The 10 Best Portable Ice Maker for Fresh Cubes On Demand

Ice-Makers

If you need ice for your drinks at home, the ice maker baked into your refrigerator is not the ideal fix.

Buying bags of pre-made ice, as you’ll know, is not the most economical solution, so where does this leave you?

Firmly in the territory of a portable ice maker, that’s where.

Although most of the best portable ice makers are broadly similar in terms of functionality, you’ll find some minor differences that are worth looking out for. If you have no idea what differentiates compact ice machines, focus on these pointers and you can’t go wrong.

  • Capacity: Most mainstream portable ice makers have similar ice-producing capacities, typically between 20 and 30 pounds of ice generated each day. Beyond the total output, you’ll also need to think about how long it takes to make each batch of ice and how many cubes there are per batch. Check the features tab of each machine on our shortlist to readily compare them like-for-like. As an aside, when you’re looking at portable ice makers, reduced storage capacity is one of the trade-offs you make for the scaled-down footprint. To prevent your ice from melting and reforming, closely monitor your countertop unit and make sure it’s emptied after every few hours of use
  • Style of ice: The most common types of ice include bullet, nugget, cube, half-cube, crescent, and gourmet
  • Size of ice: Many of the best portable ice makers allow you to choose between different sizes of ice cubes. Large and small cubes respond differently in different drinks, so make sure any machine on your shortlist caters to your personal preferences. That’s ultimately all that counts
  • Overall dimensions: To qualify as a portable ice maker, the machine needs to be small enough to sit neatly on the kitchen counter.
  • Design: Linked to the sizing, you should also pay attention to the aesthetics of the machine. You’re likely to leave it out on the counter rather than packing it away after each use, so it makes sense to find one that enhances rather than uglifies your kitchen.
  • Style of machine: Some portable ice makers are designed to work outdoors as well as indoors, and these will boast superior insulation, while also coping better in higher temperatures. You can find the occasional built-in ice maker, but most in this class are freestanding. If you need an ice maker for a commercial setting, look for one that produces a large volume of ice and is built to stay the distance. You’ll need to dig a little deeper for this type of machine, and you may also need to take a slight hit when it comes to portability
  • Storage and insulation: While portable ice makers are insulated, they don’t keep ice frozen like a kitchen freezer. If you plan to run your new ice maker continuously, you’ll need a model capable of recycling the water and channeling it back into the reservoir. Countertop ice makers are perfect if you want ice on demand, but the ice melts very quickly if it’s not used or shifted to the freezer

Right, with those basics in place, you’re ready to explore our curated showcase of the best portable ice makers in a crowded field.

I. The 10 Best Portable Ice Makers

1. Our #1 Pick: GE Profile Opel Nugget Ice Maker

GE-Profile-Opal-|-Countertop-Nugget-Ice-Maker

Features

  • Daily ice output: 24 pounds of ice daily
  • Weight: 47 pounds
  • Dimensions: 17.5 x 13.4 x 16.5 inches

First up and our overall favorite in today’s lineup comes from GE, a brand that needs no introduction. How does this global giant fare when it comes to portable ice makers, though?

The first thing worth pointing out is that this model is an overhauled FirstBuild Opal. GE bought this company and reworked the classic portable ice maker by bundling an extra water reservoir.

The primary draw of this model is the nugget ice generated. Nugget ice burst to prominence after being pioneered by Sonic, the fast-food chain. With a standard ice maker, the machine freezes the water you use for making cubes. This doesn’t happen with nugget ice, though. Instead, the ice is formed from flakes of ice scraped from the stainless steel cylinder inside. This unique production method generates ice that’s chewy and literally good enough to eat.

Like all the best portable ice makers, this countertop model from GE combines a space-saving form with commendable ice output, so you can get all the chewy nugget you need without taking over the entire kitchen counter.

If the idea of setting up an ice maker has put you off investing in one, the GE will help you rethink that. There’s no need for a water hook-up. Instead, any electrical outlet will do, as long as it’s grounded and 120 volts, that is.

Expect batches of chewy nugget ice from this machine in just 20 minutes, perfect if you’re catering for a BBQ or larger gathering on a scorching day.

If you keep going all day long, you’ll have the ability to produce up to 24 pounds of nugget ice for your smoothies, juices, cocktails, and all your other favorite beverages.

The ice yielded is super-clear and the taste is crisp and clean.

Bluetooth connectivity and smart features baked in allows you to take control using GE’s SmartHQ app. Schedule ice making to commence on demand, monitor the status of the filter, and alter the lighting inside remotely.

Automatic ice refilling is a neat touch, but replacing the water daily is still is a smart move. This should stop the ice from clumping together.

If you want crisp, clean, and chewable ice without a huge machine taking over the whole kitchen, this GE is a must.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • No need for water hook-up
  • Get batches of ice in 20 minutes flat
  • Generate chewable nugget ice
  • Returns are not possible

2. Igloo Portable Electric Ice Maker

Igloo-ICEB26BK-Portable-Electric-Countertop-26-Pound-Automatic-Ice-Maker

Features

  • Daily ice output: 26 pounds of ice daily
  • Weight: 20.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.6 x 14.7 x 12.4 inches

Igloo shows with this model that it is possible to find a cheap portable ice maker that doesn’t totally stiff you on the performance front. Well-constructed, remarkably efficient, and boasting a reasonable ice cube output, it’s hard to believe this machine is so cheap.

This model measures just 13 inches wide, so makes a great fit for cramped kitchens, apartments, or RVs.

Choose from a variety of bright color schemes to mesh with your kitchen, and kiss goodbye to the usual bland collection of appliances in black or silver.

As long as you ensure the reservoir is topped up – this has a 26-quart capacity – this machine will kick out 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours.

Ice is cylindrical rather than cube-shaped. Each batch contains 9 cubes, either large or small to taste.

The tank will hold up to 1 pound of stored ice, too. This should cut down on trips to the freezer at your next party, BBQ, or dinner party.

A nifty handle further improves portability and maneuverability.

While the vast bulk of user reviews relating to this ice maker are positive, we unearthed some blowback about ice melting quickly. Some users also claim this ice is slightly wet.

The Igloo is one of the best cheap portable ice makers out there, ideal for anyone with a tight budget and limited space in the kitchen.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Several striking colorways
  • Streamlined form factor
  • Impeccable brand heritage
  • This model not self-cleaning

3. Crownful Ice Maker

CROWNFUL-Ice-Maker-Machine-for-Countertop

Features

  • Daily ice output: 26 pounds of ice daily
  • Weight: 47 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 9 x 12.8 inches

Crownful might not be the first name that springs to mind in the kitchenware space, but how does this compact ice machine fare?

If you are looking for an ice maker that doesn’t make too much noise – and who isn’t? – this model is one of the quietest up for grabs. Not only does the cooling system kick out almost no noise, it’s also very economical in terms of running costs.

You get your ice fast from this thing. The first batch should be ready in as little as 7 minutes, ideal if you have impatient guests. From here, each cycle takes less than 10 minutes, and you’ll generate 9 large ice cubes per batch.

Startup is seamless and one-button operation ensures anyone that loathes tech is up and running without interference. Cleaning this thing couldn’t be easier. Add some water, hold the on/off button and you’ll trigger the automatic cleaning cycle. This takes about 7 minutes, the same length as a standard cycle. Once you’re done, unplug the machine and open the water plug to drain it.

As with all the best portable ice makers, you should allow this unit to stand for several hours before operation. You should also bear in mind that this machine does not function as a freezer. You’ll need to decant your ice cubes to the kitchen freezer if they are not going directly into your drinks.

Most user reviews of this ice maker are pretty positive, but we found some scattered complaints about build quality and lifespan.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Runs quietly and efficiently
  • Removable ice bucket
  • Compact countertop design
  • Build quality is questionable

3. Euhomy Ice Maker Machine

Euhomy-Ice-Maker-Machine-Countertop

Features

  • Daily ice output: 40 pounds of ice daily
  • Weight: 25.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 14.1 x 11 x 13.7 inches

This model from Euhomy is larger than most portable ice makers, while still qualifying as a countertop unit. Not only do you get an abundance of power and performance, but this ice maker is also very keenly priced.

Ice output is an impressive 40 pounds daily. With this kind of throughput, you could press this ice maker into commission in a small commercial premises. The primary intended purpose is home use, though.

You can fill this machine up with 2.2 liters of filtered water, saving you from endlessly and tediously topping the machine up all day. If you top it right up, you can generate 120 ice cubes across 5 cycles. With 24 cubes generated per cycle, the Euhomy is one of the strongest performers in this space.

The freestanding setup gives you plenty of freedom with placement. Slimline and compact despite the performance, this model seems to have it all.

The quiet and efficient cooling is compressor-based, making this one of the quietest machines at your disposal. While all ice makers make a degree of noise, this isn’t too troublesome.

Cleaning this ice maker could be easier, but in all other respects you’re getting a powerful, affordable, and remarkably efficient portable ice machine. Don’t forget to leave the machine in an upright position overnight before you make your first batch.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Water recycling
  • Digital control panel
  • Generates 24 ice cubes per cycle
  • Cleaning this ice maker is awkward

4. Costway Countertop Ice Maker

COSTWAY-Countertop-Ice-Maker

Features

  • Daily ice output: 26.5 pounds of ice daily
  • Weight: 17.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 14 x 13 inches

Costway makes a deep bench of pocket-friendly products, so how does this countertop ice maker fare?

This is a very compact machine measuring 9.5 x 14 x 13 inches, so it’s small enough to fit almost anywhere. The countertop design gives you plenty of scope with placement.

With 6 bright color schemes to choose from, there’s no need to settle for the usual dull gray or black kitchenware.

All the materials used for the rugged construction are food grade, so you can fill your drinks with delicious ice without any niggling safety concerns.

Ice comes in 2 different sizes, and it’s bullet-shaped. You can expect 9 cubes per batch, and these batches are generated every 6 to 13 minutes, according to the size of the cubes in question.

Smart functionality is welcome, but this doesn’t come at the expense of a confusing interface. Don’t be put off the extra functions if you dislike tech, as this is one of the most user-friendly portable ice makers you’ll find.

Cleaning the machine is straightforward. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the machine’s exterior. Remove the drain plug to ditch any unused water and you’re good to go.

If pushed to find fault with this otherwise excellent portable ice machine, we would point out that this is one of the noisiest ice makers out there, so if this will prove problematic, we’d suggest exploring some of the many other models on our shortlist.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Smart controls
  • Get ice in 6 minutes flat
  • Ultra-portable
  • Makes quite a lot of noise

5. Vremi Very Nice Ice Maker

Vremi-Very-Nice-Ice-Maker-for-Countertop

Features

  • Daily ice output: 26 pounds of ice daily
  • Weight: 20.9 pounds
  • Dimensions: 13.5 x 12 x 9.5 inches

Vremi is another brand that’s not the most widely known, but is well worth your time if you’re looking for the best portable ice maker on a budget.

Setting this ice maker up is a cinch. There’s no installation required, and all that’s needed is to leave it standing upright for 24 hours before the first use. This allows the coolant to settle, so don’t skip this stage.

Despite the keen price point, you can get lots of ice in a hurry with this machine. Total daily output is 26 pounds, leaving many more expensive machines in its wake.

This machine runs very quietly, and it’s also super-efficient.

Cubes take from 8 to 10 minutes with storage space for up to 1.5 pounds of ice in the bucket bundled. If you need to store unused ice, just pop it in the kitchen freezer until you need it. The water reservoir has a 2.2-liter capacity. Water recycling is a welcome touch.

This portable ice maker is loaded with smart tech, but this doesn’t come at the expense of a complicated or confusing interface. Warning lights alert you when the water needs refilling. When the basket is full, the machine automatically powers down.

While the vast bulk of user feedback about this ice machine is positive, some users feel the ice cubes are too watery.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Ice ready in 10 minutes
  • Generous reservoir
  • Recycles water
  • Ice cubes are watery

6. NewAir Portable Ice Maker

NewAir-Portable-Ice-Maker-28-lb.-Daily

Features

  • Daily ice output: 28 pounds of ice daily
  • Weight: 26.3 pounds
  • Dimensions: 14.5 x 11.75 x 15 inches

NewAir has a wide variety of ice makers up for grabs, so how does this smaller unit in their line-up stand and fall?

Firstly, the freestanding nature of the machine means you won’t need to mess about when it comes to installation. Once you’ve allowed the ice maker to settle overnight in an upright position, power it on, fill up the reservoir with water, and you’re away!

You’ll get a batch of ice from this machine in just 6 minutes, making it one of the quicker ice makers in this category.

You’ll get a choice of 3 different sizes of bullet-shaped ice cubes, so the time it takes to make each batch could extend slightly if you opt for the larger ice cubes.

Total output is impressive with 28 pounds of ice generated in 24 hours of continuous use.

A pair of indicator lights take all the sting out of operation. You’ll be alerted when the water reservoir needs refilling, and you’ll also receive an alert when the ice basket on this machine is full.

Ideal for compact kitchens, dorm rooms, RVs, boats, or anywhere else with limited space to operate, this is one of the best portable ice makers out there, and it comes from a highly reputable brand, too.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Produces ice in just 6 minutes
  • No installation needed
  • Fresh ice every 15 minutes
  • Not much difference between ice settings

7. Igloo Portable Ice Maker

Igloo-ICEB26HNSSWL-Stainless-Steel-Automatic-Self

Features

  • Daily ice output: 26 pounds of ice daily
  • Weight: 47 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 9 x 12.8 inches

As we near the end of our collection of the best portable ice makers, we have another entry from the Igloo stable. How does this unit cope, then?

Despite qualifying as a portable ice maker, you’ll enjoy a generous capacity here. The machine will kick out up to 26 pounds of ice over a full 24 hours.

You’ll also have the space to store over a pound of ice in the basket.

Self-cleaning is an excellent bonus and takes all the sting out of upkeep. This automatic 5-cycle cleaning will keep your ice maker spotless, while also prolonging its lifespan.

You can make 9 small ice cubes in just 7 minutes. If you prefer making larger cubes, you’ll need to wait a few minutes more per batch. This ice is cylindrical.

An ergonomic carrying handle helps you shift this ice maker around if you’re using it as a travel model for the boat or RV.

Overall, we consider this one of the best portable ice makers that also overdelivers in terms of capacity and output. Let us know what you think of this model if you decide it makes the right fit for you.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Generous capacity
  • Compact form factor
  • Self-cleaning feature
  • Reasonably noisy

8. Hamilton Beach Portable Ice Maker

Hamilton-Beach-86150-Countertop-Ice-Maker

Features

  • Daily ice output: 28 pounds of ice daily
  • Weight: 25.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 13.5 x 9.75 x 13 inches

Hamilton Beach makes some great kitchenware and appliances that manage to straddle the fine line between budget pricing and commendable build quality. If you’re looking for a bargain without being forced to compromise and settle with sub-par gear, read on.

Even within the realm of portable ice makers, the Hamilton Beach is especially slender and compact. The tiny footprint and lightweight nature of this machine makes it the perfect travel companion. This machine would also work well if you have an RV or a boat and like the idea of fresh ice on demand.

Once the machine is up and running, it’s capable of generating up to 28 pounds of ice every 24 hours. While most manufacturers quote this metric, in reality you are unlikely to run your machine around the clock unless you’re using it in a commercial capacity. More pertinent is the fact each batch of ice cubes if generated in just 8 minutes, allowing you to keep everyone’s drink refreshed all night long even if you’re hosting a larger gathering at home.

Installation is seamless. You won’t need a water supply on hand, so all you need to do it top the machine up and you’re ready to roll.

With an ice basket and scoop thrown in, you’re ready to get the party started right out of the box.

Almost all user reviews of this ice maker are positive. Most praise the winning combination of performance, build quality, and budget this brand is famous for the world over. The only complaints we could find center on the rapid melting of the ice. Overall, you’re getting a first-class portable ice maker at an exceptional price point. What are you waiting for?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 2 sizes of cubes
  • Scoop included
  • Makes batches in 8 minutes
  • Ice tends to melt quickly

9. Frigidaire Portable Ice Maker

Frigidaire-AMZ-SSBLACK-SC-EFIC103-Maker-Machine-Heavy-Duty

Features

  • Daily ice output: 24 pounds of ice daily
  • Weight: 47 pounds
  • Dimensions: 17.5 x 13.4 x 16.5 inches

Frigidaire has a dominant presence in the kitchen appliance vertical, so how does this countertop ice maker perform?

The first thing that strikes you is the matte black design. This manages to work well with both minimalist and more traditional design schemes.

The compact and low-slung design means this ice maker is a neat choice for apartments, small kitchens, dorm rooms, boats, and RVs. The freestanding design gives you limitless possibilities with placement. All you’ll need is an electrical outlet. No water supply is necessary.

Setting things up is super-simple. Fill the machine up with water and wait for 15 minutes. You’re then ready to get going and icing your drinks without spending a fortune at the store or overworking your kitchen freezer.

Don’t let those slender dimensions fool you, though. In terms of output, you could generate up to 26 pounds of ice every 24 hours, more than enough for most reasonable purposes. This ice is produced quite quickly, too. Batches take from 7 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes you opt for.

When you’re finished making ice, just remove the drain plug and the machine will quickly and easily empty itself.

As a final kicker, despite being one of the cheapest portable ice makers out there, you won’t need to sacrifice performance or build quality to grab yourself a bargain.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Spacious reservoir
  • Straightforward set-up
  • Responsive controls
  • Ice comes out quite wet

II. FAQs

1) What’s the best ice to use if I drink seltzer and soda?

Clear ice works best for this purpose. It won’t cause too much effervescence or fizziness. This is achieved since this type of ice is smoother. With fewer crevices, there is less opportunity for air pockets to develop.

2) How should I clean my ice maker?

Some ice makers come with automatic cleaning cycles, although these are in the minority. Luckily, cleaning an ice machine couldn’t be much easier. Ensure you drain all the excess water after each use. If you leave water inside, this will encourage the formation of mildew. Always wipe down the outside of the chassis using some warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Not only will this get rid of any debris that’s accumulating, but it will also safeguard against scaling.

3) Should I use filtered water to make ice cubes?

If you use high quality water, you’ll generate high quality ice cubes. If you fail to use filtered water when you’re making ice, the cubes will come out cloudy, and they will also feel slightly soft. This is due to the build-up of minerals in faucet water.

4) Is there an ideal room temperature when operating a portable ice maker?

You should ideally use your portable ice maker in a temperature range of 50F to 75F.

5) What is nugget ice?

Nugget ice cubes were popularized by fast food chain Sonic. These cubes are small and chewable and are one of the most popular types of ice cubes available today. Although the majority of nugget ice makers are quite large and bulky, we review a couple of portable models today that excel producing great nugget ice.

6) Are portable ice makers capable of being used commercially?

Some of the more able machines on our shortlist could possibly serve a turn in a small commercial outlet. If you want ice on demand for a bar or restaurant, though, you’re likely to find the output of most portable models pretty underwhelming.

7) Will I need a dedicated water line for a portable ice maker?

No, this is actually one of their key selling points and makes these compact machines incredibly versatile. You simply refill the water reservoir manually to avoid needing a permanent hook-up. The trade-off, of course, is that you’ll need to keep on topping the ice maker up, but most reservoirs give you enough capacity to keep running all day, making this a non-issue.

8) Will I need a drain line for my portable ice maker?

No. Portable units come with a plug near the bottom of the water reservoir.

9) Does a portable ice maker keep my ice cold?

It doesn’t, no. These machines lack the insulation to keep ice frozen, so use the ice or decant it into the freezer once the batch is made.

10) Do I need a special plug or a special power supply for a portable ice machine?

Again, no. You use a standard 3-prong plug and a 110/120-volt electrical outlet.


III. Conclusion

Buying the best portable ice maker needn’t take you too much time or trouble, and the process should be further speeded up if you bear today’s buying tips in mind.

Make sure any ice maker on your shortlist is small enough to fit where you want it placed without eating up the whole counter. Beyond this, as long as ice cube output and speed meet your requirements, you should have no problem at all finding the right mini ice maker the easy way.

We have a very busy content calendar for the rest of the summer here at Madiba, so make certain you bookmark our blog before you head off, and be sure to pop back soon!

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