The Definitive Guide to Buying Ice Machines
Published by Ice Four on November 1, 2022
You’re looking to buy an ice machine because your business requires it – or else you wouldn’t be reading this page. It’s a serious investment, something you want to get absolutely right and a process you want to go through without a hitch. So what are the things you need to consider?
First of all, of course, you should definitely shop with Ice 4. We have a wealth of expertise in ice machines and a focus on customer service right at the forefront of what we do. We’re not just here to sell you a machine, bank your cash and forget about you. We care – and we want to make sure that you are completely satisfied with all aspects of the sale and, most importantly, that you’re happy the machine itself is fit for purpose.
Regarding the ice maker machine itself, there are several things you should consider carefully. In this blog we’ll run through them so that you’re already informed when you make your enquiry with us. We’ll be happy to discuss any of these aspects in more detail.
Types of Ice
It’s important to get a machine which will produce the right kind of ice to meet your purpose.
1. Cube Ice
This is a general purpose ice most often used in the hospitality, leisure and entertainment sectors (restaurants, cafes, clubs, bars and pubs) for drinks. Cube ice lasts longer in the glass than other types of ice as it is hard and has a slow melt rate. Perfect for drinks delivered ‘on the rocks’ as it won’t water them down too much.
2. Flake Ice
Common in the food sector, it’s ideal for chiller displays and stops food (such as fish and meat) from suffering the phenomenon known as freezer burn. This type of ice is made from compressed flakes and often used as a cool bed on which cartons, containers and trays of food can be placed. Flake ice can also be used in cocktails and smoothies as it’s kinder to the blades of blenders (so there are possible applications in the hospitality, entertainment and leisure sectors), and it’s also perfect for bakeries.
Layers of flake ice frozen together are sometimes known as ‘nugget ice’ and this is also sometimes referred to as ‘chewable ice’ because it’s softer than cube ice and is easier to blend. Nugget ice is also highly suitable for the pharma industry.
Position, size and shape of the ice machine
It’s simple logic, really, but the position of your ice machine related to the task or tasks you need the ice for is of vital importance. Once ice is removed from storage its temperature begins to alter – so the machine must be situated in an easily accessible and task-convenient location to save on time when moving the ice from the machine to the task area.
It’s also important to determine where the machine could go due to its shape and size, and the availability of both electricity and water supply plus drainage. There are a range of different types of ice machine (in terms of size and shape) which can have a bearing on position – under-counter, freestanding or countertop. Making sure you get the appropriate machine for both the purpose itself but also the space you have is really important.
Other things to consider
1. Energy costs
This will no doubt be very important to you! In the current economic climate every business has to factor the variable costs of energy and water in to their costings and projections. It can be a relatively thankless task, but there is something you can do to keep a little more control of your expenditure: Use a highly efficient ice machine. Some models are manufactured with advanced insulation properties, and can even be programmed to only make ice when it’s required or can store it for longer.
Whether it is in the hospitality or retail sector, one simple task is crucial – cleaning. Ice is a foodstuff so has to be dealt with in a carefully hygienic way, adhering to professional standards and legal requirements. So the cleanliness of your ice machine is important.
Some ice machines are programmed with self-cleaning cycles which will save you manpower and time, but you should also think about the time and effort required to clean the outside of the machine, and any removable parts. How accessible is the ice machine for cleaning purposes? This also ties in with what we mentioned in the previous section, about the size of the machine and its location within your business.
3. Water quality
Check the quality of the water which is pumped into the machine. It’s possible that your premises is in an area which has a different ‘hardness’ or ‘softness’ and you may find that is it necessary to filter for limescale.
Ultimately, we would be very happy to partner up with you to discuss your specific needs and make sure that you get absolutely the right commercial ice cube machine to meet the specific needs of your business. Simply give us a call or drop us a line and let’s talk!