Become an Appliance Expert. Subscribe to our Knowledge Base!
Finding the Right Portable Ice Maker
Portable ice makers are the perfect kitchen appliance for anyone looking to make a large amount of ice in a short period of time. True to their name, these compact ice makers are also easy to take with you to a BBQ or party, allowing you the ease and efficiency portable ice makers provide without any hassle.
These ice machines can create ice much faster than standard refrigerator or home ice makers, and they are also incredibly simple to operate and maintain. Standard freezer ice makers can take anywhere from 75 minutes to two hours for a single cycle of ice making. Portable ice machines can cut that down by as much as 95 percent!
In addition to the speed and efficiency that portable ice makers provide, they're also quite inexpensive when compared to other ice maker options.
Store-bought ice can be expensive, and picking up enough for a party can be a time consuming process. In contrast, a portable ice maker can produce a large quantity of ice by simply using the water already available in your kitchen - saving you a trip to the store.
Installing an ice machine in your refrigerator can be costly, as can purchasing a refrigerator with the ice machine already installed. Portable ice makers are inexpensive and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which allows them to fit on almost any countertop.
While the large variety of available ice makers means that anyone can find the perfect ice machine for their home or office, it also makes the process of choosing the best portable ice maker more daunting. To help you pick the best portable ice maker for your home or office, we've detailed the most important things to look for when choosing an ice cube maker.
Amount of Ice
One of the biggest benefits of portable ice makers is that they can produce a large amount of ice in a short period of time. When choosing the best portable ice maker for your home, you'll need to consider exactly how much ice you'll need. This will essentially determine the size of the ice machine you need.
If you're planning for a large party, or continually go through a large amount of ice, then one of the larger portable ice makers is probably the best bet for your home or office. Many home ice makers can make up to 35 lbs. of ice. The NewAir AI-210SS is one of the highest capacity countertop ice makers on the market, and can make up to 35 lbs. of ice over a 24 hour period. With that high capacity comes a bigger size, however, as the unit weighs in at 46 lbs.
If you don't plan to use that much ice on a daily basis, then you'll want to look at some of the smaller and more portable ice machines available. Also from NewAir, the AI-100SS is one of the most compact portable ice makers available. This portable ice machine can make up to 28 lbs. of ice per day, but only weighs a modest 26 lbs., making it a much easier unit to move or transport to different rooms or venues.
Regardless of the size of portable ice maker you settle on, speed will never be an issue. Most countertop ice makers can create a full tray of ice cubes in less than 7 minutes, while smaller portable ice makers clock in at less than 15 minutes for a full cycle. This speed will ensure that you always have fresh ice when you need it, regardless of where you are.
In the event you need more ice than this on a daily basis, you'll most likely need to look at different commercial ice maker options.
Ice Cube Size
Another great benefit of portable ice makers is that many units allow for a wide variety of ice cube customization. While ice machines typically create a single size of bullet-shaped ice, many portable ice makers can produce different sizes of ice cubes.
In addition to smaller and larger ice than the standard cubes, some portable ice makers can also produce different shapes of ice cubes. This allows for even more customization for your drinks!
If customization of your ice is important, or if you'll need both larger and smaller size cubes, be sure to look for a portable ice maker that has these different customization options available.
Many portable ice makers have the option to create three sizes of ice cubes - small, medium and large - at the very least. The NewAir AI-210W self-cleaning portable ice maker can produce both smaller and larger cubes, and offers an easy-to-read LCD display to help you choose the perfect ice cubes for your next party of cold drink.
Location and Looks
When looking for the right portable ice maker, you should also consider the location - or locations - you plan to use the ice machine. Most home ice makers fit perfectly on a kitchen counter, while smaller portable ice makers can be easily moved from room to room based on your needs.
Once you know the exact location you plan to use the ice machine most often, you can then look for a unit that fits that particular space. Countertop ice makers are perfect for the office kitchen, especially when you don't plan to move it very often. And if you plan on constantly moving or transporting the unit to different rooms or venues, or you just have a lot of different parties planned around town, then a compact portable ice maker is your best bet.
In addition to the different sizes of portable ice makers available, there are also different shapes and colors available when picking out a unit. From red and white to stainless steel, ice machines come in many different varieties, ensuring that the ice machine will fit in with any room in your home or office.
Looking for more?
- Potable ice maker buying guide
- Compare portable ice makers
- Our editors' favorite portable ice makers