Portable ice makers are a relatively affordable appliance. They typically start at around $100, and then vary in cost up to about $250 for higher-capacity models. All in all, that’s not a huge range in cost. A close look at the reviews suggests that going a step up from the most affordable models in cost typically means ending up with a machine that lasts longer. A lot of the cheaper ice machines start seem to have problems within the first year, especially when they are used heavily.

(Editor’s note: In October 2019, we learned that two of the ice makers we tested had been discontinued: Ivation and ThinkGizmos. We checked the manufacturers of the other portable ice makers we reviewed, and although the Frigidaire – EFIC108 is no longer available on the company’s website, many retailers are still selling it. For this update, we tested the Hamilton Beach – 86150, the company’s latest model. See our review below.)
Since countertop ice makers don’t keep the ice frozen, without this feature your risk wasting water that just gets thrown out if you don’t either transfer the ice to a freezer or use it quickly enough. And you’ll have more of a mess to deal with in between uses. Intelligent water use saves on water, saves you the trouble of having to refill the machine, and ensures you can use the product without running out and having to add new water as often.
Ivation is another affordable brand that sells portable ice makers that earn mixed reviews. Most customers praise their ice machines for working fast, being easy to use, and making lots of ice. A number of reviewers complain about how quickly they stop working though – some saying they only got a few weeks or months out of the machine. As with Igloo, you can save some money upfront, but may end up looking for a new portable ice maker soon if you go with Ivation.
Most manufacturers also make it clear in their product specs how long you can expect to wait until you’ll start to get ice. Most countertop ice machines will begin to produce ice somewhere in the range of 10-20 minutes after you first add water and turn them on. This will vary from model to model, so if speed is an important factor for you, then you will want to be sure to keep an eye out for this.
One thing that really lends itself to ease of use is an intelligent water use feature that filters and re-freezes water as the ice in the machine melts. You won’t have to re-fill the machine as often, or drain all the ice you don’t use in time. You will, of course, still need to clean the machine in between uses, but the feature saves on a few of the steps you’d have to deal with otherwise.
Built for commercial use, this freestanding ice maker is perfect for those who host sizable parties or barbecues, or need to fill large coolers for tailgating or other events. It can make up to 99 pounds of ice in 24 hours, and it can store 29 pounds of ice at one time, so you'll always have plenty on hand. The thickness of the ice and freezing time can be adjusted by pressing the plus or minus buttons on the control panel, so you can customize the size and frequency of ice depending on your needs. Despite its high output, it only measures 17.6 x 15.7 x 31.4 inches, so you can easily place it in your kitchen or pantry without it taking up too much space.
Built for commercial use, this freestanding ice maker is perfect for those who host sizable parties or barbecues, or need to fill large coolers for tailgating or other events. It can make up to 99 pounds of ice in 24 hours, and it can store 29 pounds of ice at one time, so you'll always have plenty on hand. The thickness of the ice and freezing time can be adjusted by pressing the plus or minus buttons on the control panel, so you can customize the size and frequency of ice depending on your needs. Despite its high output, it only measures 17.6 x 15.7 x 31.4 inches, so you can easily place it in your kitchen or pantry without it taking up too much space.
For the most part, portable ice makers will be on the small side, that is what makes them portable, but you will find some variety in how much space they take up and the amount of ice they can produce or store. Manufacturers provide will provide the dimensions and the capacity rate in their product specs, so it will be easy to confirm that you’re buying the size or capacity you need.
Danby’s portable ice makers get great reviews from customers that say the machines make ice fast, work like a charm, are easy to use, and last for a long time. A few reviewers mention the ice tasting funny at first, but one reviewer returned with an update to say that the taste wears off after a couple of batches of ice. A few customers mention being quick to recommend Danby to others. This is definitely one brand you can count on when it comes to buying a countertop ice maker.

Bryan is our cooking and kitchen expert, with more than 15 years of experience of cooking and testing kitchen products. When outside of the kitchen, he enjoys woodworking, photography, videography and figuring out how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. He thoroughly enjoys discovering the best, whether it’s ingredients or equipment, and finding products that can stand the rigors of daily use.


If you’re looking for a lightly-built and portable one, countertops cube maker is for you. Also, you could just easily bring these types on your camping or boating trips. But, if you’re seeking for a tool that could produce more cubes, then you need under-counter types, as they can handle large crowds’ needs, like in a party or family holidays. In case you will use it commercially —there is a commercial countertop ice maker for this purpose. They would produce a large number of cubes per batch and come with varying size options and shapes.
For a top-rated nugget ice maker that has plenty of convenient features, we recommend the FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Maker. It produces 1 pound of ice nuggets per hour, and the bin can hold up to 3 pounds. The clear bin lets you see how much ice you have available and it’s easy to pull forward when scooping ice (ice scoop included). The bin is also insulated to keep the ice cold, but as it inevitably melts the ice maker will sense the lower level of ice and automatically make more.
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