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Choosing an Ice Machine

We want buying an ice machine to be as easy as possible. So we have created a guide to purchasing a commercial ice machine.

The AIM Commercial Ice Machine guide will provide you with:

5 very important questions that will make placing your order easy. Some general knowledge about commercial ice machines that you should know before purchasing one. So lets get started by looking at the five important questions.

5 Questions to ask yourself:

1) Water Cooled, Air Cooled or Remote Condenser?
Commercial ice machines Water Cooled or Air Cooled. Air cooled machines are more popular and use less water than the water cooled versions. In most instance an air cooled machine will be the correct choice but if you have any of the following circumstances a water cooled or remote condenser unit may be a better choice. a. Ice machine will be located outside. b. Any area where air temperature will be above 90 Degrees. c. Any area where there is little or no ventilation or air movement. Please review local codes prior to purchasing a water cooled ice machine.

2) What Voltage & Phase?
Prior to purchasing a commercial ice machine you need to verify the voltage and phase of the power source you will be connecting the machine to. Common US voltages are 120V, 208V, 220V and 240V; it is very important that the voltage you select your machine in matches the voltage of the power source or bad things can happen to your brand new ice machine. If the mahcine you choose uses a 208-240V power source you will need to double check the phase of the power, it will be either single (1) phase or three (3) phase. Remember a single phase machine can be put on a 3 phase circuit, but a 3 phase machine CAN'T be used on a single phase circuit.


3) How much space is available?
There are 3 standard widths in the inder counter models 24”, 26” & 30” while modular machines are typically found to be 22” or 30” in width. When choosing a machine remember that you will need a 6" gap on both sides of the machine for proper ventalation if air cooled. If you find that space is an issue, you will need to select a model with front or top air discharge. We have everything from counter top machines that dispense ice and water, to undercounter and bin top machines.


4) How Much Ice Do You Need?
We have provided a helpful formula to help assist you in making the best decision. If you use ice for anything else, you will need to account for that as well.

4oz. of Ice per 12oz. cup

7oz. of Ice per 20oz. cup

10oz. of Ice per 32oz. cup
(Self Serve Refills add extra 50%)


Calculate Your Ice Needs

Number ____ 12oz. cups x 4oz. = ____ oz. ice needed ÷ 16 = LBS of Ice needed

Number ____ 20oz. cups x 7oz. = ____ oz. ice needed ÷ 16 = LBS of Ice needed

Number ____ 32oz. cups x 10oz. = ____ oz. ice needed ÷ 16 = LBS of Ice needed
(for new locations you may want to add 10-15% for future business growth)


5) How Much Ice Storage Do You Need?
Most people use a storage bin that is capable of holding as much ice as their commercial ice machine will make in 24hrs but that is not a rule. This will depend on how much ice you need... keep in mind it’s better to have to much ice than not enough. All counter top units and under counter units have built in storage.