Pellet Ice: All You Need to Know For Your Business

Reading Time: 4 minutes Types of Ice

What businesses use pellet ice

Most people have had pellet ice, perhaps without knowing what it’s called or only knowing it as “Sonic ice.” Whether you call it pebble ice, Sonic ice, cubelet ice, hospital ice, flake ice, or nugget ice, it’s the same soft, chewable ice shape we all know and love.

So why are there so many names? Cubelet ice is unique because it refers to ice only made by Hoshizaki ice machines. Sonic ice of course comes from the drive-in, quick service restaurant chain. Hospital ice is used, because this is often the first place many people encounter the flakey ice.

At Ice-Masters, we must be familiar with all the names people could use to refer to pellet ice, but you can just call it the ice you need to keep your customers or employees happy! Learn more about pellet ice and its starring role in different industries below.

Pellet Ice Described 

If you are one of the few people who has yet to encounter pellet ice, let us paint you a picture: it has a unique, flakey texture that makes it crunchable and easy to chew, unlike other ice cubes which are hard. Dentists probably love nugget ice the most, because ice chewers can munch down on it without damaging their teeth.

There are many occasions in which nugget ice is the preferred choice – and not just for your nervous chewer guests. Keep reading to learn about all the applications of pellet ice.

Who Uses Pellet Ice?

Though it may be referred to with different terms, pellet ice cube makers are the go to ice selection for a variety of industries and for many different reasons. Here are some examples:

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Food Service

Ask someone enjoying a mai tai or margarita how their day could get any better, and they might not be able to tell you. But we can: nugget ice. It has a porous texture that is particularly delicious in the cocktails mentioned above and other sweet drinks. The ice absorbs the flavors of the drink, so even once the liquid is gone, the enjoyment goes on! (Hint: Sonic figured this out first when they added it to their slushie drinks).

Pellet ice is particularly popular in the southern states, but it’s making its way into bars and restaurants nationwide. In the industry, it’s often referred to as a “craft ice.”


Many school leaders are becoming aware of the benefits of pellet ice for elementary schools. Due to its softer composition, pellet ice is gentler on children’s teeth.

Furthermore, nugget ice can be utilized in cold compresses for sprains, bruises, and other injuries, making it a favorite of school nurses.

Hospitals and Healthcare Settings

There are a variety of situations in which a patient may not be allowed or recommended to drink quantities of water. To avoid dehydration and slowly ingest water, they are allowed to chew some ice. But nothing adds to the misery of illness, surgery, or other ailment like attempting to chew on large, very hard ice – risking tooth damage or a choking hazard. Instead, hospitals and other healthcare providers can choose nugget ice makers, so they can provide soft, easily chewable pellet ice, or hospital ice as they refer to it.

Just like in the school setting, pellet ice is extremely beneficial for cold compresses. The soft texture means it is unlikely to puncture a plastic bag, and the size of the flakes means it can be molded to a person’s arm, leg, or other injured area. It also creates an evenly cold surface so the compress doesn’t have to be moved frequently. Flake ice is the easy choice, especially for physical therapy ice machines.

What Types of Machines Produce Chewable Ice?  

Hoshizaki countertop ice makers are known for reliably and consistently producing their signature Cubelet ice; for example, models like the Hoshizaki DCM-300BAH ice machine are able to churn out up to 300 pounds of soft ice per day.

Other nugget ice makers dispense pellet ice. Some are what’s called “modular style,” which means they must be used with an ice bin or ice dispenser. Businesses that require a substantial amount of ice at all times tend to choose these models, such as the high-volume Hoshizaki F-801MAJ-C ice machine.

Get a Pellet Ice Maker Without the Hassle 

Many business owners underestimate the amount of time and money it takes to maintain, professionally clean, and repair their commercial ice machine, not to mention how difficult it is to predict and weather the lack of predictability.

Ice-Masters rental customers appreciate that our program takes away the guesswork and replaces it with a predictable, dependable, and affordable monthly cost. Imagine the comfort of knowing your ice supply is guaranteed by a team of Ice Machine Experts. Our ice machine lease program includes as many high-quality ice makers as you require, two professional cleaning and maintenance service visits per year, repairs (including parts and labor), and back-up ice as needed.

Contact us today to have our expert team help you choose the best suited ice maker for your business.

Our team is available to help you get started today!

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