Buying Guide: Ice Makers

Buying Guide: Ice Makers

There really is nothing that can make your day quite like a cold and refreshing drink. This is particularly true if you’ve had a hard time at work and need to take a moment for yourself – or if you’re just about to get a party started. Obviously, ice is the element necessary to really make a drink the perfect kind of comfort, no matter what your refreshment of choice is – water, juice, soda, beer, wine, Scotch, gin and so on.

Now, the bare essentials you need for making ice add up to no more than water, an ice tray and the freezer section of your refrigerator. But if you want to make ice for a party that’s going to have a whole lot of people attending, you won’t be able to accommodate all of their needs with just that. This becomes even more true if you are the kind of person who hosts those sort of shindigs on any regular basis. In that case, you will obviously need a more reliable and ready source of ice. Also, if you have a commercial need for a lot of ready ice at any given time – working at a pub or restaurant, for example – this is even more important.

Fortunately, ice makers can come to the rescue in these instances. These heavy-duty appliances are designed to crank out large quantities of ice cubes at a quick and efficient pace for when you need it the most. Choosing the right one isn’t necessarily simple, however – you have to take a number of considerations into account. Before you whip out your wallet and choose an ice maker at random, look over the features that should be foremost in your mind when making this purchase decision.

Volume of cubes made
This is the first and most basic thing you need to think about when buying an ice maker. It will determine how much ice you can have on hand at any given time, which will be important for you to know when making party plans or figuring out supply needs for work.

For people who simply want to have a maker for the kitchen, you will probably be fine with a maker that can produce between 12 and 25 pounds of ice per day. On the other side of things (commercial applications, or people who entertain on a regular basis), certain models can produce 55 pounds per day.

You also have to consider storage capacity. For many models, the daily production volume is significantly higher than the pounds of cubes it can store. This isn’t necessarily a problem, as you probably shouldn’t have the machine running full steam for any full-day period. Larger models will be equipped to hold as much ice as they can create in a day, even if that amount is 25 or 35 pounds, while countertop versions might only store 2 pounds even if they’re capable of making 25 pounds per day.

Cube shape and size
While this might seem like a rather small consideration, it’s more important than its basic reality suggests. Some models will create cubes in relatively random shapes, while others stick to one precise form (usually squares or crescents). Others create a small range of two or three different shapes. Naturally, “restaurant-style” cubes will be ideal for bartenders or restaurateurs, and people using it for domestic purposes might not be as interested in shape. You should also consider your glassware when choosing an ice maker, in terms of what cube sizes will fit it the best.

Other features
It will also serve you well to look at other potential features of ice makers. For larger models, it’s optimal to have a built-in drain pump, as draining can otherwise be an arduous aspect of maintaining such an appliance. Conversely, the aforementioned small countertop makers often don’t require draining.

Other bells and whistles won’t be considered absolutely essential by all consumers but can still be helpful. Some of these include alarms that alert you when the ice maker is full, needs to have water added or has to be cleaned. There are also certain models that filter the water used so the ice won’t run the risk of tasting like anything other than water – commercial users will probably be the most interested in that.

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SIDENOTE. This post was last modified on November 12, 2020. However, we regularly update our content as we test more products and new models are released. We also listen to the feedback of our customers and make changes to our product recommendations based on their experiences. So don’t be surprised if you see some old comments below! Since reader comments contribute to the topic, we have decided not to delete them.

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