Manitowoc Indigo Versus Kool-Aire Ice Machine March 04 2014, 4 Comments

Manitowoc Indigo Ice Machine LogoManitowoc has released a new line of budget commercial ice machines labeled Kool-Aire or Koolaire.  This has long been a Manitowoc brand, but was previously only assigned to a small line or reach-in glass door coolers.  The new Kool-aire ice machines are now made by Manitowoc, but at a lower price point than the popular Indigo, and manufactured in Mexico.

But what is the difference between an Indigo and Koolaire ice machine?

Indigo ice makers have the latest technology to be efficient, make trouble free ice, and accept a number of beneficial accessories.  Ice machine accessories like auto-clean units and Luminice can be installed on Manitowoc Indigo ice machines, which will cut down on the need for regular ice machine maintenance.  The energy efficiency of Indigo ice machines also provides the buyer with cost savings, as most Indigo ice makers are Energy Star qualified.

Manitowoc Indigo brand ice machines also cover a broad range of sizes, ranging from 300 lb per day ice makers all the way up to 1800 lb per day air-cooled units.  Thanks to Quiet Cube technology and remote condensing units, larger production ice machines are also available.  In addition, Indigo comes in a broad line of air-cooled, water-cooled, traditional remote, and quiet cube remote systems.

To meet the latest Energy Star efficiency ratings, Manitowoc Indigo utilizes acoustic ice thickness controls and water level probes.  These sensors allow the ice machine to operate more efficiently, going into harvest sooner and using less water than a float valve.  In addition, the Indigo has a Water Miser option, within the control panel that allows the machine to use even less water.  This can be activated in areas where the ice machine uses a water filter and the water supply is free of sediment and scale.

Koolaire Ice Machine LogoKool-aire ice machines use older technology, such as float valves for water and to tell the ice machine when to harvest.  It does this by basing the cycle time off of the water level in the water trough.  This is less efficient and will prohibit the Kool-aire ice makers from being Energy Star qualified.

The building materials used on the Kool-aire ice machines are also of a slightly lower quality.  The insulation type and plastic of the frame is a lower quality compared to the Indigo machines.  Furthermore, the Koolaire ice machines are manufacturered in Mexico, as opposed to the Manitowoc factory in Manitowoc, WI.  This cuts the cost of production and allows the Kool-aire ice models to be sold at a much cheaper price point.

The air condenser is a single pass, which requires more energy to make ice.  Instead of the typical R404A refrigerant found in most ice machines, the Koolaire brand model utilizes R410A, which is found in HVAC units.  This different refrigerant also requires the Kool-aire to use a rotary compressor, unique to the Kool-aire brand machines.

Thanks to Manitowoc's proprietary technology, the Koolaire brand machines still use the same evaporator as the Indigo series units.  Other major components that are shared between the two ice machines are water pumps, distribution tubes, and fan motors for air-cooled equipment.

Ice Machine Warranty

Probably the most significant difference between the Koolaire and Manitowoc ice machines is the warranty.  Indigo ice machines comes with a standard 3 year parts and labor for the entire machine, along with a 5 year parts for the compressor and 5 year parts and labor on the evaporator.  The Koolaire ice machines only come with a standard 1 yr parts and labor with a 5 year parts only warranty on the evaporator and compressor.

When buying a Koolaire Ice Machine or Indigo

  • does efficiency matter?

  • is a lower cost worth losing an extended warranty?

  • can you justify the extra cost to use accessories?

More Information on the Manitowoc Indigo and Koolaire Ice Machines

Manitowoc Indigo Presentation -

Koolaire Website -

Koolaire Ice Machine Information -

Manitowoc Ice Machine Website -

Indigo Best Innovation, Best Design Best In Class Awards -

KoolAire Ice Machine Parts -

Ice Maker Parts Shop is proud to supply parts for both the Manitowoc Indigo and Koolaire brand ice machines.  We keep a wide line of ice machine parts in stock, including float valves, ice thickness controls, water inlet valves, and dump valves for all models of Manitowoc and Koolaire ice machines.  We are also happy to assist in parts research, to make sure you get the parts you need and get you back in ice as soon as possible.  Contact us today to find out how we can help.