- Best Clear Ice Maker Reviews (Updated List)
- What is Clear Ice?
- Clear Ice vs Regular Ice?
- Who Should Buy a Clear Ice Maker?
- Clear Ice Maker Buying Guide
- Best Gourmet Ice Maker Comparison Chart
- Wrap Up
Clear ice isn’t just something that looks good in a glass – it is much healthier than the regular one, which is why many people are out there are looking for the best clear ice maker. There are a lot of different models on the market, and finding the right one for your needs might prove challenging and time-consuming.
We have compiled a list of popular units and we tested them side-by-side so that you don’t have to spend hours in research. If you want to find the best clear ice cube maker for you, keep reading this buying guide.
Whynter UIM-502SS Clear Ice Cube Maker
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Scotsman CU50GA-1A Gourmet Ice Maker
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Luma Comfort IM200SS Clear Ice Maker
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NewAir ClearIce40 Clear Ice Maker
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Scotsman CU50PA Gourmet Ice Maker
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Best Clear Ice Maker Reviews (Updated List)
1. Whynter UIM-502SS Clear Ice Cube Maker
This clear ice cube maker is a great standalone unit for both residential and commercial use. You can use it as a freestanding machine, or you can keep it under the counter. The stainless steel finish ensures that the surface can be easily sanitized from the outside, but it also fits nicely into modern kitchens. The venting is located in the front.
When talking about ice making capacity, this ice maker delivers 50 lbs. of clear cubes, with the storage bin capacity of 25 lbs. Also, this machine produces a full bin in about 5 hours, or one sheet of ice approximately every 20 minutes. Yes, the ice is delivered in sheets, but when they fall, they mostly break down in regular cubes.
When it comes to additional features, this ice maker has an auto shut-off, which means that when the ice bin is full, it will and stop making the ice and automatically turn off. You get ice scoop, water hose and drain hose included in the package. The defrost system is manual.
2. Scotsman CU50GA-1A Gourmet Ice Maker
Even though this gourmet ice maker is intended for commercial use, nobody is stopping you from using this unit at your home. You can even place it in the outside kitchen or a bar. When it comes to its performance, this ice maker can produce up to 65 lbs. of clear gourmet ice in 24 hours and has a storage capacity of 26 lbs.
If you do plan to use it in your home, you would be delighted to know that this unit isn’t that noisy compared to other products on the market, but also, it’s not silent either. This model requires a floor drain right underneath because it uses the gravity drain system. Ice makers aren’t low power consumers, and you should be aware that this model requires a 15-amp circuit breaker.
Now, when it comes to special features, this gourmet ice maker has a built-in control panel that will inform you about water condition. This water quality sensor will notify you when you need to clean the unit.
3. Luma Comfort IM200SS Clear Ice Maker
If you want clear ice but you are low on space, or you simply don’t need that much ice, then this clear ice maker is exactly what you need. Since it’s so compact, you can take this unit and use it on a boat or in the RV.
One of the greatest features of this clear ice maker is the fact that you don’t need a plumber to hook the drain and water inlet. It is a pretty much plug and play unit – just take it out of the box, pour water and turn it on. This unit can create 28 lbs. of ice per day, and one batch is produced in just 15 minutes. It comes with an ice scoop and a removable bin.
This ice maker produces restaurant-quality clear ice cubes using the waterfall technique. There is a low water indicator, and another one that lets you know if the bin is full. Due to its weight – just 25.5 pounds, you can easily move it and put it away when you don’t need it.
4. NewAir ClearIce40 Clear Ice Maker
This is another clear ice maker on our list that is very easy to use. This unit has a well-insulated interior that keeps the produced ice for a prolonged period of time. The production capacity is around 40 lbs. of clear ice per day, and the ice maker can store up to 2 pounds. There is an auto-shutoff feature when the bin is full. If you keep the machine on, it will continue to create a new batch of clear ice every 15 minutes.
The best feature of owning a clear ice maker is that you can take it camping, use it on a boat or in the RV. It’s not that heavy to carry around and to store it away when you don’t need it, weighing just 28.6 lbs. This small ice maker could be a good solution for commercial application where space is an issue, as a food truck.
5. Scotsman CU50PA Gourmet Ice Maker
This air-condenser type of clear ice maker is a great choice if you need a standalone unit with high production capability. It can produce up to 65 lbs. of ice per day and can store up to 26 lbs. This model is great for commercial and residential application since it can produce a lot of gourmet ice. Even though ice makers are known as large spenders of electricity, this unit is an Energy Star appliance.
When we are talking about the various features, this ice maker has plenty. There is an auto shut-off feature when the capacity is filled, and you have alerts that tell you when you need to clean the machine, or when there’s no water. This is a good choice for people who don’t have a drain in a convenient place so they can’t use the gravity drain function. You can use a built-in drain pump instead.
Another feature is that you can use this gourmet ice maker outside – put it in an outdoor bar or a kitchen and enjoy the chilled drinks all summer long.
What is Clear Ice?
Clear ice, or gourmet ice, is a type of ice generally preferred by upscale commercial establishments. Many people think that’s because clear ice simply looks better in a glass, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
When regular ice freezes, it pushes the air and pollutants in the water towards the center, so they are all contained in every cloudy ice cube. Clear ice forms like an icicle, in layers. It is created by freezing the water in one direction, often by letting the water pass over freezing coils that remove the bubbles and keep the ice clear.
The air bubbles are pushed outside so they can’t be trapped. The clarity of ice shows just how clean the water is. The cloudiness comes from impurities and that trapped air, which could also contain odors. That is why clear ice is different and healthier to consume. It contains fever bacteria, pollutants, and odors.
Whether you are a serious drinker, a home mixologist or just a person who wants to enjoy germ-free drinks, clear ice will respond to all your demands. You will be able to get the real aroma of a drink that won’t be watered down. This way, the taste is preserved and you can actually feel it.
Clear ice has been reserved for upscale restaurants and bars because clear ice makers were a lot more expensive. Now, thanks to technology, clear ice is getting more affordable so that you can easily have a clear ice making machine at home.
Clear Ice vs Regular Ice?
The verdict is clear (pun intended) – clear ice wins this race, and with such ease. Since clear ice is created in layers and has no bubbles of air, it is denser than regular ice. That density allows it to melt 5 times slower than regular ice so that your drinks are kept chilled for a prolonged period of time. The air in the regular ice speeds up the melting process and releases the pollutants trapped in the middle.
This is another reason why commercial places love to use clear ice – since it melts slower, you need less ice per customer, which in turn means less water used, and less power consumed. Also, fever top-ups mean that server’s time is better used than running around and bringing more ice to the tables.
Regular ice can easily contain bad odors which aren’t the case with clear ice. There isn’t anything nastier than having a drink spoiled by the refrigerator taste. Also, many commercial clear ice makers have a built-in water filter that ensures the purity of water. There are units that come with alerts that inform you about the quality of water or whether the ice maker needs to be cleaned, preserving the quality of clear ice further.
Be careful, though. Clear ice is denser so you can seriously injure yourself if you try to nibble on it. You can even chip a tooth on clear ice nugget, which isn’t the case with the regular ice that crumbles easily. Clear ice beats regular ice at all points except this one. That is why regular ice is better for making slushies, or why it’s served in chips you can nibble.
Who Should Buy a Clear Ice Maker?
Clear ice makers are now available to anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits that clear ice brings. We have seen that clear ice is far more superior than the regular one, so it makes sense to invest money in a machine that will produce this healthier option. Of course, it is also possible to make crystal clear ice manually, but it won’t help for the parties.
Commercial Clear Ice Maker
Clear ice is originally intended for the commercial application, so if you are a hospitality business owner, it makes sense to upgrade your regular ice maker to a clear ice making unit. Apart from the visual appeal of clear ice in a chilled drink, your customers will appreciate the enhanced taste. Like we mentioned above, clear ice lasts longer so you will use less ice per drink, less water, less electricity, and there will be fever top-ups.
Maintaining good hygiene is detrimental to your business, and regular ice can contain a lot of pollutants. Clear ice is healthier and doesn’t contain pollutants so you could potentially avoid a health hazard catastrophe – imagine serving bad ice that contains mold, bacteria or has a nasty smell.
Clear ice makers usually come with a good warranty so in case something happens to the unit, you will be backed up. Also, a majority of these units has water filters, auto-defrost features, auto shut-off, as well as alerts and panels that inform you about water quality.
Any business, from a bar to the restaurant, food truck, juice bar and anything in between, can benefit from a clear ice maker. Commercial application clear ice makers are durable standalone machines with high ice production capacities, but if space is an issue, and you have a lower volume of clients, a countertop unit will also suffice.
Residential Clear Ice Maker for Home Use
With a range of clear ice makers, you can easily find a unit that will fit your needs. If you have space, you can consider an undercounter clear ice maker. If you don’t have space or the need for a steady ice supply, you can always go with a clear ice maker.
Residential use can vary, but having an ice maker on hand can be quite useful. Summer yard parties can only get better with clear ice maker. Any family gathering, birthday party or a holiday include a variety of drinks that have to be kept cool. Buying multiple bags of ice isn’t cost-efficient when you can have that same ice made at your own place. A clear ice maker will save you several trips to the store, including time and gas money. Serve kids a homemade lemonade with healthy clear ice, or enjoy a glass of good undiluted whiskey.
Clear Ice Maker for Fishing and Camping
Sitting all day in the sun with camping or fishing can spoil your catch if you don’t keep it cool. With a clear ice maker, you can make ice that will melt 5 times slower. Also, you can keep your beer cold while you are fishing. Having a boat party or just a family outing? No need to suffer from the bad taste of lukewarm beverages.
Same goes for camping and RVs. Clear ice makers are great if you want to enjoy chilled drinks while you are out in nature.
Clear Ice Maker Buying Guide
Now you have seen the numerous benefits of clear ice, so the next logical step is choosing the clear ice maker. You have to bear in mind that what is right for you, might not be right for others, and vice versa. Take advice from salesmen with a grain of salt. Salespeople probably don’t even have the clear ice maker at home, and they can offer only the units they have on stock. Here is a list of things you need to consider when choosing the right unit that will fit your needs.
1. Production Capacity
This one is a no-brainer. You are buying a clear ice machine because you need clear ice, but you also have to anticipate how much you will need it. Are you buying one for your office, home, business, occasional get-togethers, or for camping? Ice production capacity is important. Our list has units that will support anything from a bar, restaurant, to the small kitchen.
The ice capacity is measured by the unit’s daily output. Take into consideration that outside temperature will also affect the ice making capabilities. It isn’t the same if you have an ice maker set up in the room-temperature kitchen, or outside on the patio where temperatures are significantly higher.
Clear ice makers produce around 25 lbs. of ice per day, and standalone undercounter units produce around 50 lbs. and up.
2. Storage Capacity
Storage capacity is important, especially in the summer when you will need more ice so it will run out faster. Clear ice makers are usually well insulated so they can keep the produced ice for a longer period of time.
Standalone ice makers usually have storage capacity half the size than they are able to produce. If they produce 60 lbs. of ice per day, they can store around 25 to 30 pounds. Clear ice makers store up to 5 lbs. of ice.
Naturally, the size of a clear ice making unit is very important to consider. How much space do you have at hand? Standalone units come in various sizes, but they definitely take up more space than the countertop portable units. Allow a couple of extra inches of space on all sides for easier maintenance.
Speaking of maintenance, you need to choose a unit that will be either easy to maintain or will have additional features that will help you with that. Some units require that you dismantle them, and some have panels and vents on the back. If it’s an undercounter unit, you will have to take it out entirely and do the maintenance. Some clear ice makers have to be manually defrosted from time to time, and some have an auto-defrost feature.
5. Drain Type
This is one of the most important qualifiers – or disqualifiers when you are selecting the right ice maker model for you. You will need to drain the unit, and if you have a drain right underneath, you can get an ice maker with the gravity drain. If the drain is not located underneath the unit, you will have to use a drain pump. There are drain pumps you can buy separately and install them on standalone units. Also, some units come with a built-in drain pump
Ice makers can be quite noisy. Freezing requires a lot of power, and deploying the ice to the basket can also be very loud, because often ice is created in trays of cubes that fall apart when they fall down. If you install a unit in a small studio apartment, chances are you will get irritated by the noise. Small clear ice makers are generally quieter than large standalone units. Place where you install the ice maker will determine the level of noise, as well. Some people keep their ice makers in the basement, outside kitchens, pantry or utility room, or hide them under the counter and install an additional door.
Naturally, the budget is very important when you are selecting the right unit. Clear ice makers aren’t cheap, and units range from a couple of hundreds of dollars to thousands. The trick is to choose the unit that will best fit your needs, so the budget will be allocated accordingly. If you need it for a busy restaurant, it makes sense to invest more in a gourmet ice maker with high ice production output. But, if you need a unit for an occasional family get-together or just enough ice for a couple of pitchers of lemonade for a Sunday lunch, a clear unit might be the right choice.
8. Quality of Ice
If you are buying a clear ice maker, you are interested in the ice with superior quality. Did you know that the cloudy whiteness in regular ice is caused by impurities? That is why clear ice is much healthier to consume. The clarity is an indicator of how pure and clean the ice is, so you need a machine that will deliver just that. Machines that make ice that melts fast, or make cloudy ice when they are labeled as clear ice makers, obviously aren’t worth your time.
Choose a machine that produces crystal clear ice nuggets that are durable, sturdy, melt slow and don’t have any taste or odor.
9. Additional Features
Ice makers are complicated machines, but luckily, they are very easy to operate. One push of a button is usually all it takes to get your clear ice served with a favorite drink. If we are talking about additional features that make our lives even easier, there are several that can be often found in many ice makers.
For example, the auto shut-off feature is pretty standard nowadays. The clear ice maker will stop producing ice if the bin gets full, but it can also keep topping it up so that there will be a steady supply of ice at all times. Most clear ice makers come with water filters that filtrate and clean the water so that it’s free of impurities.
Some units have an auto defrost feature that will melt away all ice. Then you can proceed to clean the unit’s insides. Some ice makers have to be manually defrosted, and you do that by turning them off and letting them melt on their own.
In addition to the knowledge you get from our buying guide, you can use this ice machine configurator to get different ideas.
Best Gourmet Ice Maker Comparison Chart
|Production Capacity (pounds/24H)||Storage Capacity (pounds)||Drain||Warranty|
|Whynter UIM-502SS Clear Ice Cube Maker||15 x 24.5 x 32.5||77||50||25||Gravity Drain||1|
|Scotsman CU50GA-1A Gourmet Ice Maker||22 x 14.9 x 34.4||100||65||26||Gravity Drain||1.5|
|Luma Comfort IM200SS Portable Clear Ice Maker||11.3 x 14.8 x 14.1||25.5||28||4.6||No Drain||1|
|NewAir ClearIce40 Clear Ice Maker||18.7 x 18.4 x 14.9||28.6||40||2||No Drain||1|
|Scotsman CU50PA Gourmet Ice Maker||34.4 x 14.9 x 22||100||65||26||Pump Drain||1|
This has been the detailed buying guide whose only purpose is to help you make the right decision when selecting the best clear ice maker for you. This overview is completely unbiased, and we haven’t been influenced or endorsed by manufacturers in any way.
We have tested all units by ourselves, and we provided our opinion in an easy to follow guide. Selecting the best clear ice cube maker won’t be an issue anymore – we spent hours of research so that you don’t have to waste your time. There are a lot of things you will need to consider, but we have covered all of them. If we missed something, feel free to post a question below.