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Best countertop ice maker

I never knew the importance of having a countertop ice maker until I hosted my first barbeque. The weather was right, the food was great, the company was amazing, and everyone was just in a bubbly relaxed mood. However, it just felt like I was spending more time refilling ice trays rather than interacting with my guests and ultimately the inevitable happened – I ran out of ice.

Nobody was complaining, but you could tell they were not enjoying their drinks as much as they did the first round. That party made me realize nobody likes a warm drink, and do not even get me started on the melted store-bought bagged ice I ended up with in an attempt to salvage the situation.

You never really realize the importance of ice cubes in a social gathering until you run out and it just feels like your refrigerator is not making them fast enough. If this has ever happened to you, investing in a high quality countertop ice maker might be what you need in preparation for your next party. If nothing else, it will at least spare you from making a trip to the convenience store right when Janice is in the middle of telling a hilarious story.

Below you will find my review about countertop ice makers. Don’t forget to check out the buyer’s guide to help you decide  which is best countertop ice maker for your needs.

QUICK links to navigate OUR 5 countertop ice makers 2018 reviews 

Best Countertop ice maker : features to compare ?

ice maker reviews

Countertop ice makers vary widely in size, function, cost, and components among many other things. Therefore, what could you look out for before you made your purchase ?

Ice Production Capacity

Ice production is indicated in terms of pounds per day assuming continuous production throughout the 24 hours. The smallest units could be producing about 20 pounds of ice a day whereas larger units could produce as much as 35 pounds within the same period. The production capacity you go for will be informed by how frequently you use ice be it in your home, office or at your average parties.

Ice Production Speed

This refers to how fast the ice maker produces ice, and it is indicated as minutes to first serving. The best countertop ice maker would produce about one batch every 6 minutes. If it goes beyond 10 minutes to produce a single batch, then that particular machine is a bit slow.

Ice Type

Most countertop ice makers produce bullet ice which is cylindrical but tastes just the same as ice made by traditional freezers. If you are feeling a bit fancy though, and want to enjoy restaurant-quality impurity-free clear cubed ice, crescent ice, nugget ice, sonic ice, crushed ice, etc., there are units that make just that.

Still, on the same, consider going for units that produce denser ice rather than soft ice. The latter will be produced faster, but it will also melt faster.

Simplicity

No portable ice maker should be difficult to install or use. The best countertop ice maker should have operations as simple as setting a timer, turning the power on and selecting your ice size. Simplicity also encompasses ease of cleaning, unless you want to have dirty ice. Look out for the location of the water filters, heating elements, and cooling trays.

Size

Before shopping for your ice maker, determine where you would like to place it on your countertop and measure the space. While measuring out this space, consider that your ice maker will require breathing room all around it for maximum circulation of oxygen.

Water Recycling

This handy innovation will save you both time and water. Inevitably, ice left untouched in the unit will melt. In older models, this melted ice would just sit there potentially damaging the ice maker. In newer models though, the ice water gets recycled back into the system.

Price

Price does not necessarily indicate that one model is better than another is. However, an increase in price could indicate that the higher-priced model has a larger capacity, is more efficient, produces fancy gourmet ice, etc. for this reason understand the features you would want in your countertop ice maker, before comparing prices.

Quick Summary Table Reviews for the Best Countertop Ice makers 2018

  Ice Maker Name Ice production Operation Cycle Storage capacity Weight 
SL1200 ice makerNewAir AI-100SS Countertop Ice Maker Best Pick 28 pounds 6-15 min 2.4 lbs 26.3 lbsCheck price
EdgeStar ice maker reviewEdgestar IP210BL Countertop Ice Maker 28 pounds 10 min 2.5 lbs 41.8 lbsCheck price
Igloo_ICE103_countertop_ice_makerIgloo ICE103 Countertop Ice Maker
Reasonable Price
26 pounds 6-15 min 2.2 lbs 25.9 lbsCheck price
ivation ice maker reviewIvation IVA-ICEM15SIL Countertop Ice Maker 26.5 pounds 6 min 1.5 lbs 21.2 lbsCheck price
Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Ice Maker Avalon Bay AB-ICE26B Countertop Ice Maker 26 pounds 6-13 min 1.5 lbs 20 lbsCheck price

1.  NewAir AI-100SS Countertop Ice Maker review – The Best-Selling Ice Maker in the Market

The sleek, eye-catching design featuring an elegant combination of black and stainless steel is definitely the first thing you will love about this ice maker, along with the simple LED controls operable by a simple push. Measuring just 14.5” L x 11.75” W x 15” H and weighing 26.3 lbs., this NewAir portable ice maker is conveniently compact, making it the best countertop ice maker for kitchens with limited countertop space.

As far as ice production goes, this unit has a water capacity of 176 ounces, a production capacity of 28 pounds per day and a storage capacity of 2.4 pounds. You can enjoy your first batch of bullet-shaped ice in just 6 minutes. Each cycle produces 9 pieces of ice whereby you can set the unit to choose from 3 ice sizes.

NewAir countertop ice maker review

Efficient technological features you will love about this ice maker are the automatic shut off, water recycling and the overflow protection feature. When the ice bin is full, or the water tank is empty, the unit will automatically shut off. At the same time, the empty water reservoir indicator and the full basket indicator will both flash to draw your attention to the unit.

If you are not close by to empty the ice bin, you do not have to worry. The melted ice water will be recycled to make the next batch. Finally, the overflow protection feature will prevent blockage and overloading of the unit. You do have to clean the unit occasionally though, and this is made easy owing to the fact that there is a side-mounted drain and the ice bin is removable.   

Using this unit is as simple as plugging it into any ordinary household plug, filling it with water, selecting an ice size and pressing start. If you are particularly concerned about saving the environment, you will love the fact that this ice maker uses R-134A refrigerant, which does not damage the ozone layer.

Pros

Cons

Has an easy-to-use LED control panel

Has indicator lights for empty water reservoir and fill ice bin

Removable ice bucket comes with an ice scoop

 Heat up very quickly thanks to the 1700 watt power

Has a quick ice production speed of 6 minutes per cycle

Choose from 3 ice sizes

It does not have a self-cleaning function

Can only produce bullet ice

Overall, If you need an ice maker that is not only efficient but also has a stylish look, then this is the best countertop ice maker for you. It is very portable and lightweight, making it the perfect ice maker to take with you wherever you go. Besides, this unit is very easy to set up and operate making it a perfect choice even when you are feeling a bit buzzed from all the merry-making.

2.  EdgeStar IP210BL Countertop Ice Maker Review – Make Ice With Style

With the option of choosing to go with black, titanium, red or stainless steel, this brand of EdgeStar ice maker is both a functional and aesthetic addition to any kitchen space. The best part is that you will hardly ever need to use the drain, thus eliminating the option of only putting it in the kitchen. With this ice maker, you can go ahead and place it in your office, mini bar area, RV, etc. without worrying about any water spillages.

Measuring 14.5” L x 11.75” W x 14.75” H and weighing 41.85 lbs., this unit is disadvantaged in that it is not as compact and as lightweight as some of its competitors. It is however still very portable, and you can conveniently take it with you wherever you may be in need of plenty of instant ice.

EdgeStar portable ice maker

The larger size of this ice maker might arise from the fact that the ice storage bin is larger than that of other units and has a capacity of 2.5 lbs. besides being conveniently large in size, the bin is also well insulated keeping your ice cool for longer periods.

A good thing to note would be that despite being well insulated, the bin is not a freezer; therefore, your ice will melt eventually. Do not expect it to stay frozen for too long. When it does melt, however, the innovative water-use design will simply recycle the melted ice water to make more ice.

You might also appreciate the fact that this unit also has a very efficient ice production capacity of 28 pounds a day in either of the three ice sizes meaning your party never has to stop for you to make a quick dash to the convenience store for a bag of ice. Yes, like with all the best countertop ice makers, this one too gives you the option of choosing from 3 ice sizes: small, medium and large.

The ice production speed is a little slow though seeing as batches are produced every 10 minutes or so, but then again 10 minutes is not such a long time to wait.

Pros

Cons

Insulated storage bin with a capacity of 2.5lbs

Can produce as much as 28 pounds of bullet ice per day

Has touch-sensitive controls, which are easy to use

Choose from 3 ice sizes

Has an efficient water-recycling feature

✘  An ice production speed of 10 minutes is a little slow, compared to some of the best countertop ice makers

✘  You might notice a lingering metal scent at first

Overall, if you are willing to compromise a little extra ice production time, to enjoy the benefits of higher ice production and a well-insulated ice storage bin, then this EdgeStar ice maker is well worth your money.

3.  Igloo ICE103 Countertop Ice Maker Review – Budget Friendly Ice maker

This Igloo ice maker would be the best countertop ice maker for buyers with a low budget. Let this not fool you about the efficiency of the gadget though. Measuring 14” L x 12” W x 15” H, it weighs 25.9 pounds, can produce 26 lbs of ice in a 24-hour span and has an oversized ice bucket with a capacity of 2.2 pounds.

With its stainless steel finish along with clean, sleek edges, this gadget is a simple yet elegant addition to any existing décor in your home. The whole look is completed by the stout rubber stands that allow you to place the unit on any surface, without having to worry too much about its sturdiness.

Igloo ICE103 portable ice maker

Setting up this ice maker is a breeze, and it is just as easy to get started making your first batch of ice. All you do is fill the reservoir with water, and voila! Ice production would be underway. As far as its efficiency goes, this ice maker uses just 120 W of power, which is much less, than the power consumption of other ice makers within that price range, and the unit is cooled by a compressor.

A fresh batch of ice is produced every 6 minutes, making it among the best countertop ice makers as far as ice production speed goes. There are also indicator lights located on the control panel, which flash whenever the water bucket is full or when the water reservoir is empty.

Having the option of choosing from 3 ice sizes is quite a handy addition, that allows you to make ice in just the size you need either for your glass or for the blender. However, you might find that there is not that much of a difference between the ice sizes. Also, you might like the fact that the large bullet ice is denser, whereas the small ones are chewable making them perfect for people who love to chomp on ice.

Pros

Cons

Melted ice water gets recycled to make more ice

Has low power consumption

Provides fast ice production

The big ice bucket is very convenient

Made of durable stainless steel

✘  If the power goes out while the ice maker is running, it would not automatically come back on. You would have to reset and restart it manually

✘  It does not have a self-cleaning option

Overall, this would be the best countertop ice maker 2018 for buyers operating on a tight budget. The budget-efficiency goes on to the power consumption rate of the unit. This added perk would make this Igloo ice maker a very thoughtful gift for family and friends.

4. Ivation IVA-ICEM15SIL Countertop Ice Maker Review – User Fiendly Ice Maker

This Ivation ice maker has quite a futuristic look to it, and the functionality of the unit is just as advanced. To begin with, the unit has a large see-through window, which allows you to see how much ice is being produced without you having to open the machine.

On top of that, the digitalized control panel features easy-push touch buttons, and it is integrated with intuitive icons. For instance, when the ice making process is on standby, there will be a flashing snowflake icon.

This ice maker measures 9.5” L x 14.1” W x 12.9” H, weighs 21.2 lbs., has a water storage capacity of 80 ounces (2.5 quarts) and an ice storage capacity of 1.5 lbs. as far as ice production is concerned, this unit can churn out 26.5 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period when operating on the maximum settings. Unlike some of the best countertop ice makers in the market though, with this unit, you only get to choose between 2 ice sizes: small and large.

Ivation countertop ice maker

Just as well, the machine’s intelligent alert system will inform you if your attention is required. Indicator lights will go off whenever the water reservoir level runs low and when the maximum ice capacity has been reached in the ice bucket. With all these alerts, you can tell when to attend to the machine and when just to let it continue with the ice making process

If you happen to miss the indicators, you still do not have to worry. Once the ice bucket is filled to capacity, the unit automatically shuts off. At this point, you have the option of storing the ready bullet ice cubes in a cooler for later use or leaving the ice cubes in the ice bucket. If you opt for the latter, the ice will eventually melt, and the melted ice water will be used to create another batch of ice.

Using the environmentally friendly R134a refrigerant, this unit’s ice-making efficiency is further enhanced by the use of modern compressor refrigeration technology. Thanks to this modern compressor, the unit saves energy and is almost silent when working. Well, the unit cannot be completely silent because ice falling into the bin will still make some noise.

Pros

Cons

The water tank and ice tray are both removable for ease of cleaning

Employs advanced compressor technology, which is quieter

You can watch the ice making process through the large see-through window

Has light-up alerts

The unit conveniently comes with an ice scoop

✘  The water reservoir and the cube tray have small capacities compared to those of competitors

✘  It can only make bullet ice

This Ivation ice maker has a cycle time of about 6 minutes with 9 ice cubes in either of the 2 sizes being produced per cycle. It competitively matches up to the cycle time of the best countertop ice makers in the market making it is well worth your time and money.

5.  Avalon Bay AB-ICE26B Countertop Ice Maker Review – Eco Friendly Ice Maker

If you found the NewAir AI-100SS a bit too expensive then you will love that this Avalon Bay ice maker is a tad cheaper and who knows, it just might fight right into your budget as well as on your counter. This unit measures 11” L x 14.8” W x 14.7” H, is incredibly lightweight at just 20 lbs. and has a water capacity of 32 ounces. Although small in size, it is a powerful machine capable of producing 26 pounds of ice per day.

In addition to that, each ice cycle takes 6 minutes to produce, with each cycle producing 9 pieces of bullet ice in two different sizes. Bullet ice is essentially cylindrical in shape and with a hole through the middle along the length of the piece of ice.

 

Avalon Bay ice maker review

The LED control panel having push buttons is simple to understand and operate, as the best countertop ice maker controls should be. No one should have to read the manual just to understand how to switch on an ice maker. It is, however, important to go through the manual before you begin using the unit. Just as well, it is important to clean the unit before you use it to produce is for the first time.

Like any good quality modern ice maker, this one too has water recycle feature allowing melted ice water to be re-used in making the next batch. If you want clean ice, however, I would advise you do not get in the habit of leaving the unused ice in the unit for too many cycles.

Besides water recycling, there is also an automatic overflow protection feature ensuring your unit does not overproduce ice if the ice bucket is already full. When this happens, the ice bucket indicator will simply start flashing to alert you to the problem. During that period, ice production will pause until the bin is emptied or until the ice melts and the water gets recycled.

Pros

Cons

It is compact and very light in weight making it very portable

✓ Comes in a variety of colors to choose from

Use eco-friendly R-134A refrigerant

Each ice production cycle takes just 6 minutes

Has indicator lights for empty water reservoir and fill ice bin

✘  You can only choose between 2 ice sizes

✘  The ice bin is not removable

Overall, this Avalon Bay ice maker is small and lightweight yet incredibly effective when it comes to producing a decent amount of ice for a party or even just for your home. The red option is the best countertop ice maker to go for if you are looking to give your countertop an interesting pop of color.

Faqs & considerations

What is a Countertop ice maker ?

A countertop ice maker is a portable ice maker that produces ice quickly and effortlessly. Countertops ice makers are very easy to operate and they don’t require any installations. They have an insulated storage bins that prevent ice cubes from melting quickly and most of them like NewAir, Edgestar Titanium and many other Ice maker can also recycle melted ice cubes to produce new ones. Depending on the model, it can produce up to 3 different sizes of cube. All models are very easy to use and can be carried easily from one places to another. It is very good for your outdoors excursions including summer holidays, camps and vacations.

How does a Countertop ice maker works ?

Countertop ice makers are portable ice maker that are capable of creating ice cubes of different sizes on the go. To make use of any countertop ice maker, you’ll open its cover and remove the ice basket. Then pour tap water into the tank. You should ensure the water level is kept below the level mark. Then you’ll plug in the unit and the power indicator light should be blinking. Press the power button on the control panel to start making ice. Normally the ice making cycle takes about 6 to 14 minutes depending on the size of ice cube selected. Periodical check of the water level allows you to know when the water level is low. The machine however stops automatically when its unable to inject water. You’ll then need to press the power button to fill in water. When the ice is ready, the machine stops automatically and the ice indicator comes up. It is highly advised to change the reservoir water everyday to maintain a good hygiene level. Read more

Does Countertop ice maker uses melted ice water to make new ice cubes ?

Not all. Some countertop ice makers brands does not make use of melted ice water to make new ice cubes. However, Igloo, Edgestar Titanium and many other Ice make automatically recycles ice cubes not collected on time to make new ones. Whenever the ice cube melts, the water drips down back into the water chamber and get drawn automatically to make new cubes. The feature eliminates additional costs incurred in getting drains. It also provides you with more ice cube while on vacation, holiday, camping or during any other outdoor excursions.

Does Countertop Ice Maker stores ice ?

Yes and No. Although some ice makers comes with a basket that is capable of holding about 2.5 pounds of ice depending on the model, it is not meant to store ice but just to hold them during the time the ice is being produced. The reason is not far fetched, ice easily melt back to water and the ice maker is not meant to perform a refrigerating function. Some ice makers can only recycle the melted ice back to new cubes. To store ice made from the ice maker, the ice should be transferred into a conventional freezer when the ice indicator indicating the ice is ready.

Why are the ice cubes sticking together ?

Leaving ice cubes in the ice maker for a long period of time may likely results in some ice makers recycling the ice by melting it to make new ones which might make the ice to stick together. If your ice maker doesn’t recycle melted ice cube, then the reason for the cubes sticking together might be as a result of using water of low temperature, mostly cold water. To solve this problem, change the water in the water reservoir and the increase the temperature of the water. To also prevent automatic recycling of the ice cubes, already made ice cubes should be transferred into a refrigerator.

How do you clean an ice maker ?

Cleaning a contertop ice maker is very easy. Firstly, remove the ice basket. Turn on the drain cap counter if your ice maker has one by turning it clockwise. If not, drain the water in the ice maker in the usual way. Afterwards, make use of diluted detergent to clean the interior part of the ice maker with soft cloth and warm water. The ice maker’s exterior part should be cleaned with warm water and mild detergent solution regularly. Make use of soft cloth to dry both the interior and the exterior part of the ice maker. Whenever the machine is not in use, open the water drain to completely drain water from the reservoir. There you are! Your Ice maker as clean as new. See more tips 

How do you connect your ice maker ?

To connect your ice maker, it is very important to take proper precautions. The unit should be grounded properly to ensure it is safe. Using an improperly grounded plug can results in electrical shock. Most ice maker power are however equipped with three-prong plug to minimize electric shock possibilities. To connect your ice maker, it should be plugged into a properly installed, exclusive and grounded wall outlets. The ice maker requires a standard 115volt, 60Hz electric outlet with three-prong ground. It should be connected indoors as Ambient temperatures below 50 degree Celsius or above 100.4 degree Celsius will prevent the machine from performing effectively.

Does the water quality used affect the ice cube quality ?

Yes. The quality of the water poured into the ice maker will determine the quality of the ice cube produced. Clean normal tap water is highly advised to be used in order to produce disease free ice cubes. Using unclean water also gives the extra work of cleaning the water reservoir more often and the lifespan of the ice maker might as well be shortened. Determining the best clean water to use will come down to your personal previous experience with ice. But considering the ice maker’s quality, using hard water might lead to build up of minerals in the ice maker thereby affecting its performance. Distilled water might also affects the ice maker’s quality because it might affects its sensors. The best option is to use normal tap water as instructed in your ice maker’s manual.

Why is my ice maker not making ice ?

The temperature of the ice maker determines its functionality. For the ice maker to function properly, the ambient temperature or water temperature of the inner tank must not be too high. You must ensure that there is no liquid leakage in the refrigerant and that the cooling system pipe is not blocked. To solve this problem, the ambient temperature should be lowered and only cold water should be used. If the problem persist, a qualified technician should be consulted.

Anthony D. Russell

Anthony D. Russell

Author

I’m a part-time blogger. I love camping, traveling and mediation. I started my content marketing journey back in 2014. Former employee at HomeDepot, i learned great things from that workplace culture. I’m currently doing PhD thesis at university of central Florida.