Types of Commercial Ice

Different Ice Types


Before you purchase a commercial ice machine, it’s important to know what type of ice (i.e., shape) you want your ice machine to produce. The shape of ice not only adds to a customer’s overall experience, but it can also help maximize your beverage costs. While over 80% of U.S. ice machines produce some version of cubed ice, there are other types of ice out there. See below for a quick reference guide that highlights the six types of ice along with the benefits and uses for each.

colored ice cubes

1. Half Cube Ice

The half cube, also known as the “half-dice,” measures 3/8” x 7/8” and is considered to be the most versatile type of ice. A half-cube is a solid, dryer piece of ice with a high ice-to-water ratio (this means it will keep a drink cooler for longer). It melts slower than nugget or shaved ice. More ice can fit in a glass to displace more liquid, which means less of an expensive beverage can fit into the glass.

Benefits

  • Packs tightly into a glass and displaces more liquid. Can increase beverage profits since the ice to beverage ratio is high.
  • Provides very chilled beverage.

Uses

  • Blended drinks
  • Iced coffee
  • Mixed drinks
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Ice retailing (bagged ice)

Industries that use Half-cube Ice

  • Restaurants
  • Convenience stores
  • Dispensers
  • Commercial kitchens

2. Full Cube Ice

Similar to the half cube, a full cube or “full-dice” ice is common and cheap to make. It measures 7/8″ all the way around. With its high ice-to-water ratio, it offers maximum cooling and slow melt time.

Benefits

  • Large surface area
  • Slow melt time
  • Cools beverages quickly
  • Keeps them cold a long time
  • Visually pleasing in mixed drinks/cocktails

Uses

  • Salad Bars
  • Bagged Ice
  • Cocktails
  • Ice dispensing

Industries that use Cube Ice

  • Bars/Nightclubs
  • Offices
  • Hotels
  • Convenience stores/ice retail
  • Banquet services
  • Restaurants
cube ice

3. Nugget Ice

Pellet, pearl, and “sonic” ice are other names given to nugget ice. It is a soft and chewable type of ice. Nugget ice displaces more liquid than cube and half-cub ice. Customers who love nugget ice want more ice in their cup, which means increased beverage profits.

Benefits

  • Soft
  • Chewable

Uses

  • Fountain drinks
  • Blended cocktails
  • Healthcare services
  • Meat/seafood/produce displays
  • Salad bars

Industries that use Nugget Ice

  • Hospitals
  • Bars
  • Restaurants/Fast Food

4. Flaked Ice

These small slivers of ice come in either shaved or crushed forms and make for a very packable ice. This type of ice is perfect for quick and consistent chilling of display items.


flaked ice

Industries that use Flaked Ice

Benefits

  • Even cooling
  • Soft texture will not scratch or bruise food products
  • Visually enhances food displays

Uses

  • Blended drinks
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Healthcare services
  • Chilling food on display
  • Hospitals/healthcare
  • Research laboratories
  • Hospitals/healthcare
  • Research laboratories

5. Crescent Ice

Crescent-shaped ice has a curved side that helps displace liquid. More ice + less liquid = increased beverage profits.

Benefits

  • Slow melting
  • Large surface area
  • Attractive shape

Uses

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Mixed drinks
  • Bagged ice
  • Dispensing

Industries that use Crescent Ice

  • Restaurants
  • Convenience stores
  • Commercial kitchens

gourmet ice

6. Gourmet Ice

Gourmet ice is known for its top-hat shape and unique visual appeal. These ice pieces are typically larger than other types of ice and are used with high-end liquors.

Benefits

  • Attractive shape or color
  • Melts slowly
  • Uniquely large pieces

Uses

  • High-end liquors
  • Mixed drinks

Industries that use Gourmet Ice

  • Upscale restaurants
  • Banquet/event establishments
  • Bars

Learn More

Find out more about commercial ice machines by reading our Ice Machine Buyer’s Guide.

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