Ice Maker Buyers Guide

Condenser Type

Air Cooled

Most popular type of ice maker in the United States.  Fans blow ambient air from the room across the evaporator plate and expel the warmer air into the room.  Air cooled ice makers are not suitable for use in small rooms unable to dissipate the heat.  Air cooled ice makers are typically less expensive to purchase and operate. 

Remote Condenser

A type of air cooled ice maker that uses a long refrigerant line to locate the condenser in a separate location where it can displace heat and noise away from the ice maker.  Condensers are typically purchased separately from the ice maker head and bin, though we have created a few kits that include combination of head, bin and an appropriately sized remote condenser.  Remote condenser ice makers work well in warmer environments such as kitchens and also in smaller rooms where sufficient ambient air is not available to dissipate the heat exhausted by the ice maker by exhausting the heat in a remote location.  We are happy to help you understand the pros and cons of each type, and select the appropriate condenser for your needs.

Water Cooled

Least common type of ice maker and typically the most expensive to operate.  Rather than transferring heat into the surrounding air, a large amount of water flows across the coils to cool the refrigerant.  Water cooled ice makers should be used only if you have a recirculation cooling tower as water must flow continuously across the cooling coils.  Requires two water sources, one to freeze into ice and the second to cool the refrigerant.  Both water sources must be filtered to prevent issues with the refrigeration system.  Water cooled ice makers work well in small closets or other spaces such as stairwells where sufficient ambient air is not available to dissipate the heat. 

Ice Type

Full Size Cube

 Full Cube

Cube ice cools drinks with larger cubes melting slower with less watering down of bar drinks.  Suitable for bar and restaurant drinks including cocktails, soft drinks and tea.

Half Size Cube/ Crescent

 Half Cube

Most popular type of ice.  Half size cubes provide more surface area in contact with the drink for quicker cooling than a full size cube.  Suitable for soft drinks and tea, and is commonly used for blended drinks such as smoothies and frozen drinks.  Ok for bar drinks however it melts faster than full size.  Crescent shaped ice is also considered half size.


 Gourmet Cube

Large cylindrical or round shaped ice commonly used in bars, upscale restaurants and special event halls.



Soft, chewable and the most preferred by customers for soft drinks and tea.  The small chunks pack tight into glasses reducing the amount of drink required to fill a glass.  With less density than cube and gourmet, nugget ice absorbs the drink flavor and color.  Can also be used for seafood and meat display and healthcare being shaped around joints.  In a bar environment will melt faster and water down drinks more than most customers prefer.


 Flake Ice

Common uses include seafood and meat displays as well as uses in healthcare since the ice can easily be shaped to apply around joints.  Can be used in soda and tea with very fast cooling, though it will melt faster and water down the drink.




Typically smaller in size and production, undercounter ice makers are perfect behind the bar for cocktails, soft drinks and other beverages.  Require water and a drain for melting ice.  Undercounter ice makers include the head and bin in a single piece of equipment.

Head Only

Available in a variety of production capacities, heads are mounted atop a bin or dispenser, frequently sold separately and sized for your specific need.  Sizing the head for the production you need is important and we are happy to help in the calculations if you can answer questions about your needs.  Requires filtered water.


Bins store the ice produced by the head until you are ready to use it.  Sizing the bin for your specific needs is important.  We are happy to help you size the bin for your requirements if you are uncertain.  Require a drain for melting ice.


Ice dispensers are used to fill glasses or ice bucket before a beverage is poured.  Some dispensers include the ice maker head, others require a separately purchased head to be mounted on them to produce the ice, allowing flexibility on the condenser type and ice type to suit your needs.



Ice makers require filtered water to prevent the buildup of minerals on the surface.  We recommend a properly sized filter for your ice maker as well as replacing the filter element at least every six months.  A relatively inexpensive filter element can extend the life of your ice maker by several years and prevent needless and costly down time and repairs.