Cheap Commercial Ice Machines – How Affordable is The Price in 2018?

In the hospitality industry, a reliable ice-machine is an essential piece of equipment. For hotels, restaurants, sporting venues, and other similar facilities, reliable, high-volume ice machines are a requirement for customer satisfaction. Typically, a commercial grade economical ice machine can be found for as little as $1,500, but higher end units will cost closer to the $5,000 mark.

The ice production of a given machine is going to be the first and most important factor in how much you pay for it. Facilities that need a higher quantity of ice with a high turnover, that is to say, they will use ice constantly throughout the day, need these more productive machines. The amount of storage the machine has will also affect price, with machines with larger storage containers costing more. Poplar Ice maker brands include:

  • Ice-O_Matic
  • Manitowoc
  • Scotsman
  • Hoshizaki
  • EdgeStar
  • Igloo


The type of ice cubes that a commercial ice machine makes may also affect the price. Some types of businesses have a preference for a certain type of ice, such as cubed (or specialty types of cubes) vs. flaked, which can make this an important decision during the purchasing process.

The final major determinant in how much an ice machine costs is how the unit is cooled. The most economical ice machines are air-cooled, using air flow to cool the machine during operation. Air-cooling, while more economical in the initial purchase, is not the most effective means of cooling. This would be water cooling, and you can expect to pay a premium for any ice machine that is water cooled instead of utilizing an air-cooling design.

What are Commercial Ice Machines?

Commercial Ice MakerCommercial ice machines in the commercial sense are the large units which produce, store and dispense ice in large quantities. The major way that ice machines are divided is according to the type of ice that they produce.

Flaked ice: Machines that produce flaked ice, also sometimes called flakers, are useful in situations where maximum cooling is the reason for the demand for ice. For instance, hospitals and research labs require flaked ice because it can be packed in around material which needs to be cooled as much as possible, for as long as possible.

Flaked ice machines are also used in the storage and transport of food. For example, when a company needs to deliver perishable food, an ample supply of packed flaked ice will allow the food to be safely transported from the point of origin to the restaurant or retailer without sacrificing quality.

Cubed Ice: This is the type of ice that most people are more familiar with, and the type that you expect to see at the bottom of your glass. The quintessential cubed ice machine is the type of unit that you can find on every floor of most hotels. This are not dissimilar to the same types of machines that restaurants and bars also use to ensure a steady flow of ice for their patrons.

There are two main components to any ice machine: the condensing unit, which actually cools the water down to a freezing temperature, and the storage portion where ice can be stored without melting until it is needed.

 

What to Look for in Low-Cost Ice Machines?

When shopping for an affordable ice machine, one of your first considerations should be the space that you have available to place the unit in. Many of these machines are quite large, and it is critical that you only purchase a unit that will fit the space that you have allocated for it.

Ice MachineOne way to accommodate tight spaces is to purchase a unit that has the condenser and storage bin as separate components. This can allow slightly more flexibility. There are also low-priced ice machines that are designed specifically to fit under standard height counters – something which is often very helpful when looking for a machine to fit in a commercial kitchen.

Always consider the energy that an ice machine requires to make ice when deciding what the most economical option is. Ultimately, the sticker price on an ice machine isn’t representative of how much it will actually cost you to use that machine. The energy utilization of the ice machine will have a huge effect over its lifetime on how affordable it is. So, to find a real bargain you need to also look for an ice machine that is highly energy efficient, as this will help keep your electricity bills from ballooning the minute you install the machine.

Air cooled machines are not as energy efficient as water cooled machines, but are typically more inexpensive. However, if you’re not using the machine in a very well ventilated area, it is also important to remember that an air cooled unit will add heat to the immediate environment the machine is installed in. This might not be appropriate in a variety of settings.

 

Bargain Ice Machines Companies with Discounted Prices?

Buying an ice machine can be difficult because there is often not an opportunity to see the unit in action over the long-term before making a purchase. This is why in addition to the sticker price and energy efficiency of the unit, you should also always ask the company about the warranty and service plans they have available.

Manitowoc LogoManitowoc: Manitowoc makes ice machines which are designed to fit underneath standard-height countertops, making them ideal for use in commercial kitchens and bars. One example, air-cooled unit, the NEO UR-0140A, is available at a bargain for just under $1800.

Maxx Ice LogoMaxx Ice: Maxx Ice is another major player in the market. However, they also make a variety of smaller units which may be practical for companies with space restrictions or only very limited ice requirements. They have some cheap self-contained units which can be found for under $1500, and while they will have limited production capabilities they are highly efficient and able to fit into quite restricted spaces.

Affordable ice machines are only worth the bargain if they meet the needs of your business. Carefully figure out where you need the ice machine to go in your place of business, and how much ice you need it to produce. From there, you can narrow down your search considerably in order to find the most low-cost option that definitively meets your needs.

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