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Ice Maker Capacity - One of the Most Important Considerations for Commercial Ice Makers

Ice Maker Capacity: One of the Most Important Considerations for Commercial Ice Makers

Commercial ice makers are important pieces of equipment for many types of businesses. There are a lot of details to consider before purchasing an ice machine that can support your establishment, and one of these considerations is the ice maker capacity.

Ice maker capacity is a factor that directly affects the pace and efficiency of your work while ensuring ice-based operations run as smoothly as possible. A healthcare clinic might need ice packs for a cold compress, and restaurants and bars can’t do without some ice cubes to serve cool and frozen drinks. In any case, you need to assess the needs of your business at their best and worst and ensure you have an ice maker that can rise to the task at any given moment.

Therefore we prepared an article where you’ll find out how ice maker capacity works and what you should pay attention to while deciding on your machine’s capacity. (You can also refer to our ice maker article for more broad information on ice machines.)

How is Ice Maker Capacity Defined?

Adcraft LIIM-500 Lunar Ice 30" Cube Ice Maker with 275 lbs Bin, 500 lbs/Day - Ice Maker Capacity - Chef's Deal

Ice maker capacity determines how much a machine can produce in 24 hours. Also known as the 24-hour yield, it helps business owners figure out how much ice they will get from a machine within a day. It would help if you considered your busiest times as a business before making a choice.

A high-capacity ice maker is always better than little capacity since peak times are the times you prove yourself as a good business capable of meeting the demand. The size of the ice maker often defines how much it can produce, but if you have limited room and can’t fit a big machine, you can invest in a separate ice bin. This way, you can transfer the produced ice to the bin for later use and keep producing on the side. It might not be the easiest path, but it’s a solution for small spaces. 

The Difference Between Ice Maker Capacity and Production Rate

While capacity is a term used for both production rate and storage capacity, it is important to differentiate these features. Production rate determines how much ice will be produced, while the ice maker capacity and bin or storage capacity define how much of the produced ice can be stored before use. Both terms are capacity related and carry importance. Some ice makers have internal storage spaces, and some come with bins. For others, you might need to invest in a separate bin. Either way, the storage space you have will affect your efficiency. 

Most ice makers will stop producing automatically once the storage is filled up to a certain amount. That is often 50-100 lbs short of the maximum storage space so it might be confusing for first-time ice maker users, but this automatic feature is quite useful and important. By leaving room in the bin, they ensure there is no freezing or issues with the machinery. 

External Factors that Affect Ice Maker Capacity 

Ice maker capacity is often regarded as maximum capacity even though those two things are different. While ice makers are “capable” of producing a certain amount at a given time, they usually don’t make the full amount. 

  • While it might be because of the reason stated above, it is also usually due to external temperature. Maximum capacity is based on how much a machine can produce under ideal temperatures. AHRI capacity is a term used to explain ice maker capacity under common temperatures, those your kitchen might be more accustomed to experiencing. AHRI specifically is an institute that serves to certify the claims of sellers for the benefit of customers. Under non-ideal temperatures, the ice maker capacity will suffer a bit and produce less than what was stated as the maximum. So it would help if you keep this in mind while buying an ice maker. It’s always smart to leave some room for flexibility and fluctuations. 
  • The water temperature is also an influential factor. If the water used to make ice is too hot, the ice maker might struggle, take more time, and produce less. 
  • Of course, like most commercial ice makers, proper maintenance and cleaning will help your ice machine’s day-to-day production and longevity. 

How to Determine Your Ice Need

Eurodib USA BIN200 Ice Bin for Ice Machines - Ice Maker Capacity - Chef's Deal

Ice needs can vary from environment to environment, and it’s hard to give average numbers you can apply to your unique business. Whether it is the type of ice used or the type of business you are running, there will always be special circumstances shaping your needs. You can take the time to come up with an estimate for your business by paying attention to several details. 

  • The brand will state the production rate before you make your purchase. However, to discover how well the ice maker capacity holds up in your kitchen, you can run the machine for a day and record how much it yields per hour. This will give you a more accurate rate and help shape your production schedule.
  • Next, you must consider the number of customers you have. To estimate the needed ice maker capacity, you can calculate how much one customer needs or how much a meal/drink requires ice. Most businesses consider the number of seats they have and prepare according to the full capacity of their restaurant/ bar. Healthcare clinics can also adapt this method and calculate how much a patient would need, or they can look into the number of beds they have to figure out their full capacity/ standard needs. 
  • Recovery time is another piece of information you will be presented with before making your purchase. It’s closely related to ice maker capacity. In fact, it is basically a term used to express how much an ice maker can hold before any ice is removed from it. It is important to know this detail since business hours can be very inconsistent. You might not use any ice for a few hours, and in the next hour, you might need all the ice you have. Knowing the recovery time will help you adjust your ice maker capacity and ease your schedule. 


Ice maker capacity is very important when shopping for ice machines. It defines the efficiency of a business and ensures you have a reliable ice maker for ice production. There are several details you should pay attention to make sure you correctly understand the capacity claims of a machine. Once you get your facts straight, you can make the right choice for your ice maker capacity.

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