A Technicians Opinion of Manitowoc and Vogt Ice Machines
This article on Manitowoc and Vogt ice machines is based on my experiences with thousands of ice machines. I do not benefit in any way if you follow my advice. So here is my opinion on which brands are best.
Large Ice Machines
If you want an ice machine that makes 2,000 lbs a day or more, the choice is simple. Vogt ice machines aka Tube Ice are the best. The machines last almost forever because they can be rebuilt instead of replaced.
These machines use a completely different approach to making ice that isn’t practical on small machines. On small machines everything has to be exact and precise. It doesn’t on the Tube Ice machines. That makes them very dependable.
Vogt ice machines / Tube Ice machines aren’t cheap. The upfront cost is high. Three points offset this. 1) They last a very long time. 2) They make ice a lot cheaper than any other machine. 3) They are very dependable.
Just in case you are wondering, I am not affiliated with the company. I am factory trained though. But then, I am factory trained on every brand that offers factory training.
Machines Smaller than Vogt Ice Machines
When you need less than 2,000 lbs a day, the choice is harder. All Vogt ice machines are larger.
The three major brands are Hoshizaki, Scotsman and Manitowoc. Ice-O-Matic is somewhere between a major and minor brand.
I would only recommend the brands above. You can definitely get cheaper machines. I think the cheaper machines will cost more in the long run.
You might end up having problems getting parts. That is if you can find someone qualified to work on it. You don’t want someone learning at your expense.
There is an exception to that. If an ice machine is made locally, consider it.
There are people at the factory that know how to work on it. They might do it on the side. There are also people that use to work at the factory.
There is probably a factory salesman, selling them. The local techs have probably had to learn to fix them. The factory was there to help them learn.
All the parts are available locally. If there is a delay, the tech may have the connections to get an old one to use temporarily. At factories there is sometimes a chance to buy really good “reconditioned” ice machine, out of the back door. I have seen a $20,000 ice machine sold for $2,000 that way. It was shipped to Mexico for $100. You can’t beat that.
I think you are likely to be happy with any of the 3 major brands. They are all good machines. If you are near where one is made, I would recommend getting that one.
Hoshizaki is made near Atlanta. Scotsman is made in Vernon Hills, Illinois. Manitowoc is made in Manitowoc Wisconsin.
If I had to narrow it down to one brand, I would choose Manitowoc. The criteria I considered included: dependability, parts availability, parts cost, service availability, customer service and technical support.
Just as I was not affiliated with Vogt ice machines, I am not affiliated with Manitowoc either.
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