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In the old days, ice was a luxury that not many people could afford. In our age, people tend to take it for granted – everybody can either buy ice from every local corner store or supermarket or simply make it at home by using ice trays. But we all know that a top-quality beverage, whether it is a smoothie or milkshake, or alcoholic like whiskey and vodka, is only as good as the ice that the maker combines it with.
The best way to prepare the perfect drinks and serve large gatherings of people at the same time is by using a dedicated outdoor ice machine. However, most outdoor ice machine models are quite expensive, so it is best to take several factors into account in order to make the best choice possible. Here is how to buy convenient outdoor ice machines. Also, for in-depth reviews of specific models you should check out this article from IceMakerPro.
Ice Machines Suited for the Outdoors
Outdoor ice machines, while being similar in many respects to their indoor counterparts, have a few specific features that allow them to be suited for outside usage. Typically, outdoor ice machines are more exposed to the elements of nature, like rain, moisture, and excessive heat and cold. As a result, in order to accommodate a wide variety of weather conditions, these units have the following features:
- In most cases, the best outdoor ice machines are built out of stainless steel. Unlike standard steel, this material is more resistant to the effects of moisture, preventing rust and corrosion from developing. If you live in an area where the weather is rainy and humid, an outdoor ice machine is perfectly capable of handling it.
- Since outdoor ice machines do not usually have access to standard floor drains, most of the models come with dedicated pumped drains.
- Outdoor ice machines are capable of generating high-quality ice in temperatures that can reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is worth noting that the machine’s output is highly dependent on the temperature – the higher it is, the less it produces. Before purchasing an outdoor ice machine, make sure to read the model’s specifications to ensure that it is capable of producing your preferred quantity under said weather conditions.
- Generally speaking, outdoor ice machines have a lower output than indoor models. While indoor ice machines are capable of generating a few hundred pounds of ice in just 24 hours, outdoor ice machines will produce between 50 and 100 pounds of ice per day. However, in terms of quantity-quality ratio, outdoor ice machines are capable of generating superior ice. For example, the Hoshizaki 321 has a production capacity of 321 pounds of ice per day. If you own a bar, make sure to buy multiple ice machines in order to face daily business demands.
How To Choose a Model Suited To Your Situation
The next step is deciding which model of outdoor ice machine is suitable for your needs. The first thing to take into consideration is the ice type. Most models will produce ice in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from cubed, nugget, to crushed and cracked ice. Cubed ice is best suited to strong alcoholic drinks, such as vodka and whiskey on the rocks, while crushed ice is perfect for cocktails with rich textures, such as daiquiris and margaritas. While most models are capable of producing all the types, it is best to consult the user manual or a specialized source before deciding on a particular unit. If you are starting a business, you might need to lease commercial ice makers from an ice maker company, this will make your ice production easier and better.
The next issue concerns production capacity and output. Typically, an outdoor model will produce about 100 pounds of ice per day, on average. Obviously, you can’t efficiently run a bar with such a low production, so consider purchasing multiple units, as well as an adequately seized ice bine for safe and sanitary storage and multiple ice scoops.
While we are on the subject of productivity another thing you should verify is whether the place you are planning to install the unit is capable of meeting the electrical requirements of the ice machine. The majority of outdoor ice machines required a 120-volt electrical circuit. Some models require their own electrical circuits in order to function adequately, a task best reserved to a professional electrician.
Finally (and most importantly), outdoor ice machines should respect local health codes and FDA regulations. As we have mentioned above, because they are exposed to the whims of nature, outdoor models are prone to develop mold, fungi and various types of debris that can infect the water and make it unsanitary. As a result, make sure the model comes with a dedicated pumped or gravity drain that is capable of releasing waste and water.
Despite having a lower output than indoor models, outdoor ice machines, thanks to their material and technical specifications, are designed to function outside, regardless of the weather. But before purchasing a unit, make sure to check what type of ice it is capable of producing, the electrical requirements and whether or not it is up to local safety and health codes. Other than that, change the water filters once every four to six months and clean it using dedicated kits.