Whether you’re keeping your cooler cold during a day on the job, or you’re getting ready for a day at the beach, it’s helpful to know what type of ice is cheap, fresh, clean and easy to handle. The most popular type of ice on-the-go is bagged ice from convenience stores or grocery stores, or vended ice from ice vending machines. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between traditional bagged ice vs vended ice, and see which might work best for your needs.
Differences Between Traditional Bagged Ice vs Vended Ice
Which is Cheaper?
When you keep prices down, you can save money for more important things. Getting a better deal always feels good, but savings can also add up over time. So, when it comes to traditional bagged ice vs vended ice, which one is cheaper?
While location makes some difference in price, as does the volume of ice you need, vended ice is cheaper than traditional bagged ice. Ice vending machines produce ice on location, which means there’s no transportation or manufacturing costs. Bagged ice from a grocery store or convenience store might cost about $2 for a 7- to 10-pound bag. Prices between vending machines may vary somewhat, just like the prices between different convenience stores and grocery stores, but vended ice generally costs about $1.50 for a 10- to 16-pound bag. That means you’re getting more ice at a cheaper price!
Vended ice is cheaper than bagged ice from convenience stores or grocery stores. If you’re looking for a deal, vended ice is the way to go.
Which is Cleaner?
Is your ice clean? While water is generally the culprit when it comes to contamination, ice can also be contaminated in very similar ways. If the water used to make the ice is contaminated, the ice will be contaminated as well. Or, if the ice is handled with unwashed hands, germs will stay behind, which can make their way into foods and drinks. Finally, if mold collects on the damp areas of ice makers or ice bins, it can ruin the taste of the ice and can make you sick.
When it comes to traditional bagged ice vs vended ice, which is cleaner? Once again, there is some variation here—different ice manufacturers have different water filtering and cleanliness standards. Different convenience stores and grocery stores may clean their ice makers and ice bins at different rates as well. Twice the Ice provides a clear maintenance schedule to help owners keep the filters, ice maker and ice bin clean and working properly. In addition, vended ice is only handled by the consumers, while bagged ice from convenience stores is handled by manufacturers, shippers and convenience store workers. This means vended ice is much less likely to be contaminated from a lack of hand-washing.
When it comes to which ice is cleaner, vended ice wins, since it’s undergoes thorough filtration and sanitation, and it’s only handled by the consumer.
Which is Easier to Handle?
To put your ice in your cooler, it needs to be easy to handle. If your ice is frozen into one large block, it probably won’t be very useful. Or, you’ll need to break it up into smaller pieces. So between traditional bagged ice vs vended ice, which is easier to handle?
Bagged ice in grocery stores or convenience stores sits in a storage area, usually an ice bunker located just outside the store, until it’s purchased. As temperatures shift throughout the day, especially on hot days when ice is most useful, ice in a bunker can melt a bit and refreeze. When this happens, the bagged ice can turn into a larger block. Efforts to break the ice apart can cause the bag to tear and contaminate the ice, or cause it to spill.
Ice vending machines create ice throughout the day, as customers purchase it. This means the ice isn’t melting and refreezing as the temperatures change. This helps to keep the ice cubes separate, so it’s easier to handle. This way, you can easily take out a few cubes to put in a drink, fill your cooler, fill your lunchbox, or any other container.
Vended ice is generally easier to handle than traditional bagged ice, since it isn’t melting and refreezing throughout the day.
If you’re wondering about the differences between traditional bagged ice vs vended ice, vended ice is cheaper, cleaner and easier to handle. To find an ice vending machine near you, take a look at the ice vending map on the free ICE2U app.