The most crucial factors to consider when looking for the best commercial ice maker are the type of machine you wish to use, its speed, and features. To help you shop, I’ve rounded up some of the top performing ice makers on the market.
In this article, I’ll help you explore the complex world market of commercial ice makers. I’ll go over some essential information to further help you in your quest for the best ice machine. And to ensure you’re only looking at the best options possible, I’ve also included a handy buying guide.
Bars, restaurants, cafés, and pubs, all require ice to add a chilly, rocky edge to beverages. Keep in mind that the quality of ice at a specialty cocktail bar is one of the indicators of how committed they are in terms of crafting the best drinks.
Commercial ice makers make ice-cold drinks fast and efficiently. They are designed for serious drink connoisseurs who refuse to budge on temperature. And due to their better reliability for get-togethers and larger groups, they are fast becoming a south-after home appliance.
If you are considering an ice maker for your home or commercial kitchen, you want the most cost-effective and reliable ice machine possible. The best commercial ice maker should be capable of producing ice quickly and consistently.
While there are no guarantees you’ll never run into an issue with a specialty machine like this, you can at least steer away from brands that are known to have reliability challenges.
However, the size and cost of your ideal commercial ice machine will also be determined by how much you require and how soon. You need to also think about the amount of space you have to house one.
So, which ice maker is right for your business? Check out my top picks for the best commercial ice makers, and an additional guide below to explain how and why I picked these models.
My Top Picks: Best Commercial Ice Makers
|Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker
|– 17.52 x 15.96 x 31.3 inches
– Undercounter ice machine
– Makes 100 pounds of ice
– Has 33-pound storage container
– Smart LCD multifunction panel
– 1-year warranty
|Best for Restaurants
|Manitowoc UDF0140A Ice Machine
|– 33 x 30 x 40 inches
– Undercounter ice machine
– Makes 132 pounds of ice
– Has 90-pound bin storage
– Fingerprint-resistant exterior panels
– 3-year warranty on parts and labor
– 5-year warranty on compressor and evaporator
|NewAir Ice Portable Maker
|– 14.25 x 16.88 x 16.75 inches
– Countertop ice maker
– Makes up to 50 pounds of ice
– 24-cup built-in reservoir
– LED display, push-button controls
– 1-year warranty
|Other Great Options
|Vremi Commercial-Grade Ice Maker
|– 17.6 x 15.7 x 31.4 inches
– Undercounter ice machine
– Makes 99 pounds of ice
– Intuitive digital control panel
– 1-year warranty
|hOmeLabs Commercial Ice Maker
|– 15.7 x 17.6 x 31.4 inches
– Undercounter ice machine
– Makes 99 pounds of ice
– Has a 29-pound bin storage
– Intuitive LCD control panel
Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker – Best Overall
If you’re looking for a best commercial nugget ice machine, you may consider the Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker. It would be a wonderful option if you want to have enough ice to serve fresh cocktails or other refreshing beverages throughout the day.
This under counter commercial ice maker has a smart LCD panel that’s easy to use. And it has an auto-cleaning feature with just a press of a button. It also features automatic overflow prevention where you don’t need to worry about ice cubes overflowing.
This commercial ice maker can supply 100 pounds of ice each day and includes a 33-pound ice storage container. With all the necessary features it has plus the reasonable price, I think it’s safe to say this ice maker can fulfill your complete business’ ice cube demands.
It’s also a quiet machine, which I appreciate. The strong compressor enables it to finish the ice-making process quickly and quietly. Its high efficiency without the annoying loudness surely creates a pleasant atmosphere. Peace is something you want to have if you wish to run a coffee shop with a relaxing vibe.
• Easy to use control panel
• Makes large volume of ice
• Comes with automatic flow prevention
• Strong compressor yet offers quiet operation
• Self-cleaning feature
• Comes with a one-year warranty
• Doesn’t keep ice frozen
Manitowoc UDF0140A Ice Machine – Best for Restaurants
Manitowoc has been a leader in the market for ice production since 1964. If you’re looking for the best commercial nugget ice machine for your restaurant, their UDF0140A model could be a wise choice. This under counter ice maker generates a large quantity of ice while maintaining a compact design.
It makes 132 pounds of ice on its 90-pound easy forward-sliding bin. Which makes maintaining this ice maker easier without having to move the unit. I find this feature super handy. Particularly in busy restaurants and bars. Its fingerprint-resistant exterior panels also make for simpler upkeep.
Another thing that I like about this model is that it comes with AlphaSan. It’s a silver-based antimicrobial element that protects the unit from odors, discoloration, mildew, and other microbial contamination-related issues. This way, you can enjoy ice cubes that are safe for everyday consumption.
This maker is on the higher end of the price spectrum. But with a three-year warranty on parts and labor and a five-year warranty on the compressor and evaporator, you can be confident that you’re getting a unit that’s worth the investment.
• Makes large volume of ice
• Impressive bin capacity
• Easy cleaning and maintenance
• Comes with antimicrobial AlphaSan
• Comes with year a 3-warranty on parts and labor
• Comes with a five-year warranty on compressor and evaporator
• Runs loudly
NewAir Ice Portable Maker – Best Compact
When it comes to portability, nothing beats countertop ice machines. Because such models are designed to fit on kitchen countertops, they typically lack the capacity to provide the large volumes of ice required to freeze beverages in a busy café or bar.
Meanwhile, the NewAir Ice Portable Maker far exceeds those assumptions, producing 50 pounds of bullet ice per day. And with its 7-minute freezing period every cycle, you’ll have your ice in no time!
It features a built-in water reservoir with a 24-cup capacity, so you can set it up anywhere. But make sure you install it not too close to a hot burner since this will limit its ice output.
This countertop ice maker produces pure, restaurant-quality ice that also looks wonderful in any drink. And they melt five times slower than cloudy ice. It comes in three sizes options, allowing you to efficiently produce ice for mixed beverages.
The LED display and push-button controls make this device simple to set up and use. Its removable ice bin makes it simple to fill your glass with ice. But what I appreciate is the easy-to-use, low-maintenance design, which includes a useful self-cleaning feature.
Some of the safety features I fancy are the automatic shut-off and overflow protection. With such a compact size, there are a wealth of essential features. It’s also one of the most reasonably priced countertop models I’ve found!
• Space-saving compact design
• Produces ice fast
• Gives you three-size options
• Easy to use and install
• Comes with safety features
• Reasonable price
• Comes with a 1-year warranty
• Runs loudly
• Some users say the control panel doesn’t always work
The Vremi Commercial-Grade Ice Maker could be another great option if you’re looking for the best commercial nugget ice machine that can do large ice production. It looks like any other under counter commercial ice maker on the market. But with a slightly less expensive price tag.
This machine features a strong compressor, cranking out 99 pounds of ice each day. It can also pump out 45 clear hard cube-shaped ice in 11 to 20 minutes in a single cycle. I find this slower compared to other machines, but does a decent job.
Equipped with a digital control panel, it comes with an LCD indication for displaying water and ice-making operations. This also lets you change production duration and ice cube thickness.
The self-cleaning feature is something I really appreciate in ice makers, and this model is no exception. This machine features an automatic self-cleaning mechanism that does all of the work for you when it comes to keeping your ice maker clean.
• Makes large volume of ice
• Easy to use digital control panel
• Convenient self-cleaning feature
• Slow ice production
• Doesn’t keep ice frozen
Another quality choice for the best commercial nugget ice machine could be the hOmeLabs Commercial Ice Maker. The brand markets this model with intense ice-making power, producing 99 pounds of ice and 45 pieces of clear ice in an 11 to 20-minute single cycle. Which again, I find sluggish, but it does the job.
With a storage capacity of 29 pounds, this under-counter ice machine can hold enough ice for all types of ice-cold drinks. It’s easy to use with its intuitive control. Which allows you to adjust the thickness of your ice. As well as allowing you to keep an eye out on the time duration needed for ice-making.
I think one of the main downsides of this model is that it lacks a self-cleaning option, which significantly simplifies maintenance. Another drawback is that it doesn’t have safety features such as overflow prevention. Also, it is slightly more expensive than other models on the list with almost comparable designs and features.
But some consumer reports I’ve read say it runs quietly, and you can expect a loud thunk as the ice drops. Many first-hand users also swear by how easy it is to install. Overall, I think it’s still an amazing commercial-grade ice maker.
• Makes large volume of ice
• Intuitive control panel
• Quiet operation
• Easy to install
• Doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature
• Doesn’t come with safety features
Things To Consider in Choosing the Best Commercial Ice Maker
There are several factors to consider when picking the best commercial nugget ice machine. From the various types of ice machines and varieties of ice, finding the right one can be tricky. You can refer to the buying guide below to help you navigate through the many specifics to find the ideal ice machine for you.
Ice machines come in four types: under counter, countertop, modular, and combination ice and water machine. And there are other reasons why you might prefer one over the others. Let’s see how any of these will work for you.
Undercounter Ice Machine
An under counter ice machine will fulfill the production demands of your small bar or restaurant since it combines the ice machine with a storage bin. You can also fit them under most 40-inch high countertops. Their outputs typically peak out at around 350 pounds per day. But there are a few larger capacity models available.
Countertop Ice Maker
Countertop ice machines come in more compact sizes. These types of ice makers are very common in health care settings. They typically serve easier to chew nugget ice, which is ideal for patients.
Although countertop ice dispensers often have a smaller ice storage bin, they can still make up to 400 pounds every day while allowing you to dispense ice straight from the machine.
Modular (Ice Machine Head)
Modular ice machines make a large volume of ice and you should use them in conjunction with another unit that you can use to store and distribute ice. These ice machines often come in 22, 30, and 48-inch widths.
They are geared to fit on top of an ice machine bin or an ice dispenser and feed ice to them. Their ice outputs range from 250 pounds per day to 1000 pounds per day.
Combination Ice and Water Machine
Ice and water dispensers are compact units that can dispense both water and ice. They are ideal for use in cafés, offices, and hospitals. They are great for making nugget ice and they are capable of producing up to 500 pounds a day.
These units often have a small footprint. Which allows them to fit on any countertop without occupying up a lot of space.
If your ice machine can’t deliver enough ice, you can run out of it before midday. A high production speed is a sign of a high-quality ice maker. A good ice maker should be able to complete a new cycle in 20 minutes.
You must know how the expected amount of ice a machine can produce, its output capacity per cycle and production per day (more on this later). It is crucial to keep in mind, however, that ambient temperature can affect the machine’s production cycle.
I suggest that you avoid installing your ice maker in a location where the temperature exceeds 70 degrees. Otherwise, it will reduce the production speed.
A machine that can make at least 99 pounds or more of ice each day would be a smart option. If it’s for home use, a unit that produces 80 pounds per day is a good choice.
A typical commercial ice maker can produce ice and then stop when they meet their capacity limit. Many advanced models may be configured with timers and energy-saving features. Certain ice machines include timers that you can use to initiate self-cleaning cycles.
And you know, a commercial ice machine is an investment that you need to clean and maintain on a regular basis. Self-cleaning cycles are a useful feature. It’s available on several commercial ice makers. And depending on where you get your unit from, you may also get cleaning solutions with your purchase.
It’s also worth noting that a maintenance plan is necessary. This is because manufacturers have the tendency to void warranties if you clean or try to repair your unit incorrectly.
Despite taking up ample space, you can easily conceal your commercial ice maker away. In regards to height, they do not go any taller than a countertop. A lot of models can be installed in cabinets or on the wall, just like how you do with dishwashers and ovens.
You should also think about the size of your space. I suggest that you measure the area where you intend to install your ice maker. This way, you won’t have to go through the hassle of returning your unit.
The storage bin of an ice maker isn’t a freezer where you store the ice. And the bin capacity is the maximum quantity of ice that it can hold.
You can pick a good bin that can carry slightly more than the quantity of ice you regularly need in a 24-hour period. Typically, a 10-20% capacity margin should be sufficient to ensure that the bin can hold enough ice.
Even though the ice will inevitably melt, the ice maker may continue to collect water from the reservoir to produce new batches of ice.
Larger and heavier ice machines that create a huge volume of ice on a regular basis need a higher power, so you’ll need to use a wall outlet. Although most commercial ice machines demand a lot of power, you’ll still find models that can make far more ice than usual.
There are also other models with strong compressors at 850 watts. If you come across such a machine, it’s best to consult an electrician before making any decisions.
So, you’re running a busy bar and you need ice quickly. In this case, you’ll need a machine that can produce ice at a fast pace. Smaller commercial ice makers may produce 3 to 4 pounds of ice per hour, while larger ones can make up to 4 pounds of ice per hour.
Keep in mind that the hourly production of each model varies. Every ice maker works at a certain speed at which the initial churn occurs and the speed where the first ice cubes can be made. Some ice machines can make ice and complete a cycle in less than 10 minutes, while others require more than an hour.
An ice maker’s output speed can be expressed in terms of how long it takes to make the first ice cubes, the quantity it can produce per hour, or how many it can make within 24 hours. Such time periods are not always related, though. But, comparing them to the same unit may help you decide which one to get.
Type of Use
How do you plan to use your ice machine? Will you be running a busy bar or chilling a cocktail party? If you need a commercial ice maker for those purposes, you may opt for a larger model with more capacity and faster output speed. But if you simply need ice for a few drinks, a smaller ice maker is ideal.
Always prepare for your peak hours. Particularly on the weekends when you might need a lot of ice. Which may include pairing a large bin with a smaller ice maker to collect sufficient ice for the weekend while not producing excessively and wasting ice during the weekdays.
Consider the volume of ice produced by your machine during the day. Keep in mind that your machine makes ice continually rather than in one go.
During operating hours, you may use ice at the same time that your machine replenishes your production. Which means you need to ditch a bin that exactly matches your machine’s capacity. When it comes to picking an ice machine bin, you need also be mindful of certain drawbacks:
– If you opt for an overly large pair of bin and machine, you may end up wasting ice. Also, because of the surplus of ice melt, the bin will become a breeding ground for germs and mold.
– If you opt for a pair of bin and a machine that’s too small, you will likely run out of ice. You may resort to pressuring your ice maker as it strives to catch pace, which is not good.
– Quit thinking that the bin must be the same size as your machine’s capacity. Combining a modest ice maker with a large bin ensures that you don’t over-produce during slow days while still stockpiling enough ice for the weekends.
Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance
Certain ice machines are fussy and may entail a lot of ventilation since they get hot. I suggest that you read about the needs of the ice machines you want to consider. It’s also important to evaluate whether you have the funds and time to care for their demands and upkeep.
Also, you’ll want to find out if they are easy to clean. Luckily, there are a lot of models with a self-cleaning feature that allows you to press a button and they’ll clean themselves.
Cost and Warranty
The cost of commercial ice machines varies depending on the quality of the internal parts, type, and the number of settings it has (see FAQs). Lower-priced models are often less efficient yet function well.
Mid-range models are geared with higher-quality materials. These models often have more customizable settings than low-priced ones. They are ideal if you host parties or businesses and you want to be equipped with the necessary options.
Commercial ice makers with the maximum production often come with higher price tags. These machines can supply ice for extended periods. And they are much more reliable. If you run a big cafeteria or an upscale restaurant, go for a higher-end ice maker.
Another factor you may want to consider is the warranty. For commercial ice machines, a lengthy warranty would be a wise option. You must understand that each warranty is different. You need to do your homework to find the details of what components and services the warranty of your prefered model covers.
Some manufacturers may directly send you the replacement parts, while others collaborate with authorized suppliers to conduct more intricate repairs and maintenance.
Factors Affecting Commercial Ice Maker Output
The quantity of ice produced by an ice machine can be influenced by a few factors. Which includes limited ventilation, inbound water temperature, water quality, and machine cleanliness.
You can tell how much ice the machine can produce in a day based on the machine’s given specifications. But these factors can have a negative impact on the operation of your ice maker.
The quantity of airflow or ventilation and air temperature can have a significant impact on the ice production. It’s not recommended to install your unit in a poorly ventilated space. Doing so can contribute to higher ambient temperatures. Also, putting the ice maker in a hot kitchen will make it hard for the machine to produce ice.
You have to make sure that your machine operates at peak performance. And you can do so by thoroughly checking the ventilation and air temperature requirements in the users’ manual.
Water with high mineral content can create deposits on internal parts of the machine and in water lines, slowing the stream of water through your ice maker. This has an impact on how fast and effectively your ice machine works. What you can do to avoid such problems is to make sure your feed water is correctly filtered.
If the water used to make ice is too warm, the unit will have to work harder and consume more time to produce ice. Always check the potable water you’re supplying your ice machine, making sure it is the right temperature. The same goes for when you use a water-cooled ice machine.
As I’ve mentioned, hard water build-up on the machine’s internal components can impede water flow and conceal sensors. If these happen, you can expect your machine to have slow production. And you may end up collecting low-quality ice.
To keep your ice maker running at peak performance, you should always adhere to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. This will also save you from the expensive cost of repairs.
Things To Consider for Ice Maker Installation
There are a few considerations before installing your new commercial ice maker, which include:
It’s always good to check that you have adequate space for the machine, bin, and filter. Otherwise, you’ll end up cramming your appliances in, which will impede work flow in your commercial kitchen.
Your machine will need enough airflow for optimal ice output. Which is why setting up an ice maker in a storage room or pantry is not a good idea. A well-ventilated ice machine can maximize your staff’s productivity. But even the best commercial ice maker in an awkward placement may have you spending extra on labor and energy.
There are many ice machines that don’t include a cord and plug, which means that you will have to hire an electrician to hardwire your ice machine.
Knowing and understanding the power your machine needs are also important. As not all models work on a normal 110V electrical source. You can refer to the specification sheet of the machine for this.
A cold water supply with a shutdown valve is required for your ice machine. Make sure you have an adequate water supply to ensure continuous operation.
Your machine will also entail the installation of a floor drain. For precise drain type and location restrictions, you may check your local codes.
Best Commercial Ice Maker FAQs
What is the most reliable ice maker?
The Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker outperforms many other commercial ice machines. It features easy to use controls. And it comes with a handful of helpful features like an automatic flow prevention and a self-cleaning mechanism. Which makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze.
This ice maker’s strong compressor also offers quiet operation, while making large batches of ice. It’s one of the most-rated commercial ice makers on the market right now.
How long does a commercial ice machine last?
How long a machine lasts depends on a few factors like how often you use it and how well you do the upkeep. On average, a commercial ice maker may last you a good 10 years if you use it every day, but it rarely reaches that longevity. A safe bet would be 4 to 5 years or the duration of the ice maker’s warranty.
How much does a commercial ice machine cost?
A few factors will tell how much a commercial ice machine cost. Depending on the size, type, and features, you may find them ranging from $500 to $1,000. Others are even priced as high as $2,200 to $6,900. Countertop models tend to be in the more affordable price ranges at $120 to $500.
How big is a commercial ice maker?
Modular ice machines are usually available in 22, 30, and 48-inch widths. These units are intended to sit on top of and deliver ice to an ice maker bin, an ice dispenser, or a soda dispenser.
What is nugget ice?
Nugget ice is made up of layers of flaking ice that have been frozen together. The freezing process generates air pockets in the pellet ice nuggets, which also make nugget ice chewy and enjoyable to consume. Nugget ice range in size yet keeps the solid feel of bigger cubes of ice.
What size inverter do I need to run a portable ice maker?
To power an ice maker, you can add a small 12-volt DC to a 120-volt AC inverter. These ice makers can be powered during the day from a single 12-volt RV/marine battery. Which you can recharge every day with a solar panel.
How much water does a commercial ice machine use?
It depends on the quality of the ice. Commercial ice machines generally need 15 to 25 gallons of water to make 100 pounds of ice flakes or cubes. Earlier versions of water-cooled ice machines might require up to 90 gallons of water to produce the same amount of ice.
What is a commercial ice maker?
Commercial ice makers are designed for heavy-duty use. You’ll often see them in settings like bars, restaurants, and hotels. They are intended for both culinary and patient care purposes for a range of commercial and industrial facilities.
How much ice do I need per day?
It depends on the daily demands of your business. But to give you a general idea, the average restaurant uses roughly 1.5 pounds a cup of ice with each meal served. If you have a restaurant that serves 250 customers each day, you will require roughly 450 pounds of ice.
And if you’re just getting started and confused about the size of machine you need, check the general estimations below.
|Type of Business
|Amount of Ice
|1.5 pounds per meal
|3 pounds per seat
|1 pound per customer
|1 pound per person
|35 pounds per cubic foot
Keep in mind that different uses need varying quantities of ice. The best commercial ice maker you can use in bars will not operate effectively in a large hotel.
My top pick is the Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker because it’s simple to use and has a wealth of useful features. Its strong compressor ensures silent operation while producing 100 pounds of ice. This ice machine also has automatic flow prevention and self-cleaning capabilities. Which are two of my favorite ice machine features.
If you wish to install the best commercial nugget ice machine for your restaurant, you may consider the Manitowoc UDF0140A Ice Machine, instead. It’s a heavy-duty machine that makes up to 132 pounds of ice with an impressive bin capacity.
For the fans of compact appliances, the NewAir Ice Portable Maker may be a great choice. This ice machine is great for kitchen countertops, or small bars and cafés. It can crank out 50 pounds of bullet ice in a day under a 7-minute cycle. Plus, it gives you three-size options to customize your ice production.
Other excellent choices for the best commercial ice maker are the Vremi Commercial-Grade Ice Maker and the hOmeLabs Commercial Ice Maker. Both models have a comparable design, producing 99 pounds of ice and 45 pieces of clear ice. They are also simple to operate, having intuitive control panels.
A good commercial ice machine makes it worthwhile to run a business that serves ice-cold beverages. However, with several various configurations and types to choose from, it’s crucial to learn which unit will work best for your business’s demands.
I hope you’ve found the right commercial ice maker from my list so you can start making cocktails, iced coffee, or anything your customers crave. Make sure to check out the latest prices and discounts on these fantastic ice machines, and always, good luck!