There is a huge assortment of restaurant ice machine on the market these days. Selecting the right one for your business is about more than just finding the one that fits the space. You have to consider your restaurant’s needs to determine which unit will work best. Here is a quick guide explaining what to look for in an ice machine.
Type of Ice
Ice can be made into several different shapes, so you need to get the machine that makes the shape you want. The two most common forms of ice are cube ice and flake ice, which are used in drinking glasses. Another less common form of ice is nugget ice, which is the kind you might find in bags at a gas station. Consider your desired shape of ice and get an ice maker that accommodates that.
Air Cooled vs. Water Cooled
Your ice maker will either be air cooled or water cool. Air cooled units take in air from their surroundings and use that to keep their temperatures low. Water cooled units pull water from a separate water line and use that to cool the interior. Air cooled units are usually cheaper than water cooled units, but they are also louder to operate. Water cooled units use less electricity than air cooled models, but they also use more water. You will need to weigh the pros and cons to determine what you need.
Make sure you buy an ice machine that can handle the workload you’re giving it. If you go through 300 pounds of ice a day, you won’t benefit from a device that produces 200 pounds maximum. Of course, larger output units are going to cost more, but at least they will get the job done. As with anything in the restaurant business, function trumps price every time.
Do you need your ice maker to act as a bin or dispenser? If so, you will need to factor that into your selection. You can easily get an ice machine that has a dispenser or bin built into it. You could also buy the bin separately and just place the machine on top. This is a good idea if you need your bin to be a specific width and height.
Consider all of your options before buying an ice machine, and you will get years of use out of your device.