At first glance, picking an outdoor ice maker might seem fairly straight forward. But it's important to consider all the following aspects when selecting an outdoor ice maker:
Daily Capacity: If it's only your family using the ice maker, models that produce 20-30 pounds of ice per day might be enough. If you're planning parties, you might want to consider units that produce 50 or more pounds per day.
Cycle Length: Check out the unit specifications on the cycle time to produce fresh cubes.
Ice Cube Size: Some ice makers will allow you to select the cube size that the unit produces.
Ice Basket: This is important because if you need large quantities of ice with a quick cycle time, the larger the basket the better. It's also recommended to look for an ice maker with a removable basket.
There are many different types of outdoor ice makers on the market but basically, they all make ice the same way. ice cubes are formed when water enters the ice maker and is funneled into a refrigerated ice tray where the water will be frozen. They are then loosened to fall into a collection bin by a mild heating element. Outdoor ice makers are usually built-in to outdoor kitchens and are designed with the proper ventilation to allow them to be efficient in the kitchen.
There are two essential ways an ice maker can drain. A gravity drain can be used if the ice maker is within two feet of the drain and is lower than the drain port from the ice machine. Water cannot run "uphill" but if these are the conditions, you will not have any problems with the gravity drain. If you are more than 2 feet from the drain or higher than the drain port, you will need a pump to move the excess water from the ice machine to the drain.