Commercial Ice Machine Buying Guide: Ice Types

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When purchasing an ice machine for commercial environments, some important considerations must be made. These factors include the application, the capacity of the appliance, configurations and compressor types. It is also essential to note that the machines produce different types of ice and they should be suitable for aesthetic and functional purposes. For instance in the foodservice industry, the ice used in drinks is not identical to the type in store displays of perishable foods. Consider these main ice types and their common uses when purchasing your quality appliance.

Cube Ice

This is the most common type of ice and as implied, it is cubical in nature. It usually melts slowly therefore it is economical in its range of applications. The full-cube ice is an ideal choice if you are interested in ice retailing or dispensing to individual customers. It is also commonly used by banquet services, for storage and display of sea foods in stores and for mixed drinks. The half-cube ice is smaller so it is more suitable for carbonated beverages as well as mixed drinks. Restaurants and bars use several units to displace expensive drinks for economy and desirable presentation. There are also machines that produce crescent-shaped units instead of traditional cubes.

Gourmet Ice

The most elegant and visually impactful type is the gourmet ice. It has incredible clarity, very slow rate of melting and distinctive non-stick properties. The appliances that produce this ice type use an intricate process where air is eliminated before freezing and the shape of the ice varies with some common ones appearing like shot glasses or top hats. This is an ideal choice for upscale restaurant and bars and special event catering.

Flake Ice

Commercial applications of flake ice include display of meats, salads and making of blended drinks. The units are basically small, soft pieces of ice that can be packed and shaped. They can cool items rapidly but they also melt quite fast. The appliances that make this type of ice are typically evaporator cylinders with a spinning auger to shave the ice units.

Nugget Ice

Different manufacturers have varied names for this ice, but the units are in essence flake ice which has been compacted into discrete balls. It melts slower than flakes but it is softer than cube ice. It is ideal for chewing and it is used in the foodservice industry because it cools drinks quickly and causes high displacement. If you are considering dispensing beverages, an appliance with this type of ice will complement your setup.

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