Fill up those ice molds, put them in the freezer and wait several hours and you have yourself enough ice for a few drinks. Who would bother with ice molds, it is far easier to buy a bag of ice from the store, until you forget and run out of ice when you are entertaining your friends.
An ice maker for a home bar makes sense then, no more running out of ice and no more trips to the store or endlessly filling up molds.
Two Types Of Ice Machine
Ice makers generally come in two types and which one you buy will depend on space and budget.
Compact Counter Top
If space is tight and you do not want to spend too much on your ice machine, then a counter top ice maker will be a good choice. They will give you a decent supply of ice whilst being small enough to move around. But they have their restrictions.
Bigger Under counter
If you have the space and the budget, then the bigger under counter ice maker is going to give you a better supply of ice without the restrictions you will find with the smaller counter top versions.
Let’s drill it down to compare the two.
Counter Top Ice Making Machine
If you want ice but you don’t need it on a commercial scale, then these compact counter top ice makers are a popular choice. Being quite small and lightweight they will serve more than your home bar, you can use them in your RV or take them to any event you like as long as their is an electricity supply handy.
Being small though does restrict their capabilities compared to their bigger counterparts, they do not have a water connection, which means they do not have to be plumbed in, but this also means that these units have to be manually filled with water.
They do not produce a huge amount of ice from every fill, and will probably only accommodate between 5 to 10 drinks per batch. That being said they do produce each batch fairly quickly, with some machines managing a 5 to 6 minute turn around.
Because of their compact size they do not have a freezer storage bin, so they won’t store ice until you are ready to use it, and if ice is not used once it has been produced, then it will melt. The melted ice water will be recycled and a new batch of ice made.
A counter top ice maker is ideal for light use and of course if you are tight for space, but if you entertain a lot and you ice demands are quite high, then you may find they cannot keep up with your ice demands and you may want to look at a more capable under counter ice maker.
Under Counter Ice Makers
If your ice requirements are more on the serious side, then you will probably be better off with an under counter ice maker, these beauties can produce a lot more ice than the smaller counter top machines.
The obvious advantage apart from producing more ice is that they can store ice too, so you will always have plenty of ice to hand and your party will not stop in its tracks because the ice runs out.
They do take longer to produce a batch of ice compared to the counter top machines, the average is around 15 to 20 minutes, but this is not a problem because of their storage capabilities.
If your ice maker is staying with your home bar and you have the space to accommodate a bigger unit, then an under counter ice maker is well worth the investment and would look the part next to your wine/beer cooler.
Ice Is Ice
Not all ice is equal, their are different shapes which have different uses, which may determine which ice maker you buy.
Full Ice Cube
Probably the most common, or most known ice cube, the big square cube. These are used broadly in bars and restaurants and are easily produced, which make them popular. They melt slowly compared to some other ice shapes, so are ideal for any drink.
Obviously smaller than a full ice cube, they are popular commercially because of their smaller size, and will work in any drink, but will not last as long a full cube.
This fancy ice is cylindrical in shape almost looking like a glass itself, which is why it finds it’s way into high end establishments to benefit the aesthetics of any drink. A special machine produces this type of ice and they are normally faultless and transparent.
It’s name describes it’s half moon shape, but why would you want crescent shaped ice?
It sits well in a glass because of its shape, rarely sticks together and reduces drink splash, who knew.
This ice looks like a tube or a pellet and is softer than the rest already mentioned. This makes it ideal for chewing and great for blending with drinks. Apart from bars and restaurants this ice is also used for display units keeping food cool and fresh.
As the name suggest these are flakes of ice that are soft and mold able, almost like snow. This ice is used for packing and display use, you will see it at any fish counter, but is used with many foods.
It is also ideal for blending in drinks and used for the likes of snow cones and slush puppies.
Who knew their was so much to know about ice, anyway back to the machines that make it.
Ice Makers For The Home
Apart from being a cool feature of any home bar, an ice maker is a useful one too. There are plenty to choose from and now you know you can decide what type of ice you want before you buy.
The only other decision to make is whether you will go for a counter top or an under counter ice maker, which will be determined by space and budget. Having your own ice machine makes sense and will save you time and effort, ice on tap as it were.
Do share your thoughts below, if you have any tips or questions then leave a comment.