Summer is fast approaching and with it the mercury is panicking! The ice maker is the ideal partner for a day with exhausting heat. During a party or a reception, it is very hard to keep enough ice to last until the end of the event without running out very quickly! With the ice maker exit all these problems.
This is the perfect alternative. There are many models on the market justifying more or less important prices. So it’s easy to get lost. We have reviewed a large amount of articles in order to answer all your questions. After reading our comparison of models, ice makers will have no more secrets for you.
How To Choose An Ice Maker?
Ice machines are fairly complex household appliances so their price, even for entry-level items, is still quite high (count at least 120€ for entry-level items). The more the machine will be equipped with accessories or other functionalities or will have great capacities in terms of power, production speed, etc., the more expensive it will obviously be. Very professional machines can cost upwards of $1,000. This price can cool more than one but for overall satisfactory capacities we recommend a machine between 140 and 200 dollars.
The type of ice maker
Like other household appliances, the ice maker can be divided into two categories:
- Domestic machines, will be suitable for use by individuals. The price is quite affordable for this type of machine (on average between 120 and 200 dollars) and they generally have decent characteristics. A domestic machine will have a power between 80 and 150 W. This power will allow you to produce an average of 12 to 15 kg of ice cubes per day. Which is very suitable for a family or a group of friends for an evening.
- Professional machines are designed for intensive and regular use. The prices can be quite high but the characteristics of these ice makers are however incomparable with domestic machines: they will be larger, heavier, better equipped and with higher performance. A professional machine has a power greater than 150 W, generally between 150 and 200 W. You can produce large quantities of ice cubes (Minimum 20 kg per day) or the equivalent of a reception of around 50 people.
One of the most important elements in selecting your ice maker is its capacity. It is expressed in kilograms per day (Kg/d). For domestic use, we recommend that you opt for a model with a capacity of between 12 and 15 kg/d. This capacity generally makes it suitable for a family or a group of friends for a full evening. Beyond this range, the machines will be more intended for professionals.
These models which will make a large quantity of ice cubes per day (minimum 20kg) will be more expensive and more cumbersome but their incomparable capacities with domestic models will be perfectly suitable for intensive or professional use of the machine. It remains to know the quantity of ice cubes you would like to make.
The power of the ice maker will be expressed in Watts (W). It is this power that will determine the speed of the machine to produce ice cubes. Depending on the model, the power will vary between 90 and 200 W. We advise you to opt for a machine with a minimum of 100 W , which is perfectly suitable for domestic use.
machines Professional have a power of about 150 to more than 200 W. On average, ice makers produce their first batch of ice cubes in 10 minutes, which we will calla cycle. The most efficient models will do it between 6 and 8 minutes against 20 minutes for the slowest. A good ratio between power and speed would be a power of 120 to 150 W for a speed of 6 to 10 minutes per cycle.
The size and shape of the ice cubes
The size of the ice cubes will already be able to vary according to the models which will generally offer either a single size or different sizes ranging from 1 to 3. The thickness will vary according to the quality and power of the machine, and the temperature of the water in the machine (hot water will make ice cubes thicker and vice versa).
You should also know that the first batch of ice cubes will always be less thick than the following ones. If you feel they are not thick enough then you can put them back directly into the water tank or they will be used again for the next batches. Cylindrical or conical shapes for the most part, some models will have more classic shapes (square, rectangular) or more fancy shapes.
The water tank
An ice cube machine will be able to contain between approximately 1 L to 3.5 L of water depending on the model. For an entry-level model, we will have tanks ranging from 1 to 2 L. Beyond that, we will find ourselves in higher product ranges. The models being equippedwith water inlets (like most professional models) do not have them.
Some can also recover some of the water used by the machine in order to make ice cubes again. Its size will therefore determine how often you will have to fill your machine with water.the tank bigger the machine expensive but it will also be more comfortable : you won’t need to refill the water tank often.
Depending on the ice maker models, there is a range of additional options such as a timer, an LED control screen, which will offer functions such as water filtering, self-cleaning or self-distribution… Therefore, the more a model is equipped, the more it will justify it by a high price.
This partly explains the price difference between professional and domestic machines. The ice maker is therefore quite flexible depending on the options. In addition, some models are versatile and allow the production of different sizes of ice cubes, to make cold water or even crushed ice.
maintenance The maintenance of an ice machine is a key step in the proper functioning of the machine, whether in the short term or in the long term. The main enemies of the machine are frost residue and scale. The water in the tank must also be changed regularly as in coffee machines (if not before each use) to avoid health risks (highly stagnant water is a source of germs). We will go into more detail in the FAQ on the steps required to maintain your ice maker.
The choice of brand
The choice of brand will often determine the range of ice maker you want to buy. Distributor brands like EssentialB, for example, will present entry-level products but can surprise with good value for money. More reputable brands like Klarstein will position themselves higher in terms of price but offer quality and good guarantees.
The dimensions of the ice machine
The size of your machine will be a fairly essential selection criterion depending on the space you intend to allocate to it. In order to place or store it easily, opt for a more compact model, if you have space to dedicate to your device, you can opt for bulkier models. Depending on the range, there are all machine sizes, the smallest being transportable in a bag/box. The compact machines will have dimensions of around 30 x 20 x 30 cm, the most classic 35 x 30 x 35 and the professional 60 x 45 x 65.
The weight of the machine
The weight of the machine is an important criterion if you want to transport your machine. Whether you are an individual wanting to share the ice machine with his friends, whether at the campsite, in a garden, on the terrace or a traveling professional, a lighter and more compact machine will necessarily be a plus.
But most machines weigh their weight, some professional models being heavy enough to require several people or tools (hand truck…) to be moved. Transportable models are generally between 2 and 10 Kg. A machine that will stay in your home will be between 12 and 15 Kg and professional models will be around 30 Kg.
Why Buy An Ice Maker?
In most refrigerators or freezers there is no integrated machine to produce ice cubes directly: the most expensive will offer this functionality but at very high prices, the cheapest (those that will be found among students by example freezers) do not allow you to make ice cubes very quickly or in an acceptable quantity (if you still have room for an ice cube tray).
The machine therefore allows you to have ice cubes quickly, in quantity, without taking up space in your refrigerator. Ice cubes will often be used regularly in the summer to cool drinks, but we can find other uses for them, such as for specific recipes, or even to make ice packs for wounds! The machine also recycles the water from the melting of the ice, an ecological process that guarantees no water wastage. The ice maker is therefore, in short, a purchase that quickly pays for itself.
What Precautions Should I Take Before Using An Ice Maker?
First, the machine should be placed on a flat, dry surface. Remember not to let water stagnate in the tank and do not exceed the limit (often indicated by a line). If it’s on your counter or elsewhere in your kitchen, make sure it’s away from your freezer.
Also be sure to clean the ice maker regularly (especially the ice cube tray and water reservoir) which will ensure you get the most out of it every time! The ice cubes will be of better quality and the machine will deteriorate less quickly. Descaling also helps to avoid the risk of breakdowns.
How to Clean an Ice Maker?
In order to clean the device, make sure it is unplugged. All you need is a cloth to clean the internal part. To avoid limescale you can put white vinegar in the water tank.
For the capacitor, occasionally vacuum the inside.
For the external part, pass a light wipe (especially for dust) and you’re done. If you follow these steps your machine should not fail you.
How to descale an ice maker?
Tartar is the number one enemy of our water-using appliances. It can alter the capabilities of your ice maker or even cause it to break down. but don’t panic, we will explain to you in a few steps how to overcome this problem:
– turn off and empty your machine (tank and tray)
– lift the flap/cover at the bottom of the machine
– pour the descaler into the holes provided for this effects
– run the machine (2-3 cycles)
How Does An Ice Maker Work?
An ice maker will cool water then transform it into ice cubes via a pump and condensation system. The pump will inject the water on an evaporator. Once the optimum thickness has been reached, the machine will automatically defrost the ice cube from the system (with hot gas) which will fall into the collection tray provided for this purpose. This being done, it only remains to start the operation again.
How To Use An Ice Maker?
An ice maker is relatively simple to use. Just put the water in the tank, turn on the machine, select the size of ice cubes that suits you and wait for the trick to be played. Some models make your job even easier with options such as the LCD screen that will detail the production steps.
Is A Water Supply Necessary?
Everything will depend on the model, most domestic and professional models have a manual filling tank, so no need for a water supply. For certain models of professional machines on the other hand, often for large capacity machines, they will require a water supply. In this case, it is better to dedicate a space such as the kitchen to it.
What size ice cube?
The choice of the size of the ice cubes will be a plus but not a necessary thing in itself. It is still ideal for adapting to any type of glass, for professional service. Regarding the melting, this will depend on the devices, but a smaller ice cube will melt faster. The size of the ice cube does not vary that much depending on the models and the format that the machine will give it, this does not really impact significantly the melting time of the ice cube. It is above all a function that is aesthetically interesting.
Where to Buy an Ice Maker?
For physical stores you will find these machines in most household appliance stores such as Darty or Boulanger
Large stores such as Lidl, for example, which produce their own ice cube machines at affordable prices but the quality is often incomparable with models a little more expensive
On the internet, market places like Amazon or Cdiscount will allow you to find these items at competitive prices. With more sellers competing with each other, prices are often driven down on these kinds of platforms.
Is It Possible To Use Tap Water?
Water quality is going to be important for using an ice maker. The tart or lime content is going to be responsible for accelerating the obsolescence of the machine. If your water is not hard or if you have accessories such as reverse osmosis or softeners, no problem. However, if your water has the opposite characteristics, be careful not to use too much tap water with the machine.
What Size For The Water Tank?
The size of the tank will define how often you will have to refill your machine with water. Entry-level ice makers generally have a water tank of around 1 to 2 L and higher-end machines have around 2 to more than 3 L. So it all depends on how often you plan to use your ice maker or the number of people it will serve refreshing ice cubes to.