Ice Makers

Is Nugget Ice Good for Coolers?

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Ice in recent years has become something huge. Beverage fanatics treat evenly cut ice like the holy grail. Aside from its refreshing effect, it also gives an extra soothing effect. There are several types of ice, while you have the big cube ice, there are also finely cut ones. 

Nugget ice is also known as sonic, pallet, or pebble ice, and it is one of the most common types of ice cubes. It is a layer of flacked ice that is frozen together. Because of how it’s made, nugget ice produces a chewy, light, and small ice pieces that are suitable for a variety of purposes.

Is nugget ice any good for coolers? When it comes to using nugget ice in coolers there are PROS AND CONS. The PRO is that it’s light and flakey and will absorb the flavor of your beverage. It’s easy to blend because it’s so soft and makes a great slushy drink. The CON is that nugget ice is so soft that it tends to melt faster than other types of ice. This could lead to a watered-down flavor in your beverage.

With that being said, it does have several outstanding features that make it a top choice for cooling blended cocktails, different types of bar beverages, and is loved by ice chewers. That’s right, ice chewing is a thing. In fact, they have a forum here, that only talks about ice and how to chew it.

Why Is Nugget Ice Good For Coolers? 

I mentioned the one negative aspect of nugget ice in coolers above, but there are several things you should consider before completely righting it off.

Nugget ice has several unique features that make it distinct from other types of ice.

  • soft and chewy
  • small nugget pieces
  • absorbs the flavor of your beverage
  • fills your beverage with ice

These features also contribute to the impressive performance of nugget ice in coolers. Likewise, these features also contribute to the versatility of nugget ice; thus, you will find it in various places, from restaurants to physical therapy offices. 

Here are some of the reasons why nugget ice is good for coolers.

Quick Cooling Ability

One of the most notable features of nugget ice is its fast cooling ability. This feature is one of the key reasons why it is good for coolers. It doesn’t matter if you are using nugget ice for your beverage, therapeutic purposes, display, or other purposes, it will still produce a fast cooling effect. 

A bag filled with nugget ice will produce a faster relief for sports injury than other types of ice because of its fast cooling ability. Similarly, nugget ice will cool your different types of beverages almost instantly. This fast cooling ability can be credited to the high ice to liquid ratio and the large surface area of nugget ice. 

Nugget Ice is Chewable

Being chewy and without any damaging effect on the teeth is not something you would easily find in ice cubes. Nugget ice is one of the few types of ice with this feature.

Nugget ice is lighter than most other types of ice, and this is one of the contributing factors to its chewy feature. 

Nugget ice is the top choice for coolers in most restaurants because it is soft, lightweight, and chewable. It produces a cold and refreshing effect.

Perfect for Making Tasty Frozen Drinks

We might never find a worthy replacement for nugget ice when making tasty frozen drinks, including blended cocktails and smoothies. It is soft enough to blend with the drink without damaging the blade of your blender. 

Likewise, it doesn’t delay the time required to make these drinks because it blends easily and efficiently. Aside from being perfect for making frozen drinks, nugget ice is also a good consideration for blended drinks such as frozen margaritas and strawberry smoothies. 

Keeps the Flavor of Drinks Intact

Ordinarily, one would expect ice to dilute the taste of drinks as it releases its cooling effect – nugget ice is no exception. No one likes an off-tasting beverage just because of some ice cubes.

Nugget ice will help you retain the flavor of your drinks better than most other regular types of ice because it is porous and absorbs the flavor of your beverage.

The problem with nugget ice is it’s going to melt faster in warmer beverages because it is light, and airy and doesn’t have much substance. Yet, after a beverage gets chilled, the nugget ice doesn’t melt, as much as, gets softer and more chewable (this is the next point below).

Yet, the benefit of chewing a piece of flavored ice after downing a tasty cold drink is one of the major reasons why nugget ice is great for coolers. 

It Is Intact For a Long Time

Despite the fast cooling ability of nugget ice, it remains intact for a long time. Sounds amazing, right? Unlike most other ice that melts as they release their cooling effect, nugget ice will only get softer. This feature does not only make it a great choice for coolers, but it also contributes to its taste and flavor retention ability in frozen and blended drinks. 

It is Light and Airy

You can easily tell the difference between nugget ice and other types of ice from your drink’s weight. Therefore, it forms a good cooler because it neither overburdens your drink nor adds unnecessary weight. 

nugget ice features

Aside from this, the lightness of nugget ice allows it to float on drinks. It evenly distributes around the drink compared to cubed ice. 

It is Healthy for the Teeth

When most people read about nugget ice being chewable, the next thing that comes to mind is their teeth’s health. The good news is, nugget ice does not cause any notable damage to your teeth. This health feature further boosts the suitability of nugget ice for coolers.

When To Use Nugget Ice for Drinks 

People often use different types of ice for different purposes. Nugget ice is one of the leading choices for cocktails, frozen, and blended drinks. It offers even better satisfaction when you know the right time to use it. 

Below are some of the best times to use nugget ice for drinks.

  • When It Is Hot: One of the best ways to ease the effect of a sunny day is to down some cool ice cold drinks. Nugget ice will provide as much satisfaction as you want on days like this. 
  • You are Concerned about Taste and Flavor: If you are someone that loves to retain the taste and flavor of your cocktails, then nugget ice is a good choice. It is chewy, light, and can absorb and retain the taste of cocktails. The BIG problem is that it melts faster than other types of ice because of that very reason.
  • If You Don’t Want Foam on Your Cocktail: Nugget ice can deliver cooling effects on drinks without foaming; a feature that is not very common with other categories of ice. 

Is Nugget Ice The Only Types Of Ice? 

Nugget ice is not the only type of ice. Other types of ice are useful for personal and commercial purposes. Each of these other types has its strengths, weakness, and peculiar uses. Below are some other types of ice and their uses. 

  • Full Cube Ice: Full cube ice is primarily useful for bulk cooling ideally for occasions and larger commercial uses.  
  • Half Cube: Half cube ice is similar to full cubes. The major difference is in the size and specific use. It is useful for hospitality, blended drinks, and other quick services. 
  • Flake: Flakes are largely helpful for food preservation, including food retail, keeping vegetables cool. Likewise, it is useful in healthcare and therapy. 
  • Crescent: Crescent ice is hard and long-lasting; thus, it is useful for industrial and bar use. It is useful for non-blended drinks. 
  • Top Hat: Top hat ice has a unique octagon shape. It is useful for bar use, hospitality, and non-blended drinks.

Nugget Ice vs. Crushed Ice 

One of the most common controversies among ice cube fanatics is spotting the differences between crushed ice and nugget ice. Those that know the difference often argue which is better of the two. 

At first glance, crushed ice might appear exactly like nugget ice. However, it is essential to note that there is a significant difference between the two. The first difference is that nugget ice is in “nuggets” (already implied in its name), while crushed ice is not. Most times, crushed ice is either from top hat ice or full cube ice. 

Nugget Ice vs. Crushed Ice

Nugget ice is a transparent layer of flaked ice that’s frozen together. It allows pockets for air between the layers of the pellet ice. These air pockets make nugget ice chewy and pleasurable to munch on. 

Crushed ice, on the other hand, are small pieces of ice that were originally large ice cubes. Unlike nugget ice, crushed ice does not have layers. Instead, it is made from crushing larger ice cubes to smaller and jagged pieces. 

Despite simulating the small size of nugget ice, crushed ice still retains the hard texture and melting properties of the original ice cube. Therefore, even though crushed ice and nugget ice might appear similar physically, they have different properties. 


Nugget ice has a lot of amazing properties that make it ideal for coolers. It is light, airy, chewy, and soft. The benefits and versatile uses of nugget ice give it a certain hype level among ice cube fanatics. 

However, Nugget ice is certainly worth the hype because it is chewable and easy on your teeth, easy to dispense, quick, and easy to blend without damaging the blade of blenders. It also absorbs and retains the taste of drinks when added.

Want to see our number one pick for nugget ice for home use? Check out our NewAir Countertop Nugget Ice Maker review here.

For features and specs of the NewAir Countertop Nugget Ice Maker, click here.


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