was not always so. The rise of the ice machine has only been a hundred years in the making, and previous generations either had to wait for the winter season or buy it from the ice factories at cutthroat prices. There were actually many people who spent their entire lifetimes without seeing the hallowed cube.
But all that lies in the past.
Today we have ice makers in every shade, shape, size, and colour, spewing forth ice of a dozen different sizes and natures, to fill several different needs ranging from preserving fresh fruit in a healthy state for trans-oceanic journeys, through making state of the art chemical experiments, to the cool drink of spirits, with that special someone, during the night cap before bed. The ice maker is now that best friend who can stay over at our house all day, every day!
Several different types exist of course: a different type for a different need. Broadly they can be separated into two classes namely: Commercial ice makers and Consumer ice makers. Commercial ice makers as can be expected are also known as industrial ice makers and make ice on a massive or industrial scale and include types such as flake machines, cube machines, and tube machines, and can weigh as much as a thousand pounds or more.
Commercial ice makers on the other hand are smaller, and take care of the humbler needs of the average individual or business. Consumer ice makers can be further subdivided into Countertop ice makers, and Undercounter ice makers or built-in ice makers.
What Are Undercounter Ice Makers?
Undercounter ice makers also known as built-in ice makers are ice makers that are designed to fit perfectly under a countertop or bar setup. They are vented from the front to avoid overheating, and can easily fit into any cabinetry you have.
For those who love a flushed, finished look to their kitchens, this makes them particularly attractive. They can also be used on their own, in which case they become known as freestanding ice makers. With the huge variance in modern demand, they come in many sizes and widths, bearing different production and storage capacities. The smaller versions can come in as little as 20 to 24 inches, and can produce up to 50 pounds of ice per day; larger versions can produce as much as 80 to 85 pounds in a single 24 hour cycle.
Their most predominant ice shape is the cube, but other ice shapes are available, for a variety of demands, such as nuggets, gourmet, and pearls. Like modern refrigerators, they require a water line and a drain of some sort, thus a bit of a bother with installation, but when you have that down, your ice problems are practically over.
What Businesses Use Undercounter Ice Makers
Undercounter ice makers are used to feel heavy duty ice maker needs, because they are capable of producing dozens upon dozens of pounds of ice per day. Typically they are suited for those businesses that either sell ice, in one way or another, such as convenience stores, supermarkets, or those that sell products that require ice to add value to their service such as restaurants, hotels, hospitals, bars and so on.
However undercounter ice makers also exist for the home and work well for those who do a lot of entertaining and also for large households. Imagine having to fill an entire flask for an outdoor trip or barbeque bash in the back yard. There are also models designed to work outside. These are known as outdoor undercounter ice makers, as opposed to residential ice makers described above, and they are built tough enough to withstand the inevitable onslaught of the elements. These work well for outdoor stands, garages, bars found at outdoor resorts and so on.
How Much Ice Can They Produce?
The amount of ice which undercounter ice makers produce in a day typically lies in the range of 50 pounds to 80 pounds when running optimally. However newer models regularly beat this mark. It is not uncommon to see undercounter ice makers producing over 120 pounds in a single 24 hour cycle-some much higher!
Types of Ice Produced by Undercounter Ice Maker
On top of their high production rates of ice, undercounter ice machines make a variety of ice types. The most common of these is the traditional cube, but on offer is also the soft chewable flake ice, gourmet ice, pearl ice, bullet shaped ice. There is nugget ice as well for those who love to chew. They also produce half sizes so that we have half cubes and crescent ice as well.
The ice normally produced by undercounter ice machines is cloudy and opaque. This is a consequence of the high speed they employ in ice production. Air bubbles get trapped during the process leading to a cloudy appearance.
Undercounter ice makers, built-in ice makers, freestanding ice makers, however way you call them, all stand for the same thing. They represent the very same opportunity; a chance at what was once improbable. For business owners, they represent the chance at quality service, cool drinks for valued customers; a chance to extend gratitude all year round.
For the average homemaker with the space and money to afford them, they become a symbol, part and parcel of the home; a sign of a better life if you like. Either way, because of the great part they now play in our daily lives, they are here to stay. And that is a good thing. Get an ice maker today.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Ice Maker for Your Business
Cold Hard Facts of the Business: How Much Ice Does Your Business Need? Commercial Ice makers, even those of the same category, come with different ice production capacities. It is important to have a pretty good idea of the amount of your need before you make a choice.
A fairly accurate estimate of your need can be gotten by gauging the volume of ice required in a typically busy day at the office. It is also good to have an idea of the rate of ice consumption as that would help in assessing the amount of storage space that would be optimal for synchronising the rate of ice production to your rate of consumption so that wastage of power and water resources are averted.
Different Business, Different Ice: What Type of Ice is good for Your Business?
The traditional cube remains the most popular of all the ice types and is used in a wide variety of businesses. Most commercial ice makers will have this cube on offer. It is particularly suited for those who deal in beverages, because their high ice to water ratio make them hard to melt thereby reducing the need for replenishment. They are also large, and require just a few to fill a glass, and are not favoured by those who love to chew on ice. Because they tend to be dry, they are also good for those who sell ice in bags, so good for supermarkets and convenience stores. Other ice types like half cubes and crescent cubes all fall within this group.
This is also good for those who work with beverages, but are especially great with sweet drinks and cocktails. Its high surface area also makes it effective as a coolant so it is also good for those who work in the food industry; nugget ice is used to cool salads for example. What makes this kind of ice really special, making its commercial ice maker a must have for those in the beverage industry is the fact it is chewable, a favourite for those who love to chew on ice.
Flake ice is light and powdery in appearance. Its high surface area makes it the ice of preference for those who need ice to preserve products such as those who dabble with fresh fruits, sea food, meat, and others. It is not uncommon to see commercial ice makers producing these mounted around food displays at sites known for such products. Though not to the extent of nugget ice, flake ice is chewable, and also readily absorbs the flavour of drinks thus it could be used for beverages although this is rare. Hospitals and hospice centres would prefer to use them in that capacity, however, because of the ever-present danger of a patient choking on nugget or cube ice.
Another thing to consider when going in for a commercial ice maker is the amount of space at your disposal. Without compromising too much on production capacity, it makes for great business sense to acquire a commercial ice maker model that not only takes up as little space as possible, but can also be put out of the customer’s way.
Commercial ice makers, whether modular ice machine heads, countertop, or undercounter present a great way to make up for the gap created by the demand for ice in many businesses spanning several fields. Once you are well aware of the needs of your business, as well as the specific type that suits your business model, a careful search should turn up, rather quickly, the commercial ice maker to take you from where your business is to where you want it to be in no time flat.
Countertop Ice Makers
Ice makers provide a special place in many homes and establishments today. The last several decades have led to the rise of several different types, each offering to fill similar needs in different ways.
There are commercial ice makers designed to produce ice makers on a massive or industrial scale, powering industries forward, and then there are consumer ice makers designed with humbler goals in mind, with an aim to quench the thirst of the ordinary man or support business which depend on ice daily such as bars and restaurants.
Of these consumer ice makers, the most popular by far is the countertop ice maker, which is small enough to fit unto any countertop, but compact enough to provide enough ice, in a 24 hour cycle, to meet any need. But what are Countertop Ice Makers really?
Countertop ice makers are ice makers that are designed small enough to fit unto any counter or kitchen top, but large enough to hold a significant amount of ice. Their small sizes belie their capabilities, and compact natures. The average countertop comes with an array of functions that makes its method of ice production unique.
They are very fast acting, often producing batches of ice in and around 10 minutes. The more common ice shape is the cube, but others produce bullet shapes as well or nuggets as well.
They are very easy to operate, neither requiring a water line, nor any installation. All it usually takes to get one running is pouring water into the reservoir, and plugging the ice maker into the power outlet.
Because they come in small and slim sizes, some as small as less than 15 inches in height, and are very simple in design, they are also very easy to clean and maintain. Maintaining an ice machine usually entails only regular clean-ups. To clean a portable countertop ice machine you add some ice machine cleaner into water and pour the mixture into the reservoir. Run the ice maker until all the cleaner/water mixture has been turned into cubes. Do away with the cubes. Pour in a batch of fresh water into the reservoir and run the machine again.
Throw away the new batch of cubes, and you are all done. It gets a little bit more complicated with commercial countertop ice makers in that you will have to take out all the water and the ice from the machine after having turned it off. Then you remove and wash each part that comes in contact with ice in a mixture of 1 part cleaner, 3 parts water. After rinsing and reassembly, wipe the machine thoroughly. Run the machine normally but throw away the first batch of ice cubes produced.
What Businesses Use Countertops?
Countertops are typically used by businesses that either sell ice, such as supermarkets and convenience stores or by businesses that sell products that use ice as a supplement such as bars, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, pharmacies and so on. It is not unusual to see them brought in as a supplement to existing built-in or modular ice machines during busy periods of the day or as an interim solution when repairs of the usual ice machines are underway. Their high speed and high performance enable them to meet most ice demands.
Types of Countertop Ice Makers
Countertop commercial ice makers are what you are wont to see in establishments rather than private setups. They are usually able to produce hundreds of pounds of ice a day, when running optimally, making them a necessary fixture in any business like hotels, convenient stores, bars, supermarkets and restaurants that requires a constant and heavy amount of ice on a daily basis.
Most of them are between 20 and 22 inches wide and come with dispensers for both water and ice. Many modern versions possess infra-red dispensers that do not require touch of any kind to operate. Obviously they are endowed with huge ice storage capacities to go hand in glove with their high production of ice, with ice bins capable of storing several dozen pounds of ice. Scoops are not provided here.
Instead, reception bins large enough to accommodate even buckets are available beneath the dispensers to collect ice whenever there is need. The ice they produce is usually in the traditional cube shape, although other shapes like the nugget are on offer in many versions.
- Their slim profile gives a host of options for installation.
- The sink and grill are both removable which makes easy cleaning
- Separate outlets for ice and water exist, thus they are a good source of both-not just ice, in time of need.
- They produce a tremendous amount of ice throughout the day, more than consumer countertop ice makers
- The front panels are removable providing ease of access for maintenance.
- They contain many parts, and thus require much time to clean.
- They are a bit bulky and less portable. Once on the countertop, they usually stay there.
- They use more power than portable ice makers making them affordable only or those who make a profit off them
Portable Ice Makers
These are ice makers usually used by private individuals and households. This type of ice maker only features in businesses that do not have a heavy need for ice and/or have a need for a supplement to the commercial ice maker they already possess.
They usually come at less than 15 inches in height, and frequently weigh less than 30 pounds. Production is still high considering the need they fill, with ice production lying within the range of 26 pounds to 50 pounds. They require no installation and their portable nature makes them useful in a wide array of situations ranging from the house party, through the camping and vacation trips to office milieus.
Countertop ice makers are here to stay. They offer an innovative option for people who various ice needs but suffer from perhaps lack of space or lack of the capital to have a built-in ice maker model installed. Whether you represent a business that has ice running as a life line in its veins or an individual who just likes to keep his cool, countertop ice makers offer a chance to feel your need.
Last update on 2020-07-10 at 00:53 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API