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Nugget Ice Trends – Choosing Chewable Ice Makers

What is nugget ice, and is a chewable ice maker right for my type of establishment?
Which ice machine do I need for producing nugget ice?
Is nugget ice one size fit all?

You may have noticed the growth in popularity when it comes to a certain, addictive, chewable ice. Perhaps you have pulled up to a Sonic drive thru, and ordered a beverage just so you could enjoy the added ingredient – that added ingredient that we all love so much, including your restaurant patrons is called nugget ice. But did you know that nugget ice serves a special purpose, comes in different styles, and has benefits to both you and the end user? In this guide, we will discuss the considerations of establishments that benefit the most from this type of ice, which type of chewable ice makers are needed to produce nugget ice, and the different type of nugget ice in the restaurant industry.

Beverage with nugget ice

Why Nugget Ice

Nugget ice is more than a chewable, satisfying after-thought to your favorite soft drink. Nugget ice is made from compressed flakes instead of a solid form made from a tray or traditional ice maker. Because of this, nugget ice is ideal in environments such as medical facilities, establishments that specialize in blended cocktails and more due to its soft consistency. Food industry professional love it for quality sake, as this type of ice is slow –melting, helping to keep beverages from becoming over diluted.


Soft, taste-free and odorless, keeps drinks cool without diluting them.

Ideal for:

Carbonated beverages, food displays, ice dispensing, and blended cocktails (smoothies, cappuccinos etc).

Types of Nugget Ice

Nugget ice goes by many names – from pebble ice, to the informal and well-known reference, Sonic Ice. Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one type of nugget ice. Through its Meridian™ lineup, Scotsman offers the H2, which differs from the H1 style in that it is a harder ice with less water content, yet still soft and chewable. Ice-O-Matic’s Pearl Ice® chewable ice, and there is also Tubular Nugget by Manitowoc, the cubelet by Hoshizaki, and Chewblet® by Follett.

Scotsman the H1 and H2

  • Chewability - soft
  • Hardness – slow melting
  • Water Content – 80% ice and 20% water
  • Shape – cylindrical; ¾” x 5/16” x 3/8”

Pearl Ice® by Ice-o-Matic

  • Chewability - soft
  • Hardness – slow melting
  • Water Content – low water content allows this ice to blend quickly and displace liquid well; great for dispensing
  • Shape – cylindrical; ½ x 3/8

Manitowoc Nugget

  • Chewability - soft
  • Hardness – slow melting
  • Water Content – 70% ice content for a softer ice, great for blending
  • Shape – octagonal; 3/8" to 1/2"
  • Beverage with nugget ice

Nugget Ice Makers

When looking for a chewable ice maker, there are a variety of quality brands to choose from. Each offers a different set of unique features and functionality, so finding a nugget ice maker that best fits your operations' needs will be a key component. Let’s consider features of some of the top choices for nugget ice makers:


  • Scotsman’s Prodigy Plus® nugget ice maker operates at maximum efficiency with its front facing reusable air filter.
  • Small operational footprint with 22" and 30" nugget ice machine for maximized space.
  • Vari Smart ™ technology for advanced ice level control – helping you save product.
  • Uses up to 50% less water and 15% less energy than cube ice machines , which is great for the bottom line.


  • Ice-O-Matic’s Pearl Ice® helps prevent costly repairs with a load-monitoring system to shut down system before a problem occurs.
  • Rugged stainless steel evaporator and auger for added reliability.
  • Dual-row roller bearings outside the ice-making zone for corrosion resistance, aiding in long lasting usage.
  • No side clearance required


  • Hoshizaki® Cubelet Ice Makers perform a 15-minute purge every 1 to 12 hours (depending on model), which rids the unit of impurities
  • Self-contained design reduces opportunities for cross contamination
  • Removable air filters


Manitowoc’s under counter nugget ice machine offers the following features:

  • Designed to Last
  • Nugget Ice
  • Light-weight, space saving footprint

Understanding the demands of your commercial kitchen, healthcare facility, bar or other establishments will give you the best insight on which features matter most for you. Knowing these brand specific features will help you determine your nugget ice style and figure out which nugget ice machines are perfect for you.

Related Products

Manitowoc 172lb Undercounter Nugget Ice Machine with 40lb Ice Storage - RNS-0244A
Scotsman 500lb Nugget Meridian Ice Maker Dispenser Wall Mounted - HID525AW-1
Scotsman Prodigy Plus 1100lb Nugget Ice Machine 22" Air Cooled 208v - N1322A-32A
Ice-O-Matic 464lb GEM Series Air Cooled Pearl Style Ice Machine - GEM0450A
Related Categories: Ice Machines, Nugget Ice Head

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