How Much Does an Ice Machine Cost?

Written by:

Mohammad Bakshayesh

Senior Engineer, Barnet Climate Control

Ice machines offer an efficient way to make perfectly cubed ice or ice flakes for hospitality, catering, food display or medical environments. Commercial ice makers are specifically designed for larger scale use, and there is plenty of choice in terms of brands and models, output and storage size. But when making an investment in an ice maker, the question of how much do ice machines cost will of course be front of mind.

There are various factors that will influence the cost of an ice machine. In this post, we’ll set out to cover questions such as how much does it cost to run an ice machine, how much does an ice machine cost to install, and what can you expect to pay for a commercial ice maker.

Why buy an ice machine?

One of the major benefits of having a commercial ice machine has to be convenience. With a plumbed-in ice machine providing a continuous supply of ice, you won’t have to worry about ordering it in, or running out during peak hours. You can literally produce ice on demand, and have it on hand as soon as you need it.

Commercial ice making machines produce high quality ice cubes, as well as flakes, nuggets and, in some cases, fun-shaped ice such as hearts, stars and balls. A good ice maker will produce slow-melting ice that’s tasteless, compact and consistently identical.

Ice makers can be used in hospitality settings, as well as in shops to keep produce and drinks chilled, and in the healthcare industry for wound care, hydration and physical therapy.

How much do ice machines cost to buy?

In very general terms, commercial ice machines can cost anywhere between £1,000 and £7,000+.

The answer to the question of how much does an ice machine cost will depend on various factors. These will include:

  • Type of ice machine
  • Ice machine features
  • Brand and model
  • Storage capacity
  • Output capability 
  • Water cooled or air cooled
  • New or used

Ice machine type

There are various types of ice machines. Under-counter ice makers are popular in bars and restaurants. These vary in size, enabling you to select the right fit for your space. There are also larger freestanding models which are more suited to commercial kitchens and healthcare environments.

Whether the ice machine is modular or self-contained is another price-influencing factor. Modular ice machines require separate ice storage bins, whereas self-contained machines produce and store the ice within the same unit. Whilst modular ice machines can produce more ice than self-contained models, they do come at a higher price. 

A self-contained commercial ice machine could vary in price between £1,000 and £3,500 for example, whilst a modular machine plus storage bin could be anything from £2,000 to £5,500.

Another factor to consider when looking at how much does an ice machine cost is whether it’s water cooled or air cooled.

Water-cooled ice machines are quieter and more efficient in operation than air-cooled ice makers. Water-cooled machines are therefore more expensive, ranging from £2,000 to £7,000, compared to £1,500 to £4,500 for air-cooled models. However, water-cooled models do tend to consume less energy.

Ice machine features

Features will vary from one ice machine model to the next. Important things to look out for that will influence how much an ice machine will cost include:

  • Output – this is measured in kilograms of ice per 24 hours
  • Storage capacity – how many kilograms of ice the machine can store
  • Cleaning – some models have a built-in or self-cleaning system or feature an automatic rinse and flush cycle for ease of maintenance
  • Timer – some ice machines have an electronic timer so you can set them to produce ice to schedule, for example ahead of opening
  • Ice size and shape – some models will allow you to choose the thickness of the ice. There are also options in terms of ice shape. Some will produce regular cubed ice, whilst others will be designed to make flaked ice, ice nuggets, pebbles or fun shapes.

Ice machine brand and model

There are various ice machine brands on the market, and each will have a variety of models to choose from.

How much ice machines cost is often influenced by brand. But whilst some will require more of an initial outlay, you may find that this is a wise investment, because they will be more reliable and will serve you well for a much longer period. 

Hoshizaki ice machines for example may be considered at the higher end of the price scale, but their quality, durability and reliability makes them a valuable asset that will present less maintenance costs over the long term.

It is also worth considering whether the ice machine comes with a warranty and a parts and labour guarantee, all of which can add value and save costs in the long run.

How much do ice machines cost to install?

Installation costs are another factor to consider when looking at how much ice machines cost.

The outlay required to install an ice machine will depend on its complexity. Larger machines will need to be plumbed in and fixed up to a drainage system, as well as hard wired to the mains. Smaller countertop models can simply be plugged into a mains socket, with no water supply or drainage required.

For plumbed-in models, the location of the ice maker in relation to the water supply will be important as this will determine how long the water line needs to be.

How much does it cost to run an ice machine?

When answering the question, how much does it cost to run an ice machine, there are various factors to consider:

Servicing and maintenance costs

You will need to factor in service visit at least twice per year to ensure your ice machine is kept in perfect working order. A professionally maintained ice machine will run more efficiently and therefore consume less energy. It will also prove more reliable, with less likelihood of urgent repair callout costs.

Ice machine cleaning is also recommended at least once per year, so you will need to allow for specialist cleaning solutions.

A regular maintenance plan will typically cost less in the long run than a series of emergency repair callouts.

A common symptom of an ice machine that isn’t regularly cleaned is a slowed freezing process, which means more energy will be required to produce the ice. A build-up of grime can also result in damaged components, which can again add to your ice machine running costs.

Air cooled versus water cooled

Air-cooled ice makers consume more energy than water-cooled models, but are less expensive to buy and sometimes also to install, as water-cooled ice machines require a separate water line.

Water-cooled machines will also consume more water, so there is a trade-off to consider here.

Ice machine location

An ice machine that’s situated in a warm environment or in direct sunlight will need to work harder to make the ice and will therefore consume more energy. 

Wherever possible, it is preferable to locate the ice machine somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight. It is also advisable to ensure the machine has plenty of airflow around it, as this will also help to reduce energy consumption.

Looking to purchase a commercial ice machine?

At Barnet Climate Control, we supply, install, service and repair Hoshizaki ice machines across the UK. 

We favour the Hoshizaki brand for its globally renowned quality and reliability, and are so confident in its reputation that we guarantee all our reconditioned installations for parts and labour for three months, with all new installations benefiting from the 2-year manufacturer warranty.

If you are considering investing in a new or used commercial ice machine and would like some personalised, professional advice on your options based on your budget and specific requirements, you are welcome to contact us at [email protected] or call us on 0203-4888-663.

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