8 Best Portable Ice Makers in 2019

Best Overall

Vremi Countertop Ice Maker
  • 26 pounds of ice per day
  • 10 cubes per 10 minutes
  • bullet-shaped ice is great for putting in bottles

 

Premium Choice

Opal Nugget Ice Maker
  • 3 pounds of ice in 20 minutes
  • 24 pounds of ice per day
  • Recycles melted ice

 

Great Value

COSTWAY Portable Ice Maker
  • 26 pounds of ice per day
  • 8-minute cycles
  • Includes scoop

 

Imagine you’ve just gotten off of work after a long day, and you could really use an ice-cold margarita to relax. Now imagine that you reach into your freezer to grab your trusty ice tray, and you realize that you forgot to fill it. You’d have to wait an awfully long time to enjoy that post-work drink. That’s where portable ice cube makers come in. They can produce large amounts of ice in a matter of minutes, and you don’t have to worry about taking up valuable room in your freezer. They just sit on top of your counter.

Restaurants and other food service establishments have being using industrial versions of these machines for decades, and now it’s you’re turn. They’re inexpensive, efficient, and a great addition to any kitchen area.

If you’re searching for the best portable ice maker for you, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve reviewed 8 different portable ice makers, and we’ve covered the pros and cons that each model brings to the table. If you’re ready to get started, scroll down to our ice makers review section.

The Portable Ice Makers

Best Overall
1

Vremi Countertop Ice Maker

Key Features
  • 26 pounds of ice per day
  • 10 cubes per 10 minutes
  • bullet-shaped ice is great for putting in bottles
  • Compact
  • Automatic safety features
Dimensions9.5 x 12 x 13.5Weight23.6 lbsIce capacity26 lbsSpeed24 hrs

This Vremi ice maker fits on the smallest counters, and it's extremely easy to use. The price isn't going to send you into cardiac arrest, either. That makes this the perfect option for college students, apartment dwellers, and other people with small kitchens. Its small size and lack of complicated controls doesn't make it sub-par, though. It can generate 26 pounds of ice per day, and it only takes about ten minutes for it to make about 10 cubes. One of the more interesting features is the molding process that the Vremi uses. It forms ice in the shape of small bullets. If you like to enjoy a nice cocktail or mixer every once in a while, the small size and shape is perfect for that. Finally, this portable ice maker doesn't need to be monitored. You can leave it on as long as you want. It includes an automatic shutdown feature, and it has built-in warning lights to catch your attention when it's too full.

Premium Choice
2

Opal Nugget Ice Maker

Key Features
  • 3 pounds of ice in 20 minutes
  • 24 pounds of ice per day
  • Recycles melted ice
  • Runs silently
  • 1-year warranty
Dimensions15.5 x 10.5 x 17.2Weight44 lbsIce Capacity3 lbsSpeed20 mins

The Opal Nugget is one of the best portable ice makers, and it's one of the most popular models available. This due to how FirstBuild focused on making it attractive, quick, and energy efficient. It can make 3 pounds of ice in twenty minutes, and it doesn't waste water. The ice is held in a plastic reservoir, and the reservoir is designed to redirect melted ice back into the ice maker's water tank. That allows it to be recycled into more ice instead of wasted. It's a bit larger than the Vremi, and that makes it less of an option for dorm rooms and really small apartments, but it's probably the best ice maker for home use.

Great Value
3

COSTWAY Portable Ice Maker

Key Features
  • 26 pounds of ice per day
  • 8-minute cycles
  • Includes scoop
  • Visually appealing
  • Low-price
Dimensions9.5 x 14 x 13Weight17.5 lbsIce Capacity26 lbsSpeed24 hrs ( 8 min mini cycle )

COSTWAY's latest ice maker is a capable unit, and it won't affect your wallet nearly as much as the Opal will. Its design has a modern vibe, but it's not too flashy. That makes it ideal for the majority of places it can be used in. The ice basket is capable of handling 1.5 pounds of ice, and it only takes 8 minutes for it to perform one cycle. As an added feature, COSTWAY ships the unit with an ice scoop to make it easier for you to get as much ice as you want. Like the Vremi, you won't have to monitor the COSTWAY very much. It has warning lights to let you know when it's full.

4

hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop

Key Features
  • Two options for ice sizes
  • No set up required
  • Extremely compact
  • Recycles melted ice
  • Very inexpensive with a lot of features
Dimensions9.5 x 12.9 x 14Weight19.4 lbsIce capacity1.5 lbsSpeed6 mins

The hOmeLabs ice maker is a flexible option that can match any of the other ice makers on this list. It produces bullet-shaped ice quickly, and it can produce it in two different sizes. It only takes about 6 minutes for this ice machine to complete a cycle, and it recycles melted ice to prevent you from wasting any water. That's a feature that isn't usually found on ice makers in this price range. To round of its ice-making features, the unit has built-in warning lights and shutdown features. Aesthetically, this model is pretty basic. It's a grey cube, and it has a white band around its top. The good thing about its design is that it's extremely small. You won't have any issues fitting this into a small kitchen.

5

NewAir AI-100S Portable Ice Maker

Key Features
  • 28 pounds per day
  • 15 minute cycle period
  • LED control panel
  • Automatic shutdown feature
  • Great reputation for being dependable
Dimensions11.3 x 13.9 x 14.6Weight24.3 lbsIce capacity28 lbsSpeed15 mins

The NewAir AI-100S is a solid unit for a fair price. It's not as fast as other ice makers, but it performs extremely reliably, and it has built a reputation as a long-lasting machine. The cycle time on the NewAir is nearly twice as long as every other unit in our countertop ice maker reviews, but that's not saying much. It only takes fifteen minutes for it to complete a cycle. In exchange for a longer cycle time, it makes consistently well-formed ice. It also makes more ice per cycle, and can make 28 pounds of ice in a day. The appearance of the NewAir is pretty basic, but it does include an LED control panel that is user-friendly.

6

Frigidaire EFIC108 Portable Compact Ice Making Machine

Key Features
  • 26 pounds of ice per day
  • Extremely quiet
  • Brand-name quality for a fair price
  • Quick ice production
  • Multiple ice settings
Dimensions13 x 9 x 13Weight19.6 lbsIce Capacity26 lbsSpeed24 hrs

Frigidaire is well-known company with a great reputation. That puts this portable ice maker at an advantage when compared to the other machines we've covered in these portable ice maker reviews. You just know that you'll get a quality product when Fridigaire's name is attached to it. This ice machine doesn't just have a great brand attached to it, though. It can pump out 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours, and it's one of the quietest machines we've reviewed. It only generates 48 decibels of noise while it's running. The ice maker utilizes compressor cooling technology to create generous amounts of ice quickly, and the intuitive touch panel allows you to control what size the ice cubes are. Finally, its 3.1-liter reservoir will keep you from having to refill it every five minutes.

7

Igloo ICEB26WH Automatic Portable Countertop Ice Maker

Key Features
  • 26 pounds of ice per day
  • 2 pounds of ice per half-hour
  • Multiple ice sizes
  • Transparent lid
  • User-friendly controls
Dimensions9.6 x 14.7 x 12.4Weight20.5 lbsIce capacity2 lbs / cycleSpeed30 mins / 2lbs

This Igloo ICEB26WH benefits from brand-recognition, too. Like Frigidaire ice makers, you can automatically trust that you'll get a quality product and superb customer service if you buy this machine. However, this Igloo model is a little more advanced, and it's also priced very fairly. This ice maker makes cylinder-shaped ice chunks, and it can pump out about 9 cylinders in less than 7 minutes. It also has a larger ice basket than the average ice machine. It can easily hold 2 pounds of ice before you need to transfer your ice to another storage vessel. That's about the amount that most cheap ice bags can hold, and it can make that much in about 30 minutes. The size of the ice can be adjusted via touch pad. Finally, the lid on this machine is clear. So, you can easily see how much ice you have at any given time.

8

Aicok Portable Self Cleaning Ice Maker

Key Features
  • 26 pounds per day
  • Nearly 2 pounds of ice in 20 minutes
  • Self-cleaning
  • Cleaned with vinegar and water for safer ice
  • Timer function
Dimensions16.2 x 15.2 x 11.5Weight23.2 lbsIce Capacity1.8 lbsSpeed20 mins

This Aicok portable ice maker is a high-tech option with a number of advantages over the competition. It has the standard features that dominate this list. It can make 26 pounds of ice in a day, 9 cubes come out per cycle, and has a touch panel to make operating it a breeze. However, it's the only model that is self-cleaning, and that small feature makes it the best ice maker for the average person. Other machines will develop stains and odors as they age due to them being difficult to clean by hand. With this one, all you have to do is pour in vinegar and water, and you're ready to activate the self-cleaning function. This makes it extremely easy to reliably clean it, and it's a lot healthier than running cleaners or other chemicals through it. It also includes a handy timer that keeps you from letting it run for too long without supervision.

Portable Ice Maker Buyer’s Guide

Buying the right ice machine isn’t difficult, but it requires a bit of research and planning. While they’re not massive investments, portable ice makers aren’t products that you want to replace frequently due to sub-par quality, personal preferences, or other factors that can be avoided by buying the right one in the first place.

In this buyer’s guide, we’ve laid out the different things that you should consider when buying a new ice machine in an easily readable way. If you compare the model you like to this helpful guide, you won’t have to send your ice machine back to the seller anytime soon.

How Much Ice Do You Actually Use?

There’s no point in making enough ice to supply a restaurant if you only put it in your evening cocktail. You also don’t want to waste your time sitting around and waiting for more ice if you do use a lot. That’s why you need to look at your ice machine’s capacity.

Most ice makers can make between 24 and 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours. That’s if you keep them on all day and regularly empty them. That’s not the capacity you want to look at, and you probably won’t need that much ice unless you’re using it for a business venture or party.

You want to see how much the ice bucket can hold, and you want to know how long it takes for that ice bucket to fill up. Cycle speeds tend to be less than 10 minutes on nearly all ice makers, and they tend to make about 9 cubes per cycle. However, portable countertop ice maker buckets can vary greatly in size.

Some models will only be able to hold 1-pound of ice at a time. Other buckets can easily accommodate 3 or 4 pounds of ice before they need to be emptied.

The average person should probably go with an ice maker that can hold 1.5 or 2 pounds of ice. If you use more than that every hour or so, you’ll want to get a model with a bigger bucket. If you’re just trying to chill your post-work drink, feel free to buy a smaller unit.

Size

Portable ice makers are designed to compact. Most units don’t take up more than one foot of space, but there are some that require twice that much room. This is usually only important if you live in an apartment or have a very small kitchen. College students will also have to worry about how much room their ice machine takes up.

There isn’t much to say about this because it’s mostly common sense, but stick to smaller units if you don’t have a lot of counter space in your kitchen. Ice machines are great, but you don’t want your ice machine to take room away from your prep areas and other appliances.

Automatic Shutdowns

Are you the type of person that frequently forgets to turn the stove off or close the refrigerator? If so, you’ll probably end up forgetting about your ice maker, too. Now, that’s not nearly as dangerous as leaving your stove on, and it won’t spoil all of your groceries, but it can destroy your fancy ice maker pretty quickly.

Luckily, most modern ice makers have warning lights installed on them, and a lot of them have features that automatically shut them off when they’re full. You’ll want to find a model with both of those features if you’re forgetful.

Otherwise, those features are just an added bonus. An ice machine isn’t something that the average person will need to run at all times, and you will usually be able to run it for one cycle, use the ice it makes, and turn it off until later on. That’s what we suggest doing, but an automatic shutdown feature is still a nice addition in case something makes you forget to do it yourself.

Maintenance and Cleaning Concerns

If your buddy has been using an ice maker for a long time, ask them how nasty they can get when you don’t clean them properly. If you don’t have a buddy to ask, take our word for it. Ice makers that aren’t cleaned properly will start to smell foul, and the ice they produce will taste just as bad as it smells.

This is because crusts and films form along the walls of even the best countertop ice maker as it produces ice. Those nasty stains will introduce bacteria and other undesirable contaminates into your ice. Over time, those contaminates will become noticeable.

It doesn’t sound like that would be a difficult thing to prevent. After all, we all wash dishes, and you wouldn’t think that cleaning an ice maker would be any different than cleaning a pan. However, ice makers actually are pretty difficult to clean.

They can’t be submerged, and they have a lot of different chambers and holes that can hide dirt. If you’re not prepared or equipped to properly clean those areas, your ice will smell and taste foul a few weeks after you start making it.

Luckily, there are some ice machines that have self-cleaning systems. It doesn’t usually matter what model you decide to buy. Self-cleaning features usually operate the same way. You’ll need vinegar, water, and the ability to push a button.

This method of cleaning is not only a lot easier than cleaning an ice maker by hand, but it’s safer. Think about how easy it is to leave dirt and bacteria behind when hand-cleaning your ice maker. Don’t you think it’s just as easy to leave behind cleaning solutions? We don’t think you’ll want to be putting any of that stuff in your ice maker. Since self-cleaning models only require vinegar and water, you won’t have to worry about any of that. You will want to run a cycle after you clean it, though. The vinegar flavor can linger a bit after a cleaning session takes place.

Budget

Thankfully, the majority of ice makers are pretty affordable now. Like all technology, they only get cheaper as time passes by. They still aren’t cheap enough for the average person to scoff at before throwing their money at a cashier, though.

While most models can be picked up for around $100, it’s not uncommon to find really high-end ice machines that cost 4 times as much. That doesn’t mean that a $450 ice machine is overpriced. In fact, those models are typically packed with the best features and the highest quality components. A lot of people don’t have that kind of money to spend for the best home ice maker, though.

The key thing to look at here is how much money you can afford to spend on ice. You should also think about how important ice is to you. Everybody can benefit from one of the ice machines in the $100 range, but the better units are best for companies and people who can afford the larger investment.

Other Things to Look For

The different things we mentioned above are the most important, but there are a few other factors to consider. These should be the last things that you look at before making a decision.

Brand Recognition

If a company is rich enough to plaster their products all over TV and the internet, it’s because they can put out products that people like. A lot of smaller brands make great products, and this shouldn’t be a major factor when you pick a portable counter top ice maker, but no one will blame you for looking at a brand you know before you look at other options.

Ice Maker Reviews Consumer Reports

Looking at reviews on manufacturer websites might not be a great idea. It’s worth a try, but if a company can control what reviews show up, the information won’t be very accurate. Look at sites that specialize in consumer reports. This will let you know if any products are known for having issues.

Appearance

The appearance of an ice maker doesn’t affect its functionality at all, but you probably don’t want one that clashes with your decor. This is easily avoided by looking at pictures.

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