How do Ice Vending Machines Work

From metropolitan cities to rural communities, ice and purified water vending machines are popping up everywhere.  Gone are the days of behemoth trailers and clunky exteriors. As technologies have evolved, modern ice vending machines boast a footprint comparable to a large vending machine with modern, attractive exteriors and the latest in vending conveniences.  Today, many of these newer vending kiosks can be installed just about anywhere power and water are available.


Although designs and materials may vary from one manufacture to another, the most ice vending machines work off the same premise. One or more ice makers manufactures ice and drops the cubes directly below into an ice storage bin. Agitators or beater bars are then used to help the ice lay evenly across the ice storage bin. When a purchase is made, an auger, which looks like giant screw, rotates to deliver the ice to a bag.


The size or capacity of an ice storage bin determines how much ice will be available on demand. Unlike most machines, Bag of Ice’s vending machines utilize photocells inside the ice storage bin to instruct the ice makers to replace the ice as it is sold.


Another consideration is whether your machine operates with an onboard refrigeration system or uses high-density insulation to help maintain the ice in its frozen state until sold or vended. For economic as well as environmental reasons, Bag of Ice chooses to utilize insulation rather than refrigeration. Economically, a fraction of the electricity is used when the ice maker is used to replace the small amount of loss due to melting than would be used to maintain and constantly refrigerate the entire vending machine. Expensive refrigeration maintenance and high utility bills aside, using insulation is also much more environmentally friendly than refrigeration.


In upcoming articles, we will be explain more about ice makers and the different types of ice that come out of them, auto baggers versus hanging bags, and the importance of bulk ice vending options. Other key factors to consider when buying a machine include knowing how to choose the correct size ice storage capacity for the location you have in mind as well as deciding whether you need to accept credit and debit cards in addition or as a replacement for cash sales.


If you have any questions that are not being discussed in this series of articles, feel free to email you questions to and we will answer your question directly.

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