Like how not all businesses need a food warmer in their Singapore shops, some establishments don’t need ice machines. For those that strongly require one, it is imperative to understand what kind of machine you need to know which to purchase. There are many configurations and styles of ice maker offered in Singapore for all types of businesses. 

Many factors should be considered when you look for the best ice maker for your business. You will be asking many questions, like what type of ice do you want or in what shape? The amount of ice the machine could put out is another factor that should be considered in the process. Use this to guide you through the process of choosing.

Type of Machines

Although there are many variations within each type, ice machines fall into four basic categories: modular or ice machine head, under-counter ice machine, countertop ice dispensers/makers, and combination ice/water machines. 

Here is how each machine is different from one another.

Modular or Ice Machine Head

Usage: This type of ice maker produces large amounts of ice. Modular machines are designed to sit on top of and supply ice to a bin or a dispenser.

Output: The amount of ice it can produce in a day ranges from 250lbs to 1000lbs.

Under-counter Ice Machine 

Usage: This machine combines the ice maker with a storage bin. It can fit under counters higher than 40”. It can meet the output needs of a small bar, cafe, and restaurant. 

Output: The amount of ice it can produce generally tops at 250lbs. However, you can find machines of the same kind in the market that have higher capacity.

Countertop Ice Dispenser/Maker

Usage: Countertop units are compact and often found in healthcare settings. These usually dispense nugget-style ice that is easier to chew–perfect for hospital patients. 

Output: Though countertop units have small ice storage bins, they can still produce up to 400lbs of ice per day.

Combination Ice and Water Machines

Usage: These kinds of units can dispense water and ice from the same machine. The compact units are great for offices, cafeterias, break rooms and healthcare facilities. Usually, ice-water machines produce nugget ice. Because it is small, these machines typically fit any countertop without taking up too much space.

Output: It can produce up to 500lbs of ice per day. 

Types of Ice

Knowing and understanding the different types of ice cubes commercial ice machines can produce will help you choose the perfect ice maker to buy. Certain types of ice melt slower and are easier to chew, while some have specific shapes to accommodate specific uses.

Here are the various types of ice that machines can produce.

Cube Ice

It is the most commonly used ice type in commercial businesses. Cube ice melts slower than other types of ice and dilutes drinks less quickly. It can come in full, half and regular sizes. Other establishments choose to get it in crescent and speciality shapes. It is best for restaurants and bars. 

Nugget Ice

You commonly see nugget ice cubes in healthcare facilities and quick-serve restaurants. Slow-melting, softer and easier to chew, nugget ice is known as “chew-blet” ice in Follet machines. Nugget ice displaces more liquid and reduces the amount of drink syrup required per beverage. 

Flake Ice

Flake ice is used almost exclusively in chilled meats, seafood and salads displays. Because it is small and comes in soft flakes, it can be moulded around any shape to cool food rapidly. It is also used in blended drinks and desserts. This type of ice is great for grocery stores, markets and buffets. Some healthcare facilities also use shaved ice since it is softer and easier to chew than ice cubes and nuggets.


How Much Do You Need? 

If you’re a business that is just starting, you might have no idea how much ice you would need in a day’s worth of operations. 

Different amounts of ice are required for various applications. About 1.5lbs of ice is served per meal served at most restaurants. Hospitals use about 10lbs of ice per patient, at the same time. It goes to say, the best ice maker for one type of business does not mean it will work well for another. 

Here is a list of estimates that you can use to approximate how much ice you would need.

    • Restaurant: about 1.5lbs per meal sold
    • Cocktail Bar: 3lbs per seat
    • Water Glasses: 6oz per 12oz glass
    • Salad Bar: 35lb per cubic foot
  • Beverage Service:
  • 5oz per 7-10oz cup
  • 8oz per 12-16oz cup
  • 12oz per 18-24oz cup
  • Hotel Guest Ice: 5lbs per room
  • Hotel Catering: 1lb per customer
  • Patient Ice: 10lbs per patient
  • Cafeteria: 1lb per person

Should I Use Multiple Ice Makers?

Using multiple ice makers can increase your labour savings and reduce your downtime. Though it seems that it is easier to have all your ice supplied from one large machine and bin, it usually is inefficient in the end. 

Having only one ice maker will have your staff constantly running back and forth. It will cost more time and increase the chances of cross-contamination. Having several smaller ice machines at strategic places is something that should be considered.

If one of your concerns is downtime, using multiple machines can help ensure that you always have ice when you need it. Having multiple smaller ice machines will enable you to make ice even when an ice machine is being fixed after it breaks down.


Just like how you need to know and understand the bakery equipment that best suits your Singapore shop, the same goes for your ice machine. Strategise your purchase wisely according to your estimated foot traffic. Come to a trusted kitchen equipment service provider like Simplex PTE Ltd. They will help you find and decide on which equipment best suits your kitchen needs. They also have the best soft serve machine in all of Singapore!

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