Bullet Ice Vs. Nugget Ice: Learn the Difference

Ice is an indispensable part of drinks, mixed fruit juices, cocktails and mocktails, and even a simple glass of water in the hot weather. But not all ice is made the same, from simple addition to a blender or something to merely chew on, the type of ice that one possesses makes all the difference. From nuggets to bullet, sonic, gourmet, crescent to cubes., there are a vast variety of ice types that each ice maker can produce and each type of ice is different in its ways. It is important to choose an ice maker appropriately, depending on your needs and based on your ice commitment. We will discuss here the two broad variants of ice types, names the bullet and the nugget ice, and their pros and cons.

The Nugget Ice

Nugget Ice
Ice produced with GE Profile Opal ice maker (Credit: Geappliances)

The nugget ice cubes are known by so many different names such as the sonic ice, chewable ice, pebble ice, or pellet ice. These types of ice cubes are soft and chewable and are capable of filling every inch of the glass. The nugget ice is of very small pieces and is thus capable of filling the glass faster and cooling the beverages better than the bullet ice. The nugget ice is very soft and is easy to chew. It also plays an indispensable role in the food service establishments as it is capable of cooling drinks rapidly and for a longer period, without sticking or foaming together. Nugget ice is pretty much common among its users for it is chewy and it is much satisfying to chew on, compared with other ice types.

The nugget ice is also airy and light, but still, it doesn’t melt as quickly as the crushed ice types. And this type of ice is capable of chilling the drinks pretty quickly. Nugget ice is the new companion for cocktails and many different types of drinks and works great with crushed ice cocktails, lemonades, fizzy beverages, iced tea and coffee, creamy mochas, etc. 

Many people think that this nugget ice is a form of crushed ice from the refrigerator. But this is many layers of the flaked ice that are combined and frozen with each other. This process creates many pockets of air in the pellet ice nuggets and experts say that it is this pocket of air that makes the ice airy and chewy. Nugget ice is also capable of soaking up the beverage pretty well, that you will be able to retain the flavor of the beverage up to the very last piece of the ice chunk. Apart from chilling beverages, the nugget ice cubes are great for smoothies, for salad bars, and can be used in treating sports injuries as well.

If you need a good ice maker for nugget ice cubes then GE Profile Opal should be your choice. You can read the review of the GE profile Opal here.

Pros of Nugget Ice

  • You can accommodate a lot of nugget ice in the glass and this pure volume of ice means that the beverage will cool faster than the bullet ice.
  • Nugget ice is soft, airy, and chewable
  • It absorbs the flavor of the beverage perfectly
  • It blends perfectly and thus is great for creating all kinds of beverages
  • Fill the glass with ice and chills the beverages faster

Cons of Nugget Ice

  • The nugget ice is costly to produce.
  • It tends to melt faster.

Check out: Best Sonic Nugget Ice Machines

Bullet Ice Cubes

Bullet Ice
Ice produced with NewAir AI-100S ice maker (Credit: newair)

The bullet ice cubes are the most versatile and are easily available. These ice cubes are round and hollow in the middle and they resemble a bullet. A vast majority of the portable ice makers form bullet-shaped ice cubes and they find extensive application in everyday needs, such as making iced tea and cocktails. The bullet ice cubes are pretty much harder than the nugget ice and it is not chewy. Most of the time people get confused between nugget and bullet ice cubes and think that both of them are the same. But bullet ice is not nugget ice and there is a lot of difference between them.

The bullet ice is also perfect for preparing all different types of beverages and it comes in handy in preparing a fresh glass of refreshing drink, irrespective of what type of beverage that you wish to produce. The bullet ice cubes are highly versatile and are great for making different types of beverages. They are also great for camping and use in the cooler. The bullet ice cubes are cheaper to produce and melt slower than other forms of ice cubes. you can also add them to a water bottle to make chilled drinks. 

As this bullet ice is way harder than the nugget ice, you have to use a blender to break up the ice. But as these ice cubes are larger, you cannot add a lot of them to your glass as they will leave little room for the beverage. Also, it can make the beverage take a lot of time to get chilled down. Also, the nugget ice cubes are hard to chew, but they are great camping companions, as you can carry a lot of them in the ice bags and the cooler. They last longer than other types of ice and make sure that the food is always kept cold. Above all, the nugget ice cubes are very easy and cheap to produce and many portable ice makers form bullet ice cubes.

In case you are looking for a good ice maker for bullet ice cubes then here are some best countertop ice makers that you can consider. In case you need a clear-cut recommendation, then we will say NewAir AI-100S Ice Maker is a very good choice.

Pros of Bullet Ice

  • The nugget ice cubes are pretty much cheaper to produce
  • They are versatile and can be produced in three different sizes in most ice makers.
  • Bullet ice can be formed pretty quickly, in less than 10 minutes
  • Most ice makers produce them in very large quantities, up to 100 pounds of ice in a day.
  • They are widely used in restaurants, bars, and convenience stores.

Cons of Bullet Ice

  • Larger bullets occupy much space in the glass
  • They are not chewable
  • They are hard to blend.

Nugget Vs Bullet Ice Cubes

Let us compare and contrast both these ice cubes in a comparison table here, to understand their characteristics and applications better.

S NoAttributeNugget IceBullet ice
1.CharacteristicsNugget ice is very soft to chew and is hard to produce and dispenseThey are known for their convenience in size and they’re solid built. 
2.ApplicationsThe ice is great for making soft drinks, cold drinks, and blended drinks like smoothies. They are also used by patients to chew in hospitalsThey are great for bagging and self-serving dispensing. They chill foods expertly and are great for making mixed drinks, blended drinks, and frozen cocktails.
3.UsesCommonly used in health care settings, bars, and restaurantsThey are meant for universal applications and are found in commercial restaurants, bars, convenience stores
4.Melting rateQuick, but absorbs the flavor of the drink completelyModerate and keeps the drinks cold for a long time
5.AdvantagesIt blends well and cools the drinks rapidly.Offers maximum cooling without watering down the drinks quickly.

Final Words

Both the ice cubes are advantageous and are used in extensive settings. The ice makers that produce nugget ice cubes are costlier than those that produce nugget ice cubes. You can choose to buy your ice maker, depending on the type of beverage that you wish to create and for daily use, both the bullet and the nugget ice cubes will work great and their ice makers are also easy to operate and use.

I'm Sara Wilson, the founder, and author of IceMakerCage. I'm also the head of the expert team that tests various ice makers and brings the best advice.

Leave a Comment