undercounter ice machine

Coldline ICE Series Undercounter Commercial Ice Machine Review

March 23, 2020

Coldline ICE Series Undercounter Commercial Ice Machine Review

If you’re looking for a commercial ice maker, you are typically looking for one of two types. Modular ice machines tend to be the most powerful, high volume machines. They are made up of the ice machine head, which makes the ice, and that head rests on a large ice bin. A commercial modular ice maker can make anywhere from 400lbs to 2000lbs of ice per day.

The second type, more common with small coffee shops, small restaurants, cafes and bars, are under counter ice machines. Undercounter machines make less ice than a commercial modular machine, but they still make a lot of ice. We stock under-counter ice machines that make anywhere from 70 to 280lbs, which is plenty for most small to medium size food services businesses.

The ICE70 is a small machine, 70 lbs per day would be a lot for a home buyer but for a commercial business it’s ideal for very small restaurants or cafes, or perhaps as a second machine under a bar in larger restaurant. The ICE180 and 280 are both suitable for the vast majority of businesses, producing plenty of ice for any application be it sodas, coffee, cocktails, even blending or bagging ice. Both models are physically identical and differ only in the volume of ice each unit produces.

By far the two most important factors when buying a commercial ice machine will be A) How well does it work and B) What does it cost. We picked these two Coldline ice machines to review before some other brands because we believe they provide the best answer both of these questions.

How well do the Coldline ICE Series ice machines work? The answer is very well. In fact among all of the brands of ice machine we sell, including premium brands that cost a lot more, the Colldine has the lowest record of service requests. That statistic blew us away when we learned it but its actually the case. The ice machines are very well engineered and well built and they just work. As for cost, you can see for yourself that the pricing is very reasonable. We would not hesitate to recommend these ice makers based on these two factors alone, but lets dig into the some of the details.

The general rule of thumb, when determining how much ice your business will need is to figure 1.5 lb per restaurant customer, and 3 lb per bar customer. A coffee shop serving lots of ice coffee or blended drinks would err on the side of the bar. So if your restaurant has 10 four top tables and 5 bar seats, and you do two services per day, you would look for a 225 lb machine. Since its easy to run out of ice but hard to have too much, we always recommend you bump that up a little. Using this formula an ICE280 would be a great first for a small to medium size restaurant, while smaller shops would be happy with the 180.

Both units share the same body so dimensions are identical. The ICE180 is rated for 180 lbs per 24 hrs while the ICE280 produces 280 lbs per 24 hrs. Each unit stores ice in an 80 bin with LED lighting. Ice scoop is included. Each unit comes on adjustable or removable legs. The legs can be adjusted to fit under almost any counter or bar and adjust independently to stay stable on any surface. If you’re trying to fit the unit under a worktable or very low counter, the legs easily come off. Operating these units without legs is perfectly normal, but you will want to check the air filter a little more often as it will filter more dust and debris on the ground.

Speaking of filters, on the front of each unit you will see a removable tray. This is the internal air filter that keeps the compressor clean of debris. Air cooled machines need to breach to function optimally. You may find other brands require you to remove vent covers or access the back to keep the compressor clear but the Coldline’s make it very easy, just slide out the tray, empty it, and slide it back in. The air filter is not to be confused with the water line filter. An in-line water filter is recommended to ensure the quality of the water entering the machine is optimal, which will preserve the life of your machine. Coldline offers an optional water filter for a reasonable price.

Both the ICE180 and 280 are air cooled machines. 90% of ice maker buyers will buy air cooled. If you need water cooling its is probably because your ice maker will be installed in a very hot location, like a basement or closet without air conditioning. If your ice machine is being installed where there will be people, behind a counter or bar for example, then its probably cool enough for an air cooled machine.

The digital controller allows for easy control over the thickness of the ice you are making, and it has indicators to let you know when it’s making ice, when the self cleaning function is on, or when a filter change is needed. Above the controller you’ll find a slanted easy to access ice bin lid. The ice machines bodies are stainless steel but the lid is a strong insulated plastic, which means it will not bed or deform with heavy use. The lid has an easy to use stay open feature and the bin comes with LED lighting. When you unbox you’re new machines you’ll find the scoop, water hose, and legs packed inside the bin. The scoop hangs on the installed ice scoop hook, mounted on the left of the bin.

These under-counter ice machines do not have to slide under a counter, the 16” x 26” Stainless steel top makes a great work surface or blender station for those in need of work space. On the back you’ll find a 3/4” water connection and installation is very straightforward. Coldline does ask that each unit be installed by a licensed plumber. All ice machines include a standard 115V plug and cord preinstalled so you just put the unit in place, hook up the water line, plug it in and start making ice!.