If you’re thinking about doing a large kitchen remodel and you like to entertain, chances are you will be shopping for an ice maker. And you might find that not all ice makers are made the same.
Below we review some of the top questions you should ask before buying a new undercounter ice maker.
Q1: What types of undercounter ice makers are there?
All ice makers are 15” or 18” wide and require a standard 110 plug outlet. You have 2 kinds of ice makers: Crescent Ice Maker or Clear Ice Makers. Crescent ice is generally found in a regular refrigerator or ice cube tray while clear ice is in 90% of undercounter ice makers.
In a clear ice maker water is pushed from the top down through a sheet of metal at a temperature of 32 degrees to make sure the water has no impurities and then the oxygen bubbles are removed from the water as it freezes. This is how clear ice also gets its crystal clear look.
Crescent ice makers simply froze tap water and any bubbles or impurities in the tap water will be in your ice.
15″ Ice Makers
18″ Ice Makers
Q2: Are there different shaped ice cubes and which is the best?
Crescent Ice – Can be found in your normal refrigerator ice maker. It’ll do a good job but as mentioned before will change the flavor of your drinks and melt quickly.
Nugget/Cubed/Sonic Ice – The smaller chips will cool your drink down faster but it also melts faster. These are great for soft drinks and individuals that like to chew their ice.
Top Hat Ice (Gourmet Ice) – Is the BEST ice in my opinion! This ice will give you the most surface area and it melts the slowest. It is not necessarily something you will want to try to chew but it works great for cocktails.
Top Hat Ice
Q3: To drain or not to drain?
This is probably the most important and the most overlooked question. Stored clear ice does not last long as it eventually melts and is drained. In order for the water to drain you need either a gravity drain or a pump. The pump simply pumps the water from your ice maker to the sink drain. A gravity drain requires a drain to be installed in the floor. If you’re replacing an existing unit already in your home but are not sure which drain you have, simply pull the ice maker out a little bit to see if there is a drain on the floor or a line to your sink.
If you have a crescent ice maker, you don’t need a drain since these ice cubes create cold like a freezer and do not melt until removed.
Q4: How much ice does an undercount ice machine hold vs. produce in a day?
On average ice makers are able to produce up to 70 pounds of ice per day and can store up to 35 pounds. You will want to pay close attention to the production. If you entertain a lot you will want an ice maker that produces more ice in a day then not.
Q5: What can I expect to spend on an undercounter ice maker?
If you want a good quality ice maker, you can expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 dollars.
Q6: What kind of maintenance comes with an ice maker?
You will need to clean and sanitize your machine every 6 months, or when the notification lights prompts you. This is very important! The performance of your ice maker depends on routine maintenance and should never be overlooked. If you’re not a fan of maintenance work, there are plenty of service companies that will take care of it for you.
Q7: Will I need a water filter?
Most undercounter ice makers do not require a water filter but most have water filters available as an add on. Water filters will help remove particulates and chemicals from your water. Your ice will be cleaner and taste better. Also it’s great for your machine because it won’t slime as fast! If decide you want a water filter you will need to remember that you will have to change the filter regularly.
Q8: Is there a warranty available on undercounter ice makers?
The answer is yes, typically you can get a 1-3 year warranty depending on the manufacturer.