Is a Pellet Ice Maker Right for My Business?

Reading Time: 4 minutes Food Service - Restaurants/Bars, Healthcare, Ice Types

Nugget Ice from Nugget Ice Maker

Pellet ice is a chewable, soft ice shape that has many different names. Cubelet ice, pebble Ice, nugget ice, Sonic ice, and hospital ice are just some of the other names for nugget ice. Cubelet ice is specific to Hoshizaki ice machines. Hospital ice aims to clarify where this ice shape is most popular. Sonic ice is named after the popular drive-up food chain.

Whatever you call it, pebble ice has many uses for hospitals, bars, restaurants, and elementary schools. Let’s look at some of the benefits of pellet ice.

What is Pellet Ice?

Pellet ice is popular because of its unique texture. Unlike most traditional ice cubes, nugget ice is soft and chewable. Traditional ice cubes are dense and hard – but that doesn’t stop people from chewing on them. This ice allows people to chew on ice without harming their teeth.

This type of ice cube is beneficial in many industries where a softer cube is required. Pellet ice is also a popular choice for some specialty drinks.

3 ice cubes

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Which Industries Benefit the Most from Pellet Ice?

Many industries prefer nugget ice for its soft texture. Here are a few:


Chewing ice has benefits – particularly in the healthcare industry. Many patients who are too weak to swallow liquid use ice to stay hydrated. Patients can slowly chew ice and ingest small amounts of water at a time.

Large, square cubes are not the best option to hydrate patients since they are cumbersome and present a choking hazard. These types of cubes are also hard enough to damage teeth.

Hospital ice is a perfect type of cube for hydrating patients because it’s soft enough to chew and small enough that it won’t present a choking hazard.

Softer ice cubes like pellet ice (or flake ice) are also useful when treating injuries. Physical therapy clinics use this ice in cold compresses because the soft textures are easy on plastic bags and provide an even cooling surface. Softer ice won’t cut through bags and leak water over the patients. When the compress is applied to a sprain or bruise, the ice molds around difficult areas like knees and elbows.


Pellet ice is also a great option for elementary schools. Small children enjoy chewing on ice, but sometimes they overestimate the strength of their teeth. With this ice, parents and faculty can feel safe knowing that kids can chew on ice and not hurt themselves.

Nugget ice machines are one of the best commercial ice makers for school nurse facilities because it best suited to treat sprains and bruises children sustain when playing outdoors.

Food Industry

Some bars and restaurants prefer chewable ice over traditional cubes. This is most common in southern states where nugget ice has become a local favorite.

Other bars and restaurants prefer pellet ice because it has a porous texture that lends itself well in sugary drinks. Specialty cocktails, like margaritas and mai tais, are sweet and flavorful. When poured over pebble ice, the cube absorbs some of the liquid. After the drink is finished, customers are left with a glassful of sweet-tasting ice to enjoy.

3 ice cubes

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This is the exact reason why Sonic restaurants choose this ice for their signature slushes.

What Types of Machines Produce Chewable Ice?

Many nugget ice makers on the market produce pellet ice. Hoshizaki makes a full line of countertop ice makers that dispense their signature Cubelet ice. Models like the Hoshizaki DCM-300BAH ice machine produce over 300 lbs. of soft ice a day.

Nugget ice machines also come in modular-style models that require an ice bin or ice dispenser. These types of pellet ice machines are great for businesses that need a lot of ice on hand to serve customers. The Hoshizaki F-801MAJ-C ice machine is perfect for businesses that need a high-volume ice machine.

Choosing the Right Pellet Ice Maker

If you’re looking for a quality ice maker for your business, know they need cleaning and maintenance to continue to produce a safe and reliable supply of ice.

Easy Ice’s all-inclusive subscriptions come with top-of-the-line ice machines for an affordable price. Each subscription comes with two preventive maintenance and cleaning visits a year from a qualified ice machine technician. If you are looking for an inexpensive ice machine solution, everything is included for one low monthly payment. Repairs are also included in the already low monthly cost with a lifetime warranty on parts and labor.

If you need help choosing an ice machine and commercial ice bin, our team of Ice Machine Experts are ready to help. Contact us today!

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