Understanding Capacity Ratings for Ice Machines

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How We Choose the Right Sized Commercial Ice Cube Machine and Bin for You

Identifying the true capacity rating for a commercial ice machine can be confusing. Lack of understanding can lead business owners to assume their ice makers aren’t working correctly or choose the wrong sized unit for their ice needs.

Below we'll explain how to read two important ratings:

  • Production capacity ratings - Measures how much ice a commercial ice machine produces.
  • Ice storage bin capacities - Measures the amount of ice an ice bin can hold.

Production Rates: Maximum Capacity vs. AHRI Capacity

Both Maximum and AHRI ratings measure the amount of ice an ice maker produces over 24 hours, but at different ambient temperatures:

Maximum Capacity – Measures ice production over 24 hours under "ideal" temperatures. Ice makers perform at their very best when the air temperature around the machine is at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the water entering the machine is at 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll find that a commercial ice machine will produce the most ice under these conditions.

AHRI Capacity – Maintaining a 70/50-degree air/water temperature isn't easy, which is why AHRI Capacity measures 24-hour ice production under "typical" temperatures. This rating measures 24-hour ice production when the air around the unit is at 90 degrees and the water entering the machine is 70 degrees. Naturally, the amount of ice measured under these conditions will be lower than the Maximum Capacity at ideal temperatures.

Most ice machine models are named after their Maximum Capacity rating. For example, a Hoshizaki KM-600 has a Maximum Capacity of around 600 lbs (592 lbs to be exact) but it has an AHRI rating of 503 lbs.

Knowing the difference between these two numbers is particularly important when estimating your ice needs during the summer months when temperatures rise, and customers use more ice.

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