Ice and cold drinks go hand in hand.
How do you get yours, though?
For many people who only occasionally use ice in drinks, buying store-bought ice is the obvious solution. When this is something you’ll seldom make use of, you shouldn’t find buying ice is inconvenient or costly.
If you make lots of cold drinks and ladle in the ice, though, you’ll soon find store-bought ice become expensive, not to mention a nuisance to always keep in stock. You’ll also need to think about where you’ll store it.
Now, most refrigerators offer some form of ice-making function, but this is by no means capable of producing ice in high volume.
The best portable ice makers allow you to make anywhere from 25 to 50 pounds of ice each day. This translates to somewhere between 150 and 300 ice cubes on demand every 24 hours.
Not only is an ice maker with this kind of capacity ideal for use in a busy home, you could also get away with rolling the appliance out in a small shop.
Before we move on with our reviews of the best portable ice machines on the market, don’t panic if this sort of output isn’t enough for you. Over the coming weeks we’ll be exploring a variety of less portable ice makers with far more capable throughputs.
Today, though, we’ll be purely focusing on countertop units giving you a unit small enough for an apartment or an RV, but with the ability to kick out enough ice to keep your weekend BBQ going.
We’ll get right down to business now with our reviews before we double down on what you should look for on the buying trail.
The 13 Best Portable Ice Makers
1. Our #1 Pick: NewAir Portable Ice Maker
NewAir has a solid reputation for producing first-class appliances at pocket-friendly prices. So, if you’re hunting for the best portable ice maker, we’d suggest starting your search with this gem.
Capacity is class-leading giving you the ability to generate 50 pounds a day, ideal for a busy home or a small commercial establishment.
You won’t need to bother about permanent installation and you’ll be up and running in minutes even if you’ve never used an ice machine before.
The inbuilt self-cleaning function should maximize lifespan while cutting down on maintenance.
Although capacity far outflanks that of the opposition, you’ll need to wait 13 minutes or so for your ice. If you desperately need swifter delivery, there are plenty of machines on our shortlist capable of generating a small batch of ice cubes in as little as 6 to 7 minutes.
Now, not all ice cubes are equal and NewAir knows this. Choose from 3 different sizes depending on the drinks you’re making and enjoy gourmet ice to suit any occasion.
As with all these portable ice machines, you would be well advised to leave the unit standing for a few hours upon arrival. This allows the compressor fluids to properly settle, so don’t be too impatient to get started that you skip this step.
For an oversized ice maker that still qualifies as portable and doesn’t eat up too much space on the kitchen counter, you can’t go wrong with this NewAir.
2. Runner-Up: Magic Chef Countertop Ice Maker
Magic Chef makes appliances that stand out, and this countertop unit comes in a variety of colorways to mesh with any design scheme.
Choice of ice cubes is more limited but you can still make 2 different sizes to suit.
The see-through window lets you monitor progress without needing to open up the machine.
Capacity is roughly comparable with most smaller portable ice makers. You can expect to output around 27 pounds of ice in the course of a day. Batches are made in much more manageable sizes of 1.5 pounds and you can get one of these in your beverage pitcher in just 7 minutes. This is more than brisk enough for most purposes and equates to 9 ice cubes each time.
A quick note here. If you do the math, you should expect up to 162 ice cubes in a day. This is a much easier concept to visualize than 27 pounds. If you feel this will not meet your expectations, we’d suggest you upgrade to a commercially-rated ice machine – watch this space as we’ll be reviewing plenty of those over the coming months.
If capacity is not your overriding concern, though, this appliance makes a smooth fit in any home kitchen without dominating the space.
The digital control panel is not complex to use even if you’re not the greatest tech lover. You’ll be alerted on the panel when you need to empty the storage bin giving you a seamless experience even if you’re a complete beginner to ice making. The exterior drain is another user-friendly touch that’s appreciated.
For shotgun ice cube delivery in a striking appliance, you can’t go wrong with Magic Chef.
3. Best Budget: COSTWAY Countertop Ice Maker
Next up, we have something for all you bargain hunters out there. COSTWAY makes an impressive line of affordable appliances that don’t stiff you when it comes to performance.
Despite the super-low price point, you benefit from smart functionality. Push-button navigation makes your life easy. Get alerted when the basket is full and when you need to top up the water so you won’t need to endlessly fuss over your machine.
Have you ever tried bullet-shaped ice? If not, you’re missing out. This style of ice cube is designed so it doesn’t hurt your mouth. The hollow design of this ice also ensures it floats nicely on your drink rather than melting and diluting it.
The plastic build is surprisingly rugged with all materials certified food-grade. The chassis is easy to wipe down and keep clean. Due to those smart features and indicators, that’s about the extent of the upkeep required with this compact ice maker.
Output is a reasonable 27 pounds daily. See the above calculation to put this into proper perspective. You’ll enjoy your ice in small batches that the machine can kick out every 6 minutes throughout the day. If you’re making multiple batches, it’s always a smart idea to allow your machine to rest in between batches. These appliances are not built to be run all day long without interruption.
Along with all this power and performance, you might be surprised to learn that this unit runs pretty quietly, and it’s also remarkably energy-efficient.
4. Upgrade Pick: GE Profile Countertop Ice Maker
GE make some truly impressive appliances and this countertop ice maker is no exception.
Measuring up at 15.5 x 14.25 x 17.2 inches, it’s small enough to pop on the counter without taking up too much precious space. This is perfect if you live in an apartment, or you have a smaller, cramped kitchen.
You won’t need to compromise on capacity either. The Profile is capable of generating 24 pounds of ice each day. The storage bin can hold 3 pounds of ice and you can expect small batches produced in less than 20 minutes.
You get more than speed and convenience with this ice maker, though. The quality of the crunchy ice delivered gives you a great deal of freedom when you’re whipping up drinks for guests or the family.
Another advantage of this portable unit is that you won’t need a dedicated water hookup. Simply plug your GE into any 120V grounded electrical outlet and you’re good to go. You need to do nothing more than top up the substantial reservoir with water and you’re already on your way to gourmet ice cubes without lifting a finger.
Covered by a limited 1-year warranty, you can buy with complete confidence. If you need to spend more time indoors right now, what better way to take advantage than buying a new ice maker for the holidays?
5. NewAir Portable Countertop Ice Maker
We have another NewAir for your perusal next. Although this is a little pricey, you can capitalize on an aggressive discount if you act quickly.
Many consumers are looking for compact machines that fit in an RV, dorm room, or small and cramped kitchen. NewAir delivers fully with this countertop model. It measures up at 14.5 x 11.75 x 15 inches to give you an idea of whether this is small enough for your needs.
Output is certainly not small. This ice maker will kick out up to 28 pounds of cubes daily. You’ll benefit from a scoop and basket thrown in so you won’t need to head directly to the hardware store.
Operation couldn’t be easier with simple push-button operation navigable even by tech-haters.
The basket holds 2.2 pounds of ice cubes and this is removable to make it easier for you to serve up.
The countertop design gives you huge versatility and you can pop this machine just about anywhere. It’s also lightweight enough to move around if you often head out in the RV and need ice on demand. It also makes a neat choice if you shuttle to and from your college dorm each semester and you want a portable solution for your ice.
In summary, this is a flexible, relatively affordable, and hard-hitting portable ice maker from a brand you can rely on.
6. Frigidaire Portable Compact Ice Maker
Frigidaire produce some efficient appliances that also come in within most people’s budgets. This portable compact ice maker continues that winning tradition.
If you’ve out off buying an ice machine because you think the whole process is a headache, this nifty machine might make you rethink that. You won’t be faced with any tasky set-up, and you’ll be ready to start enjoying freshly-made ice within as little as 15 minutes.
Despite this machine occupying a very minimal footprint, you can generate up to 26 pounds of ice daily, well over a hundred ice cubes. If this output will leave you short, consider a bulkier machine with correspondingly large capacity. For most reasonable purposes, this throughput should suffice.
Controlling the machine couldn’t be easier with a simple LED panel that’s responsive to the touch and very clearly marked. You could use this machine right out the box without even consulting the instructions. It’s really that easy!
You can generate up to 9 ice cubes in each batch every 7 to 15 minutes so you should have no issues with efficiency.
The only real downside to this ice machine is a rather flimsy lid. In all other respects, you’ll be getting outstanding value for money.
7. Euhomy Ice Maker Machine
The holiday season is a wise time to buy an ice maker. Not only are you likely to give it plenty of action, but you’ll also find plenty of bargains with Euhomy joining the fray and discounting this slick ice maker just in time! What do you get for your money, then?
Firstly, you’ll get a super-compact machine ideal for busy and cramped kitchens or use in the RV. Overall dimensions are 14.1 x 11 x 13.7 inches, yet you get enough output to yield 120 ice cubes a day. While this is insufficient for use in a commercial setting, pop the Euhomy in your home kitchen and you never need to worry about ice again.
Each cycle gives you 24 tasty ice cubes and runs for 12 to 18 minutes. Once the batch is complete, you can remove the basket so you can more easily play bartender.
The digital touchscreen is exceptionally easy to use. The buttons are nice and responsive and everything is clearly marked.
This countertop ice machine also runs very quietly so you won’t disturb your family or the neighbors. What’s not to love?
8. Igloo Automatic Self-Cleaning Ice Machine
Igloo are responsible for some briskly efficient portable ice makers that sit easily in small kitchens and give you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to placement.
One of the key selling points of this ice maker is the pricing. It comes in substantially cheaper than similar competing machines. This alone is reason enough for many people to grab an Igloo.
This is not built like an economy appliance, though. The squat and minimalist unit looks good in both modern and traditional kitchens. The size is perfect for anyone with space constraints. This unit measures up at just 12.2 x 9 x 12.8 inches and weighs under 20 pounds. You even get a carrying handle to streamline transportation, ideal if you take your ice maker out in the RV or away to your dorm room at college.
Output is more than fit for purpose with 26-pound production putting this Igloo in the same league as pricier competition.
Every 5 ice cube cycles, the machine will clean itself, saving you a job and keeping everything in perfect working order.
While the ice maker itself generates few complaints, a number of customers have found problems dealing with Igloo customer care. In all other respects, though, this is a great compact ice machine at a price you’ll love.
9. Igloo Electric Countertop Ice Machine
We have another Igloo up next with this nimble, bright red countertop unit. What do you get for your money, then?
To kick off, the output of this appliance is a respectable 26 pounds of ice each day. To put this into perspective, that would be approaching 200 ice cubes. If you feel you might need more than this, we would suggest upsizing to a full-scale ice machine if you have the room to accommodate.
And slimmed-down dimensions are one of the main attractions of this Igloo. Overall measurements are 9.6 x 14.7 x 12.4 inches and the machine weighs just 20 pounds. This means you’ll need very little space on the kitchen counter, and you can also easily move the ice maker around if you like heading out in the RV and you don’t want to be caught short with lukewarm drinks.
Another advantage is the multiple bundles you can choose. The ice machine is available as a standalone unit, but you could also add on an ice scoop, and/or a retro toaster giving you outstanding value and impressive performance from a highly reputable brand.
Even better, like all Igloo appliances, this ice maker is quite keenly priced and also currently up for grabs at a discount.
10. Luma Portable Ice Maker
The sharp and angular Luma portable ice maker would set off any minimalist kitchen, but what’s this machine like under the hood?
Although branded Luma, the appliance is made by the highly reputable NewAir so you’re buying into a brand you can trust.
The clear ice this machine generates means there’s no gas in your ice, and there are no impurities either. All you get is the perfect accompaniment to your cocktail or smoothie.
Not only is the water clear and safe, all plastic components are food-grade and free of BPA or any other contaminants. After all, you want to be relaxing your feet up and a cold drink, not worrying about potential health issues.
The storage area is immaculately insulated so your ice will stay cooler for longer.
Output is above average for a machine in this class and you can expect up to 28 pounds of ice a day, 200 or more ice cubes. This should be adequate for most large families. You could even get away with using this appliance in a small shop. As with all residential ice makers, though, be sure to give your machine plenty of rest between cycles.
Each of these cycles takes just 15 minutes so you’ll get great clear ice without standing on ceremony in enough quantity to keep the whole family going all day long.
11. Frigidaire Countertop Ice Maker
Frigidaire manages to straddle the line between quality and affordability with great success and this countertop ice maker continues that tradition in fine style.
Now, no ice makers are likely to win any design awards. They are, after all, functional kitchen appliances. That said, the sleek and curved Frigidaire makes quite a statement on the bar or kitchen counter. How does it perform, though?
The output of 26 pounds a day translates to something like 150 ice cubes. If you need more than this, you’ll need to sacrifice some portability and go for a slightly beefier model. If, like most, you’re happy with this sort of throughput, you’ll be glad you went with Frigidaire.
The soft-touch controls are a joy to use and you’ll find this ice maker very straightforward and a breeze to use right out the box rather than being tasked with an involved installation process. You need to do nothing more than add some water and wait, then you’ll be enjoying ice cold drinks without the ongoing expense and hassle of buying small bags of ice cubes.
There’s an outlet fan built in so you won’t need to worry about overheating.
Although this ice maker is powerful and efficient, we should mention that a few disappointed customers felt this machine didn’t last as long as it should.
12. Hamilton Beach Countertop Ice Maker
Hamilton Beach produces a wide range of kitchenware and appliances at very reasonable prices so how does this countertop ice maker shape up?
Well, if you’re shopping for ice makers primarily based on output, this is one of the strongest options at your disposal in this size bracket. You can make up to 28 pounds of ice each day, easily 200 cubes.
Speed is also uppermost with each batch delivered in as little as 7 minutes. You can choose between small or large ice cubes depending on your intended usage.
In spite of the generous output, the size of the Hamilton Beach is small enough for an RV or a small apartment. It measures up at 13.5 x 9.75 x 13 inches and weighs just 25 pounds so you’ll benefit from great portability.
The only real blowback we could find was a handful of disgruntled users calling the output into question and claiming they struggled to achieve this. Do your own due diligence here.
You get an ice basket and a scoop thrown in so you have everything you need to get going right out the box and start enjoying ice cold cocktails and smoothies on demand.
13. KUPPET Portable Ice Maker
To round out our quest for the best portable ice makers, we have a striking turquoise machine from KUPPET. Is it any good, though?
In a word, yes. The speed of delivery is truly brisk and impressive. You can get 9 ice cubes through in as little as 6 minutes so you won’t be hanging around. The cycle could take up to 10 minutes.
Along with this pace, you get a machine that runs without making too much racket. Ice makers are never likely to be whisper-quiet, but the KUPPET is the next best thing. Beyond this, the energy-efficient unit doesn’t draw down too much power either.
The plastic ABS build is free of all contaminants so you can focus on preparing your drinks not worrying about your health.
The smart features include an alert when the water is running low and a timer that stops you needing to monitor progress. If you do want to keep an eye on things, you’ll appreciate the transparent viewing window.
For a great all-rounder in a color to brighten up any kitchen, give the KUPPET portable ice maker a shot.
OK, with our reviews in place, you should now have a thorough overview of the best ice makers out there. We’ve included machines across a range of price points and with varying dimensions and outputs. Our aim is to provide something for everyone.
How about if you don’t like the look of any of the above ice makers?
Maybe you’ve spotted another keenly-priced machine not on our list and you’re not sure if it’s any good.
Well, follow this simple buying guide and you’ll know exactly what to prioritize when you’re comparing portable ice makers.
Things You Should Consider
Resist the temptation to bluster in and buy a portable ice maker without proper preparation. Taking just a few moments to focus on your needs and requirements can mean the difference between the best investment you make this year and an expensive mistake.
Double down on these areas when you’re shopping for ice makers:
- Type of Ice
- Size of Ice
- Size of Machine
- Style of Ice Maker
- Insulation and Storage
The vast majority of portable ice makers have broadly similar capacities. There is some variation here, notably the first machine we review today.
Overall, though, ice producing capacity tends to fall somewhere between 20 and 30 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period.
For anyone fully intending to use an ice maker for extended periods, output should be the first thing you consider.
You’ll also need to think about how long it takes to make each batch of ice, and how many cubes you get in each batch. We’ve listed this out clearly in all our reviews so you can readily compare these ice-makers like for like!
Also, you should remember that portable ice makers have a lesser storage capacity due to the scaled-down dimensions.
If you want to stop the ice from melting and then reforming, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your countertop ice maker. You’ll also need to empty it every few hours.
Type of Ice
You should think closely about the size and shape of ice cubes that you prefer, if indeed you have a preference.
Common shapes include:
Size of Ice
As well as giving you the freedom to choose the shape of your ice cubes, many ice makers also allow you to select the size.
Big and small ice cubes perform well in different drinks, and people have varied preference.
This option certainly doesn’t come as standard on portable ice makers, but it’s not uncommon to find machines offering you the choice of small, medium, or large ice cubes.
Size of Machine
Now, in order to qualify as a portable ice maker, machines typically need to be small enough to fit easily on a kitchen counter. Let’s face it, you probably don’t want to continually pack your machine away and get it back out again the following day.
So, it’s crucial that you check the sizing of any model you have in mind and make sure you have the space to accommodate.
Design usually plays at least some form in any buying decision. With an ice maker, chances are you’ll leave it out on permanent display, so you want a machine that looks good, and you want one that meshes with your existing design scheme.
We’ve included models today in a wide array of color schemes and designs so you should find something that takes your liking.
We would suggest, though, that you don’t use aesthetics as your primary consideration when you’re shopping for ice makers.
Style of Ice Maker
When you’re looking for portable ice makers, they come in all shapes and sizes within this category.
You can find ice machine designed for indoor and outdoor use so think about this element first and foremost. A machine intended for outdoor use will benefit from superior insulation and they can also tolerate slightly higher temperatures.
Countertop ice makers are, as the name makes clear, designed to be left standing on your kitchen counter. Built-in units, by contrast, slot into existing cabinetry.
If you need a portable ice maker for commercial purposes, you should focus mainly on durability and ice production. If you need a seriously rugged machine, you might need to compromise somewhat when it comes to portability.
Insulation and Storage
A portable ice maker will be insulated, but it won’t keep things frozen like a regular freezer. For anyone looking to run a portable ice machine continuously, you’ll need to find one that recycles water and sends it back into the reservoir. While countertop units are ideal for ensuring you have ice on demand, this ice will rapidly melt if it’s left unused rather than being shifted to the freezer.
A timer on your ice maker saves you from needing to constantly monitor proceedings. Some models also allow you to program your machine so you’re confident of having ice when you want it.
The other main pointer that’s worth bearing in mind is the size and shape of ice cubes. If this is something that you feel strongly about, make certain to find a machine that delivers what you want.
Self-cleaning features make your life a whole lot easier and save you from needing to buy third-part cleaning products.
EnergySTAR certified machines will cut back on your electricity consumption and save you money.
Beyond this, most portable ice makers are broadly similar in functionality with few bells or whistles.
OK, with those elements in place, you should be perfectly positioned to find the best portable ice maker for your needs.
To round out today, we’ve curated the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about portable ice makers.
1) What’s the best ice to use if I drink seltzer and soda?
Clear ice is your best bet as it will not cause as much fizzing. This is due to the fact it’s smoother and has fewer crevices for air pockets to form.
2) How should I clean my ice maker?
You should always drain any excess water from your machine when you’ve finished using it. This will prevent mildew from forming. You should wipe down the machine’s interior using some mild dish soap and a cloth. This helps to remove any debris along with some scaling. Some ice makers come with inbuilt cleaning cycles which is a real bonus. If not, just use a pre-made cleaner that’s nickel safe and you’re good to go. These things are not hard to maintain.
3) Should I use filtered water to make ice cubes?
Absolutely! The better quality water you use for your ice cubes, the better they will complement your beverage. If you don’t use filtered water, your cubes will look cloudy and feel soft as a result of the mineral build-up.
4) Is there an ideal room temperature when operating a portable ice maker?
Ice makers have insulated storage bins offering them impressive protection. That said, an ambient temperature between 50F and 80F is ideal for optimum results.
5) What is nugget ice?
Nugget ice cubes are very small and chewable cubes of ice that have exploded in popularity over recent years. These are typically delivered by larger machines than the ones on our shortlist today, but no review of ice makers is complete without mentioning nugget ice.
Well, you might have started today with no real idea about whether you needed an ice maker or which one to buy. That should have changed by now.
Buying an ice maker is in many ways a pretty simple decision. Work out the maximum you’re prepared to spend and that will immediately whittle down your options without you needing to lift a finger. From there, focus on the output you need and the type of ice you prefer, and all you have left to consider is whether or not you have room to accommodate the machine.
If you run into any problems on the buying trail, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll be more than happy to help out any way you can.
Before you head off, take a moment to bookmark BriccoWine. We’re planning to work throughout the holiday period, so we’ll be bringing you regular updates with all the best equipment for your parties, and plenty of informative how-to guides for good measure. We’ll see you soon!