Buyer's Guide & Information

6 Best Commercial Ice Makers In 2024

We have reviewed the best commercial ice makers on the market. Our reviews cover top quality, value for money industrial ice machines.

by Holly Curell

Finding the best commercial ice machine can be a challenge, especially when you are trying to focus on running your business. To save you time and effort, this guide on the top commercial ice machines is full of useful, well-researched industry specifications and features.

When it comes to commercial ice machines, our top choice is the Costzon Commercial Ice Maker Machine, and here's why: Its high-capacity production allows for the efficient creation of large quantities of ice, making it perfect for commercial settings such as restaurants, bars, and cafes. With its durable stainless steel construction and user-friendly controls, it's built to withstand heavy-duty use while being easy to operate. 

Preview

Product

Storage Bin Capacity

Processing cycle time

Check Price

Costzon Commercial Ice Maker

Costzon

33 Lbs.

110 Lbs/Day

Scotsman N0622A-1 Prodigy Plus Nugget-Style...

Scotsman N0622A-1 Prodigy Plus

Not Listed

643 Lbs/Day

Happybuy 110V Commercial Ice Maker Machine,...

Happybuy

29 Lbs.

150 Lbs/Day

Ice-O-Matic New Ice-O-Matic 238lb/24...

Ice-O-Matic

74 Lbs.

238 Lbs/Day

VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Maker Stainless...

VEVOR

40 Lbs.

121 Lbs/Day

Manitowoc UDF0140A NEO 26' Air Cooled...

Manitowoc UDF0140A

Neo

90 Lbs.

290 Lbs/Day

6 Best Commercial Ice Makers Reviewed

1. Costzon 

Best Rated Commercial Ice Maker

Compressor Type

Air Cooled

Dimensions (Inches)

19 x 16 x 31”

Processing Cycle Time

110 lbs. per day

Storage Bin Capacity

33 lbs.

Warranty

Yes, one year extended 

As one of the most affordable models on the market, you might expect the Costzon Commercial Ice Maker to come up short where it counts most. But in fact, this model can outstrip some pricier models in its class by outputting up to 110 lbs. of refreshing ice per day.

This model also uses over 99% of the water it draws in for cubing, making it very water efficient as well.

This commercial grade ice maker also features a unique heat dispersion method. Using the powerful 200W air-cooled compressor, this model's mesh-like gradient pulls operational heat away from the freezing components. This ensures that every piece of ice remains as structurally sound as possible until you need it.

This is another superb choice that wont break the bank. Solid output, easy to use and affordable.

"This machine is freaking awesome. The second it was delivered took a couple of hours to install including the trip to the hardware store. Ran new plumbing to where I wanted the machine. Installed a drain as well. Put an in line water filter . The instructions were easy to follow. Honestly this machine is well worth the money. I'd absolutely put this ice machine against one that cost 3 times as much. If your seriously looking to buy a great ice machine don't look any further." - A customer from Costway

Pros
  • Very affordably priced
  • Simple freestanding design
  • Creates clear standard 0.9 x 0.9 x 0.9'' cubes
Cons
  • An included drain tube is faulty
  • Challenging to contact customer service

2. Scotsman N0622A-1 Prodigy Plus 

Best Commercial Nugget Ice Maker

Compressor Type

Air Cooled

Dimensions (inches)

48 x 40 x 33”

Processing Cycle Time

643 lbs. per day

Storage Bin Capacity

Not Listed

Warranty

Yes, three years on parts & labor, two years on compressor

Nugget ice has become more popular in recent years as more and more restaurants use their ice not only for soft drinks but also for slushies and smoothies. As such, the Scotsman N0622A-1 Prodigy Plus Nugget Ice Maker has been in high demand, likely due to its exceptional daily output of up to 643 lbs. Per day.

This model also includes a handy auto-alert system that signals when the small bin is nearly full. This alert system can also give you a heads up when the unit needs sterilization as well as provide notice when a potential operational issue is impeding total capacity production.

This model does come with one major drawback, though. Even though it can store a bit of ice after it is released, this model requires a secondary module for full capacity storage. Luckily, most compatible models for the Scotsman N0622A-1 are designed to stack beneath this unit, making it easier for us both appliances in the same space.

This Scotsman model is ideal for high volume businesses that need a lot of ice everyday. It has the capacity and storage to handle a large turnover of nugget, pebble ice.

One shopper on the Webstaurant Store writes, "A beast! We have two of these units and we have not run out of ice yet, but getting close. They are really producers. We are going to buy another one, because during the summer, customers like to buy the nugget ice."

Pros
  • Unique auto-alert system
  • A reusable air filter that can be quickly cleaned
  • Removable panels for easy access to internal components
Cons
  • Requires additional appliance for storing the output
  • Small operating panel

3. Happybuy 

Best Small Commercial Ice Maker

Compressor Type

Air Cooled

Dimensions (inches)

13.8 x 16.7 x 24.5”

Processing Cycle Time

150 lbs. per day

Storage Bin Capacity

29 lbs.

Warranty

None Listed - Contact Supplier

At face value, the Happybuy Commercial Ice Maker isn't the most outstanding model on the market. Still, its 150 lbs. Per day and 11 to 16-minute ice making cycle put it firmly within the average output for a model in its size class.

If this model stands out for one feature, then its multi-grid ice plate should be the star of the show. This unique construction set up allows this model to put out a higher number of standard density ice cubes using half as much water. As such, this model is extra water efficient.

Even so, it was disappointing to see that this model did not include a listed warranty. While there is likely a warranty for this product, it really shouldn’t be hidden away from buyers in this manner. That makes it more difficult to trust this seller and utilise if necessary.

Pros
  • The speedy production cycle at 11 to 16 minutes
  • Built from easy-to-clean food-grade stainless steel
  • The high-efficiency output from multi-grid ice plate
Cons
  • Lacks a listed warranty
  • A moderate degree of internal melting due to case heating

4. Ice-O-Matic 

Best Commercial Undercounter Ice Maker

Compressor Type

Air Cooled

Dimensions (inches)

26.3 x 24.5 x 39”

Processing Cycle Time

238 lbs. per day

Storage Bin Capacity

74 lbs.

Warranty

Yes, three years on parts & labor, five years on evaporator & compressor

The Ice-O-Matic Commercial Half Cube Ice Maker Machine comes with two genuinely unique features – its individual half cube output and its stocked portfolio of energy efficiency certifications.

For the first quality, this model outputs a so-called "half cube" that is flared at the base. This allows the individual cubes to release from the compressor and split up more efficiently.

As for the certifications, the Ice-O-Matic brings more to the table than all of its competitors. Specifically, this model is Energy Star, NSF, and UL listed, indicating that it is among the most energy efficient undercounter models in its class. That can lead to some genuinely good savings down the line, especially if you are using large quantities of ice daily.

Pros
  • Fits comfortably under most 40” counters
  • Front facing air intake
  • Energy Star, NSF, and UL listed
Cons
  • A high-end model with the high-end price
  • Requires expert plumbing

5. VEVOR

Solid Mid-Sized Ice Maker

Compressor Type

Air Cooled

Dimensions (inches)

20 x 16.5 x 32”

Processing Cycle Time

121 lbs. per day

Storage Bin Capacity

40 lbs.

Warranty

None Listed - Contact Supplier

Some of the leading models among ice making machines are simple behemoths, putting out more ice then most mid-sized restaurants could ever need. Luckily, models like the VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Maker provide just enough ice with only 55 cubes for one cycle of just 12 to 18 minutes.

This model also makes ice cube transferring easy with its ergonomic ice spoon, which itself comes packaged with every model. Also, every model includes a purpose-built water filter that purifies all water entering the machine for better tasting cubes and less maintenance.

Those added extras alone make the VEVOR 110V a value for money purchase for a small to mid-sized restaurant.

Pros
  • Easy to operate control panel
  • Modest production ideal for mid-sized restaurant
  • Comes with a water filter and ice spoon
Cons
  • Manuel is a challenging read
  • Some problems with the central pump

6. Manitowoc UDF0140A Neo 

Large capacity Commercial Ice Maker

Compressor Type

Air Cooled

Dimensions (inches)

33 x 30 x 40”

Processing Cycle Time

132 lbs. per day

Storage Bin Capacity

90 lbs.

Warranty

Yes, Contact manufacturer for details

The Manitowoc UDF0140A Neo Ice Maker's undercounter construction is one of its main assets, allowing it to seamlessly fit into any kitchen arrangement just as a dishwasher would.  

The Manitowoc range offers a variety of commercial ice machines, we'd recommend looking at any of their models as they always deliver with high quality machines. Accessing this model is also as easy as opening a dishwasher, with the anti-freeze front-facing door sliding open with just a two finger touch.

This model provides a choice of full, half and regular dice cubes, perfect for any occasion. This Manitowoc UD-0140A has a 132 lbs. production capacity and pop-out air filters making it super easy to clean or replace. 

This decreases the likelihood of yeast, bacteria, and other common micro-organisms growing in these locations. This, in turn, makes the Manitowoc UDF0140A the most sanitary ice maker in the bunch.

Pros
  • Compact undercounter construction for easy implementation
  • Easy to open, freeze-resistant front facing the door
  • Extra sanitary due to continuous "active air."
Cons
  • Prone to break downs
  • Costly installation

How To Choose the Right Commercial Ice Maker

Undercounter Ice Maker

Like any essential kitchen appliance, shopping for a new model can be challenging. This is often because of all of the specialized jargon and terminology thrown around in ice maker product listings, forcing you to look up every last term to ensure that you are getting what you asked for.

This buyer’s guide should eliminate some of that hassle. Included here are many of the most common terms you’ll see on ice machine packaging and listings.

Once you’ve read through and interpreted each of these key specifications, you’ll be empowered to compare and contrast some of the industry-leading models listed below.

Size & Capacity

Though these terms are used interchangeably, they can refer to several different specifications (depending on the specific model). In general, though, either "storage" or "size" in this context may refer to the overall amount (in pounds) that a commercial ice maker can store before engaging an auto-shut off.

However, “size” may also refer to the size of the ice produced, as an average measurement in inches. Most machines produce cubes in within the 1” range, though specialized nugget or flake ice machines may output ice pieces that vary more greatly from piece to piece.

For smaller, more portable options, check out our guide to Portable Ice Makers. 

Speed

Sometimes referred to as the "cycle speed," this term typically refers to how quickly a given ice maker can output a set volume of ice over a set period. Often, this volume is based upon how much ice the machine outputs in 24 hours and can range from under 100 lbs. All the way up to around 500 pounds.

Speed can be an essential indicator for restaurants who use a lot of ice during regular operation. This is because speed and cycle time dictate how quickly the machine refreshes itself and drops a new load of ice for harvesting.

Power Source (energy efficiency)

As with any kitchen appliance, industrial ice machines are beholden to a power source that may or may not be energy efficient. Though most modern models minimize their energy draw whenever possible, only some models have been proven to reach eco-friendly levels of energy efficiency.

This is usually denoted by an Energy Star certification on both the fixture and its packaging.

Also, many ice makers do not come with a power cord. As such, you should plan and consult an electrician before purchasing to ensure that you'll have the proper volume of electricity available to your new unit when it arrives for installation.

Water Source

Just like when you make ice at home in an ice cube tray, a water source can make a considerable difference in the quality of the resulting ice cubes. Purified water sources can produce taste-free cubes or nuggets every time, while un-treated sources can bring along undesirable impurities.

As such, you will likely need to add some pre-filtration to your ice machine's input water source.

Water sourcing can also influence the amount of maintenance you commit to your new appliance. Unfiltered sources with large amounts of mineral or metal deposits can clog up internal piping and calcify tubing at much faster rates, requiring you to put more money into upkeeping your ice machine.

Compressor (Condenser) Type

Sometimes referred to as the "condenser," the internal compressor is the primary mechanism responsible for cooling the ice-making components to the point that ice can form up.

Though there are several different types of compressors (more information down the page), each different type can have an impact on where you install your ice maker (depending on operating temperature and ventilation needs).

Drain

Though often unmentioned in labeling material, proper drainage is necessary to ensure your ice machine operates correctly. This internal drainage should lead out of the system to ensure water does not build up and freeze outside of the compressor chamber.

Drainage requirements can vary significantly from model to model. In general, though, a commercial ice maker will require an output pipe that can carry residual water away from the appliance without manual interaction.

Accessories

Though not every model comes standard with one or more of these, certain essential accessories are usually necessary for proper icemaker operation. Some of these accessories include water filters and storage bins.

When looking to buy a commercial ice machine, always determine which accessories you'll need to thoroughly and efficiently operate the fixture and check when purchasing to see if they come with the shipment.

Installation & Setup

Like many kitchen appliances, installation, and set-up are best handled by a professional with in-depth knowledge about how the appliance functions and interacts with other kitchen systems. Local plumbers should be able to easily install and advise on Ice machines. 

Still, though, you should carefully consider how much work is necessary for proper installation as it can often be an indicator of how much continuous maintenance will be necessary down the line.

Price & Warranty

Though it goes without saying, price is also an important factor when picking out a commercial ice machine on a budget. Prices can range greatly, with higher rates generally correlating with higher ice-making capacity and larger storage bins.

Prices are often dictated by how much a given model can do, so models with fewer separate functions tend to cost less.

In terms of the warranty, many models today include some warranty to cover specific internal components that are prone to problems in the short-term. Be sure to carefully read included warranty statements to ensure that you can take advantage of them if your industrial ice maker breaks down suddenly.


Types of Commercial Ice Makers

Not all ice machines are alike, even though they appear the same on the surface. There are several different types of commercial ice makers that come standard with various functional features and installation requirements.

When shopping for a new industrial ice maker, be sure to take the time and determine which type will best suit your ice production and storage needs:

Self-contained Ice Machines

The most common type overall, this type of ice machine contains both an ice generator and a storage container in the same unit. Though they provide more storage & ice-making capacity then other household models and this type can save space by combining both functions into a single unit.

Modular Ice Machines

To borrow from a famous boxer, units of this type are “lean, mean” ice-making machines. Because these machines lack long-term ice storage, you’ll need a means of storing produced ice soon after it is made. These models are ideal for high capacity kitchens that tend to need a lot of ice in a short amount of time.

Undercounter Ice Makers

As a subset of self-contained ice machines, undercounter models are capable of both producing and storing ice. However, these models of this type are distinct because they can fit comfortably under a 40" counter. This more compact size tends to come with the trade-off of lower overall capacity and ease of access for maintenance.

Countertop Ice Dispensers

As their name suggests, this type of ice maker can rest on a countertop and produce a large volume of ice per day. These models rarely contain much (if any) storage. These models are most common in health care settings, or homes where their easy-to-chew nugget ice is primarily used.

Combinations Ice/Water Machines

Similar to the general set up of ice-making soda machines, these models can output ice and water side by side. As a result, they generally have a trimmed-down ice-making capacity. Still, they are very convenient and see a lot of use cafeterias and break rooms due to their small footprint.


Compressor Types Explained

At the heart of every industrial ice making machine is a compressor. This component plays a core role in generating ice as it precipitates and maintains the internal cooling while ice is being produced.

There are several different methods for completing this process, so you should carefully consider which method is best suited to your needs:

Air Cooled

As the most common compressor type, air-cooled compressors tend to be the most cost effective for long-term use.

This is because they do not require an extra water supply to properly cool the internal components for ice production. Though some air cooled models are Energy Star certified, most require 6" or more clearance to properly ventilate.

This article helps explain how these systems and water cooled work in greater detail.

Water Cooled

Water cooled compressors see less implementation today because, in terms of performance and efficiency, they are generally outstripped by air-cooled models. However, this compressor type still sees a fair amount of use in installation locations with a higher than 80-degree average ambient temperature.

Also, these models tend to be installed in tight locations, where ventilation is minimal. This is because water-cooled models do not rely on fans to cool internal components, instead of relying on heat-exchange nephrons that use water as a transfer medium.

Remote Cooled

A unique blend of the prior two types, this kind of compressor uses both air cooling and internal coolant lines to precipitancy cool its ice making components. Though these models tend to run the quietest of all, they also tend to be the most expensive – especially when factoring installation costs.


Installation Considerations for Ice Machines

Before you order and install a new commercial ice machine, there are a few important considerations you should commit to mind. Doing so will allow you to pick out the best model to fit your needs and your installation space, allowing in turn for effective and efficient ice production in the long-term:

Ice Storage

As to be expected, you will need to consider a devoted location for storing all of the ice that you will soon be producing.

While some models include internal storage for ice up to a particular volume, you may also need to purchase a separate cooler devoted to keeping your ice both frozen and sanitary.

Best Ice Maker

If you end up needing a devoted ice storage appliance, you will also need to devote more floor space to this second device (ideally alongside the ice machine proper).

Footprint and Location

The old real estate adage about “location, location, location” applies to ice makers as well. These appliances can take up a fair amount of lateral space, so always be sure to measure how much space you have set aside before committing to a specific ice machine model.

Also, if you end up needing an ice storage chest, you should double that allotted space to keep both appliances nearby. Also, be sure to keep both devices away from extra hot appliances like ovens, as their radiant heat can interfere with the creation and retention of ice.

Ventilation

Some ice machine models require specialized ventilation to produce ice properly. This ventilation is often required on the upper portion of the appliance. As such, these air-cooled models should be given maximum headroom to ensure proper ventilation.

Water and Power Supply

Optimal water and electrical inputs will also be necessary to operate a fully capable ice maker. Before installation, be sure that you have readily available water and power lines that supply enough of their own resources to keep the appliance working at full tilt.

If you need help installing a commercial ice maker then we suggest getting a free quote through the Networx from below.


Cleaning & Maintenance For Ice Machines

All restaurants are subject to regular inspection by local and state health officials. Your ice machine is included in those inspections, so it is essential that you keep your new model clean and well-maintained.

While this will help you pass your health code test, it will also ensure that your ice machine functions smoothly well beyond its expected lifespan.

Cleaning

In general, you should undertake a full cleaning of your ice machine once every six months. This will ensure that water impurities such as lime and calcium do not clog up your appliance and decrease its efficiency.

There are also some sure signs that indicate that your commercial ice maker is in line for cleaning. If your ice machine is producing less ice or a lower quality of ice overall, the change may be caused by easy-to-clean build-up.

By the same virtue, the appearance of shallow or incomplete cubes may signal the need for proper internal cleaning.

Specific cleaning procedures will vary from model to model. Look to your owner’s manual or consult an appliance specialist to learn more about how you should clean out your ice maker’s components.

Filter Replacement

As with other home or commercial water filters, you should replace individual filtration capsules on a prescribed schedule. This is done to prevent them from becoming clogged and inefficient, slowing down your ice making procedure overall.

While water filters often cannot be cleaned, internal condenser filters often can be hand washed. Read through your owner's manual to use a prescribed cleaning solution that won't also degrade the filter material.


Troubleshooting Common Ice Maker Issues

Like any kitchen appliance, a commercial ice maker is prone to breaking down eventually. Fixing these problems need not be a hassle, though. Consider the following three solutions when your ice maker goes on the fritz.

Water Leakage

Water leakage is prone to occur now and then. It can be caused by a variety of sources, including poor connections between water-carrying components caused by faulty installation. Also, be sure to check appropriate water lines for calcification. Calcified rubber hoses can crack, leading to unseen leaks.

Persistent Restarting

Soon after installation, some owners may notice their appliance restarting entirely after being flipped "on." This is primarily caused by an internal safety limit mechanism that senses either too much or too little power entering the system.

To remedy this, recheck what kind of plug your model requires and ensure that the outlet it is plugged into is providing enough electricity.

Poor Ice Quality

Even the best ice vending machines can sometimes put out shallow or hazy ice cubes. Though this may be a result of the general water supply, it may also be caused by build-up throughout the water transport system. Regular cleaning can help minimize this problem.


FAQs

How long does a commercial ice machine last?

In general, most commercial ice makers are designed to last 4 to 5 years. However, with proper maintenance, you can easily make your industrial ice machine last ten years or more.

How much does a commercial ice machine typically cost and are they worth it?

Basic commercial ice machines tend to start around $500, without consideration for tax and installation fees. However, larger models with higher storage capacity and freezing capability tend to clock in approximately $3000 or more.

How much electricity does a commercial ice maker use?

The precise amount can vary greatly depending primarily on how much the ice machine in question is used. Energy efficiency can also rely on the inclusion of specific internal components, as denoted by Energy Star certifications.

Also, as commercial ice makers age, they tend to use energy less efficiently, causing the cost of using an older model to rise. Replacement can often remedy this problem quickly.

Do I need a drain for my commercial ice machine?

Yes, nearly all commercial ice makers require a drain to prevent icy build-up in inappropriate locations. See also the "Drain" subsection in the above buyer's guide.

What types of ice do commercial ice makers produce?

Commercial ice makers can produce several different types of ice to meet different needs. While traditional cube ice makers are the most common, nugget ice machines are becoming more and more popular with the public and in healthcare settings.

Also, flake ice machines are used in some restaurants to acquire pre-crushed ice for a variety of uses, including in specialized beverages.


Conclusion

All in all, there's a fantastic array of commercial ice machines available on the market today. Though it's hard to give anyone model an upper hand, the Costzon Commercial Ice Maker Machine gets the #1 spot on our list!

With all that you’ve learned from these reviews, informational guide and FAQS, you finally have the knowledge it takes to purchase a commercial ice maker for your restaurant with confidence.

Holly Curell is the editor extraordinaire for Plumbing Lab. Having grown up in Michigan, Holly has spent time living in New York, Virginia, & currently North Carolina, where she lives with her husband & family. Holly loves DIY & has years of experience with at-home plumbing problems that arise from having 3 kids & living in colder climates. When she's not writing about her plumbing knowledge, Holly enjoys reading, hiking & relaxing with family.

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