Tri-Point Refrigeration Blog | What to Consider When Buying a Used Ice Machine

What to Consider When Buying a Used Ice Machine

Jan 27, 2024 | Commercial Kitchen, Ice Machines | 0 comments

When it comes to big purchases, new does not always equal better! From cars to ice machines, buying used is a wonderful alternative to dropping thousands on something that you could get for less in exchange for some mileage.

If you’re in the market for a used ice machine, you may be wondering what you should even be considered in the first place as you mull over your options. What things should you be looking for, and what should you be avoiding?

How to find a used ice machine

Although it may seem just too niche, there are plenty of reputable dealers when it comes to the ice machine market, and that includes used ice machines as well. A quick google search will reveal many options for finding used ice machines. Although you can always go to places like eBay and Amazon to find some deals, these sites don’t offer the same security that an actual dealer would. With actual ice machine dealers, you can often be assured that the machine that you’re looking at or purchasing is in good shape and has been inspected by an actual professional who knows what they’re looking at.

What to look for

Good maintenance history. Much like a car, you want a machine that has proven to have had regular preventative maintenance on it. Ice machines are complex machines and require time and attention in order to function well and last you for years to come. Without regular preventative maintenance, you may not know if you’re getting yourself into a sticky situation with a neglected machine.

Where was the ice machine before? Ice machines cannot be installed just anywhere. In fact, we even wrote a whole blog on where not to install your ice machine! The environment in which an ice machine is placed can have an enormous impact on its health and efficiency. Some things to keep in mind when looking at used ice machines in regard to their past placement: was it subject to extreme heat (placed next to the grill or fryer)? Was it in a spot with poor ventilation? Was it somewhere excessively greasy? Was it outside?

Each of these situations can warrant its own special issues that may come along with the placement choice. When looking for your perfect used ice machine, it’s important that it comes from a good home. Look for ice machines that

  • Weren’t exposed to extreme temperatures, hot or cold
  • Were placed in the open with ventilation (not in a corner)
  • Were installed away from the heat of the kitchen

Make sure you have access to parts and repairs. When it comes to older appliances, it may be harder to find technicians who know the machines, as well as have access to replacement parts. A quick google search can let you know if that ice machine you’re interested in has been discontinued and whether or not local technicians are qualified to provide you with the service that that machine may need.

What to pay special attention to

To a non-technician, it might be difficult to spot what could be wrong with something like a commercial ice machine. That’s where we come in to help. Below, we have provided a quick guide on things to pay special attention to during your ice machine search:

The evaporator. This is by far the most expensive part of the machine to replace or repair. It’s extremely important to make sure that the evaporator in a used machine is in good health to avoid having to dish out for a costly repair right off the bat. If the evaporator..

  1. Is warped
  2. Has a plate that is separating
  3. Has the plating stripping off
  4. Has separator rows falling out

It is a no-go. Problems like this can be extremely expensive to fix and are not worth the trouble if you’re on the market for a used machine.

Corrosion. Taking a lot inside the ice maker to make sure it is free of corrosion is easy enough for anyone to do, technician or not. If corrosion is present, that is a sure sign of leakage within the machine, which equals repairs or replacements. Although the damage sometimes can be minimal, it’s hard to know unless you have a tech do a full inspection. So, when you’re shopping around, it’s best to just forgo an ice machine with any corrosion present to avoid an unfortunate situation.

The condenser. When in a poorly ventilated area, an ice machine’s condenser is put under excess stress due to the inability to release its heat. This results in overheating which will cause damage to the machine over a long period of time. This also leads to the condenser building up dirt. If you see a dirty condenser, this is a sign that it was in a poorly ventilated area and has regularly overheated, which means that its parts have been under a lot of stress.

condenser, dirty condenser, hvac, commercial kitchen, ice machine
Dirty condenser

The bottom line

As with any sort of shopping, used ice machine shopping takes some patience. There is much to consider before making your big purchase, but the hunt is worth finding that diamond of a deal. Used ice machines can be great for you, your business, and your budget.

Call us

Have questions or need recommendations? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Tri-Point Refrigeration so we can help you along the way. We’re excited to hear from you, and with regular servicing, we can keep your equipment running smoothly and healthily, while also extending the reach of your dollar.

For a direct line to any of our employees ready on the line to help you, please call…(512) 651-4565 for our Austin, Texas community (806) 686-0050 for our Lubbock, Texas community.

Or check out our website at

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