An ice maker is an indispensable companion for any beverage establishment. A good ice maker eliminates the need to buy bags of ice or fill and empty ice molds. It’s helpful in any situation, especially if you often host parties.
There are a few factors to consider when selecting the ideal ice maker for your home or bar, including the available space, the desired ice quality and quantity, and budget. If you have a big family and go through a lot of ice, you may want to consider a commercial model that can be used at home or a robust countertop model.
Take portability into account if you intend to bring the machine to other events in addition to the occasional small gatherings you host. Also, are you just having a few drinks with friends, or are you a severe cocktail mixologist who needs extra-large, clear cubes? Once you’ve established your requirements, check out our recommendations for the best ice makers.
What Exactly Does an Ice Maker Do?
Ice is lovely, but you may wonder why you need an ice maker machine. Isn’t a single tray in the refrigerator sufficient? Is a machine a necessity? Well, ice makers are the answer to all your problems. They provide ice in various shapes and forms for all situations, and their quick, high-quality ice will enhance your business and personal life. Here are some of the ways they can assist you:
Even though you may believe that a tray in the refrigerator is sufficient for personal use, it is not. While it takes at least an hour to freeze a tray of ice cubes, a countertop ice maker can produce more and higher quality ice. It can be a lifesaver, especially for social gatherings with many cocktails. After all, nobody wants to run out of ice in the middle of a party.
Instead of relying on your refrigerator for ice, you should consider purchasing an ice maker because the quality of the ice is inferior. Since ice trays in refrigerators are typically made of inexpensive plastic, their flavor may transfer to your ice. Additionally, since freezers are filled with frozen foods, your ice is bound to absorb the odors in the vicinity.
Due to these circumstances, you not only wait a long time for a small amount of ice but are also deprived of the pleasures of ice. On the other hand, using a countertop ice maker can ensure the quality of ice, allowing you to host parties without worrying about running out of ice or having it smell like frozen food.
Did you know that portable ice-making machines exist? You can finally bring ice wherever you go without worrying about it melting en route.
Additionally, ice makers provide a substantial boost to your business. Regarding restaurants, time is of the essence, and you cannot afford to wait for ice. Commercial ice maker machines for restaurants will produce large quantities of ice in a short time. Additionally, you can store the machine’s ice if you purchase an ice maker with a bin or a separate ice bin.
Also, investing in a quality ice maker will allow you to serve cocktails with ice in various shapes and higher quality. Numerous ice makers can produce different ice shapes, including dice cubes, crescent cubes, nugget ice, and flake ice. Any bartender will tell you that the shape and quality of ice are essential for a tasty cocktail. Rather than being limited to regular, small ice cubes, you can invest in an ice maker to ensure you have the best ice for the city’s finest cocktails. For drinks such as vodka, bartenders prefer large ice cubes and spheres to preserve the drink’s appearance and prevent the ice from melting too quickly. In contrast, crushed ice is required to create the distinctive appearance of a mojito. Ice makers will save you great trouble when quickly serving delicious and aesthetically pleasing cocktails.
Benefits of an Ice Maker
There are specific necessities in life. Then there are other things you recognize that would not significantly impact if you had them. There are also those things you never knew you needed until you acquired them!
Most things in life can be placed in one of these categories.
So, where would you place a home ice maker? No, we’re not referring to the delightful ice-making machine in your freezer. Instead, we refer to the ice machine that produces ice on its own.
Regardless of how you answered that question, you should be aware of the following: a home ice maker is one of those appliances you never knew you needed until you had one.
We live in an instant-gratification culture. If we want something, we want it immediately. You desire ice directly when standing in your kitchen with glass. You do not want to wait for the automatic ice maker in your freezer to produce another batch. You do not wish to wait for the water to freeze in the ice cube tray. And you certainly don’t want to drive to the local convenience store to purchase a bag of ice, do you?
With a home ice maker, you’ll never again have to consume warm beverages or wait patiently for ice. Instead, having ice becomes a convenience. You can always count on the ice being available in your residence.
Simple to Use
Yes, you have options for obtaining ice for your kitchen. If you have an automatic ice maker in your freezer, you can use it. Alternatively, you can use the traditional method of filling ice trays with water and freezing them. Alternatively, you can purchase ice and store it in your freezer.
What if we told you that having an ice maker at home could be a simple solution to your needs? You do not have to worry about making or purchasing ice. And you certainly do not need to worry about those cumbersome portable ice makers that take up counter space and have a terrible aesthetic impact on your kitchen.
This ice maker is permanently installed in your kitchen, much like a refrigerator, dishwasher, or range – albeit smaller – and automatically takes care of your ice needs.
The best feature is its usability. This ice machine does not require you to take any extra steps to use. It will perform its magic and provide you with ice whenever needed. No extra effort is required!
Sanitation and Good Hygiene
Consider the extent to which your refrigerator and freezer are stocked. How many times per day do you access these? How many items do you have that you wouldn’t want to consume immediately? Do you, for example, purchase and freeze raw meat?
Almost always, automatic ice makers in refrigerator and freezer combinations include an open bin for ice storage. Indeed, it provides easy access to the ice. But consider this: how often have you peered inside that ice bin? Have you ever dumped all the ice out of your ice bin to see what is at the bottom? There is a good chance you will find unwanted debris — frequently from unknown sources — accumulating on the ice’s base. In addition to potentially obtaining ice that has been stored next to raw meat and other grocery items that unknown individuals in the grocery store have handled, you may drop items into your open ice bin without realizing it.
Here’s the difference: You don’t have to worry about what is stored around or within your ice with a home ice maker. Instead, you have a secure bin containing ice and an ice scoop to retrieve it as needed. Remember that you only have access to this ice machine when you need ice. This indicates that it is a significantly more hygienic option.
How We Evaluated
In our laboratory, we compared many portability, performance, and capacity ice makers. The examiners collected data on each machine’s batch production rate, ice output per hour, noise level, and ice quality (taking note of bubbles and impurities that could cause the ice to melt more quickly). In addition, they noted how simple it was to operate each machine, if there was any mess or dripping, how well-insulated each device was to prevent ice from melting, and whether each machine was self-cleaning.
We also purchased multiple ice makers for in-home testing by our editors.
The 10 Best Ice Makers for Your Home
The evolution of ice makers has accommodated our thirst for beverages. You can obtain clear, Instagram-worthy ice for cocktails or ice that resembles soda fountain ice. We’ve compiled a list of 10 ice machines that will keep you cool, whether you’re looking to fill a glass or a cooler with ice.
1. Best Overall: Luma Comfort Clear Ice Cube Maker Machine
According to raving reviews, this ice maker produces crystal-clear, restaurant-grade ice, and it was a hit with our lab testers. This machine has a 10-cup water capacity and made the most ice per hour among the ice makers we tested. In addition, they remarked on the machine’s lack of obtrusive branding and quiet operation.
The unit has push-button controls, an LED display, and alerts for when the ice bin is full, or the water supply is running low. It’s not so large that a refrigerator with an ice maker would be preferable, but if you have a small kitchen, you may need to designate a space other than your countertop for this appliance. It comes with a scoop, an owner’s manual, and a one-year warranty and requires no installation.
- Have clear, restaurant quality ice that melts 5 times slower than cloudy ice
- Powerful compressor produces 28 pounds of ice a day, so you never have to run to the store for a bag of ice again
- Simple, hassle-free ice dispenser requires no installation – just plug in, add water and wait up to 15 minutes to enjoy your first batch of fresh ice
- Cube shaped ice is created as frequently as every 15 minutes, so you don’t have to wait long to chill your drink
- With a side-mounted drain, storage is a breeze, and you don’t have to worry about spilling water everywhere
- Practically silent
- High output per batch
- Makes ice quickly
- Ice might need to be broken up
2. Best Budget: Silonn Countertop Ice Maker
This one is an excellent option if you’re looking for an affordable ice maker. In addition to being sleek, portable, relatively light, and counter-clear, it is also straightforward to set up and use. Our lab testers adored that you could choose between making small or large ice cubes and that despite its lower price, it operates quietly.
Despite the machine’s diminutive size, it has a good water capacity and produces sufficient ice per hour. Our testers did observe that the ice was somewhat cloudy and inconsistent in size, but they adored the machine’s ability to recycle melted ice.
It’s important to note that the ice maker must be transported in an upright position, or you must wait 24 hours before using it again if it wasn’t (otherwise, the refrigerant may not be adequately settled in its reservoir after being moved, which could damage the compressor). The unit includes a basket and an ice scoop.
- Ice in 6 mins
- 2 Types of Ice
- 26LBS Ice Per Day
- Cooler Drinks Faster
- Ice Scoop & Basket Included
- Transparent Lid
- US Based Phone Service.
- Sleek, light, and portable
- Recycles melted ice to make new ice
- Can make small or large cubes
- Ice is cloudy and inconsistently sized
3. Best Splurge: NewAir Countertop Ice Maker
This enormous and heavy ice maker can produce up to 50 pounds of ice daily and 12 pieces every seven minutes. You can choose from three different ice sizes and set a timer for 18 hours to make ice on your schedule. When you need to add water or when the removable ice bin is full, indicator lights illuminate, and an ice scoop is included for easy serving. Since the bin is not refrigerated, the ice will eventually melt, but our home tester noted that it was better insulated than other smaller ice maker models she tried.
According to our home tester, this machine requires little maintenance (it has a self-cleaning mode) and produces ice very quickly; if you leave it running on the smallest setting for two hours, the bin will be full. The bullet ice cubes were cloudy and irregular in size, and the machine made a loud whirring sound while operating, but its performance made up for these flaws. Because the device is so large and heavy, it cannot be easy to drain, so you may want to place a dish towel underneath to catch any drips.
- Produces 50 lbs of ice per day
- 3 different ice size options
- Self-cleaning function
- Removable ice bin and scoop
- 18-hour timer
- Large capacity
- Makes ice quickly
- Self-cleaning feature and timer
- Large and heavy
4. AGLUCKY Countertop Ice Maker Machine
This machine is tiny for an ice maker, and despite looking a little on the inexpensive side, it is adorable. Reviewers say it’s perfect for dinner parties, RVs, small gatherings, and road trips. In an hour, the ice machine produced enough ice relative to its size, as determined by the lab’s testers. Since it is small and has a smaller water capacity, you may need to refill it frequently to keep up with its output, but reviewers note that it is simple to operate and comes with clear, precise instructions.
The AGLUCKY is a compact ice maker that produces 26 pounds of ice per day while taking up minimal counter space. Although this ice maker operates relatively quietly, our lab testers noticed a slight whirring sound from the fan. As ice is consumed or melted, more is produced. This unit comes with an ice scoop, a basket, and a window that allows you to see how much ice is inside.
- 26 lbs ice in 24 hrs
- Ice Cube Rready in 6-8 Mins
- Intelligent control button
- Make ice at top speed
- Ice size is optional
- Ice Basket & Ice Scoop
- Exhaust Cooling Function
- High output for small size
- No self-cleaning feature
5. Best Nugget Ice: GE Opal 2.0 Nugget Ice Maker
If you are unfamiliar with nugget ice, it is a soft and chewable form of ice that is ideal for blended beverages such as smoothies and frozen margaritas. Additionally, nugget ice is perfect for blended cocktails because it keeps the mixture cooler for longer and does not dilute the flavors. This machine produces dry ice of restaurant quality, making it simple to separate if it becomes stuck.
This aesthetically pleasing ice maker produces 1 pound of ice cubes per hour, and the bin can hold up to 3 pounds. The transparent, illuminated bin makes it possible to see how much ice is available and is simple to pull out when scooping ice (scoop included). You can open the bin while ice is still being made, and any ice that is made while the bin is open will fall into the water reservoir. The bin is also insulated to maintain the ice’s temperature, but the machine automatically produces more as the ice melts.
The GE Opal is WiFi-enabled, allowing you to control it while away from home. Additionally, it includes an additional water reservoir, allowing you to refill the water less frequently during large gatherings.
- Large-capacity bin that holds up to 48 ounces of crunchable nugget ice – that’s 24 pounds of ice per day.
- Begin enjoying your first batch of ice in 20 minutes or less with the rapid production of this countertop ice maker.
- Included side water tank that increases ice production by up to three times over standard rates from a built-in reservoir, reducing the need for frequent water refills during high demand.
- Built-in WiFi with the SmartHQ app to monitor device status and schedule fresh ice. Plus, receive automatic software updates and access voice control capabilities through Alexa and Google.
- LED display screen illuminates while being used and goes dark when at rest, providing distraction-free functionality that fits your home.
- Makes chewable nugget ice quickly
- Easy to use and clean
- Sleek design
- Connects to Wi-Fi
6. Best for Bullet Ice: Frigidaire EFIC103 26-Pound Freestanding Ice Maker
Bullet ice, also known as hollow cube ice, is more cylindrical than nugget ice and works well in everything from soft drinks to cocktails. This Frigidaire countertop ice maker produces some of the most significant, thickest bullet ice we’ve seen and does so quickly.
The Frigidaire EFIC103 can produce 26 pounds per day, and in our tests, it made nine servings in just eight minutes. Due to the size and thickness of the ice, a small amount goes a long way. This machine produced hollow, bullet-shaped ice as quickly and thickly as competing brands, costing twice as much. Additionally, it was so quiet that she forgot it was on.
This ice maker has a storage capacity of 2.2 pounds. Even though it is not as well-insulated as some high-end models, our tester found it adequate. In terms of customization, there are three ice sizes available, and our tester observed that the sizes correspond to thickness rather than length.
- Pictured model produces clear ice cubes, unlike most ice makers that produce opaque cubes
- Fast ice produces 9 cubes of ice every 7-15 minutes so you will always have a cold drink ready to go
- Large see-through window allows you to see inside the ice maker without opening the lid
- A convenient drain plug allows you to drain and clean your ice maker quickly and safely
- An ice shovel is included to easily remove the ice in a clean and sanitary manner
- Large, thick ice bullets
- Three sizes of ice
- Very quiet
- No self-cleaning cycle
- Ice storage isn’t refrigerated
7. Best for a Home Bar: Euhomy 40-Pound Countertop Ice Maker Machine
Typically, small household ice makers produce bullet or nugget ice. This one, however, makes clear square ice cubes that chill drinks quickly but are also denser and slower to melt. Serious cocktail enthusiasts will likely appreciate this.
At 14.1 x 11 x 13.7 inches, it won’t take up too much room, and it’s the ideal addition to any busy home bar, as it can produce 24 ice cubes every 12 to 18 minutes and up to 40 pounds of ice cubes in 24 hours. Just remember to regularly empty the removable basket, which can only hold 2.2 pounds of ice at a time. It has a water recycling system that filters and reuses ice melt, ensuring no water is wasted.
- 24 pcs Ice Cube in 13 Mins
- Portable Compact Ice Cube Maker
- LCD & Digital Display
- Water Recycling System
- Efficient & Quiet Cooling
- Produces clear ice cubes
- Minimizes water waste
- Makes ice quickly
- Quiet operation
- No freezing function to prevent ice melting
8. Best for Portability: Igloo ICEB26HNSS 26-Pound Portable Countertop Ice Maker
Igloo’s retro-inspired countertop ice maker is a fantastic option for those concerned with aesthetics. This 9.6 x 14.7 x 12.4-inch mini machine can produce up to 26 pounds of ice daily and create nine small or large bullet cubes in seven minutes (the inner basket can also store 2 pounds at once).
Add water (up to 3 quarts), select your desired cube size via the LED-illuminated control panel, and wait for the ice to appear; the ultra-quiet mechanism does all the work. This countertop ice maker features a removable basket and a serving scoop. The machine is also available in aqua, black, stainless steel, white, and red.
- 26 Pounds in 24 Hours
- 9 Ice Cubes Ready in 7 minutes
- Automatic Self-Cleaning
- Carry handle
- Transparent Lid
- Removable Ice Basket
- Drain Plug
- Small footprint
- Quiet operation
- Includes a scooper and removable basket
- Comes in various finishes
- No freezing function to prevent ice melting
9. Best Undercounter: EdgeStar IB120SS 15-inch Built-In Ice Maker
This EdgeStar ice maker is compact and built-in, with stylish stainless steel and black finish, and is offered at an attractive price for a home or office use. With a front-facing vent and reversible door handle, this unit functions as a freezer for up to 6 pounds of ice at a time and can produce 12 pounds in 24 hours.
This machine is controlled by a simple on/off switch and automatically shuts off when the ice bin is full. With a width of 15 inches, a depth of 20 inches, and a height of 26 inches, this ice maker will fit easily under any countertop.
- Daily Ice Production: This compact unit can squeeze into your boat or RV while also pumping out up to 12 lbs. of ice per day
- Attractive Design: The stainless steel door and black body are a great fit in any décor
- Easy Installation: A removable ice reservoir holds up to 6 lbs. of ice and makes installation a snap
- Easy Operation: A straightforward on/off switch activates the production of ice and once full, the unit will shut itself off
- Keeps Ice Frozen: This ice maker stands out from the rest since it is also a functioning freezer so that no drain is required since your ice doesn’t melt
- Convenient Height: At 25 inches high, this unit fits well under your existing countertop and is also ADA compliant
- Reversible Door: With a reversible door, the x-axis is your oyster — choose a left or right door swing depending on your installation needs
- We strongly recommend that you have this unit installed by a licensed professional
- Functions as a freezer
- Auto-shut off when full
- Includes a scooper
- Can be loud
10. Best Value: Newair Countertop Ice Maker
The NewAir Portable Compact Ice Maker is the ideal portable ice maker for your needs. This small ice maker has an attractive and compact design, making it suitable for a countertop. The LED display and push-button controls make this unit simple to set up and operate, and the low water and full ice alerts indicate when adjustments are necessary.
Get ice quickly, with a 7-minute freezing time per cycle. This ice maker produces clear, restaurant-quality ice that looks great in any beverage and melts five times slower than cloudy ice. This portable ice maker can produce up to 50 pounds of bullet-shaped ice daily.
This portable ice maker has a large ice production capacity and can produce up to 50 pounds daily. In addition, it is compact and requires no permanent installation. It is the ideal ice maker for kitchens, patios, bars, and more! This ice maker’s removable ice bin allows you to fill your glass with ice quickly. It includes a convenient scoop and removable ice bin for easy ice distribution.
This square ice maker occupies slightly more counter space at 16.5 inches tall and 17.2 inches deep but is still small enough to fit under standard cabinets. However, the larger footprint comes with a larger ice bin (so you won’t need to empty it frequently) and nearly double the daily output of other budget countertop options. In this instance, bigger is better, as it produces twelve ice cubes in just seven minutes.
- 50 Pounds A Day
- 12 Cubes in Under 7 Minutes
- Compact Countertop Design
- 3 Size Bullet Shaped Ice
- User Friendly
- Programmable timer
- Three sizes of ice
- Takes up a lot of counter space
Factors to consider when choosing the best ice makers
When operating a business, having sufficient ice is beneficial for various reasons. Whether for your customers’ beverages or to keep multiple products or foods cool, your business requires it.
Consider the following factors when selecting an ice maker to purchase.
The first step in selecting the best ice maker is learning about the various ice maker sizes. How much and what flavors of ice your machine can make depends on its size.
Selecting the right machine size for your company is not always easy. Consider how much ice is required and what you’ll use it for. The location of your company and the type of ice you want to use are also important factors to consider.
There are a variety of ice machines available, as they come in numerous shapes, colors, and sizes. Some can produce up to 400 pounds of ice and measure up to 48 inches wide. Identify and measure your space to ensure the ice maker fits in the desired location.
It would be helpful if you also considered the placement of the ice maker. It must be placed in a room with ample ventilation and airflow.
If the ice maker is placed in a room without these conditions, it will produce significantly less ice than expected. If the ventilation problem persists, additional, more severe issues will emerge.
Types of Ice
Ice makers can produce various ice types, including nuggets, crushed, sphere, cube, and flake ice. Some ice makers have multiple types, while others make only one.
It is crucial to consider the type of ice an ice maker produces. Why? Because different types of ice melt at different rates, some will be more suited to specific needs or applications.
Water Line and Drain Options
Your commercial ice machine will have several requirements, including water intake and drainage lines. Your ice machine will require a cold water supply and a shut-off valve.
Floor drains, standpipe drains, and wall drains are ice maker drainage system types.
Before you purchase commercial ice makers, you should determine the type of drainage system that will be utilized. Or consult with ice maker manufacturers regarding this decision. The professionals at Ice Maker Depot are beneficial and able to provide the necessary assistance.
If left on, the ice will gradually melt and be recycled into the water reservoir. Although this is not a problem, the ice will begin to form clumps, making it more challenging to serve. I prefer to make as much ice as I need, store some in my freezer, and then turn off the machine until I need ice again.
However, ice machines rarely last longer than ten years if it is used daily. Four to five years, or the length of the machine’s warranty, is a conservative estimate. However, there is no guarantee beyond the warranty. Make sure to perform routine maintenance and cleaning on your ice machine to extend its lifespan.
It can take between 7 and 15 minutes for a single batch of ice to freeze and fall into the portable ice maker’s storage tank. On average, portable ice makers produce up to 35 pounds of ice per day. Daily and store up to two pounds of ice.
A home ice maker is a kitchen appliance designed to produce large quantities of ice. This prevents you from stocking up on ice for parties and special events you host at home.
Most ice-making machines are designed to shut off automatically when the ice bucket is full and to restart when more ice is needed. If ice overflows and the unit does not automatically shut off, ensure that the bucket and any shelving components are correctly positioned.
Ice maker energy consumption is approximately 350 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month; at an average rate of $0.06 per kWh, this would cost roughly $21 per month. The best commercial ice makers can produce significantly more ice than their residential counterparts. It is not uncommon for a commercial ice machine to have 500 pounds of ice per day.
Absolutely! Portable ice makers are designed to operate continuously. For this reason, the water reservoir is placed beneath the ice storage bin. When the ice in the ice bucket melts, the water drips back into the ice-making tank.
First, even though ice temperatures are well within the “safety zone,” ice machines are susceptible to microbial contamination. Even potable, clean water can contaminate ice in ways that may not be immediately obvious.
Ice plays a significant role in our lives due to its numerous benefits, and we all require an ice maker. Whether you are a business owner or an ice-obsessed citizen of the United States, there is an ideal ice maker machine for you. Now that you know everything there is to know about them, you can make an informed decision and purchase your dream machine so that you never run out of ice.