Nugget ice makers. a.k.a. pellet ice makers are one of the most sophisticated ice machines currently available.

The technology needed to create the soft and chewy ice we all love is really quite impressive!

But, how do nugget ice makers actually work?

That’s exactly what we’re going to find out today, so let’s jump in!

Table of Contents

How Do Pellet Ice Makers Work?

When we take a look within a nugget/sonic/pellet ice maker, we can see that the process of creating nugget ice actually consists of several steps:

  1. First, the water is run through a metal cylinder with an auger right in the middle of it.
  2. As the water fills the cylinder, the refrigeration system will work its magic and the walls of the cylinder will begin to cool. 
  3. After some time, ice will begin to form on the walls of the cylinder.
  4. The auger will begin to rotate, scraping the walls of the cylinder and forcing the ice up until it reaches a storage compartment. 
  5. The storage compartment is filled with the flaked ice that comes from the cylinder.
  6. The ice flakes are pushed through a small tube that compresses the ice into a single piece.
  7. At the end of the tube, the ice either breaks off naturally into smaller pieces or is trimmed by a blade into smaller uniform nugget pieces.

As you can see, water has to go through quite the adventure before being able to be transformed into airy little sonic ice nuggets!

The auger and cylinder inside the nugget ice maker
Visualisation of the cylinder and auger inside a nugget ice maker

Differences With Traditional Ice Makers

The process of traditional ice makers is quite a bit more simplistic.

First, the water fills the ice tray within the ice maker. Then the water is cooled by the refrigeration system to form ice. An electric element will then melt the ice that is in contact with the ice tray. Ultimately, the ice removal arm pushes the ice out into an ice bucket.

Simple and easy!

Ice Makers That Make Nugget Ice


As you can see, nugget ice makers are equipped with very sophisticated technology. This also explains why nugget ice makers are so expensive.

But in my honest opinion (though a bit biased as an nugget ice maker addict), it’s definitely worth it!

Let me know what you think of this cool piece of technology in the comments below!

Make sure to check out my homepage for everything you need to know about nugget ice makers!

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