Commercial ice makers are found in a variety of businesses, especially businesses in the food service industry. From the smallest restaurants to the largest stadiums, ice is needed anywhere drinks are sold. In addition to being used in beverages, ice is used to keep salad bars cool, to chill bottles and cans of beer and other drinks and preserve seafood and other food that can quickly spoil. A commercial ice machine, that is sized properly for the business, will be able to provide the business with a steady supply of low-cost, high-quality ice to meet the needs of their customers.
Ice machines are divided into two broad categories: air cooled and water cooled. Air cooled is the most common choice, but water cooled ice machines should be considered in some situations. The primary advantage of water cooled machines is their ability to work effectively in warm environments. If a commercial ice maker must be used in a hot kitchen, in an area without air conditioning or in a room without a lot of air circulation, a water cooled machine may be the best choice. Water cooled machines put less heat out into the surrounding area and use less electric than an air cooled machine. The downside of water cooled machines are that they use a lot of water and are generally more expensive to purchase and install.
Commercial ice machines are available that make a variety of different types of ice, but the standard choices are cubes, nuggets and flakes. Everyone is familiar with the ice cube and it is a good choice for all-purpose ice making. Nugget ice, also referred to as crushed ice, is made from crushed ice that is compressed into a cylinder shape. The advantages of nugget ice is that is easier to chew and lasts longer than cubed ice. Nugget ice makers generally use more energy than other types of ice makers. Flake ice is simply small chips of ice. Flake ice is made quickly and requires little energy. Flake ice is a good choice for preserving food as it packs well, but it melts quickly when used in drinks.
In addition to the cooling action and ice type, those considering the different types of commercial ice making machines also have the option of buying a model with a remote condenser. Available for both air and water cooled ice makers, remote condensers work to make an ice machine less obtrusive into a busy kitchen or prep area, reduce noise at the ice maker and reduce heat produced by the machine. A remote condenser can be placed in an area away from the machine, such as a storage area, dock or even on the roof.