That’s why an undercounter ice maker is an important appliance in any restaurant. It’ll make lots of ice at the shortest possible time to keep up with the high demand. And because they’re designed to be tucked away under a counter, they won’t occupy significant floor space or get in the way of bartenders and servers.
For very large households that use ice frequently, an undercounter would be much better than several countertop ice makers. Similarly, events that gather a large group of people would also benefit from a nearby undercounter ice maker.
These ice makers are bulky and heavy so they’re not exactly portable. While they’re designed to be built into a cabinet or under the counter, most come with front venting so that they can be installed free standing in a corner.
They’re also not cheap. Many are twice the price of the countertop versions. But they can produce large quantities of ice in short cycles, so they're worth the price. Some can even make ice up to 500lbs a day.
They are essentially mini fridges with freezer capability. Equipped with large and spacious ice bins, they can store more ice for longer periods so you can basically stock your supply if there is a momentary lull in the demand. That’s why they’re great additions to a canteen or a company break-room.
Most of these products use air- or water-cooled condensers to create ice in large quantities. They are also capable of making a variety of ice types. The most popular ones are those that produce crystal clear ice cubes which are preferred by restaurant owners because they look good when added to cocktail drinks. They also melt slower.
Other types create crescent ice, while some are designed to produce nugget ice. Whatever your ice needs is, there’s usually a undercounter type that’s capable of making it.
Because these are heavy duty appliances, they tend to have durable exteriors which are generally made from stainless steel. The interior components, meanwhile, are designed to withstand the rigors of daily use.
They’re also easy to use since they have digital LCD panels that allow you to monitor ice production. Some will even have features that allow you to pick the size of the ice cubes or set a timer.
In this list, I’ve featured the ones that are an ideal blend of efficiency and affordability. Here are my top five undercounter ice makers in the market.
Table of Contents
- The Best Undercounter Ice Makers
- 1. Whynter Stainless Steel Built-In Ice Maker
- 2. SMETA 15 Inch Wide Built-In Ice Maker 12 lbs Undercounter Ice Machine with Freezer
- 3. KoolMore Undercounter Ice Maker Machine
- 4. Smad Commercial Ice Maker Machine Undercounter
- 5. COSTWAY Commercial Ice Machine, Automatic Portable Freestanding Ice Cube Maker with Scoop
- Buyers Guide to Picking the Best Undercounter Ice Maker
The Best Undercounter Ice Makers
- Whynter Stainless Steel Built-In Ice Maker
- SMETA 15 Inch Wide Built-In Ice Maker 12 lbs Undercounter Ice Machine with Freezer
- KoolMore Undercounter Ice Maker Machine
- Smad Commercial Ice Maker Machine Undercounter
- COSTWAY Commercial Ice Machine, Automatic Portable Freestanding Ice Cube Maker with Scoop
1. Whynter Stainless Steel Built-In Ice Maker
This built-in undercounter ice maker can make 12 pounds of crescent-shaped ice in 24 hours. It’s also capable of storing 6 pounds of ice.
It runs on a high efficiency CFC-free compressor and consumes 120W. It has front venting, with no drain required, so it can be installed freestanding. The door is made from stainless steel while the cabinet is made from hard plastic.
It’s easy to use with only a single button for operation. This unit also includes an ice scoop and a 25 foot 1/4-inch food grade water line connection. There are two versions of this model that come with a wall fan or a water filter.
This product comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
- Also functions as a freezer and produces dry ice
- Has a reversible door
- Requires additional purchase of an adapter for 1/4 push lock
- One user said that the hose connection was made of cheap plastic
2. SMETA 15 Inch Wide Built-In Ice Maker 12 lbs Undercounter Ice Machine with Freezer
This ice maker can make 12 lbs of crescent shaped ice cubes in 24 hours and can store 6 lbs of ice. An average ice production cycle takes about 40-50 minutes and only consumes 115W. Because this is equipped with a freezer, the ice can stay frozen until you use it.
It features adjustable temperature controls, automatic defrosting, and an auto-shut off function when the ice bin becomes full. It doesn’t require drainage and has front venting so that it can be installed freestanding. It also uses a stainless steel reversible door for left or right hand swing.
The product includes an ice scoop, water line, and a removable ice bin. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Adjustable temp control
- Auto Shut Off function
- The compressor fan is relatively loud
- At lower temperatures, the ice cubes tend to clump into a block
3. KoolMore Undercounter Ice Maker Machine
This is a heavy duty undercounter ice maker machine that produces 198 lbs of ice cubes per 24 hours. It uses a 55 lbs ice storage bin so it’s ideal for large households, resto bars, or event use. It can produce 90 pieces of ice cubes per cycle; each cycle takes about 13-20 minutes.
Built for heavy use, it utilizes a 200W compressor to freeze ice. It’s also designed to meet ETL electrical current requirements.
This product will allow you to adjust ice cube thickness on its easy-use-LCD display. The panel also has built-in support for Time and Self Cleaning functions.
This product includes a water inlet hose, drain hose, 2 connectors, and an easy-to-follow user manual. There’s also a clear window to the front to make it convenient for you to check the ice bin content. This comes with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor.
- Large scale ice cube production
- Self Cleaning function
- California’s Proposition 65 warning label
4. Smad Commercial Ice Maker Machine Undercounter
This commercial undercounter ice maker can make 99 lbs of clear ice cubes every 24 hours and can store 33 lbs of it. It produces 45 pieces of ice in just 11-20 minutes each cycle.
Like most commercial brands, this is equipped with fully digitized functions that is accessible through a user-friendly LCD display screen. It has an automatic cleaning mode as well as an auto-stop function.
Four touch buttons in the interface allow the user to control time and temperature for making ice cubes.
When connected to a water line, this unit will consume 50 liters of water per day. This can be installed as built-in unit or free standing since it has front venting.
It comes with an ice scoop, a water supply hose, a water supply connector, a water draining hose and a 1-year warranty.
- Automatic water supply
- Frost free
- One user commented that it lacks an inline pressure regulator for water inlet
5. COSTWAY Commercial Ice Machine, Automatic Portable Freestanding Ice Cube Maker with Scoop
This ice maker produces 88 lbs of ice per day and can store 8.8 lbs of it in its self-contained storage bin. This unit produces resto-quality crystalline clear ice cubes in 12-18 minute cycles.
It features a water shortage auto-detection system as well as controls for adjusting ice thickness. The LCD screen is user-friendly and is equipped with indicators for monitoring water level and ice storage bin content. It also has an Auto-Stop mode when the bin is full. When the bin is emptied, it automatically switches back to ice production mode. There’s also a Self-Cleaning mode.
This is a heavy duty appliance; it has steel internal construction and enclosure, and has front air intake and exhaust vents. It runs on standard household electrical current and is UL approved for commercial use.
- NSF certified
- Energy efficient
- Requires a ground drain
- The water source line accessory is cheaply made and will require replacement for a more durable one
Buyers Guide to Picking the Best Undercounter Ice Maker
As much as possible, pick the brands that have certifications. There are two noteworthy labels to look out for: Energy Star and NSF listed machines.
An Energy Star certified ice maker means that it’s energy efficient and is designed to minimize the emission of chemicals that worsen global warming. For some brands, this means using eco-friendly refrigerants instead of harmful CFC.
A NSF compliant ice maker machine, meanwhile, meets strict public health standards and is designed to be easy to clean.
For your best buy, look for one with both labels.
If you’re planning to buy an undercounter for your office environment, you could look for an ADA Compliance label. It’s a certification that designates the model as being compliant with the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) design guidelines.
To make an appropriate final buying decision, don't forget to think about how much ice you need per day. If you plan on using the ice maker for commercial purposes, the yield of the machine should be more than 26 pounds per day. On the other hand, capacity ranging from producing 12 pounds to 20 pounds of ice a day seems to be more than good enough for residential purposes.
Built primarily for commercial purposes, a good undercounter ice maker should also offer enough storage space to meet most of the ice demands for any form of use. The ability to store about 5 lbs of ice at a time will suffice to serve a dinner gathering or an outdoor party for 7-10 people.
Type of Ice
There are 6 types of ice that ice makers are designed to produce. The most common are the hollow bullet ice cubes that are popular among countertype models. But among undercounter types, the preferred ice types are usually the gourmet ice and the crescent shaped ice.
Gourmet ice are basically crystal clear ice cubes. This ice is produced without any air bubbles so that you get a transparent ice cube. Resto-bar owners prefer this because it melts relatively slowly in comparison to other ice cubes and also because of the aesthetic quality of the ice. A cocktail drink looks even better if it has crystal clear cubes floating on it.
Crescent ice cubes, meanwhile, are less messy to use. The shape of the cube allows the liquid to cascade over the cube rather than splashing back so it looks good, presentation-wise, when the bartender is pouring your drink in front of you. It’s also a nifty way to sort of “pad” a drink; because a crescent shape ice cube is slender, you can pack more cubes to fit a glass. This makes the drink appear fuller when you pour liquid on it.
Pick an ice maker that has a drain option suited to where you’ll eventually place the machine. There are two drain types to choose from: gravity and drain pumps.
If you’re using the undercounter in a kitchen, a gravity drain will be more suited because you can just place the machine near a drain port. It will empty out the melted water passively through gravity and pass it down the kitchen drain.
But if the placement of the undercounter isn’t suited for draining water downwards, you might want to get a model with a drain pump instead. It’ll do the easy work of moving the water out of the machine and into a nearby drain.
Some ice makers will have design features that make it more convenient for you to produce ice. One example is a built-in water filter. If you hooked up your machine to your water system, this filter will help remove particles and other contaminants from the water before freezing. Not only does filtered water make ice cubes look good, but it also improves overall taste and smell.
Other useful features are an Auto-Shut Off function or a Timer function. The auto shut off mechanism will prevent the machine from being overloaded and the timer will allow you significant control over the ice production process. Other high end brands will feature a function for controlling the size of the ice cubes.
Pick the best one that has the features suited for your needs.
The standard warranty for machines like these is 1 year, however, some high end brands could offer more. Try to look for one that will extend the manufacturer’s warranty to covering shipping damage since most of the negative reviews I’ve read are about damage to the product during shipping.
Also important is finding out if the brand’s aftersales service is reliable and prompt. Responsive customer service will make it easy for you to return a faulty product and get a replacement.