It’s been a hot summer, and portable ice makers can be a welcome small kitchen appliance for this type of weather. They are a convenient way to make a lot of ice, perfect for slushies, mixed drinks, and all your carbonated beverages, to help you stay cool all summer. No more rushing to the store to buy ice!
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular brands of portable ice makers available on the market today, that are currently in stock. These brands do not require an external water line. Simply plug in, add water, and press On.
The Crownful Ice Maker Machine is a compact and stylish model that looks great sitting on a wet bar. It takes up very little space on your counter top or table. You can use it indoors or outdoors for a party. It has an ultra-quiet cooling system that requires very little energy.
It produces bullet-shaped ice cubes quickly, about nine ice cubes in 10 minutes. The ice cubes are rather large, measuring 1.2 x 0.9 inches. In a 24 hour period, it can produce about 26 pounds of ice. Once the ice cubes are made, you should immediately use them or transfer them to your freezer, as this ice maker is not suitable for storing ice.
It works with just the touch of a button and will tell you when the ice is ready. For added convenience, it will also let you know if it needs more water, or if it needs to be cleaned.
It has a handy window through which you can watch your ice being formed. This means you never have to open the lid while the device is working, and this helps maintain the temperature inside, for fresh, high quality ice cubes.
It comes with a scoop and removable ice basket which can hold up to 80 ice cubes.
This device is very easy to clean. Simply long press the On/Off switch and it will enter cleaning mode. The self-cleaning process takes seven minutes. Afterwards, unplug the power supply, open the water plug, drain the water tank, and dry out the machine on the inside with a towel.
Some notes about this product: when you first receive it, let it stand upright for two to four hours before using it. Also, avoid using distilled water, pure water with low TDS, warm water, or alkaline water (high pH). Instead, use running water, mineral water, or conventional pure water. Do not tilt this device excessively when using it or transporting it – if you do, let it stand for another two hours before using it again. Also, make sure not to leave water in the device when you are not using it.
One drawback is the ice cubes that are produced by this device are not completely solid, and they can refreeze together. Also, some users have mentioned the taste of the ice cubes is ‘off.’
- Stylish and compact
- Makes nine bullet-shaped ice cubes in 10 minutes
- Can make 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours
- Works with just a touch of a button
- Tells you if ice is ready, if it needs more water, or if it needs cleaning
- Easy to clean, has self-cleaning mode
- Ice cubes are not completely solid, and can refreeze together
- Some users find the ice cubes have an ‘off’ taste
The GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker is the only ice maker that makes ‘nugget’ ice cubes (also known as pebble ice), which have a very popular soft, fluffy, flaky, easy to chew consistency. These ice cubes look like tiny snowballs and they take on the flavor of the drink you’re having. They’re great for making slushies. Nugget ice is usually a challenge to make, and so the Opal ice maker has developed a bit of a cult following.
This device will make ice cubes in about 20 minutes. After that, it makes one pound of ice per hour. It can produce 24 pounds of ice in a day, and it holds up to three pounds of ice at a time. It won’t overfill, either, as it has a sensor to avoid that. Just make sure to empty the ice so you can make more.
It is elegant looking and will fit into any kitchen décor with its timeless stainless steel exterior. It has gray accents and LED lighting. It measures 15. 5 x 14.25 x 17. 2 inches, making it the perfect size to fit on your counter top.
It is high tech, too. The Opal ice maker is equipped with Bluetooth, so you can use your phone to schedule it to start making your ice cubes. Simply download the free GO Profile Opal app, first.
This ice maker comes with a scoop, ice bin, and a drip tray.
It has a built in cleaning function, for easy maintenance.
One drawback is the flaky consistency of the ice cubes will make carbonated drinks go flat quickly. Also, some users have found it makes a high pitched squeal after a while.
- Only ice maker that makes nugget ice cubes (flaky, snowball-like consistency)
- Makes ice cubes in 20 minutes, and thereafter about one pound of ice cubes per hour
- Can produce 24 pounds of ice in a day
- Has sensor to avoid overfilling
- Equipped with Bluetooth so you can schedule it to make ice cubes
- Portable, does not require water hookup
- Flaky consistency of ice cubes makes carbonated drinks go flat quickly
- After a while it may make a high pitched squeal
The Igloo Automatic Portable Ice Maker can make a lot of bullet-shaped ice cubes, about nine ice cubes in seven minutes, for a total of 26 pounds of ice over 24 hours. Just keep the two quart water tank filled and keep the ice cubes coming for cold drinks all day.
It has an electronic control panel that tells you when to add water and when the ice basket is full. The control panel also allows you to choose the size of the ice cubes.
This ice maker is compact in size, at 12.2 x 9.06 x 12.8 inches, and looks great on a counter top. It comes in various colors: black, white, stainless steel, or aqua. It is illuminated with LED lights and has a large clear viewing window in the lid so you can watch as your ice cubes are made.
It makes very little noise, just a little hum.
This ice maker has a handy ice scoop and basket. The removable basket holds 1.25 pounds of ice at one time, so there is lots of storage for ice cubes to keep your drinks cool. It also has a removable plug at the bottom so you can drain water when you are not using the device.
It is easy to transport and has a useful carry handle for added convenience. It is also easy and effortless to clean, with a dedicated, five cycle, self-cleaning system. This creates cleaner ice every time.
Bigger sizes are available if you need a lot of ice.
Hardly any users have complained about this machine; however, one issue is if you do have a problem, it is very difficult to return this product.
- Makes nine bullet-shaped ice cubes in seven minutes, 26 pounds of ice over 24 hours
- Control panel tells you when to add water and when the ice basket is full
- Looks great on a counter top, comes in various colors with LED lights
- Large clear viewing window
- Easy to transport with carry handle
- Five cycle self-cleaning system
- Difficult to return if you need to do this
The ‘waterfall-style’ Luma Comfort Portable Clear Ice Maker makes clear ice cubes, which are the best for carbonated drinks. Clear ice cubes do not make carbonated drinks go flat as quickly as cloudy ice does. As a result, your fizzy drinks will stay fresh and bubbly for longer.
Clear ice cubes are smoother and have fewer crevices from air pockets where bubbles can form, which causes less fizzing. Clear ice cubes are also nicer looking in a drink. They are restaurant quality and tend to melt five times slower than cloudy ice. Clear ice cube makers tend to make smaller ice cubes than bullet-style machines.
Cloudy ice makers, on the other hand, not only make carbonated drinks go flat faster, but without the bubbles, the drinks can taste too sweet.
This stainless steel ice maker takes about 25 minutes to make a batch of ice, and sometimes longer if the temperature outside is hot. However, its powerful compressor makes a lot of ice at one time, about 28 pounds of ice in a 24 hour period, which is more than the bullet-style models. Just make sure to transfer the ice to your freezer if you are not using it right away.
Note that the ice comes out in sheets with seams dividing up the ice cubes. You may have to use the included plastic scoop to break apart the cubes.
It has a compact design, measuring 11.3 x 14.8 x 14.1 inches, which makes it convenient for using in small kitchens, RVs, boats and other tiny spots. It is simple and easy to use. Just plug it in, add water, and wait a few minutes for the ice cubes to form.
One drawback is, because clear ice cube makers like this one are bigger than bullet-style machines, they are more expensive. Also, they take longer to make a batch of ice compared to bullet-style models. Some users have mentioned the size of the ice varies – sometimes it is made in thin pieces and other times big chunks.
- Simple and easy to use
- Makes clear ice cubes, which are best for carbonated drinks
- Clear ice cubes keep drinks fizzy and look nicer than cloudy ice cubes
- Makes 28 pounds of ice cubes in 24 hours
- Ice comes out in sheets with seams dividing the cubes that can be broken apart
- Compact design makes it convenient in small spaces
- Takes longer to make ice compared to bullet-style models
- Size of ice cubes can vary
What to look for in a portable ice maker
Now that you have seen some of the most popular brands on the market today, here are a few tips on what to look for when shopping for a portable ice maker.
Output and capacity
Do you host a lot of parties or do you just need the ice maker for you and your immediate family? If you frequently throw parties and get togethers, you may benefit from buying a larger capacity ice maker. Some make up to 35 pounds of ice per day. If you only need it for yourself, a smaller one that creates a much smaller amount might work better and would take up less space in your home.
Do you intend to travel around with your ice maker? If so, a smaller model that is lightweight and has handles might work best. If you do not need to move the ice maker around, a larger device might be more practical.
Type of ice cubes
Do you prefer carbonated beverages or slushies and pina coladas? An ice maker that makes clear ice works best for carbonated drinks, while crushed ice makers are suitable for making slushies. Some ice makers also give you the option of choosing the size of your ice cubes.
Do you need your ice cubes made quickly or do you have time to wait for them to be created? Some ice makers can churn out ice cubes in six minutes while others take 20 minutes or more, and these variations might affect the price.
Caring for your portable ice maker
To keep your ice maker working at its best, you should clean it out from time to time. Always drain out leftover water when you have finished using it, so that mildew does not grow inside. Many ice makers have a drain plug with which you can do this.
Wipe down the interior of the machine with warm water, dish soap, and a cloth.
Many models have a self-cleaning cycle and you can use it with a diluted cleaning solution (i.e., vinegar) to get rid of scale. You can also use bleach to sanitize it. Then run an ice making cycle to rinse away any leftover residue – make sure to throw out the ice that is made from this cycle.
Now that you have examined the most popular types of portable ice makers available on the market, and their pros and cons, and evaluated what to look for when searching for your own model, you are sure to find the one that is right for you.