Our Top Picks
Best Overall: NewAir 50 lb. Portable Ice Maker at Amazon
"Small but powerful, this ice maker can produce 12 pieces in 13 minutes."
"It produces 26 pounds of ice per day, and the ice production is quiet."
Best for Nugget Ice: FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Amazon
"Will sense a lower level of ice and automatically make more."
"This wallet-friendly machine is affordable and simple to use."
Best Countertop: Sentern Portable Electric Clear Ice Maker at Amazon
"This impressive unit can make up to 48 pounds of ice per day."
Best Undercounter: GE Built-In Freestanding Ice Maker at Home Depot
"Can be installed under a cabinet or used as a freestanding unit."
Best Commercial: hOmeLabs Freestanding Ice Maker at Amazon
"It can make up to 99 pounds of ice in 24 hours."
01 of 07
Best Overall: NewAir 50 lb. Portable Ice Maker
Having an ice maker at home can be a worthwhile investment if you entertain a lot or have a large family. Most refrigerators are able to produce ice, but it's not as efficient as having a dedicated ice maker. Whether you're replacing an existing ice machine or looking to buy one for the first time, the NewAir 50 lb. Portable Ice Maker is a great choice.
Small but powerful, this ice maker can produce up to 50 pounds of ice each day, and 12 pieces in 13 minutes, so you’ll have a ready supply for cocktails, soda water, or any other beverage! You can choose one of three different ice sizes and set the 18-hour timer to make ice on your schedule. Indicator lights let you know when you need to add water or when the removable ice bin is full, and an ice scoop is included for easy serving.
Reviewers like the fact that this machine doesn't require much maintenance (it has a self-cleaning mode) and produces ice really fast. They also say that it looks sleek and modern.
02 of 07
Best Compact: Frigidaire 26 lb. Portable Countertop Ice Maker
According to customers, the Frigidaire Portable Countertop Ice Maker is a “game changer.” Though it's smaller in size (11.70 x 14.44 x 14.88 inches), this model still produces an impressive 26 pounds of ice per day, and you can choose between small, medium, or large cubes. The cubes are nice and thick, so they won't melt too fast, and the ice production is quiet and efficient. Running at only 38 decibels, you'll barely notice any noise coming from this machine. Other notable features include an interior bin which can store more than 2 pounds of ice, an ice shovel, digital control panel, and see-through window so users can monitor ice production without having to open the lid. Plus, the stainless steel exterior is sleek and modern, so it won't be an eyesore on your kitchen countertop.
03 of 07
Best for Nugget Ice: FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Maker
If you're not familiar with nugget ice, it's a soft and chewable type of ice that's best used for blended drinks like smoothies and frozen margaritas (if you're looking for an easy margarita recipe, try one of these margarita mixes). Nugget ice is also great for blended cocktails as it will keep your mixture cooler for a longer period of time and won't dilute the flavors.
For a top-rated nugget ice maker that has plenty of convenient features, we recommend the FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Maker. It produces 1 pound of ice nuggets per hour, and the bin can hold up to 3 pounds. The clear bin lets you see how much ice you have available and it’s easy to pull forward when scooping ice (ice scoop included). The bin is also insulated to keep the ice cold, but as it inevitably melts the ice maker will sense the lower level of ice and automatically make more.
Looking to control your ice maker from your smartphone? The Opal Nugget is also equipped with Bluetooth technology so you can use your phone to adjust the controls. Download the FirstBuild app and set up a schedule that you can monitor or adjust on-the-go. It doesn't get any easier than that!
04 of 07
Best Budget: Hamilton Beach PIM-1-3A Portable Ice Maker
While it won't produce as much ice as our top pick, this wallet-friendly machine is affordable and simple to use. It can produce up to 26 pounds of ice per day, or about nine ice bullets every seven minutes, so you’ll have a constant supply of fresh ice for your next dinner party or barbecue. The ice basket holds 2 pounds of ice before it needs to be emptied, and an LED light lets you know when the basket is full or when you need to add more water to the reservoir. Choose from one of two different ice cube sizes. Customers say this machine works well, and the sleek black exterior looks attractive at home and in the office. Several customers noted that this model won't last as long as other more expensive options, but it's a great budget pick.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Best Countertop: Sentern Portable Electric Clear Ice Maker
Small enough to move on and off the counter, this impressive unit can make up to 48 pounds of ice per day, and it holds nearly 2.4 pounds for easy retrieval. Unlike other machines on this list, the Sentern Ice Maker only produces cubes—not bullet shaped ice. You can choose from small, medium, or large cubes by adjusting the cooling time, and depending on the size you choose the first batch of ice will be done in about 15 minutes. The clear, dense cubes melt slowly, keeping your cocktails cold without diluting them. Other handy features include a digital control panel for easy programming, a see-through window so you can monitor ice production, and a stain resistant exterior.
If there's one downside to this machine, it's that the ice drops off in a block and you have to break up the individual cubes yourself. Some say it's also slower to produce ice, but it makes a lot during each cycle so it's not a huge problem.
To improve the taste of your ice, a countertop water filter may help purify and clarify the water you're using. And no matter your budget, there are plenty of options to choose from.
06 of 07
Best Undercounter: GE 15 Inch Built-In 56-Pound Freestanding Ice Maker
The perfect addition to your kitchen or home bar, this ice maker can be installed under a cabinet or used as a freestanding unit. If you don't have enough room indoors, install this unit in the garage or on a patio. The largest machine on our list (in terms of dimensions), it's capable of producing 56 pounds of nugget ice per day and can hold up to 26 pounds of ice that will be kept cool until you're ready to use it. An automatic shutoff stops ice production when the bin is full and internal LED lighting illuminates the ice bin so you can check your supply when you need to. This has a gravity drain, but an optional pump drain is included if it’s required for your installation.
Customers say that this ice maker is quiet and produces nuggets quickly, but several reviewers were unhappy that it doesn't come with a door and requires an additional purchase to complete the unit. On the plus side, it gives you the opportunity to choose the door color that works best for your kitchen.
07 of 07
Best Commercial: hOmeLabs Freestanding Commercial Ice Maker Machine
Built for commercial use, this freestanding ice maker is perfect for those who host sizable parties or barbecues, or need to fill large coolers for tailgating or other events. It can make up to 99 pounds of ice in 24 hours, and it can store 29 pounds of ice at one time, so you'll always have plenty on hand. The thickness of the ice and freezing time can be adjusted by pressing the plus or minus buttons on the control panel, so you can customize the size and frequency of ice depending on your needs. Despite its high output, it only measures 17.6 x 15.7 x 31.4 inches, so you can easily place it in your kitchen or pantry without it taking up too much space.
Customers praise the easy setup (it has a 1.2-liter water tank that you need to connect to a water supply and drain), and say it generates a massive amount of ice.
A water supply hose, a water draining hose, and an ice scoop are included with this model.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
Our writers spent 5 hours researching the best ice makers on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 12 different ice machines to buy overall, screened options from 11 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 20 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.
We then bought 3 top-rated ice makers that our reviewers tested for 36 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these ice makers, from their size to their speed. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in an Ice Maker
Size Ice makers come in a wide variety of sizes, from small countertop models to some that require significant floor space. Do you want to set up that countertop model in the kitchen every time you have a party, or do you prefer to keep a large one operating at all times in the garage?
Speed How quickly do you need your ice? Whether you prefer to make a lot of ice ahead of time or want a constant supply flowing will determine how important speed is. Some machines can supply the first ice quickly, so you can get the party started, but if you don’t have sufficient storage space for ice, it’s wise to get an ice maker that can keep up with hourly demand.
Ice storage capacity If your ice maker can produce a lot of ice quickly, but it can’t hold much, you’ll need to keep removing the ice and storing it elsewhere. That’s great if you’re planning ahead and you can check the machine regularly, but a machine with a larger storage capacity might be able to hold enough ice so you’ll never need to unload it to make more room.
Test Results: NewAir 50 lb. Portable Ice Maker (Best Overall)
Makes ice quickly
Self-cleaning feature and timer
Large and heavy
“The ice maker makes great ice and it's very quiet,” our tester said. She also liked that it features a timer and a self-cleaning cycle. However, while it can hold a lot of ice, our reviewer pointed out that its bulkiness makes it difficult to store or transport. She concluded, “If space isn't a concern, or if you need an appliance that can produce a large amount of ice, it's a really great appliance.”
Frigidaire 26 lb. Portable Countertop Ice Maker (Best Compact)
Makes thick ice
Three different size settings
No timer or self-cleaning function
Could be more compact
Ice storage isn’t refrigerated
According to our tester, the highlight of this ice maker is the fact that it makes “thick, robust ice that doesn't melt quickly.” Our reviewer also liked that it has an option for three different sizes of ice and is super quick. The downside? “It doesn't have a timer function and takes up a fair amount of space in small kitchens,” she explained. However, our tester said, “If you need a portable ice maker it won't disappoint, and though it's not as small as some on the market, the ice it makes is fantastic.”
DELLA Compact Electric Ice Maker Machine (Runner-Up, Best Compact)
Doesn’t take up a lot of space
Makes ice fast
Makes thin ice that melts quickly
“It's lightweight, truly portable, doesn't take up a ton of space on the counter, and looks nice,” our tester said of this ice maker. In terms of downsides, our reviewer noted, “The ice it makes isn't as thick as other models, and it has a tendency to melt faster while it sits in the basket, possibly because the machine isn't as well insulated.” The takeaway? “It's worth buying if you have a small space or an RV, or need to take the ice maker on trips,” she explained.