FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Maker Review

Our Rating
  • Design
  • Quality
  • Performance
  • Features

Firstbuild Opal is pretty much the Gucci of ice makers. This ice maker is not here to balance out cost and quality but rather to push the envelope as far as it can go and that is how it earned its raging reputation. Indeed, Firstbuild Opal Nugget Ice Maker is aiming at greatness and that doesn’t come cheap.

The Opal is a privileged ice maker with almost no competition since it is the product of FirstBuild: a brand that decided it was time to create a top-notch nugget-style ice maker.

The brand launched an Indiegogo campaign and collected over 2 million dollars in order to bring you this awesome little machine. However, how much do you need nugget ice?

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  • This ice maker features a compact design
  • It can be plugged into any electrical outlet
  • It can be paired up to your Smartphone via Bluetooth connectivity
  • You set up your ice making schedule from the convenience of the FirstBuild app
  • It’s equipped with a sensor that will identify the fill level of the bucket to turn the ice maker on and off
  • It'll automatically turn on to make sure that the bucket is refilling with ice
  • It can hold up to 2.5 quarts (3 lbs)

Dimensions 10.5 in wide x 15.5 in deep x 17.25 in tall
Ice Storage Capacity 3 lbs
Weight Empty 44 lbs
Volts / Frequency / Current 120V AC / 60 Hz / 2.5 A
Installation Clearance 3 inches, sides and back
Operating Temperature 55°F - 90°F
Ice Making Rate 24 lbs per day/1 lb per hour
Reservoir Capacity 2.5 quarts

Dimensions & Weight

Opal Nugget Ice Maker reviewThe Opal Nugget Ice Maker is a compact machine that can be easily moved from one place to another which calls for a reduced special cost. Hence, the ice maker at hand comes at around 15.5 x 10.5 x 17.25 which is not necessarily small compared to something like the Igloo ICE103 counter top ice maker, or Della portable ice maker but still in the compact zone.

To clarify that image, the Firstbuild Opal might require some help to be carried around but it can still fit within any vehicle and that makes it perfect for homes as well as RVs.

Since weight is also important, the brand tried its best to keep this machine within the range of most ice makers out there. However, premium materials and manufacturer comes at a cost, pushing the weight of ice maker up to 44 pounds out of the box.

Compared to most ice markers out there, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker is indeed much heavier but sometimes that’s a price you have to pay for quality.


Speaking of which, quality is pretty much at the essence of FirstBuild and that can be seen in the Opal on first glance. Indeed, Affordability might be a controversial claim for the brand but quality definitely isn’t since this machine is built to last.

Indeed, you can tell so much just by looking at the Opal Nugget Ice Maker and even more by feeling it and carrying it around. The machine is very well-built and put together. It features a stainless steel shell with a tough plastic ice bin that conveniently tilts down when pulled out.

Also, unlike thin stainless steel, the Opal’s coat is rather tough and that will reduce the possibility of causing accidental dents upon transportation. Also, it is important to keep in mind that the machine requires some free space around it to cool down its internal components through the vent.

Review of Opal Nugget Ice Maker

Ice Making Ability

In order to understand the real value of this machine, we must unveil the process of the nugget ice creation.

Indeed, the Opal exhibits a unique method that entails water freezing against an aluminum drum which is then scraped off and pushed inside a compressing tube that creates these little nuggets with 50% air and 50% ice flakes.

What this does is that it makes these ice nuggets chewable and absorbent of any liquid & that is awesome.

The creation cycle is equally important for many of us who don’t like to wait. Luckily, the Opal is capable of producing up to 1 pound of ice nuggets within one hour with a bin that can hold up to 3 pounds of ice. Once the bin is full, the machine will automatically come to a stop, allowing the ice to melt which is then recycled again and again until you plug the machine off.

In terms of water capacity, the Opal nugget ice maker is capable of holding up to 6 cups of water which can last for a couple cycles especially since the nuggets produced consist of 50% air.

PS: you can buy one accessory for the ice maker and that is a water filter to enable you to use tap water. However, it will cost you an extra 20 dollars.

When this machine starts making some noise, check the water reservoir as it probably just needs more water.


The Opal Nugget Ice Maker is easily one of the smartest ice makers on the market and that comes with a bunch of neat features that will make your experience far less tedious and significantly more practical. In that context, the Opal exhibits the following features:

  • Surprisingly, the machine at hand resembles an iPhone to a significant extent as it completely reduces the number of buttons and signal lights to one. Indeed, the ice maker at hand features one capacity button that will activate the device and guide you with a bunch of signals to let you know whether the machine is running, on hold or completely off.


  • Before you jump to conclusions, the one button policy is by no means limiting as the Opal actually comes with a smartphone application that will enable you to pair your ice maker to your phone. The application is fairly straight-forward, offering a night light mode, an action indicator and a scheduling platform to decide when to turn the machine on and off automatically.


  • The Opal remains generally minimalistic while tucking all tubing on the back. Speaking of which, you can easily drain the machine using extending draining tubes that come attached to the Opal. That is a unique feature that will make rinsing this nugget ice maker simple and won’t require you to move the entire thing.


  • To wrap it up, it is strangely uncommon for ice makers to come with feet but the Opal definitely does. The machine will thus remain suspended higher than the surface in order to prevent corrosion, rusting and so on but also to make sure that your tray fits nicely underneath.

Firstbuild Opal Nugget Ice Maker review

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Opal nugget ice maker is definitely a unique machine with plenty of potential to significantly improve your partying skills but also great for a relaxation session with your favorite beverage, favorite people and tasty chewable ice. However, it is important to note that while the nugget ice cubes are great for cocktails, they can melt a lot faster than regular fridge ice cubes and that’s an equation only you will have the answer to.


  • The Opal is a top-notch, portable nugget ice maker
  • It’s very well-designed and well put together
  • The ice maker keeps fresh ice with the melting process and recycling the old ice
  • It makes terrific chewable ice nuggets


  • This ice maker is not intended for commercial use.
  • It’s on the expensive side
  • It can be a bit loud (it’s not exactly loud but it’s not silent either)
  • The machine makes loud noises when it is defrosting
  • The scheduling app only allows a single smartphone device be connected
  • The machine is relatively heavy so it’s not something you’re likely to move around too much

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