Best Home Ice Maker – Buyer’s Guide

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 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.

The Best Home Ice Maker

Buyer’s Guide

Ice is nice to have on hand. It doesn’t have to be a hot summer to enjoy a cold beverage. If your refrigerator doesn’t make ice and you’re tired of buying heavy bags at the store, it’s worth looking for a portable home ice maker that meets your ice demands.
Before you jump on just any home ice maker, though, it’s best to pay close attention to your options. No two ice makers are the same. One might have features that suit you better than the next one. The following are some questions you want to ask yourself before you start the buying process:
  • 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?
The answers to these questions will help you determine which portable ice maker is best for you.

What Is the Purpose of a Portable Ice Maker?

The primary purpose of a portable ice maker is to create ice when you have no other means to do so or you need ice on the go (read more about portable ice makers on Not every refrigerator has an ice maker and not everyone likes to buy and break up large bags of ice. Because a portable home ice maker uses electricity and not batteries, you will need to ensure that you have access to an electrical outlet. This means that you can use the unit when tailgating, camping, in the RV, BBQing, or in your kitchen.

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

There are some important considerations when shopping for a portable home ice maker. The following is a breakdown of those factors to help you make an informed decision.
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

  1. Timer – A timer allows you to set a specific time for the ice maker to produce ice.
  2. Ice size – Many home ice makers have two ice sizes.
  3. Ice scoop – The ice scoop allows you to scoop only what you need for glass.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

After conducting a thorough review of the different home ice makers, the following are our top 6 picks with everything you need to know to make an educated choice.

1. EDITOR’S CHOICE: Arctic-Pro Portable Digital Ice Machine – Ice in Minutes

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The Arctic-Pro Portable Digital Ice Maker Machine produces the first ice in just 8 minutes and will create up to 26 pounds daily. This unit can be used on the countertop, bars, tailgating parties, BBQs, and any occasion when ice is needed. There are two different ice cube sizes that can be produced all day or on a timer. The digital screen shows exactly what is going on with the machine and includes a self-cleaning button.
Because this home ice maker is lightweight, you can travel with it. The large see-through window allows you to obtain a visual of how much ice is in the basket. Of course, the sensor can be used to make this determination so the basket doesn’t overfill. Ice melts back into the holding tray and that water will be used to make ice again for a constant stream. If the ice won’t be used for a while, it’s best to put the ice in the freezer.
This ice maker is the editor’s choice because of its speed and the fact that it is very lightweight at 17.2 pounds. Batteries are not required, so an electrical outlet is needed to power the unit (more info about Arctic-Pro Portable Digital Ice Machine on
  • Ice cubes made within 8 minutes
  • Produces 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours
  • Removable ice tray and scoop
  • 2 ice cube sizes
  • Intelligent sensors that indicate low ice or low water reservoir
  • Lightweight for easy transport
  • Constant ice or set a timer
  • Self-cleaning function
  • The ice isn’t kept cold

2. Igloo ICEB26RR 26-pound Portable Ice Cube Maker – Designed for Convenience

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The IglooICEB26RR 26-pound Portable Ice Cube Maker was designed for convenience. Not only does it sit on the countertop, but it is also compact and portable. The 26-pound ice-making capacity keeps the ice coming all day long, which is made possible by the 3-quart water tank. Up to 2 pounds of ice can be stored at any time and it takes 7 minutes to make 9 ice cubes (check on
In addition, the LED control panel has a low learning curve. It notifies you when water needs to be added when the ice basket is full, and you can choose the ice cube size. The illumination enables you to see the control panel in the dark (read more about Igloo ICEB26RR 26-pound Portable Ice Cube Maker on
Lastly, the transparent lid on this retro ice maker allows you to see the ice cube capacity. When you need to remove large amounts of ice, the ice basket is removable. An ice scoop is included so small containers can be easily filled (best freezer containers on If water needs to be drained, the drain plug is easy to remove.
  • Makes 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours
  • 3-quart water tank capacity
  • Stores 2 pounds of ice at a time
  • 9 ice cubes in as little as 7 minutes
  • Simple-to-understand LED control panel
  • Transparent lid
  • Water line and drain
  • Removable ice basket and scoop
  • 2 ice cube sizes
  • One of the heaviest portable units at 20.5 pounds
  • Plastic casing can affect external durability

3. Frigidaire EFIC108 Blue Portable Ice Maker – Compact and Convenient

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The Frigidaire EFIC108 Blue Portable Compact Maker makes up to 26 pounds of ice daily in two ice sizes. Up to 1.5 pounds of ice can be stored at a time. The water reservoir holds 2.3 quarts. Plus, the LED controls make operation a cinch.
The total weight is 19.8 pounds, making the unit one of the heavier portable machines. It’s made out of plastic, uses electricity, and comes in a beautiful blue. The see-through window makes it easy to see the ice basket so you know how much ice is left (more about Frigidaire EFIC108 Blue Portable Ice Maker on
Whether you are having a family BBQ or need ice to go camping, the overall capacity is there. While it can take several runs to fill a cooler with ice, it is possible to make enough (check on
  • Available in an exclusive metallic blue
  • The constant flow of ice
  • Makes 26 pounds of ice daily
  • Stores 1.5 pounds of ice at a time
  • Simple LED controls
  • Sleek design
  • Drain plug makes the unit easy to clean
  • Clear ice
  • Compressor cooling that doesn’t use refrigerants
  • 2 ice cube sizes
  • No water hookup
  • Heavier than other models
  • Plastic casing can somewhat compromise durability

4. Yongtong 26 LB Ice Maker – Sleek, Fast, and Quiet

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The Yongtong 26lb ice maker is not only fast, but the compressor is quiet. Not much energy is needed to keep the ice-cold. However, it is best to store the ice in the freezer if it isn’t being immediately used because it will melt. The unit is portable and doesn’t require a water hookup because of the water reservoir. The easy-to-use LED display lets you select from two different ice cube sizes.
Included are a plastic scoop for putting ice in glasses and a removable ice bucket for emptying larger quantities of ice. When the ice basket is full, you are alerted and the unit stops making ice. You’re also notified when water needs to be added. However, the unit doesn’t keep ice cold. The ice will melt and the water re-used to make new ice.
The unit weight is 17.55 pounds for easy portability, so you can take it to the park, campground, or anywhere that has an electrical outlet. It’s made of stainless steel, putting durability on its side (read more about Yongtong 26 LB Ice Maker on
  • Makes ice in as little as 8 minutes
  • Makes 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours
  • Quiet operation
  • Portable at 17.55 pounds
  • Two ice cube sizes
  • Includes ice scoop and removable tray
  • Makes clear ice
  • Made of stainless steel
  • Easy-to-use LED display with light-up alerts and sensors
  • The unit doesn’t keep ice cold for long periods of time

5. COSTWAY Ice Maker for Countertop – Fast and Quiet

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The COSTWAY Ice Maker (official website) makes a little more ice in 24 hours than the rest on the list at 26.4 pounds. It takes just 6 minutes to have 9 ice cubes ready, making it one of the fastest. However, it can take up to 13 minutes to create 9 bullet-shaped ice cubes depending on the size. In the end, the amount of ice produced in a day can fill 266 glasses.
The see-through window makes it easy to see ice being made, how much has been made, and if more is needed. You can also see when water needs to be added. You can control every function at the push of a button.
Included with the unit is a detachable ice basket for when you need to extract a large amount of ice at once. If you simply need a glass of ice, the ice scoop is a perfect size. The design is stylish and the overall operation is simple (check on
  • Creates 9 ice cubes in as little as 6 minutes
  • Two ice cube sizes
  • Transparent window and LED operation
  • Silent operation
  • Detachable ice cube and scoop
  • Portable at 26.5 pounds
  • Melted water is recycled to make more ice
  • Unit won’t keep ice cold for long periods of time


Overall, choosing the right home ice maker adds a level of convenience to your life. The shopping experience can be more pleasant when you have the knowledge to back you up. Knowing about features, capacity, speed, appearance, operation, and construction will help you make a more informed decision. That way you can be satisfied with your purchase because it meets your at-home and portability needs.