Ice Cube Types

Redefine Your Business Success With the Right Ice Machine That Produces the Right Type of Ice

The success of any hospitality or food service business lies in meeting the demands and requirements of customers with complete satisfaction. Therefore, as a business, you need to focus on every little detail to delight the customers. For example, the type of ice you choose for storing and displaying frozen food in your grocery store or serving specialty drinks can make a big difference between a one-time customer and a returning customer.

You can easily produce the right type of ice by getting the right ice machine. At LA ICE MACHINE, we offer a wide range of ice machines designed to produce different ice forms. All ice machines are available for rent. Our rental programs are affordable with no upfront capital or hidden cost.

The type of commercial ice maker you choose should be guided by what you plan to use it for and, in some cases, what type of establishment you’re buying it for. THE LA ICE MACHINE guide makes it simple to sort through all the choices armed only with those two facts.

When selecting an ice machine, the most important thing to keep in mind aside from the production rate is the shape of the ice that the machine makes. Each type of ice has its own benefits and drawbacks:


Different Ice Types

Here are the most preferred forms of ice used commonly in bars, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and schools.

Crescent Ice

Make beverages look fuller with crescent ice. This type of ice looks like an elongated cylinder. It’s thicker, clearer, and harder than other ice forms. These properties make crescent ice slow-melting a perfect choice for serving liquor and cocktails where you don’t want the ice watering down the flavor.

Dice and Half Dice Ice

Dice ice is your best option to pack the glass beautifully with no gaps. The symmetrical shape of this ice fills the glass perfectly, ensuring no overpours. Similarly, half-dice ice is great for blended drinks like frozen cocktails and smoothies.

Square Cubes

It’s a classic choice for craft cocktails and luxury drinks. They instantly enhance the visual appeal of the drink without diluting its flavor. We carry square ice makers from Manitowoc and Hoshizaki.

Top Hat Ice

Take the beverage drinking experience at the local bar to a new level by serving drinks with top hat ice. These ice cubes can instantly add personality and charisma to any gourmet drink in your range.

Cubelet Ice

Also called nugget or sonic ice, this form of ice is an excellent choice for serving drinks to children and patients. Unlike others, nugget ice is chewable, soft, and porous. It helps retain the drink’s flavor and makes chewing ice fun for children without damaging their teeth.

Flake Ice

When you need more from your ice, flake cubes are the best. It can be used for food storage, displays, transportation, serving chilled beverages, and medical applications.

Sphere Ice

Add luxury, and creativity to your drinks with sphere ice. These oversized ice balls will wow your customers and make every sip a joy.

Commercial Cube Ice Makers

Best ice for:

Soft drinks, mixed drinks, bagged ice, ice for dispensing

Best type of ice maker for:

Bars, baggers, and many restaurants

Ice type names:
  • Ice-O-Matic: full cube
  • Manitowoc: regular cube (larger) or dice (smaller)
  • Hoshizaki: square cube
  • Scotsman: dice ice

The scoop on the commercial cube ice maker:

These produce the larger rhomboid ice cubes typical in bars and in soft drinks in some restaurants. The solid build of this ice type makes it perfect for soda or spirits. This type has a high ice-to-water ratio, which offers maximum cooling and a slower melt, pleasing customers and cutting down on production needs. They’re also great for large-volume applications, including bagging and bulk cooling.

Commercial Half-Cube Ice Machines

Best ice for:

Soft drinks, mixed drinks, frozen cocktails, bagging, ice for dispensing

Best type of ice machine for:

Restaurants, convenience stores, dispensers, and most any commercial kitchen

Ice type names:
  • Ice-O-Matic: half cube
  • Manitowoc: half dice
  • Hoshizaki: crescent cube
  • Scotsman: half dice & small cube

The scoop on the commercial ice machine:

Half cubes are typically smaller versions of cube or dice ice, though the Hoshizaki equivalents are crescent cubes, which we cover later in this guide. Half-cube ice is considered the most versatile type of ice, which is why it shows up in restaurants, convenience stores, dispensers, and baggers. That diversity has made this commercial ice maker the most popular, despite the fact you’re not likely to find it in most bars. Like full cubes, half-cube ice offers a relatively high ice-to-water ratio, which means a solid piece of ice that won’t water down drinks as quickly, has more cooling power, and lowers production needs.

Commercial Nugget Ice Makers

Best ice for:

Fountain beverages, specialty soft drinks, and blended cocktails

Best type of ice maker for:

Restaurants, bars, convenience stores, properly-equipped dispensers, and any eatery where drinks are made into stars – and profit drivers

Ice type names:

  • Ice-O-Matic: Pearl Ice®
  • Manitowoc: nugget, tubular nugget
  • Hoshizaki: cubelet
  • Scotsman: nugget
  • Follett: Chewblet® Ice
  • Other: pebble ice, pellet ice, Sonic ice

The scoop on the commercial ice machine:

These little chunks of ice have several names, but one thing that has made them famous: The attraction they hold for those who love to chew ice. Nugget has become their go-to, and the establishments that cater to them have taken note. So popular are nuggets that The Wall Street Journal has even recognized the growing allure of nugget ice commercial ice makers, and Sonic has centered a business model on drinks built around nugget ice. “Sonic ice” is sold by the bag, with some locations of the drive-in chain selling dozens each week. The eateries traditionally relied on Scotsman commercial ice machines, though other manufacturers have made inroads.

Beyond being chewable, nugget ice is drier than flake ice, so it’s better in dispensers, readily absorbs the flavor of the drink, and blends well in frozen drinks and smoothies. Since customers expect more ice when they’re getting this chewable type and since you can pack these small pieces in more tightly, you’ll save money on drinks. However, if you’re using nugget ice and offering refills on it, count on spending more money on ice. That’s not just because people will crunch the ice, but also because it melts more quickly than solid types thanks to all those nooks and crannies, which increase the surface area of the ice.

Commercial Crescent Ice Makers

Best ice for:

Soft drinks, mixed drinks, bagging, ice for dispensing

Best type of ice maker for:

Restaurants, convenience stores, dispensers, and most any commercial kitchen

Ice type names:

  • Hoshizaki is the only manufacturer that makes a commercial ice maker that produces crescent cubes. Though it’s unique to one company, crescent ice has a fan base, both among restaurateurs and customers, who will seek it out.

The scoop on the commercial ice machine:

Its uses are the same as half cubes because the crescent cube is essentially Hoshizaki’s entry in that category. What differentiates it from the class is that curved side, which allows it to fill a glass better, which means more ice and less drink, cutting costs. Though the shapes are different, the commercial ice machines that produce crescent cubes use the same process as other cubers.

Commercial Flake Ice Machines

Best ice for:

Produce, chilled foods on a buffet, seafood or meat in a display, blended cocktails, medical uses

Best type of ice maker for:

Buffets, grocery stores, fish markets, anywhere that puts chilled food on display, and healthcare and institutional uses

Ice type names:

  • Everyone actually agrees on this one: It’s flake ice.

The scoop on the commercial ice machine:

Flake ice also has some stock with ice chewers, though it’s less likely to show up in drinks unless they’re mixed or frozen. Its main chewed usage comes in healthcare institutions, where its small size makes it perfect for serving drinks without the possibility of patients choking on ice chunks. It is also the ice of choice for packing around injuries, since it forms easily and doesn’t have corners to poke into flesh. It’s ideal for food presentation settings like buffets and produce markets, and works beautifully in drinks that are primarily spirits, with no water to cut them. Its 73 percent ice-to-water ratio makes it light and chewable. Unfortunately, it also melts more rapidly, so it will disappear more quickly in drinks.

Commercial Gourmet Ice Makers

Best ice for:

High-end liquors, drinks at premium eateries or events

Best type of ice maker for:

Upscale restaurants, event and banquet halls, and bars

Ice type names:
  • Ice-O-Matic: Gourmet Ice
  • Manitowoc: Gourmet Ice
  • Hoshizaki: Top Hat Ice
  • Scotsman: Gourmet/Top Hat Ice

The scoop on the commercial ice machine:

For Manitowoc, gourmet ice comes in a unique octagonal shape, while Ice-O-Matic, Hoshizaki, and Scostman have cylindrical ice that looks like a top hat. In each case, the individual piece is larger than other types of ice and has nearly a perfect ice-to-water ratio, meaning a beautiful, crystal-clear cube that is extremely effective at cooling beverages. Drop one or two into a hi-ball with some well-aged Scotch and you’ve got a premium presentation that high-dollar customers love. Because the pieces are so large and solid, you need fewer of them to do the job, and since they’re too substantial for chewers, you won’t be making repeat trips to the table to replace ice that was munched.

No Capital. No Hassle. Just Ice

No matter what your industry type is , we will help you find the perfect ice-making equipment that fits your business’s requirements.

Rent an Ice Machine Today

At LA ICE MACHINE, we have a large inventory of ice machines of all makes and models. Whether you need an space-saving nugget ice machine or a dice ice machine that can produce ice in bulk, we have you covered. Compare and evaluate your options to find the perfect machine that fits your budget and ice production needs.

We offer all machines on rent. Our rental program is all-inclusive. This means you not only get the ice machine of your choice for a low and fixed monthly rental fee but also additional services. These include professional installation for optimum efficiency, bi-annual preventative maintenance, and repairs and replacements (if and when needed).

With us, you can laser-focus on your business while we make sure your ice machine works efficiently and optimally all year round.