- Advantages and Disadvantages of Countertop Ice Makers
- Countertop Ice Makers Comparison Chart
- Best Countertop Ice Maker Reviews
- 1. IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
- 2. Igloo RCA Countertop Ice Maker Black
- 3. NewAir AI-100BK Countertop Ice Maker Black
- 4. hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
- 5. Della Premium Countertop Portable Ice Maker
- 6. Edgestar IP210TI Titanium Countertop Ice Maker Gray
- 7. MRP US IC703 Countertop Ice Maker
- 8. Think Gizmos TG22 Portable Counter Top Ice Maker Machine
- What is a Countertop Ice Maker?
- Countertop Ice Maker Buying Guide
- FAQ About Countertop Ice Makers
- 1. What is the best cleaning agent for my countertop ice maker?
- 2. How long can the ice storage keep the ice from melting?
- 3. How to get clear ice with a countertop ice maker?
- 4. What ice shapes do countertop ice machines make?
- 5. Can I use my countertop ice maker’s ice bucket as a temporary freezer?
- 6. There is a lot of accumulated ice on the inside walls. What do I do?
- Wrap Up
If your food-making ventures are limited by the size of your kitchen, the solution just may be the best countertop ice maker. The technology of today enabled some great things to happen. We can have any kind of appliance in a more compact form, and the commodities of everyday life on the go. After all, why should you be left out of making delicious ice treats just because you don’t have a lot of space in your kitchen?
We have decided to take some of the most popular countertop ice making machines and see if they can keep up with the challenge of ice making. We invite you to read our countertop ice maker reviews and find out whether there’s a match for you in there. Let’s dig into it!
Advantages and Disadvantages of Countertop Ice Makers
So, what makes portable ice makers better or worse than the other types? We could talk about size all day long, but that is not the only feature worth mentioning. Let’s approach this issue from an analytical point of view.
1. Advantages of Countertop Ice Makers
Of course, the first thing worth mentioning is the size of these units. They are incredibly compact compared to other types on the market. On average, a countertop ice maker weighs between 20 and 30 pounds. This trait allows you to move them around as you please, including bringing them outside the house as well.
Bringing them along on camping trips is a great feature, especially during the summer. Just imagine having ice cold drinks on the lakeshore. The portability also allows you to include a countertop ice maker as a standard piece of kitchen equipment in an RV. They are fairly moderate users of power, and will not take up much space. Additionally, the latest models have special options that allow you to connect the ice maker to your phone, and plan the exact time and amount of ice, but we will talk about these a bit later.
People who decide to get a portable ice maker for their household do it not only for the mere portability and compact size of the machine. They do it for the simplicity of installation. We mentioned that there’s no special process involved when using and/or installing a portable ice maker. Once you try it, you will instantly understand. Undercounter and larger ice makers need a professional plumber to assess and execute the installation. And of course, a larger ice maker needs its own water line, which means construction work around the kitchen. You can check our undercounter ice maker reviews for details. With a portable ice maker, all you have to do is pour the water in and select the program. If you don’t have the time to set up and track the ice making process, this portable solution might just be the right one for you.
Finally, the one advantage of portable ice makers people like to talk about the most is their price. Portable ice machines are by far the most budget-friendly ice-making machines out there, and we are not talking about the initial price only. These appliances draw less electric energy, both before and during the ice production. The majority of models have some kind of sensor to check if the ice machine is producing more than needed, and it adjusts the process accordingly. All in all, if the budget is a factor in your decision, portable might just be a valid option.
2. Disadvantages of Countertop Ice Makers
As with any other household appliance, nothing is perfect, and portable ice makers have their downsides as well. The main segment where they are at the disadvantage, compared to the regular ice makers, is the capacity. While some under-counter models produce over a hundred pounds of ice in a day’s cycle, an average portable ice maker will range between 20 and 30 pounds. This is not that low, but you should keep in mind that it will not be enough to satisfy the need for a larger bar or big house parties. This can be surpassed with careful planning and some freezer space though.
One more thing to have in mind is the build of portable ice makers. Due to the need to keep them as portable and compact as possible, they are not made of heavy-duty metals, hence their life expectancy is somewhat lower than the larger models provide. However, with regular maintenance and reasonable usage, you have nothing to worry about.
If you want to get a manufacturer’s opinion on this topic, you can read this article.
Countertop Ice Makers Comparison Chart
IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
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Igloo RCA Countertop Ice Maker Black
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NewAir AI-100BK Countertop Ice Maker Black
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hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
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Della Premium Countertop Portable Ice Maker
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Edgestar IP210TI Titanium Countertop Ice Maker Gray
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MRP US IC703 Countertop Ice Maker
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Think Gizmos TG22 Portable Counter Top Ice Maker Machine
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Best Countertop Ice Maker Reviews
1. IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
The IKICH portable ice machine maker features a quite sleek design and amazing performance. It is made of food-grade copper aluminum and weighs 17 pounds only, which makes it one of the most lightweight ice makers available.
Thanks to its small footprint, you would be able to find its place on your countertop right away. Almost noiseless, energy-efficient, the IKICH ice maker comes with a smart indicator that allows you to select between 2 ice sizes and notifies you when you need more water or when the ice is full.
It takes up to 6 minutes to make 9 bullet-shaped, delicious pieces. This ice maker also has a large and can produce up to 26lbs in 14 hours. It comes with a removable ice basket so you can transfer ice cubes to your fav cocktail in seconds. On top of these amazing features, it is super-convenient to install as well.
2. Igloo RCA Countertop Ice Maker Black
The Igloo is a popular model among party organizers due to its quick ice making and relatively high capacity for a portable unit. With its black glossy and modern design, it will easily fit into any kitchen, bar, garden or even RV. It weighs a total of 20 pounds, which puts it in a category of the lightest portable ice makers out there.
The ice making capacity of this particular ice maker is 26 pounds per 24-hour cycle. If you decide to make it continuously produce ice, you can expect a fresh batch every 6 minutes, which is slightly faster than the models from its class. When it comes to storage space, inside this model, you can leave up to 1.5 pounds of ice at a time.
On top, there is a panel with LED controls, including two different operation modes – one for smaller and one for larger ice cubes.
Read More: Igloo RCA Countertop Ice Maker Black Review
3. NewAir AI-100BK Countertop Ice Maker Black
This NewAir countertop ice maker is one of the heftiest models out there, with a somewhat more robust design. It weighs a total of 24.3 pounds, making it easy to relocate and mount onto the counter of your boat or RV. Just keep in mind that the LED controls are on the side, so plan in advance where you’ll put this unit. You have to be able to always reach the controls.
With its larger design (though it is still portable), it can produce up to 28 pounds of ice per day, which puts it on the better side of portable ice makers. The quickest single batch cycle can be done in about 6 minutes. However, this unit needs an extra few minutes to start the first batch of the day.
The LED control panel on the side lets you pick between 3 ice cube sizes: small, medium and large. The appliance spreads the water usage according to the setting you choose.
4. hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
The hOmeLabs went all out when it comes to manufacturing this resourceful portable ice maker. The first impression was great, thanks to its modern silver design and lightweight body. This unit weighs around 19 pounds. This particular model is considered to be one of the most portable ones in this class, which is great if you want to put it in an RV or a boat.
Additionally, it is optimized to preserve energy by reusing the melted water from the ice that you didn’t use. When it comes to the ice capacity it can deliver, we are talking about 26 pounds per 24-hour cycle. A single batch takes somewhere between 6 and 8 minutes to freeze, and in case you do not need the ice right away, this model can store up to 1.5 pounds of ice.
To make things easier, you will get an ice basket and an ice scoop included with this model.
5. Della Premium Countertop Portable Ice Maker
This is a model from Della that feels great to use and to look at. The first thing you will notice is the large transparent window on top of the hatch. Besides making the ice maker look modern, it also allows you to keep track of how much ice it currently holds. The total weight of this ice maker is just above 20 pounds, which is somewhat lower than the average for its class.
The ice making capacity of this particular unit is 26 pounds per 24-hour cycle, which is good for parties and everyday use. Because of its smaller frame and compact design, it is popular among RV owners and campers. The time it takes to complete a 1-batch cycle is between 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the outer temperature.
Another nice feature that this ice maker has is low noise production while it’s operating. If you need to make some ice overnight, or simply need to keep the noise down, this will definitely come in handy.
6. Edgestar IP210TI Titanium Countertop Ice Maker Gray
This Edgestar portable ice maker is made to last a bit longer than the others in its price range because it is made from titanium. The dark grey cubical design makes it fit into any environment, but due to its durability, it is most popular among travelers and RV enthusiasts. Because of the materials used, the total weight is slightly above average, at a total of 24 pounds.
Now, when it comes to the amount of ice that this model can produce, we are talking about 28 pounds per day, which is above average. However, keep in mind that this particular model takes some extra time (10 minutes total) to make a batch of ice.
The simple LED control panel on the side allows you to choose between 3 sizes: small, medium and large. Depending on the size you want, the ice maker changes the speed of freezing, where the smallest cubes are made the fastest.
Read More: Edgestar IP210TI Titanium Review
7. MRP US IC703 Countertop Ice Maker
This MRP portable ice maker model is a bit more technologically advanced. It is modernly designed and has a large LCD screen on the side, making it look futuristic. The shape of the housing is standard, and the whole model weighs just over 20 pounds, which makes it quite portable among the models in its range.
The total ice capacity that this countertop ice maker can produce in a 24-hour cycle is 27 pounds, which is slightly above average. This makes it a great feature for pool sides or house parties. Some even consider it to be strong enough for commercial use, but our advice is to take that with a grain of salt. The single batch cycle takes about 9 minutes.
An LCD monitor and control panel let you choose between 3 ice sizes (large, medium and small) and there are also sound indicators built in. When the water comes to a critically low amount, the ice maker will make a sound, reminding you to refill.
Read More: MRP US IC703 Portable Ice Maker Review
8. Think Gizmos TG22 Portable Counter Top Ice Maker Machine
The Think Gizmos followed the trend of modern looking countertop ice makers with this model. This particular unit is a bit heavier than the rest in its class, with a total weight of 25.5 pounds, which is still pretty portable. The added weight is there due to the stainless steel and ABS housing of the model, which make it extra durable and damage resistant. So, if you aim to travel a lot, this might be a solid companion.
The capacity of ice it can produce per a 24-hour cycle rounds up at 26 pounds, with a 6-minute single batch cycle. Inside, there is a large ice bucket that can store up to 2.2 pounds of ice.
On the LED control panel, you can set the ice size, picking from three different options: large, medium and small. The manufacturer also provided a free ice scoop for easier extraction.
Read more: Think Gizmos TG22 Review
What is a Countertop Ice Maker?
As the name suggests, a portable (aka countertop) ice maker is a machine that can make a lot of ice, without needing a lot of storage space or a special installation process. Even though they differ from under the counter ice makers, the working mechanisms are still the same. A cooling system makes conveniently shaped pockets of water freeze in a short time period. For the sake of simplicity and portability, countertop ice makers mainly use gas cooling systems, thus reducing weight and maintenance requirements.
Now, portable ice makers are surely quite smaller, and definitely lighter than their standard ice making counterparts. Thanks to this feature, this type of ice maker is a much-wanted addition to an RV or any camping vehicle for that matter. They do not require any special installation and are pretty much plug-and-play. Often times, boat owners will opt for a portable ice maker instead of a larger one due to their lower electricity demand, and the smaller size.
However, having a portable ice maker on the road is not the only purpose that this kind of machine can fulfill. One of the most common uses for a countertop ice maker is the poolside, and beach bars in general. Having the convenience of ice-cold beverages without having to run inside every 20 minutes is more than welcome at any kind of pool party. The versatility of these appliances depends solely on your needs and imagination, despite the fact that we are talking about ice and nothing more.
Countertop Ice Maker Buying Guide
Now that we have seen what the advantages of portable ice makers are, it is time to dive into the fine details and things you need to factor in before getting one for yourself. There’s a lot of models out there and not every model can fit your demands and requirements so it would be best to use our guide as material before deciding which one of these ultra-convenient machines to buy.
1. Ice Production
Also known as the ice production capacity, this ice maker specification is the most important one. The manufacturers will usually tell you how much ice an ice maker can produce in a day (some mark a half-day period). The average daily production of ice goes between 20 and 30 pounds. But this is not the only factor you need to consider, because, let’s be real, you will rarely use a portable ice maker for 24 hours straight.
What you should look at is the time per batch or time per drop. This will tell you how much time it takes the ice maker to make a single batch of ice. The fastest it can get is about 6 minutes, and the slowest ice makers deliver the ice batch in about 10.
If you are hosting a party, you need to know when to expect the next batch in order to make cocktails and other drinks.
Ice production capacity is extremely important for people that are using the ice maker with a generator, like in RVs or boats. Faster ice makers tend to save more power, and on a remote location, the less power you use, the more fuel you will save.
2. Ice Storage Capacity
In order to keep these appliances portable and small, manufacturers had to cut somewhere. Storing a whole lot of ice is not practical if you want to be able to relocate the ice maker without a hassle. That is why you need to check the ice storage capacity.
Usually, the larger the model, the larger the ice storage capacity (but that is not a strict rule). If you are spending time in the vicinity of the ice maker, it would be best to empty it every other batch, and put the ice to good use. But, if you want to prepare ice the night before, or you have to tend to other business while the ice maker is working, it would be best to get an ice maker with bigger storage capacity.
On average, portable ice makers have between 1 and 2 pounds of storage capacity, while some models go a bit over that limit.
On the other hand, if you are worried about leaving the ice maker on over a longer period of time, you should probably look for a model that has an automatic halt mode when its storage is full. Most modern models have this, so you probably do not need to worry about it, as long as you read the manual.
3. Construction and Durability
For people that spend a lot of time on the road, durability and building materials are an important factor. On boats and RVs, there is a lot of bumping and shaking, so it is important that the ice maker can stand all that roughing around. Some portable ice makers have outer housing made of steel or titanium, which makes them extra-strong and resistant. However, be prepared to haul a few extra pounds, because these are not lightweight materials.
If you plan to use your ice maker in a stationary place, you don’t need to worry about the material used int heir manufacturing. The majority of models out there are made of hard plastic materials because they need to withstand lower temperatures after all.
4. Ice Cube Shape and Size
The performance of a countertop ice maker depends largely on the size of the cubes it makes. There’s no one size of an ice cube that fits every situation. For this reason, portable ice makers usually have several operating modes that include different sizes of ice cubes or ice bullets.
The size of the produced ice is small, medium or large. These are the usual options you will find within every model. It is important to notice that the cube size affects more than just how big of a cube you’ll get. People often forget that bigger ice cubes also make the storage space smaller, by leaving gaps between them empty. So, if you only make bigger ice nuggets, you can count on up to 20% loss in storage space, which can sometimes be crucial. Another thing to keep in mind is the change in cycle time, depending on the cube size. Small cubes come out the fastest, while bigger cubes take more time. That is why almost every model takes between 6 and 10 minutes to deliver a batch. Feel free to see our best pellet ice maker guide for details.
5. Energy-efficient Features
We mentioned that portable ice makers could have an automatic stop system onboard, which doesn’t allow the storage space to get full. Besides saving you the time to clean the water on the floor, this feature is also a great energy saver, important for RV and boat owners. However, there is another super-convenient trait that some models have, and that is water recycling.
Sometimes, you just don’t manage to use up all the ice you thought you needed, and there is no need to waste the energy to make it. That is why some models have the option to reuse the melted water in order to make ice in the next cycle. This feature turned out to be a great energy saver, ergo it is an amazing solution for people in remote locations.
Another superb energy saving feature that some models have is a basic timer. Built into the control panel, a timer allows you to pick exactly how much ice you want the ice maker to produce, and when. Once you get the hang of it, you will know how much you will need, and the ice maker won’t have to make any extra batches.
All in all is that these machines are made to serve both in homes and in remote locations (using portable energy sources), they are made to preserve as much electricity as possible.
FAQ About Countertop Ice Makers
1. What is the best cleaning agent for my countertop ice maker?
As we have mentioned in the maintenance section, one of the commonly-used agents is a mix of vinegar and lemon juice. They have enough acidity to break through the sediment that got into the ice maker due to water impurities. This mix will do the job in 90% of cases. However, if you get stuck with cleaning really stubborn sediment, there are cleaning agents made especially for ice makers. Every chemical has its own instructions to follow, so make sure to read them. No matter which agent you use, always make a few batches to clean the agent out of the ice machine system.
2. How long can the ice storage keep the ice from melting?
Well, there is no straight answer, but it mostly depends on the outer material of the ice maker. If the body is made of metal (preferably titanium or steel) the ice bucket will keep the ice intact for up to 4 hours at best. If it’s plastic, this period is reduced to a few hours only. But, if the machine delivers more ice on top of the previous batch, the total temperature will drop a few degrees, thus prolonging the melting period.
3. How to get clear ice with a countertop ice maker?
This has been a topic of many debates among ice machine owners. Many will try to tell you that it all depends on the machine and its internal architecture, and how it is all up to the manufacturer to make a good ice machine that makes clear ice. But, as it turns out, this is not entirely true. Any average quality ice machine can make clear ice, and the machine architecture is actually not a major factor. If you want your portable ice machine to make clear ice, you need to provide 2 things: clean water and proper maintenance/cleaning. Yes, those are the main factors that contribute to ice quality.
Ice gets “foggy” from minerals that reside in hard water. These minerals accelerate water crystallization to a rate that is faster than the actual freezing, thus making the white “fog” effect trapped inside the ice. Also, if the machine started making ice that is not clean, it is definitely time to clean it.
4. What ice shapes do countertop ice machines make?
As opposed to the regular ice machines, when it comes to portable ones, there is not much variety in ice shapes, only size. The most common shape that a countertop ice machine makes is the bullet shape. It is the most practical shape that’s quickly produced and in large quantities. Bullet-shaped ice is known for cooling drinks fast, but also diluting them a bit.
5. Can I use my countertop ice maker’s ice bucket as a temporary freezer?
Even though it seems logical, we strongly advise against this practice. Ice buckets need to remain clean and uncontaminated for both safety and health reasons. Sometimes contamination can slip through unnoticed and stay inside the ice maker for a long time, increasing the risk of disease and bacteria spreading.
For this reason alone, it would be best to use the provided ice bucket for ice, and ice only!
6. There is a lot of accumulated ice on the inside walls. What do I do?
This happens when the air humidity around the ice machine reaches higher levels, or the machine operates in a hot environment. Do not worry, it shouldn’t be a serious problem. All you have to do is plug out the ice machine and let the ice melt. The safest bet after this would be to give it a thorough cleaning to make sure there are no contaminants left.
There we go, you have all the knowledge in one place. Here’s everything you need to know in order to get the best countertop ice maker for your household, RV, or a boat. There are plenty of choices, so we suggest you to use our guide to make a checklist, and start researching.
Also, use our countertop ice maker reviews to see what kind of models are out there, and pick the one that fits your needs and requirements.
Ice makers used to be a thing available only for commercial use. But that has changed, and these super-useful machines are available to everyone now and there is no reason not to try one for yourself. After all, no one likes running out of the party to the nearest store to buy a bag of ice. Try a portable ice maker, and see for yourself. Make your parties cool again!