If you’ve never visited an ice vending machine before, this summer is the perfect time to start. For all of those curious about ice vending, or for those simply looking for better alternatives to convenience store ice for their workday or vacation outings, this blog post is for you.
8 Reasons to Try Ice Vending This Summer
2023 is already proving to be the summer of travel. As the most serious concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic have slowly resolved, travelers around the globe are getting out again. About 62% of Americans say they will spend more on travel this year, and some surveys indicate that about 85% of Americans will travel, either domestically or internationally or both, this year. If you’re one of the many Americans traveling domestically by car, RV, or something similar, you may be wondering about the best places to get ice. Here, we’ve outlined a few of the best reasons to try ice vending this summer.
Use the ICE2U app to find your closest ice vending machine and get a free bag of ice!
Get the app >
1. More Affordable
First, and perhaps most importantly, ice vending machines are more affordable compared to convenience store ice and many other places to buy ice. Costs vary from location to location, but convenience store ice generally costs about .35 to .40 cents per lb, compared to .15 to .20 cents per lb of vended ice. This means you’ll pay about $2.89 for a 7 lb bag from a convenience store, and only about $2.50 for a 16 lb bag or $1.75 to $2 for a 10 lb bag. And, you’ll save even more if you use the ICE2U app and collect rewards, which we’ll discuss more later.
2. Easy and Convenient
Another great reason to try ice vending this summer is simply the convenience. Instead of waiting in line at the convenience store or grocery store, waiting for an employee to unlock the ice bunker, and trying to fill up your cooler without spilling your ice, an ice vending machine makes it easy. You can simply pull your vehicle up to the vending machine, pay for your ice, and fill up your cooler directly with clean, fresh ice. You can also bag your ice using the bags on-site, if you prefer. You can even pay directly on the ICE2U app and go completely touchless.
Of course, you can skip the plastic bag and fill up your cooler directly, but there are many other reasons that ice vending machines are more eco-friendly than convenience store ice. Since ice vending machines make ice on-the-spot using a connection to the local water line, there’s no need to transport ice over many miles and keep it cool during transit and storage, which is a very energy-intensive process. This process, which is where most convenience store ice comes from, adds up to a big carbon footprint. Vended ice uses a fraction of the energy.
4. Get Ice and Water
Few things feel better than drinking ice-cold water on a blazing hot day, and many ice vending machines allow you to fill up your water bottle or any other receptacle with cold, clean, clear water when you get your ice. Drinking water is even more important when temperatures rise, so filling up plenty of water bottles will make your vacation or workday in hot weather much easier and safer.
5. No Ice Blocks
Often, ice that sits in an ice bunker at a convenience store freezes and thaws as temperatures change throughout the day. This can cause the ice cubes to freeze together into one, tough-to-handle block, which can be difficult to fit into your cooler. Since ice vending machines make ice on-demand, there’s no freezing and thawing, and no unwieldy ice blocks.
Ice that’s delivered to convenience stores gets handled by quite a few people before it reaches your cooler. It’s handled by the manufacturer, the shippers, and the store staff before you purchase it. It might sit in a truck or bunker for long periods, too, sometimes close to mold colonies that collect in hard-to-clean areas.
Vended ice is made in the machine and it isn’t touched by anyone but the buyer. Vended ice goes directly from the machine to your bag or cooler. With contactless purchases through the ICE2U app, you don’t even have to touch the machine itself!
7. Get Rewards and Discounts
As previously mentioned, vended ice is more affordable than convenience store ice, but you can save even more by using the ICE2U app. If you buy 10 bags of ice using the app, the 11th bag is free! You’ll also get a free bag of ice just for signing up, and another free bag when you load 20$ on the app. Some vending machine owners will also offer discounts in the app to encourage customers to visit their machine.
8. Supports Communities
Some Twice the Ice vending machines are owned by the manufacturer, Ice House America, but most are owned by individual business owners. This means revenue from your purchases doesn’t pile up in big banks or go to shareholders—business owners use the money to make purchases in their own communities. Many business owners, including Ice House America, also support communities when disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes strike. When access to clean water becomes a problem, Ice House America and vending machine owners have stepped in to provide access to safe water lines. This community support is another pretty great reason to try ice vending this summer.
Sign up for ICE2U and your first bag of ice is free! Use the app to find your closest ice vending machine, and make it easy to keep all your food and drinks cold this summer.