Your Favorite Ice Makers

Ice makers are one of those appliances that you don't think about until you need them. Whether you're hosting a party, running a restaurant, or just want to have a steady supply of ice on hand, ice makers are a convenient and reliable way to ensure that you always have ice available when you need it. 

Read on to explore everything you need to know about ice makers, including how they work, the different types available, and what to look for when choosing one.

How Ice Makers Work

At their core, ice makers work by freezing water and then using a mechanism to break the ice into cubes. The process starts with water entering the machine through a small inlet valve. From there, the water is frozen onto a metal plate that's cooled by a refrigerant. Once the water is frozen, a heating element is activated to loosen the ice from the plate, and a set of rotating blades breaks the ice into cubes.

Once the cubes are formed, they're released into a storage bin, where they're kept until they're needed. When the bin is full, the ice maker will stop producing ice until some of the ice is used and space is made available for new ice to be made.

Types of Ice Makers

There are several types of ice makers available, each with their own unique features and benefits. Here are some of the most common types of ice makers:

  • Portable Ice Makers

Portable ice makers are small, countertop machines that are designed to be used in homes, apartments, or RVs. They're compact and easy to use, and they can produce up to 35 pounds of ice per day. Portable ice makers are perfect for parties or small gatherings, and they're a great alternative to traditional ice trays.

  • Under-Counter Ice Makers

Under-counter ice makers are designed to be installed beneath a countertop, making them perfect for bars or restaurants. They're larger than portable ice makers and can produce up to 50 pounds of ice per day. Under-counter ice makers are often used in commercial settings, but they're also a great choice for homeowners who want a steady supply of ice without taking up too much space.

  • Commercial Ice Makers

Commercial ice makers are the largest type of ice maker and are designed for use in restaurants, bars, and other commercial settings. They can produce hundreds or even thousands of pounds of ice per day and come in a variety of configurations, including modular units that can be combined to produce even more ice.

  • Built-In Ice Makers

Built-in ice makers are designed to be installed directly into a refrigerator or freezer, making them a convenient and space-saving option for homeowners. They can produce up to 12 pounds of ice per day, which is perfect for smaller households.

Best Ice Makers

Ice makers are an essential tool for both commercial and personal use. They are designed to make the production of ice more convenient and efficient, ensuring that users have ice readily available for their various needs. With several brands and specifications available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right ice maker that fits your needs. 

  • Manitowoc Ice Makers: The IDT1500A Indigo NXT 48" Wide 1688 lb/24 hr Ice Production Self-Contained Air-Cooled Condenser Full-Dice Size Cube Ice Machine, 208-230V is an excellent ice maker from Manitowoc. This machine uses a self-contained air-cooled condenser to produce up to 1688 lb of clear, Full-Dice sized ice cubes per day. It can be programmed to produce a specific volume of ice per day, and it can be set to turn off at certain times to help save on energy costs. Additionally, the ice maker provides 24-hour preventative maintenance and diagnostic feedback for worry-free operation. The easyTouch display on this ice maker features 13 different language options, one-touch asset information, and one-touch cleaning with displayed instructions. The IDT1500A has a DuraTech metal finish exterior that provides better corrosion protection than stainless steel, and its durable clear-coat resists fingerprints and debris, making it easier to keep clean. The cost of this ice maker is $7,596.00.

  • Scotsman Ice Makers: The SCN60GA-1SS 14 7/8"W Nugget Undercounter Ice Maker - 85 lbs/day, Air Cooled, Gravity Drain, 115v is an undercounter ice maker from Scotsman that produces soft and chewable nugget ice. This ice maker can produce up to 80 lbs of ice per day, with a built-in storage capacity of 26 lbs. It is suitable for outdoor use, and its control panel provides power status, cleaning reminders, and no-water alerts. The cabinet and front of this ice maker are made of resilient stainless steel, and the door is self-closing. The bin is illuminated, and key machine components are protected with Agion antimicrobial. The SCN60GA-1SS uses R-134A refrigerant, and its required incoming water pressure is 20-80 PSI. It requires ambient water temperatures of 40-100 degrees F and ambient air temperatures of 50-100 degrees F. The cost of this ice maker is $5,189.00.

  • Vevor Ice Maker: The Vevor 110V Countertop Ice Maker 70LB/24H, 350W Automatic Portable Ice Machine with 11LB Storage, 36Pcs per Tray, Auto Operation, Blue Light, Include Water Filter, Drain Pipe, Scoop is an efficient ice maker that produces 70 lbs of ice per day. Its durable material and smart panel control make it easy to connect and use. The Vevor ice maker features well-designed details, making it perfect for home kitchens, offices, bars, and parties. The cost of this ice maker is $231.99.

  • Silonn Ice Maker: The Silon countertop ice maker is perfect for home kitchens, offices, and parties. With the ability to make 9 bullet-shaped ice cubes in just 6 minutes, you won't have to wait long to enjoy your favorite chilled beverages. The machine can produce up to 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours, and you can choose between two sizes of cubes to suit your needs. The smaller cubes are perfect for seafood and beer, while the larger cubes are great for quickly cooling down beverages. The machine is also portable, with a size of 11 x 9 x 11 inches, and has a low noise level of under 35dB, similar to a working refrigerator. The transparent lid allows you to monitor the ice capacity, while the sensor automatically stops producing ice when the basket is full to prevent overflowing. The easy-to-use control panel makes operation a breeze, and the cost is only $89.99.

  • If you're looking for a built-in option, the Whirlpool 15 in. 50 lb. Built-In Ice Maker is a great choice. With a capacity of up to 25 pounds of ice and the ability to be installed undercounter or almost anywhere within 100 ft. of a drain, you'll always have plenty of ice on hand. The clear ice technology removes air bubbles and impurities, while the Fast Ice option speeds up production when you need it most. The easy-to-access area also allows for simple filter installation to keep your machine running smoothly. The Whirlpool ice maker also features an indicator that lets you know when to run the cycle with a fresh Ice Machine Cleaner to reduce mineral scale buildup. While the cost is higher at $2,098.00, the added convenience and larger capacity may be worth it for those who need a more heavy-duty ice maker.

So, it's clear that ice makers come in all shapes, sizes, and capabilities, and the prices can vary significantly. Therefore, it's important to determine what type of ice maker would best suit your needs.

If you're running a busy restaurant or bar, you'll likely need a large, commercial-grade ice maker that can produce a significant amount of ice in a short period. The Manitowoc IDT1500A and Scotsman SCN60GA-1SS are excellent options for commercial use due to their large daily ice production capacities. On the other hand, if you're looking for an ice maker for personal use, there are many affordable and compact options available, such as the Vevor and Silon countertop ice makers. These models are ideal for home kitchens, offices, and small gatherings.

Regardless of the type of ice maker you choose, it's important to keep in mind that regular maintenance is crucial to keep your machine running efficiently. Some models, such as the Manitowoc IDT1500A, provide diagnostic feedback and preventative maintenance features that can help you stay on top of maintenance.