While it won't produce as much ice as our top pick, this wallet-friendly machine is affordable and simple to use. It can produce up to 26 pounds of ice per day, or about nine ice bullets every seven minutes, so you’ll have a constant supply of fresh ice for your next dinner party or barbecue. The ice basket holds 2 pounds of ice before it needs to be emptied, and an LED light lets you know when the basket is full or when you need to add more water to the reservoir. Choose from one of two different ice cube sizes. Customers say this machine works well, and the sleek black exterior looks attractive at home and in the office. Several customers noted that this model won't last as long as other more expensive options, but it's a great budget pick.
Small enough to move on and off the counter, this impressive unit can make up to 48 pounds of ice per day, and it holds nearly 2.4 pounds for easy retrieval. Unlike other machines on this list, the Sentern Ice Maker only produces cubes—not bullet shaped ice. You can choose from small, medium, or large cubes by adjusting the cooling time, and depending on the size you choose the first batch of ice will be done in about 15 minutes. The clear, dense cubes melt slowly, keeping your cocktails cold without diluting them. Other handy features include a digital control panel for easy programming, a see-through window so you can monitor ice production, and a stain resistant exterior.
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.
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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).
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.
“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.
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.