Ice Machines are essential for practically any business. Whether you’re serving drinks at a bar or operating a hotel with a breakroom, ice machines add value to the customer and guest experience.

While we have previously discussed equipment certifications, in today’s post we are going to discuss which types of certifications one should expect a commercial ice machine to have. Different brands and models have different types of certifications and, depending on your price range and what you’re using the ice machine for, you may want to select a model with one or more of these certifications.

NSF

NSF

This certification indicates that the ice machine has been rigorously and painstakingly tested to meet food safety and sanitary standards. The ice machine has passed a non-profit organization’s tests to meet the health department’s codes for food safety. Having this type of certification for one’s ice machine increases the likelihood of passing health inspection tests because it increases one’s score.

To receive this type of certification, the ice machine manufacturer undergoes an 8-step process, including:

  • Application submission
  • Product evaluation
  • Product testing within a certified lab
  • Inspection of facilities
  • Product sampling and confirmation
  • Review and acceptance of test results
  • Contract signing and listing of products
  • Annual inspections and retesting

As you can see, this process is extensive, taking time and money for the manufacturer. By going through this process, those purchasing the equipment can be assured they are buying a product that will last and keep customers safe.

There are two types of NSF certifications. The blue one indicates that the item has met International safety standards while the black one indicates it has only met North American requirements.

ETL Certifications

ETL

There are three different types of ETL certifications. To begin, we will talk about ETL-Sanitation certifications because it is most like NSF certifications. In fact, they are tested against each other’s test requirements before they can be certified. Because of this, many view the tests as interchangeable (“ETL vs. NSF Certifications: What’s the Difference,” 2020).

ETL-Sanitation certifications by Intertek are conducted by Edison Testing Laboratories (founded by Thomas Edison), one of the few Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories within the U.S. and one of the largest inspection and certification organizations. Products that achieve an ETL-Sanitation certification have undergone extensive testing to see if they meet North American standards for food safety and sanitation.

ETL Listed US and Canada indicates which country’s safety standards have been met. If it has “US” after the ETL Listed certification symbol, it has met the United States of America’s standards. If it has “C,” it has met Canada’s safety standards. If it has both, the item is certified safe by America and Canada’s regulations.

ETL Listed is the basic Intertek symbol, indicating the product has passed their tests for both food sanitation as well as their tests for gas, electricity, and other general safety standards.

UL Certifications

UL

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a testing facility that focuses on equipment’s overall safety. Like ETL, there are different types of UL certifications. A few examples are UL EPH, UL-Sanitation, and simply UL as well as cETLus, cULus, cUL, and HACCP. The UL EPH and UL-Sanitation focuses on the item’s ability to meet food safety standards, while UL focuses on the item’s design. It evaluates the ice machine’s gas or electrical setup, structural strength, and overall safety.

cULus indicates the ice machine has met North American standards while cUL indicates it has only met Canadian requirements.

CE Certifications

CE

This certification is proof that the ice machine has met the European Union’s health and safety directives.

AHRI

AHRI

The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) conducts tests to see if commercial kitchen equipment complies with commercial refrigeration, kitchen ventilation, and heating and cooling standards. It also tests to see how the unit may affect the operation of other kitchen equipment and appliances. This certification ensures that customers are going to get a product that works as effectively and efficiently as advertised.

ADA Compliant

ADA Compliant

When an item is awarded an ADA Compliant certification, it means that the item has been engineered so that those with disabilities can use the item. This certification is awarded to ice machines that have been engineered to a specific height that is still accessible by those in wheelchairs or has been engineered to be more user-friendly for the blind, deaf or disabled. It has been engineered to accommodate the disabled and has been certified to effectively meet their needs.

Energy Star

Energy Star

Ice machines with this certification have met extensive energy-saving requirements. It saves electricity, refrigerant, water, or all of the above, reducing the energy costs of the item’s overall operation.

Made in USA

This certification is awarded to items that are manufactured and engineered within the United States.

When shopping for an ice machine, we recommend that you buy one with either an NSF or ETL certification as this will help ensure the food safety and sanitation of the product and the ice you serve.

Whether you want any of the other certifications depends on what you are using the ice machine for and where you are using it. You will obviously want one that meets Canadian standards if your operation is Canada, but these types of certifications will matter less if you only plan to use it within the United States. AHRI and Energy Star certifications are other key ones we recommend looking for before purchasing an ice machine unit. While not necessary, they do help ensure the quality of the product, the engineering and thought that went into them and can save you money and time in the long run. American made products also have a reputation for lasting longer. For more information on whether “American-made” really matters, read our post “Does American-Made Really Matter When It Comes to Commercial Kitchen Equipment?

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