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.
Durability is going to be the main reason why you should consider going with a unit that cost a bit more. If you plan on using it frequently or keeping it plugged in at all times, then you will want to consider spending a bit more to ensure you get an ice maker that is designed to last. However, if you only plan on using it for special events or when you have guests over, then a lower priced ice maker will likely fit your needs.
Koldfront has a couple of affordable ice maker earns predominantly positive reviews for being efficient, quiet, and easy to use. Most customers are satisfied with their purchase, but like the other more affordable brands on the list, there are some unhappy reviewers in the mix who say their ice machine didn’t last very long. Other reviewers talk about using theirs for years without an issue. There’s a decent chance you’ll be satisfied with a Koldfront portable ice machine, but at least some chance that you’ll end up with one of the lemons that don’t work as well.
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.
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.
If you're not familiar with nugget ice, it's a soft and chewable type of ice that's best used for blended drinks like smoothies and frozen margaritas (if you're looking for an easy margarita recipe, try one of these margarita mixes). Nugget ice is also great for blended cocktails as it will keep your mixture cooler for a longer period of time and won't dilute the flavors.
Our runner-up, the Frigidaire – EFIC108 and NewAir – AI-100BK were both within a couple of pounds of reaching their manufacturers’ claimed production of 25.6 pounds and 26 pounds per day. NewAir’s white model is nearly twice the price of the Frigidaire, and although the ice it makes is cost-efficient, we recommend looking at other colors for this model, which are substantially less expensive.
In general, portable ice makers are pretty easy to use. Most of them have intuitive controls, basic instructions, and no real installation requirements (you just need an electrical outlet). Some may have slightly easier to use controls than others, and some include features that make it easier to tell when the ice machine is full. On the whole though, you shouldn’t be too worried about being able to figure out how to use a portable ice machine.
“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.
No one wants their guests to get stuck with warm drinks after whipping them a mega party; you want them to enjoy cold beverages whenever they want to ensure the ultimate fun for them. For this reason, it is vital to have a reliable supply of ice so you won’t have to keep your visitors waiting to refill due to insufficient ice. In this case, a countertop ice maker becomes an ideal item to have for your function.
Worse still, you find that your local store does not have enough ice to cater for the day. It can be frustrating. But not anymore! With a portable ice maker, your summer days will never be the same again, thanks to the technological advancements used to design these devices. Ice makers feature fast freeze technology which enables you to produce ice within a short period.