The 5 Best Portable Ice Makers in 2019
#2 Koldfront KIM202W Ultra Compact Portable Ice Maker
Enjoy your favorite drink over crisp ice cubes made from this affordable portable ice maker.
- 1.5 lb of ice
- 10 minute production time
- Perfect for camping and 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.
- Produces up to 28 lb. per day
- 6 minute production speed
- Customizable features
The summer months are creeping up and that means more beach time, pool days and endless barbecue. If you’ve ever packed a cooler then you know how crucial ice is to keeping your favorite beverages cool. You also may know how it is when you want to enjoy an ice cold drink, but run out of ice. Luckily, not having access to ice can be a thing of the past if you have a portable ice maker handy.
Say goodbye to buying bags of ice from the grocery store, save money and plastic by using an ice maker instead. The best portable ice maker freezes your ice fast, requires little installation, and can be easily transported with you on all of your adventures. If you’re someone who loves outdoor summer activities like camping or hanging out at the beach all day then check out our five top picks for ice makers.
Editors' Choice: NewAir AI-100R Pound Portable Ice Maker
Making batches of ice has never been easier with the NewAir AI-100R ice maker. In under 15 minutes you can produce about 2 lb. of ice. 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 makes it one of our favorite portable ice makers on the market.
Just add water to the machine and in a short 15 minutes you’ll have a tray of ice cubes in whatever size you want. The ice capacity per day is around 28 lb., which is pretty high for a portable ice maker. Overall, the design is sleek and the electronic controls are user friendly.
NewAir AI-100R Pros
- Large capacity: Makes up to 28 lb. per day
- Portable: Although the model is a countertop ice maker, it is also extremely portable. Take it with you anywhere!
- Automatic alerts: When the water is low or when your ice is ready, you’ll be notified.
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 1.5lb of fresh ice in as little as 10 minutes and will not break the bank either. Take this Koldfront ice maker along with you to your summer road trips or camping trips. Simply plug it in, add water and wait for your delicious ice to be made.
The Koldfront’s compact design makes it extremely portable and great for bringing it along with you on your summer adventures. You can also count on the well-insulated interior to keep your ice cold and crisp for a long amount of time.
Koldfront KIM202W Pros
- Fast technology: Enjoy your ice in as little as 10 minutes with the fast freezing technology.
- Insulated interior: The insulation technology allows you to keep the ice cubes in tact 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 with Over-Sized Ice Bucket
If you plan to make large amounts of ice in a short amount of time, then 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 over-sized, so 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 6 minutes and customize them to your liking. The product is also user-friendly with its electronic controls and customizable features.
Igloo ICE103 Pros
- Largest ice bucket: The oversized bucket carries about 2.2 lb. of ice.
- Fast technology: Enjoy your ice in as little as 6 minutes.
- Sleek design: The stainless steel is sleek and durable and will last you years.
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. For some, nugget ice, or smaller-sized ice is “good ice”. With the Opal ice maker, you can easily produce a bucket of small, nugget ice that you love to chew. The easy-touch buttons are extremely easy to navigate and use as well.
You can store up to 3 lbs of nugget ice at once in the Opal ice maker, although it takes about 1 hour to produce 1 lb. 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: Program when you want to make ice through the convenient FirstBuild app
FirstBuild Opal Ice Maker Cons
- Slower production: It takes about 20 minutes to make the first batch of ice which is pretty long compared to the other ice makers on the list.
- Pricey: This unit is well over $500, which is at least 5 times the price of other ice makers.
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, your ice will be ready in less than 6 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 to use: Simply pour water in and wait under 6 minutes for your ice to be ready.
- Stainless steel finish: Choose between 3 different beautiful stainless steel options.
Frigidaire EFIC206 Cons
- A bit heavy: While portable, it may be a bit heavy to carry around since it weighs about 18 lb.
Benefits of a Portable Ice Maker
How do you know if you need an ice maker? Sure, you can easily buy ice from the grocery store anytime you need it on the go or for a party/event. But a portable ice maker does the job for you, fast, and it truly is portable. They work pretty much anywhere that an outlet is, so easily take it with you on trips in your RV, or to a friends house. Here are a few of the best things about having an ice maker handy.
We’ve all experienced throwing a party and needing ample amounts of ice that our normal fridges can’t produce. Buying bags of ice from the store is not only time-consuming, but it also can cost you unnecessary money over time. It may not seem like a lot, but during the summer months where you tend to use more ice, this could make a difference. On top of that, you’re contributing to the plastic waste issue. So not only is using a portable ice maker economical, 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 either.
Fast, efficient technology
The traditional ice trays that we all grew up using may be simple, but they are in no way efficient. The best portable ice maker will produce a large batch of ice anywhere between 6 to 20 minutes. This is not only fast, it is much more efficient than waiting for ice cubes to be ready in the freezer.
Even if you have an ice maker in your freezer already, it is likely that the ice bucket capacity and production speed are not as fast as these devices are. Save yourself some time and stress and use a portable ice maker if you are someone who would benefit from this.
Customized Ice Cubes
As mentioned above, every ice lover has their preferred shape and size of ice. Texture is also an important factor when it comes to enjoying ice the way you love. Some people like their lemonade with large, square ice cubes and others prefer the soft, chewy nugget ice for their cocktails. Most of the portable ice makers will have a few options, at least 2, to choose from when it comes to the type of ice cubes you want. This is a great option to have if you want to produce ice for a variety of occasions.
Portable Ice Maker Buyer’s Guide
When shopping for the best portable ice maker, it’s important to choose one that will meet your needs. Getting the wrong appliance that is poorly made, overpriced or too slow will completely defeat the purpose of investing in one. Familiarize yourself with a few of the main features of portable ice makers before you commit.
Size and Weight
Anything that is portable should be reasonably sized and weighted. Appliances are complicated devices with advanced technology, so they can easily start to 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 then 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 lb. We believe that anything above this is too heavy, especially when full of ice.
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. Nowadays, it is easy to choose a good household appliance that is sleek and modern. Some ice makers come in stainless steel finishes with an array of colors to choose from. Many ice makers come in bright, bold colors, so make sure these will fit in well with the design of your kitchen before you buy.
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,iIf it can’t produce ice in under 20 minutes then it is not a worthwhile investment. The ice maker with the fastest ice cube technology on our list is the Frigidaire, which makes ice cubes in under 6 minutes. If you plan to use it in parties or events where you need to produce a high amount of ice in a short time then opt for the faster devices.
Ice Cube Shape and Size
Not all portable ice makers have a customizable feature, so pay close attention when shopping for one. It is standard to have at least two sizes, small and large, to choose between. However, some machines have three or four shapes and sizes. Some of the more compact models only have one shape and size option, so if variety is something you’re hoping for then choose one with this feature.
Most ice makers make bullet-shaped ice cubes. However, there are tons of devices that can make clear restaurant-style ice cubes or even nugget “Sonic” ice. It may not seem like a big deal, but for many ice purists, the size and shape is a huge factor.
Ice Cubes Storage Capacity
Every ice maker will list its ice cube capacity on the product page. This usually ranges from 20 to 28 lb. capacity in one day. However, another thing to consider is the 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 use verses 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. You’d be surprised to find that not all ice makers are properly insulated, meaning that shortly after the ice is finished, it will begin to melt. Some people like to program the ice makers to make multiple batches of ice so they can use it later. In this case, you’ll want a model that is well-insulated so 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 finished. These alerts are helpful but can also be loud compared to the model. Some advanced machines let you customize the controls and the noise levels, but others do not. So, consider the noise level and customizable controls while shopping for your next ice maker. Like many other appliances, you don’t want something that is so loud so it disturbs the peace in your home.
Ease of Cleaning
Portable ice makers need to be cleaned periodically to keep everything sanitary. Most devices have some type of drain that allows you to drain the excess water, which is a part of the cleaning process. If the drain is located at the bottom of the unit, then this is much easier than a side drain.
There are even some drains that 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.
Compared to other small appliances out there, ice makers aren’t that expensive. In fact, you can find a good quality ice maker under $100 easily. While they do vary in price, when shopping for an ice maker within your budget make sure you don’t sacrifice the quality.
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.
We hope this guide has made it easier to choose the best portable ice maker for your home. 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.Read More