Anyone have a Hoshizaki residential ice machine? Vs Manitowoc

akcorcoranJanuary 23, 2013

We use A LOT Of ice between my family and our entertaining, so as crazy as it sounds, this is not a decision I take lightly. :)

I am deciding between the Manitowoc residential Undercounter Ice machine (SM-50) which is also the SubZero ice maker (just difference in handle and the scoop holder, machine for SZ) and the Hoshizaki residential model AM-50BAE Undercounter Ice Makers.

The Manitowoc has been reviewed as a high-quality machine, fairly quiet (all the SZ folks talk about theirs being quiet as well) and the ice is nice and clear. Also like the 2 and 4 hour delay, plus the ease of changing the filter.

Then I am also considering the Hoshizaki - Does anyone have the Hoshizaki and can share their experience?

Hoshizaki is the top ice machine maker out there, known for quality and quiet (as quiet as they can be.) The top-hat ice is a slightly smaller size than the Manitowoc which I'd prefer, but I'd love to know if anyone has one.

This link is for the spec sheet:

Below is to one website selling it (where it has good reviews) - but I would be getting it through our local appliance store who provides excellent service.

Been striking out here on Gardenweb lately so hoping maybe if anyone's out there, they will be able to pass on their experience. Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Here is a link that might be useful: Hoskizaki AM-50B AE Undercounter Ice Machine

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I should add the Hoshizaki also produces the same amount of ice in less cycles which I would think would make it more environmentally friendly and quieter? They are just known for the dependability. But, I was hoping somebody out there might have one?


    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:37PM
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DH works for a large restaurant supply and design company and has 20 years of experience with commercial ice machines. While he has no personal experience with either residential unit, he said both are good choices. When pressed, he said he'd choose Hoshizaki because they're probably better and have been doing it longer. I don't know if this helps or not. You've not been getting many responses on your ice machine hunt so I thought I'd throw it out there. And yes, I'd say you're a lil bit obsessed. ;)

Have you tried searching past threads for any of the brands/units of any of the appliances you're considering?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:57PM
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Hi! Thanks for at least throwing me a bone. :-) I appreciate the input from your husband. It sounds similar to what I've heard (we own a food business ourselves which is how we even know of / about Hoshizaki.)

I went to the store today all set to buy it but the gentleman at the store (a family-run appliance store in business for three generations) said we'd have problems with the Hoshizaki b/c while it was designed to be under the counter, it wasn't designed to be set in between two cabinets with no air circulating on either side. Something about the way the air flow is designed (vs most that are front in/front out so they can be set in a cabinet?) It's hard to verify that information since most appliance stores here don't sell it. :(

If that's so, then I'd likely go with the Manitowoc (or same as the SubZ) - I just need to stop reading reviews because for every person that says it's as "quiet as an ice maker can be" there's another that says it's like a freight train running all the time.

Argh. Thanks for your post - I appreciate it!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 11:45PM
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so what did you decide about the ice machine? I'm wanting to put one in my kitchen but kinda leary because of the noise my one in the garage makes. Its not new but works great!! Don't want to move it to kitchen because cabinets in garage are cut out for it.....also would like to splurge on the Hoshizaki one ....I think its the one I picked out that makes sonic ice. What if it messes up often?? my new cabinets in the kitchen are going to have a cut out for it too????

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:58PM
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I'm a little late to this party, but I'm here now because I am looking to replace my Scotsman Ice Maker....too much maintenance. I have been looking at the Hoshizaki and it appears it does have the front in, front out airflow..... here is the description from this website:

Hoshizaki AM50BAE Features:
Up to 55 lbs. of ice production per 24 hours
Up to 27 lbs. of built-in storage capacity
Undercounter design is less than 34 inches tall
Durable stainless steel exterior
UL approval for outdoor use
Power switch accessible without panel removal
Easily disassembled water circuit for easy cleaning
Front in, front out airflow
Fewer moving parts for longer life
Swing style reversible door
Side trim kit available

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 8:05PM
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I'm a little late to the discussion, but I'm definitely at the same shoe. Thinking about replacing my Scotsman with either the Hoshizaki or the Manitowoc. Looks like anyone did their homework and looking for a quality undercounter ice machine may come down to the same situation.
They are about in the same price range, but Manitowoc seems to have easier maintenance and service accessibility than Hoshizaki, and they have an easy installed front water filter which is quite uncommon. On the other hand, Hoshizaki has the stainless steel core making it the most reliable unit on the market... Gosh, tough decision, hope someone can share more light to me...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 1:10PM
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I have a Hoshizaki BAE 100 which is not the BAE 50 in any regard as it makes a completely different style of ice. I can confirm this is essentially a small commercial unit having been inside of it already. The parts and construction are much more industrial and assembled like Americans build things. Less plastic, more servicable parts. There aren't plastic clips, tight spaces and throw away things about. I know because I bought this used and had to replace the ice bin temperature bulb and the drain pump. I do not suspect these are unreliable, and I do prefer the ability to fix them as an ice machine is going to be one of the LEAST reliable appliances you own. I have a summit ice machine in my basement bar. No comparison the Hoshisaki is a better (but far more expensive) unit. It doesn't cycle as often and is quieter when it runs. Yes it gets all its airflow in and out the front which helps avoid certain installation issues like I had with the Summit which required me to leave a large opening in the wall behind it.
I did not research the Manitowac much, but I hear its a fine unit too. If you live in a large city with enough service guys, I'd bet you'll have far better luck finding someone who can service a Hoshizaki, even the residential unit. Just my two cents.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:10PM
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I'm circling back around, since I asked the original question. :-) We did go with a Hoshizaki in our wet bar! We went with the Hoshizaki AM50BAEDS 15" Undercounter/Self-Contained Ice Maker Panel Ready. It was paneled by our cabinet company (which wasn't inexpensive but probably not much more than a whole cabinet. Because of our beverage/wine fridge, I wanted the symmetry of two cabinets on either side.

I was really close to getting the Manitowac - especially liked the delay feature and the filter replacement. BUT, and I'll grant you this is a personal preference, I didn't' like the size of the ice. It seemed giant to me! I felt like I had huge rocks in my mouth when I sampled it. Now, it melts down, etc, but in addition to the stellar reputation for Hoshizaki, I preferred the ice.

And, tiny little thing, but I like the scoop on the left inside of the unit vs on the door. Little ice chunks can fall and my friend with a Manitowac always has wet spots on her floor. If I did it again, I'd probably put it on the sink side of our wet bar (the other side) but we have a 2nd dishwasher there so didn't really have a choice. It makes for a nice beverage area on the clean side, but sometimes ice falls b/c I can't pour the scoop in a glass over a sink.

We were putting this in newly added space so we were able to put in a gravity drain so the water just flows down as it washes through the ice. I was worried about hearing the ice drop b/c everyone says that's loud in ice makers. We don't hear that really - not sure if the extra panel helps with that? Probably does.

What we DO hear is the vent/fan. Because it is made by a commercial company, it's there in the front under the unit. That's where they are in other appliances but the sound of that ventilation has come a long way in modern appliances where this icemaker still blows. It clicks on and you can't miss it. To be honest, it's probably the appliance I hear the most in our entire new wetbar and kitchen. I just wanted folks considering it to know.

I'd much prefer the white noise of a fan sound to the drip drop clunk of ice, so I've adjusted to it by now.

We have ours in a butler's pantry / wet bar, so it's not in any majorly-used room. There is a swinging door between that area and the dining room, so I just swing that closed if we're doing formal dining - I usually do that anyway for intimacy. (I'm the only one who hears it but still...) Or, I temporarily switch it off (right on front of unit) - it's got plenty of ice to last us an evening! :-)

THAT SAID, I would most likely buy it again. The ice is fantastic, we've had absolutely no problems - perfectly refreshing since the day it was installed. Produces tons of ice of the perfect size (top-hat style it's called,) and it's always fresh and tasty. Combined with the Little Butler "insta-cold/hot" we have across in a sink (34 degree water,) it's a dream come true.

We use the ice maker THE MOST of any appliance in the house. Probably scoop 20 - 30 times a day between the four of us. I'm not exaggerating! I know it's a luxury to have, and it makes me so happy. I'm an ice girl!

Here are pics (before our grout was in the tile, sorry about that! Icemaker is on the right side of the bev center) - let me know if I can tell you anything else. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 3:00PM
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Great information! Thanks for all the details and photos.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 8:56AM
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We plan to get an icemaker in our new build. Haven't gotten to the point of decisions on this, but thanks for all the detailed information.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:14AM
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I'm also considering one of these Hoshizaki ice makers. I can't find anywhere near me where I can go to see one, though.

I'd like to install a cold plate in whichever ice maker I get. They're typically 8"x12", and I'd have to drill 10 holes for tubes (5 in, 5 out for syrup and water) into the back of the unit. I know this can be done with the KitchenAid ice maker, but I don't like the ice or the noise of that particular unit.

Do you think there's room in there for the plate and sufficient space on the back to drill without hitting mechanical or electrical bits?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 9:55AM
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I had a Manitowoc SM-50 under counter. It lasted only 5 years. I complained to the company and they ignored me. I was also pretty loud. My Scotsman before that lasted 15 years and was a bit more quiet.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 11:20AM
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I am late to this posting but I have owned undercounter ice machines since 1976. my first one was a scotsman. I had it in service for 16 years and had to repace the sump pump and the water pump (this one I rebuilt using a surplus c-frame motor real cheap) ,solenoid vale , and other minor parts.After about 4 years it seemed to always have some problem.I had a second scotsman for our lake place -same kind of problems, so I changed to a manatowoc and it was somewhat louder and it lasted about 8 years at the lake place . N

ext was a home depot special made by manotowoc (had to replace the water pump in about 5 years .) The last machine I purchased was the hosazaki am50bae and it now is about 10 years old and I have not had one problem with it whatsoever, and my wife really likes the top hat size cubes it makes..It even ran dry for about aweek once -no problem . Long story shorter, my compac from home depot just went out, so today I ordered a new hosazaki.With my experience this make has given me the best experience to date. hope this helps to make you feel better about your purchase of the hosazaki.Now some good advice -keep it clean ,vacuum the filter on the condenser coil regularly ,a good water filter (reverse osmosis or even a water distiller). will make it's life longer. just my 2 cents . thanks don

    Bookmark   December 26, 2014 at 8:09PM
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We have had two ice makers. The first was a U-Line that was purchased as a floor model when Home Expo closed. We kept it for about a year until we were ready to do the install only to find that the unit would not stop producing ice. Multiple service calls later, we gave up. I then purchased Manitowac 15" under counter ice maker. This unit lasted for a little over 3 years (a month or two after the warranty ran out). The evaporator plate then gave out. Replacement cost half the price of the entire unit. We were told by the service tech that these plates are one of the items that fail most often.
Now I am searching for a new ice maker. I am basically using the length of the manufacturer's warranty as the benchmark for the unit's reliability. I ordered a KitchenAid unit as it comes with a 3 year warranty but was just told that Best Buy can no longer provide the unit. I am now considering the Hoshizaki. Any additional feedback regarding the KA or Hoshizaki would be great. I would not buy another Manitowac.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 8:33AM
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I am curious why these units need a water pump and a sump pump (neither of which is apparent in my SZ ice maker) Is household pressure too low for its ice mould injection scheme; is there some internal overflow that needs to be pumped to a drain?


    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 11:16AM
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If you have a gravity drain below, you don't need the water pump. Otherwise you need a pump to push the melted ice residue up an out to the nearest drain. FYI for those lurking, ice makers don't keep ice frozen. They just replace the melted ice with new ice. (BIG energy consumers.)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 11:31AM
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No trouble at all with several Manitowoc SM-50s I've used that are 9 years old now, and I like the jewel-like ice cubes they make, as well as the relative quietness, the temporary shutoff option, the inside LED lighting, and other aspects of its design. I'm also intrigued with the new Scotsman ice machine that makes small chewy ice nuggets of the sort normally only seen in restaurants and bars; it's the only residential machine that makes that sort of ice.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 4:55PM
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Thanks, I failed to even imagine that an ice maker would not also be a freezer to keep the ice cold enough to not melt.

kas, not thinking outside the (ice) box

    Bookmark   February 1, 2015 at 10:49AM
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Hi -

As the original poster, I'm back!

First kaseki, you wouldn't want the ice to just sit there - it would quickly become stale and taste funky if that much ice just lived there until use.

Back to the general question, I'm mixed on the Hoshizaki - here's the update on our experience.

After about a year, we started to see the ice cubes "clumping" and were clouded and not breaking into individual "top hat" cubes when they dropped. The problem quickly escalated.

Working with Hoshizaki then become an issue. First they had us call a couple different service companies, none of which handled residential service. Then they finally connected us to the ONE guy who covers our area (lives in PA, we are in Baltimore, MD.). Finally had him scheduled to come, assuming the unit just requires a cleaning.

Well, then it got very complicated. So the service guy found that the evaporator showed pitting and damage even though it was a year old. We had a whole round of discussions about the filter (ours was a sediment filter, not a full Everpure mineral and sediment filter). The net of the interaction was that we hadn't had it installed by a Hoshizaki rep so technically the warranty was voided. My husband was furious as there it took us months to find this single service guy, so clearly we wouldn't have easily been able to find someone to install it! And, we bought it through a small, locally-owned applicance store NOT a big box store and were assured the warranty would be in place when our licensed plumber installed it.

Long story, lots of discussion with Hoshizaki later, we settled on a compromise that allowed the service guy to do the work to repair the ice maker with no cost to us, but it was a tedious process.

we did put in the Everpure filter system and would recommend it for anyone getting an ice maker. There is just a lot of water that runs through to melt and reform the ice so minerals and damage can add up.

Now that it's back, it's great. Ice is perfect size to me (I found the cubes for the Manitowac / SubZero to be too big). It is always full and ready to enjoy.

Observing it now, it is quieter and the water is running less (it was aost constant by the end when it was having issues), so I'm convinced that the damage was caused by excess water and fact that it was in an active mode nearly all the time. It's much quieter now.

Would I get it again? If I had service reps in the area to install it, probably. If I had known what a pain that would be, probably not. I would only have considered the Manitowac (and the filter is built in there, so that's great, just expensive) or the Kitchen Aid.

All told, I'm still happy bc our unit has the cabinet door front that matches our wet bar cabinets and it looks amazing and functions well. We're hosting a Super Bowl party today for 30, and I don't have to get any ice... Love it.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2015 at 11:24AM
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