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Ice Makers & RVs

RV-trailerWhen traveling in the summer in your RV, it can be surprising how much ice you wind up using. Summers can be extremely hot, and ice can cool down your drinks, keep your food frozen, or blend into frozen cocktails and lemonade. You can have ice on demand, and all is takes is an outlet and some water.

Portable ice makers are a great way to save money and time. Do you really want to leave your campground or vacation area to go into town and get ice? Why pull over on a road trip for ice, when you can make it while you're driving? Just think of the money you could save on ice and gas for round-trips to the store.

How Much Money Do You Spend on Ice?

It really does depend on how many people you are making ice for, and when and where you are in the country. Frequent campers complain that they can spend over $10 on ice per day or $80 over the course of a trip. Driving to get ice can waste gas and deprive you of precious vacation moments. Sometimes, you may have to travel miles and miles to get ice. Why do a boring chore when you want to be relaxing and enjoying yourself?

I Want Ice, but I Don't Want to Add an Ice maker to my Refrigerator

Icemakers that are built into your fridge need outside hookups. Those aren't always available, and when they are, sometimes people would prefer to have filtered water. Even if you do have a fridge, most RV refrigerators are cooling through convection and not air circulation. Cooling and drink or freezing ice can take hours. And checking by opening and closing the door just makes the whole process start over and take longer.

The good thing is that you don't need to have a water or drainage hook up if you get a portable ice maker. You can just set it on a table or counter, fill up the water reservoir, and it will start making ice fast. Even countertop ice makers can make lots of ice too, 20-35 pounds a day. That saves you time and money, not to mention the hassle of out-of-the-way trips. Many people feel that their portable ice maker pays for itself.

Uses for Ice

  • Cooling drinks
  • Making margaritas or frozen daiquiris
  • Frozen lemonade
  • Smoothies: for breakfast, a cold snack, or for the kids
  • Snacks for your dogs
  • Keep your travel cooler cold
  • Make ice for others you may be traveling with

Not Just For RV Use


There are lots of other uses for ice apart from RV camping, and since these ice makers are portable, you can take it with you.

  • At a picnic
  • At a neighborhood BBQ
  • Make extra ice for your party or gathering
  • Bring your ice maker to the potluck
  • Use it in your kitchen, if you don't have an ice maker or if your old one is too slow
  • For office use
  • Wet bars
  • In a recreation room
  • On your boat

Quality Ice

Does your family drink bottled water? Do you want better quality water in your ice cubes than what is available from a normal hook up or from the public sources that most water companies make their ice from? Pour filtered water into your ice maker for high quality ice, with no traces of minerals or accidental additives.

Most ice makers have several ice sizes to choose from as well, so you can get larger pieces or smaller pieces depending on what you want or need.

Examples of Portable Ice Makers

None of these ice makers require water lines or drainage hook ups, and they are all portable. They all have a small footprint and will fit inside a RV, resting on the counter or a table, or wherever you have

space. Some people like to keep them outside on an outdoor table for easy access while eating or sharing drinks with neighbors or visitors. They are good for other places with limited space as well, such as on a boat or in a dorm room.

These ice makers are different sizes and have different capabilities, depending on what you are looking for.

ai-100ssNewAir AI-100SS Stainless Steel Portable Ice Maker with 28-Pound Daily Capacity

This ice maker is smaller and lighter, although it also makes less ice.

Smaller than the IM-101 at L: 14.50" x W: 11.75" x H: 15.00" and weighing a lot less at 26 pounds, this NewAir ice maker can still make 28 pounds of ice a day. It automatically shuts off when out of water or its ice storage unit is full. While it lacks the timer of the IM-101, it can reuse its own ice. Many people with ice makers sometimes have problems leaving the machine alone too long and having the ice melt. In this case, the melted ice will be refrozen, reducing the need to refill the reservoir or dispose of unused ice. It also has three ice sizes and it comes with an ice scoop, as well as a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer.

The Sunpentown IM-101 Ice Maker With 1.2 Gallon Water Reservoir

Do you want something that can provide ice for a whole caravan of people? Lots of people use this first one in places like their office or out on their lanai, where it runs every day.

This icemaker is the biggest of the three, at L: 17.13" x W: 15.00" x H: 17.00" and weighing 46 pounds. However, it also has the largest water reservoir (1.2 gallons) and can make the most ice in a day, capable of creating 35 pounds! It can also hold 2.5 pounds of ice in its ice storage. What people really enjoy about it though is that it has a timer (it can be set up to 18 hours in advance, starting to make ice at the time that you want it to) and a very handy self-cleaning function. It also has three choices for ice size, and makes ice in only 10 minutes. This ice maker has a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


Avalon Bay AB-ICE26R Ice Maker in Red

This is the cutest and fastest of the bunch.

Some people complain that all ice makers look the same, but that's not true with this one, which has a nice red finish. It's the smallest, at L: 11.00" x W: 14.80" x H: 14.70" and only weighing 20 pounds. Even though it's smaller, it can still make 26 pounds of ice a day, making them in only 6 minutes. It comes with an ice scoop and has two different sizes of ice to choose from. It also has a removable ice basket, which makes dispensing ice easier.

Tips on How to Maintain Your Ice Maker

  • When you first get your ice maker, clean the inside, as well as any parts like the ice scoop or ice baskets, with diluted detergent, warm water and a sponge or soft cloth.
  •  You may want to use a light lemon or vinegar solution on your first run, to remove any plastic taste or smell from your machine. Then run several cycles of clean water, to make sure that you get the best tasting water.  
  • If your ice maker has a self-clean function, make sure to follow those instructions.
  • Change water every 24 hours to keep everything hygenic.
  • Drain water if the ice maker is no longer in use.
  • Hard water can have impurities, so from time to time it may help to add a bit of lemon juice or a capful of vinegar mixed with water to the ice maker to remove any build-up from minerals.
  • Don't place it near hot or heat-emitting things like a stove or radiator.
  • Watch that cord! You don't want anyone tripping, or for the cord to fall into water.
  • As always, use grounded outlets.

What Else Do I Need?

If you have an ice maker and want to make ice, all you need is a standard household outlet and water. If you want to store ice, you'll need a freezer or cooler. Ice makers make ice but aren't designed to store them.


Enjoy your vacations, trips, gatherings with friends, road trips and fishing trips, and don't time out to get ice. Don't let the heat get to you, stay cool. Make the ice yourself, and save money conveniently.

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