top of page

Understanding Different Types of Ice Produced by Commercial Ice Machines

Ice is essential for many businesses, including restaurants, bars, healthcare facilities, and offices. Choosing the right type of ice can greatly affect your operations, customer satisfaction, and even your costs. We'll explore the different types of ice produced by commercial ice machines, their best uses, and their benefits.

Cube Ice


  • Slow Melting: Cube ice doesn’t dilute drinks quickly, keeping flavors intact.

  • Versatile: Suitable for cooling drinks, ice baths in healthcare, and more.

  • Easy to Handle: Uniform shape and size make it easy to dispense and use.

Cube ice is the most common type of ice produced by commercial ice machines, and for good reason. Known for its clear, solid structure, cube ice comes in various sizes, including full cube and half cube options, making it versatile for different applications. In restaurants and bars, cube ice is essential because it melts slowly, keeping drinks cold without diluting the flavors too quickly. This slow melting rate ensures that customers can enjoy their beverages at the perfect temperature for longer periods.

Beyond its practical benefits, cube ice also adds a touch of aesthetic appeal to drinks with its uniform shape. This consistency not only looks good but also makes the ice easy to handle and dispense, whether you're scooping it manually or using automated dispensers. Healthcare facilities also rely heavily on cube ice. It’s used for cooling patient drinks and providing ice baths. The slow melting rate is particularly advantageous in these settings, as it maintains the necessary cooling effect over a longer period. This ensures that patients and staff always have access to fresh, cold water and other beverages.

Overall, cube ice is a versatile and reliable choice for a wide range of commercial applications, offering both functional and aesthetic benefits that enhance the customer and patient experience.

Nugget Ice


  • Chewable: It is soft and easy to chew while keeping your drinks cold, making it a favorite for many.

  • Quick Cooling: Cools drinks quickly due to its small size and high surface area.

  • Safe for Patients: Preferred in healthcare as it’s easy to chew and reduces choking risks.

Nugget ice, often referred to as chewable ice, consists of small, soft pieces that have garnered a loyal following due to their unique texture and versatility. Known as "Sonic ice," named after the Sonic Drive-In restaurant chain where it has become incredibly popular among customers, nugget ice is highly prized for its chew-ability. This makes it a favorite addition to a variety of beverages. The small, soft pieces are perfect for sodas, cocktails, and other drinks, providing a satisfying crunch that enhances the overall drinking experience.

Beyond its popularity in beverages, nugget ice is highly valued in healthcare settings for patient hydration. Its easy-to-chew nature makes it safe for patients, reducing the risk of choking and encouraging fluid intake. Additionally, nugget ice blends seamlessly into smoothies and frozen drinks, offering a quick-cooling element that ensures a consistent texture and temperature.

Whether in a restaurant, hospital, or at home, nugget ice stands out as a versatile and beloved option, meeting diverse needs and preferences. Its unique characteristics make it an excellent choice for any setting where the quality and texture of ice can enhance the overall experience.

Flake Ice


  • Moldable: Conforms to the shape of items, ideal for food displays and packing.

  • Efficient Cooling: Cools quickly, keeping perishable goods fresh.

  • Great Presentation: Enhances the visual appeal of food displays, making them look fresh and inviting.

Flake ice consists of small, thin pieces that are incredibly effective for various applications, particularly in food displays and medical settings. Flake ice is highly valued for its unique ability to mold easily around items, creating a consistent and even layer of cooling. This characteristic makes it perfect for food displays such as seafood counters, produce sections, and buffet setups. Flake ice helps keep items fresh and visually appealing by maintaining a stable, cold environment. Its texture and shape allow it to conform to the contours of the products, enhancing their presentation and making the displays more attractive to customers.

In addition to its use in food displays, flake ice is essential in medical applications. It is commonly used for therapeutic cooling and transporting biological samples. Its efficient cooling properties help maintain the integrity of perishable items and sensitive materials, making it indispensable in both culinary and healthcare industries. The versatility and effectiveness of flake ice in providing excellent cooling and presentation make it a crucial component for businesses that require reliable and high-quality ice solutions. Whether you're running a supermarket, a restaurant, or a medical facility, the consistent performance of flake ice can significantly enhance your operations and ensure the highest standards of quality and safety.

Gourmet Ice


  • Aesthetic Appeal: Large, clear cubes enhance the look of beverages, offering a sophisticated experience.

  • Slow Melting: Melts slowly, preserving the flavor and integrity of drinks longer.

  • Premium Quality: Adds a touch of elegance to cocktails and other beverages.

Gourmet ice, also known as top-hat or octagonal ice, is a top-tier choice for those seeking to elevate their beverage presentation. This type of ice stands out due to its distinctive characteristics and the superior experience it offers.

Unlike standard ice cubes, gourmet ice is larger and much clearer, making it incredibly appealing to the eye. Its unique shape and crystal-clear quality bring a touch of sophistication and elegance to any setting. This is why you'll often find it in high-end bars, upscale restaurants, and exclusive events.

The benefits of gourmet ice extend beyond its visual appeal. It enhances the overall drinking experience by melting more slowly than regular ice. This slow melting rate helps to preserve the flavor and integrity of drinks for a longer period. In environments where the quality of beverage presentation is crucial—such as in premium cocktails and fine dining establishments—this quality is especially important.

In summary, the aesthetic and functional advantages of gourmet ice make it an essential component in creating a luxurious and memorable experience for guests and customers. Whether you’re looking to impress patrons at a high-end bar or enhance the dining experience in a fine restaurant, gourmet ice is the way to go.


Choosing the right type of ice for your business can enhance your operations, improve customer satisfaction, and ensure your products look their best. Whether you need versatile cube ice, chewable nugget ice, moldable flake ice, or premium gourmet ice, understanding their unique characteristics and benefits can help you make the best choice. This way, you can optimize your ice production and storage, contributing to the success of your business.

At Tri-Point Refrigeration, we are dedicated to helping you find the perfect type of ice and the right ice machine to meet your business needs. Whether you need cube ice, nugget ice, flake ice, or gourmet ice, our team of experts is here to guide you through the selection process and ensure you have the best equipment to keep your operations running smoothly. Let us provide you with top-notch service and reliable solutions tailored to your specific requirements.

Austin, Texas Location

Tri-Point Refrigeration, Inc

118 Iron Road Suite 100,

Hutto, Texas 78634

(512) 651-4565

Lubbock, Texas Location

Tri-Point Refrigeration, Inc

13805 Avenue P Unit B

Lubbock, Texas 79423

(806) 686-0050



bottom of page