You may be thinking of getting an ice maker, but not know where to get started. There are a lot of different options out there, whether you want an industrial sized ice maker or one that will fit in right under your home bar. Here, we’ll walk you through the different types of ice maker so that you can find the right one for your home, office, or restaurant.
Different Types of Ice Makers
1. Countertop Ice Makers
These tend to be one of the smaller options out there that still produces a substantial amount of ice. The compact size and makes them a great option for those that need an ice maker, but don’t have the space for a built-in or undercounter unit. The downside of countertop ice makers is that they produce a relatively small volume of ice, compared to larger units. This is not an issue for many buyers, but don’t expect them to be producing hundreds of pounds of ice per day. They will serve you for small parties, but not for events with dozens of people.
2. Undercounter Ice Makers
They tend to be larger than their countertop cousins, and produce a significantly larger volume of ice. They are perfect if you need a need a lot of ice, and need it quickly. They can produce hundreds of pounds of ice a day, although many do not keep the ice frozen once it’s made.
However, they are much less flexible due to their size, and have to be connected to a water line. If you host parties frequently where you need large amounts of ice or run a restaurant or bar, undercounter ice makers are a great option.
3. Built-in Ice Makers
These ice makers are also hidden under counters or behind bars. But they are meant to be fixed into the counter. This is the type of ice maker found in many luxury kitchens. It doesn’t produce as much ice as many undercounter units. However, it is designed to store and refrigerate ice. This makes it a great option for those that need a good amount of ice for entertainment and daily use, but not hundreds of pounds a day.
This ice maker, like undercounter units, requires a connection to a water line. They also tend to be quite expensive, and can require regular maintenance to replace filters.
4. Portable Ice Makers
These are the most compact option, and are great for tailgates and camping. They are also one of the cheaper types of ice maker. They produce a fairly small volume of ice, often not much more than a few handfuls.
They’re versatile and the best option for those on the go. But don’t buy one and expect it to replace a countertop ice maker. A portable ice maker may get you through a tailgate with a dozen people, but don’t expect it to work for large events.
5. Personal Ice Makers
These are another type of portable ice makers, but are designed for just one person. They’re as small as you can get, and produce a volume of ice to match their size. They produce so little ice that they may not be worth the price, even if they have excellent portability. Buy one only if you have a specific need for it, such as for a long solo hike.
In addition to different sizes and styles, there are different styles of ice that these devices can produce. Look for one that makes the type of ice that you need, as this will vary greatly by manufacturer.
6. Electric Ice Makers
Almost every maker you’ll buy will run on an electric motor, whether you’re buying one for your restaurant that will produce thousands of pounds of ice or a portable one to take to a tailgate.
7. Sonic Ice Makers
These ice makers produce a specific type of soft, chewable ice pellets This type of ice maker is perfect for people that want that famous fast-food soda ice. This ice isn’t great for every use, and it melts pretty quickly. But if soft pellet ice is what you want, this is the right ice maker for you.
8. Manual Ice Makers
These aren’t true ice makers, but devices that shave ice. They’re useful if you want to make flavored shaved ice or certain types of cocktails, but aside from that they aren’t very versatile.
No matter what you’re looking for, there’s likely an ice maker out there that is right for you. You don’t have to break the bank, either. Whether looking for a countertop ice maker or one to take on the go, there are plenty affordable options out there that will keep you cool and happy.