Things to Consider while Buying a Ice Machine

Cube ice makers are typically the most common type of commercial ice machine. Cube shapes are generally unique to each manufacturer and are typically described as a modular half-cube, full-cube. Manitowoc's modular ice makers create both half and full-cube ice which are referred to as "Half-Dice" and "Dice" cubes respectively. Scotsman's CME machines generate a type of cube ice which they call a "Contour Cube". Modular cube ice machines are primarily used for restaurants, fast food industries, hotels and convenience stores. This is an overview of the various shapes and sizes of our modular cube ice makers.

Ice-O-Matic Modular Cube Ice Ice-O-Matic offers both classic full-cube and half-cube sized modular ice. Full-cube: 7/8'' x 7/8' x 7/8'' Half-cube: 7/8'' x 7/8'' x 3/8''
Manitowoc ice machines creates a modular cube shape of ice known as "Dice" sizes. Dice cube sizes are: Full-dice: 7/8'' x 7/8'' x 7/8'' Half-dice 3/8'' x 1-1/8'' x 7/8''
Scotsman features a unique type of ice shape which can be considered both cube and pillow style ice. Full-dice: 1-3/8'' x 1-3/8'' x 5/8''

For a more detailed look at the various shapes of ice check out our Ice Types page.

Aside from the type of ice cube you will get, ice machines are also categorized by how they freeze the water. Factors that affect how your ice machine will freeze ice is directly related to how many pounds you will get upon installation. Picking the type of refrigeration is a key factor in properly picking an ice machine. There are 3 main types of condensers that operate your ice machine.


Air Cooled Ice Machines
An air cooled ice maker is typically the most common form of ice machine installed. It requires minimal plumbing and will work almost anywhere. However, there are a few factors to consider before purchasing an air cooled unit.

  • Consider where you are going to install the unit. Most commercial ice machines rate the amount of ice they make according to a set of guidelines created by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (A.H.R.I). Under controlled temperature conditions a measurement of ice production is taken per 24 hour cycle. At Jean's Restaurant Supply our ice machine's ice capacity listings are rated by ARI standards of 90°F air temperature and 70°F water temperature. These are the conditions typically found in inside most restaurant establishments and kitchens. Don't be fooled by productions claims where the temperature ratings is 70°F air temperature and 50°F water temperature. Unless the place you install the ice machine remains consistently cold, you will not get the amount of ice you hoped for in your new ice machine. Never hesitate to call or e-mail us if you have any question about your installation conditions or how much ice you will really get from your ice machine. Read our Ice Machine Buyers Guide for more details about ARI ratings and ice production values.
  • Where will your ice machine be? If you plan on installing near or inside a kitchen your ice machine will be subject to high amounts of ambient heat. The hotter the area your ice machine is installed, the less amount of ice you will get. Air cooled ice machine takes surrounding air and moves it across the condenser. Again, the hotter the area, the less ice you will get!
  • Air cooled ice makers are generally louder than any other type. The more ice it produces, the louder it will be. Keep this in mind when looking at your layout. An air cooled ice machine may not be the right choice if installing in or near a waitress station, hospital patient area or any area situated near your clientele.
  • Air cooled commercial ice makers are great for productions values in between 200 lbs. - 600 lbs. Ice machines in this range work great for most restaurants and waitress stations. Beware of the heat produced by the units. If air conditioning is not balanced in your kitchen an ice machine condenser could add to your electrical bill more than you know. As an ice machine begins it's cycle, heat is generated from the condenser and is blown through its coils. This added heat to your kitchen will cause your A/C to work harder and ultimately cost you money. For large applications in which an ice machine will be installed inside of a commercial kitchen, a remote ice machine is recommended.


Water Cooled Ice Machines
A water cooled commercial ice maker is a great investment when installed in the appropriate conditions. Since the condenser cools from a water line, ambient air values do not effect ice production as dramatically as with an air cooled unit. However, there are other factors to consider when deciding on a water cooled ice maker.

  • Utility costs are generally the number one factor in deciding on a water cooled ice maker. Water costs vary from location to location so check first and decide if this will be the most economical to use. Water cooled commercial ice makers use a tremendous amount of water, much more so than any other type. 2 water inlets are required: one for the water condenser and another for a potable water ice line which would run through your water filters.
  • Water cooled ice machines use less energy to produce ice ranging from about 4 to 14 kilowatts per 100 lbs of ice. Since the heat of this ice machine is compensated by the water line and expelled outside of your kitchen, water cooled ice machines do not effect your air conditioning costs nearly as much as an air cooled unit.


Remote Ice Machines
Deciding on a remote ice machine is a matter of deciding where the ice maker will be and the type of construction for the building. In many large commercial instances a remote condenser will be placed as part of a condenser block which will include condensers and remote refrigeration lines for the walk in coolers, reach in refrigeration, and freezers.

  • Remote ice machines expel heat and noise outside of your building. Remote ice machines are a great choice in hospitals as they will run quietly without the constant clicking of a compressor. They are also useful in areas that will be next to your patrons and a low level of heat and noise is desired. Generally for all ice machines over 600 lbs we will recommend you consider the option of a remote condenser. This will greatly improve your energy bill on air conditioning costs as no heat will be generated inside of your building.
  • Be careful of the installation requirements for a remote condenser. As a general rule ice machines should never be installed by an unqualified person. You want to leave your plumbing and electrical hook ups to a trained professional. However, with a remote ice machine you have the added step of running the appropriate refrigeration and electrical jumpers from the remote condenser to the ice machine. This may include roof and wall penetrations so be aware of these additional costs to your installation.
  • Be aware of line set lengths. The placement of your remote condensers must be decided before ordering a line set. Typically starting at a 20 foot increment, line sets are a critical detail in the installation of your ice machine. If you are ever unsure of what line sets you will require be sure to give us a call and we will be glad to assist you.