Tri-Point Refrigeration Blog | Our Top 5 Favorite Under Counter Ice Machines

Our Top 5 Favorite Under Counter Ice Machines

Jan 28, 2024 | Commercial Kitchen, Ice Machines, Reach-Ins | 0 comments

Our Top 5 Favorite Under Counter Ice Machines

We are often asked for our opinion on what the best equipment is from walk-in coolers to ice machines. After years of working on all kinds of equipment we are uniquely qualified to answer that question about any equipment that gets cold. Today we’ll talk about under counter ice machines and our favorites.

Ice machines are unique because they take a lot more punishment than most refrigeration equipment. An ice machine constantly has water running through it which brings a couple of destructive forces: Ice and mineral deposits. Ice is well known for carving up the rocks in Yosemite and left to its own devices unchecked can bend metal and break parts in an ice machine just as easily as glaciers carving rock. For the most part ice doesn’t cause any problems in an ice machine because of the controls that are put in place to control the ice precisely. Issues derived from ice build up are typically only due to a failure of parts that control ice thickness. Mineral deposits on the other hand just happen during regular operation. Adding a quality water filter to minimize the effect of the scale helps but your water will determine how much scale will build up in your machine. We stress the need for regular preventative maintenance to descale and clean the machine as the best way to keep a machine operating normally. Pushing the clean button on the machine does not clean the machine and if you have a scale problem it more often than not requires pulling out the parts that come in contact with water and scrubbing off everything with a cleaner that dissolves scale.

The machines chosen are based upon a few important criteria: Long life, quality of materials, and need for repair.
ice machine, icemaker
Manitowoc UNP0300A Under Counter Nugget Ice Machine

5. Manitowoc UNP0300A: If you are looking for a nugget ice machine for your office or small coffee shop, this is the way to go. Manitowoc makes great machines and this is no exception. The machine produces 330 pounds of ice and the bin holds 50 pounds of ice.

Manitowoc SMS050A Under Counter Gourmet Ice Machine

4. Manitowoc SMS050A This is a smaller unit designed for home use. It produces some of the best tasting ice due to the process used to form ice. Water passes over a frozen plate and freezes to the plate. But it doesn’t just freeze the water. It freezes the water and lets the impurities run off leaving only the cleanest water to make ice out of. All of the crud in the water is drained out of the machine after the ice has harvested to keep it from building up in the water used to make ice. This process creates ice that you can’t get out of your average home refrigerator. Machines number 1 and 2 create ice in a similar manner. Nugget machines do not use this process but it is often overlooked due to the well loved texture of nugget ice. This machine makes 53 pounds of ice and holds 25 pounds.

ice machine, under counter
Hoshizaki C-80BAJ Under Counter Nugget Ice Machine

3. Hoshizaki C80BAJ This is another unit designed primarily for home use but it creates the famous ‘Sonic’ ice that so many people crave. Hoshizaki makes excellent ice machines but they are typically head and shoulders above the rest with their nugget ice machines. This little under counter machine is great for parties making up to 80 pounds of ice and holding 20 in its bin. Hoshizaki makes all of their nugget machine evaporators using stainless steel which can take a lot more punishment from the ice, water and descalers than other manufacturers.

ice machine, under counter
Koolaire KF0150A Under Counter Cube Ice Machine

2. Koolaire KF0150A Koolaire is the affordable brand of Manitowoc. Think of Manitowoc as a Lexus and Koolaire as a Toyota. The Koolaire machine may not have as many frills as the Manitowoc but what frills do you really need in an ice machine? Your ice machine should make ice and that is what this does. Koolaire does just that with a proven design of less is more. This machine makes up to 169 pounds of ice with an internal bin that holds 92 pounds.

ice machine, under counter
Koolaire KF250A Under Counter Cube Ice Machine

1. Koolaire KF0250A This Koolaire is probably the most popular size of all under counter ice machines. It is the same concept as the previous unit but makes more ice and holds more ice. It is great for small coffee shops and small bars that need ice but don’t use ice in everything. This machine makes up to 258 pounds of ice and with an internal bin that holds 134 pounds.

Wow! You’ve made it through Tri-Point’s favorite top 5 ice machines! I hope you feel more well informed about under counter ice machines. If you are in Austin or Lubbock metros please call for help determining what ice machine is best for you. We’d love to help! Give us a call at:

Austin: (512) 651-4565
Lubbock: (806) 686-0050

Or check out our website at

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