Modular Ice Machines

If your establishment uses a lot of ice, then a modular ice machine is perfect for you. Also known as an ice machine cuber head, modular ice makers provide a lot of flexibility, as they can be mixed and matched with differently sized ice bins and dispensers, including soda dispensers.

Modular ice machines can produce anywhere from 250 lbs. of ice to over 1,400 lbs. per day! Typical cuber head sizes are available in 22”, 30” and 48” widths. Ice storage bins come in the same standard widths, in order to easily fit the standard-sized ice cuber heads. You can also mount smaller cuber heads on larger bins or dispensers. This requires the use of a bin adapter kit, which serves to cover up any open space on top of the bin and allows the head to sit firmly. Our Product Consultants can work with you to determine the right bin for your modular ice machine.


Modular vs. Self-Contained

When shopping for an ice machine, you may see references to self-contained ice machines. There is a major difference between self-contained and modular ice machines. Self-contained ice machines serve as an “all-in-one” unit, combining the ice machine with the storage bin. Modular ice machines consist of just the ice machine head. The bin is sold separately. However, Central offers head-bin kits that are matched just for you, so you don’t have to do the work to find a compatible head and bin!

Self-contained ice machines are also known as undercounter ice machines. They usually have a compact footprint, and produce low volumes of ice, perfect for small bars, cafes, and break rooms. So, if your establishment uses a lot of ice, a modular ice maker is your best bet.

Types of Ice

Cube Ice

Cube ice is the most standard ice type you’ll see offered in commercial operations. Cube ice melts slowly and cools drinks quickly. Full cube, half cube, and regular size cubes are available (they may be referred to as “dice” instead of “cube.” Rest assured, they mean the same, the terminology just varies based on manufacturer).

Full-sized and regular-sized cubes are perfect for soda or alcoholic drinks because of their slower melt, which reduces watering down customers’ drinks.

Half cubes are known as the most versatile type of ice. They can be used in drinks, slushies, and are also the preferred type of ice for bagged ice. Half dice cubes have a lower production need, which saves money on energy costs.

Gourmet Ice

Also known as octagon or top hat ice, gourmet ice is a large type of ice that is ideal for higher end drinks, such as “rocks” drinks.

Nugget Ice

Nugget ice is a popular type of ice, specifically for customers who like to chew their ice. Also known as pearl, cubelet, or chewblet ice, nugget ice is soft, but hard enough to be dispensed. This makes it perfect for fountain drinks and blended drinks. Nugget ice does melt more quickly than cube ice, so you can expect more ice refills from your customers.

Flake Ice

If you’re looking for an easy way to keep displayed food chilled, look no further than flake ice. Flake ice resembles the type of ice you’d see in a snow cone. It can be used for food displays such as shrimp cocktail, or for buffet displays. It’s also a great choice for retail displays, such as seafood counters at supermarkets.


Cooling Type

Air Cooled

For most establishments, an air-cooled ice machine is going to be the best option.  Air cooled machines use fans to move air over the condenser to remove heat from the unit. They are the simplest to install and maintain, as all the components are contained within the unit.

One thing that must be considered when purchasing an air-cooled ice maker is clearance. The machine needs to have a minimum amount of space between it and the ceiling/walls for it to have the airflow needed to run smoothly.

Water Cooled

Water-cooled condensers are, quite frankly, more expensive to operate than air-cooled condensers. The reason for that is in the name – water consumption is much higher due to the water needed to continuously flow through the condenser in order to keep the unit cool.

However, a water-cooled option works if your space doesn’t allow for an air-cooled condenser. It is also ideal in environments where there is a lot of grease-laden air, or where the ambient temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Hotels use water-cooled condensers a lot because they tend to cram their units in corners in hallways or closets, where proper ventilation just isn’t possible.

Remote Cooled

Remote-cooled units have a lot of benefits. Rather than being contained within the ice maker, the remote condenser is located elsewhere, typically on the roof of the building. Refrigerant travels from the machine to the condensing unit to be cooled, and then sent back to the ice machine. Having a remote unit eliminates noise and heat from the area around the ice machine. However, you will pay more upfront, as you’ll need a qualified HVAC technician to install the unit.

Production Capacity

Ice machines are rated based on the amount of ice they can produce within a 24-hour period. Determining your ice needs depends on several factors.  If you’re starting a new business, you want to account for potential growth. Where do you see your needs evolving? It’s better to overestimate your usage than underestimating it, so keep that in mind when deciding. Also, think of your busiest day, and what the demands would be on that day, and use that as a guide to decide the proper size. That way, you won’t run out of ice on your busiest day.

Our Product Consultants can work with you as well to help determine what size machine is best for you. The below beverage sizing guide is a good rule of thumb to get in the ballpark of what you need.

  Size of Typical Glass Used
Number of Glasses 4 oz. 6 oz. 8 oz. 10 oz.

25 lb.

37 lb. 50 lb. 62 lb.

50 lb.

75 lb. 100 lb. 125 lb.


75 lb. 112 lb. 150 lb.

187 lb.

800 100 lb. 150 lb. 200 lb.

250 lb.

1,000 125 lb. 187 lb. 250 lb.

312 lb.


250 lb. 375 lb. 500 lb.

625 lb.