Last updated on October 26th, 2022 at 05:10 pm
What most people call crushed ice — that chewable type of ice that has folks driving to a specific fast food spot just to get a cup — is known in the ice machine industry by other names depending on the manufacturer: nugget ice, Cubelet, Pearl, Chewblet, or even “Sonic Ice.”
To clear the confusion between related ice terms, it’s important to note three kinds of ice that are routinely confused: crushed ice, flake ice, and nugget ice (which goes by many different names). What this article calls crushed ice makers are actually flake or nugget ice makers.
At Easy Ice, our team of Ice Machine Experts has chosen to carry the top ice makers from the full lineup of the flake and nugget ice machines on the market. Under our commercial ice machine lease, we offer the best ice equipment for a low monthly cost. Easy Ice subscription customers get the most reliable ice machines on the market for little to no capital upfront. We also include routine maintenance and cleaning to ensure ice makers work in peak performance year-round.
Below are our top five “crushed” ice makers selected by our experienced team. We include these models under our comprehensive ice machine subscription program.
How to Know Which Type of Ice You’re Talking About
What crushed ice technically is differs from what our customers (and their employees and customers) mean when they say crushed ice. Actual crushed ice is made exactly how it sounds. Ice is frozen then “crushed” into small bits. Crushed ice is much harder than nugget ice and has broken, jagged edges. However, because most people don’t know that, for the purpose of this blog, we are using crushed ice to mean the soft ice people love to chew.
Nugget ice (which goes by many different names) is technically what people want when they think of a soft, chewable ice. It is not “crushed” but a cylindrical shape. To make it, ice is expelled and then cut by the machine into individual pellets that are porous in texture. This allows the tiny nuggets to hold flavors longer, making them popular in the hospitality industry. The texture and size also make it safe for children and patients to consume without fear of choking, in addition to its other medical applications.
An interesting note about nugget ice: it’s produced by a flake ice machine. You’ll often see flake ice chilling food in the displays at high-volume seafood restaurants or seafood markets. Hospitals also use flake ice makers (sometimes called ice chip makers) in their physical therapy wards.
Whether a company chooses to use their commercial ice machine to make flake or nugget ice, depends on the machine’s cutter head. The cutter head is changed out on flake ice machines to create the nuggets, keeping the soft, porous texture of flake or shaved ice but defining the shape.
You can find nugget and flake ice makers in a variety of fields, like:
- Bars and restaurants
- Hospitals and clinics
- Schools and universities
Without further ado, here are our five favorite crushed ice machines.
Hoshizaki DCM-300BAH Nugget Ice Maker And Water Dispenser
Hoshizaki’s chewable nugget-shaped “crushed” ice is called Cubelet Ice. At about ¾ of an inch in size, the small, soft individual pieces are perfect for water and drink dispensers.
The reliable Hoshizaki DCM-300BAH countertop ice dispenser is a robust machine for its small size, producing up to 321 pounds of Cubelet ice per day. Because softer ice is used to treat wounds, the DCM-300BAH is popular in hospitals and physical therapy clinics. Soft, chewable ice is also the preferred hospital ice for hydrating patients who have difficulty swallowing.
The countertop self-service-style water and ice dispenser also make the Hoshizaki DCM-300BAH a common addition in office breakrooms or waiting areas. Its stainless-steel exterior is easy to clean and stands up to daily bumps and impacts. An optional stand is available, providing additional built-in storage space for the dispenser.
The DCM-300BAH-OS is the touchless version of this ice dispenser, designed for maximum safety and sanitary usage. This model uses a sensor to dispense ice, eliminating the need to press a button or lever. Users never have to touch the machine’s surface, avoiding accidental contamination of drinkware.
Hoshizaki FD-650MAJ-C Nugget Ice Maker
If you’re looking for a higher-volume “crushed” Cubelet ice maker, the Hoshizaki FD-650MAJ-C produces up to 634 pounds of Cubelet ice per day. The slim-line unit with front-to-back airflow will fit many dispensers and soda fountains, making it a popular choice for restaurants and businesses with self-service needs.
This model comes equipped with a stainless-steel auger and greaseless bearing system that maintains the machine’s efficiency and is easy to service.
Hoshizaki F-801MAJ-C Cubelet Ice Machine
The Hoshizaki F-801MAJ-C produces up to 690 pounds of Cubelet ice per day. Like the FD-650MAJ-C, the 22-inch width of the F-801 allows it to fit in narrow spaces, but the F-801MAJ-C can also be paired with a second unit on a larger bin (like the Hoshizaki B-700 or bigger) to meet the demands of a business with larger nugget ice needs.
Many creative bar managers and restaurant owners use nugget ice in specialty drinks like slushies, margaritas, and frozen daiquiris. The soft texture of nugget ice is easier on blender blades than traditional crushed or cubed ice and takes considerably less time to mash and blend.
This modular-style ice machine is often installed on an ice bin, but it is compatible with fountain dispensers. However, the amount of ice produced by the F-801MAJ-C will generally be capped by the limitations of storage in most fountain machines.
Scotsman Meridian HID312A-1 Touchless Ice and Water Dispenser
Scotsman is one of the leading manufacturers of ice machines in the U.S. They specialize in commercial ice makers of all sorts, but their touchless crushed ice machine offerings are where the company shines. The shape of the ice is almost identical to Hoshizaki’s Cubelet ice but is even softer.
The Scotsman HID312 produces up to 260 pounds of nugget ice per day and is perfect for countertop use.
Like the DCM-300BAH-OS, the HID-series dispenses ice directly into drinkware using a sensor. Users never have to press a button or lever to dispense ice. The HID series also comes with Antimicrobial AquaArmor with AgION™ molded into the unit to protect against harmful contaminants.
Scotsman Meridian HID540A-1 Touchless Ice and Water Dispenser
If you need a larger crushed ice maker for your business, the Scotsman HID540-1A produces up to 500 pounds of nugget ice per day.
As a self-contained ice and water dispenser, the HID500 has the smallest size relative to production capacity in the ice machine industry. It’s an excellent choice for businesses looking for a high-volume touchless dispenser that can still sit on a countertop.
Like the rest of the HID-series, the HID500 comes with a touchless interface to safely dispense ice. Ice stays sanitary and reduces the risk of accidental contamination.
Need the Best Crushed Ice Maker for your Business? Call the Ice Machine Experts.
The Ice Machine Experts and Easy Ice have experience choosing the best ice makers for any industry. Determining the right size ice machine for your business is not as simple as it seems. Our team is ready to point you in the right direction, whether you need a chewable (a.k.a. crushed ice), square ice, or crescent ice machine.
Under our all-inclusive ice machine lease, you never have to worry about the ice maker issues that come from missing maintenance or cleaning visits. We include the two industry-recommended professional cleaning and maintenance visits on all our ice makers. And if there is ever an issue with your ice machine, we repair it at no additional cost.
In the market for a crushed ice machine? Call us today!
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