Monthly Archives: June 2013

  1. What Your Ice Machine Company Isn't Telling You

    Ice Machine SecretsShopping for major appliances can be a stressful process. When looking for a new commercial ice machine, some of the stats and features presented can be filled with overwhelming jargon or nonsense. At times it may be like trying to understand a foreign language. While most companies do not try to mislead the consumer, some of the information presented may not be understood easily by those who are reading it. For example, every ice machine is rated based on the amount of ice it has the ability to create in a 24 hour period. Very infrequently will an ice machine actually create the exact amount of ice that is listed in its name or description however. There are various factors (quality of construction, external temperatures) that affect each ice machine differently. Indeed, sometimes you can learn more from what a company doesn’t tell you than you can from what they do.

    Scotsman Ice Logo

    Scotsman Ice Machines

    What’s True: Scotsman Prodigy cuber heads use less energy and water than competing cuber heads. They also create a great amount of ice for what they cost. Scotsman has a competitive warranty program too- on par with all other major ice machine companies at this time. Their Prodigy ice machines provide a few luxuries that other companies do not, which makes Scotsman ice machines a great buy for their ice production and their exceptional value. The AutoAlert System employed by Scotsman makes owning and operating their ice machines a stress free task as well.

    What’s Left Out: While Prodigy ice machines may use less water and electricity during the ice making process, Scotsman’s water cooled ice machines are not quite as conservative, using (on average) the second highest amount of water when compared to other top brands (160 gallons of water per 100 pounds of ice created). Only Manitowoc water cooled ice machines use and waste more water. Scotsman air cooled ice machines, while conservative, face a massive drop in ice production when air and water temperatures rise. Some Scotsman ice machines lose nearly 30% of their ice production capabilities in these adverse conditions, so if air or water temperatures increase, ice production suffers.

    Ice-O-Matic Ice Logo

    Ice-O-Matic Ice Machines

    What’s True: Ice-O-Matic frequently boasts that they offer “more ice for the price”, and for the most part, they do. Doing a bit of research, it can be shown that Ice-O-Matic ice machines offer very good value in terms of ‘pounds per dollar’ (pounds of ice your ice machine creates per dollar spent on the machine). Ice-O-Matic ice machines are some of the most affordable around, and they have the ability to produce great quantities of ice. They are also covered by the longest warranty in the ice machine industry.

    What’s Left Out: Like Scotsman ice machines, Ice-O-Matic ice machines perform rather poorly when air and water temperatures increase. They show a similar drop in production, around a 30% loss, when asked to make ice in 90 degree air and with 70 degree water. Ice-O-Matic ice machines are not exactly “keeping up with the Joneses” in terms of technology either, providing little in the way of technological advances. These machines are best for those whose ice machine will be housed in a cooler, stable climate, and simply require ice – with no desire for additional technological features. The warranty coverage on an Ice-O-Matic ice machine also comes with an asterisk. While Ice-O-Matic does provide the longest warranty in the industry, the user must purchase and replace an approved Ice-O-Matic water filter over the life of the ice machine. (This is however, a smart addition to any ice machine under any circumstance).

    Manitowoc Ice Snowflake

    Manitowoc Ice Machines

    What’s True: One cannot argue with the fact that Manitowoc produces the most popular ice machines in the United States. There are also no ice machines more technologically advanced than those from Manitowoc’s Indigo Series. They are the closest thing to artificial intelligence in the ice machine world today, and feature an onboard computer system for foolproof maintenance and operation. With the introduction of the NEO Manitowoc has effectively revolutionized the world of undercounter ice machines as well. Manitowoc ice machines have enjoyed a continued popularity for a while, and are proudly manufactured in the United States (Manitowoc, Wisconsin – a short drive from Green Bay).

    What’s Left Out: For all their popularity and technological advances, Manitowoc ice machines are on the short side when their ice making capabilities are compared to competing brands. With so much added technology, the consumer often ends up paying more for the “bells and whistles” than actual ice production. Manitowoc’s air cooled ice machines tend to make less ice than similar, competing models in similar temperature conditions, and they still cost more up front. While most Indigo ice machines are Energy Star qualified, many of these units use slightly more electricity during the ice making process than their competitors. Their water cooled ice machines use the most water to keep their condenser cool during the ice making process as well. Cuber heads from Manitowoc also require the most clearance (8 inches) on the top and sides to create ice effectively, which can make finding room for them to operate somewhat difficult if space is at a premium. Almost all competing air cooled ice machines require only six inches or less to operate effectively. With Manitowoc, you may pay a little more for brand recognition and features than actual ice making capabilities.

    Hoshizaki Ice Logo

    Hoshizaki Ice Machines

    What’s True: Hoshizaki was once described as the ‘Cadillac of ice machines’, and with a bit of research, you will find that this description is relatively accurate. Hoshizaki ice machines are superiorly constructed. Their stainless steel evaporator plates are one of a kind, and these evaporator plates have a great life expectancy, as it is virtually impossible for them to flake or peel due to continuous wear or from operating with lower quality water conditions. Hoshizaki ice machines also provide the most consistent ice production in adverse conditions, due to their superior construction. The crescent ice produced by Hoshizaki cuber heads is long-lasting and versatile, and is often preferred in bars and restaurants. It is easily recognizable, resembling a crescent moon.

    What’s Left Out: While the stainless steel evaporator plate is an excellent, reliable feature, it is often very difficult to access the evaporator plate if it requires service, so repairs may be a bit more costly and difficult if service is required. Hoshizaki ice machines also make the least amount of ice per dollar spent, as their price tag is often markedly higher than the competition. Just like a Cadillac, Hoshizaki ice makers are going to cost you a bit more for their consistent, reliable performance. Hoshizaki also allows little to no ‘haggle room’ in terms of price, unlike the aforementioned brands. If you want top of the line quality, you are forced to pay for it with a Hoshizaki ice machine.

    Your ice machine should fit your business as well as the environment in which it operates. Like most products, you will pay more for higher quality, while higher quality ice machines last longer and produce ice more consistently. In an ideal world, your ice machine will create exactly the amount of ice you need, no more, no less. But for those that own a bar in the Arizona desert, or whose ice machine is located in the 120 degree kitchen- you probably won’t be able to get by with an ice machine that does not perform consistently when temperatures increase. To get the most out of your ice machine, do your research. A good bit of information to pay attention to is the AHRI ice production, which shows what your ice machine can be expected to produce in stressful conditions. This rating can be found in the ice machine’s spec sheet, found on the product page. For more information, consider reading this page in our Ice Machine Buying Guide: Things to consider before purchasing a new commercial ice machine.

  2. Countertop Ice Makers: Know Your Options

    Author's Note: When I look for any new product, I always like to compare my options and get as much information as possible. While customer reviews are helpful, I find that opinions vary too often on the same product. This article reviews the facts about the four most popular countertop ice makers on our site, how they perform, and the price at which they are currently being sold (subject to change). This is to help you make the most educated choice possible, and if you have any further questions, please call us, email us, or leave them in the "Comments" area below.

    When it comes to finding the right countertop ice maker for your hospital or health care facility you have quite a few options. Every major ice machine provider has some sort of countertop ice maker to offer, but no two are exactly the same. We created this page to help you sort through the differences and to find the best ice maker for your establishment. Whether you don’t have a lot of space, require a lot of ice, or want to have more ice stored in your storage bin, we have a countertop ice maker for your facility.  These are the four best-selling countertop ice makers available from Ice Machines Plus.

    All of these countertop ice makers are air cooled, and all of them make some form of nugget ice (despite some calling it by a different name). Scotsman is credited as the creator of nugget ice, and their ice is generally the most preferred out of all of these ice makers. They all provide distinct advantages and benefits however, so consider each one before making a decision.

    Scotsman Nugget IceWe’ll start with the Scotsman MDT5N25A, since Scotsman is credited with being the pioneer of the nugget ice frenzy, beginning nearly 30 years ago. When it comes to output, this ice maker is near the top, with the ability to produce up to 523 pounds of nugget ice in a 24 hour period. Like most Scotsman ice makers, the MDT5N25A uses the least amount of water and electricity when compared to the three other brands. Another desirable trait that the MDT5N25A features can be found in its consistent production when air and water temperatures increase. On warm days, or with a warmer water supply, the MDT5N25A will still produce ice consistently, something that not all of Scotsman’s ice makers do regularly. If there is one drawback to the MDT5N25A, it would be its size. This ice maker is among the largest of these four, so it may be somewhat difficult to find space for it to operate, especially when it requires six inches of clearance on the side as well.

    Ice-O-Matic’s GEMD525A is nearly identical to Scotsman’s MDT5N25A. They share the same physical features, output, water and electrical consumption, and dispense methods. The Ice-O-Matic GEMD525A sells for hundreds of dollars less than the MDT5N25A, and is the least expensive option among all of these ice makers. Ice-O-Matic ice makers do not enjoy the same popularity as the three other models mentioned in this article, but they are a subdivision of Scotsman Industries, so it makes sense that these two ice makers are similar and that the GEMD525A is built with the same lasting quality as Scotsman’s MDT5N25A. Again, the only major difference between the two is that Ice-O-Matic’s GEMD525A sells for a fraction of the price.

    Manitowoc SN-20AT Thin Ice MakerManitowoc, for most people, is the most well-known brand in the world of ice makers, but in the countertop category, they leave much to be desired. Manitowoc’s largest countertop ice maker is the SN-20AT, but it produces only 261 pounds of ice in a 24 hour period – 200 pounds less than any of the competitors. All three of the other countertop ice makers provide much higher outputs and they all offer larger countertop ice makers with GREATER outputs if desired. The most desirable characteristic of Manitowoc’s SN-20AT is its size, since it measures only 16.25 inches wide- nearly 10 inches slimmer than the other ice makers. This is because the Manitowoc SN-20AT features only one spout that dispenses both ice and water. That makes the SN-20AT the best choice for areas with spatial restrictions. Otherwise, in terms of height, electrical use, and ice output, the Manitowoc SN-20AT leaves a lot to be desired. Manitowoc’s nugget ice is also not nearly of the same quality as Scotsman’s nugget ice either.

    Hoshizaki’s DCM-500BAH-OS is similar to Ice-O-Matic’s and Scotsman’s ice makers in terms of size, ice production, and power and water usage. The biggest difference between Hoshizaki’s DCM-500BAH-OS and the rest is the price tag. This model is easily the most expensive, and while Hoshizaki is well-known for the high quality ice makers they produce, this unit does not exactly live up to the hype. It does not produce ice as consistently in stressful conditions as the Ice-O-Matic and Scotsman ice makers do. Hoshizaki’s DCM-500BAH-OS dispenses ice via their patented Opti-Serve dispense mechanism, and dispenses ice and water from two separate spouts, just like Ice-O-Matic and Scotsman.

    Hopefully, armed with these facts and statistics, you will be able to find the best countertop ice maker for your business or health care facility. Be sure to make use of the image below that has all of the aforementioned ice makers neatly organized in one are. Feel free to download and/or share it as well if you know of someone struggling to find the right countertop ice maker for their establishment.

    Countertop Ice Maker Buying Guide

    This image contains all of the information listed above in one downloadable image. Only from Ice Machines Plus.

  3. With the Scotsman CU50, Less is More

    Woman in Hammock Reading By PoolYou know those warm summer weekends where everything seems to fall perfectly into place? The yardwork is finally done, the shade trees are in full bloom, and the kids have been shipped off to camp for the week. All of a sudden, you find the time to stir up a conversation with old friends, or find yourself relaxing in the sun in your hammock, on the patio, or by the pool. What could sour this moment? If, by the time you make your way from your ice maker to your lounge chair, your ice cubes have succumb to the warm air, and melted away in your glass, leaving you with a watered down, less than desirable beverage.

    On warmer days, it can be difficult for certain ice cubes to survive in your glass for a long period of time. You may find yourself cramming glasses full of cubes fresh from your current ice maker or freezer, but that rarely seems to suffice as there is little room left for additional liquid to be added. There is one ice maker however, that provides adequate cooling while using fewer ice cubes! That would be the CU50 from Scotsman – a compact undercounter ice maker that makes solid, pure, gourmet ice cubes. Conveniently, the CU50 has also been approved for outdoor use as well.

    Instead of overloading your beverage with low quality ice cubes, why not go with the ice maker that provides the highest quality ice? With gourmet ice cubes, you need only two to four cubes in a 12 ounce glass to keep your beverage cool for hours. When you first see these ice cubes in action, you will be amazed. No longer will you be required to hastily gulp down your beverages for fear that your ice is melting too quickly and tainting the quality of your drink.

    Scotsman's CU50 The secret to the high quality ice produced by Scotsman’s CU50 is in the unique way the ice is created. Normal ice makers create ice by slowly freezing water in its liquid form to its solid form on a horizontal or vertical evaporator plate. With a gourmet ice maker however, this is not the case. Water is sprayed (almost in a gaseous form) up into a suspended, upside down evaporator plate. Imagine an upside down shot glass, or a bell without the clapper inside, and that is what the plate resembles. Assisted by gravity, heavier sediment and mineral laden water falls back into the water storage area. The purest water freezes on contact and slowly (unfortunately, very slowly) ice begins to form - composed entirely of this pure water. The ice, when heavy enough, then falls into the storage bin of the CU50.

    While the Scotsman CU50 makes ice slowly (only around 2.5 pounds per hour), this is not as great a drawback as one may think. Remember, since these ice cubes are oversized, thick, and hard, you do not require as many as you would traditional ice cubes. When filled to capacity, the CU50 stores up to 26 pounds of gourmet ice, so if you leave the ice maker alone for 10 hours, it will refill an empty bin. If you are having a party or hosting an event, you can bag the contents of the ice maker, place the bag in the freezer, and have the ice maker continue making ice. Your ice maker may have to work a little harder in this scenario, but don't worry, the CU50 is Energy Star qualified due to its efficient use of energy and water.

    The Scotsman CU50 is listed as a commercial ice maker, and it has found a place in many homes because of its high quality, commercial construction. This undercounter ice maker is built more sturdily than any residential ice maker. It features a better, extended warranty, and can create greater amounts of ice than most residential ice makers. With the CU50, you are not only getting ice, you’re getting the highest quality ice available – no air pockets, microscopic minerals, or sediment - just crystal clear, pure frozen water. However you want to think about it, less is more and quality beats quantity with the gourmet ice produced by the Scotsman CU50.

    Gourmet Ice from CU50

  4. How Well Do You Know Your Ice Machine?

    man in the ice machineAs far as you are probably concerned, your ice machine simply sits in the corner all day and continuously pumps out ice. But how well do you really know that magical machine that turns water into crystal clear cubes? If you are a bar or restaurant owner, your ice machine may be the cause of frequent headaches, costly repairs, and extended maintenance. Not all ice machine related topics need be boring or cause a headache however. That's why we created this short, 15 question quiz. While you may know some of the answers, we'd bet you can't get all of them right without a little help from Google. Find out just how much you know about the ice machine world, and acquire some new information in the process.

    If you are in the market for a new ice machine, you should take this quiz just to be aware of how much there is to know before you make an educated purchase. The only real way to fail is by making an uneducated purchase, or by choosing the wrong ice machine for your home or business. (That's also why we're hear to help.) Otherwise you may end up paying for reshipment, restocking, and for a new ice machine, and that in itself is enough to cause anyone a headache. Good luck!

     Ice Machine Quiz

    Whether you're looking for an ice machine that makes the lovable, chewable nugget ice, or simply want some hard, slow melting cubes to keep your drinks cool this summer, we have an ice machine that will perfectly complement your home, hobby, or business. Let one of your Ice Experts help you make a decision to find the perfect ice machine for you!

  5. Getting Back to Basics with Ice-O-Matic (and Golf!)

    Learning Golf SwingFor those involved in the sports world, it is common knowledge that the most basic and the simplest instructions are often the most important to follow before moving on to advanced tasks. Before you learn to snap hook your 3-iron (intentionally) around a tree, you learned to keep your head down and follow through on your golf swing. Before you learn how to hit a curveball, you learned simply to keep your eye on the ball in your backyard. In a race, you learned that a steady pace with a sprint at the finish would win far more races than those who emptied their tank in the first few legs. While it is advantageous to continue to train, learn, and evolve, no one succeeds at anything without first mastering the basics and fundamentals of the game. Ice-O-Matic and their ice machines are the epitome of this statement, and they have truly mastered the art of ice making in the simplest form possible.

    With summer-like weather firmly entrenched around New England, I admit, many of my content ideas are thought up on the golf course. Last weekend, I attempted to make an adjustment or two to my swing, and things went well at first, but by the fifth hole, it began to unravel. I was over-thinking every shot and by the 17th, I had had it with the day. So I thought, “Let’s just get back to basics…” and wouldn’t you know it, I closed with a par after (happily) lipping out a birdie putt to close the round. The “basics” for me were, “Keep your head down, and hit the ball straight. Don’t overthink the game.”

    I found that, the simpler I kept things, the better the results tended to be. With Ice-O-Matic, the same is often true, and like my last hole, Ice-O-Matic does not "overthink the game" either. Unlike some of the more "technologically infused" ice machines, Ice-O-Matic keeps things simple. They concern their ice machines with one thing – being phenomenal at making ice (and a LOT of it). You can purchase ice machines from other companies and pay hundreds of dollars more for the same amount of ice production, simply because of the computer technology involved in the other ice machine. Some of the new features and technology available are pretty unique, allowing users to set ice making schedules while collecting and transmitting data from their ice machines to remote locations. This can be useful, but if not used properly it can also backfire if, say, you forget to set your ice machine, or program it incorrectly. By the time you realize you need ice, it will probably too late for your ice machine to catch up with demand.

    Ice-O-Matic makes ‘boring’ beautiful, because with an Ice-O-Matic ice machine, the unit does not stop making ice until your bin is filled completely. Ice-O-Matic production rates are higher (hourly and daily) than the competition because again, all they do is make ice. These ice machines were designed to operate simply, which is one of the reasons why Ice-O-Matic can offer the best warranty in the ice machine industry. It’s no secret that water and electricity don’t mix, and with no computer and fewer electronics in the unit, there is a much lower risk of the two coming in contact with each other in an Ice-O-Matic ice machine. Fewer moving parts inside the unit equates to fewer problems with the machine as a whole (funny the way that works on the golf course too).

    You may have seen a few commercials recently featuring a man in his 30s, surrounded by a bunch of young children, where he poses questions as to which they prefer – more or less, faster or slower, bigger or smaller – and they always choose the “least complicated” answer. With Ice-O-Matic, you get exactly that – an uncomplicated ice machine that will do its job, and do it well. If all you need is pure, simple ice, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Get back to basics with an Ice-O-Matic ice machine.

    Ice-O-Matic Pure and Simple Logo

  6. Breathe Deep, Thanks to Ice-O-Matic and Green ReLeaf

    Ice-O-Matic Green ReLeaf IconRecent studies have shown that climate change is occurring at an incredibly rapid rate, and the effects of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are having an increasingly negative effect on our planet. The warming of the earth’s oceans is creating more devastating storms and contributing to coastal flooding and immense damage. In an effort to offset their global footprint and assist in the reforestation of the world, Ice-O-Matic created the Green ReLeaf program in association with the American Forests’ Global ReLeaf program. If your business has a “green” initiative, check out Ice-O-Matic and what they're doing to help the environment.

    American Forests was founded in 1875 when a few progressive minded folks in Chicago noted how rapidly cities were growing, and realized that America’s resources were not being replaced as quickly as they were being depleted. America's forests and trees were being removed to make way for factories and further westward progression was beginning to have adverse effects on the environment. As of today, American Forests has planted over 40 million trees around the world to combat the continuing introduction of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.

    Exactly what that number means might come as a bit of a surprise. American Forests notes that one fully mature tree can produce enough oxygen for a family of four. To put this into perspective, when all of the trees American Forests has planted are fully mature, they will be able to produce enough oxygen for over half of the population (roughly 160 million) of the United States. Every 100 trees planted can absorb the carbon dioxide produced by an average car traveling 26,000 miles.

    Most people don’t consider where their oxygen is coming from when they're breathing, and probably don’t consider all the other benefits that trees offer to the world. In the United States, more than half of the country’s drinking water comes from forests. Trees help clean the air by removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and also help cool the planet. Their roots help reduce erosion and can keep water clean by limiting the amount of sediment that enters our rivers, reservoirs, and waterways. Shade trees can help reduce energy consumption in the home or business as well, lowering heating costs and energy consumption.

    Ice-O-Matic’s partnership with American Forests through the Green ReLeaf program began in 2009. They set a course to plant enough trees to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions of 15 factories comparable to theirs in size. In order to accomplish this goal they have and will continue to plant one tree for every ice machine sold by their company. Ice-O-Matic aims to educate their customers, employees, and the rest of the industrial world of the simple steps that can be taken to make a difference in the world.

    Along with their participation in the Green ReLeaf program, many of Ice-O-Matic’s ice machines are ENERGY STAR qualified. They adhere to the strict specifications on energy efficiency set forth by the EPA. Their actions as well as their products reflect a company that truly cares about the future generations that will inhabit the planet. Their commitment to quality products that are also energy efficient continues to speak volumes about Ice-O-Matic's company as a whole.

    At Ice Machines Plus, we are proud to offer a full line of Ice-O-Matic ice machines and other Ice-O-Matic products. The steps taken by the Ice-O-Matic through the Green ReLeaf Program are truly a benefit to the entire world, and we look forward to helping them achieve their goals and improving the quality of life for all inhabitants of the planet.

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