Best Home Countertop Ice Makers: Nugget Ice Makers & More

Best Ice Maker

(Last Updated: December, 2020)

What Changed?

  • Added HomeLabs Portable Ice Maker
  • Removed discontinued products
  • Updated pros and cons on Colzer Portable Electronic Ice Maker Machine

Even if your refrigerator has a built-in ice machine, sometimes it just isn't enough to get you through a party or neighborhood get together. In that case, you're stuck between two equally unappealing dilemmas.

Either go without as much ice as you need (and keep running back to the fridge to get it), or buy some heavy bagged ice, and hope it doesn’t melt as you haul it home. For restaurants, having an ice maker is typical, but ice makers are also great for personal use. 

Fortunately, unlike commercial ice makers, these ice makers are compact, affordable, and easy to use. So if you're tired of trying to keep your cool when hosting, you'll want to pick up one of these ice makers.

According our tests, the best ice machine is the Whynter Compact Ice Maker. This compact ice machine doesn't use much energy or space, but produces a whopping 27 lbs of ice per day. 

Benefits of Buying an Ice Maker

Buying an ice maker allows you to enjoy restaurant quality ice at home without a huge investment, and without taking up too much space. If you opt for a countertop-style ice maker, you can get ice made quickly. With continued use, a good countertop ice maker can make anywhere from 20-30lbs of ice per hour. This is the same as a large bag of ice, or two medium ones. This level of ice making is great for most parties and home use. 

Our 8 Picks For Ice Machines (Countertop & Portable)

There's a lot of options when it comes to ice machines, especially countertop models. At CompuKitchen, we've been able to test a handful of them. Here's some of our top picks and info to help you decide which one is right for you.

  1. Wynter 27 Pound Compact Ice Maker - Best Ice Maker
  2. Vremi Ice Maker
  3. Homelabs Portable Ice Maker
  4. FirstBuild Opal Ice Maker
  5. Olyus Stainless Steel Ice Maker
  6. Prime Home Portable Ice Maker
  7. Euhomy Countertop Ice Maker
  8. Colzer Electronic Ice Maker

More About ​Whynter Ice Maker

When it comes to countertop ice makers, the Whynter 27 lb ice maker takes the cake (and the ice).

This machine can make ice in as little as 10 minutes, and creates an astonishing TWENTY SEVEN pounds of ice per day. 

Note - it can only hold about 1.5lbs of ice at a time but no other ice machine can keep up this one. 

This machine also comes with an ice scoop, auto shut off, and a viewing window

Pros

  • Makes an incredible 27 lbs of ice per day
  • Ice produced in under 10 minutes
  • Auto shut off when the reservoir is full

Cons

  • Slower ice production if water isn't already cold

SHOP RELATED PRODUCTS

Frigidaire Model EFIC206

Frigidaire EFIC206

Igloo Model ICEB26RR

Igloo ICEB26RR

Costway Ice Machine

Costway Ice Maker Machine

Ikich Ice Machine

Ikich Portable Ice Maker

More About Vremi Ice Maker

This ice maker doesn't take up a lot of space yet it still makes enough ice to keep the party going. In a single day, it can produce up to 26 pounds of ice. It doesn't take much energy either, so don't worry about the electric bill. This is a super-efficient ice maker. 

It’s very easy to use, and the maintenance practically takes care of itself. There are warning lights to let you know before there’s an overflow situation. It will even turn itself off if it’s out of water or if it’s already full of ice.

Pros

  • Compact and easy to store
  • ​Warning lights help with maintenance and upkeep
  • ​Produces up to 26 lbs of ice in 24 hrs

Cons

  • Slightly louder than other models

SHOP RELATED PRODUCTS

Frigidaire Model EFIC206

Frigidaire EFIC206

Igloo Model ICEB26RR

Igloo ICEB26RR

Costway Ice Machine

Costway Ice Maker Machine

Ikich Ice Machine

Ikich Portable Ice Maker

More About The Homelabs Ice Maker

This compact ice machine is a great pick for anyone who doesn’t want to dedicate much counter space to a new appliance but wants an extra hand when entertaining. It quickly creates bullet shaped ice and lets you choose between two different sizes.

Don’t let the compact size fool you, it produces up to 26 pounds of ice in one day. It also comes with a bucket and scoop.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • ​Produces ice quickly, in 6 to 8 minutes
  • ​Easy operation. Just fill the reservoir, plug in, and enjoy

Cons

  • Ice needs to be frozen right away if not used

SHOP RELATED PRODUCTS

Frigidaire Model EFIC206

Frigidaire EFIC206

Igloo Model ICEB26RR

Igloo ICEB26RR

Costway Ice Machine

Costway Ice Maker Machine

Ikich Ice Machine

Ikich Portable Ice Maker

More About FirstBuild Opal Ice Maker

Do you favor a restaurant because they’ve got the “good ice?” If so, this is the ultimate ice machine for you (or for your guests who share the preference). The other neat thing is that you can make a lot of ice before emptying it. It holds 3 pounds of ice.

It looks great, with a sleek, modern design that's as impressive as the ice it makes. It even does the work of checking up on your ice stock for you with an automatic sensor. It can tell when you're low on ice and proceeds to make more.

Pros

  • Soft, chewable ice
  • ​Automatically makes more ice when you’re low
  • ​Can hold up to 3 lbs of prepared ice

Cons

  • Takes 20 minutes to make ice, slightly longer than other models

SHOP RELATED PRODUCTS

Frigidaire Model EFIC206

Frigidaire EFIC206

Igloo Model ICEB26RR

Igloo ICEB26RR

Costway Ice Machine

Costway Ice Maker Machine

Ikich Ice Machine

Ikich Portable Ice Maker

More About Olyus Stainless Steel Ice Maker

The sleek, compact design is the first cool thing about this Olyus ice maker. The next is definitely the efficiency. Within about 6 to 9 minutes, you’ll get your first batch of fresh ice, and can continue up to about 26 pounds in a day. 

Another neat feature is the different sized cubes. According to you, or your guests' preferences, you can make small or large ice cubes.

Pros

  • 2 sizes of cubes to select
  • Works quickly
  • ​Makes up to 26 lbs in a day

Cons

  • Must be left upright 24 hours before use

SHOP RELATED PRODUCTS

Frigidaire Model EFIC206

Frigidaire EFIC206

Igloo Model ICEB26RR

Igloo ICEB26RR

Costway Ice Machine

Costway Ice Maker Machine

Ikich Ice Machine

Ikich Portable Ice Maker

More About The Prime Home Ice Maker

The Prime Home ice maker is designed with convenience and price in mind. From the quick ice production to the included scoop and bucket, it’s got everything you need.

You’ll never have to worry about stopping the ice because you weren’t watching either. It’ll automatically tell you if the reservoir is ready to be refilled, and it’ll shut off before an overflow issue occurs.

Pros

  • Quiet and efficient
  • ​Features overflow prevention
  • Includes basket and scoop

Cons

  • Ice melts quicker than others

Shop Related Products

Frigidaire Model EFIC206

Frigidaire EFIC206

Igloo Model ICEB26RR

Igloo ICEB26RR

Costway Ice Machine

Costway Ice Maker Machine

Ikich Ice Machine

Ikich Portable Ice Maker

More About The Euhomy Counter Ice Maker

This Euhomy ice maker looks as great as it works. Another thing you'll love is how easy it is to use. It's also easy to understand, thanks to the control panel that makes it extremely user-friendly. Even better, it’s one of the quietest home ice makers out there.

While this isn't the best portable option, it is great if you intend on sticking it somewhere and keeping it there. It is a great option for homes without an ice maker and you'd like one to keep on your counter for the price.

Pros

  • Quieter than most others
  • Nice modern design
  • ​Control panel makes it very user-friendly

Cons

  • More an investment than others

SHOP RELATED ITEMS & PRODUCTS

Frigidaire Model EFIC206

Frigidaire EFIC206

Igloo Model ICEB26RR

Igloo ICEB26RR

Costway Ice Machine

Costway Ice Maker Machine

Ikich Ice Machine

Ikich Portable Ice Maker

More About The Colzer Electronic Ice Maker Machine

If you're looking for an ice maker that can work overtime, this is the one for you. Producing up to 33 lbs of ice daily, you won’t find yourself lacking. It’s also 100% BPA free and comes with a 12-month warranty, and an overall great customer service experience.

If you're looking for the best portable option, this ice maker is one to strongly consider. The amount of ice that it puts out for its size makes it a strong contender among other ice makers for the price.

Pros

  • Makes 33 lbs of ice in a day
  • ​Includes window to view your ice
  • Has a 12-month warranty & great customer service

Cons

  • Takes a few batches to reach normal quality

Shop Related Items & Products

Frigidaire Model EFIC206

Frigidaire EFIC206

Igloo Model ICEB26RR

Igloo ICEB26RR

Costway Ice Machine

Costway Ice Maker Machine

Ikich Ice Machine

Ikich Portable Ice Maker

Best Ice Maker Buyers Guide

When you're looking for a good ice maker, you want to consider everything from the ice maker's design, to its price and the shape of ice it makes. You should also consider the capacity you want so you make sure you get an ice machine that produces the amount of ice you need. 

Types of Ice Machines

When it comes to ice makers, there's generally two main types: countertop and under counter style. Here's what you need to know about each.

Countertop Ice Makers

These types of ice makers may also be called portable ice machines, and their a popular choice if you want a simple product to make ice. They're great if you live in a small home or apartment, since they tend to be much smaller than their under the counter alternative. 

These machines are designed to be portable, so they don't need to be connected to a water line to make ice. However, this does mean that you need to keep a reservoir full to continue making ice. Another thing to note, most portable ice machines don't have a storage bin. They can make ice, but they can't keep it cool. Once the unused ice melts, it just refreezes it. If you're looking for an ice maker that keeps your ice frozen, you should consider an under the counter style machine. 

Under The Counter Ice Makers

Not unlike countertop ice makers, under the counter ice machines will automatically make ice. They'll continue making ice until they're full. In almost every case, these types of ice makers cost more than countertop ones, they often have a much larger capacity, and can keep ice frozen.

Due to their larger size, making ice tends to take longer, and they require a dedicated water supply to work. If you're okay with hiring a professional plumber to come install a water line, these types of ice makers can be a great choice.

Ice Production

The amount of ice produced in a day varies from machine to machine. There are machines to match all situations whether you only need a small amount of ice for your family or a large amount for entertaining guests. 

The price of your machine will also vary, depending on the production capacity. It’s usually less expensive for an ice maker that makes a smaller amount. 

Shape and clarity of Ice

The ice from a portable machine does generally tend to be cloudy. This is due to the speed of the process in which the ice is made. 

Most machines make ice cubes in the traditional square cube shape. But there are some machines that can make other shapes including bullets as well as smaller nuggets of ice.

Generally, most machines have a setting that allows you to choose between small, medium or large sized cubes. There are also some models that can create crushed ice, ideal for summer slushies or cocktails. 

Insulated Storage

While a portable ice maker doesn’t keep the ice frozen, a decent model will be insulated to allow the ice to remain intact for a period of time. 

Remember to also check the storage capacity of the machine. There's not much use in one that has a large production capacity but small storage space.

How easily is it cleaned?

Your machine needs to be cleaned regularly to maintain its effectiveness. However, cleaning it should be a simple enough task and not require too much time or effort. 

Most countertop ice makers are a breeze to clean. They don't have many moving parts, and a simple round of sanitation every couple of uses will do the job.

Size of the Machine

The size and weight of portable ice machines vary greatly from model to model. The size you require will also depend on your individual needs.

If you plan on traveling a lot with it, you may want to consider a smaller, easily transportable machine. On the other hand, if you plan on giving your machine a permanent home, you might consider a larger one. 

Ease of use

Your machine should be very simple to use out of the box, without requiring you to read through lengthy instruction manuals.

Most modern portable ice makers operate off a very simple control panel with the aid of LED indicator lights to let you know when the ice is ready. 

Ice bucket

Many models come with a removable ice bucket (or an extra ice bucket to transfer ice from the machine's tray), this is especially handy if you are mainly using your machine for parties.

If your model has this feature, it more than likely includes an ice scoop as well. If it doesn’t, don’t forget to purchase one! 

Tips For Using an Ice Machine

Empty It Out

There's a reason these appliances are called ‘ice makers,' and not ‘coolers.' While some ice makers even hold a couple of pounds of ice they've made for drinks, that's the extent of the ice you'll get if you don't empty it out.

You can make it easier for guests to get their ice, and to keep making more so you always have enough. Just get a cooler and store the ice cubes in easy reach. Or keep them in the freezer if you've got a real excess on your hands.

Watch the Water Quality

Over time, the water in your ice maker acquires different contaminants from being opened, having ice taken out, and any other handling. This goes right into your drinks.

If you simply top off the water in your ice maker every time it’s low, you’ll eventually start getting discolored or cloudy ice cubes. While you don’t have to do it every time, make sure you frequently change out the water entirely.  

Keep it in a Good Place

Try to keep your ice maker away from appliances that get hot, like a stove or grill, since this will make it hard to produce ice and keep it from melting before it gets to your drinks. 

If you plan on keeping it outside, try and find a shadier spot (if possible, while working with the limit of the cord). If you don't take proper care of your ice machine, you'll have to call customer service to troubleshoot so make sure you follow the instructions from the start. 

How it works

A portable ice machine is an electric device that can make pounds of ice cubes for drinks in just a couple of minutes. This saves you the time and hassle of either buying and storing commercial ice cube bags from the supermarket or making trays of ice in your own freezer. 

Unlike the residential and commercial ice makers that are built into some refrigerators, the best portable ice cube maker does not need to be connected to a water line to work. All you simply need to do is pour water into its reservoir tank and presto, ice cubes at the ready to use in your drinks!  

These products operate by plunging metal probes into a tank of water and freezing rapidly. The frozen water collects around these probes. When the cubes collected around the probes are big enough, the machine heats the probes in order to release the ice cubes. 

FAQ’s

How do you clean the machine?

Portable ice machines are very low maintenance products. Giving it a quick clean is about all you will have to do to keep it in tip-top shape. 

Each brand of ice machine will come with its own specific cleaning guidelines. But in general, the following steps usually apply;

  • Switch off and unplug the machine. 
  • Remove any ice in the tray and drain any water from the tank. 
  • Disassemble the machine according to the instructions and wash them all separately in warm soapy water. 
  • Reassemble and fill the tank with a mixture of vinegar and water. Allow the machine to make ice with this mixture until the supply runs out. 
  • Allow to dry completely and your machine is ready to use once again for best results.

How Much Should You Consider Price?

When it comes to buying anything, price is important, but not as important as value. Just because something has a high price, doesn't mean it's any better than something thats cheaper. 

Make sure you check the specs of whatever machine you're considering, and don't just let price determine the quality of the machine for you.

Does it keep the ice frozen?

No. There is no such thing as a portable freezer, outside of a cooler, for any price as of now. While they are insulated to keep the ice frozen for a short length of time, with these products, the ice will essentially start to melt as soon as it hits the tray. 

Does a portable ice maker require a drain line?

No. The machine operates on a continuous cycle for results. The ice that is made falls into a tray. Any ice that isn’t used melts and empties back into the tank where it is remade into ice once again.  

Does it matter what type of water I put into my machine?

Once the water you use is suitable for drinking, it doesn’t really matter too much. As with all products, including dishwashers and washing machines, it is best to avoid hard water if possible. 

Hard water can cause mineral deposits to build up in an item over time and ultimately slow it down. 

How many minutes does it take to produce a batch of ice? 

The production capacity varies from machine to machine but generally speaking, it takes anywhere from 7-15 minutes. Other factors, such as the age of the machine and the quality of the water put into it will also have an effect on the time it takes to make ice.

Keep your machine clean and avoid any mineral or item build ups caused by hard water that could slow it down over time for best results. Different brands will tell you the exact time it will take. 

Is there a difference between Ice Storage and Ice Capacity?

Yes, there is a huge difference. The ice capacity of your machine is the amount of ice that your machine can produce in a day. On the other hand, ice storage refers to the amount of ice your machine can hold ready to serve. 

There can often be a huge discrepancy between these two in a machine. 

While one machine might be able to produce a lot of ice, it might not be able to store a huge amount. In this case, it is only really suitable if you know the ice is going to be used as soon as it is made or if you have somewhere else to store it. 

Installation and Maintenance

There is no installation as such given that it’s a portable ice machine. Just plug it in, fill it up and away you go! It’s recommended that you dispose of the first few batches of ice, as they could be contaminated with any dirt or dust in the machine. 

These machines also require very little maintenance, a quick clean after use and you should be good to go. 

Conclusion

It's always handy to have a portable ice machine at your disposal so you can have ice at your fingertips when the need arises. This way, you also won’t need to run out and spend money on overpriced bags on ice last minute. 

There are countless different brands and models of ice makers out there. You definitely need to do some research to find out what exactly you need from your ice machine for your particular needs. 

We’ve provided a wealth of information in this guide. In a nutshell, remember to check for its ice making speed and capacity and consider its weight and size for storage purposes. If you prefer some fancier choices, go for the ice makers that allow you to create different sized cubes and uniquely shaped ice.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *