6 Critical Steps to Choosing Best Undercounter Ice Makers in the Market
If you enjoy ice-cold beverages or having friends and family over for dinner, you may have, at one time or another, become frustrated because your freezer couldn’t keep up with your demand for ice. Relax! Now, this could be thing of the past.
Rather than purchasing bagged ice, you now have the option of installing an undercounter ice maker.
#1: Picking a Location
Before shopping for an undercounter ice maker, you first have to decide where you’d like to place it.
When choosing a spot, keep these factors in mind:
- Access to electricity
- Access to a water line
First thing first, you want to choose a location that is convenient for your needs. While you might immediately pick the kitchen, think of other possibilities. For example, if your kitchen is small, perhaps you’ll want the ice maker in the dining room or living room so that it’s easily accessible during parties and other evening get-togethers. It’s perhaps mention-worthy that the spot you pick must have access to an electrical outlet and a water line.
#2: Deciding on Size, Production Capacity and Storage
Size, storage and production capacity are three aspects that can be quite confusing for a homeowner. For instance, you may see a large undercounter ice maker and automatically assume that it makes lots of ice and quickly. While this could be true, it could just easily not be the case. To ensure you choose an ice maker that fits your individual needs, it’s important to understand each of these aspects discussed below.
Size: The size of an undercounter ice maker refers to its physical dimensions. Some ice makers are small, like a microwave, while others can be nearly as large as your refrigerator. The Whynter UIM-155 is an example of a compact unit measuring only 18 inches tall and 15 inches wide, while the SPT IM-600US is an example of a large, commercial undercounter ice maker that’s about 33 inches tall and 15 inches wide.
Production Capacity: How much ice an ice maker can make in 24 hours is known as its production capacity. Depending on your needs, you may use only a little bit of ice over a long period of time or a lot of ice over a short period of time. If you’re more like the latter, maybe because you like to throw evening parties every now and then, you’ll need an ice maker with a greater production capacity.
Taking the examples from above: the UIM-155 produces about 12 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period, whereas the IM-600US – a commercial undercounter ice maker – can make about 50 pounds. As you can see, there’s a drastic difference between the two, making it essential that you pay attention to this important feature.
Storage: When talking about storage, we’re referring to how much ice an ice maker can hold. Take note. The term isn’t the same as how much the ice maker can produce (production capacity).
Most ice makers can’t hold as much as they capable of producing, which means that you either need to remove the ice— either by using it or storing it elsewhere— to see if an ice maker meet its daily production limit.
There’s no way to place any of these features above the others because they are all equally important. They must all be taken into account to help you determine which undercounter ice maker is best for you.
#3: What Kind of Ice Do You Want?
If you often go out to eat, you know that there are many different dimensions of ice. In addition to the various cubes available – including square, crescent and octagon — there are also nuggets, crushed ice and flakes. Deciding between which you’d need most often really boils down to your preference and intended use of your ice maker.
For sodas and other beverages, any variety of ice cube will work just fine. However, if you like making mixed drinks or chewing on your ice, you might want to lean toward a gourmet ice maker.
Nuggets, for example, are small and easy to chew, so they aren’t overbearing in a mixed drink. On the other hand, ice flakes melt quickly, so those are a better choice if you like making slushies and other fun concoctions.
#4: What’s Your Style?
One last consideration when shopping for an undercounter ice maker is its physical appearance. Do you want a unit that you can install among your cabinetry or do you want something that is free-standing? What’s your décor scheme in the area where you’ll place the ice maker?
Choose an ice maker like the IM-150US by Sunpentown if all of your other appliances are stainless steel. If your refrigerator and other appliances are black, you can opt for Koldfront KIM450BL.
Of course, if your ice maker will be hidden behind cabinet doors, its physical appearance won’t really matter. In such scenarios, you should turn your focus to its other important features, such as size and storage capacity.
#5: Relying on Reviews
Making any kind of major investment can be nerve-wracking. After all, you want to make the best choice. Undercounter ice makers reviews can be invaluable when you’re stuck trying to decide between a few models.
In addition to relaying issues that users might be experiencing with their machines, reviews also offer some insight into how customers use their own machines. You can compare these accounts with your own needs to help narrow down a choice.
When browsing through undercounter ice maker reviews, it’s important to be reasonable and keep an open mind. First, take stock of the general consensus on a product. Are the reviews mostly favorable, unfavorable or somewhere down the middle?
Remember that reviewers on websites like Amazon are real people just like you: they’re consumers who are offering their opinion. While it’s a good idea to read negative reviews to see what problems certain machines may cause (or what customers might have been unsatisfied with), it’s important that you weigh negatives vs positives.
#6: Properly Maintaining Your Undercounter Ice Maker
There’s not much that’s more embarrassing than serving your guests bad food. That extends to serving them bad ice— that is, ice that has a bad taste.
To ensure your undercounter ice maker produces the best ice, you have to maintain the machine thoroughly. Read the manual, and make sure that you complete all recommended maintenance procedures, which may include regular replacement of the water filter or water lines.
Another way to keep your ice tasting good is to regularly clean out your ice maker, especially if the ice has been sitting for a while. Be careful about which cleaners you use, as residue can linger and alter the taste of your ice.
You should consider purchasing a specially designed cleaner to ensure the best results. In addition to being safer than standard household cleaners, these cleansers are designed to eliminate minerals, scale and other debris that may accumulate inside your machine.