An ice maker is a handy appliance to have especially when you need a quick supply of ice for your drinks. Countertop versions are especially convenient because they’re compact and portable but still provide the same quality of ice as the commercial industrial types.
The appliance is also easy to use. Just fill its reservoir with water, plug it into an outlet and within minutes, ice cubes start falling into its bucket ready to be served to your guests. That’s because it utilizes a metal heat exchanger prong that’s placed directly in the water in order to freeze it quickly.
The longer the prong stays in the water, the larger ice cubes can be. Some brands will be able to produce small pieces of ice in 6 minutes, while larger ones take about twice as much time as that. The speed also depends on the ambient temperature in the room which is why countertop ice makers are never to be used outdoors.
It’s also important to note that an ice maker is not a freezer. Once it produces ice, it should be used right away or transferred to a freezer to keep it from melting. Some high-end models will have storage features though and these make them useful appliances to have in an RV or a boat because they help you to save space.
In general, there are three types of ice that are produced by ice makers.
- The more common type is the hollow bullet ice which is opaque but relatively melts quickly.
- Some models produce nugget ice which is soft, fluffy and chewable. Some prefer this over crushed ice for their margaritas because it stays intact longer and elevates the cocktail drinking experience.
- Finally, there are the clear ice maker types that produce gourmet ice. This clear ice is usually served in upscale drinks at high-end liquor bars not only because it melts five times slower than bullet or nugget ice, but also because its crystal clear clarity makes the drink look so elegant.
Ice makers aren’t cheap but if you get one, it’ll be a good investment because it will pay for itself in the long term especially if you use it regularly. The approach is certainly cheaper than regularly ordering ice.
Some consumers prefer ice makers because they offer a hygienic way of handling ice. Unlike ice from a freezer tray, you don’t have to touch it to transfer it into your drink.
For this post, I’ve selected a variety of types that perform well according to their user reviews but are also relatively affordable for the average household. Here are my top five best countertop ice makers.
Table of Contents
- Best Countertop Ice Makers
- 1. GE Profile Opal | Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
- 2. NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker Machine, Makes 40 lbs of Ice, Portable Stainless Steel, ClearIce40
- 3. Frigidaire Ice Maker Machine Heavy Duty, Large Stainless Steel
- 4. Luma Comfort Portable Clear Ice Maker 28 lb Daily, Perfect Countertop Icemaker Machine, Stainless Steel
- 5. Euhomy Ice Maker Machine Countertop, 40Lbs/24H Portable Compact Ice Cube Maker, With Ice Scoop & Basket
- Buyers Guide To Buying The Right Countertop Ice Maker For You
Best Countertop Ice Makers
- GE Profile Opal | Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
- NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker Machine, Makes 40 lbs of Ice, Portable Stainless Steel, ClearIce40
- Frigidaire Ice Maker Machine Heavy Duty, Large Stainless Steel
- Luma Comfort Portable Clear Ice Maker 28 lb Daily, Perfect Countertop Icemaker Machine,
- Euhomy Ice Maker Machine Countertop, 40Lbs/24H Portable Compact Ice Cube Maker, With Ice Scoop & Basket
1. GE Profile Opal | Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
This is a popular countertop nugget ice maker that doesn’t require water hookup. Just fill it with water and then plug it into a 120V standard electrical outlet.
It can produce 1 lb of ice per hour and its bin can hold 3 lbs of nugget ice at a time. If the ice melts, it will be recycled back into the reservoir so that it can be used to produce another batch. The manufacturer says that it will produce ice in just 20 minutes and can produce 25 lbs of ice per day.
It has smart features. When it senses that the bin is full of ice, it stops production so that it won’t overfill. It will automatically resume ice production when it senses that the ice is running low. It also has Bluetooth capabilities so you can use a smartphone to set up an ice making schedule or monitor its status.
Made of stainless steel and plastic, this unit includes a side tank which attaches easily to the ice maker and can increase ice production 3x more. This comes with a limited 1-year warranty on parts and labor.
- Built-in cleaning mode
- Quiet hum
- Bluetooth app only works 40 feet away
- Some comments on unreliable warranty issues with GE
2. NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker Machine, Makes 40 lbs of Ice, Portable Stainless Steel, ClearIce40
This countertop ice maker produces clear, transparent, restaurant-quality ice that’s perfect for liquor like Scotch. It makes ice by passing water over chilled rods to freeze it while keeping air out.
It can make ice in just 15 minutes after warm-up. The manufacturer says it’s capable of producing up to 40 lbs of ice in just 24 hours. It uses insulated storage so that the ice cubes stay frozen longer than most ice makers.
It has a stainless steel finish and a small footprint so it fits easily in any small space in a kitchen. It’s also easy to use; just plug it in, fill the reservoir with water and push a button to get it started.
Also included with the product is a small BPA free plastic ice scoop and removable ice basket. This product comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Energy efficient
- Easy to clean and maintain
- The ice tends to clump into a block; users say they have to break it apart into cubes for use
3. Frigidaire Ice Maker Machine Heavy Duty, Large Stainless Steel
This is a heavy duty bullet ice maker that’s equipped with an oversized ice basket that’s capable of holding 2.2 lbs of ice.
It produces ice cubes in three sizes (small, medium, and large) in as little as 6 minutes. It can produce 26 lbs of ice a day.
It is equipped with an LED control panel where you can choose the settings for your ice. There’s an On/Off button, a Select Size button, and LED indicators to tell you if the ice basket is full or the reservoir needs refilling. This unit does not require draining so it’s ideal for office use. It’s also easy to use and only requires 115 volts, or a standard three-prong outlet.
Made from stainless steel, it also includes a shovel and an ice basket. This product comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Creates three sizes of ice cubes
- Easy to operate
- Relatively loud
4. Luma Comfort Portable Clear Ice Maker 28 lb Daily, Perfect Countertop Icemaker Machine, Stainless Steel
This clear ice maker uses the same technology found in commercial ice makers. It produces ice cubes by cascading water over a super-cooled ice tray to freeze ice layer by layer.
It has a 15-minute freezing time per cycle and is capable of producing 28 lbs of ice per day. It is also equipped with an insulated storage area inside the ice maker so that ice doesn’t melt quickly. But when it does, the water drains back into the machine to be recycled for the next round of ice production.
It’s made from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic. It has a simple two-button operation with an LED control panel that also alerts you when you need to add water in the reservoir or when the ice bucket is full.
This unit does not require any plumbing. It comes with the standard 1-year warranty.
- Produces thick and thin ice cubes
- Extra thick insulation
- Not easy to clean
- Controls are not intuitive
5. Euhomy Ice Maker Machine Countertop, 40Lbs/24H Portable Compact Ice Cube Maker, With Ice Scoop & Basket
This is an ice cube maker that has an automatic cleaning function. It is also equipped with a high efficiency compressor for quick and quiet cooling.
It produces 24 clear ice cubes every 12-18 minutes. Its reservoir can hold about 2.2 liters of water so when it’s full, it’s enough for 5 cycles or about 120 ice cubes. On a daily basis, it’s capable of producing 40 lbs of ice. A special feature of this unit is that one can adjust the thickness of the ice cubes, depending on your needs.
It also uses a Water Recycling System. It filters the melted water and collects it in the reservoir so that it can be used again for ice production.
The LED interface is easy to use. It uses an easy-to-read push-button and has LED lights to indicate if the water reservoir needs refilling or the ice bucket is full. It is also equipped with a timer that can be set up to an 8-hour delay.
The unit comes with an ice scoop and a limited 1-year warranty.
- Can be used with fully charged 300W and 500W battery power stations
- Quieter than most bullet ice makers
- Its drop detection flap occasionally gets jammed and frozen.
- The cubes will occasionally clump into ice bars
Buyers Guide To Buying The Right Countertop Ice Maker For You
Type of Ice
Hollow bullet ice is ideal for cooling drinks; it melts evenly and the hollow part increases the contact area of the ice cube so it quickly chills your drinks.
Nugget ice is best for blended drinks and cocktails. It won’t quickly melt like a hollow bullet so you can enjoy the texture of ice while sipping your drink. It’s also useful for treating joint injuries because it can be easily molded around the injured part, reducing swelling quickly.
Clear gourmet ice is for those who want restaurant quality ice cubes. Because it won’t have trapped air bubbles, it will melt more slowly than hollow or nugget ice. And also look good while doing so.
Capacity and Cycle Speed
Check how much ice an ice maker’s bucket can hold, how quickly the appliance makes ice, and how many pieces of ice per cycle. This is especially important when planning a cocktail party. Usually, a pound of ice per person is a good figure to start with. Factor this in with the capacity of your ice maker.
In general, countertop models will produce 1.5 to 2 lbs per hour although some models can produce more. You might also check into how many pounds per day it can produce. Or if you’re just making ice for yourself, look at how many pieces it can make in a specific number of minutes.
Look at the features per model. Some will offer a range of ice shapes and sizes. Others will come equipped with sensors that alert you when the water reservoir is full or if the ice bucket needs to be emptied.
If you’re sensitive to noise, you can look for versions that are more well-insulated. Some are also designed with sound proofing features.
Not all ice makers are designed for easy cleaning. So one useful feature is an auto-cleaning function. Do check however if it really cleans the machine effectively. Otherwise, you’ll end manually cleaning the entire thing to prevent bacteria from growing on the inside of the machine.
In general, warranty cover will be a parts only or full parts and labor basis over a one-year period. However, some brands do offer a longer warranty period or provide an option to get an additional warranty coverage if needed.
Get the fullest level of warranty if you can. And while you’re at it, check also if the brand has reliable customer aftersales service. Many complaints about the quality of the machine come from users who did not follow the instructions before operating the machine. For instance, you can’t use it immediately after delivery. You have to let stay still for a few hours or so.
Having access to responsive customer service will certainly prevent you from committing that mistake since you can easily reach them and receive prompt assistance.