Different Types of Ice Cubes: Shape, Sizes and Features

The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Ice Maker Geeks may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website. This adds no extra cost to you but allows us to keep creating amazing content for years to come.

We are all well aware that ice comes in several different types. The different ice types are actually a big deal – different ice types for a variety of beverages. If you choose the wrong type of ice, it can destroy the flavor of your beverage.

Depending on what you are using the ice for, will tell you what type of ice you should purchase.

When I go camping, I don’t care that much about the ice or its texture. I am more concerned about having ice for my cooler, and a lot of it. If I were whipping up a refreshing cup of iced coffee, I would care more about the type of ice I’m serving. Iced coffee and clear ice seem to pair nicely together because clear ice melts slower and won’t water down the coffee’s flavor.

In this post, I will give you a list of the most popular types of ice available. I’m also going to give you a list of the best available ice makers that produce each ice type.

Enjoy.

Bullet Ice

Bullet Ice

Most portable ice makers produce Bullet-shaped ice.  It’s called bullet or hat ice because it looks like small bullets, and the shape of the ice comes from the way it’s created. Water surrounds a small tube with freon and starts to build up the ice around it. Over time, the ice forms into a small bullet-shaped piece of ice that deposits into a storage bin.

You’ll find bullet ice in both portable and commercial ice makers.

Most portable ice makers have three bullet-shaped ice sizes that you can choose from – Small, medium and large.

The majority of portable ice makers are the same. They completely operate the same way and produce the same type of bullet ice. Some ice makers will come with different types of options, weight, size, and color, but they all function the same way.

Bullet ice is very versatile. There isn’t really anything that it’s best at, and it’s not really bad at anything either. You can use it in your beverages, add bullet-ice to a cooler for keeping your drinks chilled, or add it to a blender for making your favorite smoothie.

If you are looking for ice and don’t care about texture, size or shape than a portable ice maker that produces bullet ice is probably your best choice.

Below are my top units for bullet ice.

Why would you consider purchasing a portable ice maker that produces bullet ice? Here are some compelling reasons.

  • Bullet ice is so versatile. It can be used for all kinds of things!
  • Normally, bullet ice is larger sized, so it’s not perfect for a smaller glass, but you can always crush the ice.
  • Great for an RV or for taking with you camping
  • Works well with mixed drinks
  • Use bullet ice for treating an injury
  • Great for soda
  • Used for cocktails

 Nugget (or Sonic Ice)

Nugget (or Sonic Ice)

Nugget-sized ice is soft and chewy. One of the best benefits of nugget ice is that it fills your glass with this soft-chewable ice and that it chills your beverage quickly. In fact, I added some nugget ice to my soda right now, and within seconds it’s almost too cold to drink.

Nugget ice is available in both portable, dispensers and commercial ice makers.

Those who are ice chewers (Yeah, that’s a real thing) love nugget ice because it’s soft and better for your teeth. Nugget ice is so soft that it almost breaks apart in your mouth; it’s also porous, so it soaks up all the flavor of your drink so you can enjoy the taste right to the very end.

Nugget ice is fabulous for carbonated drinks and cocktails, but is also used on salad bars and produce displays. Most people will purchase a nugget ice maker for their home and use it in their kitchen or home bar, because it’s great for entertaining.

Below are my top units for nugget ice.

Why should you consider purchasing a nugget ice maker for your home? Here are some compelling reasons:

  • It’s smaller ice so it’s great for cocktails and other drinks
  • Great for chewing!
  • Great for dispensers
  • Melts slower than other ice, so it keeps your drinks from becoming watered down and losing its taste.
  • Homes, offices, restaurants, and bars
  • Blending
  • Mixed Drinks

 Flaked or Shaved Ice

Flaked Ice or Shaved

Ice flakes are probably most popular at the fair on snow cones (my favorite flavor is cherry). Another place you’ll see flaked ice is at the supermarket at the seafood display. Usually, they layout flaked ice on a display table and gently lay the prized catch on top.

Flaked ice is available in commercial ice makers.

Flaked ice shows very well and has a sort-of clean look. Because the ice is soft and easy to blend, many people use it to mix drinks and produce several drink creations.

Flake ice machines can be pricey. You won’t find a ton of flake ice makers that are designed for homes, which makes it more difficult and expensive to add a flake ice maker to your home. Normally. businesses are the ones interested in this type of ice maker.

Below are my top units for flake ice.

VBENLEM 110V Commercial Flake Ice Maker – Produces 220 pounds of Flake Ice (Amazon)
SZB-20 Automatic Flake Ice Make – 66 Pounds of Flake Ice (Amazon)

Why would anyone consider purchasing an ice maker that produces flaked ice? Well, there are lots of reasons why:

  • Great for a cafeteria or buffet
  • Great for healthcare
  • Perfect for food showcasing
  • Great for snow cones or other cool treats
  • Awesome for making your very own slushies
  • checkOften used to pack food while in transportation
  • Restaurants and grocery stores
  • Making Snow Cones and Other Ice Desserts

 Full Cubes

Full Cubes

The cube is probably the most common shape of ice. When I even mention ice, it’s the first thing that comes to your mind.  There are so many places that serve cube-shaped ice that I’m not going to try to list them all.

Cubed ice comes in portable, dispensers and commercial ice makers.

These slow-melting cubes of cold are loved by the food service industry and restaurants alike.

Ice cubes go all the way back to those annoying ice cube trays in our freezer that without fail, always fails to get filled when you need it the most. Now, you can enjoy cubed ice using a small compact unit in your kitchen.

Not all cubed ice is created equal. Gourmet ice is the ice you would find in a high-end restaurants, or a fancy dinner parties. It’s clear to the eye and melts very slow, so it doesn’t dilute your drink.

Most of the time you’ll find cubed ice in a soda dispenser or bagged for a camping trip. This type of ice really has a universal use.

Below are my top units for cubed ice.

Why would an individual purchase an ice maker that produces full-cubed ice? Well, consider these great reasons why:

  • It’s great for soda
  • Great for bagging
  • Whiskey and spirits
  • Mixed drinks
  • Great for the Office
  • Cools drinks down faster because of its size
  • Great for coolers
  • Often the “go-to” ice for any situation

 Half Cubes of Ice

Half Cubes of Ice

As you may have guessed by its title, half cubes are half the size of full cubes.

Half-cubed ice is found in commercial ice makers.

These are very similar to full ice cubes as far as usage is concerned, but is often easier to handle and disperse than full cubes.

Therefore, this type of ice is perfect for your cocktails, soda and other mixed drinks. Half-cubed ice can be used for so many different reasons. This type of ice is often used in restaurants and self-dispensers.

Below are my top unit for cubed ice.

Why would anyone want to purchase a half-cubed ice machine? Well, there are plenty of reasons listed below:

  • Like its cousin, (full ice cube) it’s a great ice for any type of drink
  • It’s easier to handle than full ice cubes so it is a little more popular
  • Often used by restaurants, coffee shops and bars. It’s a great ice to use for iced coffee.

Crescent Ice

Crescent Ice

When you see this shape of ice, you’re going to think of stars, especially the moon. The name crescent comes from its half-moon shape. This ice is tough and will chill your beverage longer because it will hang around for a while.

Because crescent ice is so hard, it’s not great ice for blended drinks, but it does fit nicely at bars. This ice is excellent because of its small size and the ability to get more ice into your glass.

Below are my top units for cubed ice.

Why would a person purchase an ice maker that produces these weird-looking crescent-shaped ice pieces? We listed some impressive reasons below:

  • Compact ice, fits in any glass
  • Its shape means you get more ice in your glass
  • Great for soda
  • Awesome for cocktails
  • It’s perfect for whiskeys and scotch
  • Use it for mixed drinks
  • Often used at bars, cafes and restaurants
  • Usually melts slower than larger ice

Conclusion

Before you can decide on which ice maker you want to purchase, you need to determine which type of ice will work best for you.

The list above will give you all the information you’ll need to choose the ice type and get you one step closer to finding the right ice maker for you.

Ice Maker Geeks are ice enthusiasts that review ice-making appliances, research ice-related topics, and do their best to help you make an informed decision before you make a purchase. Over the years of running this website, they have learned a lot and are excited to share that knowledge with you. The article you just read is just a small sample of the work that they have been doing over the last several years.

2 Comments
  1. I eat ice every day I had some today and tonight , and it tastes like some things was spray on it or freezer burn so I dump it out funny taste I like ice I get a bag every other days i might buy some later. I am a anemic low iron to help it I crave for it .
    I feel tired and light headed and my body hurts I get tired when I am walking up hills .

    • If you are an ice chewer than you should invest in the NewAir Countertop ice maker. It makes Nugget ice which is great for chewing. Click here to read our review and get a coupon code.

    Leave a reply