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8 Best Undercounter Ice Makers – (Reviews & Guide 2021)

Undercounter ice makers are necessary for households and facilities with high ice demand as they can produce up to 550lbs of ice per day in intervals of 6 to 10 minutes. Undercounter ice makers, also known as built-in ice makers, are equipped with water filters that can purify tap water and produce clear ice. Undercounter ice makers also have a large storage capacity of up to 350lbs.

Best undercounter ice maker brands are Whynter, Manitowoc, Scotsman, EdgeStar, SPT, Hoshizaki, and others. The pros and cons of each brand are analyzed in the following guide.

To find the best residential ice maker, factors such as storage, ice quality, cooling system, drainage, water supply, maintenance, and capacity should be analyzed. This residential ice maker buying guide includes all these factors.

The best undercounter ice makers are listed below:

  1. Whynter UIM-155 – Best Built-in Undercounter Ice Maker
  2. Manitowoc UY-0310A – Best Commercial Undercounter Ice Maker
  3. Scotsman CU50GA-1A – Best Undercounter Ice Maker for a Home Bar
  4. EdgeStar IB450SS – Best Stainless Steel Undercounter Ice Maker
  5. Manitowoc SM50A-161 SM50 – Best Air Cooled Undercounter Ice Maker
  6. EdgeStar IB120SS – Best Undercounter Ice Maker with Front Venting
  7. SPT IM-600US – Best Freestanding Undercounter Ice Maker
  8. Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ – Best Outdoor Undercounter Ice Maker
Contents show

Best Undercounter Ice Makers Comparison Chart

PRODUCTDETAILS
Whynter UIM-155 Ice Maker

Whynter UIM-155

  • Price: $
  • Customer Rating: 3.3
  • Weight: 54 pounds
  • Size: 18 x 15 x 25 inches
  • Production Capacity: 12 pounds / 24H
  • Storage Capacity: 6 pounds
  • Drain: No Drain
  • Warranty: 1 year
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Manitowoc UY-0310A Ice Maker

Manitowoc UY-0310A

  • Price: $$$
  • Customer Rating: 4.0
  • Weight: 209 pounds
  • Size: 40 x 32 x 30 inches
  • Production Capacity: 304 / 24H
  • Storage Capacity: 100 pounds
  • Drain: Gravity Drain
  • Warranty: 3 years
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Scotsman CU50GA-1A Gourmet Ice Maker

Scotsman CU50GA-1A

  • Price: $$$
  • Customer Rating: 3.3
  • Weight: 100 pounds
  • Size: 22 x 14.9 x 34.4 inches
  • Production Capacity: 64 pounds / 24H
  • Storage Capacity: 26 pounds
  • Drain: Gravity Drain
  • Warranty: 1 year
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EdgeStar IB450SS Ice Maker

EdgeStar IB450SS

  • Price: $$
  • Customer Rating: 3.3
  • Weight: 78 pounds
  • Size: 23.6 x 15 x 32.8 inches
  • Production Capacity: 45 pounds / 24H
  • Storage Capacity: 25 pounds
  • Drain: Gravity Drain
  • Warranty: 1 year
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Manitowoc SM50A-161 SM50 Ice Maker

Manitowoc SM50A-161 SM50

  • Price: $$$
  • Customer Rating: 3.0
  • Weight: 100 pounds
  • Size: 35 x 28 x 19.5 inches
  • Production Capacity: 53 pounds / 24H
  • Storage Capacity: 25 pounds
  • Drain: Gravity Drain with Optional Drain Pump Space
  • Warranty: 1 year
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EdgeStar IB120SS Ice Maker

EdgeStar IB120SS

  • Price: $
  • Customer Rating: 4.0
  • Weight: 54 pounds
  • Size: 18.5 x 15 x 25.2 inches
  • Production Capacity: 12 pounds / 24H
  • Storage Capacity: 6 pounds
  • Drain: No Drain
  • Warranty: 1 year
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DUURA DI50P

DUURA DI50P

  • Price: $$$
  • Customer Rating: 4.1
  • Weight: 92.2 pounds
  • Size: 23.4 x 14.6 x 32.6 inches
  • Production Capacity: 65 pounds / 24H
  • Storage Capacity: 25 pounds
  • Drain: Drain Pump
  • Warranty: 1 year
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Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD

Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD

  • Price: $$$
  • Customer Rating: 4.1
  • Weight: 120.75 pounds
  • Size: 22.5 x 15 x 31.5 inches
  • Production Capacity: 55 pounds / 24H
  • Storage Capacity: 22 pounds
  • Drain: Gravity Drain with Optional drain Pump Space
  • Warranty: 2 years
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Best Undercounter Ice Maker Reviews (Updated List)

1. Whynter UIM-155 – Best Built-in Undercounter Ice Maker

Whynter UIM-155 Ice Maker

Whynter is a brand manufacturing ice makers, freezers, coolers, and ice cream makers. Whynter UIM-155 is a freestanding undercounter ice maker with front venting.

The Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker is special because it is equipped with a high-efficiency CFC-free compressor. It requires no drain to be installed and features a one-touch operation. A food-grade water line connection, an ice scoop, and an ice bin are included in the package. This ice maker comes with a single button and features a one-touch operation.

The Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker is priced at around $465.

Whynter provides a 12-months warranty for UIM-155 undercounter ice maker. An extended 5-year warranty can be bought for this model as well.

The Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker’s casing is made of thick stainless steel that guarantees the durability of the unit.

Cleaning the Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker’s interior and exterior, condenser, water disturbing tube, and the ice-making system should be done regularly. The interior should be cleaned using a sanitizing solution and rinsed with water. The stainless steel exterior should be cleaned using a mild detergent and warm water.

The Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker produces 12lbs of crescent-shaped ice per day. It falls into the category of low-volume ice machines.

The Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker can store up to 6lbs of ice in the ice bin.

The advantages of Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker is easy to install and comes with all the necessary parts to be used right away.
  • The Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker is freestanding, takes up minimum space, and has reversible doors.
  • The Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker has a durable stainless steel construction.

The disadvantages of Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker is noisy.
  • The Whynter UIM-155 undercounter ice maker requires frequent defrosting.

2. Manitowoc UY-0310A – Best Commercial Undercounter Ice Maker

Manitowoc UY-0310A Ice Maker

Manitowoc is a brand behind numerous undercounter ice makers for both residential and commercial use. The UY-0310A is a high-end large ice maker with an even larger capacity.

The Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker boasts a unique design and construction with 4 sturdy legs that make it more stable. These legs provide better ventilation for the unit and make the installation easier.

This Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker is among the most expensive units in this category. It can be found at a price of around $2,950.

The Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker is backed up by a 5-year warranty for the condenser and evaporator and a 3-year warranty for parts and labor.

The Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker is made of stainless steel. The evaporator, pop-out air filter, and growth inhibitor built-in this unit make sure grease, dust, bacteria, or yeast can’t affect its performance.

The Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker is equipped with an illuminating LCD display located next to the slanted bin. The button on the display will indicate when to do the cleanup.

This Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker produces up to 304lbs of ice in 24 hours.

The Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker has 100lbs of storage capacity. The storage bin with an angled door makes ice easily accessible. The bin is forward-sliding and removable.

The advantages of Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The intuitive LCD display with several buttons – power, clean, delay, and service on the side of the ice bin makes the Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker easy to operate.
  • The delay button saves energy and resources and extends the Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker’s motor life.
  • The removable ice bin makes large batches of ice easier to access and simplifies servicing the Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker.

The disadvantages of Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • Installing the Manitowoc UY-0310A undercounter ice maker in a room where the temperature is very high will drastically reduce its ice production capacity to 80lbs per day.

3. Scotsman CU50GA-1A – Best Undercounter Ice Maker for a Home Bar

Scotsman CU50GA-1A Ice Maker

Scotsman is a reputable ice maker brand that has been on the market since the 1950s. Their CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker is capable of producing restaurant-quality, clear, gourmet ice and it is meant for home use.

The Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker is unique because of the built-in water quality sensors. The machine recognizes hard water and further filters it so it doesn’t put too much pressure on the motor. This also extends the time between cleanups. As it is only 15 inches wide, the Scotsman CU50GA-1A can easily fit into any space.

The Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker comes at a price of around $1,970.

This Scotsman undercounter ice maker has a 1-year warranty for parts and labor and a 5-year warranty on the condenser and compressor.

The Scotsman undercounter ice maker is mostly made of rust-proof, durable stainless steel.

The Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker is equipped with a control panel that reminds the user when it is time for a cleanup. Use a specialized cleaning agent for interior and mild detergent for exterior cleaning.

Daily ice production of Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker is around 64lbs.

The Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker has an average ice storage capacity of 26lbs.

The advantages of Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker produces is crystal-clear, free of odor and taste, and melts slowly.
  • The water-quality sensor purges hard water, which lessens the pressure on the Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker’s motor and prolongs cleaning.
  • The user-friendly control panel signalizes when the Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker is on, lights up when it requires to be cleaned or when there is no water in the reservoir.

The disadvantages of Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The Scotsman CU50GA-1A undercounter ice maker generates a lot of noise.

4. EdgeStar IB450SS – Best Stainless Steel Undercounter Ice Maker

EdgeStar IB450SS Ice Maker

EdgeStar is a home appliance brand established in 2004 in the USA. This EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker is an attractive unit that easily fits any kitchen and it is designed for home use as well as for hosting large dinner parties.

The EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker is special because it is equipped with a front venting system. This makes it easy to built-in under almost any counter. The adjustable legs allow setting the unit at the right height. The doors are reversible for increased ease of use. Computerized controls simplify using and cleaning the unit.

The EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker is priced between $1,100 and $1,160, depending on the color.

A 1-year warranty covers parts and labor for EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker.

The EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker is well-insulated, equipped with a tough, commercial-grade stainless steel door, and a curved handle. This type of construction ensures maximum durability of the unit. EdgeStar recommends buying a water filter – AP707, along with the unit to extend its life and maximize its performance.

The EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker is equipped with a “clean” button at the bottom that triggers the cleaning mechanism. However, the unit should be cleaned manually every 6 months as well.

The ice production capacity of EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker is 45lbs per day. The ice is produced in sheets of different thicknesses.

The EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker’s ice bin can hold up to 25lbs of ice.

The advantages of EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The control panel with several built-in buttons makes operating, maintaining, and cleaning the EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker straightforward.
  • The reversible door makes the EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker easy customizable and more convenient to fit into tight spaces.
  • The removable ice bin makes the EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker’s interior easier to clean.

The disadvantages of EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The EdgeStar IB450SS undercounter ice maker shuts off once the ice bin is ¾ full.

5. Manitowoc SM50A-161 SM50 – Best Air Cooled Undercounter Ice Maker

Manitowoc SM50A-161 SM50 Ice Maker

Manitowoc SM50A-161 is a stand-alone undercounter ice maker that produces gourmet top-hat ice. It is air-cooled and designed to fit into standard, 15-inch cabinet dimensions.

The Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker produces purer ice cubes than standard units because of the built-in scale inhibitor and filter. The indicator on the machine signalizes when it is time to replace the filter.

The Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker is backed up with a 3-year warranty for parts and labor and a 1-year limited warranty for residential use.

The price of Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker is around $1,900.

The Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker is mostly made of stainless steel while some parts are made of plastic.

The Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker is equipped with patented cleaning and sanitizing functions. This simplifies the cleaning process and makes the ice safe to consume.

The daily ice production capacity of Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker is 53lbs. The machine can produce ice on a time delay. Ice production can be delayed for 4, 12, or 24 hours.

The ice storage capacity of Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker is 25lbs. The interior of the ice bin lights up when the door is opened to provide maximum visibility of the amount of ice stored inside.

The advantages of Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The built-in water filtration system prevents scale buildup and the spread of bacteria inside the Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker.
  • The delay start option increases the convenience of using the Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker.
  • The lighted LED bin makes it easier to estimate the amount of stored ice in the Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker

The disadvantages of Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The ice at the bottom of the Manitowoc SM50A-161 undercounter ice maker melts fast.

6. EdgeStar IB120SS – Best Undercounter Ice Maker with Front Venting

EdgeStar IB120SS Ice Maker

The EdgeStar IB120SS is a built-in/freestanding undercounter ice maker that needs minimal installation. Because it doesn’t need a permanent drain line, it is ideal for kitchens, RV, boats, and offices. This ice maker is ADA compliant, meaning it fits into any 25-36-inch high x 15-inch wide counter.

The EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker is a low-intensity unit that doesn’t use much electricity. This unit comes with a well-insulated refrigerated freezer compartment that ensures the ice stored barely melts. The machine starts producing the ice as soon as it is plugged into an electrical socket.

EdgeStar provides a 1-year limited warranty for the IB120SS undercounter ice maker.

The price of EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker is around $500.

The EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker’s doors are made of true, durable stainless steel while its body is painted black.

The EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker should be cleaned every 3 weeks. As soon as the ice production slows down, the unit should be defrosted and left open for 3 hours.

The EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker can produce 12lbs of crescent-shaped ice per day.

The ice storage capacity of EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker is 6lbs. The unit shuts itself down when the ice bin is full.

The advantages of EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • Installation of the EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker requires minimum effort as there is no need to set a permanent drain line.
  • The well-insulated ice bin of the EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker keeps ice solid for as long as it is needed.
  • The EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker starts producing ice right away after being plugged in and turns off automatically when the bin is full, which saves energy.

The disadvantages of EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The EdgeStar IB120SS undercounter ice maker sometimes produces rattling noise.

7. DUURA DI50P – Best Freestanding Undercounter Ice Maker

DUURA DI50PDUURA manufactures premium quality ice makers, freezers, and wine coolers. This DI50P undercounter ice maker is suitable for commercial and residential use. It is energy-efficient and holds an EnergyStar certification.

The DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker is convenient to install and comes with a built-in drain pump and finished side legs. The front-breathing design ensures proper airflow and maximum efficiency of this ice maker. The lockout feature on the digital controller protects this unit from unauthorized use.

The price of DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker is around $1,295.

A special warranty should be bought for DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker.

The DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker is mostly made of stainless steel. The reversible doors make it convenient to open the unit from either left or right. Opening the door makes the unit’s interior illuminate in bright blue LED light.

The DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker features simple push-button controls. The automatic cleaning mode is activated at a single touch of a button.

The ice production capacity of DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker is 65lbs per day.

The DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker has an ice bin capacity of 25lbs. When the bin is full, the automatic overflow festure will prevent further ice production until the bin is emptied.

The advantages of DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker is certified by EnergyStar, NSF, and UL, which means it is completely safe to use, energy-efficient, and that it meets standard counter installation requirements.
  • The DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker is equipped with a digital controller that has on/off, clean, and adjust mode buttons.
  • The blue LED light enlightens the inside of the DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker and makes the amount of ice easier to check on.

The disadvantages of DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The warranty for the DUURA DI50P undercounter ice maker is not provided by the manufacturer.

8. Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD – Best Outdoor Undercounter Ice Maker

Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-ADThe Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD is a high-end undercounter ice maker that produces top hat ice cubes. This air-cooled unit can be installed under any standard counter.

The Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker is suitable for both residential and commercial use. It is even UL-approved for outdoor use. The machine is ADA compliant as well, meaning it doesn’t need any clearance and can be fitted into tight spaces.

The price of Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker is around $2,380.

The Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker is backed up with a 1-year warranty on the optional drain pump assembly or a 2-year warranty on the entire machine.

The Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker boasts a durable and rust-proof stainless steel construction.

External water filters of the Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker, as well as its exterior, should be cleaned every month using a neutral cleaner. The ice storage bin should be cleaned every 3 months. Ice storage, drain pump, condenser, and water hoses bin should be cleaned yearly.

The Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker produces up to 51lbs of ice per 24 hours.

The storage capacity of Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker is 22lbs.

The advantages of Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • Despite its compact size, the Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker can produce an impressive 51lbs of ice in a day.
  • The Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker is clean and maintain, which leads to its longer life.
  • The Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker can be used outdoors for any outdoor catered event, at poolside bars, etc.

The disadvantages of Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker are as follows:

  • The Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-AD undercounter ice maker has low ice storage capacity when compared to other high-end ice makers on the list.

What is an Undercounter Ice Maker?

Best Undercounter Ice Maker

An undercounter ice maker is a convenient ice-making machine that easily fits into tight spaces. These units are mostly installed under kitchen counters and cabinets and are found in both residential and commercial settings.

Undercounter ice makers are capable of filtering the water, producing clear ice cubes, and storing them for days. They have to be connected to a dedicated water line to provide a constant and large supply of ice. This reduces human contact with the ice cubes, prevents bacteria growth inside the machine, and makes the ice safe to consume.

Depending on the shape and size of the ice cubes, an undercounter ice maker can produce new batches of ice every 6 to 10 minutes. The freezing method or mold being used can also influence ice cube production speed.

Benefits of Undercounter Ice Makers

The top 5 benefits of undercounter or residential ice makers are listed below:

  • Suitable for any setting

Undercounter ice makers can be used at home or in bars, restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops. The ice this type of maker produces can be stored for days without losing hardness and works best with whiskeys and cocktails.

  • Steady ice flow

Undercounter ice makers provide a continuous supply of ice. They can run ice production cycles on their own until the ice bin is full. When the bin is emptied, the unit will continue producing new ice. Some models come with built-in buttons or levers that should be pressed or pulled to trigger instant ice production.

  • Great ice production and storage capacity

Undercounter ice makers can produce up to 300lbs of ice per day, such as the Manitowoc undercounter ice maker and store up to 100lbs of ice.

  • Ease of use

Undercounter ice makers are simple to install and use. Once hooked to a water supply and turned on, the machine will start producing ice.

  • Safety features

Most undercounter ice makers come with built-in water filters that purify water and remove lead, pesticides, chlorine, and other toxic chemicals from it. This results in cleaner and healthier ice cubes, unlike using ice trays to make ice cubes.

Undercounter vs Portable Ice Makers

Undercounter and portable ice makers come in different sizes and have different capacities. Portable ice makers are smaller and can be easily moved around, unlike undercounter ice makers that are hard to move.

Portable ice makers have a lower ice production capacity than undercounter ice makers. An average portable ice maker produces up to 30lbs of ice per day while undercounter ice makers can produce 12 to 304lbs of ice per day.

In terms of installation, a residential ice maker requires a water line and a drain to be installed and it is mostly installed permanently. Portable ice makers don’t require a water line and can be used on boats and RVs.

Undercounter ice makers can produce and store ice for as long as it is needed. Portable ice makers are capable of producing ice but lack storage capacity. Some portable ice makers can store up to 2lbs of ice, however, have poor and insulation and can’t keep the ice solid for more than 30 minutes.

The wrong types and insufficient capacities are the most important things to avoid when choosing your ice maker.

Types of Ice Produced by Undercounter Ice Machines

Cooling SystemUndercounter ice machines can produce 5 types of ice – nugget, dice, gourmet, crescent, and bullet-shaped ice, all of which are listed below:

1. Nugget ice

Nugget ice is soft and chewy and works best with soft drinks, cooling soda, blended cocktails, and fountain drinks. It melts at a fast rate and thus, can dilute the drink.

2. Dice ice

Dice ice works best with blended, mixed, and soft drinks and not with whiskey and cocktails. It has a soft texture and melts and dilutes drinks quickly.

3. Gourmet ice

Gourmet, top hat, or clear ice is used with non-blended drinks such as whiskey and high-end liquors. It provides fast cooling and slow melting so it doesn’t dilute drinks.

4. Crescent ice

Crescent ice melts and cools quickly and works best with blended, mixed, and soft drinks. It is best not to use it with whiskey and cocktails.

5. Bullet-shaped ice

Bullet-shaped ice is used for making iced teas, margaritas, soft drinks, and blended beverages. It melts relatively quickly, which is why it is not used with drinks that are supposed to be sipped.

Yet, there are more types of ice than undercounter ice makers can produce. Click here for more details.

How Do Undercounter Ice Makers Work?

Undercounter ice makers operate at a similar principle as all ice making machines. This machine needs a water line, an electric line, and a drain. Higher-end ice makers require a dedicated circuit breaker due to their electrical demands.

The water makes its way inside the unit through the water line, entering the area where there is a mold or some other cooling element. At the same time, the compressor turns on, and it starts compressing low-pressure coolant vapor into the high-pressure coolant vapor. This coolant is then delivered to the condenser.

The condenser takes the high-pressure coolant vapor and gets rid of heat from the compressor phase by routing the coolant through the coiled pipes. These pipes are usually placed on the back of the unit. Finally, the high-pressure vapor turns into high water pressure.

The pressurized coolant will move on to the inlet valve. The inlet valve releases the pressure from the coolant transforming back to vapor at a lower temperature. The refrigerant moves to the evaporator where the heat exchange happens.

The coolant comes into contact with a mold where the water will freeze upon contact, or via another cooling element. Once the mold is full, the ice will fall out into the tray. Any water that is created by condensation, along with the melting ice, goes into the drain via the outlet hose.

Note that some undercounter ice makers may work differently depending on the compressor and the condenser.

Undercounter Ice Maker Buying Guide

Best Residential Ice MakerThe 8 factors that should be considered when buying an undercounter ice maker are size, storage, ice quality, cooling system, drainage, water supply, maintenance, and capacity.

1. Storage/Size

Undercounter ice makers are made to specific dimensions, which is why the space where the unit should fit into is very important. When installing an ice maker, some extra space should be left around the unit for wires and tubes. A smaller undercounter ice maker that makes about 20 pounds of ice per day can fit neatly into a space smaller than an average dishwasher, depending on the brand.

Undercounter ice makers come with built-in insulated ice trays that can keep ice chilly for days. Smaller units have a 1 to 1 ratio and can store the same amount of ice they can produce in 24 hours. Bigger models can store up to half of their daily production capacity. They are mostly equipped with automatic shut-off valves that stop the ice production when the ice tray gets full.

2. Ice Quality

The quality of ice depends on the quality of water and the ice making machine. Opt for an undercounter ice maker that is equipped with a water filter that purifies the water, removes sediment and other pollutants, and prevents the ice from coming into contact with air, skin, or other surfaces. This type of unit will produce strong and clear ice cubes with no taste.

The shape of the ice cube depends on the mold or evaporator that the machine uses. A residential ice maker can produce bullet-shaped, nugget, crescent, dice, and gourmet ice while some machines produce specific styles typical for the manufacturer. Different types of crushed ice, such as shaved ice or crunchable ice are specifically used for soft drinks, cocktails, and high-end spirits depending on their melting rate and dilution speed. Blenders can also be used for crushing ice. These are the top 7 picks.

3. Cooling System

Cooling systems for ice makers are defined by what type of condenser is used to manipulate the coolant. The two main systems used for ice makers are air and water-based systems.

An air-cooled condenser relies on the ambient temperature around the machine to be cooler than the condenser’s hot coils. Fans or vents are used to suck in the cool air, and then circulate it through the condenser, thereby cooling it.

Water-cooled condensers use an additional water line to provide cold running water which would be used to cool down the coils of the condenser. However, this method is less practical, so most manufacturers chose the air-cooled condenser system for undercounter ice makers.

4. Drainage

Due to the inefficiency of ice makers in water consumption, there is always some left-over water sitting in the ice maker during the ice making process. The longer the water sits there, the higher chance bacteria will develop within the unit and contaminate it.

Most undercounter ice makers are equipped with one of two possible solutions for their drain needs, while some models don’t use drains at all and require periodic defrosting.

If the maker is close to a standard drain but no more than 2 feet and if it is hooked up the drain hose so that it goes down towards the drain, use a gravity drain. Because of the height difference, the excess water will move to the drain by the sole power of gravity.

If the drain is not close to the drain hose enough, or the hose can’t go downwards from the machine to the drain, a drain pump is going to be needed. This pump pushes the excess water from the unit, through the drain tube, and into the drain. If the unit doesn’t have a drain pump, an external drain pump should be bought.

5. Water Supply

Undercounter ice makers require a dedicated water line. The ice maker water line is simple to connect using the tubes that most manufacturers provide along with the ice making unit.

These tubes are usually smaller than the average water line. Because of its size, the tube should be installed in a way so it doesn’t get scratched or ripped when the ice maker is moved into its allocated space. A dedicated water line eliminates most of the household contaminants that can get into the ice machine.

Most ice makers can operate with a water supply that isn’t under 45°F or over 85°F year-round. The water pressure needs to be at a minimum of at least 15 PSI, but some ice makers can be more demanding with a minimum of 30 PSI. Also, the water pressure shouldn’t exceed 80 PSI for most undercounter ice makers for safety reasons.

6. Maintenance

To clean an ice maker, inspect the inside parts of the machine. To avoid the bacteria spreading and forming scales on the metal cooling elements, use a homemade cleaning solution and wipe down the exposed parts. Follow the manufacturer’s guide on how to clean the unit, how often, and which cleaning solution to use. Thoroughly rinse the ice maker with water when applying the cleaning solution. Some models have a built-in ‘clean’ function or button that simplifies the cleaning process.

CapacityCheck electric connections to see if any wires are dangling, not connected, or fried. The condenser and its grill need to stay clean from dust, grease, and other particles that can hinder the unit’s performance. Use a non-corrosive cleaner, a fine comb, or a brush to get rid of any tough grime. If the ice maker uses water filters, periodically clean or replaces them, depending on the instructions given by the manufacturer.

7. Capacity

Most undercounter ice makers can produce 12, 14, or 16 cubes per cycle. The total daily capacity of an undercounter ice maker is calculated when the average time needed to produce the ice cubes is multiplied by the number of cubes. Average residential ice makers can make 12lbs of ice in a day while higher-end models can produce 60 to 304lbs of ice.

The type and shape of ice affect the ice maker’s capacity. Cheaper ice makers usually produce more ice cubes per cycle. More expensive models may produce fewer ice cubes per cycle while the cubes are of great quality and melt at a slow rate.

How To Clean an Undercounter Ice Maker

To clean an undercounter ice maker, follow the steps listed down below:

  1. Turn the unit off,
  2. Remove ice from the ice bin if there is any,
  3. Remove the drain cap and wait until the water is completely drained out, then put the cap back on,
  4. Pour the recommended amount of an ice maker cleaner and two glasses of water in the water pan on the back of the unit,
  5. Start the ice making process by pressing the “clean button”,
  6. Once the cleaning cycle is done, remove the drain cap once again so the water pan is completely drained,
  7. Take the drain cap back in place,
  8. Turn the ice maker on.

Troubleshooting Residential Ice Makers

  1. The machine isn’t running

Check if the power supply is turned on. Also, check the circuit breaker and replace it if it is faulty.

  1. The ice is overflowing

A faulty sensor can make any undercounter maker overflow with ice and it should be replaced.

  1. Low ice capacity

If an ice maker is not producing enough ice, it could be that it is not properly connected to the power supply, the condenser, or the faulty valve’s filter screen. If the unit is low on water and ice, it could make a knocking sound.

  1. Leaks

A broken hose or a faulty pump, water outlet, tank, ice bin, or valves could be the reason why an undercounter ice maker leaks.

  1. Poor ice quality

If the ice maker’s filtration system is not working properly or if the machine isn’t sanitized, it will produce cloudy ice cubes.

  1. Ice is melting rapidly

If the condenser hasn’t been cleaned for more than 6 months or if the ice maker is installed in an area where ambient temperature exceeds 60 degrees, the ice will melt quickly.

FAQ about Undercounter Ice Makers

1. The machine is working, but no ice is coming out, what do I do?

If the ice maker is working but no ice is coming out, see if the water line is hooked up properly and if there are any leaks. Also, check if the inlet water is too hot, which could be preventing the machine from making ice.

Check if the compressor is running and if there are any ruptures for the coolant or refrigerant to run out of the machine. Check the water filter for any possible blockages or contact an authorized serviceman.

2. Why is the machine making half or incomplete cubes?

When an undercounter ice maker creates unfinished ice in the time of a normal creation cycle, it could be that the machine may not be level. If it is not level, then the water inside the machine won’t be either, preventing the ice cubes from forming normally.

It can also be a problem with the wrong water pressure. Make sure that the ice makers water pressure fits the parameters specified by the manufacturer in the manual. Other reasons for this include poor water filtration, or a faulty ice thickness switch that needs to be repaired or replaced.

3. Ice production capacity suddenly drops, what is the cause?

If ice cube production suddenly slows down, check the temperature and pressure of the incoming water or the condenser. Condensers won’t work well if they are dirty, or are physically obstructed by objects blocking their fans.

4. Why is my ice cloudy when it used to be clear?

The ice produced by an undercounter ice maker is going to be cloudy when the water filtration system, responsible for purifying water, becomes dirty of blocked.

If the water filter is not blocked, it could be the machine needs thorough cleaning to get rid of any invisible bacteria that has spread on the inside or replacement. If a residential ice maker is cleaned periodically, as well as the water filter, and the ice produced is still not clear, the water supply should be inspected. The water quality directly affects the clarity of ice and it can cause your ice to be cloudy.

5. Do I need to defrost or drain my ice maker?

No, there is no need to defrost or drain an ice maker. Undercounter ice makers are usually equipped with some kind of drain system that gets rid of any excess water, be it a gravity drain, or a drain pump. However, some models don’t have this feature and act as a freezer when they are full of ice, not letting the ice melt and eliminating the need for a drain. In case of a buildup, the ice maker should be defrosted regardless of the fact does it have a drain or not.

6. Do undercounter ice makers have to be installed under the counter?

No, small-scale undercounter ice makers can be installed as freestanding units as well, provided the unit is installed near the water line, drain, and power supply.

7. Are residential ice makers energy-efficient?

Some residential ice makers are more energy-efficient than others and hold EnergyStar certifications. Other units turn off automatically when the ice bin is full or are equipped with delayed production buttons that are supposed to save energy.

8. Do undercounter ice makers come with accessories?

Yes, some undercounter ice makers come with water connection hoses, ice buckets, and/or ice scoops.

About Aaron Walters

Aaron Walters is a code writer by day, and a cocktail enthusiast by night. Once he realized that high-quality ice is equally important as other ingredients, he started researching ice machines of all types and sizes. Icemaking101.com is a library of researched topics regarding all things ice he made along the way.

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