close-up of ice cubes

The Best Commercial Ice Maker in 2020: Reviews, Types, Considerations, and More

Close up of ice cubes

With the obvious exception of hot drinks, most of the time, beverages served at restaurants, bars, or cafes are best when taken cold. It is no wonder why many operators of such enterprisers will tell you that a refrigerator is a necessity in their premises.

However, while most refrigerators can make ice, they are not as efficient as dedicated ice makers. On any day, a professional ice maker delivers a larger volume of ice, higher output per hour, and more space for storing ice.

BEST OVERALL
Image of Maxx-Ice-MIM475HB

Are you looking for a new ice maker or thinking of replacing your faulty restaurant commercial ice maker? If yes, then the Maxx Ice MIM475HB is an excellent choice. After lengthy testing and research, this item proved to be the best when it comes to making ice. It can produce a whopping four hundred and seventy-five pounds of ice every day of the week. Therefore, you can always be sure of an abundant supply of ice to make your customer's cocktails, sodas, and teas cold to their liking on all business days.

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To save you time and energy, this article provides reviews of the eight best ice makers available. This list is decisive as I made it after testing fourteen appliances and researching for over 72 hours. Moving on from that, this post also offers useful info on the different types of ice makers, advice on choosing the ideal appliance, usage tips, FAQs, and my final verdict.

Comparison Table

Maxx Ice MIM475HB

* Best Overall
Image of Maxx-Ice-MIM475HB
Technical Details

Brand Name

Maxx Ice

Item Weight

247 pounds

Product Dimensions

30 x 24 x 59 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

475 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features​​​​

Certified to UL, NSF, and CSA commercial food grade standards

Color

Silver

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Technical Details

Brand Name

Manitowoc

Item Weight

150 pounds

Product Dimensions

34 x 32 x 30 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

160 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features​​​​

Large storage bin

Color

Silver/black

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Technical Details

Brand Name

hOmeLabs

Item Weight

63.7 pounds

Product Dimensions

15.7 x 17.6 x 31.4 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

143 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features​​​​

Adjusting ice thickness

Color

Silver/black

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Smad Portable Commercial Ice Maker

* Small Commercial Ice Maker
Image of Smad Portable Commercial Ice Maker
Technical Details

Brand Name

Smad

Item Weight

55 pounds

Product Dimensions

15.2 x 17.7 x 25.1 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

12 lbs

Installation Type

Built-in/freestanding

Special Features​​​​

Reversible door

Color

Silver/black

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GRELE Commercial Ice Maker Machine

* Cheap Commercial ICe Maker
Image of GRELE Commercial Ice Maker Machine
Technical Details

Brand Name

GRELE

Item Weight

No information

Product Dimensions

No information

Capacity(24 hrs)

84 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features​​​​

Automatic operations

Color

Black

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Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L

* Best Commercial Ice Maker and Water Dispenser
Image of Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L
Technical Details

Brand Name

Manitowoc

Item Weight

No information

Product Dimensions

16 x 24 x 35 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

10 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features​​​​

Nugget style ice

Color

Silver

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Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ

* Best Outdoor Commercial Ice Maker
Image of Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ
Technical Details

Brand Name

Hoshizaki

Item Weight

No information

Product Dimensions

14 x 22 x 33 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

51 lb

Installation Type

Built-in/freestanding

Special Features​​​​

Approved for outdoor use

Color

Silver

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Scotsman CU0515GA

* Commercial Nugget Ice Maker
Image of Scotsman CU0515GA
Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight

90 pounds

Product Dimensions

23 x 15 x 33 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

84 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features​​​​

Power cord for quick installation

Color

Silver/black

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Inline Water Filter Kit for Refrigerators

* Best Commercial Ice Maker Water Filter
Image of Inline Water Filter Kit for Refrigerators
Technical Details

Brand Name

PureWater Filters

Item Weight

1 pound

Product Dimensions

10.3 x 6.4 x 4 inches

Life of Filter

1500 gallons

Installation Type

Direct inline kit

Color

White

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Whirlpool W11179302

* Best Commercial Ice Maker Cleaner
Image of Whirlpool W11179302
Technical Details

Brand Name

Whirlpool

Item Volume

16 fl. oz.

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Classifications of Ice Makers

Although they perform a similar function and at times share some characteristics/ installation needs, ice makers fall into distinct classifications. Therefore, before you shop for one, here are the different types of these appliances you need to be aware of.

Self-Contained Ice Machines

Image of Self contained ice machine

It is the most common type and distinct from the rest because it has both an ice maker and a storage unit. They are significantly larger when compared to regular consumer models and make more ice. These appliances can either be countertop or under-counter. For an entrepreneur, the good thing about acquiring such an ice cream maker machine for business is that it saves space by packing two functions in one appliance.

Modular Ice Machines

They make a large amount of ice and ought to be used with separate units for storing and dispensing of the ice. These appliances usually conform to twenty-two, thirty, and forty-eight-inch sizes. They are meant to be put over ice machine bins, ice dispensers, or beverage dispensers.

Undercounter Ice Makers

They can make and store ice at the same time. What distinguishes them from the rest is the fact that they can be put beneath a forty-inch counter. If you do not mind a lower capacity and instead prefer an item that can fit in a smaller space, then consider getting an under-counter commercial ice maker machine.

Countertop Ice Dispensers

Image of NutriChef Ice Maker and Dispenser

As the name suggests, these items can be put on countertops. They produce a large volume of ice daily and lack much storage. These appliances are most common in health care establishments and produce nugget-looking ice that's easier to chew by patients.

Combination Ice / Water Machines

These appliances eject both water and ice, side by side. They produce a smaller amount of ice and can be found in break rooms, offices, etc.

Tips on Choosing the Right Kind of Commercial Portable Ice Maker

Apart from the type of ice you want (whether cube, half-cube, crescent, nugget, flake, or gourmet), there are other considerations ahead of purchasing an ice maker. Below are some extra things to have in mind before proceeding to buy this appliance.

Size and capacity: A premise with a small space will need a compact appliance to ensure that movement is not constricted. When it comes to capacity, acquiring a modular ice maker will prove to be a smart idea if you need more ice output and have adequate storage space.

Cost: It is always best to acquire an appliance that falls within your budget. Nonetheless, note that higher capacity, more functional, and fancier makers will be costlier than simple machines. 

Speed: If you run a very busy premise, you want to acquire an appliance that has a high production rate. This way, you will have ice supply throughout to ensure that your customers enjoy their beverages. 

image of ice and scoop

Power: These appliances often require more voltage. So, you might want to liaise with an electrician before installing the same on your premises. 

Condenser. Three different condensers exist, air-cooled, water-cooled, and remote. Air-cooled appliances are a favorite since they are more effective and cheaper to acquire. Water-cooled machines are an ideal choice if your enterprise is located in hot areas or where aeration is not adequate. Lastly, remote appliances are those that allow users to store the condensers outside the building, away from the ice machine. Such gadgets are often quite costly. 

Accessories: Always ensure that you acquire an appliance with a water filter, storage bin, ice bags, among other accessories depending on your needs. 

Drain: You need an item with proper drainage to prevent water from freezing in the appliance, thus ensuring that adequate operation is maintained.  

Product Reviews

Below are detailed commercial ice maker reviews. Go through them to find the best item for your enterprise.

Best Commercial Ice Maker Overall : Maxx Ice MIM475HB

Image of Maxx-Ice-MIM475HB

Technical Details

Brand Name

Maxx Ice

Item Weight

247 pounds

Product Dimensions

30 x 24 x 59 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

475 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features

Certified to UL, NSF, and CSA commercial food grade standards

Color

Silver

If you are looking for an excellent commercial ice maker machine, then this is the one. It works well and produces the whole four, hundred and seventy-five pounds of ice specified by the manufacturer. When it comes to ice type, this appliance provides half-cubes with sizeable and uniform measurements. Whenever you use the product, the ice is ejected onto a stainless-steel bin that can hold up to four hundred and thirty pounds of ice.

Another notable aspect is the ice bin lid. This feature is insulated well-enough, ensuring that ice is kept frozen for lengthy durations. Best of all, this model satisfies all industry specifications, leading to UL, NSF, and CSA Commercial Food Grade certifications. All told, Maxx Ice is easily the best commercial ice maker brand thanks to this model.

  • Self-cleaning setting;
  • Stainless-steel exterior;
  • Vertical evaporator made of copper coated by nickel;
  • Digital controlling;
  • Auto-overflow protection.

Pros

  •  Produces high ice volume;
  • Made with durable material;
  • Conforms to industry specifications;
  • Self-cleaning capability;
  • Fast ice making.

Cons

  • It is quite expensive.
Image of Manitowoc UYF0190A-161B UYF0190A NEO U-190

Technical Details

Brand Name

Manitowoc

Item Weight

150 pounds

Product Dimensions

34 x 32 x 30 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

160 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features

Large storage bin

Color

Silver/black

The Neo is among the best restaurant ice machines today. It comes with a storage bin that can be moved easily by sliding, providing the user with faster access to the ice without the need to shift the whole appliance. Moreover, it boasts of integrating the latest technologies making it quite affordable to maintain. However, perhaps the capability that stands out is that it allows you to slow the appliance on those days when business is down or when you have closed shop.

  • Sliding storage bin;
  • Bin and service indicators;
  • Delay capability;
  • Raised footing.

Pros

  • Offers feedback;
  • Less expensive to use;
  • Better performance;
  • Intelligent system.

Cons

  • It can be hard to find service in case of repair.
Image of hOmeLabs Freestanding Commercial Ice Maker

Technical Details

Brand Name

hOmeLabs

Item Weight

63.7 pounds

Product Dimensions

15.7 x 17.6 x 31.4 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

143 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features

Adjusting ice thickness

Color

Silver/black

Are you looking for a high-performing freestanding ice maker? Then this product makes a great choice. It delivers exceptional ice creating power, producing one hundred and forty-three pounds of ice only during twenty-four hours. Moreover, this appliance can make sixty-six pieces of ice between eleven and twenty minutes. It is a stand-alone ice maker, meaning that you can put it at any place on your premises. Nonetheless, while doing this, ensure that there's a water outlet close to your appliance.

  • LCD indicator for showing settings;
  • Accessories present;
  • Freestanding model;
  • Quiet compressor.

Pros

  • Straightforward controls;
  • Auto-cleaning capability;
  • Easy to connect;
  • Ice scoop, drain, and water hoses included.

Cons

  • Should only be connected to a portable water supply.

Small Commercial Ice Maker : Smad Portable Commercial Ice Maker

Image of Smad Portable Commercial Ice Maker

Technical Details

Brand Name

Smad

Item Weight

55 pounds

Product Dimensions

15.2 x 17.7 x 25.1 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

12 lbs

Installation Type

Built-in/freestanding

Special Features

Reversible door

Color

Silver/black

This fifty-five-pound commercial ice machine boasts of high efficiency and durability. There is an excellent LED lighting that illuminates the interior section to allow you to see the interior of your appliance whenever it is dark, t. It is a notably small commercial ice machine, though, delivering twelve pounds of ice daily and storing six. But even with that said, this appliance is quite advanced, with automatic shutting when the ice container is filled. You can quickly attach the provided tube to a water source and create crescent ice fast.

  • Vent at the front;
  • Reversible doors;
  • On/off light indicator;
  • Knob for adjusting settings.

Pros

  • Easy to operate;
  • Compact size ideal for small enterprises;
  • Frost-free.

Cons

  • Not ideal for heavy use.

Best Cheap Commercial Ice Maker : GRELE Commercial Ice Maker Machine

Image of GRELE Commercial Ice Maker Machine

Technical Details

Brand Name

GRELE

Item Weight

No information

Product Dimensions

No information

Capacity(24 hrs)

84 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features

Automatic operations

Color

Black

If you are looking for a durable, automatic, and advanced appliance for making ice, then you need to acquire the GRELE. This product can make up to eighty-four pounds of ice in twenty-four hours. When it comes to storage, it can comfortably hold almost nine pounds of ice at any given instant. With this item, you can make bullet ice cubes for your customers automatically since once the ice container is emptied, the device starts making a new batch of ice.

  • Built-in compressor;
  • LCD interface;
  • Auto-operations;
  • Pure copper-plated grid.

Pros

  • Excellent design and finish;
  • Easy controls;
  • In-box lighting.

Cons

  • It can’t keep the ice frozen.

Best Commercial Ice Maker and Water Dispenser : Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L

Image of Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L

Technical Details

Brand Name

Manitowoc

Item Weight

No information

Product Dimensions

16 x 24 x 35 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

10 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features

Nugget style ice

Color

Silver

For a 2-in-1 ice maker, you can choose this ice maker plus water dispenser from Manitowoc. It is a beautiful stainless-steel machine that comes in a metallic color. Built to sit on countertops, this ice maker is quite compact and doesn't take up much space.

This machine is excellent for high-consumption commercial uses as it can produce 315lb in a day. It also provides ice in the nugget style. After the ice is created, it can be stored at a steady cold temperature within the built-in 10-pound storage bin. That means that you or your staff don't need to wait around for ice to be produced.

Since this machine can stand on its own, set up is almost zero. It is also straightforward to use. There are three buttons on the front side of the machine for ice, water, and water with ice. Each has a symbol for easy identification. All these qualities make the Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L best commercial nugget ice machine around.

  • Built-in condenser;
  • Air-cooling mechanism;
  • Produces nugget-style ice;
  • Made to stand on countertops.

Pros

  • Can produce up to 315 pounds of ice every 24hrs;
  • Comes with an ample ice storage space;
  • Dispensing activated using a level;
  • Makes ice almost instantly.

Cons

  • The machine will need a drain.

Best Outdoor Commercial Ice Maker : Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ

Image of Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ

Technical Details

Brand Name

Hoshizaki

Item Weight

No information

Product Dimensions

14 x 22 x 33 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

51 lb

Installation Type

Built-in/freestanding

Special Features

Approved for outdoor use

Color

Silver

What if you want a decent ice machine that you can use outdoors? This commercial under counter ice maker from Hoshizaki can be used in a variety of indoor spaces, including your kitchen, office, or restaurant. However, the one thing that is unique about it is that you can take it outdoors as well.

When used indoors, it is ideally fitted under the counter. The unique air circulation design, which includes a front vent, eliminates the need to accommodate for side or rear ventilation. Thus, you can fit the machine in tight spaces. As long as you can connect it to a power supply, this machine will produce and keep ice-cold during your outdoor functions.

Hoshizaki compact commercial ice maker produces ice cubes in the Top Hat style, a harder form that lasts longer and does not clump together in the storage bin. With this maker, you can get about 51 pounds of ice every day. The storage bin built inside this commercial outdoor ice machine holds around 22 pounds of ice at any given time. Lastly, the water circuit is easy to remove and clean.

  • Top Hat design ice;
  • Front-facing vents;
  • UL-approved for outside usage;
  • Below 34 inches in height.

Pros

  • 51-pound capacity and 22-pound storage;
  • For outdoor and indoor use;
  • Fits in tight spaces under countertop;
  • Very easy to clean.

Cons

  • Not sold with a drain pump.

Commercial Nugget Ice Maker : Scotsman CU0515GA

Image of Scotsman CU0515GA

Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight

90 pounds

Product Dimensions

23 x 15 x 33 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

84 lb

Installation Type

Freestanding

Special Features

Power cord for quick installation

Color

Silver/black

Another under the counter favorite when talking about commercial ice makers is this stylish stand-alone machine manufactured by Scotsman. From its durable stainless-steel design to its chewable ice nuggets, everything about this product makes it the best sonic ice machine in the market.

This machine is about 23″ long and 28″ high, with a width of 15″. So, you can accommodate it in most under the counter spaces. It's freestanding, with four stable legs raised a couple of inches off the ground. It features ventilation spaces at the front and sides for ample air circulation. Since it is a commercial-grade machine, you can expect to get as much as 84 pounds of ice a day, storing 24 pounds at a time.

  • 84-pound daily production;
  • Durable stainless-steel body;
  • 28 inches high for fitting under bar counter;
  • Power cord for fast installing.

Pros

  • Makes gourmet or full cube ice;
  • Slow melting ice;
  • Energy-efficient system;
  • Raised above ground for easy cleaning.

Cons

  • It does not have a dispenser.

Now you know what the best ice makers are, here's a look at two related products you can purchase alongside them:

Best Commercial Ice Maker Water Filter : Inline Water Filter Kit for Refrigerators

Image of Inline Water Filter Kit for Refrigerators

Technical Details

Brand Name

PureWater Filters

Item Weight

1 pound

Product Dimensions

10.3 x 6.4 x 4 inches

Life of Filter

1500 gallons

Installation Type

Direct inline kit

Color

White

If you want crystal clear and better-tasting ice cubes, consider installing a water filter for your ice maker. Most ice machine brands recommend filtering water before it is frozen into ice. The Inline Water filter kit is arguably the best filtering equipment in the market. It reduces the taste and smell of chlorine to give you improved quality water. It works well with most refrigerators, ice makers, and water dispensers. The filter itself will clean about 1500 gallons of water for you before needing a replacement.

  • Full filtration kit with new filter, water line, shutoff valve, and water line adapters;
  • Comes with a mounting bracket and screws;
  • The filter service life of 1500 gallons.

Pros

  • Simple installation with connecting parts;
  • Renders water odor and taste-free;
  • Lifetime warranty in case of malfunction;
  • Economical.

Cons

  • The filter will need replacement after 1500 gallons.

Best Commercial Ice Machine Cleaner : Whirlpool W11179302

Image of Whirlpool W11179302

Technical Details

Brand Name

Whirlpool

Item Volume

16 fl. oz.

You will need to clean your ice machine once in a while to keep it running smoothly, regardless of the brand you pick. This ice machine cleaner, which is manufactured by Whirlpool, is your best bet for removing deposits and grime that collect in your machine over time. You can use it on the storage bin as well as other areas where dirt accumulates. To apply, turn off your machine and remove the ice from the storage bin. Then, add the cleaner into the water pan and dilute it with water. Finally, activate the clean cycle in your machine.

  • Packed in a 16 fl. oz. white bottle;
  • Includes usage instructions;
  • Cleans evaporator, ice bin, and other parts.

Pros

  • Effective in breaking up mineral build-up;
  • Nickel-safe;
  • Endorsed by KitchenAid and Whirlpool.

Cons

  • Packed for single usage.

How to Use a Commercial Countertop Ice Maker

Every machine works differently. Before anything else, go through the instruction manual to understand how to install and use your ice maker. Make sure your ice maker is connected to a water and power inlet before you start making ice. And ensure it is also connected to a drain. As soon as it is powered on, water will flow to the ice tray, and cubes will start to form. Then, once solid, they are released into the storage bin to await collection or to dispense. Remember, an ice maker is quite different from an ice cream maker. You can learn more about the latter by going through commercial soft serve ice cream machine reviews.

FAQs on Ice Makers for Commercial Purposes

Do you have some questions concerning ice maker machines commercial? These answers might help:

How Long Should a Commercial Ice Machine Last?

The duration your machine lasts will depend on how often you use it and whether it is well maintained. All in all, expect it to function at its best from 5- 10 years.

How Many Amps Does an Ice Machine Use?

The amount of electricity used depends on the brand and model of the ice maker you pick, its production, and whether it's energy-efficient. This information is usually listed in the individual product specifications.

What Size of Ice Maker Do I Need?

To select the right size, consider where and how much you intend to use the machine. A 50lb or less machine would work well at home, office, hotel room, or small establishment. But for large restaurants, hotels, and events, you would need an ice maker with much higher productivity and storage space. A good rule of thumb is to estimate 1-1.5lb per customer/ person.

How Often Should a Commercial Ice Machine Be Cleaned?

Image of ice

It is recommended that you clean your machine every 3-6 months. However, you can clean it more frequently based on how much you use it, where you place the machine, and the condition of the water you are using.

Can Old Ice Maker You Sick?

Yes. Ice that has stayed for too long can become contaminated with disease-causing bacteria and thereby make you sick.

How Much Do Ice Vending Machines Cost?

Ice vending machines can go for anything from $20,000 to $150,000. The price will, of course, depend on the brand, size of the machine, and the features it packs up.

How Long Do Ice Makers Take to Make Ice?

Your ice maker will take about 90 minutes to complete a full cycle of ice making. However, different ice makers have different productivity levels.

Other Information: What Is a Commercial Shaved Ice Maker?

Shaved ice makers usually produce fluffy and soft ice from cubes or larger blocks of ice. These machines can range from basic options, which use a manual hand mechanism to electric ice shavers. There are lots of brands available for you to compare and find the best commercial shaved ice machine. Note that an ice shaver is quite different from the typical ice maker in design and functionality.

Verdict & Final Recommendations

These eight recommendations of commercial ice makers are the best in the market today. You can find an ideal choice depending on how much ice you intend to make in a day, where you want to use your machine, and your budget. The best commercial ice machine on this list is the Maxx Ice MIM475HB. It produces a whopping 475lbs of cubes daily, stores about 430lbs comfortably, self-cleans, and is energy efficient. However, alternatives are depending on whether you are looking for something cheaper, more compact, or outdoor use. So, what's your experience with ice-making machines? Have you used any of the listed products? Give your thoughts or recommendation down below.

About the Author Yvonne Ferguson

Yvonne Ferguson is a culinary enthusiast and dedicated cooking tech reviewer. She’s constantly looking for the most up-to-date products and information to share with IceMakersHub readers. Yvonne enjoys making family-friendly recipes while sharing tips on choosing handy appliances for a healthy life.

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1 comment
Gingersnap says January 28

Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂

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