Half dice, full dice, nugget? Which Ice Machine is for me?

Are you planning on buying or replacing an ice machine in the near future? There are a few things that you should think about in the selection of your new ice machine. It is always best to decide what it is you think you want before you call and get bamboozled into buying something that you do not need. Below, we will walk you through how to decide what you need, that way maybe you can teach the salesmen a thing or two! We can help you through every step of the decision process, from purchase to installation.

There are several different types of ice – half dice, full dice, gourmet, nugget, and flake. Each of these types is best suited for different situations. Are you running a business? Is the machine for a bar that only is open at night or is it going in a busy 24 hour café? These are all things you need to consider to help you get the most out of your ice machine. First, let’s take a look at the different types of ice.

Half dice:  Half dice is an inexpensive ice to make. It melts slowly, is great for blended drinks, self serve soda machines, and ice coffee. This may be the machine for you if you run a café, restaurant, or business where you sell a lot of drinks regularly.

Full dice: Full dice is an inexpensive to make, too. It melts slowly, and is better for things like cocktails, salad bars, and bulk ice. If your business has a big need for keeping things on ice, having a big salad bar, or keeping drinks out on ice, this may be the machine for you.

Gourmet: Gourmet tells you a lot by just the name. This cube is a larger, classy ice cube. It melts slowly compared to smaller cubes, is visually appealing, and is great for upscale cocktails. This is the type of ice you might see at a black tie events, in a Scotch on the rocks, and paired with top shelf alcohols.

Nugget: Nugget ice melts quickly. This is more like your Sonic Ice that people love so much. It is chewable in texture, and normally has a small, tubular shape. This ice is great for use in dough at bakeries. Its small size makes it a breeze for blended cocktails and smoothies, and it is the type of ice used in a doctor’s office for creating DIY ice wraps and other therapeutic use. This would be a great machine for a field house, smoothie shop, or a small office.

Flake: Flake ice is the most fragile ice of the list. It melts quickly. This ice is fantastic for use with direct food contact. It does not bruise food so it is great for packing produce, meat, and fish. It can be shaped, so it is perfect for creating food displays, transporting perishable items, and iced storage. The fragile nature of the ice makes it great for blended drinks, and the large surface area of the flakes make it a great option for cooling dough in a bakery setting.  Flake is also very fragile and thin making it perfect for doctor of office uses like ice wraps and various therapeutic uses.

Once you decide what type of ice you are interested in, the next question is how big do you want your ice machine to be? It is important that your ice machine fits into a convenient spot and is not too large or too small for your business’ needs. You normally decide what type of ice you need based on how many pounds of ice they can produce in a 24-hour period.  You want to be certain that your ice machine will be able to supply enough ice for your day-to-day operations. Nothing is worse than opening up that bin and not having ice in there! Your guests might give you the COLD SHOULDER!

Now that you know what you want in an ice machine, let’s figure out what kind of condenser you need. Do you need an air-cooled or water-cooled condenser?  “Oh, no!” you think! How do I know? It is simple to understand if you have someone who will take the time to tell you! First thing, who even knows what a condenser is? I know 95% of my customers know the word, but not why it matters to you. The condenser is an essential component when considering what type of machine is best for you. There are two main kind of condensers: air-cooled or water-cooled.

Air cooled condensers are going to save on water costs over water-cooled but can sometimes be louder than water-cooled condensers. If you are in a doctor’s office or an office, that sound might be a hindrance. In addition, air-cooled condensers need airflow. This means that you will need to be able to leave the ice machine pushed away from cabinets around the back, sides, and top. They offer a little more maintenance as well, as air filters and vents must be cleaned regularly on these machines to keep them running properly.

With water-cooled condensers, they are not affected by the air temperature in their environment which is better for hot areas like kitchens, bakeries, and supply rooms. These condensers don’t have fans so they tend to run more quietly than an air-cooled condenser would. This is good to keep in mind if you are looking for a quiet machine. Water cooler condensers do need a separate water line run to them and they also can use hundreds of gallons of water per day, so utility costs are something to consider with this machine.

Knowing what you need is just as important as the quality of the machine, so if you are planning on getting a new ice machine or replacing the one you have, take a minute to make a list of expectations. What are you expecting from your machine? How much ice do you need? Where will you put the machine? Asking all of these questions before you buy will help to ensure that you end up happy with your purchase!

Tri-Point Refrigeration, Inc. is dealer for all top brand ice machines, including Manitowoc, Scotsman, Ice-O-Matic, Hoshizaki, and Blue Ice, a top-rated sales company, and employees top notch installation technicians.

Give us a call at (512) 651-4565or visit us online at https://tripointrefrigeration.com/ice-machines

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