This guide is all about portable ice makers and if buying one is the right choice for you, plus find the best countertop ice maker to fit your needs.
A countertop or portable ice maker is the right fit for convenience and ease of use. We live, work, and play in a variety of spaces which makes owning a portable ice maker a useful addition. But is one right for you and which one is the best countertop ice maker? Check out this guide to help you decide.
And be sure to find out if an undercounter refrigerator or an indoor smokeless grill is worth it too in my DIY skills series of articles. Maybe you’re looking to buy a water filter, or just want some general maintenance guides, I’ve got you covered with my other articles.
Jump right to the review of the Top 4 Best Countertop Ice Makers To Buy.
- Best Countertop Ice Makers:
- Are Countertop Ice Makers Worth It?
- What Is A Countertop Ice Maker?
- Differences Between Ice Makers
- What To Look For In A Countertop Ice Maker
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Top-Rated Countertop Ice Makers
Best Countertop Ice Makers:
There is a wide array of portable ice maker models to choose from. I decided to list the top-rated ice maker manufacturers as well as a few of their models in the table below. This is based on their build quality, positive reviews, and cool features.
GE Profile Opal Ice Maker – This is the one to buy for an all-around good quality, cool ice maker.
Best All-Around Ice Maker
GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker
- The best thing about the unit is the great nugget ice it makes.
- UV water treatment to prevent bacteria, and built-in cleaning function.
- Built-in bluetooth to monitor and schedule ice making.
- Up to 3x more ice with the side water tank.
- Has an LED display, is quiet, and stores up to 3lbs of ice.
See the table above for specs.
What’s Great About The GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker –
- Very chewable nugget ice, the type most people want to put in their drinks.
- Can produce 1 lb of ice every hour.
- It’s quiet, stainless steel, and efficient to run.
- It looks good and has a side tank to extend its ice-making capacity.
- It has a large holding bin to store up to 3lbs of ice, which is ideal for large gatherings.
- This is heavier than smaller portable ice makers. Its net weight is 38lbs which might be too much for some people to move frequently.
Great For Making Clear Ice:
Looking to make great clear ice for your drinks, this is it.
See the specs in the table above.
The Coolest Design And Look:
A great all-around unit that also looks really cool. Available in several colors.
If the GE Profile is too expensive, buy this one.
See the specs in the table above.
Good Nugget Style Ice Maker:
Frigidaire Chewable Nugget Ice Maker
Another good machine that makes nugget ice.
See the specs in the table above.
Are Countertop Ice Makers Worth It?
Yes, countertop ice makers are worth it as they combine portability with the added convenience of ice at your fingertips wherever you are. You can bring an ice maker with you in the kitchen, bar, outside patio, an RV, or anywhere you need.
You can also pair a portable ice maker with an undercounter refrigerator in your living space, game room, or outside patio. You’ll have access to a cool drink and ice right at your fingertips.
These portable countertop ice makers only require an electrical outlet to supply their power. Once plugged in, all you have to do is add water to the unit and wait anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes for a batch of ice to be made. See more about how to use a countertop ice maker.
The water you add can be tap water or bottled water, so you don’t have to install any plumbing for the ice maker itself.
So what are the pros and cons of a countertop ice maker?
5 Pros Of A Countertop Ice Maker:
- Convenience and Ease Of Access: Portability means convenience. Having a party or get-together, set up an ice maker nearby to ensure an ample supply of ice for your guests. Hanging out on the patio, bring the ice maker for your drinks. Going camping in the RV, don’t forget the ice maker. You get the point. Technology today opens up options never before available.
- Customizable Ice: Create ice in the shape and size you want and need for any occasion. Want round ice, square ice, or various shapes, just select it to delight your guests. It is just a fun option to have.
- Economical: Newer portable ice makers are more economical than other styles of ice makers. They have improved insulation and internal components which allow them to produce ice very quickly. Many ice makers use about 120 watts of electricity, if used about 2 hrs at a time or 200 hrs a year, that would cost roughly $2.88 USD. This all depends on how you use it and how often, but they are not expensive to use.
- Quick Operation: Portable countertop ice makers can make ice in as little as 6 minutes, with the average being between 10-15 minutes. This all depends on the size, shape, water temperature, and model of the machine among other things. And, they produce anywhere from 26lbs to 46lbs of ice a day.
- Inexpensive: The great thing about countertop ice makers is their price, you can buy one for around $100-$150 dollars. That is much more affordable than other options and they don’t require installation.
3 Cons Of A Countertop Ice Maker:
- May Not Be Needed: Your refrigerator ice maker might supply all the ice you need and you simply don’t need another appliance. As mentioned above, portable makers are more about options and convenience.
- May Not Store Ice: Most of these types of ice makers do not store the ice for long periods of time. They are designed to quickly make ice to be used fairly soon. Ice left in the machine will slowly melt back into the reservoir to be reused into making new ice, however, so there is no loss of water.
- May Be Noisy: Quickly making ice can mean some machines are louder than others. Be sure to buy a model that says it is low noise if you plan to use it in quiet environments.
You’ll need to decide if an ice maker is worth it for your needs but see the section below on what to look for in a countertop ice maker.
If your household uses a lot of ice and would like the portability of a small unit, you can’t go wrong with the convenience of a countertop ice maker.
What Is A Countertop Ice Maker?
A portable countertop ice maker is a self-contained small appliance whose only function is to make ice of different shapes and sizes quickly. Quickly making ice is the whole concept here. Bring this portable device with you wherever you need it and have ice ready to use within minutes.
They are small in size, many have carry handles, and they fit nicely on a countertop and do not take up much space. As noted above, they do not require a dedicated water supply line, you manually add water to these units.
So how do you use it?
Simply plug in the ice maker and add water. In 10 to 15 minutes a fresh batch of ice will be available. Models are available that create several different shapes of ice as well as different sizes of ice, you select your preference.
It is best practice to add filtered water to the ice maker and you should know that these are not intended to store frozen ice, that is where a dedicated built-in undercounter ice maker comes in.
What are the sizes and specs of a countertop ice maker?
- Countertop ice makers vary in size but generally are about 9.5″w x 12.5″d x 12.5″h.
- Common models make 26lbs of ice a day, and 9 pieces of ice in a batch that takes 6-7 minutes.
- Most small units create bullet-style ice, that is, small round-shaped ice.
- The water reservoir is about 2.1L which will make about 4.5lbs of ice.
- Look for stainless steel, well-insulated ice maker.
Differences Between Ice Makers
The two main types of ice makers most homeowners will consider are countertop and undercounter built-in ice makers. Your decision will be based on your needs and how you will use the machine.
A countertop portable ice maker is described above and is small, portable, and convenient to set up where you need it.
An undercounter built-in ice maker is a larger unit designed to be installed in cabinetry. It makes and stores ice but of course, is not portable. These units require access to a supply water line as well as an electrical outlet, some may need a drain line as well. This type of ice maker may be more appropriate for uses such as large parties or commercial purposes.
Is A Dedicated Ice Maker Worth The Space?
Think about what you need an ice maker for. Undercounter built-in units are more expensive, but provide larger quantities of ice and are capable of storing the ice for longer amounts of time.
Portable units provide the convenience of taking it with you and can be stored away when not needed.
Can you leave the ice in a countertop ice maker?
You cannot leave the ice in a countertop portable ice maker for long amounts of time. These units do not keep the ice frozen. As it melts, the water drips back into the reservoir to be re-made into ice again. A great idea is to empty the ice basket into a container to store in a freezer, that way the unit can make new ice and you have a large supply already on hand.
What To Look For In A Countertop Ice Maker
When shopping for a new countertop ice maker notice how similar many different makes look. This is because many use the same Chinese manufacturer. So when shopping for a new ice maker, look for distinguishing features.
I’ve listed below things to consider when deciding on which countertop ice maker is the right one for you. Check out the following tips:
- Size and Weight: Check the available space you have on your counter or various locations and make sure to select a unit that matches that size. See above for the specs across common models.
Also, note the weight of the machine if you intend to carry or move it frequently. Most weigh roughly the same, in the range of 15-20 lbs. My top pick, the GE Profile Opal, weighs in at a net of 38 pounds which is heavier than most but is worth it for the quality of the unit.
- Speed and Capacity: Making enough ice is critical, figure out your needs and match an ice maker to them. Small units produce about 26lbs of ice a day and roughly 9 pieces of ice with every batch. A batch can take as little as 6 minutes, with the average being between 10-15 minutes.
- Cost: You can buy a portable ice maker for about $100-$150 dollars. Some units have more features and may be a little more expensive though. If you intend to use an ice maker frequently, buying one that costs a little more and is of higher quality will be worth it as it should last longer.
- Features: Models of ice makers come in different colors so you can buy one to match your space. Also, the display may show you the status of the ice-making process, may indicate it is in self-cleaning mode, or tell you when the ice tray/bucket is full.
Decisions To Make: Size of Machine and ice-making capacity, style and cost, available features.
Need to check out Amazon for other ideas? See below.
These ice makers should last you for years just like other appliances. They use a compressor and fan to freeze water but they are fairly simple machines.
Portable countertop ice makers do not use a lot of electricity. They consume about 120 watts of electricity. At say, 200 hrs of usage time a year, the cost would be about $2.88 USD.
You can use tap water or bottled water if you prefer. It is best to go ahead and filter the water before pouring it into the ice maker.
Clean the unit about twice a month using a water and vinegar solution and just wipe down the inside. You can also buy an ice machine cleaning solution that you add to the water and run a cycle, then run another cycle of just plain water. Try not to let water sit in the machine for long periods of time, drain any leftover water.
Nugget ice makers are more expensive because of their more complex ice-making technology. The unit makes ice flakes, then compresses them down into a nice chewable ice cube.
Also Read: The Best Garage Storage Systems to organize your space.
Countertop and portable ice makers are worth it, just be sure to know what you want and the spaces you might want to set one up in, this guide lists the top 4 best countertop ice makers. I’ve covered several different styles and features across various models to illustrate the variety available for purchase. Anyone should be able to find the perfect ice maker to suit them.