The Best Portable Ice Makers (Review) in 2020
Ice is great to have around . Whether you’re making cocktails or easing a bump on the head, having convenient access to ice is pretty useful in any kitchen. You might make ice by filling a tray and popping it in the freezer, or perhaps your refrigerator has a built-in ice dispenser, but did you know there’s another simple method?
Portable ice makers are a quick and easy way to access ice in your kitchen, or on the go. This useful piece of kit can be plugged into any standard socket, providing you with virtually unlimited access to ice. If this sounds useful to you, read on, as we run through 10 of the best portable ice makers on the market right now. To help you work out which one is the perfect fit, and how to get the most out of your new device, we’ve also put together a handy buying guide.
2.2-liter water reservoir makes 1.5 lbs of ice
26 pounds daily ice production, ice cubes ready in 8 minutes
Intuitive ice making design; recirculates melted ice into the machine
24-pound daily ice production
3-pound ice storage capacity
Works with FirstBuild app for wireless ice maker operation
26-pound daily ice production
2.3-quart water reservoir; Ice ready in 6 minutes
1.5-pound ice storage capacity
Electronic LED controls
The Best Portable Ice Maker
Starting off our list is this compact and effective ice maker by Homelabs. The handy device produces sleek, ‘bullet’ shaped ice pieces, in as little as eight minutes. Over 24 hours, the ice machine can produce up to 26 pounds of ice – more than enough for a huge range of applications. Its 2.2 liter (9 cup) water tank ensures you won’t need to refill too often, and when you do a handy light will let you know. Thanks to its handy settings, the machine can produce ice in two different sizes, making it even more versatile.
The ice cubes’ cylindrical shape is cleverly designed to fit in the neck of water bottles, unlike traditional square shapes. In use, the machine is quiet, and efficient, for minimum distraction and lower energy bills. Its efficient design doesn’t stop at low energy use, either – the ice maker also features a handy water reservoir beneath the ice basket, which reuses any meltwater to bring you more ice between refills. For your safety, the machine is equipped with an automatic shut off function, which cuts the power in the event of malfunction.
Compact countertop ice maker
Produces ‘bullet’ shaped ice pieces in 2 different sizes
Ideal for water bottles
Starts to produce ice in just 8 minutes
Produces 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours
Quiet and efficient in use
Water reservoir reuses meltwater
Automatically shuts off in the event of malfunction
LED alerts you when water must be refilled
Della have also earned themselves a spot on our list, with this effective, surprisingly affordable home ice machine. Thanks to its fast and efficient cooling system, the machine can produce up to 26 pounds of ice within 24 hours. Each cube is deposited in a removable bin, for ease of use. Switched on, it runs quietly, for more convenient use. Once switched on, it will begin to produce ice in as little as six minutes.
Thanks to its relatively lightweight design, the machine is easy to take along with you wherever you need. Whether it’s an office barbeque, or RV excursion, the portable design lends itself well to a wide array of settings. The ice maker’s reservoir holds up to 1.8 liters (8 cups) of water – more than enough to meet your needs without the need for frequent refilling. A series of LED lights on top of the device make it easy to see what’s going on. Here, you can select the size of the cubes, and check whether the water tank requires topping up. For safety, the machine will automatically switch off in the event of a malfunction.
Compact, portable ice maker
Budget-friendly price point
Quiet and efficient operation
Begins to produce ice in just 6 minutes
Produces up to 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours
Includes a scoop and removable ice bin
Lightweight and portable
1.8 liter (8 cup) water tank
Automatically shuts off in the event of malfunction
The next ice maker machine to find a spot on our list is by RCA. Their conveniently compact device by RCA. Its sleek design, in metallic red, will look at home in almost any kitchen, while its impressive ice capacity will earn it a beloved spot on the countertop each summer. With a reservoir capacity of 2.2 liters (9 cups), the effective device can produce an impressive 1.5 pounds of ice at a time, starting in as little as 6 minutes.
This ice is stored in an easily accessible bucket, where it can be scooped out for a wide variety of uses. For improved versatility, the rounded ice ‘bullets’ this machine produces come in two different sizes. The smaller size is ideal for water bottles – unlike conventional cubes, which can’t fit through their narrow necks. Over 24 hours, the machine can produce up to 26 pounds of ice – more than enough for most domestic applications.
Portable ice maker, ideal for kitchens, RVs, offices, and more
Features a water tank capacity of 2.2 liters (9 cups)
Produces ice in as little as 6 minutes
Produces 1.5 pounds of ice at a time, and up to 26 pounds over 24 hours
Convenient LED display
Indicator illuminates when the tank requires a top up
This small ice maker by FirstBuild has also found itself a place on our list. It’s a little heavier than some other options on the list, reducing portability, but makes a great countertop appliance for the larger kitchen. Featuring an operating temperature ranging from 55 to -90 degrees Fahrenheit, the machine can produce ice nuggets in under 20 minutes.
The ice bucket inside can hold up to three pounds of ice at a time – more than enough for a wide array of uses. When the bucket runs low, the machine automatically restarts, maintaining a fresh bucket throughout the day. Thanks to air insulation, the ice won’t melt too quickly, making for simple, convenient access. The ice maker also features handy Bluetooth connectivity, which allows users to program an ice making schedule in advance, and set the machine going without being in its vicinity.
Countertop ice maker
Cools to temperatures between 55 and -90 degrees Fahrenheit
Begins making ice nuggets in under 20 minutes
Holds up to 3 pounds of ice at a time
Automatically tops up, for constant ice access
Bluetooth connectivity allows users to program ice making schedules
NewAir have also earned themselves a spot on our list, thanks to their elegant portable ice maker. Available in five metallic colors, it’s the perfect fit for virtually any space. The compact design is equally at home in RVs, kitchens, offices, and more. Its powerful yet quiet compressor can produce up to 28 pounds of ice in a day, so you’ll never need to run to the store for ice again.
Like many of the machines on our list, NewAir’s AI-10SS produces ‘bullet’ shaped pieces of ice, rather than conventional cubes. This handy shape is a great all-rounder, and you’ll start to see these pieces after just 6 minutes. The versatile machine can produce ice bullets in three handy sizes, for even greater versatility. Thanks to a series of indicator lights, it’s easy to see when the water reservoir is running low, or the ice basket is full. Featuring an automatic shut off feature, the machine will stop as soon as the bucket is full, or the water tank is empty. Once you’re finished with the machine, a handy self-cleaning function saves you considerable time and hassle.
Compact and portable ice maker
Available in 5 metallic shades
Produces up to 28 pounds of ice in a day
‘Bullet’ shaped ice pieces can be produced in 3 different sizes
Indicator lights let you know when water is running low
Automatic shut off feature switches the machine off if the tank is empty, or bucket full
The next ice maker to find a spot on our list is this option by Vremi. The sleek yet sturdy design can deliver perfect ice every time – in as little as nine minutes. The bullet shaped pieces are great for a wide array of functions, and fit neatly into water bottle necks. These pieces can be had in two handy sizes. The compact device is easy to use, too – simply plug it into any standard outlet. It’s perfect for kitchens, RVs, and more.
In use, the machine is whisper quiet, and energy efficient too. It features a 2.2 liter (nine cup) water tank, giving you plenty of ice between refills. Below the ice basket, an extra reservoir channels meltwater back into the ice making process. When the tank does run low, a handy light will illuminate to let you know. When the tank is empty, or the basket is full, the ice machine will automatically shut off for improved safety.
Countertop, portable ice maker
Water tank capacity of 2.2 liters (9 cups)
Produces ice in as little as 9 minutes
‘Bullet’ shaped ice pieces are ideal for bottles
Ice pieces can be produced in 2 different sizes
Whisper quiet in use
Ice baset and scoop included
Low water light
Automatically shuts off if bucket is full, or tank is empty
Avalon Bay have also earned themselves a spot on our list, thanks to their handy portable ice maker. The conveniently compact design fits in wherever it’s needed – all you require is a standard power outlet and some water. The machine produces ice using a powerful but efficient compressor, which begins to freeze pieces in as little as six minutes.
Like many machines on our list, the device produces ‘bullet’ shaped ice pieces – available in two different sizes. Not only is this shape ideal for water bottles and other tight spaces, it also drops into the ice basket more quietly than a conventional cube shape. The device also features a few indicator lights, letting you know if the basket is full, or the water tank is empty. When either of these events occur, the machine will automatically shut off for safety. Over the course of a day, this sturdy machine can produce an impressive 26 pounds of ice.
Compact and portable ice maker, available in three different colors
Produces the first pieces of ice in as little as 6 minutes
Produces ‘bullet’ shaped ice, in 2 different sizes
Features a 2.2 liter (9 cup) water tank
Meltwater is recirculated to make new ice
Shuts off when the tank is empty, or the basket is full
Ice basket and scoop included
If you’re searching for an ice maker at an affordable price point, look no further than this handy device by Whynter. As their name suggests, Whynter specialise in all things ice-related, and they’ve turned their expertise towards this machine with great success. Featuring a 27 pound capacity, it can hold enough ice for almost any application, producing the first pieces in as little as 10 to 15 minutes.
Thanks to a 2.2 liter (9 cup) reservoir, there’s no need for frequent top ups. The ice ‘bullets’ produced by the machine can be had in two different sizes, ideal for all sorts of uses. Thanks to its highly efficient compressor, the machine works without drawing too much power. It also features a simple LED display, letting you know when the ice basket is full, or the water tank empty. When the machine is full, or the tank is empty, the machine will automatically shut itself off for safety.
Affordable and portable ice machine
27 pound capacity
Starts to make ice after just 10 – 15 minutes
Ice ‘bullets’ can be made in 2 sizes
Features a 2.2 liter (9 cup) tank capacity
Highly efficient, thanks to a powerful compressor
LED display alerts you when the basket is full, or the tank low
Machine automatically shuts off when the tank is empty, or the basket is full
The penultimate spot on our list goes to COSTWAY, thanks to their highly efficient ice machine. Thanks to its lightweight and compact design, the machine is easy to move around, allowing it to be used anywhere you have access to a standard power outlet and water. The device can store up to 1.5 pounds of ice at a time – more than enough for a wide array of uses.
Over 24 hours, the machine can produce up to 26 pounds. Once switched on, the first pieces of ice will emerge in as little as eight minutes. Meanwhile, LED indicators let you know when the water level runs low, or the ice bucket is full. In use, it’s quiet and efficient, so there’s no need to worry about noisy operation.
Efficient and portable ice maker
Available in 5 different colors
Produces up to 26 pounds of ice each day
Holds 1.5 pounds of ice at a time
Ice ‘bullets’ emerge in as little as 6 minutes
LED indicators let you know when the water level runs low, or the bucket is full
Last, but not least, comes this handy stainless steel option by Frigidaire. The sleek, stainless steel design is available in three striking shades, adding a splash of color to any kitchen. Thanks to its compact and lightweight design, the handy machine is easy to take with you on the go – from RVs, to cabins, and more.
Thanks to a powerful compressor, the device begins to produce ice in as little as six minutes. Each piece of ice is ‘bullet’ shaped, and can be made in two different sizes for added versatility. Over the course of a day, the machine can produce up to 26 pounds of ice. With its 2.3 quart water tank, the machine doesn’t require frequent refills, so you can keep on using it hassle free.
Stainless steel, portable ice maker
Available in 3 different colors
Features a powerful and efficient compressor
‘Bullet’ ice pieces, available in 2 sizes
Makes up to 26 pounds of ice in a day
Starts making ice in as little as 6 minutes
Best Portable Ice Maker Buying Guide
These portable ice makers are the best of the bunch, and we’re confident you can find your perfect solution somewhere among the list. To help you work out which one is best for your kitchen, and get the most out of the new machine, we’ve compiled this handy buying guide.
What to Look For in the Portable Ice Maker
When it’s time to select a portable ice maker, there are a few factors to bear in mind:
As their name implies, portable ice makers should be, well, portable. To make sure your device will be easy to take with you on the go, look out for a lightweight design, and compact built. This will also fit more neatly on the countertop.
- Ice Quantity
Most ice machines will begin to produce ice less than 10 minutes after they’re switched on, but different machines will have different capacities. If you plan on using a large quantity of ice, look out for a large basket.
When it comes to choosing your ice machine, safety is paramount. Look out for a device that will automatically switch off when its tank is empty, or its ice basket full.
- Efficiency & Ease of Use
Like all appliances, it’s important that your ice maker is effective and easy to use. Look out for an efficient compressor, quiet operation, and clear display unit.
Benefits of Portable Ice Makers
Using a portable ice maker comes with a number of benefits, including:
- Portable ice makers can make ice on the go - wherever there’s a power outlet
- Countertop ice makers are easy to use
- Making ice in a portable machine is much easier than using an ice cube tray
- Ice machines can make large volumes of ice at a time
- Many ice machines can make differently sized pieces
Different Types of Ice Makers
Portable ice makers aren’t the only type on the market - you may also encounter:
- Undercounter Ice Makers
As the name suggests, this machine is mounted underneath a counter. Unlike their countertop brethren, they feature a water line and must be plumbed in. This makes them considerably harder to install, and prevents portability. However, they can produce far greater quantities of ice than other options, making them ideal for commercial uses.
- Refrigerator ice Makers
Some modern fridge-freezers come with an ice maker built in. They’re convenient for home use, but can’t be transported, and won’t produce as much ice as other options.
Best Portable Ice Maker FAQ:
Q: What is a portable ice maker?
A: Portable ice makers do exactly what their name describes: they make large quantities of ice, and are light and small enough to be transported. Unlike other kinds of ice maker, they don’t need to be plumbed in, and only require a standard power outlet.
Q: How do ice makers work?
A: Inside an ice maker, water is pumped into a rotating ice tray, and cooled by a compressor and fan. When the water is frozen into ice, each piece is loosened from the tray with the help of warm refrigerant, and released into the storage basket.
The water is frozen using the same method utilised by refrigerators: a liquid called refrigerant is circulated around the device, dissipating its heat energy at one point, so that it’s very cold when it comes into contact with the water.
Q: How do I clean a portable ice maker?
A: Cleaning a portable ice maker is a relatively simple process:
- Wash the basket, water reservoir, and pump with warm soapy water
- Consider rubbing a halved lemon over the device to prevent rusting and remove unwanted odors
- Wash the basket and reservoir again, using vinegar; a great non-toxic cleaner
- Rinse the machine thoroughly with plain water
- Run a batch of ice before discarding it, to ensure the vinegar residue is totally removed
Q: How long does it take to make ice?
A: Most portable ice makers get to work fast, throwing out the first batch of cubes in under 10 minutes. After this, additional ice pieces are added to the basket at regular intervals of the same length.
Q: What do I do if the water is not draining from the back of the machine?
A: If your ice maker isn’t functioning properly, a blockage could be the culprit. If water isn’t draining from the back of the machine, switch it off, and follow the cleaning instructions outlined above. If this does not resolve the issue, contact the manufacturer.
Q: What kind of water should I use?
A: Portable ice makers work well with almost any type of potable (drinking) water. Just make sure that the water is changed every day, and has a temperature between 51 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should also avoid using distilled water, since its lack of minerals will interfere with the water level sensors. These sensors rely on an electric current to detect the reservoir water level, and electricity cannot be carried by ion-free, distilled water. If you only have distilled water at your disposal, this issue can be overcome by adding a pinch of salt.
Our Top Pick
For us, the best ice cube machine on the market right now is this handy device by Homelabs. Their ice maker is compact, efficient, and versatile, making it a great addition to any home. Thanks to its small design, the machine is easy to move - providing you with fresh ice anywhere in the home or office.
After just 8 minutes, the device produces ‘bullet’ shaped ice pieces, ideal for water bottles, and a whole host of other applications. For extra versatility, the ice can be produced in two different sizes. In use, the machine is energy efficient, and surprisingly quiet, allowing you to switch it on, and walk away. A handy shut off function ensures the machine turns off in the event of a malfunction. To help you get started straight away, each ice maker includes a handy basket and scoop. Its reservoir can hold up to 2.2 liters (9 cups) of water, reducing the frequency with which it needs to be refilled. When water levels are running low, a handy light will alert you.
- Ice Cube Making Machines: How Do They Work? - ITV Ice Makers