15 Questions You Should Ask When Buying An Ice Machine

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Getting Satisfaction....From Ice

If there is one thing I cannot comprehend, it is drinking lukewarm liquids. I enjoy hot liquid. I enjoy cold liquid. Unless I am to the point of death (or attempting not to offend a host who has just handed me a glass of lukewarm liquid), I refuse to drink lukewarm liquid.

It's All About Temperature

If you think about it, temperature is quite amazing. It's amazing that heat can excite molecules enough to affect flavor. It's just as amazing what a glass of ice water will do on a hot summer day in the middle of mowing the front lawn... nothing tastes as sweet and refreshing. Ice is one of those things that will make or break your cold drink sales. You doubt me? Pretend that your ice machine broke down and serve all of your customers ice-less drinks during your next lunch rush. If your waitresses haven't plotted mutiny, and your phone survey line isn't flooded with complaint calls then you are doing very well indeed. I used to work at a coffee shop and one day our ice maker went down. Try telling the customer who always gets her large strawberry and whipped cream icey that she is going to have to go slushy-less for a day... not a pretty sight.

Why Should I Care About Ice Machines?

At this point you may be tempted to say, "Ok Kirk, we all agree that ice is a necessary convenience for restaurant owners. Stop wasting our time writing about stuff we already know." Well, as with anything, not all ice is created equal. Do you want full cubes or half cubes? How much ice do you want? What kind of water filter do you need to make your ice taste great? These and many other questions are what you should be asking yourself (and the sales rep you are talking too) when you consider purchasing a new ice machine.

Commercial Ice Machine Blog Series...What Now?!

This will be the first of a new blog series we would like to do focusing on ice makers. In my next post (and periodically throughout the rest of the series as well) we will attempt to point you to some excellent ice making machine brands by means of answering questions like these:

  1. What brand of ice makers is the best?
  2. Do I need a bin with my ice maker? Do they come together? Separately?
  3. How big of a bin do I need for my store?
  4. What is the difference between ice makers that produce ice that is half-dice, full-dice, shaved, cube, nugget, etc. etc. etc.?
  5. What kind of ice cube is the best for my needs?
  6. How much ice does an ice machine produce?
  7. How much ice would I need in a day?
  8. Do ice machines require a special electrical source?
  9. What is the difference between air-cooled, water-cooled, and remotely cooled? Which is best for me?
  10. Are there different kinds of ice making machines for different kinds of businesses? Which would I need for my business?
  11. Are there environmentally friendly, energy efficient choices of ice makers out there?
  12. Do I really need a water filter, I mean... really?
  13. Is there a warranty on ice machines?
  14. How long can I expect my ice maker to last?
  15. If I don't like the ice maker I buy from Prima, can I return it?

In the next couple of months, we will answer all of these questions (and then some) so you can become an expert on ice machines before you purchase, making your transaction with us enjoyable for everyone involved. Stay tuned! And as always, if you have a question you would like to see addressed, leave us a note in the comments. Ready to buy but not sure where to start? Then check out these great commercial ice machines

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Hi Laura, That is a great question and I would be happy to help. Nugget and Pellet ice are virtually the same thing, just sold under different names by different manufacturers of ice machines (Chewblet, Nugget, Pellet, Pearl and more are all similar types of chew-able ice). We have a buying guide that walks you through the various ice types and what applications they are designed for. You can check it out here https://primasupply.com/blog/commercial-ice-machine-buying-guide-what-type-ice-do-i-need Or drop us a line if you have any other questions. Cheers! Josh

Good afternoon, Would you expand on nugget or pellet ice machines? Thank you for your help.

Good post . Ice machines are a must-have if you love cool drinks and almost every type of food service business needs an ice machine. But there are different types of ice machines available in the market and we need to choose the best that suits your needs . Always remember that a wrong choice will waste you money and time, so before buying anything you should make sure that the ice maker you are going to buy is the best one for your need.We have started running a restaurant here in Canada since last year. It was very difficult to manage the customers till buying an ice machine. Ours is a Whirlpool Gold® 15-inch with reversible door which is bought from Best brands appliance ,Canada. :)

Hi Kirk, fantastic post. The volume of ice, and the way the ice machine will cool itself are definitely very important considerations. It also might be important to ask what material the evaporator is made out of! A stainless steel evaporator is typically much more preferable to a nickel-plated one.

Hi, we do not currently offer any drain free ice makers. Thanks for your question!

Are any of your machines drain free ? Is that what self contained means or is that just the compressor ?

Good question. The size and style of the ice your commercial machine puts out is an important consideration and will be affected by your particular needs. Broadly speaking, a full cube ice machine is a good choice for those who will be putting ice into a cooler. So for those wanting to keep drinks or food cold a full cube will be the best choice as it will take longer to melt. Those who love to fish will want to opt for a full cubed ice maker as it will keep the fish from spoiling during those long days out on the lake. Restaurants on the other hand will probably want to go with a half cube ice machine as you can fit more ice in the cup thus displacing more product which reduces waste and cost. So restaurants, concession stands, and the like, who sell a lot of drinks should look at our half cube ice makers.

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