You can’t run a restaurant, café, hotel, or bar successfully without the best commercial ice maker that suits the needs and the requirements of your customers. Small businesses have an increased demand for large volumes of ice during the summer months. Sometimes, fulfilling that demand can make or break a summer season,
A commercial ice maker goes beyond entry-level machines as this appliance features bigger storage capacity and increased volume per hour production. Most commercial machines are free-standing and easily-accessible, making them more than convenient in those crowded moments. Even people who don’t run a business can benefit from a residential ice maker (e.g.large families). Now, let’s dig in through everything these have to offer!
What Are Commercial Ice Makers and Who Needs Them?
A commercial ice maker is a machine designed to produce bountiful amounts of perfectly-shaped ice cubes in relatively short cycles of 20 minutes maximum. These machines feature a sturdy and durable construction (mostly stainless steel) and come with layers of thick isolation that keeps the ice hard for longer, even in case of a power outage.
Besides the fact these machines produce ice quickly but they have large storage capacities of over 30lbs. An average commercial ice maker produces more than 80lbs of ice per day, which is something regular units can’t compare to.
This makes commercial-grade units an attractive option for a restaurant, café, and bar owners, but you can find them in private properties as well.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Commercial Ice Makers
A commercial ice maker is a long-term asset in your home or business’s premises. Although it doesn’t make the most important part of running a business, this unit can be a life-changing factor in making yummy ice-based drinks. Everything has its pros and cons and we are gonna list both in the following sections, even though there’s no doubt this appliance would be a great addition to any kitchen.
1. Advantages of Commercial Ice Makers
1.1 You Will Have Ice Whenever You Need It
The most obvious and most valuable thing about a commercial ice maker is that it makes large amounts of ice available exactly when you need them. If you have a wide offer of mixed drinks, coffees, and cocktails, you will need hundreds of ready-made ice cubes. Do you prefer margaritas? Check out these margarita machines!
Even if you want to enjoy the bustling summer season from the comfort of your home, you will need a lot of ice to make your fav drinks stay cool.
Although this is not the major purpose of commercial ice makers, the fact you can store a lot of ice in it might be of great help if someone gets injured. Ice packs can prevent swelling and reduce bleeding.
1.2 Ice Makes Drinks More Potable
Ice can make any drink fresher and more potable, which can benefit your business. Customers will be coming back for more knowing you make the best iced coffees or cocktails. We all need that dash of freshness during the summer or after a long day and nicely-shaped, clear, and pure ice can please our senses like no other thing.
1.3 Convenience of Use
Commercial ice makers can save you A LOT of time. You don’t have to add water all the time, as some models feature automatic refill, others have integrated automatic cleaning option. All of the appliances in this category we reviewed come with intuitive LCD panels that make it super-convenient to adjust the thickness of cubes, timer, ice-making schedules, etc.
Free-standing ice makers make a great choice for narrow spaces and homes. You can fit it anywhere in your space and even move the unit in case you find a better place for it. Yet, this is not the only type of commercial machines but we are going to break this down in the following chapter. Either way, commercial ice makers are mostly compact in size and you won’t have to bother that much with the installation.
2. Disadvantages of Commercial Ice Makers
2.1 High Upfront Costs
If you want to equip your property with a commercial-grade ice maker, you’ll have to invest large funds into this appliance right away. However, although the initial costs are not that budget-friendly, the return of value commercial ice maker machine provides is going to benefit your business and wallet at the same time.
2.2 Commercial Ice Makers Require Maintenance and Care
On top of the fact you would have to spend a lot on an ice maker, you will have to take proper care of it if you want to prevent even higher costs. Dirty ice poses the biggest threat to this machine so be careful – you or your staff will have to spend some time on a daily basis cleaning the machine in order to ensure it performs as it is supposed to.
Best Commercial Ice Makers Comparison Chart
hOmeLabs Freestanding Commercial Ice Maker Machine
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Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker Machine 100lbs/24h
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VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Maker 400LBS/24H with LCD Panel
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Costzon Commercial Ice Maker Built-In Stainless Steel Ice Maker
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ROVSUN Built-in Stainless Steel Commercial Ice Maker
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Vremi Commercial Grade Ice Making Machine
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VIVOHOME Electric Commercial Ice Cube Maker Machine
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KUPPET Stainless Steel Commercial Ice Maker
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Best Commercial Ice Makers Reviews
1. hOmeLabs Freestanding Commercial Ice Maker Machine
The hOmeLabs freestanding ice maker machine might be a nice pick for most restaurant owners is its unique design makes it super-easy to install it in a place that seems the most convenient. Yet, this doesn’t mean hedonists who want to enjoy cocktails from the comfort of their homes should skip it. On the contrary!
It weighs 62.4 pounds and takes up very little space so you can fit it basically anywhere. This high-end appliance has a capacity of producing 99lbs of ice per day and storing 29lbs for as long as it is needed. Also, it makes 45 pieces of ice in an average cycle that goes between 11 and 20 minutes.
This ice maker is quite fancy and features a stainless steel interior. A bit futuristic, it is equipped with a smart LCD indicator you can use to adjust the thickness and the making size of the cubes. Another thoughtful design is the automatic cleaning function so all you have to do is press the button and enjoy your cubes.
It comes with all those accessories you can think of – water supply connector, water draining hose, water supply hose, and an ice scoop. Obviously, all you need extra is a power cord.
The amazing hOmeLabs freestanding ice maker offers minimum installation hassle, smooth performance, high precision, and comes with a 1-year warranty on top of it all.
2. Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker Machine 100lbs/24h
Seafood, drinks, and smoothies – if you run a bar or restaurant, you already know you need different ice cubes per each. The Euhomy commercial ice maker is one of the most versatile appliances that allow you to adjust the size of your ice cubes like no other.
This freestanding ice maker produces 45 pieces in 11 to 20 minutes, 100lbs of ice per day, and stores 33lbs for a good couple of hours. Extremely reliable, it stops automatically when it is full of ice thanks to automatic overflow protection.
Stainless steel commercial ice makers, like this one, are attractive and durable at the same time. Yet, the best thing is that it is energy-efficient and even comes with an energy certificate.
Equipped with a bright LCD control panel, this machine allows you to control the ice making process, delays, and cleaning sessions. You get a complete set of accessories along with the machine, including – drainpipe, water supply pipe, and ice shovel.
It operates quietly, it is compact, features solid capacity, and delivers high-quality cubes, which all makes it a great pick for your home, hotel, bar, or a restaurant. Euhomy provides a 1-year warranty for this model.
3. VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Maker 400LBS/24H with LCD Panel
If you are looking for a powerful commercial ice maker with serious capacity, VEVOR might have the right appliance for your needs. This heavy-duty, freestanding stainless steel ice maker boasts durable construction and elegant finish you can easily fit into any interior.
It weighs around 200lbs and produces amazing 400lbs of ice per 24 hours or 156 crystal-clear, delicious cubes in one cycle (8-15 minutes). Each cube measures 0.9 inches, which makes it easy to insert in bottles with small openings. What is even better, it has the largest ice storing capacity of 350lbs. Heat insulation gives you peace of mind your cubes won’t melt 5 to 7 hours after being stored.
The modern design of the VEVOR ice maker allows you to set the appliance to fully automatic operation. Advanced LED panel includes numerous buttons – water storage, ice full, time schedule, ice thickness adjustment, auto clean, etc.
This ice maker comes with a considerate set of accessories – ice scoops, water draining hose, water supply connector, water supply hose, and water filter.
Efficient, easy to monitor, and simple to operate, the VEVOR ice maker might be a great pick if you own a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, bakery, or a supermarket. It comes with a 5-year warranty on the compressor and a 3-year warranty on parts.
4. Costzon Commercial Ice Maker Built-In Stainless Steel Ice Maker
Costzon manufactured a convenient, energy-saving commercial ice maker. This appliance boasts a free-standing design and adjustable feet on the bottom so that you can fit it into your space easily. Adjustable feet also save the machine from humidity at the bottom and ensure its longer life.
Made of stainless steel, this 66lbs unit is sturdy, elegant, and resistant to rust as well. Costzon also integrated mesh-line gradient to this ice maker that prevents heat from reaching the freezing mechanism and ice cubes from melting.
It produces 48 0.9-inch-in-size ice cubes per cycle (12-18 minutes) and 110lbs of ice per day whilst you can store up to 33lbs in a bin. This compact size of the cubes makes them easy to fit into small bottle openings.
The Costzon ice maker is a breeze to operate. Equipped with a comprehensive operation panel, you can set ice timers, clean timer, add water, etc at a single press. You get a 120-inch water line, an 80-inch drainage pipe, and a compact ice shovel you can use to transfer cubes without hassle. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
5. ROVSUN Built-in Stainless Steel Commercial Ice Maker
One of a few appliances in this category certified by ETL, the ROVSUN commercial ice maker is 100% safe to use. Well-built, made of stainless steel, this unit features prolonged longevity and impeccable performance. It is also equipped with black frosted anti fingertip panels that set it apart from the rest and make it more upscale.
It weighs 63lbs and has 33lbs of storage capacity. You can control the thickness of the ice and get up to 48 ice cubes per one 12-18min cycle or 100lbs per day. Equipped with an intuitive LCD, you can get the most out of this appliance by adjusting it to your needs while it features an automatic cleaning.
This appliance is a breeze to install and doesn’t take up much space as you can position it in a free-standing position or built it wherever it fits best. It makes a great option for homes, restaurants, cafes, or other commercial buildings.
This ice maker comes with numerous accessories – 2 connectors, one ice scoop, drain hose, and water inlet hose. You get a 1-year extended warranty with the ROVSUN ice maker.
6. Vremi Commercial Grade Ice Making Machine
The Vremi commercial ice maker is another powerful appliance on our list. It weighs 59 pounds and produces 100lbs of ice per day. That means you can get 45 clear, perfectly-shaped ice cubes per average cycle of 11 to 20 minutes. Also, you can store 29lbs of ice in this unit’s bin.
As with other free-standing appliances, this Vremi ice maker is super-convenient to install basically anywhere where you have access to a water line. This modern, stainless steel construction guarantees longevity as it is rust-resistant and you will easily fit it into almost any interior.
It comes with an easy-operation digital control panel you can use to set the thickness of the cubes and ice making time. An automatic cleaning function gives you peace of mind and more free time. Another great thing is that this ice maker comes with a large water tank you connect to a water supply. This way, you will always have a bunch of ready-made cubes waiting for you.
If you are looking for a high-quality ice maker that does great whether you use it at home or in your small business premises, this one might be the ONE. Backed-up with a 1-year warranty, the Vremi ice maker comes in a package with a water supply hose, long draining hose, faucet connector, and an ice scoop.
7. VIVOHOME Electric Commercial Ice Cube Maker Machine
The VIVOHOME ice maker combines a more simple, minimalistic design and innovative features. It is very elegant and packed with great features and offers high-quality performance. Made of stainless steel, copper, and nickel, this heavy-duty appliance is durable, resistant to rust, and efficient.
This appliance produces 40 rhomboid-shaped cubes per 15-minute cycle and 88lbs of ice per 24hours. This 41-pound ice maker comes with an intuitive LCD screen that allows you to adjust the thickness of cubes, temperature, control the time, and water levels.
VIVOHOME integrated inner lighting to this unit to make it more convenient to use at night. The ice box window viewing allows you to check the amount of stored ice without opening the box, which prevents melting.
You can fill it yourself or let this appliance do its thing. If you connect it to a faucet for automatic filling, the machine will produce new cubes automatically once there are no cubes left in the box. Cleaning is easy-easy with the VIVOHOME ice maker. It takes a single press of a button to trigger the cleaning cycle.
ETL-approved, this appliance makes a practical addition to home kitchens, restaurants, bars, cafes, and other commercial buildings. Quiet and efficient, the VIVOHOME ice maker can help you make yummy cocktails, mixed and soft drinks. It is backed up with a 4-year extended warranty.
8. KUPPET Stainless Steel Commercial Ice Maker
The KUPPET commercial ice maker can help you save your time and energy. This appliance weighs slightly over 61 pounds and has the capacity of producing 100lbs of ice per day. In other words – it makes 45 pieces of desired thickness per 11-16 minute session. Also, it comes with a large storage bin that accommodates 33lbs of ice.
This machine is made of stainless steel and comes with a layer of thick insulation. It means you can have your perfectly shaped ice cubes for up to 5 hours after a power outage. A perfect addition to your home, café, bakery, etc – the KUPPET ice maker won’t disturb your relaxation or your guests as it operates at less than 40db.
Simple to use, it is equipped with an operational panel. This allows you to control the ice making process – on/off, timer, and timer clean. Speaking of extra features, an intuitive LCD display window gives you some more info on the countdown time, self-cleaning, and notifies you when it is the time to add water.
KUPPET designed a 100% safe commercial ice maker. This appliance turns off automatically when it doesn’t detect water, which you will know by the ice sensor. Also, it detects when the ice is full so you can be carefree it won’t explode. Packed with automatic overflow protection, the KUPPET ice maker is approved by ETL and comes with a warranty period of 30/90 days.
Types of Commercial Ice Makers
We can categorize commercial ice makers by different types. On the surface, these machines are quite alike but they differ when it comes to installation requirements and features they provide. Before we move on to the buyer’s guide, let’s find out what your options are when it comes to commercial ice makers.
The most common type of commercial ice makers, self-contained machines offer a higher making capacity and provide more storage space in a single unit. Unlike household models, this type of ice maker comes combines the ice generator and storage bin into a single unit.
This type is convenient for kitchens that have a constant demand for ice, which makes them great options for bars and cafes. Still, as there is no storage space, you would have to find another way to store the ice after the machine produces it.
Some people don’t like freestanding types. That’s why manufacturers created built-it ice makers that can produce and store ice. This type is the best option for tight kitchens that have a moderate demand for ice.
This model produces a bunch of ice a day but doesn’t offer any storage space, except for a very few units. It makes the best choice for health care settings or other buildings where nugget ice is used.
These commercial ice makers have a small footprint but offer great convenience as they output ice and water. Because of this fact, their ice-making capacity is reduced to a great extent. Still, you can see them in numerous break rooms, cafeterias, and homes.
Commercial Ice Maker Buying Guide
When looking for the right unit for your home or business, take the following factors of commercial ice makers into account.
Ice maker machines usually take up some space in your premises. You have to be careful about the size of this appliance if your kitchen is on the narrow side. Having in mind how valuable ice can be for your business, aim to find a perfect balance between the size of the unit and space you can sacrifice.
Some models from our list are rather compact and you can move them around without much hassle while a few (the ones with higher capacities) require a special place in your working or living space.
Capacity is the second most important feature of a commercial ice maker. You need a unit with high output and solid storage capacity. If you find a unit that fits your kitchen but can’t keep up with your ice producing needs, you would have a sticky situation with your customers.
Think carefully about the available space in your kitchen but also average daily ice producing needs and storage space of your next commercial ice-making machine.
How quickly your unit can restock the full ice supply? If you pack it with ice in the morning, there is a chance all of your supplies will be gone by lunch. What then? A high-quality ice maker features high production rates. On average, it should take no more than 20 minutes to make a new round of ice.
You can find the expected amounts of ice you can get with each model we reviewed above. We provided output capacity per cycle and production per 24 hours. Still, note that ambient temperature can affect an ice maker’s cycle. If you install it in a place where the temperature goes beyond 70 degrees, it will decrease the production rate significantly.
If you don’t want to get panicked during the rush hours and keep your customers happy, opt for a machine that produces 100 or more lbs of ice per day. On the other hand, if you are looking for a unit for your home – 80lbs of ice per day will do as well.
4. Power Source
Bulkier machines that produce bountiful amounts of ice per day feature a higher voltage and, accordingly, you will need a suitable wall outlet. Although most commercial ice makers require some serious power, some still go far beyond the average values.
For instance, you can find units that come with very powerful compressors (850W). If you’ve laid your eyes on such a unit, make sure to consult an electrician before making the final decision.
5. Build Material
Knowing you will spend a little fortune to get a perfect addition to your kitchen, you should have your eyes wide open about the materials used. Stainless steel construction is a must if you want your ice maker to last. It is also resistant to rust and features a sleek finish so you can see why stainless steel units are so popular.
6. Type of Ice
Do you need ice for making coffees, cocktails, or other mixed drinks or fresh meat, fish, and salads? Different appliances produce different types of ice. Cube ice is a standard for drinks while nuggets make the best choice for food. It all depends on your requirements, although most models we listed allow you to adjust the thickness of the ice and tailor-make it to your business’s needs.
7. Energy Efficiency
Even ice makers can be smart! These units can detect when there is no more ice in the bin, produce more if there’s enough water, or notify you when you need to add more water. Some of these do self-cleaning, others come with see-through glass so you can check on the amount of ice left without opening it, which prevents melting.
Upscale commercial ice makers can work for 5 hours straight without power – now, that’s cool. All in one, you can benefit the automation of these appliances, pay lower bills, and have more time to serve your customers or guests.
It’s nice to know you can get a little bit extra besides just a machine. Brands we listed in our reviews are very thoughtful of their customers. You get an ice scoop, water supply and draining hose, and connector, which means you won’t have any more installation costs.
In a nutshell – a commercial ice maker is a huge investment. That is why you should look for the one that comes with a warranty of at least 1 year. The longer the warranty – the better. Some of the high-end models from our reviews come with 3 to 4-year extended warranties.
Commercial Ice Makers – Cleaning and Maintenance
If you run a business, you already know state health officials and local authorities inspect your restaurant, bar, café, etc on a regular basis. That is why it is important to keep everything in tip-top condition and keep hygiene at a high level. In order to pass the health code test and ensure your ice maker performs impeccably, follow these tips on cleaning and maintenance.
Calcium and lime buildup can clog your appliance and spoil its performance and efficiency. You should give it a full clean every 6 months if you want to get rid of impurities.
Yet, sometimes, depending on the water you are using, your ice maker can give you a signal it needs more frequent cleaning. A decrease in the ice production or the quality of the produces ice lowers is a clear sign you are dealing with build-up. On the other hand, if your commercial ice maker produces incomplete or imperfect cubes, that is another cry for help.
The most common symptoms your ice maker needs cleaning include:
- Cloudy or partially formed ice,
- Fewer quantities of ice produced,
- Ice smells or tastes strange.
Each model requires a specific cleaning procedure. Look for your owner’s manual and you will find info about the cleaning process and give your ice maker’s components some extra love.
In case you can’t find your owner’s manual, follow these ice machine cleaning requirements.
- Take all the ice out from the bin,
- If your machine supports automatic cleaning, add ice maker cleaner and start with the process,
- Once the cycle is complete, disconnect the appliance from the power supply,
- Make a mixture of water and cleaning solution,
- Take off the components and soak them in,
- Make another, more lukewarm mixture of water and cleaning solution and clean the internal components,
- Mineral deposits, scale, and lime make fuzzy reactions when in contact with cleaning solutions,
- Use a soft brush to scrub the deposits off and rinse all the parts with clean water,
- Clean the reservoir and dispenser with this mixture as well and rinse them with water,
- Use a soft cloth to soak in any moisture,
- Reassemble the unit and let it sit for about one to two hours to dry fully,
- Reconnect to the power supply.
Filter replacement falls into the category of regular maintenance of your ice maker. Stick to a schedule and replace filtration capsules. Otherwise, your device will slow down and become inefficient of clogged over time.
You can hand wash the internal condenser filters. Again, look into the owner’s manual to find the instructions on the process and prescribed cleaning solutions.
Commercial Ice Makers – Troubleshooting
If you don’t take proper care of your commercial ice maker, it will break down in no time. Yet, luckily, we have a couple of easy fixes you can perform without calling a professional. These are the top 3 quick fixes you should try if your machine starts going down.
1. Water Leakage
Once you notice water around the bottom of your ice maker, start inspecting the connections. Although a variety of sources can cause this problem, the faulty installation of the water-carrying components is, mostly, the one to blame. Reconnect the connections if you notice any irregularities.
On the other hand, calcification can make your water lines and hoses to crack, which will, eventually, result in a leak. Clean and maintain your machine by following the tips we’ve listed above or your owner’s manual.
When your ice maker is supplied with too little or too much power, it will start restarting itself frequently. This usually happens after owners flip on their machines, which triggers its safety limit mechanism. To fix this, make sure to plug the machine into the outlet that provides it with enough electricity.
3. Shallow Cubes
Seeing hazy ice cubes coming from your almost-brand-new ice maker is – horrible. The first thing to check is the general water supply. If everything seems fine here, that means buildup is hindering the unit from producing perfect cubes. Run a cleaning cycle and you’ll fix this.
You can also check our blog on ice maker troubleshooting.
FAQ About Commercial Ice Machines
1. How long does a commercial ice machine last?
As a rule of thumb, a commercial ice machine lasts up to 5 years. Still, you can extend your appliance’s lifespan by cleaning it regularly and maintaining its parts accordingly. This way, the machine will provide you with around 10 years of service life.
2. Do I need a drain for my commercial ice maker?
Yes, you do. A lot of manufacturers include the “Drain” section to their owner’s manuals. Without a drain, ice would cause build-ups and spoil your machine’s performance.
3. How much electricity does a commercial ice maker use?
It all depends on how powerful your ice maker is. Some models use 350kWh a month while others use 600kWh per month. Another factor that determines how much electricity your appliance will use is how energy-efficient it is. You can find a couple of great ice makers in our reviews that use less electricity although they are quite powerful.
4. What types of ice do commercial ice makers produce?
Traditional, cube-shaped ice is the most common with commercial ice makers. This shape is a must if you have cocktails on your menu. A great thing about commercial ice makers is that you can adjust the thickness of the ice. Some restaurants need flake ice to make specialized beverages while nugget ice makers make the best choice for public settings.
How do you find the best commercial ice maker in an array of absolutely fantastic machines? Look for the one with solid capacity, high output per session, well-built, and easy to use.
Crystal-clear, perfectly-shaped ice cubes can actually help you make a great impression with your old or new customers. Give them a reason to come back tomorrow. On the other hand, your guests will appreciate you as a host when they notice you take care of everything to the tiniest detail, including the ice cubes.
We truly hope our commercial ice maker reviews gave you a clue about the right appliance for your home or business. If you liked this guide, make sure to swipe through our website and you will find more useful info about ice making!