Types of Ice & When To Use Them

Ice is something we’re all familiar with. Most refrigerators have ice makers built-in, but not all of them. If you have a large family or frequent parties, ice is essential. If you’re in the market for a standalone ice maker, the first thing you need to decide on is what type of ice you like the best. After all, if you’re going to invest in an ice machine, you may as well have one that makes the type of ice you prefer. In this guide, we’re going to break down the five most common forms of ice that you can make at home, either with an ice tray or an ice maker. We’ll also touch on what the best uses are for specific types of ice.Let’s get started!

Cubed Ice

This is by FAR the most common type of ice. It’s so popular that the name “ice cube” is used for different kinds of ice, no matter their shape. As it’s name suggests, ice cubs are typically about 1x1x1 and if you’ve got a good ice maker, they should be clear as well. Cloudy ice comes from a dirty ice machine, or an inefficient ice making process. Ice cubes are extremely versatile. They’re dense, which makes them great to use in drinks because of a slow melt rate. This also means they’re good for use in coolers, or for keeping food chilled.

Nugget Ice

Ice fanatics love nugget-style ice. Some people call this “the good ice” (myself included). Nugget ice may also be known as sonic ice, and it takes the concept of an ice cube to the next level. Nugget-style ice is designed to be soft and chewable, and it tends to take on the flavor of whatever drink its added to. The nuggets are a loose cylinder shape which won’t stay frozen quite as long as ice cubes, but are still an excellent choice for everything from soda, to mixed drinks, to smoothies and more.

Gourmet Ice

Of all the different types of ice, gourmet is perhaps the most unique. These are cylindrical ice cubes that are hollowed out in the middle. This shape ensures that the ice melts evenly, and allows for rapid chilling. You normally see this type of ice in upscale restaurants, and it’s sometimes sold in a bag or used by catering services.

Crescent Ice

If you have an older ice maker in your refrigerator, you’re likely familiar with crescent ice. This is one of the most popular types of ice, just because it’s easy and cheap to make. The crescent shape is similar to a half-moon, which allows it to move through liquid without getting caught up. Since its a larger type of ice, it’s great for drinks that need a slow melt rate, or for coolers. It’s not great for blended drinks since it’s so dense.

Flake Ice

The last type of ice on this list is the most unique. Flake ice doesn’t have a specific shape, instead, it’s textured more like snow. Some ice makers will call this “crushed ice” too. This ice isn’t ideal for beverages because it melts too quickly. Instead, it’s best used for packing together, and for food displays. Unlike other types of ice, flake ice can be formed into different shapes to fit its container and will stay cold for a long time if there’s enough of it.

Closing Thoughts

Some people may think ice is just ice, but others can appreciate the different types of ice out there, and what they’re best suited for. Now that you know the different types of ice that are available, you can decide which is best for you. Have some thoughts you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!