ice-maker

Imagine hosting a party where everyone is having fun. Good food and drinks are everywhere, and visitors are getting along well. When one of your guests decides for a refill, you suddenly realize you've run out of ice.

The thought alone of experiencing such trouble in the middle of a gathering is so embarrassing, you have to beg for them to wait patiently while you are about to drive to the nearest convenience store. Luckily, hassles like this one can be remedied with an ice-making machine or more commonly known as an ice maker.

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An ice maker lets you pour in water and, with a flip of a switch, makes ice for you continuously. The excellent thing about modern ice makers is that they are handy, so they can be brought almost anywhere. This means having enough supply of clean and fresh ice on the go. You don't need to rush to a nearby convenience store in case you don't have a supply of ice.

A few ice makers have exclusive, helpful features that other machines don't possess, such as the option to change the size of ice cubes. To help you get to know the most common types of ice makers, here are a few:

1. Countertop

A countertop ice maker, typically known as a portable ice maker, is quite small that it can be placed conveniently on a countertop.

Portable ice makers are so fascinating that they are capable of making ice in about 10 minutes. Moreover, they can be brought to parties and events where ice is necessary.

However, portable ice makers can't keep made ice cubes frozen. Another noticeable drawback is that they will reuse melted ice to create new ice cubes.

2. Stand-Alone

Producing and storing ice is the main purpose of a stand-alone ice maker.

Although stand-alone ice makers have storage space, they are not able to keep contents inside frozen for long periods.

3. Under-Counter

Are you looking to incorporate an ice maker into the design of your indoor or outdoor kitchen? If so, the under-counter ice maker is an ideal option for you.

The product design of most under-counter ice makers is intended to fit into the space of a lower kitchen cabinet. Under-counter ice makers have vents in the front, making sure that air circulates properly and promoting functional air cooling.

Since you already have an idea about the types of ice makers in the market, you may browse through the following list of the 15 best products that we've reviewed and compiled just for you.


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1. HomeLabs Commercial Freestanding Ice Maker – Our Pick

Let's kick off our list with our top pick, which is the Commercial Freestanding Ice Maker by HomeLabs. An intensely powerful ice machine, this stainless steel product is rust-resistant and is intricately designed for long-term use in large households or big establishments like bars, offices, and restaurants.

The freestanding ice maker requires a nearby water outlet for it to operate to its fullest potential. Once you have the water outlet within its proximity, hook it into a water filter system and you will achieve a huge amount of crystal clear, superior quality ice. It can produce 99 lbs of ice within just a day, and between 11 and 20 minutes, it can rapidly make about 45 pieces of ice per cycle.

The product has a liquid crystal display (LCD) control panel with a user-friendly interface. What's unique about this machine is that it allows for ice thickness adjustment, which can be done at the press of the plus (+) or minus (-) button.

Things We Like

  • Produces ice instantly
  • Huge storage capacity to keep ice for days
  • Easy to operate LCD control panel
  • Ice thickness can be adjusted with ease

Things We Dislike

  • Ice making runs on a timer and not a sensor
  • Occasional leaks might be encountered
  • Product components break off easily
  • Does not last long after repeated use

2. FirstBuild Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker – Runner-Up

This second entry on the list, the Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker by FirstBuild, appears to be our fascinating runner-up. With its elegantly designed appearance and overall superb performance, the countertop ice showcases both style and substance.

This product is so and lightweight and easy to operate, you don't need a water hookup. You only have to plug it into any standard power outlet and pour water into the reservoir. After consecutive use, you'll notice that the melted ice water goes back to the reservoir so that it can be quickly made back to ice.

One exceptional aspect of this product that other competing machines don't have is that it's Bluetooth equipped. Using the FirstBuild companion app, you can conveniently set up your ice-making schedule. Its smart design prevents it from overfilling once the bin becomes loaded with ice.

The only minor drawback is that you should use potable water only.

Things We Like

  • Elegant countertop design and size
  • Lightweight and easy to set up
  • Produces ice quickly in a day
  • Bluetooth equipped for convenient ice making anytime

Things We Dislike

  • Only allows the use of potable water
  • Does not work after consecutive use
  • Limited parts and labor warranty covers one year only
  • Product replacement can be tedious

3. Frigidaire Compact Ice Maker (EFIC108-RED) – Budget Pick

Are you looking for a convenient yet easy-to-use ice maker that fits your budget? Take a look at the EFIC108-RED Compact Ice Maker from Frigidaire for our budget pick. Take note, however, that this portable ice maker is available in red tint at the moment.

This product is quite impressive as it requires no installation at all. To operate this lovely looking machine, simply fill the tank with water, plug the unit in, turn it on, and choose your cube size. In less than 10 minutes, you'll then have your first batch of available ice.

This lightweight ice maker produces about 26 lbs of ice in small or large sizes. Whether you are hosting a cookout or a pool party, your specific needs are met with pure satisfaction.

Built with an auto-sensing function, the product cleverly detects if the bin is full and then automatically stops making ice. Such an amazing product feature prevents unwanted spillage, so you can operate it without worries.

Things We Like

  • Lightweight and perfect for parties on the go
  • Zero installation required
  • Can produce ice in two sizes
  • The automatic sensor prevents spillage

Things We Dislike

  • Not durable to withstand frequent use
  • Sometimes makes grinding or spinning noises
  • Only available in red for now
  • Limited product availability

4. Manitowoc NEO Air-Cooled Undercounter Ice Machine (UDF0140A) – Upgrade Pick

The UDF0140A NEO Air-Cooled Undercounter Ice Machine from Manitowoc is our best bet for ice maker upgrades.

This remarkable under-counter machine features a stunning production capacity of around 132 lbs which can be observed in fast-paced commercial establishments. It also has a bin storage capacity of 90 lbs, ensuring a longer-lasting supply of ice. Moreover, with this unit, you have the option to choose from full, half, and regular ice cube sizes.

Despite being an under-counter ice maker, it is very easy to set up. Once you're done, you may use this product right away with the help of the user guide.

This commercially capable product is made of stainless steel, so the exterior surface can be easily cleaned. It is notable for having an exterior panel that incorporates fingerprint-resistant technology.

One excellent contributing factor that makes this under-counter ice maker easy to clean and maintain is the way its forward-sliding bin is designed.

Things We Like

  • Initial set-up is smooth
  • Produces ice in an instant similar to a commercial machine
  • Has a unique fingerprint-resistant panel
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Things We Dislike

  • Does not fit with most kitchens aesthetically
  • Valve breaks easily
  • Emits loud noise occasionally
  • May stop functioning if intended for mass production

5. GE Profile Opal Nugget Countertop Ice Maker

Are you into chic product design? If so, you may find such elegance in the GE Profile Opal Nugget Countertop Ice Maker, a superior quality ice machine from GE Major Appliances.

The product's overall design is thoughtfully crafted, allowing it to blend in with any countertop in your home. Besides, it's made of stainless steel and plastic, giving it a distinctive look and feel.

To operate this unit, just plug it into the power outlet, fill the reservoir with water, and then you're good to go with instant ice-making. If the ice melts, the water goes back to the reservoir where it can be prepared for the next ice making cycle.

This countertop ice maker is probably one of the fastest compact machines out there, letting you make ice instantaneously in 20 minutes. To complement its speedy operation, the unit is also built with Bluetooth technology for an even more convenient and scheduled ice-making via the GE Profile Opal companion app.

Things We Like

  • Makes ice for you in an instant
  • Bluetooth equipped for setting up ice making schedules
  • Elegant exterior design
  • Unique stainless steel and plastic construction

Things We Dislike

  • Generates a squeaking noise on some occasions
  • Unresponsive product support
  • May not be eligible for return

6. HomeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop

The freshest drinks are incomplete without clean, fresh ice. Thankfully, HomeLabs has launched its compact, yet dynamic Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertops. The small or medium option for ice size is ideal for mixed drinks, frozen refreshments, and a whole lot more.

Once you get your hands on this fast-paced machine, you'll never look for similar products elsewhere. This powerful ice maker creates chewable, bullet-shaped ice for you in just 6 to 8 minutes! That's how amazingly capable and fast this ice maker operates.

Aside from ice-making done quickly, this portable countertop ice maker is also fitted with a power-saving compressor that depends upon low energy to cool. There's also an automatic shut-off and warning light that activates itself once there's a need to refill it with water, thus notifying you conveniently.

For its exterior design, the product makes a visually appealing addition not only to your countertop but to your bar as well. It even includes a removable ice bucket and a scoop for that instantly refreshing refill anytime, anywhere.

Things We Like

  • Creates ice cubes extremely fast
  • Energy-efficient unit
  • Practical and clever design
  • Includes a bucket and an ice scoop

Things We Dislike

  • Sensor sometimes does not read properly
  • Bucket does not keep the ice solid for prolonged periods
  • Produces a grinding mechanical noise sometimes
  • Suitable only for quick, short-term use

7. NewAir Portable Ice Maker with Countertop Design

If you are the type who mostly organizes large special events or parties, a larger commercial ice maker would best suit your need for refilling refreshments at a consistently rapid rate. For this, NewAir has manufactured the Portable Ice Maker with Countertop Design.

Despite the handy construction, this ice maker yields shockingly large quantities of ice. Therefore, this unit is excellent for events and parties with large crowds and an almost endless supply of refreshing drinks. Its operating cycle is estimated to be around seven minutes.

It generates bullet-shaped ice which combines with mixed drinks perfectly. The bullet-shaped ice can also be used to fill your ice chests when the need arises.

Portability aside, this product is also equipped with a light indicator and sensor, letting you know right away if water needs to be poured in or if the basket is filled.

After you operate the unit, you can clean it with minimal effort. This lightweight ice maker has a self-cleaning feature to ensure the slightest maintenance.

Things We Like

  • Creates ice at a consistently rapid rate
  • Produces bullet-shaped ice that fit with mixed drinks
  • Features a self-cleaning function
  • Has a light indicator and sensor to avoid spillage

Things We Dislike

  • Sensor malfunctions easily
  • The unit sometimes emits heat and noise
  • Mineral corrosions on the condenser may appear
  • The compressor may leak due to prolonged use

8. Ikich Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop

The Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop by Ikich is no doubt among the most compelling and superb products in the market, thanks to its speedy ice-making cycle, low energy consumption, and ease of operation and storage after each use.

This compact unit is capable of making about nine pieces of ice at a time in a day. The ice it produces is shaped like a bullet, which is ideal for drinking due to the smooth surface and edges. Within just six minutes, your family or guests will enjoy a fresh batch of ice refill to accompany their flavorful drinks.

Aside from being an energy-efficient unit, the product is fitted with a spoiler that reduces noise dramatically without affecting the cycle speed. As a result, this machine does not disturb your entertainment or any other activity requiring an uninterrupted focus because it operates quietly in the background.

Other compelling aspects of this countertop ice maker include the fact that they are easy to operate and store after use. To do the cleaning, just unplug the ice maker, make sure it's empty, and then rinse it thoroughly with a soft towel.

Things We Like

  • Rapidly produces ice in six minutes
  • Consumes low power efficiently
  • Easy to operate and clean after use
  • Simplified control panel

Things We Dislike

  • The machine is not insulated well and causes ice to melt fast
  • Bullet-shaped ice may be too small
  • The sensor does not recognize bin volume properly

9. Igloo Portable and Automatic Countertop Ice Maker Machine (ICEB26WH)

Igloo's ICEB26WH Automatic Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker Machine will keep your favorite beverages chilled and fresh, whether you're at home, partying with guests, or on outdoor trips. Not only that, but the product is also lightweight, stylish, and very simple to operate.

This compact countertop ice maker is designed specifically with both portability and function in mind, allowing it to look good on any countertop in your home. Its ice-making capacity is so large, featuring a water tank space of about three quarts. Besides, it has an ice basket size that can store up to 2 lbs at a time.

The one notable thins that makes this unit stand out among the rest is its transparent lid. With it, you can view the interior of the machine and monitor the progress of the ongoing ice making cycle.

However, since this is a portable countertop ice maker, never expect this product to last long when used in large-volume refills.

Things We Like

  • Showcases both form and function
  • Huge ice-making capacity and water tank space
  • Transparent lid lets you check the ice-making progress
  • Unit operation is straightforward

Things We Dislike

  • Produced ice pieces are not cold enough
  • Ice melts fast in drinks
  • Not ideal for large volume refills
  • The product stops functioning after repeated use

10. Frigidaire Extra Large Ice Maker (EFIC115)

If a large countertop unit is your preference, then look no further than the EFIC115 Extra Large Ice Maker by Frigidaire. This impressively big, stainless steel ice maker is perfect for barbecue parties since it produces three various sizes of ice in less than 7 minutes and up to 48 lbs within just 24 hours. You can check its ice levels from time to time, too, thanks to its see-through window.

This product has a streamlined design, featuring indicator lights to alert low water levels or whenever the unit is full of ice. Additionally, the machine is equipped with a detachable ice tray as well as an outside drain for unused water.

However, this ice maker has a few downsides, like produced ice melting fast if kept inside the machine for about one hour, the loud noises it makes during operation on occasions, and the fact that it doesn't last for one year or more.

To make the most out of this product, it is highly recommended that you scan through the included user manual.

Things We Like

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Creates three ice sizes instantly
  • With a see-through window for checking ice levels

Things We Dislike

  • Makes loud noises occasionally
  • Ice melts if left inside for an hour
  • Difficult to clean
  • Not a durable machine

11. EdgeStar Built-In Ice Maker (IB120SS)

It is so rare to find an optimum quality ice machine that can be easily and economically set up in wet bars, kitchens, recreational vehicles, offices, and other business locations. Fortunately, EdgeStar's IB120SS Built-In Ice Maker meets such criteria.

The stainless steel unit is hassle-free and cheap to set up, so don't get intimidated by this machine. Its front venting is suited for built-in or even freestanding installation. The product can be utilized in a commercial capacity.

Whenever the unit recognizes that the ice bin is full, it automatically shuts off to avoid spills. The unit door is smartly designed to be reversible for right-hand or left-hand swing.

The unit's refrigerated freezer compartment is designed thoughtfully to prevent ice from melting. This means that a drain line is not necessary. Since the machine also operates as a freezer, you can just leave your ice frozen for prolonged periods.

Things We Like

  • Easy and economic initial set-up
  • Auto shut-off function when the ice bin is full
  • Reversible door for right-handed or left-handed
  • No need for a drain line
  • Acts as a freezer for produced ice

Things We Dislike

  • May shed metallic flakes onto the ice
  • Rattling compressor makes a loud sound
  • Component and mechanism jams may occur
  • Suddenly stops working when used often

12. Igloo Automatic Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker Machine (ICEB26RR)

The feeling is so refreshing when you sip your favorite drink, coupled with clean and fresh ice in it. Your refreshment of choice will be made even more invigorating when you use ice made using Igloo's ICEB26RR Automatic Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker Machine.

The manufacturer's ICEB26RR model unit is intelligently designed for optimal convenience. Such unit sports a retro look and feel, making it look vintage yet appealing on your countertop. The unit's translucent lid enables you to view the ice cubes. With this product, you can produce a large sum of ice whenever and wherever you want.

Thanks to its simplified control panel, operating the portable electric countertop machine is straightforward. Once the LED lights illuminate, it indicates that you need to pour in water or if the ice basket is already loaded. Using the panel, you can select the size of the ice cubes to be produced.

Things We Like

  • Convenient and retro-styled design
  • Clear lid for quick viewing inside
  • Simplified controls for easy operation
  • Has an LED indicator to prevent spills

Things We Dislike

  • Cubes build up and don't drop into the basket
  • Sensor sometimes doesn't detect properly
  • Smells of electrical burning after continuous use
  • Makes an occasional loud sound during operation

13. Orien Built-In Undercounter Ice Maker (FS-55IM)

Ice machines featuring built-in or freestanding installation have grown in popularity at a fast rate, and Orien's FS-55IM Built-In Undercounter Ice Maker is among such units. This ice maker operates like any other commercially capable units, producing 44 lbs of crystal clear, pure ice each day.

Its storage is quite large, accommodating up to 25 lbs of crisp ice in its detachable bin. You can open the door from either the left-hand or right-hand side since it's reversible.

There are a few recommendations to keep in mind though when using this product. To operate it at its maximum efficiency, utilize a separately sold in-line filter to block minerals that are in the water.

Besides, the ice maker demands a gravity drain because it's exactly designed just for using that drain. In the absence of a gravity drain within the unit's proximity, look for a condensate pump for pumping water into the drain or up into a sink.

Things We Like

  • Commercially capable in terms of ice production and storage
  • Can be used either built-in or freestanding
  • Reversible door with a full-length, stainless steel handle

Things We Dislike

  • The unit motor is not durable
  • Requires in-line filter and gravity drain for maximum usage
  • Condensate pump can be installed behind the unit or outside only

14. U-Line Undercounter Crescent Ice Maker (UBI95B00A)

Freestanding ice machine models have quickly gained acceptance when it comes to an almost unlimited supply of ice refills for home parties. The U-Line UBI95B00A Undercounter Crescent Ice Maker is simply among those sought-after units.

This freestanding ice maker is capable of making ice up to 23 lbs daily at a consistent rate. Using only less than three gallons of water for approximately 23 lbs of ice, you can say that this unit is energy-efficient as it consumes low power.

This product is so durable and reliable, it only requires a 1/4 inch outside diameter water line connection. However, it is somewhat tedious to install. An installation kit is highly recommended to make it work properly so that you can avoid spending too much time with the set-up and shelling out a huge sum of cash just for that.

Things We Like

  • Durable and reliable freestanding machine
  • A steady production rate of up to 23 lbs per day
  • Consumes minimal electricity

Things We Dislike

  • Initial set-up can be a hassle
  • An installation kit is a must
  • Product support is very limited

15. Under-Counter Ice Maker by SPT (IM-600US)

The concluding entry on our list is an amazing offering by Sunpentown International (SPT). You should check out their pristine-looking IM-600US Under-Counter Ice Maker. A high-quality under-counter ice machine, it is specially designed for built-in applications. However, you can also use it at will as freestanding, giving you rock-solid options to choose from.

In terms of daily production rate, this under-counter ice machine is capable of making up to 50 lbs of crystal clear, restaurant-quality ice cubes. The unit has accompanying detachable storage that can accommodate up to 25 lbs of ice. The front of the machine is equipped as well with front ventilation and an exhaust fan.

The only drawback when you have chosen this product is that you're required to use filtered water only, as per the manufacturer's recommendation. Additionally, the ice cubes it makes are very small, there's the tendency for them to melt quickly.

Things We Like

  • Designed for built-in or freestanding applications
  • The high-quality ice production rate of up to 50 lbs
  • The removable bin can store up to 25 lbs of ice
  • Reversible door

Things We Dislike

  • Ice size is very small
  • Only requires filtered water
  • Constant noises can be heard
  • Manual instructions not outlined clearly

III. Ice Maker Buyer's Guide

ice-maker-2

Buying a brand new ice maker may sound easy since you'll use it only to cool refreshments for family and guests, but there are a few considerations you should be aware of. The following factors will aid you in making the best purchase decision.

1. Application

How much ice you need and what they are applied for will play a significant part in your decision making.

Commercial ice machines are designed for foodservice companies, while portable ice makers are for home or outdoor use.

Each day, commercial machines produce up to 400 lbs and portable ones about 20 to 30 lbs. Between these two types of appliances, the price gap is large.

2. Type of Installation

Pay attention as well to the installation type when choosing an ice maker. There are three known types at the moment, namely freestanding, built-in, and portable.

Freestanding models can be installed in a spacious area, but they don't fit into a standard kitchen layout in most cases. You can see these units in any commercial setting.

Built-in units fit your existing kitchen layout and design, so aesthetically and function-wise they are highly recommended. Plus, they don't take up much floor space when you have them installed in a chosen area. Although built-in ice makers require a dedicated water line.

Portable appliances, as the name implies, are handy. They can be placed on the countertop or brought for outdoor trips. To operate a portable ice maker, you need to plug into an outlet, pour in water, and then it will produce ice. Just a heads-up, portable ice makers are not intended to hold ice in them for too long.

3. Sturdiness

When you are inside the store scanning through ice makers on display, check if you think they're durable enough to withstand repeated use. Commercial ice machines are manufactured evidently for long-lasting use, while portable ice makers don't endure that much.

4. Capacity

Storage capacity for produced ice should also be taken into account. It refers to the amount of ice the appliance can accommodate.

When it comes to usage, make sure to check how much ice will possibly become leftover and will be stored. In some cases, ice makers will stop producing once the storage bin is filled.

5. Ease of Operation

Most ice makers should not be complicated to operate, and if they demand intricate operation, they should at least come with a user manual that outlines clear step-by-step instructions. Consider yourself fortunate if you plan to buy the portable type since they require minimal effort in terms of use.

6. Ice Shape

An ice maker that produces the standard ice cube should be enough for regular social gatherings. Ice cubes are frequently used in most refreshments because they cool beer rapidly and yet they melt slowly. Thus, they are ideal for soda and mixed drinks.

However, if you're lucky enough to see on display a machine that can produce half-cube ice as well, go for it instead.

Take note though that other appliances are producing certain shapes, like the flake ice usually seen in seafood displays to avoid spoilage.

7. Smart Water Use

Another pro tip that you should keep in mind is to look for an ice maker with the smart water use feature. In case all the ice it produces before melting aren't used, such an appliance with this unique functionality will re-use it and turn it into ice again.

8. Energy Efficiency

You should choose an ice maker with the Energy Star label on it. This specific appliance will become a practical addition to your kitchen when it comes to energy efficiency.


IV. Frequently Asked Questions

A: In terms of capacity, what's the difference between ice production and ice storage?

Q:  Ice production capacity refers to the amount of ice any given unit is capable of producing in 24 hours. Ice storage capacity, on the other hand, is the maximum amount of ice the unit can store at any given time.

A: How does a portable ice maker function?

Q:  Portable ice machines work by creating small batches of ice from the water that you filled into the unit. When one batch is ready to be served, the unit will drop the ice down onto the tray.

A: How to operate a portable ice maker?

Q:  Using a portable ice maker shouldn't be complicated since there's an instruction manual that comes with the unit, but usually, you have to plug it in, fill it with water, and you'll have ice immediately within minutes.

A: How to clean a portable ice maker?

Q:  Simply unplug the portable ice machine, remove all water or ice inside, dismantle interior pieces and wash them separately, and wipe the interior with a towel. For the cleanest results, pour an adequate amount of vinegar into the ice maker with some water, let it run a few cycles, get rid of all ice with vinegar, and then let it dry before use. Finally, you may add fresh water to it.

A: How to set up an under-counter ice maker?

Q:  Enlisting the help of a licensed professional is highly recommended in most cases, but with other units, the initial set-up may not be as complex as you thought. To install it, just attach the waterline, run the drain line from the rear of the unit, plug it in, and you are done.

Make sure as well to follow the installation instructions outlined in the product's manual because the set-up varies per model.


V. Conclusion

Now that you are given only the most top-rated ice maker recommendations, your choices are narrowed down to ensure you're making the greatest decision with your product purchase.

Not only that, but you finally have an idea as well on what type of unit to shop and would suit your needs based on the outlined factors to consider. Lastly, some of the frequently asked questions regarding ice makers and how to operate and clean them have been clarified so that you'll become well informed when you're about to decide to buy one.

So, whenever your flavorful refreshment runs out of ice, you don't have to hurry to the nearest convenience store in your local area. With an ice maker as your sidekick, your party will proceed as smoothly as you want it to.

We hope that this product review will guide you toward choosing the best ice maker to cool down your tasty drinks.

The Best Ice Maker

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