Is The Best Ice Maker Actually The Cheapest? (With Pictures)
I've been testing countertop icemakers for years, so I speak from hands-on experience when I say that the most durable option is in fact the affordable one. Here's my ultimate ranking.
FYI, Prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.
1. Silonn Countertop Ice Maker - 9 Cubes in 6 Minutes
Top-rated: 14,879 ratings | 199 answered questions
Highlight: You can make two different sizes of ice cubes. Small ice cubes can chill seafood and beer, keeping it fresh and cold. Large ice cubes are more suitable for beverages to achieve a rapid cooling effect.
Helpful review: "The first step was to give the machine a good initial cleaning, as instructed in the manual. The cleaning cycle completed after just a few minutes. Then, I added (bottled) water, replaced the basket, and pressed the “select” button for S(mall) or L(arge) “cubes”. (It would be more accurate to make the choices Small and Smaller, but L and S sounds better.) Once I selected L, the ice-making cycle began.
After a few minutes the first batch of ice got dumped into the tray, and another cycle began. That continues until the tray is full of ice or the machine runs out of water. In either case, the machine pauses until the problem is corrected. The best approach is to make sure neither of those things interrupts the process.
The machine itself is quiet enough, but I can easily hear the newborn ice “cubes” falling into the basket, even when I’m in another room watching tv. So, I just notice when I hear that sound, which tells me everything is working well. But every 45 minutes or so, I check on the machine, empty the tray, and check the water level. I don’t use the scoop at all. It’s easier to just lift out the tray and empty the ice into a 1-gallon plastic food storage bag. Each time I do that, I also drop the bag on the counter to break up the ice “cubes”, which tend to stick together into one giant ball of ice. Breaking up the “cubes” often prevents them from getting too welded together. (They aren’t really cubes at all; more like miniature test tubes.)
You can see through the translucent lid well enough. But, even better, you can lift the lid any time without interrupting the ice-making. You can also lift the basket out at any time, but you wouldn’t want to do that just as ice tubes are being emptied into it. (They would simply fall into the water and get recycled into new ice tubes. No damage, just wasted time.) So, it’s a good idea to wait until just after newborn ice tubes have tumbled into the basket, then empty the tray and add water if needed.
You would be very disappointed if you got the machine started, then left for work, then returned 8 hours later expecting a nice supply of ice tubes. It doesn’t take that long for the basket to get full, stop the ice-making, and start melting the ice tubes in the tray. You certainly don’t have to stay with the machine all the time, but you do need to give it your attention every 45 minutes or so. (Maybe an hour.)." — Delta
Get it from Amazon now: $109.99 & FREE Returns
2. AGLUCKY Portable Ice Maker - 26 lbs in 24 Hours
Top-rated: 18,070 ratings | 234 answered questions
Highlight: Easy to carry and operate.
Helpful review: "We LOVE this machine but it is a process if you are using it to fully stock your freezer. It is definitely quieter and more compact than I expected. Easily fits in a cabinet or on the counter. The machine doesn't keep the ice cold so you do have to transfer it to your freezer ice bucket. We have it timed out that on the large setting the basket is half full after 25 minutes and full (but a little melty) after 50 minutes. So we essentially just set a timer and empty it periodically. It takes about 4-5 hours to fill up our ice bucket from empty, which sounds like a long time but that's about how long it takes a normal ice tray to freeze solid. If you don't want to do a whole mass production this is still great to run for an hour just to scoop into drinks. If you forget about it (which is honestly really easy to do because it's so quiet) all that happens is that it won't make more ice if the basket is full and then the ice will just melt right back into the water and turn back into ice, so there really isn't a penalty for leaving it on barring the electricity usage. I'm obsessed with crunchy pellet ice so overall this is a great bargain option!" — Alexander
Get it from Amazon now: $119.99 & FREE Returns
3. GE Profile Opal 2.0 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with Side Tank
Top-rated: 1,097 ratings | 83 answered questions
Highlight: Easily-paired; built-in WiFi; SmartHQ app to monitor device status and schedule fresh ice.
Helpful review: "I have been using the Opal 2 for about a week now, and really like the machine. I decided to get this product mainly because it makes chewable ice. It can run on a schedule that you set with your phone, and I got tired of fixing the ice maker in my fridge. At first I was concerned that I might need to run it 24/7 due to ice melting, but in that quantity I have come to see ice in the machine over 8 hours after it was turned off (most was melted). But since this product reuses the melted water for next time I can get away with scheduling the machine to turn off at 8PM and still have ice waiting if I get up in the middle of the night.
Some things I spotted that hopefully will help others:
1) Sometimes the machine says add water even though the tank is full. This is due to tube heights at the back where there isn't enough differential to allow the tank to drain. Simply pick up the tank as high as you can, if you hear the glub glub and see large bubbles go by then you are all set, otherwise tip the tank a bit to help get the flow going. Apparently you can prime the pump inside the unit too but what's simpler than picking something up?
2) For some reason the Smart HQ app has a password character limit of 20. But if you log into their website to create your username and password, it allows you to enter much more than 20 characters. If you attempt to use a password longer than 20 characters, the so called smart app will truncate your password and as a result will fail to log in.
3) Syncing the Opal 2 to the SmartHQ app did not go smoothly at first (probably due to #2 above) and I ended up with the Opal on the network but the rest of the setup was missed (and the app told me that). So the fix was to remove the device from the app. The current state of the Smart HQ app makes this a little strange, like you are staring right at the delete option and yet it's not labeled so. I'm sorry but I forget where it was, enough button mashing on your phone and you'll figure it out. Once I got the device deleted and knew about #2 above, the setup was smooth. One thing that GE really needs to do is also print the connection information on the sticker in the back of the device as supplement material in their BOM. Unless you read what was on the sticker you won't know there is something you need to read from the back of the unit, and if you have this thing under the cabinets it's not really convenient to get your head back there so that you can type random character into your phone. So GE get with the times, you wasted all that paper on that thing you call an owners manual, at least put that paper to good use and print something your customers will need." — TheCrazyCanuck
Get it from Amazon now: $628.95 & FREE Returns
4. FRIGIDAIRE Compact Ice Maker - 26 lbs per Day
Top-rated: 12,449 ratings | 204 answered questions
Highlight: Each 5-6 minute cycle produces 9 ice cubes, with a total capacity of 26lbs in 24 hours.
Helpful review: "We are always running out of ice and this has solved the problem. I wish I would have bought this a long time ago.
This ice maker is excellent and will delivery the 26 lbs. of ice per day. What a lot of people don't understand about countertop ice makers is that when the ice is made it is about 27 degrees and the ice maker is not a storage freezer. Think of it like the ice that was just made will sit in the ice maker which is like keeping ice in a cooler. It won't get colder it will just slowly melt and then gets turned back into ice again.
Keep in mind when you pull ice out of your kitchen freezer that has been in there for several hours it is around 0 degrees vs. the 27 degrees right out of the countertop ice maker. So, ice from your freezer is going to last a lot longer in a drink than ice out of this countertop ice maker. So, that may not be ideal for some if you are having a drink outside on a hot day and not using an insulated cup. For best results take the ice out of the countertop ice maker and put it in a gallon ziplock bag and place it in the freezer for a little while so it will get down to the 0 degrees. That is not necessary though. The ice that comes right out of the machine is plenty cold enough for drinking beverages indoors. If you want to use the ice outdoors just place the ice in an insulated cup.
Very quality built machine.
Very easy to use.
It uses lights to notify you of the status rather than annoying beeps.
It really does make 26 lbs. of ice in an hour.
First ice in about 8 minutes.
Full basket of ice in about an hour.
Pauses itself when ice basket is full and will resume ice production automatically as soon as some ice is removed.
Light comes on when water needs to be added (keep in mind you still have a full basket of ice when this triggers).
Melts very slowly and if you leave it on over night it only comes on once or twice to replace the ice that melted.
It doesn't take up a lot of countertop space so we are able to leave it out and it matches our stainless steel fridge.
It comes with a nice ice scoop which is great for parties.
This ice maker keeps dropping ice every 8 minutes.
The cord is very long so it doesn't have to be right up against the outlet.
The only con I have about the machine is trying to drain the water remaining when you are done using it. There is a drain plug underneath it that is a little tricky to use because you can't see underneath the machine and you can't just turn the machine upside down to drain it per their instructions. That will harm the machine.
What I found to be a great solution is instead of using the drain plug I use a microfiber towel to soak up all the water left in the machine. That only takes a quick second and you don't have to move the ice maker over the sink to drain it. I then leave the lid open to make sure it dries out. So it really isn't a con if you use the microfiber towel. It is so easy this way which means I never mind using the machine even to make a small amount of ice." — Rick
Get it from Amazon now: $105.49 & FREE Returns
5. Igloo Self-Cleaning Electric Ice Machine with Ice Scoop and Basket
Top-rated: 1,435 ratings | 21 answered questions
Highlight: Automatic five-cycle cleaning function makes clean up easy and effortless, allowing for cleaner ice every time.
Helpful review: "I have owned two other brands of these counter top ice cube makers for 5 years and both had negatives...but this model does not have them. 1-the self cleaning this machine has is really important. Without it, I had to wipe it down with a vinegar solution and the little screen that sits at the bottom of the water tank would get dirty and I had to use a brush. Then I had to pick up the heavy machine and try to pour out everything. A lot of trouble--but if I didn't clean it--the ice could get nasty. Now I can flush the unit with a bleach or vinegar solution (the booklet tells you the ration to use) as much as I want. 2- the handle on the machine helps me lift it easily to put away or under the counter. Also, to drain it fully, you need to tilt these machines when emptying. If you don't tilt it--it will leave a pool of water inside to mold if you don't wipe it down for storage or down time.
The handle helps tilting it for draining. 3-The control buttons are located on a non-moving part of the machine. The last machine I had to throw away after 2 years because the on-off button malfunctioned. The machine worked, it just stopped responding whenever you pushed the on/off button. The on-off and all other buttons were in the top lid that was constantly being lifted and moved. I believe the malfunction was caused by being in a constantly moveable part. This Igloo machine has similar buttons but they are located in a stationary part of the machine--and not the lid. I also love the black color which goes with my decor.
The ice is very high quality and comes out faster than in the other similar machines I had. Compared to the other ice machines I've had which are similar to this one--this one beats them all hands down. Very happy with it." — Sula Bay Trading
Get it from Amazon now: $123.16 & FREE Returns
6. Frigidaire Compact Ice Maker
Top-rated: 3,204 ratings
Highlight: Digital LED Control Panel for all ice making controls.
Helpful review: "There are many brands available, all presumably of the same design. We bought one of the first all-white Frigidaire ones, used it every day for 2 years and wore it out… it ran non-stop! It finally stopped all together.
We purchased this copper colored Frigidaire unit and we notice it is quieter and makes ice faster than the first model. There have definitely been design improvements.
This unit keeps up with the rate we drink ice water, which is pretty much constantly. The unit has two speed settings. The faster setting makes a softer chewable ice which my wife prefers. I’m indifferent to that, but we both love the hollow shape of the ice (tubes, not cubes) because the increased surface area chills a drink faster. We also like the ease of walking over to the countertop unit to add ice to the sane glass periodically. It’s effortless.
The ice is just as fresh as the water you use, because there are no refrigerated food odors absorbed into the standing ice.
The unit will accumulate residue over time and it does require cleaning which can be difficult unless you buy a long handled brush to reach inside and clean the mechanism.
All-in-all, we are totally happy with this ice maker… and the copper color is attractive to boot!" — Scott Berglin
Get it from Amazon now: $88.00 & FREE Returns
7. Silonn Ice Machine with Handle
Top-rated: 1,918 ratings | 38 answered questions
Highlight: Fill the portable ice maker with water, press the on button, select the size of the ice cubes and that’s it.
Helpful review: "This product was hands down well worth its money. Be sure to check the size of the machine and how much ice it can actually hold when it’s full. If you’re looking for an ice maker that will make ice, large or small, in a short amount of time as well as not too expensive. This is for you however, if you’re in need of large amounts of ice that is available at any time. This might not be the most wise purchase. This product is great for a smaller family home, maybe a camper and definitely a dorm-like room but I wouldn’t say the same for a larger family home. Only because the ice tray does not hold as much ice for a larger family who would want ice all at once.
The machine is super easy to set up and use. It is actually very quiet, the only noise it makes is when the ice falls into the tray but even that isn’t loud. The ice will melt a little bit over time and clump together but so does every other ice machine. If yours is clumping too much and or melting too quickly, it’s probably a default and you can always send it back for a replacement. I inserted a picture of what it looks like when I wake up and the ice machine stops making ice because its full but the some of the ice at the bottom has melted a little bit. I hope this helps anyone looking to buy this product. I love it." — Ericson L.
Get it from Amazon now: $199.99 & FREE Returns
8. FRIGIDAIRE Extra Large Ice Maker for Square Cubes
Top-rated: 3,112 ratings | 171 answered questions
Highlight: Produces up to 40 lbs. of clear squared ice cubes per day.
Helpful review: "I recently replaced our bullet icemaker that failed after about a year of steady use, with this machine, and I am quite happy with the change.
PROS: The new ice is clear, lasts much longer than the bullet ice, and has a higher capacity for both ice and water. The icemaking cycle is fairly quick and you can adjust the time in 1 minute increments either longer (for thicker ice), or shorter (for smaller cubes). I set mine for -2 minutes which give perfectly acceptable square cubes with slight indentations. This ice is much better than bullet ice.
Scooping the ice out is fairly easy because of the wide opening when you lift the lid, and the separate water reservoir makes filling easier than the old bullet machine.
CONS: The one significant negative is that the shutoff mechanism for detecting when the bucket is full of ice doesn't always work and this leads to a thick slab of ice getting stuck in the freezing tray. When this happens you have to manually activate the tray heating/release (hold the on/off button down for 5 seconds) and, sometimes if the ice is too thick, actually pry it out of the freezing tray. This happens frequently enough to be annoying (a couple of times a week with continuous use) but I still recommend the machine.
The old bullet icemaker used a photodiode to detect a full bucket which worked reasonably well.
This machine uses a mechanical system with ice falling out of the tray onto a little paddle switch in front of the tray, depressing it, and staying there (which happens if the bucket is full and the ice cant fall into it). But a piece of ice can easily get stuck under the paddle and then the system doesn't work and it just keeps trying to make ice - not great engineering.
Some of the reviews mentioned noise, but it hasn't been a problem for me.
ACCESSORIES: Because the ice generally comes out of the tray with the cubes connected, you should get a heavier scoop to break it up (especially the thick slabs that form when the shutoff doesn't work). The machine comes with a little plastic one but you'll probably want/need something better. I got this one and am pretty happy with it.
LIANYU Ice Scoop, Stainless Steel Ice Scooper, Food Candy Popcorn Sugar Scoop, Flat Bottom, Heavy Duty, Mirror Finish - 8 Oz
SUMMARY: So the quick summary is, great ice, good capacity, fairly fast, but bad ice-full detection. I'll update on reliability and cleaning when I've had it longer." — Matt W.
Get it from Amazon now: $199.99 & FREE Returns
9. Thereye Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
Top-rated: 989 ratings | 100 answered questions
Highlight: The crunchable and softer nugget ice is made from compacted ice flakes; Optimal melting speed can considerately retain the original flavor of your ice-cold drinks like cocktails and other beverages.
Helpful review: "I will try to give as many details as possible. Let me say first that, yes, it's identical to Sonic's ice which makes me happy.
I purchased a similar nugget ice maker prior to this purchase, but from a different seller and manufacturer. Unfortunately, right at the one-year anniversary of my purchase, it quit working without any indication of a problem. Apparently, it was a common issue with that particular product, and the company created a second version because of all the negative reviews and complaints. Despite the malfunction of the machine, neither the seller, nor the manufacturer would refund or replace my item. I even tried to repair it myself with no luck. It was disappointing, but at least I can give my intake about the difference in quality. I decided to purchase this one because it was half the price compared to the others listed on Amazon. When it arrived, I noticed it was not bulky and wide as the other one, so it took up less countertop space, which was definitely a plus.
Don't let the size fool you; although it's not as bulky as the other ice-maker, it generates more ice in one batch at a much faster velocity... another plus. I buy a 1-gallon jug of water, and I will get at least three baskets of ice; by the way, the basket is a little bigger than it appears in the photos. I like the ice basket better than the pull-out tray. The appliance is quiet, easy to clean, and use...there is nothing complicated about this ice-maker. I am more than satisfied with my purchase; I love it, and highly recommend it to anyone who's looking for a Sonic-like ice maker." — Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon now: $499.99 & FREE Returns
10. Gevi Household Nugget Ice Maker Machine
Top-rated: 1,760 ratings | 111 answered questions
Highlight: Self-explanatory control panel and intelligible indicators make the ice maker easy to use, even for the young and old. Just plug in and play.
Helpful review: "I have only had this a few days but love it so far! I opted for this machine instead of the Opal Because that one had some questionable reviews as far as customer service was concerned. This was a bit cheaper too. It is super easy to use and clean. I don’t love the white and would prefer if it were black or stainless to match my other appliances, but that was not available. It makes ice regularly and the ice is the kind of ice that kind of compresses with a good bite to it when you bite into it.
I do wish it held more water but it is easy enough to fill. To fill, you just pull the ice basket out and add water to the fill line. Easy peasy! It does make noise but it is pretty quiet and I seldom notice, kind of a very low hum. My favorite thing to use with the ice is iced coffee. I fill my cup with ice, add my coffee , creamer and cinnamon and nutmeg and stir. It is instantly cold and delicious. Also, when I make fresh iced tea, I start by adding sugar to my pitcher, then some water and slosh it around to dissolve. Then, I add tons of the ice and pour my hot tea over the ice, top with water and it is so good! If you aren’t doing your sweet tea this way, try it, it does make a difference in how sweet it tastes and the flavor.
Having a farm, we work outside a lot and I can see where we will get so much use out of this ice maker. Also, once you’ve taken some of the ice out, if you push the ice to the front of the machine it will make even more because the sensors think there is less ice than when it is all in the basket evenly. Enjoy!
Update- we have had this ice maker for I think two months now. We still love it! We are a family of four and my refrigerator ice maker just could not keep up with the amount of ice we use. We have a farm and work outside in the Georgia heat and humidity regularly so we go through the ice! This machine has no problem keeping up with our use! My daughter makes herself an iced coffee with the ice every morning on the way to college and I make one for myself every morning as well utilizing this ice. Once the ice gets wet, it doesn’t have that bite as much as it does straight out of the machine, but it is perfect for all of our beverages. I do wish I had the line connected to my refrigerator so I didn’t have to refill it with water so frequently, but again we use so much ice so refilling if not connected to a water line is going to be needed, but it is worth it.
The little plastic scoop gets lost in the ice. I wish it had a place on the exterior of the machine to hold the scoop so you didn’t have to dig through the ice to find it. I just traded the scoop out for a cute metal one that is a bit bigger and like it because it is larger. I just lay the scoop in front of the machine. There are sensors in the machine and when it is full it stops making the ice. Therefore, when I get ice, I pull all the ice to the front side of the machine so that the machine will sense there is more room to make more ice. Also, I tried bagging the ice for the freezer but it stuck together in big clumps so if you plant o do this, maybe there is another way. All in all I’m very pleased with the machine. I still wish it wasn’t white. Where the water is held , in the bottom, is slightly discolored and I’m assuming it is from minerals, etc. I’m the water. I truly wish black was an option! Everyone that comes over asks about my machine, where I got it and wants the good ice!" — Brandy
Get it from Amazon now: $389.99 & FREE Returns