An ice maker is a device used for making ice, either found inside a freezer or as a stand-alone appliance. As an invention that started in 1842 after the development of a system that would chill water to generate ice, the first-ever patent of an ice machine was granted to John Gorrie, an American physician in 1851. Over the years, there have been numerous developments and inventions which have given rise to a variety of Ice Making machine models to suit the consumers’ needs.
And while many people already have built-in Ice Makers in their freezers, having a portable one is not only convenient, but it also makes the process faster. These free-standing units are the smallest ice makers available. And sit atop surface areas in kitchens, restaurants, and public bars. And though they don’t keep the ice frozen, portable Ice Makers recycle the water to ensure the production is continuous.
Having a reliable portable Ice Maker at home saves you from the hassle of having to make hasty trips to the gas station whenever you need more ice than what your freezer can produce. Whether you are camping, enjoying cold poolside beverages, or having an outdoor family reunion, having a portable Ice Maker makes the experience even better.
Let’s get started.
- 1 Reviews of the Best Portable Ice Makers
- 1.1 Top Pick: Vremi Countertop Ice Maker
- 1.2 Budget Pick: Frigidaire EFIC206
- 1.3 Premium Pick: FirstBuild Opal01 Opal Nugget Ice Maker
- 1.4 Also Worth Mentioning #1: hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker
- 1.5 Also Worth Mentioning #2: Aicok Portable Ice Maker
- 1.6 Also Worth Mentioning #3: Frigidaire EFIC108
- 1.7 Also Worth Mentioning #4: Sentern Portable Electric Clear Ice Maker
- 1.8 Also Worth Mentioning #5: Frigidaire Portable Compact Maker
- 1.9 Also Worth Mentioning #6: RCA Igloo Ice Maker 26lb
- 1.10 Also Worth Mentioning #7: Frigidaire EFIC103 Ice Maker
- 2 Useful Tips When Buying the Best Countertop Ice Maker
- 3 Maintenance Tips
- 4 Conclusion
Reviews of the Best Portable Ice Makers
Ice makes it possible to create some of the best beverages in the world, which is why you don’t want to run out of ice. Especially in those hot summer days. I have reviewed the most incredible Ice Makers available, so you don’t have to worry about having to make hasty runs to the local store anymore. And with the incredible fast freeze technology, these amazing devices produce ice within a short period.
With the ever-increasing number of brands sprouting up, it can be hard to pick the right Ice Maker to buy. And being fully aware of how bad ice can screw up a good night, I am here to make sure that doesn’t happen. Have a look at the incredible machines I have reviewed for you and pick the one that meets your needs.
Top Pick: Vremi Countertop Ice Maker
Quiet and Efficient Ice Maker. Unlike most Ice Makers that I have used before, this one runs at a mellow 120 watts with a fantastic cooling function. All in all, the unit is super quiet for a 2.2-liter machine. Furthermore, the Vremi Countertop Ice Maker makes ice in 9 minutes and has a production capacity of 26 lbs of ice in a day, which is very impressive. And though the machine only produces one size of ice cubes, the 8-gram bullet-shaped ice cubes are perfect for any drink.
Intelligent Water Use. While the machine’s water tank is insulated, unused ice melts over time. However, the strategic positioning of the 2.2-liter tank below the ice basket ensures the melted water runs straight back to make new ice all over again. The machine also has warning lights and an automatic shut-off feature that prevents overflowing during ice production. And warns you when water needs to be refilled.
Compact and fast Ice Maker. Measuring 9.5 x 12 x 13.5 inches, you can take your Ice Maker with you anywhere (as long as there’s a power outlet). And since it doesn’t need a dedicated water line, the Vremi Countertop Ice Maker is an ideal addition for outdoor parties and barbecues. In less than 10 minutes, this amazing appliance will have produced 9 bullet-shaped ice cubes which means you’ll not be running out on ice anytime soon.
Comes with a Basket and an Ice Scoop. The machine comes with a 1.5 lbs removable ice bucket and a plastic scoop that not only allows you to shove ice from the machine cleanly. But also helps in maintaining the machine’s cleanliness as people don’t have to use their hands.
Budget Pick: Frigidaire EFIC206
Portable Compact Design. Measuring 15 x 14.5 x 11.2 inches, the Frigidaire EFIC206 is an ideal appliance to add to your kitchen, bar, or restaurant. The machine weighs 17.86 lbs which means it can go anywhere you want it to. This consumer-grade appliance puts out the amount of ice that an average-sized family needs. And the sleek stainless steel look makes it blend in seamlessly with any background.
Efficient and Fast Ice Maker. The machine makes ice in as little as 6 minutes and has an overall production capacity of 26 lbs of ice in a day if you’re able to refill the water tank continually. Also, the Frigidaire EFIC206 has two operation settings that allow it to produce two sizes of ice – large and small. All these make this machine a great Ice Maker for an outdoor party, barbecue, or a family brunch by the pool.
Intelligent Features. Just like the case with other portable ice cube makers, the Frigidaire EFIC206 is insulated, but that doesn’t stop stored ice to melt when left on the basket for long. However, the Ice Maker is designed to collect the melted water easily back to the tank and make more ice in a cycle that not only ensures there’s a continuous flow of ice but also saves on water.
The machine also has a shut-off feature that switches off the unit when the ice basket is full or when the water tank is empty. You can thus carry on with your daily activities without worrying about potential ice spillage.
Easy to set up and control. The Ice Maker doesn’t need much expertise to set up- just connect it to a power outlet and press a button. Everything is controlled electronically. And with the fast freeze technology, the machine produces ice in a very short period. Through controlled air compression, the unit produces ice in a fairly quiet manner, with only slight noise coming out when dumping the ice.
Premium Pick: FirstBuild Opal01 Opal Nugget Ice Maker
Portable impeccable Design. Standing at 17.2 inches high and measuring 10.5 inches wide and 15.5 inches deep, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker is not your average kitchen appliance. And though the machine is quite huge and heavy, the smooth stainless steel finish overshadows that. The unit has a single round button surrounded by a sleek LED ring that glows in different colors to signify different Opal’s operation status. And while the machine is not the most portable, its compact design makes it easy to tag the unit along to your next camping trip.
Efficient and Fast Ice Maker. The machine has a production capacity of 1lb an hour, and the collection tray can hold up to 3lbs. The solid nuggets produced are soft and chewable which makes the unit ideal to produce ice either for a barbecue or an outdoor party. Also, the size of the nuggets is small enough for use on different drinks and perfectly slides through a beer bottle.
Intelligent Features. The strategic positioning of the water tank below the ice collection tray ensures that melted water from unused ice trickles back for continuous ice production. This ensures that you don’t run out of ice. And also saves on water as you don’t have to keep refilling the water.
Furthermore, there’s a mobile app that allows you to control the unit with a phone or tablet, via Bluetooth. The application allows you to command the machine to start or stop making ice, dim or brighten the LED ring, and curate an ice production schedule. Opal also uses its many sensors to detect when the ice tray is full, when the water tank is empty, and when you remove the collection tray, automatically halting the ice production process.
Also Worth Mentioning #1: hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker
Compact and Energy Efficient Ice Maker. The hOmeLabs portable Ice Maker was developed with speed and efficiency in mind. The unit produces cylinder-looking ice cubes which are faster to form, making sure you have your ice when you need it the most. Unlike most Ice Makers in this price range, the unit uses an energy-efficient model to produce the ice which means you can continue with your day to day activities without having to keep up with ice-cracking noise.
Exceptionally Easy to Use. In as much as ice making sounds like one of the easiest things to do, sometimes it can be messy, loud, and hectic. For this reason, the designers of the hOmeLabs portable Ice Maker put all that could go wrong into consideration during production, which is why the unit is designed to be quick, quiet, and most importantly easy to use.
The machine is streamlined to avoid frost buildup and over-freezing which can lead to mechanical hitches. And with the automatic shut-off feature, the machine saves your time and effort while delivering amazing ice cubes.
Portable Ice Maker. Measuring 9.5 x 12.9 x 14 inches, this mini ice maker can go with you anywhere. With a 2.2-liter reservoir, this masterpiece produces about 1.5 lbs of ice at a time and 26 lbs in a day. This makes the Ice Maker an ideal choice for an outdoor party or barbecue.
Comes with a Basket and Scoop. Complete with a 1.5 lbs basket and a plastic scoop to shove the ice from the basket, the hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker is the ideal choice anywhere, anytime. Having a scoop avoids contamination of the water going back to the water tank which happens when people use their hands to scoop the ice.
Also Worth Mentioning #2: Aicok Portable Ice Maker
Portable and Compact Design. With a compact size of 16.2 x 15.2 x 11.5 inches, the Aicok Ice Maker will fit perfectly on your kitchen, the bar, or the restaurant counter. The machine produces 9 ice cubes in less than eight minutes, which translates to 1.1 lbs of ice an hour, and 26 lbs within 24 hours. The unit comes complete with a large water tank, an ice basket, and a BPA-free ice scoop that makes shoving ice easy. Also, Aicok uses a quiet but powerful compressor to freeze the water which means you don’t have to keep up with a noisy Ice Maker anymore.
Intelligent Features. The Aicok is designed in a way that the water tank is placed below the ice tray. This means the melted water from uncollected ice drips down to the tank for continuous ice making. The unit also has a shut-off feature that can tell when the ice tray is full or the water tank is empty, automatically halting ice production.
Also, the machine has a self-clean function which is very important especially for people in areas with hard water. Normally, when you use hard water with your icemaker, minerals such as calcium get stuck on the wall forming scales that build up over time, affecting the quality of the ice cubes. This will never be a problem again though- just add a water and vinegar solution and click a button. All done!
Easy to operate. This mini ice maker comes complete with an LCD control panel that indicates the status of the machine. It also has 4 buttons located directly below the LCD-display. The LCD communicates when the ice basket is full and when the water tank needs refilling. Also, the unit has a transparent viewing window and a timer that saves you the effort and time.
Three Different Ice Sizes. The machine gives you the power to choose between small, medium, and large ice cubes. This makes it an ideal Ice Maker to have as it will deliver just the right ice cubes for your needs. So, whether you want to make a smoothie or put up an emergency ice bag, the Aicok is what you need.
Also Worth Mentioning #3: Frigidaire EFIC108
Ultra-Modern Design. The Frigidaire EFIC108 features a modern, compact, and simple design that is appealing to the eye. The machine has a transparent viewing window that makes process monitoring and ice level checking easy. Also, the stainless steel finish gives it an attractive look and feel and will blend perfectly with your home décor.
Portable and Fast Ice Maker. Measuring 14.9 x 14.8 x 11 inches, this incredible Ice Maker will go with you anywhere. Whether you’re going for an expedition, hosting a family reunion, or a poolside party, there are no limits.
The unit produces ice in as little as 6 minutes and has an overall production capacity of 26 lbs in a day.
Easy to Set Up and Operate. While ice production seems like a walk in the park for some people, it can actually be messy and chaotic with the wrong machine. However, you don’t have to worry about that with the Frigidaire EFIC108. The machine is easy to set up and start using right out of the box – just fill the water tank with clean water, plug it to a power outlet, and wait for the machine to do the job.
Intelligent Water Use. With the water tank positioned below the ice collection tray, melted water from uncollected ice cubes trickles down to make ice all over again. This design tweak coupled with the shut-off feature that automatically halts ice production when the collection tray is full or when the water tank is empty makes this machine the ideal choice for someone looking to meet their ice needs. Without having to make hasty runs to the local store every now and then.
Also Worth Mentioning #4: Sentern Portable Electric Clear Ice Maker
Quality Crystal Clear Ice. Unlike most Ice Makers in this price range, Sentern Portable Ice Maker produces crystal clear ice cubes that are much denser than the cliché foggy ice bullets. The clear ice melts more slowly and will chill your favorite drink without diluting and compromising its quality. So, if you want your drink to remain chilled without affecting the flavor, choose crystal clear ice, choose Sentern portable Ice Maker!
Efficient Production and Storage Capacity. In as little as 15 minutes, you can enjoy a cold beverage with solid and crystal clear ice cubes. The Ice Maker has a large collection trough that holds up to 2.4 pounds of ice at a time. And unlike the case with the standard Ice Makers, the dense cubes melt slowly which means you and your guests will not be running out of ice anytime soon.
Compact and Portable Ice Maker. Measuring 11.2 x 14.4 x 13.8 inches, nothing can come in between you and your Ice Maker. Whether you are looking to add an appliance to your kitchen or the bar, this machine is the right addition. The compact design that’s complemented by a stainless steel finish is not only appealing to the eye, but it also ensures longevity. The Sentern portable Ice Maker is ideal for pool parties, barbecues, family dinners, road trips, among others.
Also Worth Mentioning #5: Frigidaire Portable Compact Maker
Portable Ice Maker. Measuring 15 x 14.5 x 11 inches, you can move around with this machine anywhere you wish to have your cold drinks from. Whether in your boat or by the poolside, all you need is a power outlet and clean water. This compact design also makes this small ice maker the best portable ice maker for camping.
Impeccable and Resourceful Design. The Frigidaire Portable Compact Maker’s design features a transparent viewing window that allows you to monitor the ice production process and track the level on the collection trough. The machine also has a control panel just above the transparent window with electronic LED controls like power on/off, add water, and small and large.
Intelligent Functions. The Ice Maker’s water tank is located below the ice collecting trough; a design tweak meant to ensure melted water from uncollected ice trickles down to make ice again. This means you won’t have to refill the water as much as nothing goes to waste. The machine also has an auto shut-off feature that halts ice production as soon as the trough is full or the water tank is empty.
Great Production Capacity. With a production speed of 6 minutes, the Frigidaire Portable Compact Maker produces up to 26 lbs of ice in a day. The unit also allows you to choose whether you want large or small sizes of ice cubes. So, enjoy the uninterrupted flow of ice with this incredible Ice Maker.
Also Worth Mentioning #6: RCA Igloo Ice Maker 26lb
Portable Tabletop Ice Maker. Measuring 13 x 9 x 13 inches, the Igloo Ice Maker is perfectly designed to meet your ice needs. This machine will fit perfectly on your kitchen or bar counter without attracting much attention. Also, the unit can go with you anywhere as long as you have a power outlet which makes it an ideal choice for people looking for a brilliant Ice Maker for a barbecue, an outdoor expedition, or a poolside party.
Efficient and Fast Ice Maker. With an incredible production speed of 6 minutes, this Ice Maker will solve your ice shortage problem completely. In a day, the Igloo Ice Maker will comfortably produce 26 lbs of ice thanks to the large 2.3-liter water tank located below the collection tray. The unit also has a 1.5 lbs trough that stores the ice on top for easier collection.
Intelligent Water Use. The Igloo Ice Maker’s design features a large water tank located under the ice collection trough. The design means the melted water from uncollected ice runs back to the tank for continuous ice production. The machine also has sensors that tell when the collection trough is full, or the water tank is empty, halting further ice production.
Also Worth Mentioning #7: Frigidaire EFIC103 Ice Maker
Portable Stainless Steel Ice Maker. Measuring 14 x 12 x 15 inches, the EFIC103 features an alluring yet sturdy stainless steel finish that will seamlessly blend in with almost any background. The portable yet resourceful size of the machine means there are no limits when it comes to making ice. Whether you have a pool party or a family dinner, this small ice maker will meet your ice needs.
Incredible Production Capacity. The Frigidaire EFIC103 Ice Maker has a production speed of 6 minutes which is quite impressive. The fast speed means that ice shortage will be a thing of the past because the machine will deliver 26 lbs of ice in a day which can be retrieved from the over-sized ice bucket that holds 2,2 lbs of ice at a time. Additionally, this machine produces three different ice cube sizes to meet your specific needs.
Intelligent Features. This small ice maker has an auto shut-off feature that automatically halts ice production as soon as the sensors detect a full ice bucket or an empty water tank. Also, the water tank is located beneath the ice bucket which means the melted water from uncollected ice trickles back for a continuous ice production process.
Useful Tips When Buying the Best Countertop Ice Maker
Now that you’re convinced it’s the time to buy a portable Ice Maker, here are some of the factors to consider when buying one.
The size of the unit.
Being that portable ice cube makers are the smallest Ice machines available, defining what’s big or small can be a challenge. However, you need to consider the amount of space the machine will take on your kitchen counter or travel bag, as well as the amount of ice it can produce or store. This information is usually spelled out by the manufacturer, so it will be easy to confirm that you are buying the size you need.
If your portable Ice Machine will be spending most of the time on the kitchen shelf or the countertop, then you should confirm how much space is available in that spot so you can buy the machine that will fit perfectly. However, if you’re buying the machine for camping trips and other travel needs, then you’ll need to confirm the weight of the unit to make sure it’s something you’ll be comfortable moving around with.
The capacity of the portable Ice Maker is also important. Depending on the amount of ice you need, you want a machine that will deliver, unless you don’t mind bagging the ice and moving it to the freezer. A low capacity machine won’t fully solve your problem, and one that’s too big will just waste energy and space. So, consider the amount of ice you need, and that will guide you to narrow down to the best Ice Maker for your situation.
In addition to determining the amount of ice you need the machine to produce and store, you also need it to be done quickly enough to meet your unique needs. The production capacity is usually provided in pounds of ice per day and helps you pick the ideal machine for you.
If you and your family go through a lot of ice, or you have a party and don’t want your guests to wait for hours to get a refill, then the higher the speed of production the better. Different models have varying wait times for the ice production process, but most of them range between 10-20 minutes. So, you’ll need to consider how long you have to wait to have the ice storage ready with ice.
Pro Tip: One of the things that make the Ice Maker ‘portable’ is the fact that you don’t have to hook them up to a dedicated water line. So, don’t forget to refill the water compartment continually to keep the ice from running out.
Depending on where you intend to place your tabletop ice maker, you’ll need to consider its appearance to make sure it blends well with the surroundings. For instance, if you are looking for a machine that will consistently stay at the countertop, then you’ll need to browse through the available range of colors and finishes and choose the one that complements your home décor.
Most models are available in black, white and stainless steel. However, some models allow you to add a splash of your favorite color. So, whether you are lucky enough to get the ideal color or not, you can add a splash of the color after buying the icemaker. You don’t want an Ice Maker that will color clash with the rest of your kitchen appliances. Right?
Ease of Use.
In general, portable Ice Makers are easy to use. Most of them have simple controls, basic instructions, and zero installation requirements – just a power outlet. However, different models have varying levels of ease of use with some having extra features like an LCD display to indicate when the ice is ready, or when the machine if full. Overall though, you don’t need to worry about figuring out how to use a portable Ice Machine.
Portable Ice Makers are not the type of appliances you can count on to use for a decade or two. And while freezing water is hard work, the machine can only perform for so long. However, higher-quality models will last longer than cheap ones. The frequency of use will certainly determine how long you get the ice. Also, spending a little more on the machine can make the difference between getting a year or a few years of your Ice Maker.
Some manufacturers provide a warranty which gives you an insight on how long you can count on the machine to last while giving you the peace of mind that you’ll get a replacement if it breaks down. Others allow you to purchase a warranty which is a great way to stay on the safe side. Another way of knowing how long you can expect the Ice Maker to last is by reading the countertop ice maker reviews of people who are using or have used the machine before.
Intelligent Water Use
The Intelligent Water Use feature is probably one of the nicest things a tabletop ice maker can have. It allows the ice to collect melted water from the ice in storage to make ice all over again.
This feature comes in handy because portable Ice Makers don’t keep the ice frozen. Without Intelligent water use, there would be so much wastage of water and more of a mess to deal with every time. The feature saves on water, saves you the hassle of refilling water every now and then, and ensures that you continue using ice without running out.
Depending on the model you like, a portable Ice Maker will cost you between $100-$250. And while this is not a huge range, a close look at the reviews suggests that going a step up the most affordable units means you’ll get a more durable machine.
When it comes to cost, the intended use will determine whether you go for a unit that costs a few dollars more or not. If you plan to be using the machine all the time, then spending a bit more to get an Ice Maker designed to last for long will be wise. However, if you only plan to use the machine for special events, like when you have friends over, then a lower priced Ice Maker will likely fit what you need.
Factors that are likely to dictate the price of an Ice Maker include the size and capacity of the unit, the production capacity, ease of use, intelligent water use, among others.
There are a few things you’ll have to do to promote longevity and ensure you get the most out of your machine. They include;
Keep the Ice Maker clean
Ice Makers work by converting water into frozen cubes. So, while it may sound odd that they require regular cleaning, these machines are just like any other kitchen appliance- they require cleaning. Operating the unit in unsanitary conditions leads to the gradual growth of germs, which cause health risks in the long-run.
Cleaning the machine regularly with the recommended sanitizers is an ideal way of ensuring that you’re getting good and clean ice cubes for your everyday use. Most manufacturers sell their own cleaning formulas while others give recommendations. Also, you can use a diluted bleach solution yourself to keep it clean.
To clean your Ice Maker;
- Unplug the machine from the power outlet
- Drain water from the unit
- Remove the ice basket and the scoop
- Use a soft cloth and the recommended formula/solution to clean the interior
- Use vinegar or lemon juice to clean tough spots
- Rinse with clean water
Remember to clean the outside of your appliance with a clean damp cloth. This helps to keep your Ice Maker looking great and avoids stain build-up.
Keep your water clean
When using a portable Ice Maker, water from melted ice is recycled to make ice all over again. Over time, the water may become contaminated, especially when people use their hands to shove ice from the machine. So, if you don’t have a self-cleaning unit, I’d recommended you keep things fresh by swapping out the water occasionally. Also, make sure the water you use to refill is clean.
To avoid contamination, encourage the use of a scooper to grab ice with and not hands. This way, you can maintain the cleanliness, especially when its many people using the Ice Maker.
Change the filter regularly
Just like the case with refrigerators equipped with Ice Makers, most portable Ice Makers also have filters that sort out organic compounds and improve the water flavor. Some models also have filters with bacteriostatic effects that stop bacteria replication. So, check your manufacturer’s guidelines to see how frequently you’re supposed to swap in a new filter.
Descale your machine regularly.
Water contains numerous minerals and calcium is one of them. During the process of ice making, calcium deposits are left on your machine leading to the formation of scales in the long-run. And with portable Ice Makers producing more ice compared to Ice Makers inside refrigerators, you can expect the scale build-up to be more intense.
Depending on the machine’s production capacity, scale deposits form quickly, and failure to remove them can lead to the damage of your Ice Maker, ultimately shortening the lifespan. However, you can take charge by regularly descaling the unit. Refer to your manufacturer’s guide, but most brands recommend the use of a clean cloth and vinegar or fresh lemon solution to remove the scale deposits.
Choose an appropriate location
Most portable Ice Makers have vents on the bottom edges from where cool air enters from one side while warm air leaves from the other. Make sure you don’t block or obstruct this venting so the machine can function at its best. Ensure the location you choose has at least a 3 inches’ clearance from all sides.
In conclusion, a portable Ice Maker should be just as the name suggests- highly portable. Portability means you can enjoy crystal clear ice from wherever you want, be it in your boat, on a camping site, or by the poolside. The ideal Ice Maker should thus be compact and lightweight for ease of transport and storage.
Unlike freezers with built-in Ice Makers, standalone Ice Makers are faster and more reliable. In fact, most of the portable Ice Makers I’ve mentioned in the guide produce ice in as little as 6 minutes. And with the fact that a portable Ice Maker doesn’t need a dedicated water line, all you need to do is fill the tank with clean water and press a button.
Ice Makers are also easy to operate considering most of their control functions are tied to power on/off, Ice size, and add water. And with features like the transparent viewing window that makes process monitoring and ice level checking easy, you can never go wrong with these incredible machines. Also, the integration of technology in terms of iOS and Android apps to control the ice maker is another leap in making ice production much easier.
And unlike the freezers, Ice Makers are easy to clean. You only need to wipe them dry after use and occasionally run a fresh lemon solution to keep the unit sanitized and wade off calcium scales that form on the walls of the machine over time.
I hope the guide has given you an insight into the benefits of having a portable Ice Maker and why you need one in your household or workplace. Look into the different features of each of the machines I have reviewed and made the right decision based on your needs. Whether you want to make ice at home or the bar, these Ice Makers will deliver just what you need.
Ps, please check around our site to find more exciting articles, for example, my review of the best hybrid bikes.