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Best Ice Maker

It may seem hard to believe for some, but up until 1953, home ice makers were not available to the average person in America.  Indeed, up until that point, if you wanted ice in your home, your options were to order ice from someone to be delivered (much the way that the milk man delivered milk) or to go to a corner store that had an ice machine (and those were not as common as they are today, not by any accounting).  Having ice in the house, to say nothing of ice for use in drinking glasses, was a rarity, not something enjoyed by all.

Today, that is no longer the case.  Most of us have at least some sort of ice machine in our house, a built-in ice maker for home, or, failing that, we can use an ice tray to make ice in our freezers. But for some of us, that just isn’t going to happen.  Whether it is because you’re like many who just have too much stuff in your freezer (folks, there’s no reason to not clean out your freezer.  Food goes bad in your freezer, too) or because you just have issues with the quality of your freezer’s ice maker, things happen.  Luckily, there are ice makers that you can buy that are stand-alone units for producing ice, and today, we’ll be searching for the best ice maker you can get hold of.

Best Ice Maker – Comparison Table

So, before we go into too much detail, let us first take just a very general look at the information concerning these ice makers, for comparing them and seeing which one you might find to be in your best interest.  Below, please find a table that will explain the various differences to you, and will help to guide you toward making the right choice for you and your ice needs.

NameIce Production Per Day (Lbs)
Water Reservoir SizeIce Sizes
RCA 26 Lbs Counter Top Ice Maker
262.3 Quarts2
Igloo ICE103 Counter Top Ice Maker With Over-Sized Ice Bucket26>1 Gallon3
Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Portable Ice Maker261 Gallon2
Hamilton Beach Portable Ice Maker25~2 Quarts2
NutriChef PICEM75 Countertop Ice Maker And Dispenser331.8 Liters2

Now that you have a good basic understanding of the products that we will be looking into today, it is time to help you to pick out the best residential ice maker for you and for your needs and what you intend to use it for.
1

RCA 26 Lbs Counter Top Ice Maker – The Standard Edition

The first entry here is from the company RCA, a business that has been in the electronics world pretty much forever.  They make everything from kitchen appliances to record players and even televisions and parts for television viewing, although they have lost a lot of market space to the competition as of late (especially in television, where Samsung is more or less becoming a leader).

RCA makes a fantastic set of electronics, and their ice maker is no exception to that.  Indeed, believe it or not, if you were to utilize this ice maker, within nine minutes from it being turned on (obviously, with water inside of it), you will be able to begin harvesting the ice that it is creating.  That’s a pretty great thing for people who are looking for ice for their drink right this very minute, wouldn’t you agree?

It has a pretty large reservoir of water, too, holding 2.3 quarts of water.  Over the course of one day, the machine can make 26 pounds of ice, assuming you keep it fed with water.  The point that I am trying to make here is that this RCA ice machine is a serious ice maker, even if it is not portable.  It is more of a counter top ice maker, if anything. On a counter top, it really doesn’t take up all that much space, either, but it does weigh 32 pounds when empty, so you’re not going to want to move it once you’ve picked a place to set it up.

So, if you are looking for a great ice maker, albeit not a portable one, and one that has a name that you can trust, you are going to find that the RCA offering is definitely something that you can be happy to spend your money on and that will give you year of service and ice.  You’ll be glad you picked such a trusty ice machine in the long run, too, trust me.

PROS
  • Makes ice in 9 minutes
  • Very reliable name brand
  • Large water reservoir
CONS
  • Heavy, even when empty
  • It is absolutely not a portable machine
2

Igloo ICE103 Counter Top Ice Maker With Over-Sized Ice Bucket – The Contender

You probably don’t know the company Igloo for their icemakers, but more for the equipment that they make for people who need to have an ice chest.  Indeed, if you ever go out to the beach, you’ll notice that the majority of the ice chests out there are made either by Igloo or by a company like Coleman, with a few being made by companies like Yeti that tend to charge way more than any ice chest is worth.

Anyway, let’s talk about this Igloo ICE103 counter top ice maker.  Once again, this thing is not portable at all.  I mean, sure, you can move it if you would like to, but the reality is that it is not meant to be carried around with you everywhere you go; it is designed to be put in one place, on a counter somewhere, for example, and then to be run there for the remainder of its lifespan or the remainder of your need for it. It weighs something like 26 pounds when it is empty, and it has an oversized container for holding ice, which means that it can get a lot heavier if you are running it and keeping it equipped with water.

It doesn’t take up all that much space, of course, just like the RCA offering, making it another entrant for best undercounter ice makers 2017, but the truth is that it is just as at home on top of the counter (and a lot easier to get to, as well).  Like the RCA offering, this Igloo ice maker is able to make ice within nine minutes of being turned on and appropriately provided with water and power.

If you’re looking for something to make ice, and you don’t care for RCA, or you just like Igloo’s history, this may be a good product for you.

PROS
  • Lighter than the RCA model
  • 3 cube sizes to choose from
  • Makes ice within 9 minutes of being turned on
CONS
  • Not portable at all, in any way
3

Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Portable Ice Maker – The Portable Beast

Avalon Bay is another one of those companies that you probably haven’t heard of, and that may be because a lot of their money is derived from selling not ice machines for private use, but rather ice machines for commercial use.  Indeed, they make the best ice machine commercial model for a lot of small businesses that rely on ice for things like Slushies and similar. Their commercial model, in fact, is a very well regarded one, in general.

But anyway, the Avalon Bay model has a lot to offer, and it is the first portable ice maker that we are reviewing this go-round.  Honestly, I think it may be the best portable ice maker that 2017 created, and it’s one that I wouldn’t mind having (if I had a need for an ice maker, anyhow). 

It clocks in at twenty pounds, which I guess you can call portable.  It is definitely something that the average adult should be able to move about with ease, anyway.  It makes up to 26 pounds every day, and feeds from a water reservoir that can hold about a gallon of water at any given time.  As with moist of the ice makers that we’re reviewing, it has an automatic shut off so that it doesn’t over-produce ice that you don’t need (and can’t use).

As with many of the countertop models, you will find that you are going to be able to enjoy the first ice 9 minutes after you begin to run your ice machine, which is always great. 

In general, this thing is fantastic, and you will be glad that you spent the money on it and brought it with you if you do.  It is a great portable crushed ice maker, that’s for sure.

PROS
  • Only 20 pounds
  • Portable
  • Creates ice within the first 9 minutes of being turned on
CONS
  • Still on the kind of heavy side
  • Still needs to be run to a power source to operate
4

Hamilton Beach Portable Ice Maker – The Big Name Brand

Is there anything out there that could possibly be considered a kitchen appliance that Hamilton Beach doesn’t make?  I would be shocked to find out that there was anything that they missed.

Hamilton Beach put together a great portable ice maker here, and one that is better than the Avalon Bay ice maker in a few ways.  To begin with, it weighs two pounds less.  I know that this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if we’re talking about a portable ice maker, every ounce that you can shave off from what you have to carry is going to be a blessing, believe me.

As with the rest of the ice machines, it will allow you to have ice nine minutes or so after it is activated, but unlike the rest, this one can produce 25 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period. Not a huge difference, but one that should be highlighted.

If you’re willing to give up 2 pounds for a slightly less powerful ice maker, then this works out well for you.

PROS
  • Portable
  • Weighs only 18 pounds
  • Allows you to have ice quickly, anywhere you go and have power at
CONS
  • Slightly less powerful than the competition
5

NutriChef PICEM75 Countertop Ice Maker And Dispenser– The Top-Of-The-Line Model

This is one of the best ice machines that we reviewed, if not the best.  The other ice machines are straight ice machines, with nothing more, but this machine not only looks better, it does more.

To begin with, it makes more ice, and does so quicker.  It is capable of producing up to 33 pounds of ice per day, and feeds off of a 1.8-liter water reservoir.  Oh, and if you decide that you need a cold glass of water with that ice, you will find that you can get that too; the dispenser will dispense both ice and chilled water.

Not only does this dispenser look decent when you put it on the countertop, but it serves multiple uses, and it can produce a good amount of ice in a short amount of time.  There’s really nothing that isn’t better about this machine, and the only drawback is the minor additional size that it comes with and the fact that it weighs 25 pounds, which puts it almost perfectly in the median range for the ice machines and ice makers that we have reviewed today.

If you need a good countertop ice maker and dispenser, you really cannot go wrong with this ice machine, and it is superior to most of its competition.

PROS
  • Looks amazing
  • Produces 33 pounds of ice a day
  • Feeds from a 1.8-liter reservoir
CONS
  • Kind of large and a bit gaudy

Best Ice Maker - Buyer's Guide

So, if you’re here, you probably have already decided that you need to pick up an ice maker, whatever your reason may be.  And if that is the case, then you are going to need to know a few things about owning and operating a water maker

What Kind Of Water Should I Use?

You should only use distilled water from a bottle or a jug, realistically. You can use literally any kind of water to run the machine off of, if you decide that this is your desire, but the truth is that if you use water that isn’t distilled and hasn’t had the metals removed, you will eventually have an issue with scaling, also known as ‘fouling’.  Scaling is what happens when you have an accumulation of heavy metals (or bacteria or moss or anything really) that builds up on your device or in your line.  What eventually happens is either it stops working or the ice cubes begin to taste just foul (and can even make you sick).

So, while you can use tap water, you probably shouldn’t.

How Much Ice Do I Need In A Day?

It depends on how many people are involved and what you’re using it for.  If you’re using a portable ice maker to feed a margarita machine for a few friends, for example, you’re going to find that a pound of ice an hour probably isn’t enough.  If you’re just looking to make ice for use with your waters and your juices and the occasional soda, you probably aren’t even using more than two pounds of ice in a day, and that’s assuming you fill the entire glass with ice (which most people do not do).

Conclusion


If you’re looking to pick up the best ice maker for your money, you will find that one of the five listed above will fit the bill nicely.  However, let’s not pretend that they are all equal.  We’ve looked, in-depth, into this ice makers, and now it comes time to announce some winners.

The best portable ice machine is the Hamilton Beach portable ice maker.  It weighs less than the Avalon Bay competition, it produces only slightly less ice, and it just looks more aesthetically pleasing.  The Hamilton Beach ice maker is also from a business that is well known for making quality kitchen appliances, and one that has been making such appliances for years and years on end; they are a name that you can trust.

The best overall ice maker is not even a dedicated ice maker, believe it or not. It is the ice maker and dispenser made by NutriChef.  I chose this as the best because it does literally everything.  It dispenses chilled water, it dispenses ice, and even better, it creates 33 pounds of ice in a day, which is about seven pounds more than the competitors are capable of. It does this all while being about midweight for the reviewed appliances, too.

So, if you are looking for an ice maker that will serve you well and provide all the ice you need, look no further than the five products that have been reviewed.  They will be sure to serve you well.