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What Size Commercial Ice Machine Do I Need?

This sizing guide is an industry standard estimate used by most manufacturers and foodservice establishments to determine the capacity of commercial ice maker needed to meet the demands of day to day service. Keep in mind, air temperature of your establishment will effect output of any machine as well as melt rate of ice.

Type of Use Typical Daily Ice Usage
Full Service Restaurant 1.7lbs per person
Cocktail or Bar Use 3lbs per person
Hospital or Healthcare Facility 10lbs per bed
Cafeteria 1lb per person
Quick Service or Convenience Stores 5 ounces per 7-12oz beverage*
8 ounces per 12-16oz beverage*
12 ounces per 16-24oz beverage*
*Generally: 1oz per 2oz of beverage
Packaged Ice Weight per bag multiplied by average number of bags sold per day
Cold Plate Increase Estimated Ice Needed by 50%
Salad Bar 30-35lbs per cubic foot
Hotel Guest Ice 1-5lbs per person

This table is based on the same ice being used across the board. There are instances where you may need 2 different types of ice machines for your establishment. You would need to consider capacity per each application to get a good estimate of what type of ice yield is needed for the day.

If you are purchasing a commercial ice machine for a facility that does not use the ice machine every day, such as a church or event hall, you may be able to purchase a smaller modular ice head unit (the part of the machine that makes the ice). Pairing this with larger capacity ice bin, that the head unit sits on, will enable you to make and store ice longer which means your production needs can be stretched out to 2+ days instead of one day.

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