Which countertop ice maker is best?
Few situations are as frustrating as when the ice runs out at a party or picnic. Leaving the get-together to make an ice run is equally irritating, so why not spring for a countertop ice maker?
Ensuring you’ll always have fresh ice available, a quality countertop ice maker can be a worthwhile investment if you host gatherings frequently. The best ones, like the Newair Countertop Ice Maker, are compact, easy to use and produce large quantities of ice at an efficient rate.
What to know before you buy a countertop ice maker
How it works
Unlike commercial ice makers or those built into refrigerators, a countertop ice maker doesn’t require an external water line. All you need to do is pour water into the tank, turn it on and you’ll have a fresh batch of ice cubes within minutes. Some ice makers take 10-15 minutes to produce ice, but the best ones work quickly and can pump out a bucketful in 7-10 minutes.
Most countertop ice makers are compact, lightweight and excellent for traveling. They’re convenient for parties and outdoor get-togethers where accessing a refrigerator to retrieve ice constantly is impractical. However, more expensive models with compressor freezer technology are much more robust, so they’re not nearly as easy to move around.
Power and output
Portable countertop ice makers aren’t as powerful as commercial ice makers, so although one would suffice for a small-to-medium-sized gathering, it wouldn’t produce enough ice at an efficient rate for larger parties. Generally, the more powerful the appliance, the more ice it can produce per day. Most countertop ice makers can crank out roughly 25 pounds of ice a day, but more powerful models can make double that amount.
What to look for in a quality countertop ice maker
Timers and alerts
The best ice makers have convenient timers for starting and stopping ice production. Many models also have a function that automatically turns off the machine once the ice bucket is full, which helps conserve energy and prevents jamming.
Ice shape and size
The cheapest ice makers produce standard-looking ice cubes, but more expensive models can make ice in two or three sizes. Some machines can even make ice in different shapes, the most popular being cubes, cylinders, nuggets, gourmet and crescent. However, it’s worth noting this is a feature more commonly found in commercial ice machines.
Most countertop ice makers have a similarly compact and lightweight design, but you’ll notice some differences in style across models. Some have a modern design with a stainless-steel finish, while others have a sturdier build with a stripped-down aesthetic that makes them more suitable for traveling or outdoor use. Also, some models are available in several colors, some of the most popular being black, white, silver, blue and red.
How much you can expect to spend on a countertop ice maker
There are some affordable ice makers in the $100-$200 range, but for one that’s more powerful and can produce more ice, expect to pay up to $400.
Countertop ice maker FAQ
What’s better, a countertop ice maker or one built into a refrigerator?
A. A countertop ice maker is more efficient, and portability is one of its primary advantages. Ice makers built into refrigerators are sufficient for everyday use, but countertop ice makers are more convenient for gatherings.
Should I use filtered water in a countertop ice maker?
A. It’s advisable to use filtered water because countertop ice makers don’t have built-in filtration systems. Filtered ice cubes are healthier, safer and have a crystal-clear look. Ice cubes made from unfiltered tap water usually have a cloudy look on the inside from the mineral buildup.
What’s the best countertop ice maker to buy?
Top countertop ice maker
What you need to know: This ice maker is powerful, versatile, and ensures you always have clean, safe ice for consumption.
What you’ll love: It has a compact design and can produce up to 50 pounds of ice a day, with a new batch available every six minutes. It has a programmable 18-hour timer, three ice size options, an insulated interior and a convenient self-cleaning function.
What you should consider: Some customers reported that their units stopped working in less than two years, so it’s highly advisable to get an extended warranty.
Where to buy: Sold by Newair
Top countertop ice maker for the money
What you need to know: This portable ice maker has a light, compact design, works fast and has intuitive smart features.
What you’ll love: It produces up to 26 pounds of ice a day and works quickly as ice cubes are ready within 8-10 minutes. It reuses water from melted ice to make new cubes, has a quiet compressor and automatically shuts off when the bucket is full.
What you should consider: It continuously makes ice, and there isn’t a pause function to keep ice cool since the machine stops running altogether once the bucket is full.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Igloo Automatic Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker
What you need to know: This compact ice maker has a stylish, modern look and works efficiently to produce large quantities of ice.
What you’ll love: It can produce up to 26 pounds of ice a day, makes cylinder-shaped ice and has LED lights on an easy-to-use control panel that lets you select ice cube size. Also, it has a transparent lid and is available in black, aqua or white.
What you should consider: Fresh ice comes out very wet, making it stick together if placed in the freezer immediately after it’s produced.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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