If you run a small bar, restaurant, or café, space is limited. An undercounter ice maker is a great solution for your ice needs. They offer a lot of versatility, and the option to install these machines underneath a countertop or bar allows for more walking room.
Let’s discuss some of the different types of undercounter ice machines, and some important points you should consider if you plan on getting one for your business.
The Different Types of Undercounter Ice Makers
Undercounter ice makers measure 40” in height and below, which allows them to fit under most counters and bar tops.
There are two styles of undercounter ice machines that you’ll generally find on the market.
A standard undercounter ice maker has a front-facing door (normally on a hinge or sliding) that staff can open to access their ice supply. These doors make it easy to lean down and scoop ice without having to squat down. Staff can stay above the countertop to talk and serve customers.
The other type of undercounter ice maker is a cabinet-style ice maker, that blends into the counter, making a more discreet option. These types of ice makers are popular in offices, boardrooms, and even home-use. These machines produce only around 50 lbs of ice a day.
Are you interested in an undercounter ice maker? Here are some things you should know.
Just Because an Ice Machine Can Fit Under a Counter, Doesn’t Mean it Should
There are big ice machines and small ice machines, but just because you’re able to fit an ice machine under a countertop, doesn’t make it suitable for undercounter use.
An ice machine requires ventilation to move hot air away from the unit to maintain a proper operating temperature.
Most undercounter machines have front-to-front ventilation, which means that the ice machine takes air from the front of the unit to cool the internal components within the machine.
Once that air absorbs the heat, it needs somewhere to go, preferably as far away from the ice machine as possible. Undercounter ice makers with front-to-front emit hot air out the front of the unit (right next to the air intake), where it is the least likely to be any blockages.
If you notice your ice machine has front-to-back or front-to-side ventilation, you must make sure those vents are unobstructed. This setup is very hard to achieve if you plan on installing a regular ice machine under a countertop.
Undercounter Ice Makers Produce a Modest Amount of Ice
If your business uses a lot of ice (over 300 lbs a day), a single undercounter machine probably won’t produce the amount of ice you need.
Undercounter ice makers are not large, and as a result, are not designed to produce more than 300 lbs of ice a day. This amount may work for small bars and coffee shops but often won’t cover the ice needs of most other businesses.
If you want to install an undercounter machine mainly for convenience, you should look to get an additional ice machine as well.
Not only can other staff pull ice for customers if they need to, but if your ice maker runs out of ice, you can refill it with ice from the other machine.
An Undercounter Ice Maker Comes with Its Own Storage Bin
Virtually all undercounter ice machines are self-contained, meaning they have their ice storage bin built right into the machine.
Modular commercial ice machines require you to purchase an additional ice storage bin to hold ice until it’s ready to use. Since undercounter units don’t produce much ice, they come with ice storage built in to save space. This setup comes with some pros and cons.
It’s great to have an ice machine that comes with everything you need right out of the box, so to speak. You don’t have to size the right ice storage bin to accommodate the ice machine, because the machine stores the ice.
Unfortunately, this type of ice machine doesn’t offer much flexibility for expanding businesses. You’re pretty much stuck with the amount of ice storage you get with these machines.
As we mentioned before, you don’t have to completely discard a perfectly good under counter ice maker if your business grows out of it. Undercounter ice makers make great supplemental equipment because of their ease of use and convenience. Bartenders and barbacks don’t have to run back and forth to get ice, and the ice machine is located right at their feet.
Need a Small Amount of Ice in a Convenient Location? Choose an Undercounter Ice Maker!
An undercounter ice maker is the perfect solution for businesses with modest ice needs and low space. They are incredibly convenient for bartenders and baristas who can’t leave the counter to retrieve more ice.
If you’re looking for an model for your business, contact us. Our commercial ice machine subscriptions include the ice machine along with maintenance, cleaning and repairs for a low monthly charge!