Portable (or countertop) ice makers are about the size of a bread maker. They plug into a standard outlet and require no drainage system or connection to a water line like under-the-counter ice makers. You simply fill them with water, select the size of ice you want and press start. They can store roughly 1 to 2 pounds at a time, depending on the size of its ice tray and how well the ice maker is insulated.
Despite its high rating on Amazon, ThinkGizmos – TG22 suffered from inconsistency between its settings, both in how much the ice tray could hold and how quickly the ice was produced. Like the units we tested, the ThinkGizmos worked best when making small ice cubes even though it produced the least amount of ice (22.4 pounds per day). At the large setting, the ThinkGizmos performed the worst, producing a meager 11.2 pounds per day.
They’re also useful in a number of other spots where people need more ice than a freezer’s ice maker produces, like in office break rooms or retirement communities, where a lot of different people want to be able to refill drinks throughout the day. And of course, they can be useful in many homes, both for parties when you have more guests over than you can accommodate with the ice maker built into your fridge and for families that simply go through a lot of ice every day.
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Igloo’s ICE103 countertop ice maker is of the stainless steel ice machine and comes with a stylish look. These materials ensure that this home ice maker machine would last at your service for many years. Their home ice makers hold 2.2 pounds of cubes and would produce 26 pounds in a single day. They could finish a batch in 6-15 minutes depending on size (it comes with small, medium, large).
(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.)
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.
“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.
Even during the 1800s, the idea of having ice to cool down on hot days was hard to sell. Case in point, Frederic Tudor of Boston. Tudor, along with his brother, came up with the genius idea to harvest ice from their estate's pond, and sell it in the stifling West Indies. After spending dollar after dollar, including five thousand alone to ship the ice via boat, Tudor arrived in the Caribbean, and no one wanted to buy the ice.
Portable ice makers are a fantastic countertop appliance for those that need supplemental ice in their home kitchen or bar but don’t want the hassle of installing a new refrigerator/freezer or clunky ice machine. Like their name suggests, these ice machines are completely portable. They require no installation. You simply pour in water, select your settings, and just like that, you’ll have fresh ice in minutes. You’ll never have to deal with those pesky ice trays permanently installed machines again.
The Hamilton Beach has a sleek stainless-steel design with black trim, and its clear, flat lid lets you see how much ice has formed. It’s also quiet: You hear just a gentle whirring of its fan, until the next batch of ice is made. The Hamilton Beach makes two sizes of hollow, bullet-shaped ice. We programmed each size separately, but we saw no difference between them. The Hamilton Beach is well insulated, so the ice doesn’t melt, and automatically stops when the tray is full (at about 1 pound).
The DELLA Compact Electric Ice Maker Machine is another compact and portable option that won't disappoint. Due to its small size (14.5 x 9.75 x 12.75 inches) it's perfect for use in a small apartment, dorm room, vacation home, RV, or boat. It makes the first batch of ice in about six minutes and can make up to 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours if you keep up with emptying the ice and adding more water. The storage bin holds up to 1.5 pounds of ice, and the machine will alert you when the bin is full or when you need to add more water. This countertop ice maker also lets you choose one of two different ice sizes. It's available in a variety of different colors, so you can find a model that perfectly matches your kitchen or bar décor.