Understanding Capacity Ratings for Commercial Ice Cube Machines

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Capacity ratings for commercial ice cube machines can be confusing. Lack of understanding can lead business owners to assume their ice makers aren’t working correctly.

Below we’ll explain how to read two important ratings:

  1. Production capacity ratings – Measures how much ice a commercial ice cube machine produces.
  2. Ice storage bin capacities – Measures the amount of ice an ice bin can hold.

Ice Machine Production Rates: Maximum vs. AHRI

Both Maximum and AHRI ratings measure the amount of ice an ice maker produces over 24 hours, but at different ambient temperatures. Most ice machine models are named after their Maximum Capacity rating. For example, a Hoshizaki KM-600 has a Maximum Capacity of around 600 lbs (592 lbs to be exact), but it has an AHRI rating of 503 lbs. Here’s why:

Maximum Capacity

Measures ice production over 24 hours under "ideal" temperatures. Ice makers perform at their very best when the air temperature around the machine is at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the water entering the machine is at 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll find that commercial ice cube machines produce the most ice under these conditions.

    AHRI Capacity

    Maintaining a 70/50-degree air/water temperature isn't easy, which is why AHRI Capacity measures 24-hour ice production under "typical" temperatures. This rating measures 24-hour ice production when the air around the unit is at 90 degrees and the water entering the machine is 70 degrees. Naturally, the amount of ice measured under these conditions will be lower than the Maximum Capacity at ideal temperatures.


    Ice Bin Storage Capacities

    Commercial ice cube machines deposit ice into storage bins, where it stays until someone scoops it out.

    The ice machine’s bin switch measures the volume of ice in the ice storage bin and stops producing when it is full. This system prevents overfilling which can cause freeze ups.

    Just like ice makers, ice bins are generally named after their Maximum Capacities, but have an AHRI capacity as well:

    Maximum Capacity

    Storage capacity ratings measure the maximum volume of ice a storage bin can hold assuming it's leveled off, which isn't possible without user assistance. When ice drops, it typically forms in the shape of a mound that peaks. Unless a person levels out the ice as it falls, that peak will reach the ice machine bin switch and stop ice production.

    AHRI Capacity

    Typically, an ice machine holds about 80-85% of its maximum capacity before reaching the bin switch. That means a 500 lbs bin will hold roughly 400 lbs of ice without leveling. This is especially important to consider during off hours when employees will not be there to level the ice in the bin.

    The Easy Ice Upsizing Program

    One of the benefits of the Easy Ice program is that we work with you to select the perfect ice machine that fits your needs. Our Upsizing Program ensures you don’t get stuck with the wrong ice maker or end up spending money to buy a larger machine.

    Let Easy Ice Help Find You the Perfect Combination

    Our staff has decades of experience in the ice industry. They can help you find the perfect machine and bin combination for your business needs.