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Ice Machine Buyer's Guide

What size ice machine do you need?

Ice Machines

This can be a difficult question to answer. Every business or operation has different ice needs. Those needs change daily and seasonally.

You don't want too have too much ice or run out during peak hours. To prevent that from happening ask yourself this...

How much ice do I really need?

Add up your ice usage for the front and back of the house. Does the existing ICE Maker meet peak usage during the hottest part of the year?

If you are a new operation here are some general ice usage guidelines to help you calculate your needs.

Ice Usage Chart
food service Approximate ICE Usage Per Day
RESTAURANT 1.5 lbs. per person
COCKTAIL 3 lbs. per person / seat
SALAD BAR 40 lbs. per cubic foot
QUICK SERVICE 5 oz. per 7-10 oz. drink
  8 oz. per 12-16 oz. drink
  12 oz. per 18-24 oz. drink
Lodging Approximate ICE Usage Per Day
GUEST ICE 5 lbs. per room
RESTAURANT 1.5 lbs. per person
COCKTAIL 3 lbs. per person / seat
CATERING 1 lb. per person
Healthcare Approximate ICE Usage Per Day
PATIENT ICE 10 lbs. per bed
CAFETERIA 1 lb. per person
Convenience Store Approximate ICE Usage Per Day
BEVERAGE 6 oz. per 12 oz. drink
  10 oz. per 20 oz. drink
  16 oz. per 32 oz. drink
COLD PLATE 50% more ICE usage per day
PACKAGED ICE Weight per bag x number of bags sold per day

Remember you may want to add 10-20% to your estimate to allow for future growth, and other types of ice usage. For example ice for beverage service and for keeping food chilled.


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What size storage bin do you need?

Ice Storage Bins offer multiple sizes and storage capacities to fit the most demanding application needs.

When choosing your bin consider the following:

• Weekends are generally busier than weekdays.

• Seasons (During the summer you will probably use more ice than the winter)

• Peak hours will use more ice than other times during the day.

ICE-O-Matic Undercounter Ice Machine
It is important to choose a bin that will hold enough ice on your peak business days, but won't overflow during downtime

If you run out of ice during peak hours, your bin is definitely too small.

If your bin is always full, your ice is melting, your bin is definitely too large.

Bins are usually sized to hold 10 to 12 hours worth of ice production. Larger bins should be used for such applications as supermarket displays for which ice is only changed once or twice a week.


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How much ice will my machine really produce?

The specification sheets from manufacturers list the pounds of ice produced per 24hrs.

This number is not always accurate. Manufacturers usually list the ice produced in ideal conditions of 70° F Air and 50° F Water.

Be sure to look at the ARI (Air-conditioning and Refrigerating Institute) rating before purchasing an ice machine. The ARI laboratories use conditions of 90°F Air and 70° F Water to test ice machines. These conditions are similar to the environment that would be found in a restaurant kitchen.

At Kirby we list both the "ideal" conditions and ARI rating for your convience. Look for the Ice Production chart on the ice machines pages.

ICE Production per 24 hrs
Unit 70° Air / 50° Water 90° Air / 70° Water
Air Cooled 625lbs 461lbs
Water Cooled 567 lbs 499 lbs


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