This is the 21st century, filling up ice molds or buying bags of ice is so 2002. We, as a society have moved forward leaps and bounds in terms of technology and even with something as simple as ice, that remains as true as ever. Countertop or portable ice machines are a brilliant purchase for any modern home.
They are the more compact and efficient brother to the undercounter ice maker and are usually far cheaper and more versatile. Beauty of the countertop ice machine is that they don’t need to be connected to drains, they can produce ice 30 to 40% faster than under counter ice machines and they are a cheaper alternative for the average person.
They are perfect if you do not intend to use ice on a daily basis but are also a solid accompaniment to any home bar, kitchen, or family occasion. This article looks to give you the best countertop ice makers you can get and explain why buying the right one is actually quite important.
Why You Might Need a Countertop Ice Maker
You might be asking yourself ‘why do I need a countertop ice maker?’ and it is valid because they are not super-essential items. However, there are actually a variety of reasons as to why buying a countertop ice maker would be a useful purchase.
- They are a necessity if you have a minibar or a bar in your home.
- They are portable and perfect for outdoor use at family events, parties, or at a picnic.
- They are considerably faster than the conventional ice tray.
- They are water bill friendly due to their quick and energy efficient use vs undercounter machines or fridges.
- There is no draining of water required and they are easy to clean, making them very time efficient. Some machines even have self-cleaning functions.
Types of Ice and Why the Difference is Important
This may seem a little excessive, but different types of ice can change the way that your drink tastes and it is important to know this before you commit to buying an ice machine. There are actually quite a lot of ice varieties and each type can serve a different function.
The dice is the classic, it is ideal for soft and mixed drinks because there is less surface area which means the cube will melt slower and won’t interfere with the taste of the drink as fast.
The crescent ice cube is half the size of the dice and will melt quicker. This means that for the likes of cocktails and whisky it is not ideal cause you will want to sip these drinks and the crescent cube will dilute the flavor too fast.
This small and soft ice is best with soft drinks and blended cocktails. It is also the best ice to chew if that is your thing and waters drinks down quickly. Machines that produce nugget ice will use less energy as well, so it is a good choice if you want to save money on electricity, but still want cold drinks. Furthermore, nugget ice is usually made quicker than other ice cubes on this list.
Good for ice teas, margaritas on blended cocktails, this ice cube is bullet shaped, but hollow in the middle which means it melts faster than crescent ice cubes or dice ice cubes. It is also frosted meaning it is not a transparent cube, so it looks a little different to others on this list.
Both crystal clear and elegant, this cube is best served with upscale drinks and higher end liquors. It melts the slowest and looks the fanciest, but it takes the longest to make and the ice machines that make the gourmet cube are usually a little more expensive.
1. IKICH Electric Ice Maker
If you want a quality ice maker that does not cost a fortune, the IKICH is a great choice. It is electric and producers nine bullet cubes in about 6 minutes. It has a 2-litre tank, and the user can choose either small or medium sized ice cubes, depending on their preference, using the simple control panel.
It weighs only 17lbs, making it super portable and at 13.5”x 10” in size, it is compact as well as lightweight. It contains PU foam, which allows the machine to keep ice insulated for longer if needed and you get a free plastic ice scoop too! It runs at 45db which makes it quiet as well as efficient. It has an easy-to-use LED panel and a drain plug at the bottom to dispose of unused water. Anything that you could need in a countertop ice machine, IKICH have thought of with this portable and smart ice maker.
The combination of its reasonable $180 price tag, along with its high functionality make it a quality option. It is not as powerful as some of the others on the list and is made of plastic, so it is not exceptionally durable, but it does the job it is supposed to do very well.
2. Vremi VRM010636N Portable Ice Maker
If you are looking for a more durable ice maker, the Vremi is a good choice. Coming in at $150 and made with a sleek looking stainless-steel finish, the VRM010636N is convenient, quiet, and compact. Its control panel is one of the best on the market, telling you how the ice is progressing as well as when it needs a refill.
It has the same PU foam as the IKICH, but it is about 30% slower, producing 9 bullet cubes in about 10 minutes. It also only has one size option compared to the IKICH’s two option. However, we don’t feel this is much of an issue. Its portability, durability and sleek modern look and interface, make the Vremi a quality choice for any buyer.
3. NewAir AI-100BK
The NewAir AI-100BK is a little more expensive than others on the list, but honestly, there are a few extra benefits to justify its $200 price tag. For one, it produces small, medium, and large cubes. Each takes a little longer than the other, ranging from 7 to 12 minutes.
It has an ultra-insulated ice basket, which keeps ice cool for up to six hours, so it is better than the PU foam used by others. It holds up to 5.2 liters, which is more than double the capacity of the IKICH or the Vremi, but it is larger because of this. It has a simple control panel and a quiet cooling fan, meaning noise is always kept at a minimum. It is plastic however, so beware if taking it out and about. But the AI-100BK is at its best during household use.
4. Igloo ICEB26HNBK
What makes the Igloo stand out aside from its attractive $160 to $200 price tag, is its convenient carrier handle and its self-cleaning cycle. It makes small or large ice cubes and stores over 1 pound of ice at a time. It has an easy to remove ice basket and a simple user interface. The Igloo is another quality option.
However, it’s five cycle self-clean function makes it more efficient than most on the list and with its carrier handle it is even more portable than other over counter ice makers on the list as well. I would highly recommend using the Igloo for its convenience, its efficiency, and its portability.
5. Euhomy 40-pound Countertop Ice Maker
If you are looking for an ice maker that focuses on both sheer volume of ice that can be made and ice size customization, the Euhomy is the topic. By pressing – or + you can adjust the size of the ice cube to your liking and with 24 cubes being made every 12-15 mins, it produces ice quickly as well.
It is quiet at about 40db and the controls are easy to operate and understand, so you can adjust your ice with ease. It also contains a self-clean feature and a brilliant water recycling system where any of the unused water from its 2.2 liter tank will be filtered and reused.
This allows for up to 120 ice cubes to be made from one single filling of the tank. It is the most expensive ice maker on the list so far at $230, but it contains the most unique features and is highly efficient. A quality choice.
6. Magic Chef 27-pound Capacity Countertop Portable Ice Maker
If you are looking for an over counter ice maker on a budget, look no further than Magic Chefs 27-pound model. Its $110 price tag along with its quick ice making functionality and its compact design make it an attractive choice for anyone looking to buy an ice maker for their home.
It makes small and large ice cubes and similar to the Euhomy, unused water is filtered into a reservoir and re-frozen to be used again. It is available in several colors too, allowing for you to coordinate it with your kitchen or bar. It is a little on the noisy side, but that is a minor complaint when weighed up against its many benefits.
7. Merax Portable Countertop Clear Ice Maker
The final ice maker on the list is the Merax, and what an ice maker it is! Priced at $190, it can make up to 48 pounds of ice in a day which is the most on this list. It only produces cubes of ice (dice and crescent), not bullet cubes like many others on the list. It makes small, medium, or large cubes depending on how you set it up and the dense cubes that it makes melt slower than many other machines ice cubes do, which means your drink is kept cool and you can enjoy its full flavor.
A batch of ice takes about 15 mins which is a little long, but it makes a lot of ice (usually 24 cubes). It has a 2.2 liter tank and a clean stainless-steel finish. It is quiet and has powerful compressor cooling. It can also store up to 2.5 pounds of ice which is double some of the other machines on this list. The main downside is that the reviews suggest that the ice it produces is too large and needs to be broken up, but aside from that, the Merax is a quality ice maker considering its price.