The right ice machine set-up can save you money, and increase profits, as well as enhance ice taste and its visual quality. Ice machines can be bought or leased. They are available in a range of sizes, and can produce a variety of ice types for different applications. Underbench to industrial sized ice machines can be delivered and installed at your location.

When weighing up whether to rent or buy an ice machine get your accountant or business adviser to help you decide what will work best for you and your business. If you buy the machine you may be investing funds in changing and depreciating technology, together with taking on maintenance and breakdown responsibilities that come with ownership of the equipment. When renting you will have no large cash outlay, allowing you to have new machinery today whilst paying for it with tomorrow's dollars. Further, the money that you free up can be used for other operating expenses. And at the end of the day the hassles of selling or disposing of obsolete or broken machinery are eliminated. Most times leased ice machines qualify for a 100% tax deduction. A top of the line machine can be acquired in this way; generally these are the stainless steel, commercial grade machines that are found in food processing plants, food service and the hospitality industry.

Whether you rent or buy, the supplying company will ship the machine to you, install and commission it. When renting, many times this delivery and set up is included at no charge. You will also not need to worry about breakdown repairs as the rental company should also offer free breakdown service as well. Another consideration when buying is that if the machine that you choose turns out to be too large or too small (maybe your ice usage changed over time, or you just plain got it wrong) then you are stuck with it until you're able to on-sell it and buy a machine that better suits your needs. If you decide that renting is the better option, make sure it's from a company that won't lock you into the first machine that you choose. Being able to swap, either larger or smaller, could make a huge difference to your ongoing ice profitability, as well as to your peace of mind.

Ice machines are usually installed with a basic 5-micron sediment filter fitted in the incoming water line, although the supplying company should always give you the option to have an activated-carbon/polyphosphate purifier installed instead. These purifiers improve the taste of the ice and reduce odour, as well as giving better protection to the machinery; the downside is they need to be replaced every 6 months. Top rental companies will only fit this type of purifier which they will replace for you at the required interval, along with maintenance for the cleanliness of the ice-making parts of the machine and its overall performance. If leasing, look for a rental company that includes these comprehensive maintenance routines by default.

When purchasing, there are a variety of machine makes and ice types that you may choose from. Rental companies may specialise in one make or brand of machine, and also in the type of ice that those machines make. Most machines for the hospitality sector produce cube ice, although these 'cubes' will range in shape and size from machine to machine, and from manufacturer to manufacturer. There is a huge range in the amount of ice that ice machines can make everyday as well. For machines commonly available for the hospitality industry you can choose between those that make anything from 10 or so kg's per day, to machines that will produce over 500kg per day. The smaller machines are manufactured with built-in storage bins, larger machines on the other hand have the ability to be paired up with a range of separate storage bins, with varying amounts of ice each can hold.