There is a wide variety of ice makers out there but they are not all the same. In fact, stepping into the ice maker universe, you’re almost drowned in different shapes, sizes and functionalities. So, what type of ice maker are you looking for exactly?
If you landed on this article then you are most likely to be looking for a flexible option, an ice maker that doesn’t require much but produces a decent quantity of ice quickly. To emphasize the ‘quick’ part, portable ice makers were brought into existence and boy did they take the spot light.
Indeed, portable ice makers are pretty much the future of ice because they are versatile and capable to perform impressively in diverse environment.
A portable ice maker might not be perfect for commercial use but it certainly is reputable for owning the residential space. So, here are some of the best portable ice makers out there and why you should consider them as an option.
5 Best Portable Ice Makers Compared
|Ice maker||Dimensions||Ice Storage Capacity||Ice Making Rate||Weight Empty|
|10.5" (W) x 15.5"(D) x 17.25"(H)||3 lbs||24 lbs per day||44 lbs|
|9.5"(L) x 14.0"(W) x 12.9"(H)||1.5 lbs||26.5 lbs per day||17.5 lbs|
|14 1/2" (H) x 11 3/4" (W)x 14 1/2"(D)||2.5 lbs||28 lbs per day||31 lbs|
|14-1/2"(L) x 9-3/4"(W) x 12-3/4"(H)||1.5 lbs||26 lbs per day||20 lbs|
|13-1/4"(L) x 9-1/4"(W) x 12-1/2"(H)||1.5 lbs||26 lbs per day||22 lbs|
|14.76"(L) x 11.30"(W) x 14.06"(H)||2 lbs||40 lbs per day||23 lbs|
|14.5"(D) x 15" (H) x 11.75"(W)||2.2 lbs||28 lbs per day||26 lbs|
Best Portable Ice Maker Reviews
#1- Opal Nugget Ice Maker
Now, Opal Nugget ice maker might be the best portable sonic ice maker out there to the point that there aren’t any portable ice maker reviews without it.
There is no way to be humble about it. However, it is true that this machine took over the market for a while now and it all boils down to ice quality.
Ice Making Ability
The special feature of the Opal isn’t the fact that it can produce 1 pounds of ice within one hour but because it is capable of creating chewable ice cubes that consist of 50% air to soak in as much of your drink as possible. Hence, you don’t only get to keep your drink fresh but you also get tasty soft ice cubes to munch on.
Further, the internal bin only supports 3 pounds of ice which could be a bit of an inconvenience for large gatherings but completely normal for day to day use. In that concern, part of being the best portable nugget ice maker is the fact that the Opal will shut down once the basket is full and go right back on once some ice melts.
We could make a significant list of worthy features for this specific product but for the sake of objectivity, we’ll talk only about the top 2. Speaking of which, the first thing the manufacturer wants you to look at when browsing through this ice maker is how clever it is. Indeed, you are enabled to connect your phone to the Opal nugget ice maker through Bluetooth in order to give it direct and simple commands i.e. turn on / off and scheduling.
Further, in order to be consistent with the premium everything theme, the Opal exhibits a beautiful finish to help it blend in nicely on any kitchen counter. The machine focuses primarily on stainless steel and black plastic to highlight its aesthetic and also maintain a uniform look despite smudges, stains and anything that could distort the design.
#2- Costway Counter Top Ice Maker
It might seem like a significant downgrade when comparing the Costway ice maker to the Opal. However, it is the price that plays the biggest role in this equation.
Undeniably, a bigger budget can get you a better ice maker but it all depends on your specific need and preference.
Ice Making Ability
Accordingly, the Costway at hand might be much cheaper than premium ice makers but it could still be your ‘best portable ice maker’. Indeed, this tiny machine is capable of pushing out 26 pounds of ice a day, which equates approximately 1 pound per hour.
On top of that, this portable ice maker is fully automated and will function almost autonomously until the 1.5 pounds ice basket is loaded. If you do not empty the basket, the machine will start back up once some of the ice has melted.
If you are on a budget and looking for an instant ice maker then the Costway at hand is as close as you could get since it averages 8 minutes on each cycle, giving you enough ice for a couple of drinks on the spot.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that although the Costway’s ice cubes are frosty & relatively chewable, they do not rival the quality of Opal’s special nugget ice.
Some of the best features you can find on this Costway are part of why it has made it on these portable ice maker reviews. Indeed, the ice machine at hand exhibits an intuitive signal lights layout to help you navigate the ice making process and stay in check continuously.
Accordingly, the panel will let you know when there is no water, when the ice basket is full and when the machine is running. Also, there are two extra lights to let you choose the size of your ice cubes (small or large).
Further, the fact that it is easy to operate isn’t the only remarkable thing about this ice maker because their biggest selling point is the uniform design & reliable quality.
While it is made of ABS plastic, the uni-color finish of the Costway ice maker is a tough shell. Accordingly, this product will endure any kind of environment, including an RV lifestyle with all of its obstacles and that makes this ice maker worth a while.
#3- Edgestar IP210 Portable Ice Maker
Edgestar is perhaps the most anticipated brand to make this list because of how proliferated it is.
Indeed, this is a brand that’s very well-known in the industry of ice makers and it was only a matter of time before they create the IP210 portable ice maker.
Hence, being one of their latest portable ice makers, you’d expect it to synthesize the brand’s knowledge and experience but still you’d be surprised.
Ice Making Ability
Truly, this little ice maker goes beyond expectations to produce up to 28 pounds of ice a day, ranking higher than most machines in this price range. Also, in order to land amongst the best portable ice makers on the market, the Edgestar IP210 had to push the size of the basket up to 2 and a half pounds. Thus, you can expect this machine to function autonomously for a while before it requires any assistance.
Nonetheless, the cherry on top of the cake is the fact that this is one of the few ice makers out there that presents three different ice cube sizes (small, medium, and large) and you can expect to receive the first batch within 10 minutes.
To avoid beating around the bush, we think it’s quite obvious that most competitors on this level focus on the same exact features, making it really hard to find originality. Hence, the Edgestar at hand might not be different but it’s impressively better at doing the same thing. Thus, being a portable ice maker, this ice maker doesn’t require any draining system to emphasize the portability aspect.
Further, in order to facilitate your interaction with the machine, Edgestar decided to go with an interactive smart panel that harbors signal lights to let you know when the ice basket is full, when the water is low and what size of ice cubes you are making. Moreover, this display will also prevent the need to constantly open the machine to check on the development of your ice reserve.
#4- Della Premium Portable Ice Maker
Most portable ice maker reviews aren’t really complete without a Della machine. Indeed, this brand has grown exponentially recently and that’s due to this small portable ice maker.
Accordingly, we are definitely not surprised that this machine made a place amongst the best portable nugget ice makers on the market.
Ice Making Ability
Well, to be fair, the reputation that brought us this product didn’t come easy but it was consistent. Hence, the ice maker at hand strived a lot to peak at an ice production ratio of 26 pounds per day.
If that doesn’t sound impressive enough then perhaps you would like to know that this Della can bring you a complete batch of ice cubes in 6 minutes.
Further, to build on its ice production quality, the machine will nest around a full bin of ice before it pauses & would only turn back on once some of the ice melts or is removed by you. That is to say, you don’t have to worry about it creating too much ice because it will only ever make enough.
While it isn’t the most unique ice machine, the Della Portable Ice Maker makes a solid case for itself via its easy draining system that can be literally used anywhere to empty out the machine of old water.
Further, the machine at hand also comes with a direct warning light display to keep you up to date with the process and contains the following signals: full basket, lack of water, size choices and the on/off button.
#5- DELLA Portable Ice Maker
You might think that Della is getting a special treatment because it has taken 2 spots on our list and you’d be right.
This brand is indeed a special case since it has successfully created its own competition through the Della Automatic Portable Ice Maker. However, which one of the two Dellas is to be crowned? Let’s find out.
Ice Making Ability
It is no surprise that ice makers are primarily judged based on their ability to make ice and the speed at which it is produced. Accordingly, the Della at hand makes a defying claim of being able to produce 26 pounds of ice within 24 hours which is the same as the Della Premium linked to above.
Also, this machine has earned a spot on the best portable ice maker list since it is capable of producing 9 pieces of ice cubes within 6 minutes, which should be more than enough for the most part. Further, since this is a portable ice maker with no direct water line, the Della Automatic Ice Maker features a reservoir that can hold up to 2.1 quarts of water.
If you’re thinking that this Della is no different from the previous one then prepare to change your mind because features is where this model excels.
Indeed, beyond the led warning lights and the ice size options the Della Automatic Portable Ice Maker exhibits a beautiful exterior design. Indeed, one of the best things about this machine is the easy monitoring window that is fully transparent in order to enable you to keep your eye on the ice creation process and stop at the quantity you desire.
Further, since it functions pretty much on the same engine, this Della had to push the envelop in terms of looks and that is best seen through its stainless steel finish. Now, that doesn’t only mean that this machine will look good wherever you place it but it is also durable and easy to wipe or clean.
#6- NewAir ClearIce40 Ice Maker
NewAir puts on quite the challenge for its rivals through the ClearIce40. Indeed, this ice maker is one of the strongest competitors and perhaps the best portable ice maker out there. However, how much ice is enough and what is your purpose behind getting an ice maker?
Answering these questions will help you decide whether you need this beast or not. So, let’s get right to it.
Ice Making Ability
This machine is often labeled a beast for residential use because it is capable of pumping out impressive quantities of ice. In fact, the ClearIce40 can push out around 40 pounds of ice a day which is a dream number for many but a much needed quantity for anglers, hunters and people who really need that much ice regularly.
However, if you are in need of a few pieces to refresh your drinks then the machine will produce its first batch within 15 minutes. So, you can definitely use this machine in various ways depending on your needs but it is still an overkill for someone who rarely needs ice.
Now that we elaborated on the speed aspect, let’s take a moment to admire the quality of ice that this machine is capable of producing. Indeed, this NewAir is called ClearIce40 because it makes the clearest ice cubes, which is not common amongst cheap residential ice makers. Hence, this restaurant quality ice is a unique feature of the NewAir at hand and that is something that your guest will appreciate as well as yourself.
In order to emphasize the restaurant quality build, this machine exhibits a separate department for the water reservoir. Hence, in order to avoid opening and closing the ice bucket lid, the brand offers an alternative where you can add water without disturbing the temperature and ice creation process.
In that respect, this is one of the best features of the ClearIce40 and one which earns it a spot on our list of the best portable ice makers.
#7- NewAir AI-100 Portable Ice Maker
If you are on the hunt for an ice maker but you are reluctant to go for something as powerful as the NewAir ClearIce40 then you can always go for the AI-100SS.
While both ice makers are manufactured by the same brand, the latter is cheaper and significantly less powerful, making it a better match for residential use.
Ice Making Ability
Accordingly, unlike the previous model, the AI-100SS can only produce up to 28 pounds of ice a day but it’s funny to say “only” since that’s a lot of ice anyway. In fact, 28 pounds of ice is enough to fill up entire ice coolers, so you can imagine how reliable this machine will be for regular daily use.
In that concern, you can expect an entire batch of ice cubes within 6 minutes and that cycle will continue until the basket is loaded. Then, the ice production will come to a halt until some of the ice is removed or melts to be recycled.
Unlike the ClearIce40, the AI-100SS does not come with a separate water reservoir and that means you will have to refill it through the main access.
There is quite the list of interesting features that you should know about this ice maker but the one that topped them all is the fact that this NewAir is completely independent and requires no attachments other than electricity.
The brand couldn’t stress the portability claim any further via eliminating draining and water income lines to make this ice maker the ultimate portable machine.
While portability makes it great for houses, RVs and even by the swimming pool, the fact it has a stainless steel finish makes it hard to damage.While it can be dented, the NewAir at hand will show incredible resilience towards water, scratches, rusting and all external elements that it might face wherever you put it.
Tips For Choosing The Right Portable Ice Maker
The best thing about portable ice makers is the fact that they are highly efficient, reliable and relatively cheap. Indeed, a few years ago, it would’ve been impossible to imagine a machine that can create large quantities of ice for less than $200. However, today that has become a reality for far less.
Nonetheless, in order to get your hands on the best portable ice maker on the market, you must be equipped with enough knowledge. Thus, in this article, we will try to give you a few tips that will help you find your match.
#1- Portability (Is it easy to move around?)
Since we are aiming at portable ice makers, it is only logical to start at the portability factor as that can differ from one machine to another. Indeed, the portable label might include a large variety of ice makers but there is a scale to that variable.
Accordingly, while some ice makers will be completely independent, others will still feature draining systems & other accessories that might render them less portable. Also, the weight aspect plays a major role in this area since portable ice makers can go from 19 pounds all the way to 40 lbs.
#2- Capacity & Size
Since capacity and size are inter-determined by one another, it is important to remember that a bigger ice maker will exhibit high capacity. Hence, where something like the Della Premium showcases an average capacity basket of around 2 pounds, the Edgestar will handle almost double that much and that can apply to various aspects on each machine. Therefore, you want to make sure that you decide how much ice you will need within a specific time period in order to cut out your perfect match.
#3- Speed and Production Capacity (How much ice does it produce in a day?)
Speaking of needed ice, one of the biggest selling points for ice maker is the speed and production capacity they exhibit. Hence, most portable ice makers are more or less similar in this field as they all produce around 26 pounds of ice a day. However, the first cycle is where they tend to differ. Indeed, most of us will end up using the ice maker for separate occasions and that pushes ice makers like the Della to the top as it can provide a batch of ice cubes within 8 minutes.
#4- Storage capacity (How much ice can it hold?)
Storage capacity might not be a big concern for most of us but it certainly is a great vantage point for some ice makers. Accordingly, while they are traditional less quick, large machines will consequently hold more ice before they hit the limit.
So, it is important to note down your ice requirements and check for capacity on your designated machine before making the purchase as it can make a significant difference.
#5- Cost/Budget (How much does it cost)
While most residential / portable ice makers cost somewhere around $100 and $200. However, there are some exceptions to that rule. Obviously, a better performance will almost always signify higher price tag and that is where your budget come in play.
Accordingly, your ice requirements, including quality and quantity, will define the amount you’ll need to shell out, and on the higher end of that spectrum, you could be looking at $500 or more.
#6- Ease of Use (Is it easy to use?)
This element is almost a non-problem for most portable ice makers out there as they are all very simplified for the sole purpose of serving you quickly and simply.
However, at some point, the price of the machine becomes a valid sign of how easy it will be to run this machine on a daily basis. Thus, when you look at something like the Opal nugget ice maker, you are talking about a clever machine that can be activated, scheduled and turned on via a Bluetooth connection which is the epitome of ease.
On the other hand, you can pay far less for a reliable machine that would require physical interaction with simple buttons and light signals to ease your operation.
Other Factors to Consider
#1- Types of Ice makers
There is a limited variety of ice makers out there and that is something to be aware of before you make that purchase. Hence, here are the categories you should learn about:
Modular ice maker
These business ice makers have no room for fun and extra-curricular activities because they are designed to work hard for long hours. Indeed, this type of ice makers is often dependent on a separate unit that will dispense and store the ice while it pumps out loads of ice. Hence, the Modular ice maker averages 21 x 29 x 50 inches and within that limited body, it is capable of producing anywhere from 88 to 900 pounds of ice per day.
Under Counter Ice Machine
Just as the name indicates, this is an ice maker that is meant to go under your counter. While relatively small, these ice makers aren’t residential small but rather small enough to fit under a 40 inches counter which is a better fit for cafes and bars.
Accordingly, since it is a commercial ice maker, the Under Counter Ice Machine is capable of pushing out around 300 pounds of ice daily but that can go higher / lower depending on your budget.
Countertop Ice Dispenser
If you’re someone who needs constant access to an ice maker in your business / company then you’re going to appreciate the countertop ice dispenser the most. Indeed, this type of machine goes right on your counter, desk or any flat surface and it will be a continuous ice sources that never runs out.
Well, it might eventually run out, depending on your business size. However, generally, these machines can make around 400 pounds of ice daily.
Ice / Water Machines
The Ice / Water machine is the perfect combo for a work place / business because it will provide your clients or employees with constant frosty ice as well as cool water which is guaranteed to make people less miserable. However, they are rather larger on average since they can produce up to 500 pounds of ice daily. So, add a water tank to that ice reservoir and you’ll have yourself a large machine.
#2- Types of Ice produced
One of the first questions you want to answer is what kind of ice cubes are you looking for because that will end up helping you filter through ice makers easily. Hence, ice makers can produce a variety of ice cubes and that goes as follows:
- Ice cubes are the most common shape of ice since they are so traditional and go way back. These cubes are often clear and look very authentic. Also, they are solid and they can last for long periods of time.
- Nugget ice is a friendlier type of ice since it has a softer consistency, making it chewable and delicious in most cases. This ice consists of 50% air and 50% water which allows it to absorb drinks and give you tasty little chunks to munch on at the end of your cup.
- Flake ice is also a traditional type of ice since it is the ice we’ve grown used to through childhood as it could be found in ice cones but it is often used to chill meat and fish as well.
#2- Cycle time (How much time does it take to make a single batch of ice)
While it is of paramount value to check the daily production rate of an ice maker, it is equally important to check out the cycle time.
Indeed, cycle time is the time the machine takes to produce an entire batch of ice and that can range between 6 and 15 minutes, depending on the machine.
So, if you’re someone who’ll regularly use the ice maker once for a couple of drinks every now and again, it is vital to opt for machines with quick cycles whereas people who are looking for large quantities of ice daily are better off with a larger machine.
Warranty is a great indicator of how much a brand trusts their product and that is something you should constantly check before you make any purchase.
Accordingly, ice makers, and portable ones specifically, will often come with a one year warranty on pieces but that doesn’t include damaging it obviously. However, there are certain instances where you’ll find an ice maker with a shorter warranty life and as suspicious as that is, it is still important to check online reviews and customer reviews before you make your verdict.