True's push into home appliances becomes crystal clear.
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True, a maker of industrial-grade refrigerators and coolers, is making a renewed push to get into the consumer refrigeration game. For years, its lineup of under-counter drink cabinets and fridges has targeted people who are willing to pay the premium for heavily built appliances with professional, American heritage.
The company's long history of industrial expertise carries over into its brand-new True Clear Ice Machine (MSRP TBA)—the company's first ice maker for home use. It's being introduced alongside the full-size True 42 fridge (another first for the company), which doesn't come with a built-in ice maker. That makes it an ideal companion piece, though it could just as easily be used on its own, as part of a bar setup.
We got to spend a little time with the True Clear Ice Machine at KBIS 2015 in Las Vegas, and came away intrigued by what we found.
Simple, clean, and well-built—these words describe the Clear Ice Machine to a "T." With True's background in manufacturing restaurant-quality heavy-duty machinery, it should come as no surprise that its residential appliances are similarly no-nonsense.
The model we investigated on the show floor at KBIS 2015 was the stainless version, which is remarkably plain-looking when closed. A long, solid handle lines the lefthand side of the front door, and the iconic True logo sits pretty on the bottom edge. Underneath the door, are three simple slits that feeds the machine with fresh air for cooling.
Yank on the handle, and the clear ice inside is revealed. The white plastic tub can hold a whole lot of ice—up to 28 pounds at a time. You might notice an eerie glow coming from the bin, but isn't just the magical allure of clear ice beckoning. True has included its TruLumina LED lighting system, which lets you choose from 14 different lighting colors. (If you want our advice, don't use yellow.)
Above the ice hopper are the Clear Ice Machine's few controls, along with a small LED status display. There's a power toggle, a button to select the ice size (there are five options), a selector for the desired TruLumina color, and another for the machine's self-cleaning function. Turn to the right and there's an ice scoop that slots into the door when you're not using it.
For large families—or people who make a habit of entertaining—there's a distinct advantage to having a standalone ice machine, and True's model is just about as full-featured as ice machines come. Not only does it create nuggets of dependably clear ice, but it has two distinctive features that make it stand out.
First, according to True, this ice machine is the very first home ice maker to get an Energy Star certification. If you care about energy and water efficiency, you're probably not buying a standalone ice maker in the first place. But if you're in the market anyway, this is one feature no competitor can currently match.
The second unique feature is the Clear Ice Machine's filter. Other standalone ice makers often go without, opting to use water straight from the tap. Depending on where you live, that can make the ice taste, well... less than great. The Clear Ice Machine's filter is good for between three and six months, which is when True also recommends you run the self-cleaning cycle.
Why clear ice? Well, for one thing, it's said to melt a little slower than plain ol' everyday ice. For another, the restaurant-quality cubes look great floating in your favorite cocktail. Thankfully, even though making clear ice is more complicated than pumping out the regular kind, the True Clear Ice Machine can still produce up to 70 pounds of the stuff per day, with each harvest cycle only taking 25 minutes.
In the brief time we spent with the True Clear Ice Machine, we came to understand why someone might be interested in such a device.
Clear ice is a cute headlining feature, but it's really the supporting tech that makes this machine a compelling option for large families and entertainers. Energy and water efficiency, cleaner better-tasting ice, and solid design are all big draws if you're in the market for an under-counter ice maker.
There are a few more pros to consider. The machine is made in the USA, and it carries a three-year parts and labor warranty along with 6-year coverage on the unit's sealed system components. Those warranties include coverage for outdoor use, meaning this machine can fit equally well in your kitchen or poolside gazebo.
It's hard to judge the value proposition here since pricing hasn't been announced just yet, but given all it has to offer, you can probably assume the True Clear Ice Machine probably won't be cheap.
True's first consumer ice maker will ship this spring, possibly as early as April, according to True representatives. You'll be able to buy the stainless steel model we saw at KBIS, or even add a custom cabinet front to better match your kitchen.
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