Countertop Nugget Ice Machines - 3 Keys to Consider

Author:  Cassie Johnston, CFSP
Countertop ice machines are the jack-of-all-trades of the ice world.  You’ll find them everywhere from hotel lobbies, office break rooms, golf courses and nurses’ stations.  They provide a cool drink for tired travelers, fill ice packs in emergency rooms and provide healthy refreshment for employees.  With all these uses, it’s important to know what to look for when buying one of these machines.  In this blog we review three key considerations when purchasing countertop nugget ice machines.Orange-Nugget-(1).png
The first thing to think about when purchasing a countertop ice maker is how it will be used?  In a hospital setting these machines often serve multiple purposes.  They may fill bags of ice for injuries, to satiate hunger pangs, or simply provide hydration for patients and medical staff.  At a hotel it may be placed in a lobby for guests, or outside of a conference hall.  The key is that the ice machine you choose needs to be flexible enough to make and store enough ice to satisfy a wide range of uses and quantities.
Thankfully there are options available for a wide range of uses.  These countertop ice machines can range in daily production capacity from 150-500 lbs., so it’s important to understand how much ice you will typically use.  These machines also provide storage capacity, typically between 10-20 lbs., though some machines can store several hundred pounds. One consideration with nugget ice is that due to its higher water content, it can begin to clump together, so unless you’re continually using large volumes of ice, it’s preferable to have the ice turn over more frequently with a smaller storage bin.

One of the reasons that countertop ice machines tend to produce nugget ice is that the evaporator is compact relative to the more common cube ice machines.  This allows the machine to have a smaller overall footprint, which is often a critical requirement.  Using healthcare as an example, the countertop ice machines are typically located in a nursing station, among the supplies needed for patient care.  As you might imagine, space is typically very limited in these high-traffic areas, and the machines require space for proper ventilation. 
Countertop ice machines are designed to have narrow widths to maximize counter space.  While that is an important measurement, it’s also important to understand the height and depth of the machine, in essence, the cubic space the machine occupies.  A narrow machine may require additional depth, and more storage typically requires more height.  Larger capacity machines will likely consume more space and may be more challenging to service when space is limited. 
Like any ice machine, countertop ice makers require regular maintenance, including cleaning and sanitization.  This is very important not only from a health and safety standpoint, but also because scale build up can damage the auger in the evaporator.  As a rule of thumb, the easier it is to clean a machine, the more likely it is to be cleaned.  Automated cleaning systems simplify the process and can typically be completed in about an hour. 
In addition to cleaning and sanitizing, touchless dispensing is also an important sanitation feature.  Sensors and levers reduce human contact with the machine and eliminate direct contact with the ice.  The outside of the machine should also be easy to wipe down and clean regularly. 
If you are looking for a countertop ice machine, Manitowoc Ice strikes a perfect balance with the CNF0201 and CNF0202 models.  These units dispense water and ice and produce up to 315 lbs. of nugget ice daily with either 10 or 20 lbs. bin storage options, providing maximum flexibility.  The narrow 16.25” width, 24” depth, and maximum 42” height means that these machines will fit into nearly any countertop location.  With touchless dispensing they reduce contact with the machine, and the 10.5” dispense opening leaves room for the tallest beverage containers as well as patient ice bags.  Finally, the one-touch cleaning system and DuraTech™ exterior make it easy to keep your countertop ice machine sanitized and clean. 
Posted: 7/31/2020 3:00:32 PM by Aaron Brix | with 0 comments

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