There is nothing like a drink that is meant to be cold having perfectly formed ice cubes within it. Unfortunately, obtaining ice can sometimes be a challenge if you don’t have a refrigerator with an automatic home ice maker (more info on homedepot.com). This makes it tough when you’re tailgating, BBQing or in places where you can’t keep a fridge and chilled beverages near each other.
Good news for those who want to avoid running out of ice at parties is that there are portable home ice makers. You can make the ice at your house and carry it or you can use a portable ice maker to make the needed quantity. The following is a rundown of these devices.
- Do you need ice created continuously or just a little per day?
- Will large quantities of ice are needed at once?
- Do you need your ice maker to have a water hookup along with the water reservoir?
- Will you be taking your home ice maker places?
- Is simple operation important to you?
- Do you prefer durable plastic or stainless steel?
What Is the Purpose of a Portable Ice Maker?
Automatic ice maker vs. manual ice maker: What type of ice maker should you buy?
A manual ice maker creates cubes, crackers or flakes of the desired size. A plus with this kind of machine is that you can use it for food storage as well. An automatic ice maker creates a steady stream of ice making it easy to make large amounts of cold water, margaritas and sorb ets. The downside is that it only produces a few cups of ice at a time. The automatic ice maker is much faster than the manual machine and produces more ice in a shorter amount of time. The manual machine is quieter than the automatic machine because it has only one moving part instead of two (one opening and one closing).
The manual ice maker is a better fit for those who are considering ice cube trays. The automatic ice maker is great for those who have more than one family member or need a lot of cold water at once. The price point is usually lower for the automatic ice maker. Considering energy efficiency, the manual ice maker is usually a better option as it uses less electricity.
Things to Consider When Shopping
|1. Dimensions||Most portable ice makers are rather small, which is why they are portable. You must consider the size because of how much space will be taken up on a countertop or other area. Most home ice makers don’t hold more than 2 pounds of ice at a time with water reservoirs that can range between 1.5 and 3 quarts.
Because most portable ice makers sit on a kitchen countertop in a boat or RV, space must be measured. The manufacturers provide the dimensions so you know how much space the ice maker consumes.
However, if you plan on taking the home ice maker from place to place or you want to use it only when having a party, the weight of the unit becomes more important. You should be comfortable carrying it when it’s empty.
|2. Capacity||If the dimensions or weight aren’t your main concerns, then you must consider the capacity. How much ice it makes in a day and how much it holds becomes more important than ever. The home ice makers in this guide make approximately 26 pounds of ice in a day and hold around 2 pounds of ice.|
|3. Keeping-Ice Function||Something else to keep in mind is that, while the ice makers will keep ice-cool, they don’t usually keep it cold enough to hold the ice for long periods of time. Ice that is made now and needed later should be moved to a freezer. If the ice is allowed to melt, most units will recycle the water from the melted ice.|
|4. Speed||While 26 pounds of ice in a day is enough for most occasions, the speed at which the ice is created is important. Some units can produce 9 cubes in as little as 7 or 8 minutes or as long as 10 to 20 minutes. If you need ice fast, this factor is important. When you’re having a party, the last thing you want is for your party guests to have to wait for the home ice maker to refill.
Keep in mind that a unit that needs to continuously make ice is one that will need its water reservoir frequently refilled. If you require continuous ice making, a unit that connects to a water line might be one to consider.
|5. Appearance||If your home ice maker will be sitting on your countertop, you want to consider the look. You’ll notice that portable ice makers come in many different colors and designs. If you want one that matches the décor in your kitchen or simply reflects your personality, then this is something that will be important while shopping.|
|6. Operation||Another crucial aspect of buying a portable ice maker is how easy it is to use. Most of them have intuitive LED displays and controls. The instructions are basic, there’s no installation unless you choose a unit that connects to a water line, and most come with sensors that tell you what to do.
One of the most common alerts relayed by a portable home ice maker is the refilling of the water reservoir. However, the intelligent water use feature that most units have re-freezes water from ice that has melted. This can reduce the frequency in which the machine must be refilled.
If easy cleaning is something that concerns you, a unit with a plug and a cleaning button might be what you need. Most of the time, cleaning a portable ice maker is very simple with or without the cleaning button.
|7. Construction||For some consumers, durability is a factor. Not only should a unit have ice-making components that last, but the exterior construction needs to be tough. There are two materials that are primarily used in the construction of portable home ice makers and they are plastic and stainless steel.
The plastic units are durable, but you want to ensure that they’re not going to crack if you are taking your unit from place to place. Stainless steel is durable, but it dents if it is hit or dropped. You should check the warranties before you buy to see what is covered internally and externally. When looking at the warranties, take how you will be using the ice maker into consideration.
Video: How to Clean Your Countertop Ice Maker
Extra Features to Consider
- Timer – A timer allows you to set a specific time for the ice maker to produce ice.
- Ice size – Many home ice makers have two ice sizes.
- Ice scoop – The ice scoop allows you to scoop only what you need for glass.
- Removable ice basket – A removable ice basket makes it easy to remove large amounts of ice to move to a freezer or dump into a cooler.
- Self-cleaning – Pull the plug to drain any water and let the self-cleaning function do the rest.
How is a portable ice maker cleaned?
Cleaning a portable home ice maker is simple. Each one has specific cleaning instructions, but it’s usually as simple as unplugging the machine, emptying it, and pushing a button. If there is no self-clean option, then simply remove the interior pieces, clean with a towel, and run water and vinegar through the unit. The machine will have to dry before it is used again.
Is a dedicated water line needed?
Some portable ice makers can connect to a water line if you need a continuous flow of ice. However, not all have this function. Even if a unit has a water line hookup, there is still a water reservoir to fill when taking the unit on the go or when continuous ice production isn’t needed.
Can any type of water be used?
The quality of the ice depends on the quality of the water. The type of water can also affect how well ice is produced. For instance, it is best to avoid hard water because it will cause mineral buildup inside the ice maker. This is something that applies to all appliances that use water.
While distilled water contains fewer minerals, it can cause an issue with the ice maker’s ability to identify when more ice needs to be made. The sensors in many units rely on mineral content to determine when to make more ice.
Filtered or purified water produces fresher ice and the sensors are still able to detect the mineral content so that they can tell the home ice maker to produce ice. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use tap water; it just can’t be hard water.
Can I use a standard wall outlet?
Yes, all ice makers work with the standard 120v wall outlet that you will find at home, in RVs, at campgrounds, in the office, etc.
Is there anything that needs to be done after unboxing the home ice maker?
It’s best to make a few batches of ice to throw away so that any debris inside of the ice maker can be removed.
Choose The Best Home Ice Maker For You!
1. EDITOR’S CHOICE: Arctic-Pro Portable Digital Ice Machine – Ice in Minutes[amazon box=”B07D2V7TMY” tracking_id=”frozen00-20″]
2. Igloo ICEB26RR 26-pound Portable Ice Cube Maker – Designed for Convenience[amazon box=”B07FNW41P7″ tracking_id=”frozen00-20″]
3. Frigidaire EFIC108 Blue Portable Ice Maker – Compact and Convenient[amazon box=”B01M2ZWKSN” tracking_id=”frozen00-20″]
4. Yongtong 26 LB Ice Maker – Sleek, Fast, and Quiet[amazon box=”B06XFX7ZVM” tracking_id=”frozen00-20″]
5. COSTWAY Ice Maker for Countertop – Fast and Quiet[amazon box=”B07JDCXBV4″ tracking_id=”frozen00-20″]