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Icemaker, Ice Maker or Ice Machine?

Learn Which Type Is Right For Your Specific Needs

An icemaker, ice maker, or ice machine generally refers to an add-on component for making ice, found inside a home freezer; a stand-alone appliance for making ice; or a commercial machine for making ice on a large scale. The terms “ice maker” and “ice machine” usually refer to the stand-alone appliance, although the implied name can vary depending on the application. What’s important is that you understand the basic types of ice makers and how they can best be utilized in your day-to-day life.

Commercial ice machines are possibly the most prevalent type and are necessary when large amounts of quality ice are needed. Undercounter type ice machines are versatile, and typically smaller than their commercial counterparts. Sometimes an undercounter machine that still supports a large output of ice can be classified as a commercial unit. Portable icemakers are the smallest kind, hence their portability aspect. These machines are also the most frequently seen used for residential use. Portable ice machines are by and large thought to be the most “user-friendly.” A lot of times freezers or refrigerators will have an ice maker built into them, giving them an extra level of usefulness. Check below for a brief rundown of what you need to know if you’re in the market for an ice machine of any type or variety.

Portable Ice Makers

Portable Ice Makers are generally compact in size; they do not need a permanent water line; they plug into any standard 110V outlet; and you only need to pour water into them. Portable ice makers will make ice very quickly, sometimes in as little as 6 minutes, depending on the model. However, frequently these units do not double as freezers and thus will not keep the ice frozen for any length of time. The ice will melt, and the machine will continuously recycle the water to make more ice. Also, these small models can only hold a tiny fraction of their full ice making capacity, which generally caps at up to 35 lbs per day. This means you will need to empty them frequently if you need more ice to be made.

One of the best uses for a portable ice maker is its ability to be easily moved between the kitchen, rec-room, bar, patio, poolside, etc. Their small size also makes them great companions while camping, during picnics, tailgating, boating, or any other outdoor application.

Undercounter or Home Ice Makers

As the name implies, Undercounter Ice Makers are designed with front ventilation to allow them to be built in or between cabinetry. Built-in ice makers should be installed by a professional plumber. They take a permanent water line, and some of them also need a drain line. These can store much more ice than a portable model, and can keep it frozen for longer periods of time.

The vast majority of consumer oriented built-in ice makers do not offer a refrigerated storage bin. At some point the ice produced will melt and the resulting water may need to be drained from the machine. The most common way to achieve this goal is to establish a permanent gravity drain line. The gravity drain line will exit the back of the machine and carry the water to a nearby drain located below the ice maker.

Commercial Ice Machines

Commercial ice machines are probably the most common type of ice maker. This is in part due to the fact that unless you’re using an icemaker in a home setting, you’ll probably be interacting with one in a hospital or restaurant. In these settings a more powerful, commercial-grade ice machine is going to be needed because of how much ice output is necessary in a 24 hour period. There are a few different varieties in the commercial ice market. Each type of icemaker has its own set of strengths and weaknesses and will perform variably depending on the environment it’s installed in. This is why it’s important to pick an appropriate commercial ice machine for your business.

You can break down commercial ice making into essentially two types of units: modular or self-contained. And even within these two different types, there are number of different attributes that set individual models or brands apart. A self-contained icemaker doesn’t need a secondary storage unit to be installed with it, and can produce and store ice by itself without any additional peripheries. Undercounter units or ice and water dispensers will typically fall into the realm of self-contained ice maker because they can stand alone and produce ice without an extra storage bin. A modular unit will require a storage bin to store the ice it produces, but it generally has the capacity to put out a lot more ice in a single 24 hour period. It’s always a good idea to pair up a modular unit with a storage bin that holds to appropriate amount of ice that is being produced. For instance, you wouldn’t want a storage bin that can’t hold as much ice as your modular machine is popping out. And on the other end, you don’t need a storage bin that holds significantly more ice than what your machine can produce. This could end up being a waste of space and money.

Commercial Refrigeration

If you are in the market for commercial ice machines of any type, you’ll probably also be interested in commercial refrigeration for your business. Just like icemakers, commercial refrigeration units come in a wide range of varieties. Generally they can be split between whether they specialize in simply keeping things cool or whether they have the capability to reach below freezing temperatures and keep items frozen. Some of these units act as especially big, refrigerated ice storage bins, specifically designed to large amounts of bagged ice frozen and ready for purchase. Some units do have ability to work as a freezer or refrigerator. Some units even have multiple cooling zones and can freeze or refrigerate simultaneously.

Accessories & Storage Bins

No matter what type of ice maker you decide to purchase, whether it be undercounter or modular, whether it’s residential or commercial, even if it’s just a cute little portable model, there are a lot of different accessories and periphery products that can bought to maximize ice output and overall efficiency. Obviously, the ice bin is an important item that one can potentially consider an accessory. Generally accessories for these types of ice making units refer to things like drain pumps and water filter systems. Ice machine cleaning systems are also available. These can be especially useful for ice makers, especially commercial machines, since they work to keep ice clean, and free of odor and nasty taste. There are also cleaning solutions that work to help clean large commercial ice machines.

Some ice making units allow you to purchase remote condenser units to help keep them running smoothly and at maximum efficiency. Essentially this ends up just maximizing the machines’ ice making capabilities.

Endless Ice Making Possibilities

With all of the different types of ice making machines and refrigeration units on the market today you’ll have no problem being able to find whatever type of commercial model your business or industry needs to run at optimal efficiency and output. Or, if you’re in the market for something less intense, there’s no shortage of portable and residential ice machines that are easy to use, install, and require less overall maintenance, making them ideal for casual home use. Browse through IceMakerDirect’s selection today and find the ice machine of your dreams!

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