Commercial Ice Maker

Best Ice Machines for Nursing Homes, Hospitals and All Healthcare Settings

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The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Better Home + Living may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

Ice production and application goes far beyond commercial and domestic realms. For many reasons, which will be mentioned below, healthcare facilities require a consistent stock of ice cubes ready to use.

Check out our top portable ice makers for your home or business here.

Ice is considered a standard medical necessity in healthcare facilities. It’s used for many purposes in addition to the obvious one of chilling beverages.

Some uses are: as an anti-inflammatory to reduce the swelling of various diseases and wounds, including broken bones; to help in healing surgical scars; to stop hemorrhage; to treat bedsores; to reduce fevers; as cold water dressings; as an external application in tetanus cases; and in at least one instance to successfully treat diphtheria.

However, it’ illogic that, nowadays, a healthcare institution depends on a third-party ice making company for its daily consumption.

An ice making machine delivers countless benefits to healthcare institutions as these can get rid of an important burden. Not depending on third-party ice providers, this gives hospital staff full control and have a constant, unlimited stock of ice whenever is needed.

Although at present, we use more modern methods for treating patients, we still cannot neglect the fact that ice is needed at hospitals for numerous reasons. For each of these tasks, ice needs to be readily available within an easy to use and easy to maintain unit.

Below are the best ice machines for different settings in healthcare and nursing facilities.

In choosing the best machine for each setting, we considered the need, function, ice production rate, type of ice it produces, and the reviews or experiences of the people who purchased these ice machines already.

Best Ice Maker for a Nurses’ Station and Common Areas

Nurses’ station is one of the busiest area of any healthcare facility, where nurses and other healthcare staff work behind when not working directly with patients and where they can perform some of their duties. The nurses’ station does not only carry out administrative tasks but also clinically associated functions that have impact on the delivery of care to the patients.

The common area is where all the out-patients wait for their turns to be called by the attending doctor.

These two settings are places where you need to dispense ice directly into cups, pitchers, or buckets without having to scoop it from a bin– an ice dispenser is a perfect fit.

Nurses’ Station Ice maker

Dispensers provide the easiest and most sanitary method of delivering ice from a bin to a cup, making it the obvious choice where guests will serve themselves.

The HID525 Meridian Series Ice and Water Dispenser performance boasts its best-in-class touch-free dispensing technology which gets you the ice you need without hassle. Dispensing takes place when the Touch Free sensor’s infrared beam bounces back to the sensor from a container placed directly in front of it.

Its bin holds up to 25 pounds of nugget style ice and can produce up to 500 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period. Its newest chewable slow melting ice form, the H2 Nugget (1.9 x 0.8 x 0.95 cm), is designed to dispense easily and reliably every time, and still the softest ice on the market.

Whether it’s providing patient care or serving staff and visitors, a reliable dispenser helps get the job done. In fact, it can contribute to better efficiency and morale, and even comfort and safety.

Best Ice Maker for a Doctors Office

For busy doctor’s offices within hospitals and residential care facilities, nothing beats the convenience of dependable countertop ice machines and dispensers. 

This compact machine will fit in anywhere space is available. With this type of commercial ice machine within reach, doctors can retrieve ice quickly and within close proximity to treatment areas.

The Scotsman HID312 Meridian Series Ice and Water Dispenser produces up to 360 pounds of ice and its bin holds up to 12 pounds of nugget style ice in a day.

This ice maker and water dispenser is ideal for healthcare facilities as the ice is easy to chew, easy to mold and slow to melt, making it the best choice for dietary needs and ice packs.

Best Ice Maker for a Doctors’ Office

The dispenser mechanism speeds up the process for retrieving ice and minimizes the risk of cross-contamination. Ideally, healthcare facilities should look for countertop ice machine dispensers with touch-free controls. This type of control dispenses ice when a cup or other receptacle is sensed under the chute. Some dispensing ice machines are constructed with a built-in water dispenser as well.

This machine also helps to further minimize health risks because of the AgION antimicrobial treatment built into key ice contact areas helps to further minimize health risks. The AgION antimicrobial compound is the revolutionary substance in the coating of this product. It is an inorganic compound that uses the natural protective qualities of silver (Ag) ions as an active ingredient to inhibit the growth of bacteria, molds, fungi and other microbes.

The Best Ice Maker for An Emergency Room

An Undercounter Ice Machine fits in small spaces and combine a compact ice maker and storage bin into an all-in-one solution. This type of ice machine is designed to fit under countertop areas and provide quick access to ice without getting in the way of the fast-paced environment of an emergency room.

Manitowoc is one of the best-selling ice machines in the US.

They have a wide variety of undercounter ice machines designed to fit every commercial or healthcare application. For an emergency room setting, the Manitowoc UFF0200A Flake Ice Machine is the best choice.

This machine prides in its combined performance, intelligence, and convenience to provide an effective solution for specific emergency needs. This machine has an easy access door, slides up and out of the way, just right for the busy environment of an emergency room.

It also has a heavy duty stainless steel cabinet which resists corrosion and high load capacity bearings for enhanced reliability. It produces up to 181 pounds or 82 kilograms of daily flake ice.

Emergency Room Ice Maker

Undercounter ice machines are available for every style of ice. However, flake ice machines are better than any other ice type machines to be placed in ERs.

Flake ice provides greater cooling efficiency. Flake ice has the ability to cover the most surface area to keep a space or an item cold. Flake ice is moldable, making it easy to nearly submerge an item in ice.

Flake ice packs well and cushions products against damage. Its flat shape will not create indentations or cause bruising of items, especially in ERs.

During operations, doctors need to transfer organs or blood for patients, thus, the use of flake ice is advisable. This type of machine also has better sanitation, which is the primary thing to consider mainly in delicate operational situations.

Flake ice is not exposed to ambient conditions or mechanical handling from the time it is produced until it goes into storage. Therefore, it is more sanitary than other types of ice which require more mechanical and human handling.

Best Ice Maker for Patient Care

The average hospital or clinic requires 10 pounds of ice per patient a day.

Hands down, the most popular ice makers we see with hospitals or clinics are nugget ice machines, sometimes called an ice chip maker.

Patients are the clients in a hospital. Due to their health concerns, some of them are having difficulty swallowing thus, making them prone to dehydration.

Best Ice Maker for Patient Care

Patients can chew or have ice cubes melt in their mouth to swallow small amounts of water at a time. As patients do this throughout the day, they can stay hydrated without having to drink from a cup or glass.

Nugget ice (also known as cubelet ice or Sonic ice after the popular drive-in restaurant chain) is prized for its chewable texture, which makes it easy on teeth and melts faster than standard square ice cubes. Nugget ice comes in many sizes, but all are small enough that they minimize the chance of choking. Since the nugget ice and flake ice is chewable, patients don’t have to worry about hurting their teeth as they bite down on the cube.

The Scotsman HID312A-1 – Meridian Countertop Ice Maker/Dispenser bin holds up to 12 pounds of nugget style ice and can produce up to 260 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period. Its newest chewable slow melting ice form, the H2 Nugget is designed to dispense easily and reliably every time, and is still the softest ice on the market.

The features of this unit promises top quality product. Scotsman Ice Systems are designed and manufactured with the highest regard for safety and performance. They meet or exceed the standards of UL and NSF.

Best Ice Maker for Medical Laboratories

Undercounter ice machines are also ideal for laboratories as they leave valuable countertop areas free for charts and documents.

In laboratories, there are often situations which require the use of ice. Several types of experiments and reactions require an ice bath in one or more of their steps.

Best Ice Maker for Medical Laboratories

Laboratory ice makers are a convenient way to ensure the ice is there when it is needed. A laboratory ice maker can be useful in microbiology labs and for PCR.

There are laboratory ice makers that make ice, but then the ice needs to be stored in a separate ice bin. These situations oftentimes do not allow for a quick run to cafeteria facilities. For that reason, it is suggested that a small ice machine be placed in easily accessible areas in laboratories.

The Hoshizaki F-300BAJ Flaked Ice Maker, air-cooled, self contained built-in 100lb storage bin is capable of producing approximately 353 pounds of flaked ice per day. Flaked ice is perfect for items that require long lasting sanitary ice. This air-cooled, self contained, built in storage bin ice maker stores up to 100 pounds of flake ice. It features an automatic system flush when bin control is activated plus a greaseless bearing auger construction making it simple to maintain.

This ice maker has built in storage where you can store the laboratory samples or experiments for safe keeping and avoid contamination. This machine is also ENERGY STAR qualified thus, providing reliable function.

Best Ice Maker for Physical Therapy

Ice application is one of the most important first steps for treating acute injuries such as strains, contusions, tendon ruptures, and overuse injuries. It is a component of RICE therapy (the acronym for rest, ice application, compression, and elevation).

Flake ice is perfect for filling or molding ice packs for therapeutic use. Flake ice is a popular type of ice for treating swelling because unlike cubed ice it molds very well. Flake ice is designed to create mounds for seafood displays and salad bars, and as a result, works very well in cold compresses.

The ice forms a pocket around difficult joints, providing even cooling around the area. The following are the uses of flake ice in physical therapy or pain reduction.

Best Ice Maker for Physical Therapy

Reduces swelling. Neck or muscle swelling can be reduced by applying ice packs on the affected area to relieve pain. This measure constricts the blood vessels thereby slowing down the inflammatory action of the body.

Relieves painBe it muscle cramps or pain due to an injection shot, applying ice-packs on the site reduces pain and discomfort. It helps in countering pain by soothing the inflammation and improving blood circulation in the area.

Aids in piles treatmentIce acts as an effective natural aid to treat inflammation and swelling and thus, people suffering from piles can use ice to reduce pain and discomfort in the anus. Ice packs may help reduce swelling but care should be taken not to apply them directly.

Removes a tan or sunburn. Are you suffering from sunburn? If yes, apply a few ice flakes as it not only soothes the affected area but also hydrates your skin. This is because, ice contains water that when applied on the skin eases pain and inflammation.

Alleviates toothacheYou may find it a crazy option, but ice can actually relieve your tooth pain. Chewing ice flakes or applying it on the sensitive area desensitizes the nerves and gums for some time and provides you relief.

Shopping for a flake ice machine and a separate bin can be confusing and time-consuming. We suggest purchasing an ice machine and bin combination unit that is already matched up and ready to install.

The full-size floor model combination units are perfect for physical therapy as they provide a large volume of ice on a daily basis.

The Scotsman UF1415A-1 undercounter flake style air-cooled ice machine with bin is the ENERGY STAR certified undercounter ice machine from Scotsman that produces up to 142 pounds per 24 hours of flake style ice.

Learn more about the different types of ice here.

This flake ice machine uses a self-contained, air-cooled condenser that operates with R-134A refrigerant and it features a heavy- duty, rust-free front panel and corrosion-resistant aluminum alloy side panels.

This ice machine with bin undercounter flake ice machine runs on 115 Volts, 60 Hz, 1-phase and it comes with a power cord and NEMA 5-15P plug. The unit is ENERGY STAR certified and it meets US Safe Drinking Act low lead requirements. The flaker is NSF listed, UL listed in the United States and Canada, AHRI certified, and it is made in the USA.

Best Ice Maker for Ice Massages

Instead of placing an ice pack on the injury, you can perform an ice massage. Ice massages are a form of cryotherapy that allows you to place gentle pressure on the area of pain and inflammation. The ice reduces both pain sensations and blood flow, while the gentle rotating movement helps mobilize the soft tissue in the same way as a regular massage.

Best Ice Maker for Ice Massages

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. In face of a sprain, tear, or fracture, localized blood vessels will begin to swell to allow larger immune cells, such as macrophage and dendritic cells, closer access to the site of the injury. This triggers the swelling and pain we recognize as inflammation.

Icing an injury has the opposite effect. It causes the rapid shrinking of blood vessels and the numbing of nerve endings that send pain signals to the brain.

Ice application is one of the first things you need to do upon experience a sports injury. Thereafter, for the next 24 to 48 hours, an ice massage may be used in place of an ice pack. It is especially good for treating back strains, pulled calves, and other large muscle injuries.

For ice massages, NewAir 50 lb. Portable Ice Maker can be a big help. Small but powerful, this ice maker can produce up to 50 pounds of ice each day, and 12 pieces in 13 minutes, so you’ll have a ready supply for an ice massage.

You can choose one of three different ice sizes and set the 18-hour timer to make ice on your schedule. Indicator lights let you know when you need to add water or when the removable ice bin is full, and an ice scoop is included for easy preparation for the ice massage session.

Best Ice Maker for Sports Medicine

Athletes feel a big thrill during sporting events but when it is over, they feel the pain. Their back aches. Their ankles are sore. After all that testosterone-filled fun, it’s time to take stock of bumps and bruises.

Ice controls pain and closes your blood vessels to ease swelling. It can also limit bruising. Use it during the first 48 hours after you get hurt. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, then take it off for the same amount of time. Wrap a wet towel or cloth around the ice so it doesn’t sit right on your skin. A cold water bottle will do in a pinch.

However, the frequently asked question is what is the best ice to use for sports injuries? The answer is nugget ice.

Cubed ice, due to its density retains its temperature for a long period of time and will take much longer to melt. Cubed ice is generally considered ideal for filling coolers. It is not as ideal for treatment ice as cubed ice doesn’t conform well around knees and elbows. Sometimes cubed ice can develop sharp edges as well and poke holes in your ice bags.

Flaked ice, while ideal as treatment ice due to how it will conform around any body part, flaked ice has much less density and will melt quickly. A bag full of flaked ice will reduce to water in hot conditions very quickly and it won’t keep your coolers cool nearly as long on a hot day.

Best Ice Maker for Sports Medicine

Nugget ice is a hybrid of the cubed ice and the flaked ice. Nugget ice is small enough to serve as treatment ice but large enough to retain its temperature over a prolonged period of time.

The Scotsman UN1215A 15” air-cooled undercounter nugget ice machine suits this function. It provides a 24 hour yield of 119 lb. of soft, chewable nugget ice and can store up to 36 lb. of ice at a time in the built-in ice bin with an ergonomic sliding access door. Plus, since it is only 15″ wide it will fit in nearly any space. It is also front-venting for increased flexibility when it comes to installation.

While it is small in size, this unit is made for reliability and ease of service and maintenance. It features sealed bearings that reduce preventative maintenance requirements and it has a stainless steel evaporator and auger for greater durability.

Best Ice Maker for a Nursing Home or a Retirement Residence

Nursing homes are residential institutions that provide assistance with activities of daily living and nursing care. There are more than 18,000 nursing homes in the United States, with over 1.5 million residents.

Nursing homes provide residential care for elderly or disabled people. These are used by people who do not need to be in a hospital, but cannot be cared for at home. Some nursing homes also provide short-term rehabilitative stays following surgery, illness, or injury.

Best Ice Maker for a Nursing Home

This being said, an excellent performing ice machine is also a high demand for nursing homes or retirement residences which can cater to all their needs in one machine.

Nugget ice is still the best type of ice for such facility. It is perfect for the elderlies and patients who find difficulty chewing. Nugget ice is soft and chewable. This is also advisable for patients who find it hard to swallow.

The recommended ice machine that fits the beverage, physical, and emergency needs for this facility is the Scotsman HID540A-1 Meridian Countertop Air Cooled Ice Machine and Water Dispenser.

With its 40 lb. bin storage capacity and 500 lb. 24-hour ice yield, this combination nugget ice machine and water dispenser offers the best of Scotsman’s ice-making technology combined with the convenience of dispensing both ice and water from the same unit.

The durable stainless steel evaporator and exterior panels ensure ease of sanitation, while greaseless bearings reduce the need for maintenance. In addition, the large, removable sink and grill, as well as the spacious dispensing area, make it easier to clean the hard-to-reach places. Plus, the antimicrobial material molded into key components lets you rest assured that your ice will be safe for consumption.


Ice making machines can easily be used universally for a wide variety of purposes. When it comes to buying an ice machine, the wide variety of models and options can seem both confusing and overwhelming.

Before choosing a model, be sure to double check that you have selected a commercial ice maker machine that can work with the unique setup of your healthcare facility.

Bear in mind the simple do’s and don’ts. Do choose the right size and model for your establishment and invest in a quality water filtration system.

Do not buy a machine that is not right for your plumbing and do not forget to check local codes.

With the right specifications in place, you can have a quiet, efficient and dependable ice machine for years to come.

All the ice machines recommended above are industry-leading and a top quality product. They meet or exceed the standards of UL and NSF.

If you have any questions or comments about choosing an ice maker for your healthcare facility, please use the comment section below.


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