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.
Avalon Bay sells a stylish portable ice maker that is available three different colors. While many customers love that they can own a red ice machine, others seem to have experienced issues with their units. The happy customers say their ice machines work well and make ice fast. Those who are less satisfied complain that their units were noisy and loud, which emcompasses the primary complaint about this brand. Other customers state that their ice machine didn’t last long when they used it often. If you don’t mind the noise, you’ll likely be happy with your Avalon Bay ice maker while it lasts, but shouldn’t count on it having a long life.
Small but powerful, this ice maker can produce up to 50 pounds of ice each day, and 12 pieces in 13 minutes, so you’ll have a ready supply for cocktails, soda water, or any other beverage! You can choose one of three different ice sizes and set the 18-hour timer to make ice on your schedule. Indicator lights let you know when you need to add water or when the removable ice bin is full, and an ice scoop is included for easy serving.
Many scenarios would necessitate having a countertop ice maker. One of them is the one already mentioned above— home and office parties. You need to be armed with sufficient ice to ensure that your guests can refill their drinks freely. The other situation that will require you to purchase a countertop ice machine is when you are camping, boating, tailgating, or having RV trips. During these events, cold drinks are paramount.
The most common colors will be black, white and stainless steel. However, you will also find plenty of units available that allow you to add a splash of color. So, if all of your appliances are red, you’ll have options to match. The aesthetic appeal is purely subjective, so you’ll just have to browse your options to see which models you like the most and which ones you believe will match the current decor of your home.
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).
When choosing from our commercial ice makers, it’s important to know your environment. Air cooled units are cost-effective solutions for cooler spaces because they don’t require additional water costs to operate, whereas water cooled models are ideal for extremely hot establishments. We also carry remote machines that operate more quietly than other ice machine equipment because the condenser is stored outside. You’ll even find space-efficient undercounter units for use in bars as well as combination machines that dispense ice and water.

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.


All you have to do is fill the designated reservoir with water, plug in the machine, and turn it on. The water pumps into a tub that has metal pegs equipped with a heating and cooling system. The cooling system causes the water to freeze around the rings, and the heating system warms up just enough to cause the ice to drop off from the rings once the ice is fully formed in a bullet shape.
(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.)
If you’re going through ice quickly, be aware that someone will need to take a minute to pour more water in. Part of what makes this type of ice maker “portable” is that you don’t have to hook them up to a dedicated water line. While this eliminates any complicated installation requirements, you’ll still need to continually add water manually. It’s not a big job, but it is one that someone will need to be sure to do to keep the ice from running out.

Magic Chef makes a variety of countertop ice machines that earn relatively mixed reviews from customers. The majority of the feedback is positive, with many customers saying that their units work well, make ice fast, and are a good deal for the price. Unfortunately, many of their units don’t have any reviews at all. All signs point to Magic Chef being a reliable brand to consider, but be sure to do the due diligence on researching the model you’re thinking of buying.

The Magic Chef Portable Countertop Ice Maker in Silver can make up to 27 lb. of ice per day to help provide you with a steady supply of ice. It is just what you need to continuously fill your ice bucket or beverage pitchers when you are entertaining friends and family. The ice maker can conveniently hold up to 1.5 lb. of ice at a time, and the digital control panel indicates when the storage bin needs to be emptied. The ice maker produces ice in 2 sizes in as little as 7 minutes, and features a compact design that helps make it easily portable.


Having an ice maker at home can be a worthwhile investment if you entertain a lot or have a large family. Most refrigerators are able to produce ice, but it's not as efficient as having a dedicated ice maker. Whether you're replacing an existing ice machine or looking to buy one for the first time, the NewAir 50 lb. Portable Ice Maker is a great choice.
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