When it comes to shopping for the best commercial ice machine for your business, it can be difficult to know where to get started. Before buying a commercial ice machine, there are several things to consider.
- Modular vs. Self-Contained Machines
- Water-cooled vs. Air-cooled machines
Of course, you want to choose the most efficient, high-quality machine possible. But there are a few other things to consider. First, you will want to choose a reputable brand that provides a solid warranty and great customer service. Second, decide whether you want a modular or self-contained ice machine. Then, determine whether you want a water-cooling condenser or an air-cooling condenser. If you don’t know the difference between modular vs. self-container and water vs. air-cooled machines, be sure to read these 7 questions to ask before shopping.
When you’re ready, take a look at our list of the best commercial ice machines in 2020. We have broken our list down into top brands, best modular vs. self-contained machines, and best air-cooled vs. water-cooled machines.
Top Ice Machine Brands
There are lots of brands that offer commercial ice machines today. But before you shop, it’s helpful to know about reputable and popular brands on the market.
We encourage you to take a look at their websites as well as their products to see the types of ice machines they offer.
Best Modular Machines
Modular ice machines are machines that produce a large volume of ice quickly but do not include a storage bin. This often means you have to purchase a bin separately. However, they’re great machines for businesses that need to make a lot of ice on a regular basis. Modular ice machines are typically available in 22”, 30”, and 48” widths. Here is our list of the best modular ice machines for commercial use:
1. Scotsman Prodigy Plus
The Scotsman Prodigy Plus comes in several different dimensions, including 22”, 30”, and 40” at various heights. It is capable of producing ice 247 and comes in both air and water-cooling condensers. Some helpful features include external indicator lights and sensors that allow you to program daily ice levels. It starts at around $4,000 for a new model.
2. Manitowoc Indigo NXT Series
The Manitowoc Indigo NXT Series is meant for businesses that produce a large volume of ice on a daily basis. It comes in several different dimensions and is designed to fit securely on top of an ice bin, though some Indigo machines will come equipped with an ice bin already. This Manitowoc machine prevents mold and bacteria, has a programmable ice function, as well as a 3-5 year warranty.
3. Ice-O-Matic ICE Series
This Ice-O-Matic series produces half cubes and full cubes of ice. It’s a great fit for restaurants, bars, and convenience stores who produce high volumes of ice everyday. It comes with a 7-year warranty, is made of stainless steel, and comes in a variety of styles and dimensions.
Best Self-Contained Machines
Self-contained ice machines are stand-alone units that hold ice on their own and do not require an additional ice bin to be attached. However, note that they do produce a lower volume of ice compared to modular machines. Here’s our list of the best self-contained commercial ice machines.
1. Hoshizaki F-330BAJ
This Hoshizaki ice machine is a stand-alone unit that can produce around 300 lbs of ice per day and store around 80 lbs. It has an air-cooling condenser and a built-in storage bin. This machine is good for businesses who produce a moderate volume of ice per day. Note that Hoshizaki also offers other sizes and dimensions when it comes to self-contained ice machines. Take a look at their site to explore other options.
2. Manitowoc Neo Series
The Manitowoc Neo series offers convenient undercounter self-contained ice machines. These are great for businesses who need a limited amount of ice per day and would like to conveniently store the machine under a countertop. They’re great fits for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and similar businesses. The Neo series produces about 40 lbs of ice over a 24 hour period while conserving energy and keeping bills low. This series offers features like removable storage bins, angled doors, pop-out air filters, and more.
3. Vevor 24h Stainless Steel Ice Machine
This Vevor ice machine produces about 250 lbs of ice per day and can store about 100 lbs at an adjustable thickness. Starting at around $1,200, it includes an LDC panel, time and temperature control settings, powerful compressor, and more. It’s also an energy-conscious ice machine model and produces very little noise.
Best Ice Machines with Air-Cooled Condensers
Air-cooled condensers are ice machines that use air to keep ice cool. They tend to be more cost-efficient but nosier and use more energy compared to water-cooled condensers. Commercial ice machines with air-cooled condensers can be either modular or self-contained units. So if you know you want an air-cooled condenser, you can choose between several different models. Take a look at our top 3 picks for air-cooled units.
1. Hoshizaki KM series
Hoshizaki offers several different machines with air-cooled condensers. Their KM series offers convenient self-contained, under the counter machines between 17”-30” in width. These ice machines produce about 85-300 lbs of ice daily and typically produce crescent ice cubes. Learn more about Hoshizaki’s air-cooled under the counter units.
2. Ice-O-Matic Elevation Series
The Ice-O-Matic Elevation series offers mostly modular ice machines that are easy to clean, operate, and help your business create large volumes of ice. For an air-cooled system, it is very energy-efficient and uses dual-exhaust technology to discharge hot air. It produces cubed ice (half cubes and full cubes) and has a reliable sanitation system, making it a great choice for food and beverage businesses.
3. Manitowoc Neo Undercounter Ice Maker
This Manitowoc ice machine is also an undercounter model that uses an air-cooling condensing system. Starting at around $2,500, it comes in several different options for dimensions and produces 250-300 lbs of ice in 24 hours and stores 100+ lbs of ice daily. It can easily fit underneath a bar counter, is made of stainless steel, and produces ice very quickly for an undercounter machine.
Best Ice Machines with Water-Cooled Condensers
Commercial ice machines with water-cooled condensers tend to be more expensive but more quiet compared to air-cooled condensers. They also tend to be more energy-efficient over time. Most water-cooled condensers come with modular machines rather than self-contained machines. A water-cooled machine may be a good choice if your business is concerned about the ice machine creating lots of noise in the vicinity on a regular basis. Here’s our choices for the best ice machines with water-cooled condensers.
1. Hoshizaki 530MWJ Crescent Cube Ice Maker
This Hoshizaki ice maker is a low-profile, quiet modular ice machine that produces a large volume of ice. This particular commercial machine is 30” wide and produces 500+ lbs of ice in 24 hours. However, note that Hoshizaki also offers similar water-cooled units with different dimensions and ice capacities. If you go with this Hoshizaki machine, you will have to purchase a storage bin separately.
2. Ice-O-Matic Gem Series
The Ice-O-Matic Gem series uses water-cooled condensers and produces “pearl ice,” which is soft, chewable, and longer-lasting ice. This machine is great for the food and beverage service industry, and can come in either an ice dispenser or ice bin form. It dispenses quickly and has a stainless steel exterior. Note that many ice machines in the Gem series can also be purchased with air-cooling units instead of water-cooling, if you prefer.
3. Manitowoc LuminIce Machine
This Manitowoc ice machine uses a water-cooled condenser and comes in several different dimensions. It can handle anywhere from a 300-450 lb. ice capacity and typically produces half and full cube ice. Manitowoc offers both self-contained and modular models.
If you are searching for the best commercial ice machine for your business needs, be sure to take a look at our commercial ice machine cost guide as well as these 7 questions to ask before buying a machine.
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