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How Much Does a Commercial Ice Machine Cost?

Commercial ice machines are essential items for tons of businesses today, including restaurants, bars, cafes, hospitals, convenience stores, and many more. When planning to buy an ice machine, you may be tempted to go with the cheapest option on the market. But not so fast! It’s very important to know that with commercial ice machines, you often get what you pay for. Underpaying for a machine at the time of purchase can mean frequent repairs down the line which can drain your business budget. Additionally, you want to make sure you are paying for the machine that’s right for your business needs. For instance, buying a cheaper machine may mean a smaller machine, which can be disastrous if it doesn’t produce enough ice per day. Before purchasing a commercial ice machine for your business, take a look at the different factors that determine cost so you can get an estimate of what you should expect to pay.

Related: Best Commercial Ice Machines in 2020

Factors that Determine Commercial Ice Machine Cost

Like most business products, the cost of a commercial ice machine depends on what your business needs are. Unfortunately, there is not one cost for ice machines! Commercial ice machines can range from as little as $1,500 to as much as $10,000 for the machine alone. There are also other costs to consider after you purchase the machine, such as maintenance, which are important to factor into your budget as well. Before determining the price of the ideal ice machine for your needs, it’s important to know about the factors that determine cost.

  1. Size
  2. Ice volume
  3. Type of machine
  4. New vs. used
  5. Delivery and Installation
  6. Repairs and maintenance 

Let’s now learn more about these factors and how they influence cost. 

Cost by Size and Volume

When it comes to ice machines, the size of the machine and the volume of ice it produces are typically directly related. Most businesses shop for ice machines based on the total volume of ice they need on an everyday basis. Most of the time, the higher the volume of ice needed, the larger the ice machine will be.

50-250 lbs of ice per day300-1,000 lbs of ice per day1,000-2,000 lbs of ice per day

Note that if you require a larger ice machine, you need to measure your space to make sure the ice machine will fit where you need it to go. Also keep in mind that the price for small, medium, and large machines also depends on whether the machine is new or used. To find out the volume of ice you need per day, take a look at these questions to ask before buying an ice machine.

Cost by Type of Machine

Commercial ice machine cost also depends on what type of machine you are buying. There are a few different types of machines to consider:

  • Self-contained vs. modular
  • Water-cooled vs. air-cooled

Self-contained vs. Modular

Self-contained machines are smaller and produce and store ice within the same unit. This is convenient, but note that self-contained units typically hold only up to 300 lbs of ice daily. On the other hand, modular units can produce more ice (300-1,000+ lbs per day), but require an additional storage bin to store it. This means if you choose a modular unit, you will need to pay extra for a storage bin.

Modular machines (including bin)Self-contained machines
~ $3,000-$8,000
Depending on size
~ $1,500-$5,000
Depending on size

Water-cooled vs. Air-cooled

Water-cooled ice machines will cost more than air-cooled machines. This is probably due to the fact that water-cooled machines are quieter and more efficient than air-cooled machines, which can be noisy due to the way they keep ice cold. In addition, water-cooled machines require more energy to run on a regular basis, which means your energy bill will likely be higher than if you used an air-cooled machine. If your priority is a quiet, efficient machine and you don’t mind spending the extra money on energy bills, then a water-cooled unit is the way to go. If maintaining a low budget is your top priority, then go with an air-cooled unit.

~ $3,000-$10,000
Depending on size
~ $2,000-$6,500
Depending on size

Cost for New vs. Used Ice Machines

Obviously, used ice machines will cost less than brand new machines. Many used and refurbished machines can cost as little as $900-$1,000. But this comes with a risk. Used machines, depending on how old they are, often require frequent maintenance any many times use up more energy than new machines. This means that even if you get your used ice machine for a bargain, over time your energy bills may stack up and cost you even more than a new machine would have cost. Some long-term cost benefits to new ice machines include:

  • Warranties:  Often 3 years on parts and 5 years on compressor
  • Energy-efficient: Businesses usually save up to $1,000 in energy bills with a new machine
  • Less maintenance: New machines require much less repair and maintenance in its first few years

Delivery and Installation Costs

Some businesses forget that when they purchase a commercial ice machine, they also likely need to pay for delivery and installation. While the extra money is not ideal, it’s important to make sure your new machine is delivered and installed safely and efficiently. 

Delivery and installation costs will depend on the distance the supplier has to travel to your location and how long they spend on labor. Most ice machines will require 2+ hours to install. 

Delivery and installation
Depending on delivery distance and labor time

Repairs and Maintenance Cost

After purchasing your ice machine, moving forward you will also need to reserve a budget for repair and maintenance. As mentioned, a newer machine will require less maintenance and repair compared to a used or refurbished machine. Be sure not to neglect routine maintenance! Forgetting to have your commercial ice machine serviced can mean irreparable damage. This would require you to replace the entire machine, which will cost you even more than routine maintenance. 

Typically, it’s recommended that new machines are routinely serviced every 6 months and every 3-4 months for used machines. Additionally, used machines will likely require more repairs than new machines. Take a look at some common maintenance and repair costs.

Average routine maintenance costGas valve repairExpansion valve repairCompressor and evaporator repair
$175 per visit$600$600$1,500-$2,500

Other Budgeting Tips

When buying a commercial ice machine, there are a few ways you can save money in the long-term. Always ask the supplier:

  • What is their warranty and duration? There are both short-term and long-term warranties for ice machines. The longer your warranty, the less you’ll spend out of pocket for repairs and maintenance. Try to find a dealer that includes a longer warranty (3-5 years).
  • Does the supplier include maintenance? Some suppliers will service your machine for free while it’s under warranty. This can save you lots of money within the first few years!
  • What is the supplier’s customer service quality? If you buy from a supplier with a great customer service track record, they may offer some discounts on repairs and maintenance.

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