6 Best Countertop Portable Ice Makers Of 2023
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Investing in a home ice maker proves invaluable, particularly for those residing where temperatures often soar or if your abode frequently serves as the hub for social gatherings. Astonishingly, home-use ice makers have emerged as one of the most sought-after and purchased appliances globally.
This independent guide, curated meticulously after exhaustive (and exhausting) in-home testing, presents you with the crème de la crème of portable countertop ice makers for the year 2023, apt for both indoor and outdoor utilization. These models are impressively versatile, offering easy portability on your kitchen countertop or in a vehicle like an RV or camper van. They are the ultimate solutions for the sweltering summer months.
Utilize the table of contents provided to navigate the list effortlessly, or continue reading for deeper insights into the selection of the top countertop portable ice makers, along with practical tips and advice and a curated selection of standout ice machines.
What is an ice maker?
An ice maker, colloquially known as an ice generator or ice machine, is a specialized appliance engineered for ice production. It’s a practical tool that has become an integral part of our daily lives, providing an efficient, automated process to generate ice on demand.
Ice makers come in various forms and sizes, serving diverse needs. Inside your freezer, you may find a built-in ice maker, quietly producing cubes for your daily needs. However, these built-in variants are often limited by capacity and the shape of the ice they produce.
On the other hand, standalone ice makers, which can be portable or under-counter models, offer enhanced flexibility and functionality. Portable ice makers, as their name suggests, are compact and mobile. They can comfortably perch on your countertop, readily producing ice for refreshments, whether it’s a weekend party, a family gathering, or a simple mid-summer afternoon. With their quick ice production cycle and easy operation, these portable models are an excellent investment for households and small businesses.
For a more comprehensive understanding, here is a link to a useful resource that delves into automatic ice makers’ energy costs and efficiency.
While the convenience of an ice maker is unquestionable, choosing the right one depends on your specific requirements. From size and capacity to speed and ice shape, several factors influence the choice of an ice maker. For further information, continue reading to learn more about choosing the right ice maker for your needs.
How does a portable ice maker work?
A portable ice maker is an innovative appliance that operates on a simple yet effective mechanism. To comprehend its functioning, let’s break down the process.
Firstly, water must be added to the machine’s reservoir, which largely depends on the machine’s capacity and the amount of ice you wish to produce. Most portable ice makers do not need a dedicated water line, giving them the advantage of portability.
The freezing process begins almost instantly once the machine is filled with water and switched on. The unit contains a refrigeration system that comprises a compressor, a condenser, an expansion valve, and an evaporator, much like any other cooling device. This system quickly lowers the temperature of the water, turning it into ice.
An interesting aspect of these ice makers lies in their ice formation process. The machine has metal pegs immersed in the water, which get extremely cold due to the refrigeration system. These pegs, called evaporators, enable the water to freeze around them in layers, eventually forming ice cubes or bullets, depending on the shape of the evaporator.
The unique feature of most countertop or portable ice makers is that they lack the insulation needed to maintain freezing temperatures for extended periods. In other words, they excel in producing ice but are not designed to store it. If the ice remains unused and melts, the water is funneled back into the reservoir.
This recycling mechanism ensures no water is wasted; the machine will utilize the melted ice to commence a new ice production cycle. This process is automatic and continues until the ice basket is full or the water reservoir is empty.
What is the best ice maker to buy?
Choosing the best ice maker to purchase can be a complex task, given the myriad of options available on the market. This section aims to aid you in making an informed decision, drawing on comprehensive and independent testing of various models. I’ve considered several crucial factors in our evaluation, including each product’s quality, efficiency, and durability. Pricing, an equally important aspect, is considered, ensuring a broad range of budget considerations are addressed. I’ve also assessed the availability of the ice makers to guarantee that our top picks are easily accessible for purchase. Navigate through this section to discover the ice maker that aligns seamlessly with your needs and preferences while ensuring the best value for your investment.
1. FRIGIDAIRE EFIC189-Silver Compact Ice Maker
FRIGIDAIRE EFIC189 is a state-of-the-art ice maker featuring a modern design that effortlessly marries style with practicality. One of its standout elements is a large transparent window, allowing you a clear view of the ice-making process and the ice level produced at any given moment.
Despite its compact dimensions of 9.5 inches in width, 14.1 inches in depth, and 12.9 inches in height, it offers a wide range of applications. It’s perfectly designed to perch on your countertop without monopolizing space, and its portability further enhances its functionality, allowing for easy relocation and utilization at your convenience.
A testament to efficiency, this ice maker churns out 9 ice cubes per cycle, each lasting a swift 5-6 minutes. Within 24 hours, the unit can produce an impressive total of 26 lbs of ice. Moreover, it’s engineered to be environmentally conscious; any unused ice that melts is recycled by the machine, transforming the water into a fresh batch of ice, guaranteeing a continuous supply of fresh ice at any given moment.
Its intelligent functionality further characterizes this model. It is equipped with indicator lights that notify you when the ice basket is full and needs to be emptied or when the water level is low, prompting you to refill the reservoir. This ensures the machine’s optimum operation without constant monitoring.
Lastly, this model boasts a large capacity, a feature that sets it apart from many of its competitors. With a 2.3qt water reservoir, it can produce a substantial volume of ice per batch. In addition, the sizeable bin can store up to 1.5lbs of ice at a time, making it a reliable companion for those summer gatherings or any occasion that calls for a steady supply of chilled drinks.
2. Igloo ICEB26RR Automatic Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker Machine
The Igloo ICEB26RR is a portable ice maker embodying a blend of convenience and style. Its compact design, coupled with a striking retro metallic red finish, adds a touch of class to your countertop while delivering a reliable ice-making service whenever and wherever you require it.
A major highlight of this unit is its generous ice-making capacity. Ensure the water tank is full, and this powerhouse will produce up to 26 pounds of ice within 24 hours, guaranteeing a steady supply to keep your beverages refreshingly cold throughout the day.
This ice maker is thoughtfully designed to hold up to 3 quarts of water in its tank, providing ample supply for ice production. Furthermore, the unit’s ice basket can store up to 2 pounds of ice at a time, ensuring you always have a batch of fresh ice.
In addition to its significant capacity, the unit excels in speed. It can create 9 small or large cylinder-shaped ice cubes in as little as 7 minutes, ensuring a rapid response to your ice requirements, a feature especially beneficial when hosting gatherings or events.
Simplicity and efficiency are woven into the fabric of this ice maker, as demonstrated by its easy-to-understand control panel. Illuminated with LED lights for easy visibility, the electronic control panel provides critical notifications, such as when to add water or when the ice basket is full. Moreover, it allows you to control the size of the ice cubes, offering the flexibility to cater to different needs and preferences.
3. GooingTop Ice Maker Countertop
The GooingTop Countertop Ice Maker is a device that harmonizes portability with high performance. This compact and lightweight ice maker, measuring 0.791.170.93Ft and weighing just 19LB, is perfect for various settings, be it a bar, tea shop, KTV, kitchen, or office. Its portable design ensures that refreshing ice is always within your reach, enhancing your experiences wherever possible.
Notably, this mini freezer boasts a self-cleaning function, underscoring its commitment to hygiene and ease of maintenance. The ice maker enters the self-cleaning mode by simply pressing the power button for 3-5 seconds, working autonomously to purge harmful substances. This feature simplifies upkeep and promotes healthy usage, giving you peace of mind.
Quiet and efficient ice-making is another highlight of this model. Equipped with a quiet cooling system, it cultivates a peaceful, cool environment while demonstrating high efficiency in ice production. In just 5-8 minutes, the machine can produce 9 pieces of ice cubes. The operation is user-friendly, requiring you to add water to the inner tank, press the ON button, select the ice size, and then wait a few minutes for your ice cubes to be ready.
Adding to its versatility, the countertop ice maker allows you to select from two sizes of ice cubes – small and large, catering to different beverage and culinary needs. Furthermore, it produces round, smooth, bullet-shaped ice, ensuring a comfortable and safe handling experience.
4. hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine
hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine is a powerhouse that offers you refreshing, chewable, pill-shaped ice to keep your drinks delightfully chilled. This unit is just the tonic for your ice-making needs, a perfect companion for any occasion.
With its robust performance, this machine has the capacity to produce up to 26 pounds of ice per day. Its great 2.2-liter water reservoir can hold up to 1.5 pounds of ice at a time, making it ideal for entertaining guests with chilled cocktails, mocktails, and more. To maximize ice usage, we recommend using the ice shortly after production or storing the surplus in your freezer to prevent waste.
Despite its impressive capabilities, the hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker boasts a compact and modern design that would enhance any kitchen countertop. Measuring a mere 9.5 x 12.9 x 14 inches, this appliance utilizes an energy-efficient compressor for cooling, ensuring it performs powerfully while taking up minimal space.
Speed is another strong suit of this ice maker, producing small to medium-sized ice cubes in 8 to 10 minutes. Equipped with a smart warning system, lights activate when the ice basket is full or when the water needs refilling. The package also includes a handy scoop for convenient serving.
In terms of smart design, this unit features an automatic shut-off mechanism for safety and efficiency. It’s also engineered with a unique reservoir that reuses water from the melted ice to produce even more ice, reducing waste and optimizing its performance. The hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine truly embodies a blend of practicality, efficiency, and sophistication.
5. Freezimer Ice Makers Countertop
The Freezimer Countertop Ice Maker us a dependable device with a robust ice-making capacity of 33 pounds per day to cater to your daily needs. Its ample ice basket can conveniently store up to 3.3 pounds or 120 pieces of ice at any time. Considering an average coffee cup may require 5-10 ice cubes, this machine, equipped with a 2.8L water tank, can comfortably satisfy 185-370 cups per day.
This model offers versatility with its two selectable ice cube sizes. The Freezimer ice maker produces popular bullet-shaped ice cubes that are resistant to easy melting or sticking together. Choose from small or large sizes, depending on your needs – an excellent feature for barbecues, home parties, basement bars, or coffee shops.
Experience speed and efficiency with this ice maker as it produces 9 bullet-shaped ice cubes in 7-10 minutes. Thanks to its powerful compressor, the refrigeration system is stable and efficient, allowing you to enjoy fresh, chilled wine, whisky, beer, juice, or soda all day!
Maintenance is a breeze with this model’s automatic cleaning function. This feature significantly simplifies your daily upkeep tasks. To initiate the cleaning process, add water to the reservoir, select the “Clean” mode, and the machine will start its auto-cleaning function. After cleaning, remove the drain plug at the bottom of the ice machine to drain the water.
The Freezimer Ice Maker boasts advanced infrared sensor technology, ensuring optimal operation. Should the machine run out of water or the ice basket reach its maximum capacity, it will cease operation and alert you with a red indicator light.
6. Igloo ICEB26HNAQ Ice Maker
The Igloo Electric Countertop Ice Maker Machine is a compact and portable solution that ensures you’ll never have to deal with an ice shortage again. This appliance requires no installation, making it an ideal companion for various settings – from your kitchen countertop to the beach, camping trips, or even park picnics.
This ice maker doesn’t compromise on its ice production capacity. Equipped with a 3-quart water tank, it can produce 26 pounds of ice within 24 hours. It can store up to 2 pounds of ice at a time and includes a removable basket for added convenience. Its large clear lid provides easy viewing, allowing you to monitor the ice-making process.
If you’re in need of ice rapidly, the Igloo ice maker has your back. It can produce 9 small or large cylinder-shaped ice cubes in as little as 7 minutes, ensuring you’re always ready to serve chilled beverages.
This appliance features an easy-to-understand, LED-illuminated control panel and informs you about its operational status. It alerts you when you need to add water and when the ice basket is full, allowing you to choose the size of the ice cubes.
Cleaning up is no hassle with this model, thanks to including a removable drain plug. This design feature facilitates easy water draining and makes cleaning the unit a breeze, ensuring you can enjoy your ice maker with little to no mess.
Your Ideal Countertop Ice Maker Awaits
Investing in a portable countertop ice maker can be a significant game-changer, whether for your daily ice needs, entertaining guests, or those hot summer outdoor trips. These compact, efficient, and versatile machines can deliver fresh ice in minutes, adding comfort and luxury to your everyday life. We’ve shared our independent and home-tested list of top ice makers with you, factoring in their quality, price, and availability. Remember, the best ice maker for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. We hope this guide helps you make an informed decision and leads you to the ice maker that suits you best. Enjoy the convenience and never worry about running out of ice again!
Ice Maker: Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I clean an ice maker machine?
Cleaning your ice maker machine regularly is essential to ensure it runs efficiently and the ice it produces is safe for consumption. Here’s a basic step-by-step process you can follow:
- Unplug the Machine: The first step in cleaning your ice maker is to unplug it from the power source. This will ensure your safety during the cleaning process.
- Empty the Ice Maker: Remove any ice that is currently in the machine and discard it. Also, empty any water that might be in the reservoir.
- Prepare a Cleaning Solution: In a bucket, mix a solution of warm water and a mild detergent, or a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part vinegar. This will serve as your cleaning solution. Always check your ice maker’s manual as some manufacturers may suggest a specific type of cleaner.
- Clean the Interior: Using a soft cloth or sponge, scrub the interior surfaces of the machine with your cleaning solution. Make sure to clean the ice tray and the area around it.
- Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the machine’s interior thoroughly with warm water to remove any cleaning solution residue. This step prevents your ice from tasting like vinegar or soap.
- Clean the Exterior: Wipe down the machine’s exterior with a damp cloth. Dry it thoroughly to prevent water spots or streaks.
- Air Dry: Let the ice maker air dry before plugging it back in. This can help prevent any additional bacteria or mold from growing in the machine.
- Run a Cleaning Cycle: If your ice maker has a “clean” or “wash” cycle, run it to ensure all internal components are cleaned.
Remember, always consult your ice maker’s user manual before cleaning it. Different models might require different cleaning methods. It is also good practice to clean your ice maker every 3-6 months, depending on how frequently it’s used.
2. Whare the things to know before buying an ice maker?
Investing in a countertop ice maker can enhance your entertaining and cooling needs, but there are several factors to consider before purchasing.
- Understand Its Capabilities: Portable ice makers are designed to produce ice quickly but not to store it for extended periods. Some models can keep ice frozen for a few hours, but if long-term storage is required, consider investing in an under-the-counter machine instead.
- Measure Your Space: The physical dimensions of your ice maker should correspond to your available space. Whether you plan to use it at home, in an RV, or during camping trips, ensuring that the machine fits comfortably in your intended space is crucial.
- Consider Production Capacity: The ice production capacity of your machine should align with your needs. While you may not require continuous ice production throughout the day, knowing your machine’s output can help manage your expectations. Premium and larger models tend to produce more ice daily. Generally, a machine that can yield over 20 pounds of ice daily is a suitable choice for most households.
3. What’s the size of a countertop ice machine?
The size of a countertop ice machine can vary widely depending on the brand and model. However, most portable ice makers are designed to be compact enough to fit comfortably on a countertop or be easily transported for outdoor use.
On average, a typical countertop ice machine measures approximately 9 to 15 inches in width, 12 to 18 inches in depth, and 12 to 15 inches in height. These dimensions make them small enough to fit on most counters yet large enough to produce a substantial amount of ice.
It’s essential to verify the exact dimensions of a specific model before purchasing to ensure it fits into your designated space.
4. What type of ice do portable ice makers produce?
Portable ice makers primarily produce bullet-shaped ice cubes, which are hollow in the middle. The hollow structure allows beverages to cool down quickly, and the smooth, rounded edges make these ice pieces less likely to scratch glassware or hurt your hands.
The ice usually comes in two sizes: small and large. Some machines offer additional size options. It’s important to note that while these ice cubes are excellent for quickly chilling beverages, they do tend to melt faster than the more substantial, solid cubes produced by built-in or commercial ice makers.
A few high-end portable models might offer the ability to make other types of ice, such as square cubes or cylindrical pieces, but bullet-shaped ice is the standard for most portable countertop ice makers.
5. Can portable ice makers be used outside?
Portable ice makers can be used outdoors if access to a power source and the machine is kept out of direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. They are a popular choice for outdoor activities like camping, picnicking, tailgating, or boating, and they can also be a great addition to outdoor kitchens or barbecue areas.
However, remember that while they are designed for portability, they are not typically built for rugged outdoor conditions. Ensure your ice maker is placed on a stable, flat surface, protecting it from dirt, moisture, and sudden temperature changes.
Most importantly, never leave the ice maker outdoors in rain, snow, or other inclement weather as it could damage the electrical components of the machine and void the warranty. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.
6. Does an ice maker have a filter?
Most portable ice makers do not have built-in water filters and are designed for simplicity and portability. They generally assume you’re adding clean, potable water that is already safe for consumption.
However, some high-end models or larger commercial ice makers might have a built-in filtration system to ensure the quality and taste of the ice produced. Regardless of whether your ice maker has a filter, it’s always recommended to use filtered or bottled water for the best quality and taste of ice, and to reduce scale build-up inside the machine.
Suppose your ice maker does not have a built-in filter and you’re concerned about water quality. In that case, you might consider using a separate water filtration system before adding water to the ice maker or simply using pre-filtered or bottled water.
7. How long does it take to get ice with an ice maker?
The ice-making process commences almost instantly after powering up your ice maker and adding water. Typically, you can expect the first batch of ice to be ready in about 10 minutes. Once the machine is in full swing and the ice-making cycle has been established, subsequent batches may form slightly quicker. However, these timings can vary slightly based on the specific model of the ice maker and the environmental conditions in which it operates.