If you’re the kind of person who loves hosting guests for drinks or lives in a hot place and you don’t own a portable home ice maker, then you’ve been missing out on something pretty great. Having your own refillable supply of fresh ice lets you serve cold drinks on command, fighting the heat and refreshing anyone who comes to visit without having to take up all the space in our freezer with ice trays so that your frozen food hardly fits.
Some people don’t realize how many small but useful home appliances are sold online, which is part of why we’ve been gathering all the links for the very best portable ice makers we can find. Shopping online affords you the time to really research your products in order to compare and contrast their features and make the right choice for your needs.
What is an ice maker?
Have you ever used a fridge that had a single-cup ice dispenser in the front, where you press the edge of your glass against the switch and ice pours out? Well, an ice maker is like the piece inside that prepares the automatic ice cubes for your fridge door to dispense, only this time it’s its own little independent machine. Ice makers hep make sure you always have ice cubes on hand without having to constantly fill, freeze, and refill your old fashioned ice trays.
Why get a portable ice maker?
There are several benefits to getting a portable ice machine that works as its own independent unit, rather than as part of your fridge or another kitchen appliance. Portable ice makers can:
- Declutter your freezer, leaving you with more space for food
- Make sure you have ice on hand automatically whenever you need it
- Let you take that automatic ice power with you from home, to the porch, to the cottage, to the RV, and so on
If you still feel like you could use some help in your decision, check out this pros and cons style list of the ten best portable ice makers that we came across in our search.
If you’re going to invest in a new kitchen appliance, do you want it to look the same as the rest of your modern stainless steel kitchen? Then check out this piece from Euhomy. This machine gives you the option of choosing from two different cube sizes, features clear indicators for things like a full tray or a required water refill, was created with fast cube production and freezing times in mind, and even comes with its own free ice scoop included.
Although this portable ice maker is reported by previous buyers as being able to make ice nice and quickly, some had complaints that the number of cubes it creates with each round is quite small, only ranging from 8-10 cubes. This might be okay when you’re just around the house, but it slows things down when you’re relying on the machine’s pace for guest drinks.View price on Amazon
- Simple, useful indicators
- Quick ice production time
- Easy to refill and clean
- Sleek, modern look
- Small number of cubes created with each production round
Are you actually hoping to find something rather small and energy efficient to go in your little eco-friendly apartment? Then we think you’ll appreciate this countertop portable ice maker from Ikich. Although its exterior is smaller than average, the space inside that determines its cube holding capacity is still standard. This model is quiet, efficient, quick at making cubes, and it lets you choose the size you want, too.
Be aware that the plastic facing on the controls panel, though flexible, is the kind that has been known to crack over time when pressed too hard, too many times in a row. It’s not guaranteed to do so, but the small buttons creates a pressure point that might.View price on Amazon
- Quick production time
- Small, convenient size
- Quiet while running
- Plastic covering small control buttons may crack with time
Are you open to the idea of a slightly larger model so long as it means that you get more ice out of it in the end? Well, if you’ve got a bit of vertical space to work with that will accommodate a taller but still portable machine, then you might like this design from Opal. This machine features a simple window in the front that shows you easily how many cubes you have left. It also doesn’t make cubes at all; it makes little ice nuggets that fit in both the machine and your glass more efficiently for extra cooling.
Although it’s only an occasional hardware glitch, some previous buyers have reported that the blue light indicating that a water refill is indicated can light up unnecessarily with time, despite the machine being properly fulled and not in need of water at all.View price on Amazon
- Great portable size but taller for better ice yield
- Efficient ice nugget shape
- Visual window for seeing ice levels
- Water refill light might glitch and light up when the machine is really full
If efficiency and ease in use and cleaning are your priorities then this cubic shaped ice maker from Vremi might be just the kind of thing you’re looking for. Besides its stainless steel and plastic exterior that make it very easy to wipe down, the layout of the trays and systems inside are also very easy to keep clean and hygienic. This machine is quiet, efficient, and has its own sensors in place to stop it from overflowing in case you turn on its production mode and forget to turn it off.
Because of the way the bullet-shaped ice pieces drop downward, some buyers have reported occasional issues with the ice backing up, clogging, and shutting the machine down when the anti-overfilling system kicks in. This is cause by the pieces falling awkwardly and jamming against one another instead of sliding to fit the rest of the tub.View price on Amazon
- Quit machine
- Easy to clean, inside and out
- Good safety sensors
- Safety sensors might wrongfully turn machine off it awkward ice fall backs cubes up instead of spreading them out
If you’re looking for an awesomely effective portable ice maker that also looks a little more funky and retro than some of the other very contemporary designs you’ve seen so far? Then we think you’ll like how this machine from Igloo gives you the look and great function. This cute little machine, which is available in a range of fun colours, has an impressively large ice basket and water tank for its modest size. Its ice production time is good, creating more than one cube per minute, and its control buttons are simple to understand and backlit with an LED light for good visibility at all times.
Although it doesn’t happen often, some previous buyers have reviewed the product as being likely to heat up in times of very heavy use. This isn’t harmful to the production and doesn’t seem to be harmful to the machine itself, but it’s good to note, just in case.View price on Amazon
- Cute, retro look and many available colours
- Large water tank and ice basket despite small size
- LED backlit buttons with simple readability
- Tendency to heat up on its surface with heavy use
Are you a fan of simplicity but also smart safety systems and you’re hoping to find both in one place? Then Prime Home has precisely the kind of machine you’re looking for. This machine comes with a free ice scoop, a removable basket for easy cleaning, an impressive ice production time, and automatic safety and info features that let you know immediately when the basket is full, when the machine needs new water, and can even sense if there’s a backup or an issue in order to turn off on its own.
It’s a decently quiet machine, but some previous buyers did notice a small humming sound start in the machine during periods of high use, despite the fact that production and function didn’t change at all.View price on Amazon
- Easy to clean, inside and out
- Great production time
- Multiple useful safety features
- Noticeable humming sound during points of very high use
Just in case you’re still in the market for an ice machine that comes in bright colours but production is more important, so you want more than one option, here’s a great alternative from Frigidaire to consider. This machine yields up to 26lb of ice at once. It features a cooling fan in the back corner that helps it run smoothly even when you’re using it heavily and repeatedly. The controls are LED backlit and very simple to understand, as is the machine’s setup; just plug it in, fill it up, and voila.
Because the machine works so hard, the occasional buyer has found that its longevity is slightly less than machines they’ve owned before. It’s an exception, not a rule, but still a risk to be aware of.View price on Amazon
- Sleek, bright look
- High ice yield
- Cooling fan for better running even for a long time
- Comparatively short longevity to other brands in some units
Are you much less concerned with the look of your ice maker and a lot more concentrated on its high ice yield and smooth running? Then maybe you’ll get along a little better with this design from Hamilton Beach. This machine runs a little more industriously than most home units, giving you faster and larger production, super easy use thanks to LED lit buttons, and quieter running even when you have it working hard.
Here and there, a couple buyers have reported that a few months of heavy use made their machines start producing small ice pellets alongside the cubes, even when set to the largest cube option. The number of cubes did not reduce; there were simply extra chips of ice mixed in with the cubes that dropped into the basket.View price on Amazon
- Faster and larger ice production than the average home machine
- LED backlit buttons with very simple instructions
- Quit running processes with no whirring or humming
- Potential to product chips of alongside cubes that mix into the basket at random
Are you l0oking for a particularly compact and sleek ice design that will work literally anywhere you have an electrical outlet? Then you might appreciate this ergonomically shaped ice maker from Frigidaire. This fast working little machine owes parts of its production capacity to compressor cooling systems, and it works just as quickly no matter what size of cube you set it to. It features a convenient cooling fan to keep things running smoothly, a well sized window to see how much ice is left, and has even been reported by previous buyers as working anywhere, including on a boat!
Despite being mostly very simple to use, some people in the past have found taking out all of the different parts for cleaning a little bit tricky, in terms of placement and their ability to be easily reached by hand.View price on Amazon
- Fast working and very quiet
- Efficient cooling fan for longevity
- Works absolutely anywhere there’s electricity
- Slightly difficult to dismantle for cleaning
If you’re looking for a design that’s by all means still portable and countertop friendly but you’re also interested in one that’s slightly bigger than you’ve seen so far in order to get a larger ice yield, Frigidaire might just have the right answer for you! The durable stainless steel combination of this ice maker is simple to wipe down and doesn’t mark easily, its production time is impressively high for its larger yield, and it’s one of the few machine designs that actually gives you three cube sizes to choose from, rather than just two.
It’s worth noting that some previous buyers have reported the machine as sometimes having a loud whirring sound when it’s used heavily all at once.View price on Amazon
- Larger ice yield
- Better range of cube sizes
- Easy to clean
- Occasional loud whirring noise during heavy use
How does a portable ice maker work?
One of the perks of portable ice makers is that they usually come pretty set up already. For some of them, attaching a power cord in the back, inserting a funnel ramp inside, or removing some protective plastic stickers is all it takes. Other brands suggest doing a run through or tester round first to get the machine up and running to its full capacity before you do something like host an event where you’re really relying on full automatic ice production. Read the manual that comes with your machine to see what it requires and you’ll be all set.
How to clean a portable ice maker
It’s only an ice maker, you might say. It’s only water, you might say. To ensure proper performance and to make sure your ice maker works efficiently, here’s a bit of bad news: you must clean it. And you must do this periodically, following the specific instructions for your model. You can find this in the user’s manual that came with your product.
However, what you should know is that cleaning a portable icea maker is not really rocket science. So here’s a quick tutorial that might answer your questions. Clean it inside and out, don’t forget:
- Take out the ice basket.
- Use warm water and a soft cloth together with a diluted cleaning solution.
- Use a mild detergent and warm water for the outside surfaces.
- Make sure you dry your product at the end. Use a soft cloth.
- We’ll assume you already took out the ice basket.
- Use a mild cleaning solution (can be lemon juice or white vinegar, too) mixed 10:1 with warm water.
- Run the ice maker (you will of course discard the ice created).
- Make sure the cleaning solution has been drained from the water reservoir.
- Clean and rinse out the evaporator.
- Add fresh water. Run the ice maker a few times. Discard of the ice.
- Drain the water left, and add fresh water.
Voila! You’re done.
Do you know someone who has been thinking about investing in a portable ice making machine for their home but they could use a little help finding the right model?