The Definitive Commercial Ice Machine Buying Guide

The Definitive Commercial Ice Machine Buying Guide

Fed up of spending money on bagged ice? Finding that you just can’t store enough to meet demand? You need a commercial ice machine.

Purchasing an ice machine for your business may seem like a simple choice after all if it makes ice then that’s all you need, right? Wrong. There are many things to consider when purchasing an ice maker to ensure that the model that you choose will be perfect for your individual needs and requirements.

Understanding your many options will help your decision-making process become a lot easier.

Table of Contents

What Is a Commercial Ice Machine?
Why Buy a Commercial Ice Maker?
Types of Ice
What Defines Quality Ice?
How Is Ice Produced?
Types of Ice Machine
Determining the Size and Capacity of your Ice Maker
Placement and Installation
Air-Cooled or Water-Cooled?
Refrigerants and Power
Cleaning, Maintenance and Efficiency
Manufacture, Brand and Warranty
Ask Advice


What Is a Commercial Ice Machine?

The title says it all; an ice machine makes ice for commercial premises. This could be for food display, drinks of all varieties or medical uses. They will typically have an attached water source and waste outlet drain with a storage bin to hold the ice produced.

Suitable for pubs, bars, restaurants, hospitality venues, laboratory use, healthcare and educational institutes, there is a size, capacity and style to suit every intended purpose.

Why Buy a Commercial Ice Maker?

Commercial ice machines will generally produce large quantities of ice at a fast rate over a 24 hour period. Designed for high-frequency use, they are manufactured to endure tough working conditions. Fitted with multiple features to deliver performance, efficiency, hygiene, food safety and high quality, long-lasting ice, commercial equipment produces a wide variety of sizes and shapes, each suitable for different uses.

While the majority of units require a mains water connection due to the high output production, small countertop models may be available with manual fill systems for those that only require occasional, light-duty use.

Types of Ice

Hoshizaki ice shapes in cocktails

Before even thinking about equipment it’s vital to understand the type of ice that you need.

Long gone are the days when the only ice available was the stereotypical cube. Manufacturers are now able to offer an increasing variety of ice shapes in a wide range of sizes, each suitable for different uses. All types of ice have unique properties and characteristics, whether due to production techniques or water content, that make them best suited to each distinct application.

Here is a brief overview of what’s available.

Cubes / Dice

Recognised as the traditional square typically associated with standard ice, this shape melts slowly but cools quickly and is great for general purpose use as well as having a fast production rate - which probably explains why they’re the most popular choice in pubs and bars. Cubes are generally referred to as full or half size, however, Scotsman also offer the Superdice while Hoshizaki machines are capable of producing a full range of cube sizes from XS (6g) to XXXL (240g)

Different size ice cubes

Many models will stipulate the size of cube they produce however if you’re looking for a little more flexibility, the Simag SVD203 Ice Cuber offers a choice of program for both half and full cubes.

Flaked / Shaved

Used mainly for food storage and display, flaked ice is shredded from a solid block in the form of soft shavings that can be compacted and moulded into an ice bed for fish and other fresh foods. Harvested at just below 0°C this type of ice can also be seen in laboratories and the medical industry.

Ice flakes are additionally suitable as a method of cooling in wine and champagne buckets and for crushing and blending for use in cocktails. The soft characteristics of this style of ice offers the least resistance and puts less strain on crushing/blending blades when used in an ice crusher. Flaked ice machines are available in integral or modular formats.

In addition to standard flaked ice, Scotsman also offer the Superflake – typified by a 15-18% residual water content making it more compact than a regular flake.

Nugget / Cubelet

Created using flaked ice which is compacted into a small nugget either cylindrical or angular in shape, nuggets and cubelets are perfect for slushies.

The soft, chewable nature of this ice type means that it is also a valuable commodity in hospitals, not only a great way to keep patients hydrated but also to prepare compresses that easily mould to limbs and joints.


Sometimes described as ‘half-moon’ ice, these crescent shapes have a flat bottom and curved top. The rounded surface reduces splash as the drink is poured and allows liquid to flow freely over the ice. The unique shape encourages low mineral content during formation which results in hard ice that is slow melting.

Sphere / Ball Hoshizaki ball ice

These attractive spheres are quickly becoming a popular alternative to the standard cube. The solid structure melts extremely slowly but chills quickly making it perfect for serving with spirits served on the rocks. The Hoshizaki IM65NE-Q ice maker produces exquisite ball-shaped ice, with minimal impurities and crystal clarity, all in a convenient undercounter integral design.


Faster to produce than standard cubes, bullet ice is softer than standard types which results in a quick melt. Soft, easy to chew and ideal for blending and crushing, bullet shapes are made by compacting flaked ice through a small round mould.

Bistrot / Gourmet

Known by many monikers including bistrot, top hat, shot, gourmet or Supercube as produced by the Scotsman EC226, these ice shapes feature a cylindrical body with a prominent brim and generally have an indent in the centre of the base. The distinctive design produces pure ice with crystal clarity that is hard, slow-melting and long-lasting.

Cylinder, Heart and Star Heart ice shape

These specialist shapes are unique to Hoshizaki and offer an attractive spin to stereotypical cubes. Perfect for pubs and bars that want to stand out from the crowd, these designs can really add character to a beverage. All machines whether cylinder, heart or star are produced to the same high standards that can be attributed to all Hoshizaki ice products.


Crushed ice is ideal for cocktails, slushies and smoothies. Rather than produce crushed ice from scratch, this type or texture of ice is achieved by a separate piece of equipment called an ice crusher. Ice crushers are typically countertop, manual fill machines that require pre-formed cubes to be inserted before being ground down to the desired consistency.


Similar to flake ice, scale ice is perfect for food display. Regarded as the coldest form of ice, Scotsman scale ice makers form ice at -12°C and produce a range of thicknesses with only a 2% residual water content.

Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Use the handy filters to determine the machines that produce your required ice type and shape.


What Defines Quality Ice?

The determining factors for quality ice are often broken down and referred to as the dilution rate of the ice, the cooling rate and the clarity.

The ultimate quality of your ice will depend on a number of features such as the production method, the size of the cube and the shape of the ice.

Dilution Rate

The dilution rate of ice refers to how quickly the ice melts once formed and used. Basically, the slower the melting rate, the better the ice is considered to be. The rate of dilution is directly related to the residual water content of the ice. Shapes with higher residual water content will melt more quickly, while those with lower residual water content melt more slowly.

Dilution rates are also related to the surface area of the ice. Consider a single large block compared to a single small cube. In this state the large cube obviously has a larger total surface area.

Large ice cube and small ice cube

Now, multiply the small cube until you have the same quantity of ice as the large block. You can now see that multiple smaller cubes have a larger total surface area.

Large ice cube and multiple smaller cubes

This means that the larger block would melt more slowly due to less surface area being in contact with the drink or air (depending on what you are using it for). Larger shapes will often have greater density which will also help to reduce the speed at which ice melts.

Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Obviously large, bulky shapes may not be convenient for all purposes, more compact cubes having greater versatility in their uses. The dilution rate should not be used as the only deciding factor for choosing the style of ice you need, instead used more as a reference point to be taken into consideration.

The dilution rate should be weighed against the effectiveness of the ice size and shape for chilling and cooling purposes.

Cooling Rate

The greater the surface area of the ice the quicker drinks or foods are cooled as more ice comes into contact with the surroundings.

With this theory in mind, you need to consider these two areas of dilution and cooling closely as each counteracts the other. What is most important to you for your intended use?


If you want slow dilution – the smaller the total surface area, the better. Melting icicles

If you want fast cooling – you need a larger total surface area. This may mean multiple smaller pieces of ice.

Question mark in bubbleDid you know? A freshly made batch of ice typically has a temperature around -18°C to -19°C although Hoshizaki ice can be formed in temperatures as low as -25°C. When you put the ice in a drink or use it as part of food storage or display it immediately begins absorbing heat from its surroundings, raising the temperature of the ice. The ice will not begin to melt until it reaches 0°C. At this point it doesn’t get any warmer, it just continues to melt, decreasing in size and density.


Clarity refers to the transparency and purity of the ice. You may notice that ice can sometimes have a cloudy appearance with an opaque, white colour – not attractive in your drink. This is a common occurrence in domestic ice cubes, made using plastic trays. This discolouration is due to trapped air within the ice, a pitfall of freezing stagnant, still-standing water.

Thankfully this isn’t often seen in a commercial environment. Commercial ice is typically formed using a moving water source which continually trickles over a mould, slowly freezing and building up in layers. This moving water prevents any build-up of impurities and reduces excess air.

It’s not just a more attractive appearance and aesthetic that makes clarity a major factor in determining quality ice. Crystal clear ice will stay solid for longer too – taking longer to dilute as there are more frozen pure water molecules present.

Yellow light bulb

Top Tip: We always recommend using a water filter in conjunction with your ice maker.


Do I need a water filter? Clean water

One of the most common questions from people who are purchasing commercial ice machines is ‘Do I need a water filter?’


Water has many deposits and chemicals contained within that can cause a build-up of residue within your ice machine causing potential problems in the future. These deposits can also result in ice that may taste or smell unpleasant resulting in decreased quality of products served.

Regular cleaning, maintenance and servicing will reduce any potential contamination hazards however installing a water filter will stop any problems or damage before they begin.

Benefits of installing a water filter

  • Helps to maintain optimum ice production. The deposit build-up will make ice production more difficult, putting extra pressure on your ice machine to provide ice.
  • Better tasting ice. The removal of chemicals within the standard water supply ensures a better tasting and higher quality product.
  • Decrease in maintenance. Any build-up of deposits when a water filter isn’t fitted results in your ice machine having to work harder, therefore, putting more pressure on the mechanics of your equipment. This extra pressure leads to higher required levels of maintenance and more risk of potential failures which may prove costly to repair.

How is Ice Produced?

Sounds like a silly question – after all, you simply freeze water, but actually how your ice is produced will determine the quality of the end results.

Domestic ice machines freeze ice from the outside in, using stagnant water which often leaves a milky, opaque finish. Commercial ice makers use running water to build-up ice from the inside out, creating multiple layers rather than a solid block.


  1. Hoshizaki vertical evaporatorWater runs vertically over the evaporator which has a plate, grid or mould, the surface of which is below freezing. The shape of the grid determines the ultimate shape of the ice. Commercial machines use moving water to improve quality and achieve purity and clarity.




    Ice cubes freezing in vertical grid Freezing cycle


    As the water continues to flow over the grid, ice freezes in layers until the desired size is achieved. Once the ice is at the appropriate size, the water flow ceases and a mild heat runs through the grid to soften the cubes or whichever shape you are creating.




    Ice cubes falling out of grid Harvest cycle


    When sufficiently loosened in the grid, the ice falls into the storage bin.



Sheet of ice

You may find that some manufacturers utilise a slightly different method. Rather than ice forming individually, it freezes in a sheet. This sheet will either fall on to a grid where the weight of the ice causes it to break into cubes or alternatively be dropped into the storage bin, breaking on impact. These methods, however, can result in inconsistent sizes and shapes or large clumps of ice rather than individual cubes.


The Ice Production Cycle

The production cycle consists of two sections. The freeze cycle where the ice is formed and the harvest cycle when ice is released into the storage container. The duration of a complete cycle with vary between manufacturers and will also depend on the size and production rate of the machine you are using. Once the harvest cycle is complete, there is a brief respite for the machine, generally approximately 5 minutes before the whole process repeats.

Ice Production Systems

While many manufacturers use cascading water to form ice, some utilise a spray system which has been proven to produce high-quality ice with crystal clear clarity and ultimately longer lasting.

If you’re looking for high-quality ice, consider one of the following manufacturers.

Hoshizaki machines use a single jet per cube, guaranteeing extremely reliable ice production. They also ensure freshwater is used for every cycle to guarantee ice is safe for consumption.

Scotsman utilise a spray system for their Supercubes, spraying water upwards into the mould. This means that any sediment or impurities that may be present in the water, fall away from the mould resulting in pure ice. This water purity creates very hard ice with a low dilution rate.

The Foster FS range also employs a spray production system to guarantee crystal clarity and longer lasting ice with every cycle. The FS range also promises a patented cube shape.

Types of Ice Machine


Interlevin Integral Ice Machine Interlevin AQ90AA Integral Ice Machine


Once you have determined the style of ice you need, you need to consider the type of machine that works best for your business. These are categorised by two main types – integral and modular. Your ultimate choice may be dependent on the space you have available, your production requirements and the quantity of storage you need. Jump to Determining the Size and Capacity of your Ice Maker.

Integral Ice Machines

Integral machines will generally have smaller capacities and production rates and are typically used in premises with light to moderate demand. The storage bin is built-in to the machine and purchased as a complete piece of equipment. Integral equipment is typically seen in a countertop or undercounter layout.


Hoshizaki Modular Ice Machine Hoshizaki IM-240ANE-HC Modular Ice Machine


Modular Ice Machines

Modular machines will offer greater ice production capacity for high demand businesses with large ice demands. Sold as separate entities, the ice maker and storage bin are sold separately. The ice maker sits on the top, houses the main refrigeration components and is what actually produces the ice. The storage bin acts as a base to the ice maker and provides a container in which the ice expelled from the machine is housed. Modular ice makers will have a freestanding, upright format creating adequate space for the increased capacity.

When buying integral machines, it is important to weigh up both production and storage capacities as a whole. Modular systems allow you to choose your production capacity and storage capacity independently ensuring you to tailor the system to your specific requirements.


Scotsman ice storage bin Scotsman storage bin for modular ice machines


What are Storage Bins and What Do they Do?

These compartments provide an area where formed ice can be deposited from the ice maker after production and stored until it’s required. Employees can scoop the ice into suitable buckets or other receptacles to be transported behind the bar, to display cabinets or to food preparation areas.

Common Features of an Ice Storage Bin

  • Bins will store between several hundred pounds to several thousand pounds of ice
  • Bins will usually have chutes or hatches to allow easy access
  • Generally made of stainless steel for extra durability in a commercial environment
  • Interiors will be insulated but not refrigerated meaning that any unused ice will slowly melt throughout the day
  • Drains at the base of the ice compartment will allow melted water to drain away meaning that ice does not form into one solid block. If ice sits in water it will melt more quickly.


Foster Ice and Water Dispenser Foster FID35 Ice and Water Dispenser




Ice Dispensers

With a rise in self-serve drinks stations and ice dispensers in restaurants where the customer can enjoy unlimited refills, fast production in a compact yet attractive design has never been more important. Similarly, popular in hotels where guests have regular access to ice on demand or conference facilities, ice dispensers have become a ‘must-have’ piece of equipment. Many units are now also available as ice/water dispensers for increased versatility.




Determining the Size and Capacity of your Ice Maker

It’s vital to make the right decision when it comes to size and capacity; each should be given careful consideration before choosing the best model for your business. These two factors are closely correlated. Obviously, the larger the machine in size, the greater the capacity it should be able to produce and store.


The size of your ice machine will depend on the area you have to house the equipment. With countertop, undercounter and freestanding models available there’s plenty of choices to suit all space requirements.

Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Consider not only the intended final resting place for your equipment but also how you will get it into the building. Can you fit it through doorways, down corridors or around any tricky corners? Once your order has been processed, you will be charged to cancel or return your machine so it is vital that you consider all factors before making a purchase. For more information take a look at our Delivery and Returns page.


The capacity you need will depend on the type of business you run and the intended use. The total volume capacity of a restaurant ice machine will differ from that of a pub or bar ice machine, just as it will differ greatly from ice flaker capacities used for food display purposes. Your estimated capacity will also be influenced by the type of ice you require – different sizes and shapes will warrant different capacities and quantities.

Once you have a rough figure of your ice needs you can more easily decide whether you should be investing in an integral or modular ice system.

How Do I Know What Capacity I Need?

Calculating your estimated usage is critical to your decision: too little and you’ll be left short, too much and you’re paying for energy and water that isn’t required and increasing waste. While the length of the freeze and harvest cycles can be used as a reference to the regularity of the output, it’s easier to refer to the capacity output specification of the equipment you’re looking at as this information is much more readily available and cuts down the number of calculations you need to make.

Production Capacity

To estimate production capacity, you will have to make a few broad calculations to give you a more informed idea of the general ballpark you should be looking at. Unfortunately, this will never be entirely accurate and instead relies mainly on averages, although it is always a good starting point. The process should be tailored to your business, the type of ice and how you are using it.

  • For example: Three glasses of drinks with ice

Bars and pubs could base calculations on an average ice consumption of approximately 0.68kg to 1.36kg (1.5lbs to 3lbs) per customer enjoying 3 drinks per visit. Multiply this by the approximate number of customers you serve on average in a 24-hour period, taking into account the number of drinks you require the ice for (beer drinkers aren’t going to be pleased with a lump of ice in their pint!). Voila! A rough estimate to work with.

  • Alternatively:

Consider the number of drinks you serve that require ice during your busiest period. Multiply this by a rough guestimate of the weight of ice you use for each serving. Use this figure as a rough guide to calculate total capacity, however, remember that this initial figure is based on only a section of the day, rather than an average over a 24-hour period.

Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Give yourself breathing room and never choose a production capacity that is ‘just enough’. Also bear in mind that ice melts, so you may not get to use the total production capacity. It is advised to overestimate your required production by as much as 10-20% to ensure that you have enough ice to cover your needs. This will allow for volume fluctuations due to seasonal changes or the refinement or introduction of new menu items.

There is a vast range of production capacities available so finding something to meet your individual demands shouldn’t cause any issue. Ranging from the smallest 11kg/24hr Polar T315 Countertop Ice Maker to the 1800kg/24hr Hoshizaki FM1800ALKE-SB Modular Ice Flaker there’s plenty of choice.

Storage Capacity

When looking at integral equipment, storage capacity is already outlined for you and will usually correlate to the production capacity. Modular ice makers, however, offer more flexibility with regards to storage capacity. Many modular ice machines will stipulate compatible ice bins to make things a little easier.

Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Make sure you opt for a bin that can cope with the projected output of the ice machine. There’s no point having a high production machine if you have nowhere to store it.


Placement and Installation


Ice machines are just like any other pieces of commercial refrigeration. They require adequate airflow (especially air-cooled models) of approximately 150mm around the sides and rear of the unit.

Icematic ice machine with arrows showing air flow

Ambient Temperatures

You must also consider the ambient temperatures in your intended location. The ambient conditions that the unit is expected to operate in will affect potential output and the dilution rate of the ice itself whilst in the storage bin. Dramatically changing ambient temperatures whether high or low will also have a significant effect on output so aim for consistency where possible.

It is vital to adhere to all manufacturer recommendations as to appropriate ambient operating temperatures and water input temperatures if you want to optimise production, output and performance.

Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Ice machines don’t work better in colder temperatures or speed up the ice-making process.


Machine showing gravity drain Showing gravity drain



Installation and Location of Services

Specialist installation is required. Be aware that ice makers have a number of requirements that are critical to placement. While light-duty countertop units will typically require manual water fill and manual drain meaning they can be positioned just about anywhere, undercounter and modular machines will need wastewater drains, incoming water supply and appropriate power supply all within 1 metre of the intended location.

Make sure that your water inlet has sufficient flow. Failure to secure an adequate flow rate can result in inferior ice and reduced output. The temperature of the incoming water will also have an effect on ice production so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

The Scotsman EC range, including the EC176 Ice Maker, offers versatile placement thanks to a Progressive Water Discharge feature which helps to overcome any drainage height or distance issues allowing placement up to 15m away.


Machine with drain pump Showing drain pump


Do You Need a Drain Pump?

Does the outlet on equipment sit lower than the waste outlet of your building? You’ll need a drain pump that can effectively defy gravity and push that wastewater up and into the drainage system. Some models will have an integral drain pump while others will rely on gravity to do its work so be sure to read product specifications thoroughly.


Ice makers need to be easily accessible. As soon as ice leaves the production chamber and enters the storage bin, it will begin to absorb heat from the surroundings, slowly beginning to thaw. Choosing an area with prime ambient conditions, neither too hot or too cold, and with clear access means that staff can retrieve ice quickly and easily for transportation to the bar or kitchen for example and can also minimise melt time once it has left the production chamber, therefore reducing waste.

Yellow light bulbTop Tip: When retrieving ice never use a glass or other makeshift scoop to gather cubes and never use your hands – it’s not only unhygienic but it will make the ice melt faster. Only specially designed ice scoops that are food safe should be used and must always be removed and stored appropriately after use. Leaving scoops in the ice storage compartment will increase the risk of ice contamination.

Air Cooled or Water Cooled?

Any refrigeration when it’s working will generate a certain amount of heat – it’s a natural by-product of electro-mechanical operation. Keeping units sufficiently cool with aid performance, efficiency and longevity of the equipment.

Ice machines will use one of two cooling methods: air-cooled or water-cooled. But how do you know which is best for your business? Let’s look at the basic principles and features of each.

Air-Cooled Machines

How Does It Work?

Air is circulated over the motor components to draw away heat. The circulation is kept continuously moving using air vents and fans.

Who Is It Suitable For?

The majority of business will be able to make use of and accommodate air-cooled equipment, however, it is crucial to cater for ample space around the unit to facilitate air circulation.



Green tickEasy to install Fans can result in more noise during operation
Green tickUses less water, saving on utility bills As the airflow is removing heat you may find that the surrounding area can raise in temperature
Green tickLess expensive to purchase  
Green tickEfficient cooling  
Green tickCan be set up with a remote condensing unit to minimise potential noise disruption during operation  


Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Unobstructed airflow is necessary for the system to work. All vents and filters must be cleaned regularly and thoroughly to ensure that ice quality and machine performance are not impaired.

Water-Cooled Machines

How Does It Work?

Two separate water lines are utilised; one ejects water to cool and remove heat whilst the other feeds the ice making section.

Who Is It Suitable For?

These models are ideal for hot and humid climates where the ambient air temperature is naturally higher (which won’t be conducive to effective cooling of the motor components).



Green tickRequires no condenser fan so is relatively quiet when running Most buildings will only have one water line in place, so there may be extra cost to fit an additional feed
Green tickUses less electricity Requires a high volume of water which can increase waste and be expensive in high water rate areas
Green tickNot affected by high ambient external temperatures  


Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Bear in mind that during summer months this cooling system may be prohibited if a hosepipe ban is enforced in your area.


Refrigerants and Power

Refrigerants and power will vary between models and should always be a consideration when choosing the unit that best meets your demands.


Ice machines, as with all commercial refrigeration will rely on a refrigerant to facilitate cooling and freezing. While all refrigerants operate in the same way and achieve the same result, the type can have different environmental consequences.

R134a and R404a known as HFC’s or hydrofluorocarbons were introduced to replace ozone damaging CFC’s. HFC’s, whilst more environmentally friendly than CFC’s still have a high GWP (Global Warming Potential). This term is used to measure how much heat the gas traps within the Earth’s atmosphere. Although still used in production currently, these refrigerants are being phased out.

Luckily HC’s or hydrocarbons, are a worthy replacement. With a low GWP these refrigerants are environmentally friendly and efficient however do require specialist engineers to carry out servicing and maintenance due to the flammable properties of the refrigerant. HC’s fully conform to the governments F-Gas Regulations.


The power requirements of an ice maker will often bear some reflection on the size and production capacity of the machine. Options include:

  • 13A which is powered by a standard 3 pin plug.


Standard 3 pin 13 A plug Standard 3 pin 13A plug


  • Single phase which requires a hardwired connection. This will run on an amperage greater than 13A. Equipment with a single phase supply will require specialist installation.


Single phase hardwired connection Single phase hardwired connection


  • Three phase which again requires a hardwired connection. This delivers a more consistent flow with each phase working in a cycle to eliminate any drop in power. Three phase equipment will require specialist installation.


3 phase hardwired connector plug 3 phase hardwired connector plug


Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Before purchasing equipment that requires a three phase connection always check that your premises are configured accordingly. It can be costly to adapt premises for a 3 phase supply and once you have placed your order, you will be charged to cancel or return the equipment if you have chosen incompatible power supply.

Cleaning, Maintenance and Efficiency

It is vital that the ice produced by a commercial ice machine is safe and of good quality. It should be treated with the same regard, high standards and precautions as any other foodstuff or consumable.

Cleaning and Maintenance

While manufacturers incorporate many features to enhance quality ice and guarantee clean, hygienic results, it is vital that the user plays their part.

Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Hoshizaki use a unique Closed Cell System on all IM range of ice machines making them the most hygienic on the market. After each production cycle is completed, the machine runs a rinse cycle to flush away any contaminants, resulting in exceptionally clear, and more importantly, clean ice.

In order to maintain inbuilt features and ensure that machines can operate to their fullest capacity, it is crucial that regular cleaning according to appropriate guidelines is followed. This includesCleaning cloths and soap external cleaning, in-depth cleaning of the interior including storage bins, appropriate sanitisation of accessories such as scoops, ensuring that the water filter system if you have one, remains in good working order and running defrost programs when required.

Due to the consistently wet conditions that an ice maker is subjected to, a prime breeding ground for mould and fungi is created. Failure to observe comprehensive cleaning will result in the production of dirty ice. This may manifest in the appearance of small black bits of bacteria and mould that are actually frozen into your cubes – ice that you can’t serve to customers due to food safety.

Attention should also be paid to vents and refrigeration components. Keeping components clean and free of dust, dirt and debris build-up can help to maximise performance and efficiency. This can easily be done with warm water and a soft cloth.

Your commercial ice equipment should be maintained and serviced by a refrigeration engineer at least once a year to ensure smooth operation and optimum lifespan.

Read more about how often you should be cleaning your ice machine.

Maintaining Efficiency

All ice machines aim to minimise water and energy usage without compromising on output or the overall quality of the end result.  The Hoshizaki KM Edge range including the KM-1301SAH-E modular ice system, for example, utilises a CycleSaver feature which allows maximum production of ice while using less energy and in fewer cycles. This not only enhances efficiency but can also maximise the potential life expectancy of the machine.

Employing appropriate cleaning, regular maintenance and observing correct placement will only enhance the efficiency of your equipment. By looking after your equipment, you can extend the expected lifespan and enjoy premium ice production throughout.

Manufacture, Brand and Warranty

Ice machines are generally constructed using high grade, stainless steel materials. As these machines are in regular contact with water, the stainless steel helps to prevent rust and remains strong and durable to withstand the demands of hard ice. Also being easy to clean and hygienic, you can guarantee food safe ice production.

Yellow light bulbTop Tip: Look out for WRAS approved products showing compliance with water fitting approval schemes and HACCP compliance showing recognition and control of potential food safety hazards. The majority of premium commercial ice machines should hold these certifications.

The brand of ice machine you invest in will often depend on the budget you have available to spend. The bigger the budget, generally the better the build quality and the more features you can expect.

Here’s a quick overview of the brands you can expect to find.


Commercial ice machine brands

Market-leading Hoshizaki is often the first choice for businesses that want the best. Benefitting from UK manufacture, Hoshizaki are experts in the ice making arena and offer the most comprehensive range of ice styles and sizes.

Scotsman and Foster are also great choices for businesses looking for high quality equipment and superior ice production. Both guarantee enhanced build quality, performance and efficiency as standard and have a useful app to help users make full use of their purchase.

Simag, Interlevin and Whirlpool are all perfect for businesses that need the best of both worlds – quality equipment at a reasonable price. Prodis, Polar and Ice-O-Matic are ideal when the budget is a concern.

The type of warranty supplied with each piece of equipment will be dependent on the brand. Generally, warranty cover will be on a parts only or full parts and labour basis, over a 12 or 24 month period. Some brands may offer the option to purchase additional warranty coverage if required. Find out more about Commercial Warranties. Full warranty ribbon

We recommend:

obtaining the fullest level of warranty you can. This gives peace of mind that your investment remains covered for any electromechanical fault and that no unexpected repair bills will crop up in the future.

Ask Advice

At the advent of ice production machines, choosing your model was as simple as “I want an ice machine”. Now there is so much more to it than that. Understanding the type of ice you need and the equipment configuration that works for your premises is vital to ensure you invest in an ice maker that can meet your requirements.

We always recommend asking the advice of a reputable supplier who can help to locate the perfect ice machine to satisfy your individual needs. Whether you need help choosing the right equipment or just want to ask advice, contact the FFD team, who are fully trained and ready to help.