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Ice Maker Buying Guide
An ice maker can be an excellent addition to your arsenal of useful kitchen appliances. However most of the models sold today can be pretty expensive so choosing the right one is extremely important. Whether you're buying an ice maker for your home or for your business, you have to make sure that you are getting one with all the right features. Having an ice maker is perfect if you're fond of holding parties at home or if you want more convenience when making ice-based drinks during the summer.
Different Types Of Ice Maker And Their Key Features
Essentially there are three types of ice makers, which are :-
- The Refrigerator Based Ice Maker
- Portable Ice Maker
- Commercial Ice Maker
However ice makers may also be differentiated according to how they are cooled:-
- Air Cooled
- Water Cooled
- Remote Cooled
Refrigerator Based Ice Maker The refrigerator-based ice maker is also known as the home ice maker. Normally, these types of ice makers are found as a component in a refrigerator or freezer. This ice maker is one of the most popular and is commonly used at home.
Portable Ice Maker The portable ice maker, also called a countertop ice maker, is a stand-alone unit which is designed primarily to produce ice, whether in cube, flake, nugget, crushed, or crescent form. It is an ideal kitchen appliance for parties however they may also be placed in a bar or in the office. Some people who already have a refrigerator based ice maker still invest in a stand alone unit, since the portable ice maker can produce better varieties of ice than the typical home ice maker.
Commercial Ice Maker The commercial ice maker is an undercounter ice maker typically used to produce large quantities of ice. Normally these types of ice makers may be found in restaurants, bars, hotels, or stores which normally require the production of ice for business purposes.
Air Cooled Ice Maker The air cooled ice maker uses the same mechanism of a windown fan, pushing hot air out of the machine. Compared to water cooled machines, air cooled ice machines are generally more energy efficient. And although they are less expensive to operate, the expelled hot air can be uncomfortable, especially in more enclosed spaces.
Water cooled ice maker The water cooled ice maker operates like a car radiator, constantly filtering water in order to provide cooling. Because this system is not so energy efficient and is often noisy to operate, water cooling systems are rarely used in most ice makers nowadays. However they are often more convenient to use in small kitchens, since they don't produce external heat which most air cooled machines are known for.
Remote Cooled Ice Maker The remote cooled ice maker typically makes use of a remote evaporator. This system produces less noise and limits the exertion of heat as well. The evaporator is normally placed in another room or on the roof of the building where the ice maker is located.
Basic Features To Look For
There are certain ice maker features you need to look out for when shopping for one. By getting more familiar with these basic features you will know what kind of ice maker you need, for specific purposes.
- The SIZE of the ice maker is an important feature to consider when ice maker shopping. This will ultimately dictate how much ice will be produced and where you will be placing the ice maker. A small portable ice maker may be a perfect fit for a small kitchen, however if you plan on placing the ice maker in a bar or in the office where there is ample space, a bigger unit may be more suitable.
- The AMOUNT of ice you need should be factored in as well. Getting a small portable ice make may not be enough if you plan on making large quantities of ice regularly, especially when running a restaurant or a beverage store that uses lots of ice. Typical home ice makers can produce up to 40 pounds of ice daily, while portable ice makers make about 35 pounds daily, on an average. You can find many commercial ice makers able to produce more than this amount.
- The SIZE and TYPE of ice produced by the ice maker is another feature you should look out for. Some ice makers are designed to produce only crushed ice or ice cubes, so if you are looking for more variety, it is best for you to find a more versatile ice maker. Counter-top ice makers normally produce small bullet-shaped ice. Most commercial ice makers however are able to produce flakes, crushed, cubes, and tubes.
Other Factors To Consider When Buying An Ice Maker
Energy Efficiency is one important factor you might want to consider when investing in an ice maker. Some ice makers are more energy efficient than others, due mainly to the kind of cooling system that they employ. Most air cooled ice makers are generally more energy efficient than others.
Solid Warranty Offer is another important factor when shopping for an ice maker. As much as possible your vendor should be able to offer a solid warranty and reliable customer service. For the parts and labor, your vendor will normally offer short term warranty. However for the more expensive parts on your ice maker, a longer warranty may be provided, especially on components such as the compressor, condenser, and evaporator.
An ice maker can prove useful whether at home, in your restaurant or store, or in the office. However it can be an unnecessary extra expenditure if you don't need to produce large amounts of ice on a regular basis. In order to determine which types of ice maker is ideal for you, it is best to check out the basic and additional features of each ice maker type as well as to look into the warranties offered by different vendors in the market.
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