Size is another factor to consider when choosing an ice machine for your home bar. The size of your home bar ice maker will be a big consideration, since you obviously want to purchase one that fits well in the room you have designated for it. Bar ice makers range from tiny, under counter units to behemoths which take up their own dedicated water line and are virtually impossible to install without assistance. While smaller units can be used in any refrigerator, large industrial strength machines are best suited for commercial use.
Price. Bar ice machines can be rather expensive, and most homeowners would like to choose models that fit within their budget. If you’re just getting started with making your own beer or wine, a basic model will do; if you plan on bringing your homemade creations to a party or other special occasion, however, you’ll want to spend a little extra. There are several different price ranges for these machines, but even a basic model should cost less than a couple hundred dollars. These portable ice machines can be purchased new or used, and are not difficult to find in any local store that sells food, appliances, and related supplies.
Performance. Because most home bar ice makers utilize the standard water line connections, they don’t require too much maintenance beyond changing the water regularly. While this sounds good on paper, many models require at least yearly maintenance to ensure that they work correctly and don’t waste water. Most reputable manufacturers offer detailed instructions on proper maintenance, and the process of changing out parts is relatively easy and quick.
Look at reviews. You can read hundreds of reviews on any given ice machine before you buy one, and these can often be found on the manufacturer’s website. Be sure to check out customer testimonials and reviews right here on the company’s website, because these will give you a good idea about their level of customer service and product quality. While it’s always best to spend your money with a company that consistently provides excellent service, you can never go wrong when you spend it with a company that also provides rave reviews from other customers.
Choose an ice maker that meets your needs. Although most machines have the ability to change the thickness of the ice, not all do. There are two major types of ice machines: those that have pre-set thickness levels, and those that allow you to choose the thickness you want. The pre-set thickness settings are more convenient if you only plan on making small or medium sized drinks, or if you don’t plan on entertaining many guests. If you need an ice machine that makes large, thick drinks like beer, you’ll need to look into the edgestar iPA210ti line.
Look for a durable and compact form. Most compact forms are just as effective as larger ones, though they are usually easier to store away and more compact. The Deli Portable Ice Maker is one example of a compact form that comes with a stainless steel body, which is just as stylish as it is functional. It also has a built-in cooler for refreshing your drinks on-the-go.
Choose a machine with a built-in filter. Bar ice makers generally come with some sort of filtering system. However, the ideal system should offer multiple filtering options, such as an ion exchange system, or an ion exchange system that utilizes copper oxide to prevent unwanted particles from getting past the porous surface of the ice. Some machines also feature a built-in fountain, which pumps in filtered water and dispenses it through a straw. This is especially helpful if you host events where guests are served with water from a bottle, since the filtered water dispenses just as well.
If you have a large bar, or if you serve upscale cocktails often, it might be worth spending a little more on a fancy, classy ice machine with a special filter that not only filters tap water, but also takes care of other crucial functions, such as dispensing non-fizzy juices, flavored water, and even wine. Opal nugget ice makers, for instance, take care of all of these tasks using opal-colored rocks. The opal stone chips that make up the nugget are crushed between two grinding stones, producing the sparkling drink you’re looking for.