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Many people opt to buy and install their own ice makers in their kitchens, especially for when they have large groups of people over to entertain.
But what should you be looking for from an ice maker or machine? And are they really worth the price tags they come with? Let’s take a closer look.
Why Buy an Ice Maker?
During summer, everyone loves ice! It’s often really convenient to just fill up an ice cube tray and to transfer it into the freezer for a few hours. But believe it or not, this method of ice-making is quickly becoming very dated!
Ice makers give you quick, constant access to ice. Fantastic for parties or for large groups of people, all you need to do is hook your ice machine up and start filling glasses to cool down those drinks.
Waiting for water to freeze takes time and effort. When you’re hosting a barbecue or a gathering, you are going to need to keep those drinks filled with fresh ice at all times!
If your need for ice is relatively low, then continuing to use a freezer will obviously be a more economical choice. However, if you are interested in buying an ice machine, there are a few factors and features you should take into account while shopping.
The size of your ice machine is obviously going to impact on the price you pay. However, you may only need a small amount of volume for the ice you’re likely to need. Smaller machines, too, are more likely to be more efficient.
What’s more, while bigger ice makers will produce more ice, they will also consume more electricity. It’s therefore a good idea to look for a more economical choice if you don’t want to ramp up your power bills.
That being said, some ice makers are designed for occasional use, which means they’ll only really be getting used on special occasions.
Consider indoor fans to be similar in this respect – you’re only ever going to use them when needed, not powering them on constantly. Doing so will, of course, cause your bills to skyrocket.
Portability is key when you want to host parties on a patio or veranda. Therefore, finding a model which can be attached to an extension reel, or which has its own power supply, is going to be worth doing.
Portable ice makers will also be easy to pick up and transport, which means you should be in a good position to freely move it around between your guests as and when needed. There’s no longer a need for you to keep popping back into the kitchen to grab ice out of the freezer.
Ice makers aren’t likely to need much in the way of TLC; however, it’s always worth giving your machine a good clean-out every season, or after every few uses if you’re powering it on a lot. Think about buying a system which has a built-in filter.
These can be used to help self-clean, which means you’ll never have to open your ice maker up to scrub it out. Depending on how much you pay, that’s a lot of convenience!
Some machines work quicker than others. Again, the faster a machine, the more power it is going to use. That being said, your demands might require ice to be ready in a few minutes, as opposed to in an hour or so. Therefore, it’s worth looking closely at how long a machine is going to take to crunch that ice together for you.
Yes, you can even narrow down your options based on the shape of ice you require. Don’t like the idea of crushed ice? Want bullet-shaped nodules or classic cubes? Compare and contrast. Some machines may even be able to handle different shapes and forms as you wish.
It’s always worth you researching this, as some ice shapes are likely to melt quicker than others. It’s simple science, believe it or not!
Frequently Asked Questions
You may have plenty of questions you’d like to ask about ice makers and machines before you get shopping. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more common queries posed by shoppers.
I Have a Working Freezer – Do I Really Need an Ice Maker?
If you have lots of ice cube trays and a deep enough freezer unit, there may not be much need for you to invest in a specialised ice maker outright. However, people do buy them for instant access to ice, which can be really handy when entertaining. An ice maker isn’t something that’s going to be essential for every home.
How Much Should I Spend on an Ice Maker?
Obviously, the more you spend, the more features and the bigger capacity you’ll get. However, it’s a good idea to have a ballpark figure in mind. A good ice maker or machine should cost you just over £100, including from reputable brands. It’s not a massive investment if you’re likely to use it a lot.
What are the Best Brands to Look For?
Best sellers, and those with the best ratings, are those manufactured and sold by Andrew James, NETTA and Kenley. You’ll likely find plenty of machines from other brands out there, too. It honestly doesn’t matter too much, but if brand security is something you care about, look for these names first.
If you entertain a lot and are looking for a quick and easy way to prepare ice for your guests’ drinks, a little more than £100 should be a safe investment for you to make.
However, if you are unsure whether or not you actually need one, you may be able to fall back easily on a tap and a freezer. It’s ultimately your choice!