The Economics of Nugget Ice

Bp9sTM-CIAAP6huI really like Sonic ice.  You know, that nugget ice that is crunchable and cools off your drink fast.  At work, when we moved into our new office space, we had a Hoshizaki Undercounter Nugget Ice Maker installed.  All of the alternatives I looked at were around the same $2,500 street price point.

I’d love to have a nugget ice maker for the house.  It would be a big improvement over the stinky, white ice cubes that might be available from my lame GE ice maker.  But, at $2,500 we would have to eat a whole bunch of ice for it to make sense.

How much?  I busted open Excel to build a formula.  Here are my simplifying assumptions:

  • A 10 pound bag of nugget ice from Sonic (the gold standard) costs $2.05
  • while at home, my family consumes 2 pounds of ice each day
  • the cost of the ice machine is $2,500
  • water, gas, electricity, ice machine maintenance and my time are free

By my calculations, it would take more than 16 years and 12,000 pounds of ice consumption to break even with the cost of purchasing the equivalent amount of ice from Sonic.

Looking at it that way, I will need to justify such a high-ticket item some other way!

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