If your refrigerator does not include a built-in ice maker, then a home ice maker can be an extremely valuable and worthwhile purchase. Ice makers are ideal for large families, for those who entertain guests frequently, for small businesses, or any setting that requires a steady flow of ice. These independent ice makers are available in many sizes and styles, including undercounter, freestanding, and portable models, and are produced by many of the most popular appliance brands. Although some of the fancier models with the most features can cost a pretty penny, the more basic, uncomplicated models are relatively inexpensive, both to purchase and operate.
Start by deciding what style best serves your needs. Undercounter and freestanding units can be an ideal solution for larger families where a standard refrigerator ice maker can’t keep up with demand. The undercounter style is designed to fit underneath the counter in a kitchen or bar, and most can sit as a freestanding unit as well. Some freestanding/undercounter units even provide storage space for beverages and other items you’d like to keep cold as well. Portable ice makers are also readily available for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. These units enable you to keep beverages cold even when you’re outside picnicking on a beautiful, sunny summer day. Rather than stocking coolers with ice and hoping it doesn’t melt on those hot midsummer days, a portable ice maker allows you to generate ice on the spot. Simply add water and plug it in, and ice will be ready to go in a short period of time.
One you’ve decided on what type of ice maker best suits your needs and lifestyle, it’s time to determine how much ice you’ll need on a daily basis. If you have a small or average sized family, then a small model that makes about 12 pounds of ice daily may be perfectly adequate. If you entertain guests often or have need for a lot of ice though, you can find machines that produce larger quantities, some up to 125 pounds a day. Naturally though, the price of an ice maker goes up in relation to the amount of ice it can produce. Decent to high-performing ice makers range can from $300 to $2000.
The last decision you’ll need to make before actually picking out and purchasing a new ice maker is what shape and level of clarity you prefer for your ice. Independent ice makers typically produce crescent-shaped ice cubes similar to what a refrigerator ice maker would produce. There are some models though that make cubed, bullet-shaped, flake, or nugget pieces of ice. Some of the more advanced models even allow you to adjust the thickness and density of the cubes they produce. Then there’s the issue of clarity. Most units produce regular “cloudy” ice cubes, while others are designed to make clear cubes. Some people worry that cloudy ice cubes appear that way due to water impurities. In actuality, if the ice turns out cloudy or white, it’s because the ice maker freezes the ice much faster than clear ice cube makers, trapping air bubbles in the process. There is virtually no difference in the taste or level of impurities between the two, they just look different.
Installation is usually unique to every home and location, but you should always use an appliance or plumbing specialist to install ice maker units that require a water line or drain. But as always, make sure you do the proper research on different brands and models before purchasing new unit, and you can’t go wrong. Enjoy the convenience and luxury of having your own independent ice maker at home, at work, or on the go!