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If you’re someone who hosts a lot of parties where a large amount of ice is needed or you have a large family, investing in a portable, countertop icemaker is a good idea.
These devices offer many advantages – they’re easy to use and portable, allowing you to take the ice maker wherever you need, as long as you can find an electrical plug. They also work very quickly, producing ice in as little as 6 minutes. They’re perfect for when you need a lot of ice in a little time. Think barbecues, cocktail parties, birthdays or camping trips.
There are many popular countertop ice makers available on the market so if you’re having trouble deciding on the right unit for you, take a minute to read our buying guide.
We’ve reviewed 8 best countertop ice makers on the market right now and what makes them among the best. In the second section, we cover what to look for when buying a countertop ice maker.
Best Countertop Ice Maker Reviews
NewAir 50 lb. Portable Ice Maker
6 used from $157.46
- Removable ice bin
- Includes ice scoop for easy serving
- Self-cleaning function for minimal maintenance
- Makes up to 50 lbs of ice per day
- Simple, hassle-free installation
This portable ice maker from NewAir is a great choice whether you’re buying your first one, or replacing an existing machine. Although this ice maker is small, it’s extremely powerful, producing up to 50 lbs. of bullet-shaped ice per day. It’s also super fast since it makes up to 12 pieces of ice in 13 minutes, so you’ll have a ready supply of clear, restaurant-quality ice any time you want.
This ice maker offers three different sizes of ice for you to choose from and features an 18-hour timer that you can set to make ice according to your schedule. It also features indicator lights that will let you know when the ice basket is full or when water needs to be added.
What we liked about this machine is that it requires minimal maintenance since its self-cleaning function does most of the work. We were also impressed by the sleek, modern look of this machine and size, which is just the right size for any counter. All you have to do is plug it in, add the water and wait for up to 15 minutes to enjoy your drink with fresh ice.
Frigidaire EFIC115 Extra Large Ice Maker
8 used from $108.86
- Compressor cooling system
- No installation
- Convenient drain plug for quick and safe draining
- Ice shovel included
- Produces 9 cubes of ice every 7-15 minutes
This portable countertop ice maker from Frigidaire gives you ice in as little as 7 minutes. It’s smaller than our previous product, but still makes an impressive 26 lbs. of ice for a day. You have three size options to choose from: small, medium or large cubes. These are quite thick and won’t melt too quickly.
We loved the quietness and efficiency of this machine when producing ice, since it runs at 38 decibels. You’ll hardly be able to hear any noise come from it. It features an ice shovel, an interior with the capacity to store over 2 lbs. of ice, a digital control panel and a little window that’s see-through, allowing you to check ice levels without needing to open the lid.
The stylish, modern, stainless steel exterior of this machine makes it pleasant to the eyes and looks great on your countertop. It requires no installation, just plug it in, add the water and in less than 7 minutes, you’ll have enough ice for a crowd.
Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
- Automatic filling
- Elegant design
- Perfect size for any countertop
- Fast and powerful
- Produces 24 lbs of ice per day
- Bluetooth equipped for convenience
This icemaker from FirstBuild is a high-quality product and a great choice for if you prefer nugget ice. Nugget ice is a chewable, soft type of ice that’s used mostly for blended drinks such as frozen margaritas and smoothies. It’s also a great choice for blended cocktails since it keeps cooler for longer and doesn’t dilute the flavors.
The FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Maker produces 1 pound of nugget ice per hour and comes with a bin that holds up to 3 pounds. The bin is see-through, allowing you to see exactly how much you’ve got available and it’s easy to pull out when you need to scoop ice. The best thing about this countertop ice maker is that the bin senses when the ice level is low and automatically turns the device on, producing more ice. It also senses when the bin is full, so that it won’t overfill. This is a great feature, meaning the ice maker pretty much works on autopilot when switched on.
This is a smart icemaker since it’s equipped with Bluetooth technology, meaning that you can control it just by using your phone. All you have to do is download the FirstBuild app and set up a schedule or adjust it whenever you need. It’s as easy as that.
Hamilton Beach Countertop Icemaker
2 used from $131.16
- Stainless steel construction
- Makes 2 sizes of ice
- Compact design
The Hamilton Beach countertop icemaker is a wallet-friendly machine that’s affordable and easy to use. It produces 28 lbs. bullets of ice per day or 9 bullets every 7 minutes, giving you a constant supply for your party or barbecue. It’s compact, portable design makes it easy to take with you wherever you need to have a ready supply of ice, making it perfect for large parties or even outdoor gatherings.
This machine comes with an ice basket (2 lb. capacity) and an LED indicator that lights up to let you know when to empty the ice basket or add more water to the reservoir. The machine produces only 2 different sizes of ice bullets: small and large to suit your preference and it starts making them in as little as 8 minutes.
Although this model works quickly and efficiently, it’s not built to last quite as long as the other expensive models do. If you’re on a budget, however, it’s a great choice since it gives you good value for your money.
IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
1 used from $103.02
- Quick operation – ice in 6 minutes
- Energy efficient
- Portable and compact
- FDA approved
- Quiet operation
- Modern stainless steel finish
One of the first things you’re likely to notice about the IKICH Countertop Icemaker is its unique look and prominent LED display. The system produces up to 26 lbs. of ice per day and features a 2 liter water tank and ice basket with the capacity to hold up to 1.5 lbs. of ice. Although it comes with a large capacity, it’s one of the lightest, portable ice makers, weighing only 17.35 lbs.
This countertop ice maker is a fast worker, taking only 6 minutes to produce 9 pieces of fresh, chewable, bullet-shaped ice. The noise level of the machine is low when operational, running at 45 decibels so that it won’t cause any disturbance. It features a large, translucent window that makes it easy for you to see what’s going on inside and it offers 2 different sizes of ice bullets. The system has ice-full and add-water indicators, which indicate when it needs water or when the basket is full. However, unlike some other icemakers, the IKICH doesn’t automatically refill when water levels are low.
This machine is made of food-grade material and it doesn’t leave an odor in the ice that some other products tend to do. It’s constructed from ABS plastic that’s highly durable and easy to clean.
HomeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
2 used from $100.00
- ETL certified
- Energy efficient
- Fast production
- Features 2 ice sizes
The hOmeLabs portable electric ice maker machine has a high capacity, as it produces eight-cube batches of bullet-shaped ice in 6 minutes, amounting to 1 lb of ice per hour. It offers two sizes of ice, the small size fitting easily through the openings of water bottles and the medium size perfect for mixed drinks.
We liked the smart design of this icemaker since it includes a water reservoir that sits just below the ice basket and reuses the water from melted ice to make more. This reduces refilling requirements and it also solves the problem of water collecting from melting ice.
The icemaker comes with a storage bin that can hold up to 1.5 lbs of ice which is sufficient for about 6-8 drinks. Once it’s full, the machine automatically turns itself off to prevent the ice from overflowing.
This countertop ice maker operates with low noise causing minimal disturbance and features a high-speed exhaust fan that carries away the heat from its coils, making it perfect for indoor use. Overall, it’s an affordable and user-friendly product.
Sentern Portable Countertop Clear Ice Maker
- Fast chilling
- Produces harder and denser ice
- 4 lbs ice bucket
- Chic and compact design
The Sentern Portable Countertop Clear Ice Maker is a highly impressive product that makes up to 48 lbs. of ice each day, holding nearly 2.4 lbs. for easy retrieval. This machine differs slightly from the other icemakers on our list since it only produces cubes and not bullet shaped ice.
You have three options when it comes to the size of the cubes including small, medium or large by adjusting the cooling time. According to the size you choose, the first batch of ice cubes will be ready in about 15 minutes.
What we liked about this machine was the clear, dense ice cubes it produces since they melt slowly and keep your drinks cold for longer without diluting them. Some handy features this machine offers include a see-through window which allows you to monitor the ice production, a stain-resistant exterior and a digital control panel that makes programming easier.
The only downside to this machine that we noticed is that the ice drops in one big block and you have to break it up into individual cubes yourself, which can be a little inconvenient. Other than that, it’s an excellent product.
Magic Chef 27-Lb Portable Red Countertop Ice Maker
- Makes 9 cubes per cycle
- Makes 27 lbs. of ice in 24 hours
- Easy maintenance
- Offers 2 sizes of ice cubes
The last product on our list is the Portable Red Countertop Ice Maker from Magic Chef that makes up to 27 lbs. of ice per day. This machine is compact and lightweight and is small enough to comfortably fit on your kitchen countertop or take with you to wherever the party is.
The Magic Chef countertop icemaker produces ice in 2 sizes in only 7 minutes, conveniently holding up to 1.5 lbs. of ice at a time in its bucket. It also features a digital control panel that indicates when the bin needs to be emptied or when it needs more water to continue ice production.
This unit is made from plastic and requires no installation at all. You simply have to put in the water and let it do its work. It comes with an exterior drain for cleaning, a see-through window and an ice scoop to take the ice out of the storage bin and into your drinks. Its attractive design makes it a popular choice among many people along with its excellent performance and ease of use.
How to Choose an Ice Maker
Finding the right ice maker can be tough especially with the numerous products out there on the market. There are a few factors you should pay close attention to when you’re choosing to make sure that you get a high-quality product that’s worth your money. Here’s what to look out for when selecting your own ice maker.
- The Size
Ice makers are available in many sizes from small models that fit on your countertop to those that take up a significant amount of floor space. Think about what size you need for your home, based on your ice requirements.
Perhaps you need a small model that you can keep on your kitchen counter or you want a larger machine that can stay in the garage, operating all the time.
You’ll also want to consider the size of the ice that’s produced. Some portable ice makers make three, or more, sizes of ice whereas others make only two sizes. If you want more versatility, go for a model that offers all three sizes since this would be more convenient.
- The Speed
The ideal speed of your ice maker depends on whether you prefer making a lot of ice ahead of your party or you want an uninterrupted supply flowing continuously. Some machines produce the first ice quickly whereas other take a little more time. The timing can range from a little as 6 minutes to as long as 15 minutes or more.
If you haven’t got enough storage space for the ice, it’s a wise choice to choose a unit that has the ability to keep up with the hourly demand.
- Storage Capacity
If your ice maker produces a large amount of ice quickly but doesn’t have the capacity to hold much, you’ll need to keep removing and storing the ice somewhere else.
This is fine if you’re planning ahead and checking the machine regularly isn’t a problem. But it can become a pain very quickly.
Instead, opting for a machine with a larger storage capacity might be a better choice since it’ll hold enough ice and you won’t need to look for other storage options.
- Ice Shape
The following are the most common shapes of ice that’s produced by countertop ice makers.
- Cube shaped ice (or cube ice) – this type of ice is the regular ice we get from standard ice trays. It’s perfect for mixed drinks and soft drinks. They have less surface area, causing them to melt slowly without affecting the flavor of your drinks too much.
- Nugget ice – this type of ice is an ideal choice for soft, blended and mixed drinks. It’s soft and easy to break down when chewed. However, because this ice is soft, it can quickly melt and water down your drink so it’s not the best choice if you prefer ice that lasts long. Nugget ice makers are generally more energy efficient than other types so if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, this could be the right one for you.
- Bullet-shaped ice (or pearl ice) – this ice is shaped like a little bullet that’s hollow in the middle and works great for soft drinks, iced tea and margaritas. Because it’s hollow in the middle, it melts into your drink faster than cube or crescent ice and unlike most other ice cubes that are transparent, this type tends to be white throughout or cloudy.
Pros and Cons of Countertop Ice Makers
Countertop ice makers gives you the ice you need for a range of different scenarios. But as with all things, there are two sides to them. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of these handy devices.
Countertop Ice Maker Pros:
- Portable – This is probably the biggest draw of countertop ice makers. These machines can be taken anywhere, provided there’s an electrical outlet. They’re made to be carried around, which is why they’re lightweight. If you have an outdoors event, like a backyard wedding, a picnic in the park or a festival outdoors.
- No installation – Unlike a fridge with an in-built icemaker, which requires plumbing and a water line, countertop ice makers require no installation. They don’t need a professional to make pipe connections, water lines and drains. All this device requires is electricity and manual filling.
- Compact – These devices are made to sit on a countertop, much like a rice cooker or a blender. As such, they’re compact and easily fits on any countertop or small space.
- Quick operation – Countertop ice makers work quickly, with most models producing ice in around 6-8 minutes. The exact capacity will depend on the model you choose but most produce plenty ice as required.
- Variety – Ice comes in a range of shapes and sizes. High quality countertop ice makers offer 2 or more ice types, allowing you to make different types of drinks. And as you can easily switch between settings, it only takes the push of a button to get the ice you want.
Countertop Ice Maker Cons:
- Small capacity – Some countertop ice makers produce around 50 lbs. of ice per day, with the average being around 30 lbs. This is a lot of ice for a large family and a party of people but may not be sufficient for large groups. In this case, you might need to buy ice or to have two or more ice makers on hand.
- Manual Refilling – Almost all countertop ice makers require you to refill them, which can be annoying. However, most models today indicate when you need to refill and when the ice basket is full. Some stop production when the basket is full, while others will reuse the water from any melted ice in the basket to make another batch.
The Bottom Line
Countertop ice makers are a great option if you don’t have a fridge with an in-built icemaker. What makes it even better than a fridge is its portability, which lets you move the ice making exactly where it’s needed. It saves you money on purchasing ice and is extremely handy in hot weather conditions.
When searching for a good quality countertop ice maker, keep in mind the durability and construction of the machine. Some machines may be more affordable than others, but if they’re made of cheap material, they won’t last very long. In this case going for an expensive but higher quality option is a better choice in the long term. The unit should also be lightweight, portable and shouldn’t take up a lot of space on your kitchen counter.