Dealing with large bags of ice from the store or constantly refilling ice cube trays can aggravate people who entertain frequently or are serious about their home bars. Ice makers for home use are broadly classified into two types: countertop models that are small and lightweight, built-in, and under-counter models that can be used alongside a wine cooler or other large appliances.
Before purchasing an ice maker, consider how frequently you’ll want to use it, how quickly it can produce ice, and how much ice it can hold at one time—especially since some of these machines can be expensive.
We lab-tested top options in both categories to assess their performance, portability, and capacity, and we also purchased several for in-home testing.
With these considerations in mind, here are our recommendations for the best ice makers in both styles.
What is Nugget Ice?
First, what’s the big deal? Why do people prefer nugget ice so adamantly over traditional cubed ice? However, most of us enjoy the benefits of ice, correct? The enduring cooling effect that it produces. But what is the one deficient characteristic of cubed ice?
It isn’t easy!
If you don’t have steel teeth, chewing on solid ice is not only unpleasant but also harmful to your teeth. Well, nugget ice provides all the advantages of ice without the disadvantages.
It is a simple yet clever way to make ice more accessible.
Why is Nugget Ice So Good?
You may have heard other names for nugget ice, such as “chewy” or “pellet” ice, or even “good” ice!
Similarly, if you reside in one of the 44 U.S. states with a Sonic, you know exactly what we mean when we refer to nugget ice. It is the sought-after Sonic ice.
We are confident that you will comprehend why this ice is so awesome if you examine the finer details.
If you enjoy chewing on ice or prefer ice that isn’t massive and bulky, nugget ice is fantastic. Despite being light and chewy, ice nuggets do not immediately melt away. They are distinct from crushed ice, which tends to melt relatively quickly.
Ice nuggets will keep your beverage cool and chilled for an extended period. It’s easy to chew, but it’s also a satisfying type of ice, even if all you want is a margarita or any other homemade cocktail with dependable ice!
How We Selected
There is a relatively small selection of nugget ice makers on the market, and we considered several factors before recommending the best options. According to reviewers, we evaluated the usability and dependability of each ice machine, as well as the ice’s quality. In addition, my personal experience with the first-generation Opal Nugget Ice Maker was considered when compiling this list. Lastly, we aimed to offer various products at various prices to accommodate typical applications, such as home, office, and commercial use.
10 Best Nugget Ice Makers You Can Buy
Any ice enthusiast will tell you that not all ice is created equal. Many people claim that nugget ice, also known as pebble ice, is the best ice because it comes in small, perfectly soft, and chewable pieces.
Popularized by Sonic and Chick-fil-A, nugget ice is created using an auger system that makes small cubes from compacted ice flakes, resulting in a soft and porous texture that absorbs a beverage’s flavors.
As you might expect, nugget ice makers are not as common as standard ice machines. Still, you can purchase residential and commercial nugget ice makers if you must have those amazingly chewable cubes.
1. Best Overall: GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
The GE 2.0 Opal Nugget Ice Maker is our top pick due to its durability, quality, brand recognition, and popularity. This was the first nugget ice maker on the market and remained the home’s most popular nugget ice maker. Learn more about the operation of the Opal Nugget Ice Maker.
It produces 1 pound of ice per hour, or 24 pounds per day, is of exceptionally high quality, and can begin making perfect pebble ice within 15 minutes. It has a 3-pound storage capacity, so you will always have enough ice on hand.
It features app connectivity that lets you set the machine’s operation timers. This can save you money on operations and guarantee that you always have ice on hand whether you wake up in the morning, when you return home from work, or when your children arrive home from school.
If you have a family and require an abundance of ice, this model combines affordability, brand quality, and reliable production.
This nugget ice maker’s sleek, contemporary design will complement any countertop. Additionally, the water reservoir is simple to monitor, and the entire section can be removed for refilling. As new ice in the storage box melts, the reclaimed water is returned to the reservoir.
- Side Tank – Produce approximately 3X more ice with a side tank that easily attaches to the ice maker
- Automatic/Smart Refills – Always have ice at the ready with an ice maker that automatically powers on when ice is running low
- Three Pounds of Capacity – Always have all the ice you need with an ice maker that has three pounds (2.5 quarts) of capacity
- Portable Design – Easily move your ice maker as needed, thanks to a portable, compact countertop design that plugs into any electrical outlet
- Sleek design
- Removable side water tank
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Ice bin isn’t refrigerated
2. High Capacity: NewAir Nugget Ice Machine
If price is a significant factor, the NewAir Nugget Countertop Ice Maker with a convenient self-cleaning function is worth investigating. This unit is priced just below $400, and despite its lower price, it has some excellent features.
I adore the slim design that allows it to slide in alongside your other appliances without dominating or appearing like a mini fridge on the counter. The adorable LED light above the viewing window makes the magical, crunchy ice nuggets appear irresistible, and your nugget ice machine will be a focal point of your kitchen.
This machine has a smaller form factor than the Opal machine and is of high quality, evidenced by its numerous positive reviews.
Some have even claimed it is more reliable than the Opal because it produces slightly more ice. If you do not desire an Opal, this is the next brand I would recommend.
- 44 Pounds
- Self-Cleaning Function
- Refillable Water Tank
- Space-saving design
- Attractive purple/blue interior light
- Slim profile
- This machine is eye appealing and countertop space conscious.
- Handy self-cleaning function
- Makes the perfect nugget ice cubes for my craft cocktails.
- The draining mechanism is super easy and doesn't even require you to move the machine/ have it directly next to a sink.
- The machine has a plastic body – all BPA-free parts. This may make it less durable than metal models.
- The collection container is not refrigerated
3. Euhomy Nugget Ice Maker Countertop
The Euhomy Nugget Ice Maker is Amazon’s top pick for several reasons. Its unassuming appearance and compact design indicate that it is prepared to produce an abundance of delicious nugget ice.
It could fit on any countertop and produce pellet ice efficiently and quietly. This model is a fantastic option for apartment dwellers like me, where the Opal would take up the entire countertop.
The Euhomy possesses a feature that few other models have. If you have a suitable location for the machine in your kitchen or bar, you can connect it directly to your water supply. No longer must you monitor the reservoir and refill it during parties!
- Auto Water Refill Pellet ice Maker
- Compact and affordable
- Very easy to use
- Self-cleaning function
- Not as durable as some other options
- Connecting it to the water system is beyond tricky
4. AGLUCKY Countertop Ice Maker Machine
Next, we have a stylish red option for you to consider. If you dislike red, you can also opt for black or stainless steel. This vendor produces bullet ice, but it is very similar to the famous nugget ice in that it is small, chewable, and airy.
This countertop-mounted ice maker is designed to be compact and portable. It is lightweight, allowing you to transport or transport it to your desired location easily.
This model is also said to be efficient and quite due to the fan’s design, which features an open space. It can produce up to 26 pounds of ice daily, with each batch taking approximately 8 minutes.
Thanks to the cooling system, the ice cubes are kept cold in the bin, extending their overall lifespan and saving you energy by preventing you from having to re-make melted ice. There are multiple indicators and a transparent door for visibility. Everything is straightforward and accommodating to your needs.
- 9 Cubes Ready in 6-8 Minutes
- Efficient and Quiet Ice Making
- Intelligent control button
- Make ice at top speed
- Ice size is optional
- Exhaust Cooling Function
- Fun style available in red
- Simple and easy to use
- Quiet and smooth operation
- Keeps ice chilled
- Indicators so you always know what is needed
- To achieve nugget similarity, you must use the small bullet size.
- Does not offer a cleaning option.
5. Self Dispensing: KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
As the first countertop self-dispensing nugget ice machine, the KBIce Pellet Ice Maker is ideal for individuals who desire simple, portable ice. There is no ice machine more straightforward than this one. It is also portable and does not require a water connection. Pour the distilled water into the reservoir and press the “make nuggets” button.
Positive comments regarding customer service are a different quality worth mentioning. Even those dissatisfied with the product remarked that the company and customer service were outstanding.
This unit includes a one-year warranty on parts and labor and a 30-day return policy with no restocking fees. Here are a few conveniences to ease your mind. Although the ice bin is small (it can only hold 1 pound of ice), no reviewer cited this as a drawback.
- 30 lbs of Nugget Ice per Day
- 30 Minute turnaround time
- Stainless Steel Display Panel
- Mess-Free and Easy to Use
- No water hookup required
- BPA-free parts
- Self dispense feature is awesome
- No scoop, no hands, and no ice all over the floor
- Worth every penny
- Simple set up
- Solid customer service
- Slightly loud
- Requires distilled water
- Only 1 Lb ice storage capacity
- Must frequently fill water reservoir
6. GE Profile Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with WiFi
Since GE’s Profile Opal nugget ice maker has received the most consistently positive reviews, it has dominated this list for some time. Now they have a model without a scoop that pours ice directly into your glass.
The GE Self Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker is faster and quieter than its predecessors and more convenient. Numerous users have commented on how soft the machine is.
And making a batch of fresh ice requires only 15 minutes. Using the SmartHQ app, you can remotely start the ice maker so that it is ready when you arrive home.
These enhancements are not free. This is by far the most expensive countertop nugget ice maker. It is also very new, so there are not yet many reviews to attest to its quality. And despite being heavier and bulkier than previous generations of Profile Opal, this model’s ice bin holds only 2 pounds of ice. (However, this is still twice as much as the other no-scoop model we examined, the KBIce Self Dispensing).
Despite these disadvantages, the GE Self Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker is your best option for speed, usability, and quiet operation. According to early reviews, this machine produces fantastic, crunchy nugget ice.
- 1.8 Pounds
- 1-Gallon Side Tank
- Ice Machine with WiFi Connectivity
- 15-minute batch time
- Backlit touchscreen
- Makes 38 pounds of ice a day
- Self-cleaning system with UV light
- Optional side tank for extra production
- It makes the good ice. That perfect crunchy ice.
- Slick jet-black design
- Water filter included
- Built-in voice control and WiFi
- It takes up a lot of counter space
- Fairly heavy
7. Frigidaire EFIC235-AMZ Nugget Ice Maker
Sonic ice machines are costly. Even the least expensive nugget ice makers are more expensive than their “non-sonic ice” counterparts. However, once the technology is perfected, businesses will always find a way to sell these items at a reasonable price.
Frigidaire is the company that produces sonic ice makers. The most popular pebble ice makers cost approximately $500, while the Frigidaire ice maker costs roughly half as much. The Frigidaire pellet ice maker is the most expensive nugget maker available (affiliate link).
Not only does it sell for a significantly lower price, but it can also produce more fresh ice per day. This model can have up to 44 pounds of chewable ice per day.
Although most of us probably do not require such a large quantity of ice, it’s good to know what it’s capable of in case the need arises.
With over 2,000 Amazon ratings, this product has maintained a 3.9 / 5-star rating. Customers frequently commented on the superior quality and usability of the sonic ice.
- Unique soft, yet crunchy nuggets that float in your favorite beverage
• 10‐15 minutes to first nugget of ice
• Ice shape: chewable square crunchy nuggets
• Compact countertop design plugs into any electrical outlet at home and can come with you to your next camping or tailgating party ‐ the perfect size for any countertop in your home
• Quick and powerful
• No water hookup required, just plug it into any 115v grounded (standard) electrical outlet and fill the reservoir with water
• Capacity: holds up to 3 lbs. (2.5 quarts) in ice basket
• Produces up to 44 lbs. Of ice in a day
• Operating temperature range f‐50 to 104
• Unit size is 12 x 17 x 19 inches
- Easy to operate.
- Set up was easy and straight forward.
- It’s a tad bit smaller than the GE brand but makes the same great ice.
- Great price comparatively
- Needs a shallow pan or mat beneath for the occasional drip or stray ice nugget.
- The only possible improvement would be an optional water supply connection.
8. Prime Home Direct Ice Makers Countertop
This is an excellent option if you’re looking for a reasonably priced but high-quality option. This portable ice maker produces perfect nugget ice and is also widely regarded.
This ice nugget maker can produce ice in only 8 minutes. It can create 26 pounds of ice per day, although it is unclear how much ice it can make at once.
This machine was designed to be compact and portable, allowing you to take it wherever you go without needing a water connection.
It has some intelligent features built in. This ice machine is designed to prevent overflow and shut off automatically when the ice bin is full. It operates quietly and is also energy efficient. It comes equipped with a convenient basket and ice scoop.
- Made of high-quality 304 stainless steel and food-grade ABS materials
- long-lasting durability and superior safety long-lasting durability and superior safety
- 2.2L Ice machine includes scoop and basket
- Small and portable ice maker
- Compact and portable
- Comes with a basket and scoop
- Makes a batch in 8 minutes
- Makes up to 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours
- Simple and convenient to use
- It doesn’t seem to make very much ice at once so not ideal for party settings or gatherings.
- Doesn’t keep ice cool and the ice melts away fast if not used right away.
9. Gevi Household Nugget Ice Maker
Gevi’s nugget ice maker is compact, portable, produces a large amount of ice, and is an excellent value overall. This ultra-quiet, unassuming-appearing appliance can create an impressive 29 pounds of “the best ice” per day, and the enormous ice bucket ensures that there is always an ample supply.
Only introduced in 2019, Gevi’s ice nugget maker is a relatively new addition to this market. It is reasonably priced at approximately $400 and includes several features not typically found on smaller machines.
It can be manually refilled or connected to the water system. The machine’s stainless-steel body makes it durable and transportable. It also features an automatic cleaning function.
- 26 Pounds
- Thick Insulation
- Portable Self Cleaning
- 15 minutes fast ice making
- An ice basket that holds up to 4.8Lbs and a 2.8L/3quarts water reservoir
- Production rate of 29lbs of ice per day
- Compact, neat stainless steel exterior
- The storage box can hold 4.8lbs
- The reservoir can be manually filled or attached to a water supply
- Ultra-quiet operation
- Automatic cleaning function
- The navy blue color or white tops may not match other kitchen appliances
- The collection container is not refrigerated – however, it is insulated
- Not as flashy looking as some other models
10. LITBOOS Countertop Ice Makers
Here is yet another famous ice maker. It is an excellent value for the money and produces ice in minutes. It is labeled as a nugget ice machine, but it produces bullet ice, which is very similar in appearance and will likely meet your needs.
This compact and efficient ice maker will produce ice in approximately 9 minutes. It can have up to 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours, which is a plus. The design is sleek and stylish, and the side fan helps to reduce working noise.
This model is made from stainless steel and includes a nice scoop. The bin is also of high quality. It has clear light indicators that tell you when to add water and when the ice bin is full. It is portable and compact and has an automatic shut-off to stop producing ice when the container is full.
- Instant ice-making makes it possible to enjoy fresh ice anytime.
- Creates 9 bullet ice cubes in 7 minutes,26 lbs/day!
- Great for cool drinks, relieve heatstroke, relieve the pain, antipyretic and more.
- Compact size and user-friendly make the countertop ice maker ideal for outdoor camping, RV, kitchen, bar counter.
- Choose different water quality according to different needs to live with a safer & healthier lifestyle.
- Budget-friendly, affordable option
- Sleek and compact design
- Quiet operation
- Automatic shutoff
- Makes ice in 9 minutes
- Makes a small amount of bullet ice at one time.
- The noise indicators can be loud.
Factors to consider when choosing the Best Nugget Ice Makers
Since nugget ice makers use relatively new technology, choosing the best one for your needs may be challenging, as they are not yet commonplace in many homes.
The price of these nifty designer-ice machines is also a significant factor, so if you are serious about purchasing one, you must ensure that it will meet your needs in the long run.
We have narrowed down the options and compiled this exhaustive list of available home nugget ice makers. Keeping the following factors in mind while perusing our list will help you find the ideal machine that will provide you with an endless supply of cold, refreshing bites.
Expect to pay no less than $400 for a home ice nugget machine. Although it is the easiest and quickest way to make nugget ice, it is by no means the cheapest. Devices under $400 either produce only regular ice or are not manufactured by a reputable brand and perform poorly.
Before investing in a machine, determine how much space it will require on your countertop. One of the issues with nugget ice machines is that they are pretty significant, so adequate space is needed. Some models can be directly connected to a water source, while others must be manually filled.
Brand and Reputation
Ice nugget makers are expensive, so select a manufacturer with a solid reputation for producing high-quality products backed by a solid warranty. Due to the complexity of the machines, nugget ice machines may stop producing ice, so you should choose a reliable brand with troubleshooting guides, excellent customer service, or a warranty to fix the device if something goes wrong.
Productivity and Capacity
Nugget ice machines produce ice rapidly and in large quantities. However, some create more ice than others. The yield includes the rate at which the device freezes water and the size of the storage bin.
Whether you use an ice dispenser, an ice cube tray, or purchase ice by the pound, transfer the cubes to a clean paper bag immediately. Fold it shut, then place it in the freezer. As necessary, remove the cubes. They shouldn’t adhere to one another.
Because nugget ice is less dense than gourmet, cube, and half-cube ice, it melts more quickly and is therefore not recommended for use in cocktails and other high-end beverages.
Instead of freezing water into solid cubes, nugget ice makers use an auger system to produce small ice flakes. The flakes are then gathered and compressed into small nuggets. Since each nugget is composed of tiny snowflake-like flakes, the texture is light, airy, and irresistible!
If you want ice, you must always keep it plugged in and running. The ice will melt, and the water will return to the reservoir if the unit is turned off. This is identical to your refrigerator or freezer because it requires constant power.
They can produce ice at a rapid and consistent rate and provide you with a constant supply of nugget ice. However, if you are satisfied with your current refrigerator, purchasing a new one may not be necessary just to improve the ice quality.
The GE Profile Opal is one of the best countertop nugget ice makers for residential use. This is due to the machine’s durability and ability to produce up to 24 pounds of ice daily.
Nugget ice makers are costly because they expedite the standard refrigerator ice-making process. Commercial nugget ice makers are designed to produce a high volume of ice, so they are large and expensive and have many specialized components. Home nugget ice makers, such as the GE Profile Opal, are significantly less costly.
So, there you go! The complete guide to nugget/sonic ice makers.
I thoroughly enjoyed compiling this information so you can make an informed decision and choose the best nugget ice maker for your home.
I sincerely hope it was helpful. Please leave your questions in the comments section below!
Have a good day!