The Best Commercial Ice Maker on the Market Today
Who knew that ice makers could be so complicated? Despite what most believe, commercial ice makers are far from uniform. There is no telling what the one best commercial ice maker is, because there are simply so many different preferences and selling points when it comes to deciding on an ice machine.
To help you get a better picture of what goes into a quality commercial ice maker, we put together a list of the best commercial ice makers on the market. Keep in mind that this is a generic list that is designed to give general purpose buyers an idea of what a premium ice maker is and, more importantly, why they stand out from the crowd.
If you are interested in making more informed purchasing decisions when it comes to commercial ice makers, read on. In this guide, we go in-depth to make sure you are fully prepared with all the requisite knowledge to make the best commercial ice maker purchase possible.
Ice is ice, right? Wrong! There are many kinds of ice that appeal to different consumers. For example, your standard ice cube you pull from the fridge is nothing like your typical flake ice you find in a sno-cone. Not only are they of different sizes, but they also serve totally different purposes.
In one case, full-sized ice cubes are used to fill coolers and chill platters of food. On the other hands, flake ice is used in slushy drinks and other novelty items. While no type of ice is “better” than any other, it is important to understand their differences before you decide on a commercial ice maker.
For example, if your restaurant specializes in refreshing summertime treats, you may be better off investing in a flake-style ice machine. If you run a high-end restaurant or bar, you might want to opt for an ice maker that produces gourmet, nugget, or full cubes. This is because those ice varieties are best used in chilled beverages like cocktails.
If no two varieties of ice are identical, the same is true of ice makers too. To find the best ice maker for your specific purposes, check out our list of some of the best commercial ice makers available on the market today. As you read, do your best to determine what ice maker qualities you might need for your restaurant. When it comes time to make your decision, keep these factors in mind.
Manitowoc NEO UR 0140A
The Manitowoc NEO UR 0140A is one of the best freestanding ice machines money can buy. Regarding overall value, you would be hard pressed to find a model comparable to it. Although it retails at under $2,000 it provides a similar amount of value to units at price points nearly twice that. Therefore, we recommend the Manitowoc NEO UR 0140A for just about any restaurant owner regardless of the size of their establishment.
This model is part of Manitowoc’s famed NEO series of undercounter ice machines. As an upgrade from the former model, the UR-0140A requires 25 percent less water and 40 percent less energy than its predecessor. This makes the UR-0140A a fantastic option in terms of overall efficiency, but also because it is eco-friendly compared to most other units on the market.
When we’re asked about the perfect all-in-one ice machine, the Manitowoc always ranks highly on our list. Its built-in storage bin can hold nearly 100 lbs. of nugget ice, and its compact frame means it can easily slide underneath a standard 40-inch countertop without much of a hassle. It is a shame this unit is often tucked away under the counter, because its stainless-steel finish is a sight to behold.
Sunpentown IM 150US
The Sunpentown IM 150US is a great budget-friendly commercial ice maker. When it comes to ranking the best commercial ice makers on the market, this Sunpentown model is always near the top of our list. At less than $500 MSRP, the IM-150US is a fantastic option for restaurant owners in need of an affordable commercial ice machine.
The beauty of the Sunpentown IM 150US is that it is affordable for both commercial and non-commercial users. This makes the IM 150US a solid choice for home users who want a reliable ice machine for their home bar, even though it is a commercial machine. And with a stainless-steel exterior, it has a luxurious aesthetic that machines several times its price do not share.
We recommend the IM 150US for home use, small restaurants, and cafeterias. Since it can only produce 12 lbs. of ice every day, it is unlikely that a large diner or bar would have much luck with this machine. But, this machine is definitely worth the ultra-low cost that it retails at.
Manitowoc NEO UD 0140A
The Manitowoc NEO UD 0140A is a sleek, modern-looking undercounter ice cube machine. It produces 129 lbs. of ice over a 24-hour period, with a 90 lbs. storage capacity. We also love the NEO UD 0140A because it is Energy Star certified, which means it consumes less energy than most other commercial ice makers to produce the same amount of ice.
As part of Manitowoc’s NEO series of high-efficiency ice makers, the UD 0140A uses only 11 kWh to make 100 lbs. of ice. Plus, the ice it produces is full-sized, which is a rarity among modern commercial ice machines. The NEO UD 0140A is easily setup with its intuitive control system and no-stress user interface. It slides underneath counters without a hassle and looks inconspicuous the whole time.
Although this model easily fits under most commercial counters, you don’t want it to. With an elegant stainless-steel finish and jet black coloring, it looks appropriate just about anywhere in your restaurant. Best of all, the UD 0140A rests on six-inch legs which makes it a breeze to clean underneath. With the Manitowoc NEO UD 01040A, you really cannot go wrong.
The Manitowoc ID 0502A is one of the best ice makers in its class. It is a massive unit, standing high above most standard ice makers, especially when installed modularly. While it comes at a higher cost than countertop or under-the-counter models, the Manitowoc ID 0502A is a justifiable purchase as it features an air cooled modular full ice cube machine head.
The ID 0502A machine head can be removed and placed on any compatible Manitowoc storage bin, which allows for greater customizability to suit your business’s specific needs. Even though it is only 30 inches in diameter, it can crank out an outstanding output of 530 lbs. of ice within only a single day of use.
Paired with a large capacity storage bin, we recommend the Manitowoc ID 0502A for both large and small business owners. If your budget can accommodate it, be sure to pick one up if you intend on serving many chilled drinks or if you need a backup cooling system if your initial food cooling unit breaks on short notice. Overall, this is a fantastic commercial ice maker although not intended for those on a scant budget.
Ice Storage Bin
An ice storage bin is one half of a modular commercial ice maker. These days, many ice machines come in two separate components: the ice machine head and the ice storage bin. Both of which can be removed and placed on other components. This offers greater freedom and modularity than regular commercial ice makers.
The best commercial ice maker will one that is fully modular. This is because they have the unique ability to suit your business’s needs. For example, if you need a high storage capacity but don’t need to create a metric ton of ice every day, you would be well-advised to purchase a heavy-duty storage bin with a low-capacity ice machine head.
There are many ice storage bins on the market today. Aside from aesthetics, they all offer the same value in terms of overall function. However, you will need to choose wisely based on their fill volume. While large businesses may benefit from a 500 lbs. storage unit, others may only need 100 lbs.
In this article, we learned all about the various kinds of commercial ice makers. Since different ice machines create different varieties of ice, it is important to know their differences before deciding on a unit to buy. Plus, ice storage bins are another critical consideration that needs to be made before making your purchase.
Overall, we recommend any of the four ice machines listed in this article. No doubt, they rank among the very best commercial ice makers available today. However, your final decision should always account for what your business ultimately needs. This requires you to make an honest assessment of how much ice you serve every day and making your decision with that figure in mind.
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