According to our tester, the highlight of this ice maker is the fact that it makes “thick, robust ice that doesn't melt quickly.” Our reviewer also liked that it has an option for three different sizes of ice and is super quick. The downside? “It doesn't have a timer function and takes up a fair amount of space in small kitchens,” she explained. However, our tester said, “If you need a portable ice maker it won't disappoint, and though it's not as small as some on the market, the ice it makes is fantastic.”
“The ice maker makes great ice and it's very quiet,” our tester said. She also liked that it features a timer and a self-cleaning cycle. However, while it can hold a lot of ice, our reviewer pointed out that its bulkiness makes it difficult to store or transport. She concluded, “If space isn't a concern, or if you need an appliance that can produce a large amount of ice, it's a really great appliance.”
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.
“It's lightweight, truly portable, doesn't take up a ton of space on the counter, and looks nice,” our tester said of this ice maker. In terms of downsides, our reviewer noted, “The ice it makes isn't as thick as other models, and it has a tendency to melt faster while it sits in the basket, possibly because the machine isn't as well insulated.” The takeaway? “It's worth buying if you have a small space or an RV, or need to take the ice maker on trips,” she explained.
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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.
Before you buy a portable ice machine, this is an important distinction to understand. While they are designed to make ice quickly, this type of ice maker is not designed to keep its creation frozen for long periods of time. As the ice starts to melt, the water will trickle back into the reservoir and the device will start the process of refreezing it again. This process will continue until you consume all of the ice or empty all the water out of the machine.
There are two common types of countertop ice makers that you can choose from: both have the same primary purpose, which is to make cubes for your consumption — for fighting the heat during summer or party drinks. But they differ significantly in the capacity they could produce, the shape and size of ice. Also, their cost is another stand-out difference.
Portable ice makers offer convenience and will quickly save you money if you’ve been buying bags of ice from the grocery store with any regularity. They’re an affordable solution to an irritating problem. Find the right portable ice maker for you and ensure you’ll always have plenty of ice in your home, during parties, on camping trips, or at the office.
If size and weight aren’t particular concerns, then the main thing to think about is the capacity. You want a machine that can hold as much as ice as you need, unless you’re okay with bagging the ice to move it a freezer to store. An ice maker that’s too small won’t fully solve your problems, and one that’s too big will likely just waste energy and space. Carefully consider how much ice you think you will need before making your purchase, as this will help you narrow down which ice maker will be best for your unique situation.
Igloo sells a few portable ice makers that all garner mixed reviews. The majority of their units are still on the positive side, with many customers saying their ice machine is fast, quiet, and easy to use. However, other customers describe machines that stop working within a couple of months, along with with frustrating experiences getting the run-around from the company when they try to claim the warranty. The cost is low with Igloo, but you’re risking ending up with a product with a short life. If you decide to go with an Igloo ice maker, be sure to take a close look at what customers are saying about the model you are considering.
We transferred the ice to a container and let it melt completely. We then measured out the water and used its volume to calculate its weight (1 milliliter of water is equal to 1 gram). This gave us the total mass of the ice produced. So depending on the time it took to make and how much was made, we were able to calculate the amount of ice that each machine could produce in 24 hours.
An ice maker has a fairly tough job to do — freezing water isn’t easy. For a portable ice maker that can get the job done without wearing out quickly, you should go with a brand that has a strong reputation. To give you a better idea as to which brands typically provide the best performance, we analyzed all the customer reviews of ice makers made by some of the top brands in the space. Here’s a summary of what customers are saying.