Did you know there are over five different types of ice and types of ice makers that you can make right in your very own kitchen? Most don’t, unless you’re one of the many people who enjoy chewing on ice.
In recent years, more homeowners have been on the hunt for small appliances that create the same type of ice from their favorite restaurant or fast food chain, and it’s easy to see why!
There’s nothing more refreshing than having an entire cup of ice to yourself, but the problem is with traditional cubes, as they are relatively impossible to chew on.
With that being said, it might be time for you to think about the different types of ice makers on the market and whether they’re the right ones for you.
Before you start deciding on a potential ice maker for your home or office, it’s important to consider the various ice types that you might be looking for. Some are better for chewing, others are preferred for presentation purposes, but depending on your needs you might like one better than the other.
- Crushed Ice: If you’ve taken a trip to your local burger establishment you’ve undoubtedly used crushed ice and even traditional refrigerators typically have the choice between cubed and crushed ice. It is mostly used in beverage dispensers because it gives you the perfect amount of cooling to keep your drink refreshing without watering it down.
- Flaked Ice: This is the type of ice that is typically used for presentation purposes such as arranging items on a seafood platter or designing high-end cocktails. Flaked ice generally doesn’t last as long as other types of ice due to its low density, but it can help to make a spectacular display of food and drinks.
- Nugget Ice: By far, the single most popular type of ice is nugget ice mostly because it’s highly enjoyable. Nugget ice is typically used in slushed drinks or specialty fast-food beverages as it is small in size and easily chewable. Hospitals also tend to use nugget ice because it can fill patients with fluid without having to exert much chewing effort.
- Diced Ice: Much like its name suggests, diced ice comes in the shape of a cube and is a phenomenal choice for alcoholic beverages on the rocks, such as whiskey. Instead of having to use several different cubes, diced ice is typically large enough to where a single cube can chill up to two shots of alcohol without diluting any flavor.
- Regular Cubed Ice: If you’ve ever used your fridge’s ice maker or a refillable ice cube tray, you’ve encountered regular cubed ice. It can come in varying sizes, but in most cases, the cubes will be just a little too large to fit into a water bottle. One main concern with regular cubed ice is if you add too much, you’re going to be drinking a watered down beverage, but it is great for quickly cooling substances.
The Different Types of Ice Makers
You now have a clear understanding of the different types of ice, but what about the types of ice makers that create the cubes you need? You might assume that specific types can only be made using industrial appliances, when in reality you can easily find a portable appliance for your counter that creates the perfect type of ice at home.
Commercial Ice Makers
It’s not uncommon for commercial properties to have ice makers, especially hotels and large business offices. With the help of these units, up to 1000 pounds of ice can be created every day, which is obviously far too much ice for a single household, and so they are generally found in bigger properties.
The most interesting feature of commercial ice makers is they can create flake, nugget, and regular cubed ice but in most circumstances, regular cubed is the best choice. It’s important to know they are incredibly large and need to be connected to a reliable source of power, as this make sure the ice doesn’t melt immediately.
This way patrons and employees will have consistent access to ice throughout the day and night.
There’s also a lot of maintenance that needs to go into commercial ice makers to make sure they are safe to use throughout the year. In the manufacturer’s instructions, owners may be required to completely sanitize the water transfer system, monitor air filters, and inspect the entire machine for any signs of corrosion or loose wires.
Built-In Ice Makers
Built-in ice makers are more common than you think, especially when you start shopping around high-end appliances, particularly refrigerators. They are classified as “built-in” because they are integrated into the design of the appliance and require a hookup to water and power, meaning they cannot be used freestanding.
Although built-in ice makers seemingly give you unlimited access to ice, this isn’t always the case. The majority of the appliances they are built in to have a storage compartment that only holds a certain amount of ice and once that bucket is emptied, a new ice making cycle needs to begin.
Another concern is they typically come with air filters either on the sides or back that require a certain amount of clearance from the wall so the filter and cooling fan can breathe.
Portable Ice Makers
For the most convenient solution in regards to making ice on demand, small portable appliances are becoming one of the most popular types of ice makers in the world, and for great reasons.
Portable ice makers give you the portability that you need to place the unit anywhere in your home. Considering the majority of designs do not require a hookup to water and are manually refillable, you can even choose to place one in your bedroom or in a common area outside of the kitchen.
With the help of a portable ice maker, you will typically have access to two pounds (or more) of ice at any time, and since they are designed to be convenient small appliances, new ice can be made every eight to fifteen minutes.
Not only are portable ice makers easy to use at home, but they can also be brought along on camping trips and road trips, as long as you have access to a power outlet.
With all of the benefits aside, it is important to remember that although portable ice makers give you the ability to have ice anywhere at any time, they are not designed to hold ice for very long. In comparison to commercial and built-in ice makers, portable designs do not offer consistent freezing or refrigeration, meaning that once the ice is made it will start to melt.
How Do I Choose the Right Type of Ice Maker?
Choosing the right type of ice maker is easy, especially when you think about what you’ll be using it for. Businesses would be far better selecting a larger unit that can accommodate everyone in the building, whereas residential properties would benefit from a portable or built-in unit that is easily accessible and requires little maintenance.
With the help of this guide, choosing the perfect unit is easier than you think.