The 5 Best Portable Ice Makers in 2020
If you like having ice when you need it, consider getting one of the best portable ice makers.
When you’re enjoying beach time, pool days, or barbecue parties, you need ice to keep your favorite beverages and food cool. Not having access to ice can be a thing of the past if you have a portable ice maker.
Say goodbye to buying bags of ice from the grocery store, and save money and plastic by using an ice maker. These appliances freeze your ice fast, require little installation, and are portable so you can take them on all your adventures.
See the best portable ice makers on the market.
#2 Koldfront KIM202W Ultra Compact Portable Ice Maker
Enjoy your favorite drink over crisp ice cubes made from this affordable portable ice maker. Features include:
- 1.5 lb of ice
- 10 minute production time
- Compact size for camping or RVs
#4 Igloo ICE103 Countertop Ice Maker With Over-Sized Ice Bucket
You can produce large amounts of ice and store even more with this top-rated portable Ice Maker from Igloo. Features include:
- 6-minute production speed
- Customizable features
- Produces up to 28 lb. per day
Editors' Choice: NewAir AI-100R Pound Portable Ice Maker
Making batches of ice has never been easier with the NewAir AI-100R ice maker.
The NewAir is our top choice for its features that allow you to customize the ice you want. The value, features, and easy installation of this machine make it one of our favorite portable counter ice makers on the market.
In under 15 minutes, you can produce about two pounds of ice. The ice capacity per day is around 28 pounds, which is high for a portable ice maker.
Overall, the design is sleek, and the electronic controls are user-friendly.
NewAir AI-100R Pros
- Automatic alerts: When the water is low or when your ice is ready, you’ll hear the notification.
- Large capacity: This machine makes up to 28 pounds per day
- Portable design: Although the model is a countertop ice maker, you can take it with you anywhere!
NewAir AI-100R Cons
- Big, bulky size: The design is not the smallest or most compact. It will take up significant space on your counter.
Best Value: Koldfront KIM202W Ultra Compact Portable Ice Maker
The Koldfront KIM202W will churn one and a half pounds of fresh ice in as little as ten minutes and will not break the bank either, making it one of our top picks if you’re on a budget.
Take this Koldfront portable electric ice maker along with you to your summer road trips or camping trips. Plug it in, add water, and wait a few minutes for your ice.
The compact design makes it portable for your summer adventures. You can also count on the well-insulated interior to keep your ice cold for a long time.
Koldfront KIM202W Pros
- Fast technology: Enjoy your ice in as little as ten minutes with the fast freezing technology.
- Insulated interior: The insulation technology allows you to keep the ice cubes intact for some time. However, it is not a freezer.
- Water-saving technology: The Koldfront reuses the melted ice water to make new ice, saving you water in the long run.
Koldfront KIM202W Cons
- Small ice cubes: Some users claim the machine makes small ice cubes that aren’t fully frozen.
Best for Large Capacity: Igloo ICE103 Countertop Ice Maker
If you plan to make large amounts of ice in a short amount of time, the Igloo ICE103 is your best bet.
This countertop and portable ice maker is a powerful machine that can churn out 2.2lb of ice cubes per session. The ice bucket is also oversized. You can store enough ice cubes for an entire family or group of people.
With this model, you can be sure that you’re getting a quality product as well. Igloo is one of the top manufacturers of cooling technology and appliances.
You can enjoy your ice-cold beverages in as little as six minutes and customize them to your liking.
The product is also user-friendly with its electronic controls and customizable features.
Igloo ICE103 Pros
- Fast technology: Enjoy your ice in as little as six minutes.
- Largest ice bucket: The oversized bucket carries about 2.2 lb. of ice.
- Sleek design: The stainless steel is elegant and durable.
Igloo ICE103 Cons
- Short warranty: Igloo only offers a 90-day limited warranty on this unit.
Best for Nugget Ice: FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Maker
All ice lovers have their preferred shape and texture of ice cubes. For some, nugget ice, or smaller-sized ice is preferable. With the Opal ice maker, you can easily produce a bucket of small, nugget ice that you love to chew.
You can store up to three lbs of nugget ice at once in the Opal ice maker, although it takes about an hour to produce a pound of ice.
The easy-touch buttons are straightforward to use as well.
You will love having nugget ice at your convenience, but it will cost you a little more than the other standard ice makers on our list.
FirstBuild Opal Ice Maker Pros
- Bluetooth controls: You can program when you want to make ice through the convenient FirstBuild app.
FirstBuild Opal Ice Maker Cons
- Expensive unit: This unit is well over $500, which is at least five times the price of other ice makers.
- Slow production: It takes about 20 minutes to make the first batch of ice, which is a long time compared to the other ice makers on the list.
Best Ice Production Speed: Frigidaire EFIC206 Ice Maker
The entire point of getting an ice maker is to make crisp ice in as little time as possible.
Gone are the days of waiting for your ice tray to be ready. With this Frigidaire ice maker, you’ll have ice in less than six minutes.
Have your pick between two ice cube sizes and see through the large viewing glass to see the finished product.
Frigidaire EFIC206 Pros
- Easy use: Pour water in and wait a little less than minutes for your ice to be ready.
- Stainless steel finish: Choose between three beautiful stainless steel options.
Frigidaire EFIC206 Cons
- Heavy design: While portable, this ice maker may be heavy to carry around. It weighs about 18 pounds.
Benefits of a Portable Ice Maker
How do you know if you need an ice maker?
Sure, you can buy ice from the grocery store anytime you need it on the go or for an event, or you can rely on freezer ice cube trays.
But a portable ice maker does the job for you quickly, and it truly is portable. They work anywhere that has an outlet, so you can easily take it with you on trips in your RV, to a friends house, or to the pool. There’s no need to hook it to water lines or haul large bags of ice.
Here are a few of the best things about having an ice maker handy.
Customized Ice Cubes
Many ice lovers have a preferred shape and size of ice.
The texture is also an important factor when it comes to enjoying ice. Some people like their lemonade with large, square ice cubes and others prefer the soft, chewy nugget ice for their cocktails.
A portable ice maker can help you get the kind of ice you prefer.
Most of the portable ice makers will have a few options to choose from when it comes to the type of ice cubes you want.
Fast, Efficient Technology
The traditional ice trays that we all grew up using may be simple, but they aren’t efficient.
Portable ice makers will produce a large batch of ice anywhere between 6 to 20 minutes. These machines are fast and more efficient than waiting for ice cubes to be ready in the freezer.
Even if you have an ice maker in your freezer already, the ice bucket capacity and production speed are likely not as fast as these devices are.
Save yourself some time and stress and use a portable ice maker.
We’ve all experienced throwing a party and needing ample amounts of ice that fridges can’t produce.
Buying bags of ice from the store can cost you unnecessary money over time. It may not seem like a lot, but the cost throughout the summer can add up.
On top of that, you’re contributing to the plastic waste issue every time you buy a bag of ice. So not only is using a portable ice maker economical, but it can also be a more sustainable option.
Ice makers use a resource that you already have and don’t require a lot of leg work.
Portable Ice Maker Buyer’s Guide
When shopping for a portable ice maker, you need one that will meet your needs. Getting an appliance that is poorly made, overpriced, or too slow will defeat the purpose of investing in one.
Familiarize yourself with a few of the main features of portable ice makers before you commit.
The design of your household appliances matter. You don’t want anything you buy to cheapen the aesthetic or throw off the elegance of your home.
It is easy to choose a household appliance that is sleek and modern. Some ice makers come in stainless steel finishes with an array of colors. Many ice makers come in bright, bold colors, so make sure these will fit in well with the design of your kitchen and other kitchen appliances before you buy.
You can use a portable ice maker as an under-counter ice option if it doesn’t match your kitchen, but it’s best to buy something you’ll be happy with in the first place.
Ease of Cleaning
You need to clean ice making machines periodically to keep everything sanitary.
Most devices have a drain that allows you to drain the excess water, which is a part of the cleaning process. A drain at the bottom of the unit is much easier than a side drain.
Some ice makers have a self-cleaning mode, making this process as easy as ever. This technology tends to drive the product price up, however.
Your best bet is getting an ice maker that drains easily and has a no-hassle cleaning process.
Ice Cube Production Speed
An ice maker is supposed to make ice cubes much faster than a traditional tray or even your freezer can.
Portable ice makers use fast-freeze technology to get you the ice in as little time as possible. Generally, if it can’t produce ice in under 20 minutes, it is not a worthwhile investment.
If you plan to use your portable digital ice maker machine at parties or events where you need to produce a high amount of ice in a short time, opt for a faster device.
Ice Cube Shape and Size
It may not seem like a big deal, but for many ice purists, the size and shape is a huge factor.
The size of ice usually comes in two options, small and large. Some also let you get tiny ice or oversized ice. However, some machines have three or four shapes and sizes.
Some of the less compact models only have one shape and size option. If variety is something you’re hoping for, choose an ice maker with customizable choices.
Most ice makers make bullet-shaped ice cubes. However, some devices can make clear restaurant-style ice cubes or even nugget “Sonic” ice.
Not all portable ice makers have a customizable feature, so pay close attention when shopping for one.
Ice Cubes Storage Capacity
Every ice maker will list its ice cube production capacity on the product page. Capacity usually ranges from 20 to 28 pounds in one day.
However, another thing to consider is storage capacity. The manufacturer’s page will tell you how much it can store in one sitting. This is usually found in liters.
Compare the speed of production to how much you’ll need and how much you plan to store.
One of the most important qualities an ice maker has is the device’s insulation.
Not all ice makers are insulated, meaning that shortly after the ice is finished, it will start melting.
Some people like to program the ice makers to make multiple batches of ice to use later. In this case, you’ll want a model that is well-insulated so that the ice doesn’t lose its crispness after a certain amount of time.
You may have noticed that some ice makers have alerts to let you know when the water is low or when the ice is done.
These alerts are helpful, but they can also be loud. Like many other appliances, you don’t want something so loud that it disturbs the peace in your home.
Some advanced machines let you customize the controls and the noise levels, but others do not. Consider the noise level and customizable controls while shopping for your next ice maker.
Compared to other small appliances out there, ice makers aren’t that expensive. You can find a good quality ice maker for under $100.
While ice makers vary in price, you can get an excellent device within your budget without sacrificing too much in quality.
Size and Weight
Anything portable should be reasonably sized and weighted.
Appliances are complicated devices with advanced technology, so they can weigh a lot. Some manufacturers create products that are high-quality and efficient but too bulky.
A great rule of thumb is to check out the photos of the ice makers on the countertop to see the amount of space it will occupy.
If you don’t plan on leaving your ice maker on the kitchen counter forever, check the size and weight of the ice maker before you buy it. Keep in mind that it will weigh more when it is full of ice.
Most of the ice makers on this list are under 20 pounds. Anything above this is too heavy, especially when full of ice.
Get to know the specific warranty of the product before investing in it. Some warranties are shorter than others, and some are limited, and others are full coverage.
Some companies, like Amazon and Home Depot, also offer separate warranties you can get for more protection.
Whether you’re taking it on an adventure with you this summer or plan on using it mostly at home, you’ll have fresh ice cubes on hand with a portable ice maker.
Use our top picks and our buying guide to help you pick the best option for your needs.Read More