Portable Ice Makers and the Types of Ice They Make
Advantages of Portable Ice Makers Portable ice makers can save the day when ordinary freezer ice just isn’t enough. They are compact and make ice quickly — usually in less than 10 minutes — so they are perfect for parties, BBQs, and home bars. When you’re not entertaining, use it to have a ready supply of ice for a quick, frosty drink on a weekday afternoon. Portable ice makers can make between 26 to 35 pounds of ice per day, depending on their size, so you never have to worry about running out or having to buy heavy bags of ice again.
One advantage of buying portable ice makers is that you get exactly the kind of ice you want. They come in different sizes, shapes and transparencies, so pick an ice maker that makes the kind of ice you need. Learn the difference between different types of ice before your purchase a portable ice maker???the variety may surprise you and have an impact on which model you ultimately get!
Most portable ice makers make bullet shaped ice, but many models can make ice in different sizes, which may be a feature you want to look for.
Portable ice makers can fit on a countertop and are the fastest and smallest ice makers on the market. They are often used in a home or small office kitchen to replace or supplement a freezer ice maker. No permanent water hookup is needed.
Portable ice makers produce bullet shaped ice because of the way they make ice. Ice is made when water is pumped into a small tube with metal pegs. The pegs first freeze the water, then heat up so the ice slips off the peg and into a storage bin. Portable ice makers recycle the ice water as it melts to make more ice, so you can use it all day long.
Different Types of Ice
Usually portable ice makers produce bullet shaped ice, which are cylindrical with a rounded bottom and hollow middle. Bullet shaped ice has a cloudy, opaque appearance. This type of ice is usually used in restaurants to cool ordinary drinks like water or soda. They are also great for mixed drinks, and melt an average amount so drinks quickly get cold but not watered down.
Most refrigerator-freezer ice makers produce crescent shaped ice cubes, which are long with flat tops and round bottoms. When you pour liquid over these ice cubes, splashing is minimized because of their shape. This ice tends to be on the larger side and they have an opaque appearance. An advantage portable ice makers have over freezer ice is that you can control the quality of the water used to make the ice, since freezer water can have minerals in it that affects the taste of the ice.
Used in both home and commercial settings, cubed ice is a popular type of ice shape. You buy cubed ice in bags at grocery stores, and it’s probably what you imagine in your mind when someone talks about getting some ice with their drink. There are both half and full sized ice cubes. Half cubes melt quicker and can take up more room (if you fill up a glass full of half vs. full sized ice).
The advantage of a half cube ice is that it melts slowly compared to smaller types of ice, like crushed ice, so a drink is cool for a long time without getting watered down. Since more can fit inside a glass (compared to a full-size cube) more liquid is displaced. Full cubes leave more room for liquids in a cup, and due to their large surface area, they take a long time to melt.
Gourmet Ice Flake ice is small and thin, so it melts quickly and is often used to package items and for fish/poultry displays. Some refrigerators and portable ice makers make crushed ice as well, which is sometimes used for cocktails.
Gourmet ice is crystal clear ice that is usually used in fancier restaurants. They come cubed or in the shape of an octagon. Gourmet ice is the reason water at certain restaurants, upscale bars and banquets look so “pretty.” They have a slow melt time and don’t stick to each other. While industrial-size machines are usually needed to make gourmet cubes, there are some portable ice makersthat can give you a steady supply of clear ice at home.
Other Things to Consider Before Buying Portable Ice Makers
Besides the ice size, shape and clarity, also think about how much ice you will need, how quickly you need your ice machine to make ice, and how you plan to maintain your ice cube maker.
The size of portable ice makers vary. While larger units that can produce up to 35 pounds of ice per day seem most convenient, they are more expensive, harder to move and can be louder or use more energy.
Also remember that portable ice makers can’t store ice for long periods of time. Ice melts quickly and while the water is recycled to make more ice, buying a unit that makes the right amount of ice for you is the most efficient way to go.
Countertop portable ice makers do sometimes make a variety of sizes– small, medium and large. The ice produced in portable ice makers don’t get much bigger than what you’d get from a regular ice cube tray. Not all models make different sizes, so think about how versatile you need your ice maker to be.
Portable ice makers are generally easy to maintain and just need a quick, routine draining and wipe down. Some even have self-cleaning cycles to make it even easier to maintain!
Pick wisely from the available portable ice makers and you’ll be sure to find one that makes the perfect ice cubes (or whatever shape you want) for you.