All posts by Vicky Norris

SPT Ice Maker

SPT IM-600US Stainless Steel Undercounter Ice Maker Review

If you need an ice maker for your small or mid-size office, the SPT IM-600US undercounter ice maker is a good choice.

It makes 45-50 lbs of ice per day, which should be enough to serve everyone in the office.

The ice is clear and hard, not the cloudy fast-melting kind you get from a freezer.

Because it has front venting, you can install it under a counter.

You can also use this SPT ice maker as a freestanding ice machine if that’s more convenient for your situation.  

For best results, this SPT ice machine should be installed by a licensed plumber.

If this is not the kind of ice maker you were looking for, see our other recommended undercounter ice makers for more options. 

About the SPT IM-600US Undercounter Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 50 lbs/day
  • Storage capacity:  25 lbs
  • Dimensions: 23.6” D x 32.8” H, 14.6” W
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    Weight: 84 lbs
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    Type of ice:  Clear ice cubes
SPT Ice Maker

Comparison Table of SPT Ice Makers

SPT IM-600US

* BEST SPT ICE MAKER OVERALL
SPT Ice Maker
Technical Details

Brand Name

SPT

Item Weight

84 lbs

Product Dimensions

23.6” x 32.8” x 14.6” inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

50 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

clear ice cubes

Color

silver

My Rating:
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SPT SZB-20

* SPT FLAKE ICE MAKER
image of SPT SZB-20
Technical Details

Brand Name

SPT

Item Weight

70.5 pounds

Product Dimensions

13 x 19.8 x 23.8 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

66-lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

makes flake ice

Color

 silver

My Rating:
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SPT IM-123B

* BUDGET SPT ICE MAKER
image of SPT IM-123B ice maker
Technical Details

Brand Name

SPT

Item Weight

70.5 pounds

Product Dimensions

13 x 19.8 x 23.8 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

3 ice cube size

Color

black

My Rating:
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Comparison Table of Other Undercounter Ice Makers

EdgeStar IB250SS

* Simple and Stylish
Technical Details

Brand Name

EdgeStar

Item Weight

64 pounds

Product Dimensions

20.1 x 14.9 x 33.3 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

25 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features​​​​

makes crisp ice

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
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U-Line UBI95B00A

* Durable and Reliable
Image of U-Line UBI95B00A
Technical Details

Brand Name

U-Line

Item Weight

66 pounds

Product Dimensions

17 x 13.9 x 25.1 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

23 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features​​​​

only requires a 1/4 inch outside diameter water line connection

Color

black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

Commercial-grade ice makers are not cheap. This is especially the case for those that make clear gourmet ice.

So finding a good one for less than $1,000 is an excellent bargain.     

The SPT IM-600US is an affordable commercial-grade ice machine. It has a professional-looking stainless steel door with a full-length handle.

You can reverse the door swing depending on where you install the ice maker. But unfortunately, you cannot use your own custom panels.

However, the stainless steel finish is great for offices. Not only does it look great, but it’s also easier to clean and doesn’t show smudges.

It’s up to you whether you want it installed as a built-in or freestanding ice maker. It works well either way. The most important thing is to set up the water line and drainage correctly.

Ice Making Ability

The SPT IM-600US can make up to 45-50 lbs of crystal clear ice per day.

That’s plenty enough ice for most small and mid-size offices. It’s also enough for a home bar or even a small restaurant or bar.

It makes ice cubes quickly, dropping a batch every few minutes. After around 5 hours of continuous operation, it will have made about 25lbs of ice.

This is enough to fill up the storage bin. A sensor stops the machine from making any more ice until you empty the bin.

If you need more than the 25 lbs of ice, store the ice in a freezer and leave the bin empty to receive more ice.

The bin is removable, so you don’t have to remove all the ice scoop by scoop. Just lift the whole bin and dump the ice cubes in a container or bag.

Note that the storage bin is only insulated, not refrigerated. If you leave the ice in there for too long, it will begin to melt.

Ice Quality

SPT Ice Maker

The SPT IM-600US makes clear gourmet ice. This is the same hard and non-cloudy kind of ice you get at a bar or restaurant.

The ice comes out in sheets which you have to break up into individual cubes. Each cube measures approximately 3/4" by 3/4" by 1”.

The ice is great for most kinds of drinks. It melts slowly and also looks great.

To get the best quality ice, the manufacturer highly recommends adding an in-line filter to your water line. This will prevent impurities from affecting the ice quality and building up inside the machine.

If you can get distilled or reverse osmosis water, even better. It will lengthen the life of your ice maker.

It’s also essential that you maintain the ice machine as directed in the user manual. This usually involves cleaning the inside every once in a while.

Ease of Use 

SPT Ice Maker

Once a plumber installs the machine, using it is easy. You need to flip a switch, and the ice maker starts making ice.

You don’t have to do anything after that. When the ice bin fills up, an auto-off mechanism kicks into action. So you don’t have to worry about an overflowing bin.

The easy one-switch operation makes this ice maker especially ideal for offices. Anyone can come and scoop ice from the bin. They don’t need to change any settings or learn how to use certain features.

Maintenance is easy too. All you need to do is clean the inside with citric acid twice a month to get rid of mineral build up. This keeps your ice maker in good condition for years and prevents any stale odors in the ice.

Another SPT Options

Flake Ice Maker: SPT SZB-20

image of SPT SZB-20

Technical Details

Brand Name

SPT

Item Weight

70.5 pounds

Product Dimensions

13 x 19.8 x 23.8 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

66-lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

makes flake ice

Color

silver

Budget Ice Maker: SPT IM-123B

image of SPT IM-123B ice maker

Technical Details

Brand Name

SPT

Item Weight

70.5 pounds

Product Dimensions

13 x 19.8 x 23.8 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type 

freestanding

Special Features 

3 ice cube size

Color

black

Another Undercounter Options

Simple and Stylish : EdgeStar IB250SS

Technical Details

Brand Name

EdgeStar

Item Weight

64 pounds

Product Dimensions

20.1 x 14.9 x 33.3 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

25 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

makes crisp ice

Color

silver/black

Durable and Reliable : U-Line UBI95B00A

Image of U-Line UBI95B00A

Technical Details

Brand Name

U-Line

Item Weight

66 pounds

Product Dimensions

17 x 13.9 x 25.1 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

23 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

only requires a 1/4 inch outside diameter water line connection

Color

black

What Others Say

Many customers on Amazon and other retail sites love the SPT IM-600US ice maker.

They say it’s easy to use, makes a good amount of ice and the ice cubes are more or less perfect for most of their needs.

The only complaint we've seen is that the ice comes out in sheets rather than individual ice cubes. They are easy to break apart but only with a stainless steel scoop.

So first thing you should do when you get this ice maker is put away the plastic scoop they include with it and get a stainless steel one instead.

Another issue is that there isn’t a pump-operated version of this ice maker. For users who cannot use the gravity drain, you’ll have a problem draining the water.

I recommend you ask your plumber to find a way to drain the water when they are installing the ice maker. Maybe they can even find a way to direct the drain hose outside.

Buying Advice

If you keep buying bags of ice for your office, this is a much better alternative. You get 45 lbs of quality gourmet ice every day free of charge.

It will cost you some in the beginning because of the extra plumber fees, but it is worth it.

Conclusion

SPT Ice Maker

The SPT IM-600US is just the right size for small and mid-size offices. Not too big that it takes up a lot of space but big enough to make enough ice for everyone.  The quality of ice is good when you are using good water or filter it. In sum, it's good ice maker, when you're looking for medium ice production.

It’s also a great buy for home bars, kitchens and even commercial bars and restaurants.

Whynter UIM-502SS

Whynter UIM-502SS Clear Ice Cube Maker Review

When you are looking for an ice maker for a restaurant, bar or office, there are two important factors to consider.

  1. ice making capacity: it has to make a lot of ice
  2. the type & quality of ice it makes: it has to make clear ice and not the cloudy quick-melting kind you get from your freezer/

The Whynter UIM-502SS meets ​both of these needs perfectly.

This Undercounter ice maker has an ice production capacity of 50 lbs per day and it makes clear gourmet ice cubes.

This Whynter also costs less than $1,000 on Amazon, which is a surprise considering the capacity and ice quality.

But you’ll need to spend a bit extra on a plumber to install it.

Overall, the Whynter UIM-502SS is one of the best undercounter clear ice makers and an excellent value.

If this is is not what you are looking for, then check out my other top recommendations in my recently-updated undercounter ice maker buying guide

About the Whynter UIM-502SS Clear Ice Cube Maker

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 60lbs/day
  • Storage capacity: 25lbs
  • Dimensions: 24.5” deep, 32.5” high, 15” wide
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    Weight: 77lbs
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    Type of ice: Clear ice cubes
Whynter UIM-502SS

Comparison Table

Whynter UIM-502SS

* BEST WHYNTER ICE MAKER
Technical Details

Brand Name

whynter

Item Weight

77lbs

Product Dimensions

24.5” x 32.5” x 15” inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

60lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

clear ice cubes

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
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Whynter UIM-155

* RUNNER UP
Image of Whynter UIM-155
Technical Details

Brand Name

whynter

Item Weight

60 pounds

Product Dimensions

18 x 15 x 25 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

12 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

high quality ice

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
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Whynter IMC-490SS

* PORTABLE OPTION
image of Whynter IMC-490SS
Technical Details

Brand Name

whynter

Item Weight

38 pounds

Product Dimensions

17.3 x 15 x 17 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

49 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

high production

Color

silver

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

You may be tempted to buy a compact portable ice maker ​- they are very cheap, and you can even get one that makes clear ice cubes.

But for restaurants, bars or any other place with high ice demand you need a more capable & reliable ice maker.

I highly recommend this Whynter UIM-502SS undercounter clear ice maker.

The 502SS is designed to be a commercial ice maker, which means it’s more durable and makes high quality ice.

It also makes ice very quickly, which will come in handy when you have a bar-full of customers who need a steady flow of chilled drinks.   

Aesthetically this ice maker looks great. The stainless steel door and black cabinet will blend in well in any bar, restaurant, kitchen or office.

Because the door is reversible, you can install it to swing from either side. You also have the option to install it undercounter (it has front-facing vents) or leave it freestanding.

Just make sure you set up the line-in and drain correctly. I highly recommend hiring a licensed plumber to install it for you.

Ice Making Ability

With a 50 lbs of daily ice production capacity, the Whynter UIM-502SS is roughly in the same range as other undercounter ice makers.

It’s enough for most small restaurants, bars, kitchens and offices. It’s also a good choice for home bars.

If you have a larger establishment, consider other larger gourmet ice makers. Some good ones include the Scotsman Prodigy (85lbs) and the Scotsman CU50GA-1A (65lbs).

See our clear ice makers buying guide for other alternatives.  

The 502SS' storage bin can store up to 25 lbs of ice. But you don’t have to wait until it fills up. As soon as you turn it on, it starts dropping ice cubes into the bin after just a few minutes.     

Note that, like most other undercounter units, the bin is not refrigerated. It’s insulated to keep ice frozen for some time, but if you leave it in there for too long, it will melt.

Whynter UIM-502SS

Ice Quality

This ice machine produces clear gourmet ice which suitable for restaurants and bars.

The ice cubes are very hard and much denser than normal cubes from a freezer. These melt very slowly in drinks, making them perfect for premium drinks that you don’t want to be diluted.

They also look elegant in a glass.

Unfortunately, you cannot adjust the size or thickness of the ice cubes. You are stuck with one size.

I’ve not seen any complaints about smelly or stale ice. If your ice has an unpleasant smell, you need to clean the ice maker. Check the manual for instructions.

If it’s the first batch that has an unusual smell, that’s normal. The manual recommends throwing out all ice cubes made in the first three hours.

The manufacturer also recommends using an in-line filter. This ensures that minerals and impurities in water do not affect the quality of ice.

Ease of Use 

Whynter UIM-502SS

The only challenging bit is installation which is why it’s a good idea to have a plumber do it.

You need to set up a water line, ideally with an in-line filter installed. You also need to set up the drainage.

This ice machine comes with everything you need including a gravity drain hose, a water hose, and an ice scoop.

Once the plumber has set everything up, you just need to turn on the switch to ICE, and the machine will get to work immediately.

The ice comes out in sheets that are easy to break apart. Once the storage bin fills up, the ice maker automatically stops making more ice until you empty the bin.

Maintenance is easy. You just need to clean the ice maker every once in a while. The manual has clear cleaning and maintenance instructions.  

Other Whynter Ice Makers

Runner Up: Whynter UIM-155

Image of Whynter UIM-155

Technical Details

Brand Name

whynter

Item Weight

60 pounds

Product Dimensions

18 x 15 x 25 inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

12 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

high quality ice

Color

silver/black

Portable Option: Whynter IMC-490SS

image of Whynter IMC-490SS

Technical Details

Brand Name

whynter

Item Weight

38 pounds

Product Dimensions

17.3 x 15 x 17 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

49 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

high production

Color

silver

What Others Say

Many verified owners of this ice maker love it not just because it makes plenty of ice, but also for the ice quality and ease of use.

One feature that customers point out is the ability to lift the entire bin and dump the ice into a cooler, freezer or container. You don’t have to bend down to scoop it out.

The only issue I’ve seen is from customers who cannot use the gravity drain. The company does not say which pump you should use in case you drain is above grade.

If you have the same problem, call their customer support. They’ll tell you where to get a compatible pump.

Buying Advice

This is an excellent buy if you own a restaurant or bar. It’s also ideal if you are looking for a high-capacity clear ice machine for your home or office.

For a gourmet ice machine of its capacity, the $900 price tag is a fine bargain

Whynter UIM-502SS

Conclusion

The Whynter UIM-502SS is a good choice if you are looking for an affordable commercial-grade ice maker for your restaurant, bar or office. It can provide you a large inner volume, high quality ice at a reasonable price. Design is great for modern kitchens.

It’s easy to use, even easier to maintain and from what hundreds of owners  say, it lasts long without any major issues.


EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker Review

EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker Review

If you are looking for a compact built-in ice maker, the EdgeStar IB120SS is one of the best. It’s our top pick for the best undercounter ice maker for home bars

The stainless steel door will look great in a home bar, and you can even reverse its swing depending on the room’s layout.

The front venting allows you to neatly install it under the counter with no clearance space required for the rear and sides. Thanks to this, you can install it in a small niche in your kitchen.

But the best feature about this ice maker is the integrated freezer. It’s one of the few ice machines that can store your ice for as long as you want, without melting.

That also means you don’t need to install a drain line or pump.

About the EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 12lbs/day
  • Storage capacity: 6lbs
  • Dimensions: 15" wide x 18.5" deep x 25.25" height
  • Weight: 54lbs
  • Type of ice: crescent-shaped ice cubes
EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker Review

Comparison Table

EdgeStar IB120SS

* BEST OVERALL
EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker Review
Technical Details

Brand Name 

EdgeStar

Item Weight 

54lbs

Product Dimensions 

15" x 18.5" x 25.25 inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

12lbs

Installation Type 

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

high quality ice

Color 

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

EdgeStar IP250SS

* COMPACT OPTION
image of EdgeStar IP250SS
Technical Details

Brand Name 

EdgeStar

Item Weight

37 pounds

Product Dimensions 

17.1 x 14.9 x 17 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

48 lbs

Installation Type 

freestanding

Special Features 

3 different ice cube sizes

Color 

silver

My Rating:
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Edgestar IP210TI

* BUDGET BUY
image of Edgestar IP210TI
Technical Details

Brand Name

EdgeStar

Item Weight 

24 pounds

Product Dimensions 

14.4 x 11.7 x 14.9 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

28 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

compact size

Color 

grey

My Rating:
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Overview

One of the downsides of most ice makers is that they can’t store the ice for long.

 This is because the storage bin is only insulated not refrigerated. You have to take the ice out before it starts melting.

With the EdgeStar built-in ice maker, you can leave the ice in the bin for as long as you want (not too long though, the ice will go stale).

The unit doubles as a freezer, maintaining the ice in solid form until you need it. 

One of the most significant advantages of this is less water wastage. In most ice makers, melting ice is discarded merely through the drain hose.

Another major advantage is that you don’t need to install a drain line. This makes installation easier and means you don’t have to locate the ice maker near a drain.

The only thing you’ll need is a water line to supply water to the machine. It comes with its own 25’ long 1/4” full waterline.

This ice maker works and looks best when installed under the counter.

The stylish stainless steel door and long handle look beautiful when the ice machine sits flush with the cabinetry.

It’s a beautiful fresh addition to any kitchen or home bar.

Ice Making Ability

Despite being an undercounter ice machine, the EdgeStarIB120SS makes less ice than most portable ice makers.

Whereas portable ice makers average around 26lbs of ice per day, this one maxes out at just 12lbs. The refrigerated bin can store up to 6lbs of ice.

That means that the machine can only make two bins per day.

EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker Review

 
But that’s enough for most families and even small home functions.If you are installing it in your home bar just for your own use, you probably won’t also use half that amount of ice in a day.

So while it doesn’t make much ice compared to other ice makers, it’s plenty enough for most home bars.

 And anyway it makes up for it by offering a freezer function which is enough to convince me to buy it.

Note: Ice making ability depends significantly on the environmental temperature.

If you use the ice maker outside or in a hot place, it might only manage one bin-full per day. Install it in a cool place to maximize ice production.

Ice Quality

This EdgeStar ice maker produces regular crescent-shaped ice. It’s mostly clear with a cloudy center.

It’s not crystal-clear gourmet ice nor is it Sonic-style chewable ice.

That said, the ice this unit makes is great for most types of drinks.

Make sure you use clean and potable water. I highly recommend installing a water filter in the water line to filter out minerals and particles.

Also, just because there is a freezer doesn’t mean you should leave the ice inside for months. After some time it will become stale. Regularly empty the bin to keep the ice fresh.

You also need to do regular cleaning and defrosting to keep the ice maker in good condition. 

Ease of Use

The manufacturer recommends getting a plumber to install the ice machine for you.

 But I don’t see why you can’t do it yourself as long as you have some necessary home repair experience.

Only a water line needs to be fitted. You won’t need to set up any drainage since there is no melt water to drain.

Once the unit has been installed, the ice maker is easy to use. There’s just one on/off button.

EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker Review

Turn it on, and the group starts making ice. Once the bin fills up, which takes about 11 hours, a sensor will automatically stop production until you empty it.

The compressor works very quietly. Unless you are right up next to the unit, you won’t hear it at all.

Maintenance involves regularly cleaning and defrosting the machine. Check the manual for instructions.

Other EdgeStar Options

Compact Option: EdgeStar IP250SS

image of EdgeStar IP250SS

Technical Details

Brand Name

EdgeStar

Item Weight

37 pounds

Product Dimensions

17.1 x 14.9 x 17 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

48 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

3 different ice cube sizes

Color

silver

Budget Buy: Edgestar IP210TI

image of Edgestar IP210TI

Technical Details

Brand Name

EdgeStar

Item Weight

24 pounds

Product Dimensions

14.4 x 11.7 x 14.9 inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

28 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

compact size

Color

grey

What Others Say

The freezer feature is apparently a big hit with customers. They love that they can leave the ice in the bin without coming back to a soggy mess or wasting water by draining away the melted ice.

Users say it’s relatively easy to install, easy to use and the amount of ice is perfect for their needs. 

One tip suggested by a customer is storing the ice in your freezer to free up space for the machine to make more ice.

This way, you’ll always have plenty of ice around especially in case you have guests.

The main complaint is about maintenance. Having a freezer comes with a downside; you have to defrost it regularly.

 It’s easy to do it, but it takes your machine out of commission for around 6 hours.

 Make sure you store several batches of ice in your refrigerator to use when you are defrosting the ice maker. 

Buying Advice

EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker Review

Don’t let the lower-than-usual production capacity stop you from purchasing this ice maker.

Unless you host a lot of guests or you have a huge family, 12 lbs a day is more than enough for a home bar, man cave or your kitchen

Conclusion

The EdgeStar IB120SS is easy to install is a breeze to use and is built to last. Also, you won’t find any other ice maker with a freezer for this price.

Orien FS-55IM 44 lb Built-In Ice Maker Review

Orien FS-55IM 44 lb Built-In Ice Maker Review

The Orien FS-55IM is our top pick for the best undercounter ice maker for homes and offices.

 What makes it a great buy?

Just to mention a few, it makes plenty of ice (44lbs every 24hours), it’s easy to use, and it’s Energy-Star approved meaning it won’t add much to your power bill.

About the Orien FS-55IM Built-In Undercounter Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 44lbs/day
  • Storage capacity: 25lbs
  • Dimensions: 14.6" wide x 33.5" high x 23.6" deep
  • arrow-right
    Weight: 113lbs
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    Type of ice:¾” x ¾” ice cubes
Orien FS-55IM 44 lb Built-In Ice Maker Review

Comparison Table

Orien FS-55IM

* BEST ORIEN ICE MAKER
Orien FS-55IM 44 lb Built-In Ice Maker Review
Technical Details

Brand Name

Orien

Item Weight

113 lbs

Product Dimensions

14.6" x 33.5" x 23.6" inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

44lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

high production

Color 

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Orien FS-65IM

* COMMERCIAL ICE MAKER
Image of Orien FS-65IM
Technical Details

Brand Name

Orien

Item Weight

93.8 pounds

Product Dimensions

21.4 x 16.5 x 32.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

65 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

crescent shaped cubes

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Orien 260

* COMMERCIAL ICE MAKER
image of Orien 260
Technical Details

Brand Name 

Orien

Item Weight 

156 pounds

Product Dimensions

24 x 24 x 33 inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

260 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

appropriate for restaurants

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

Undercounter and standalone ice makers tend to be expensive, often costing over $2,000.

But there’s a reason why.

Ice machines from brands like Ice-O-Matic and Scotsman produce a LOT of ice - 60 lbs to 85 lbs - each day.

But what if you don’t need all that ice, but still need something that makes a decent amount of ice for your family and the occasional dinner party?

The Orien FS-55IM built-in ice maker is your answer. This unit produces 44lbs of ice in a day and costs just a bit over $1,000.

Because it has a front venting system, you can build it into your cabinetry. It needs just a little clearance space on the sides and back. You have to install a water line and a drainage hose.

This is a gravity drain model, meaning it doesn’t have an internal pump.

This means you have to drain the water into floor drainage where the water can flow out on its own. 

If gravity drainage is not possible, then contact the company’s customer support about purchasing a condensate pump. This pump is installed externally behind the unit rather than inside as it is with most ice machines.  Adding a condensate pump also means you’ll need more depth space behind the ice maker, around 6 inches.

Overall, this is a great ice machine.

The ice quality is excellent and after setup, it’s really easy to use and maintain.

Ice Making Ability

The 44 lb Orien FS-55IM falls somewhere in the middle between portable ice makers which make about 26 lbs of ice in a day and full-size undercounter or standalone ice machines with a daily capacity of around 60-80lbs.

In a way, it’s perfect for most families. Not too much ice that the machine feels like a waste and not too little that it can’t handle a few extra drinks when you have guests over.

The storage bin can store as much as 25 lbs of ice. So you can make a large batch ahead especially if you have a home event.

Unfortunately, you can’t store ice in this unit  too long, as it will start to melt. The bin is  insulated but not refrigerated.

If you are looking for a refrigerated ice maker, try the EdgeStar IB120SS though it makes just 12 lbs of ice per day.

As with any other ice maker, make sure you install the Orien in a cool place. If the surrounding environment is too hot, it will work at less-than-maximum production capacity.

Orien FS-55IM 44 lb Built-In Ice Maker Review

Ice Quality

This ice machine produces normal ice cubes that are clear with a cloudy center.

It does not produce gourmet (completely clear and hard) ice cubes nor nugget ice (soft and crunchy).

The ice cubes measure 3/4” by 3/4” by 1”.

The manual strongly recommends adding a filter to the water line. It will eliminate odors and tastes from the ice.

It will also remove any particles that could result in lower ice quality.
Do not use deionized water. It will produce low-quality ice and could potentially damage the ice maker.

It’s also important to regularly clean the unit. This gets rid of any scale that might have built up in the machine and keeps your ice fresh.

Ease of Use

The Orien FS-55IM requires a bit of work to install. You need to connect both a water line and a drain hose.

You can do it yourself if you have an hour to spare and some experience with basic home improvement.

If you are busy or uncomfortable, then get a plumber to install this ice maker.  

After installation, the ice maker is super-simple to use.

There’s a single  on/off button. You cannot change the ice cube size, and there are no indicators for ‘no water’ or ‘bin full’.

Regular maintenance involves cleaning the inside of the unit to remove scale, dust and  particles that may have accumulated. Check the manual for cleaning instructions. 

Other Orien Options

Commercial Option: Orien FS-65IM

Image of Orien FS-65IM

Technical Details

Brand Name

Orien

Item Weight

93.8 pounds

Product Dimensions

21.4 x 16.5 x 32.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

65 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

crescent shaped cubes

Color

silver/black

Commercial Option: Orien 260

image of Orien 260

Technical Details

Brand Name

Orien

Item Weight

156 pounds

Product Dimensions

24 x 24 x 33 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

260 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

appropriate for restaurants

Color

silver/black

What Others Say

Orien FS-55IM 44 lb Built-In Ice Maker Review

Lots of verified customers love this ice maker. They say it works quietly, produces plenty of ice and is not a pain to install and operate.

The most common complaint is that the ice comes out as a connected sheet rather than individual ice cubes. So you have to break the sheet to get your cubes.

But this is a minor inconvenience. The cubes are attached delicately to each other; just one gentle hit is enough to tear them apart. 

Buying Advice

If you are torn between smaller ice machines that make too little ice and more expensive undercounter ice makers that are far too expensive, then the Orien FS-55IM is a perfect, affordable compromise.

It makes just the right amount of ice without breaking the bank. It’s an especially great buy for most families and small offices

Conclusion

Orien FS-55IM 44 lb Built-In Ice Maker Review

The Orien FS-55IM is one of the most affordable undercounter ice makers. It produces less ice than most other under-counter ice machines, but it’s still enough for most homes. Excellent compact design and affordable price for this class of ice makers makes this device an interesting offer for small family or men's cave.

This is an excellent buy for anyone looking for a reliable, affordable and long-lasting home or office under-counter ice maker.

hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker

hOmeLabs 26 lb/day Portable Ice Maker: My In-Depth Review

The hOmeLabs portable ice maker is a compact traveling/countertop ice maker that can make up to 26lbs of ice per day.

It produces bullet-shaped ice pellets, around 8 of them at a time in one of two sizes. Once the 1.5lb bin fills up, it shuts off automatically until you empty it.

It pretty easy to use and no installation is required.

Its compact and lightweight design makes it not only great for your kitchen but also for camping, road trips, boats and RVs. Just plug it into a grounded 110V-120V outlet, and you are good to go.

The hOmeLabs ice maker is very similar in terms of features and price range to other popular portable ice makers like Igloo and Della. But if you still want to compare all of them, read our best portable ice makers buying guide for reviews of the top models.  

About the hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 26lbs/day
  • Storage capacity: 1.5lbs
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 12.9 x 14 inches
  • arrow-right
    Weight: 19.4lbs
  • arrow-right
    Type of ice: Bullet-shaped ice cubes
hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker

Comparison Table

hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker

* Portable Ice Maker
hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker
Technical Details

Brand Name

hOmeLabs

Item Weight

19.4 lbs

Product Dimensions

9.5 x 12.9 x 14 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

 freestanding

Special Features​​​​

different ice sizes

Color

silver

My Rating:
Check Price:

Antartic Star Countertop

* Safe and Energy Efficient
iamge of Antartic Star Countertop
Technical Details

Brand Name

Tavata

Item Weight

15.65 pounds

Product Dimensions

12.3 x 8.7 x 13 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features​​​​

smart clean functions

Color

black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Igloo ICEB26RR

* Large Water Tank
Image of Igloo ICEB26RR
Technical Details

Brand Name

Igloo

Item Weight

20.5 pounds

Product Dimensions

9.6 x 14.7 x 12.4 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features​​​​

simple control panel

Color

red

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

If you are looking for a small portable ice maker you have a lot of affordable options to choose from.

This hOmeLabs 26 lb model is a great choice.

There is nothing strikingly unique about the features of this hOmeLabs ice maker, however. 

The ice making and storage capacity are similar to those of most other portable ice makers. Operations and maintenance are about the same, as well..

That’s not to mean it’s not a good ice maker. It’s one of several great options available in the market.

That said, one feature you are going to love is how quickly it makes ice.

hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker

With the hOmeLabs on your countertop, you can make a full batch of ice in 6-8 minutes.

Granted, a single batch is just eight ice cubes - enough for one or two drinks. 

The hOmeLabs icemaker can supply ice for small families and small parties of less than 6 people indefinitely - because it produces 5 batches an hour.

Since it’s much smaller than a full sized ice machine, it's highly portable.

You can set the hOmeLabs unit up in the center of the action. You don’t have to keep going back to the kitchen or basement to get more ice.

Also feel free to stuff it in your trunk when traveling by car. As long as you have a 115V power source nearby (e.g., using a solar generator when camping, or in a hotel room), this ice machine is a great way to enjoy chilled drinks when out of town on holiday.

It's also a great choice for ​any RV or boat, as it takes up very little space.

Ice Making Ability

hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker

The hOmeLabs portable ice maker can make up to 26 lbs of ice per day, or about 1 lb per hour.

The storage bin holds about 1.5 lbs of ice, which is enough  for about 6-8 drinks. It produces ice in 8-cube batches that take 6-8 minutes to make.

Once the bin is full, the ice maker automatically lights the FULL indicator and shuts itself off to prevent an overflow.

Note that the ice bin is not refrigerated, although it is insulated. 

You empty the bin using the included plastic scoop.

If you don’t plan to use the ice cubes within the next hour or so, then I recommend storing them in the freezer.

Ice Quality

This ice maker produces medium-density bullet-shaped ice cubes.

They are not as clear or as hard as gourmet ice cubes and not as soft or chewy as sonic ice. They fall somewhere in between.

This kind of ice is  ideal for a wide variety of drinks including margaritas, iced tea, and smoothies.

But I would not use this ice in premium drinks like fine whiskey, as they tend to melt quickly which may dilute your drink.

I also do not recommend this ice for chewing. You can certainly crush them with your teeth, but sonic ice is much better for chewing. If this is what you're looking for, then check out my top picks for the best sonic ice machines in my sonic/nugget ice maker buying guide.

The hOmeLabs ice maker lets you choose between two ice cube size options: small and large.

Note: To produce the best quality ice, always use clean filtered water. It’s also important to regularly clean the appliance to avoid a ‘plastic’ taste or smell.  

Ease of Use 

hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker

The ice maker is ready to use right out of the box.

Just fill the reservoir and plug it in. You can use different water for making ice, but liquid without minerals and bulbs of air will be the best choice to get a clear and high-quality ice.

Note that it takes a few bad batches (which you need to throw away) before the ice maker starts producing proper ice cubes.

The control panel includes on-unit buttons for on/off and ice size. There are also indicators that light when the water reservoir is empty and when the ice bin is full.

Maintenance is really easy. Use a soft cloth soaked in vinegar and warm water to clean the inside. It will keep the ice tasting and smelling fresh.

Other Portable Options

Safe and Energy Efficient : Antartic Star Countertop

iamge of Antartic Star Countertop

Technical Details

Brand Name

Tavata

Item Weight

15.65 pounds

Product Dimensions

12.3 x 8.7 x 13 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

smart clean functions

Color

black

Large Water Tank : Igloo ICEB26RR

Image of Igloo ICEB26RR

Technical Details

Brand Name

Igloo

Item Weight

20.5 pounds

Product Dimensions

9.6 x 14.7 x 12.4 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

simple control panel

Color

red

What Others Say

The hOmeLabs portable ice maker is one of the most popular and highest-rated portable ice makers on sites like Amazon. As of the date of this review, it is also an Amazon Choice product.

The vast majority of verified owners say the hOmeLabs is easy to use and makes good-quality ice. 

They also love how quiet it is when making ice (except for a little noise when ice cubes drop in the bin).

Buying Advice

As far as I know, you cannot purchase the hOmeLabs 26 lb personal ice machine in a retail store.

The best place to buy this appliance online is Amazon.com due to the large number of verified owner reviews there and the low prices.

Conclusion

hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker

The hOmeLabs portable ice maker is a tried-and-tested small portable ice machine with lots of positive customer reviews. 

The hOmeLabs 26 lbs ice maker is a perfect countertop addition for your kitchen, RV or boat.

If you don’t need 40 lbs - 60lbs of ice a day for an office or a large party, then the hOmeLabs portable ice maker is a great alternative to an undercounter or built-in ice machine.

It’s also FAR less expensive, requires no line-in or draining and makes enough ice for most families.

hOmeLabs provides a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee plus a 2-year warranty - plus an additional 6 months  if you register the appliance online.

koldfront portable ice maker

Koldfront Ultra Compact Portable Ice Maker Review

This Koldfront portable ice maker is so small and compact that you can carry it in a large backpack.

Measuring only 9.5 inches wide and 12.9 inches high and weighing just 20.3 pounds, this is one of the smallest portable ice makers you can buy.

This means you can use it just about anywhere including your home, picnics, in your RV, in the office, and your boat.

There are two sizes it makes. The largest one is probably 3/4 of an inch in length. It just needs clean water and a power outlet to make ice cubes in a quick 10 minutes.

About the Koldfront Portable Ice Maker

Specifications

  • 26 pounds ice production capacity
  • 1.5 pounds ice storage capacity
  • 10-minute ice making cycle
  • Makes soft, crunchy ice in one size
  • Weight: 20.3 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12.9" H x 9.5" W x 14.1" D
koldfront ice maker

Comparison Table

Koldfront Portable Ice Maker

* Best Koldfront Ice Maker
koldfront ice maker
Technical Details

Brand Name

Koldfront

Item Weight

20.3 pounds

Product Dimensions

12.9" x 9.5" x 14.1" inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features​​​​

small size

Color

white

My Rating:
Check Price:

Igloo ICEB33BK

* Portable Igloo Ice Maker
Image of Igloo ICEB33BK
Technical Details

Brand Name

Igloo

Item Weight

22.3 pounds

Product Dimensions

14.1 x 9.7 x 11.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

33 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features​​​​

quick freezing ice

Color

black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Euhomy Ice Maker

* Compact and Lightweight
image of Euhomy Ice Maker
Technical Details

Brand Name

Euhomy

Item Weight

17.2 pounds

Product Dimensions

12.6 x 9.6 x 12.6 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features​​​​

little noise, transparent lid

Color

silver

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

We found it amazing how much ice this Koldfront unit produces for its size. It’s a workhorse, small as it may be, that can keep running all day long and stay perfectly functional for years.

What we love most is its portability.

It is so light and so compact that it can be used almost anywhere you have a flat surface and a power outlet available. From your kitchen countertop to the limited space in your RV, the Koldfront’s portability gives it unmatched versatility.

koldfront ice maker

If you need a truly portable ice maker, then your best choices include this Koldfront ice machine, the newer Igloo countertop ice maker and the more proven Emerson IM93B portable ice maker (heavier).

See all of our portable ice maker reviews to choose the one that best fits your needs and budget. 

Ice Making Ability

The Koldfront is not suitable for a bar or restaurant.

Nor will it deliver for everyone’s drinks at a large office party. Taking the cubes out of the device and putting them in your freezer is an easy task due to ice maker size.

But that is not what it was made for. It is an ultra-compact ice maker that makes 1.5 pounds of ice per cycle. This is enough for a small family, a handful of afternoon margaritas or some  cocktails when friends come over.

koldfront ice maker

To be honest, we were not expecting much from this ice maker.

But the fact is that it can make 26 lbs of ice per day - on the high end of most other portable ice makers for the home. 

This unit makes fairly soft ice, though not as soft as nugget ice. But it is crumbly enough that you can crunch on it. If you put it in your drink, don’t wait too long to drink it since it melts faster than hard store-bought ice cubes.

The only downside is the smaller than usual storage bin. Most portable ice makers can store at least 2.2 lbs of ice at a time. The Koldfront’s bin can only store 1.5 lbs

If you are alone or with a couple of your friends, this is fine, but you’ll start running short of ice if there are too many drinks that need to be chilled.

Luckily, the ice maker takes only 10 minutes to make more ice.

So if you find yourself running out of ice, just add more water and everything will be okay in 10 minutes. The short cycle time comes in handy when you have a fairly sizable family or event. Because the ice maker is so easy to use, you can even have everyone whip up their ice.

Ease of Use

Even if you have never used a portable ice maker before, you will love the fact that you can make a perfect batch of ice on the first try. This machine is extremely easy to use with simple controls and bright, visible indicators.

The Koldfront portable ice maker connects to any standard wall power outlet. It comes with its own reservoir and does not need a water line. It also doesn’t need a drain installation.

Melted water from ice cubes is recycled to make more ice. You can also empty the reservoir without requiring a drain mechanism.

koldfront ice maker

When setting it up, the manufacturer recommends placing it in a well-ventilated area that is within a normal temperature range, away from the elements and with at least 4-inches clearance space all around it. This ensures the ice maker can work properly and last longer.

They also recommend cleaning the unit before using it for the first time. When you are ready to go, only add potable water. If you use purified, distilled or filtered water, add a pinch of salt to enable the sensor inside the unit to detect the water level.

Make sure the ice maker is plugged in and then press the ON button to switch it on. Next, to the ON/OFF button, you will find the select button. This allows you to choose between large and small size ice cubes. Two size indicators at the top show you which size you have selected.

There are also indicators for power ON, ‘ice bin full’ and ‘add water.' So at a glance, you can tell all that is going on the settings that you choose. If the ice maker is not working, you can easily check the indicators to determine whether the reservoir is out of water or the ice bin is full.

Other Portable Options

Portable Igloo Ice Maker : Igloo ICEB33BK

Image of Igloo ICEB33BK

Technical Details

Brand Name

Igloo

Item Weight

22.3 pounds

Product Dimensions

14.1 x 9.7 x 11.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

33 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

quick freezing ice

Color

black

Compact and Lightweight : Euhomy Ice Maker

image of Euhomy Ice Maker

Technical Details

Brand Name

Euhomy

Item Weight

17.2 pounds

Product Dimensions

12.6 x 9.6 x 12.6 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

little noise, transparent lid

Color

silver

What Others Say

Like us, most customers did not expect an ice maker this compact to make so much ice. It was a pleasant surprise with many owners saying the Koldfront makes enough ice for their whole family and occasional guests.

Several owners also praise the Koldfront ice maker as well-made and durable. One customer finally replaced theirs after seven years of hard use.

koldfront ice maker

Overall, most customers are happy with it especially its portability, ease of use and utter convenience.

Buying Advice

There are many excellent portable ice makers reviewed on this site, and if portability is your top concern, the Koldfront is one of the best.

We recommend it for those who are looking for a highly portable and space-saving ice maker.

If you have confined space in your kitchen, RV or boat or if you spend a lot of time on the road, definitely take a look at this model.

Conclusion

The Koldfront portable ice maker biggest advantage is its compact size and lightweight design.

At less than $150, the price is also really good.

Costway Portable Ice Maker Review

The Costway portable ice maker 24023-CYPE is a beautiful top-serving personal ice maker designed for portability, convenience, and ease of use.

At home, it takes up minimal space on your countertop while ensuring your afternoon slushies and cocktails are deliciously chilled.

On a beautiful summer day, its 23-pound weight is easy to carry to the porch or any outdoor area as long as there is a power source nearby.

About the Costway Portable Ice Maker

Specifications

  • 26 lbs production capacity
  • 1.76 lbs storage capacity
  • Makes bullet-shaped soft ice in 2 sizes
  • 60-ounce reservoir
  • Weight: 17 lbs
  • Super-quiet operation

Comparison Table

Technical Details

Brand Name

Costway

Item Weight 

 17 lbs

Product Dimensions 

12 x 9 x 13 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

large ice storage

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

COSTWAY Ice Maker Red

* Modern Design
image of costway red ice maker
Technical Details

Brand Name 

Costway

Item Weight 

23 pounds

Product Dimensions

14.5 x 10.5 x 13.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

44 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

modern design

Color

red

My Rating:
Check Price:
Technical Details

Brand Name 

Costway

Item Weight 

 no information

Product Dimensions

17 x 15 x 17 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

48 lbs

Installation Type 

freestanding

Special Features 

high production of ice

Color 

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

The Costway 24023-CYPE is one of the most portable / compact ice makers you can buy. Where it lacks in ice storage capacity, it makes up for in convenience. With this ice maker, you can make ice just about anywhere as long as there is power.

And just because it is small does not mean that it is not a workhorse. Compared with other portable ice makers of the same weight and size, the Emerson can make up to 26lbs of ice per day and store a maximum of 1.76lbs of ice cubes in its bin.

We recommend it for small families, individuals, 3-5 person offices and small events. Because of its portability, you can also take it with you on picnics, on your boat or in an RV.

Ice Making Ability

The Costway portable ice maker is no ice-making factory. It will disappoint you if you use it in a bar or large party. But it wasn’t designed for that. It was made to be a personal ice maker, and it excels as one.

The most important determiner of an ice maker’s capability is its production capacity. This refers to the amount of ice that a model can make in a day. For the Costway 24023-CYPE, that number is 26lbs. 

So despite its size, this ice maker can still make a decent amount of ice. For small families and groups, the 26lb capacity is enough to keep you supplied with ice the whole day.

Another important factor in judging capability is storage capacity. This is the maximum amount of ice a model can hold in the collection basket.

Costway's basket capacity is 1.76 lbs, which is enough for small family party.

The ice made by this unit as slightly softer and more porous than the ice cubes you would get from your freezer. This makes it great for crunching as well as adding to drinks. But it is not as soft as Sonic-style nugget ice. So it can last for a while in your drink without melting.

It makes ice fast, too. If you need more ice, just add more water to the reservoir, and you’ll have more ice in a few minutes. This ensures that even for larger parties and events, you can still keep everyone’s drinks filled up with ice.

Ease of Use

This Costway portable ice maker is easy to use. Since there is no setup needed, you can start using it as soon as it is delivered.

Whether you place it on the table, countertop or floor, make sure there is sufficient clearance space on the sides and at the top. This allows heat to dissipate and air to flow as the unit operates.

See the unit’s manual for full instructions on using and maintaining the ice maker. One important recommendation you will find in the manual is that you should clean the unit before using it and then wait an hour after plugging it in before making any ice. These steps are just to make sure you get the best quality ice from your ice maker and ensure your unit lasts longer. Also, it's have autoclean function, that greatly facilitates your daily maintenance work.

One of the things I love about the Costway portable ice maker is that you can use it almost anywhere - in the house, outside, in an RV or even in a boat. As long as there is AC power, you are good to go. 

Once you turn it on using the power button, you can choose which ice cube size you prefer. There are two ice cube size options: small and large. They all come out in a bullet shape. A series of two indicators labeled S and L show your selection.

Another set of indicators alerts you when the ice bin is full or when you need to add water to the reservoir. If either of these two indicators is on, the ice maker will stop making ice until you either add water or empty the basket.

Note that you should only use clean potable water to make ice with this unit. It has no built-in filter. The manufacturer recommends distilled water.

Furthermore, you should never add anything other than water to the reservoir. Juices, flavors, and colorants will damage the ice maker.

Other Costway Options

Modern Design: COSTWAY Ice Maker Red

image of costway red ice maker

Technical Details

Brand Name 

Costway

Item Weight

23 pounds

Product Dimensions 

14.5 x 10.5 x 13.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

44 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

modern design

Color

red

Image of COSTWAY Ice Maker Machine

Technical Details

Brand Name 

Costway

Item Weight

no information

Product Dimensions 

17 x 15 x 17 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

48 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

high production of ice

Color

silver/black

What Others Say

Most customers are super-happy with their purchase. Many say they were surprised at how much ice such a compact ice maker can produce. Ease of use and portability are  some of the advantages frequently mentioned by buyers.

Another upside customers mention is how quiet it runs. You don’t have to bother about disturbing other people in the house when making a fresh batch of ice cubes.

Conclusion

The Costway 24023-CYPE portable countertop ice maker is the best choice if you are looking for an inexpensive, highly-portable and easy to use ice maker for yourself or your family. It makes ice pretty fast for this price category. Users said that it trustworthy and nice.

How Sonic-Style Ice Nuggets Are Made

The Scotsman commercial ice maker was the start of people’s obsession with Sonic Drive-ins.

Customers streamed into Sonic drive-ins for that soft and crunchy ice that Sonic is so famous for.

Sonic Ice logo

America's love for Sonic-style ice has not diminished a bit over the years.

But today, you no longer have to buy a burger from Sonic, to get their delicious ice.

See the best Sonic nugget-style ice machines now.

Scotsman, the company that supplies Sonic with the ice machines responsible for their chewable ice, has sold a residential Sonic ice maker that you can set up in your own kitchen, for several years.  

Scotsman ice machines are very popular in the Southern US, where summers can be brutally hot. 

Following Scotsman's retail success, more ice maker brands today offer Sonic ice machines that produce nugget-style ice in the comfort of your home.

But have you ever wondered how these delicious ice pebbles are made?

And why are they so different from harder, traditional ice cubes?

The Right Machine For The Job

Ice-O-Matic Sonic ice maker

The first thing to understand: you cannot make Sonic nugget ice with just any ice maker.

Most home ice makers make bullet-shaped ice cubes, instead.

To make Sonic pellet ice in your house, you'll need a specialized Sonic ice maker.

Scotsman is one of the best known brands making Sonic ice makers. They offer a series of residential ice makers designed for making nugget-style ice at home.

Another popular brand is Ice-O-Matic, who makes an excellent under-counter nugget ice machine. 

Avalon Bay sonic ice maker easy to use

A portable Sonic ice maker

For more Sonic-style ice machine brands, see our comprehensive guide to Sonic nugget ice makers.

As you will see in our guide, we review both small portable sonic ice makers and larger under-counter and standalone ice machines.

However, if you want the exact same nugget ice they sell at Sonic, I highly recommend getting an under-counter or freestanding ice maker. You can't do nugget ice in your freezer, so ice maker will be perfect variant for you. There are a few types of ice makers. It can be compact(for small family party) and for commercial use.

A dedicated undercounter or built-in Sonic ice maker will cost you more, but the quality of the ice is better than a portable unit can produce.

Scottsman Brilliance Sonic ice maker

A standalone Sonic ice maker

Go for a portable model if you want softer ice that you can chew, but not necessarily Sonic-style ice.

Portable ice makers are also ideal if you want a machine you can use in your RV, boat or when camping.

Another important point: don’t try to make nugget ice in your freezer.  It won't work.

With traditional ice cubes, you can eschew an ice maker and make your own cubes in the freezer using a mold. It may be tedious and take longer but it’s possible.

With Sonic ice however, stick to the machines if you want the best quality ice. As you will soon see, nugget ice takes more than just freezing water to make.

See the best Sonic nugget-style ice makers selling today.

Now, let's talk about how Sonic ice is actually made.​


From Water to Nuggets: How Sonic Ice is Made

1. The water

Like any other type of ice, nugget ice begins with clean water. The kind of water you use can make a significant difference in the quality of the ice produced.

For instance, filtered water makes the ice look less cloudy and produces slightly softer nuggets. Pre-boiled water can also produce clearer nuggets because there is less trapped air in the water.

Unlike in gourmet ice, the aesthetics of nugget ice do not matter very much. The taste and texture are the most important aspects. So as long as the water is potable, you are good to go.

How the water is delivered to the ice maker depends on what type of machine you have. If it is portable, you'll add water to a reservoir. If it is an under-counter or standalone unit, then most likely it requires an active water line.

If your unit uses a water line, make sure there is a filter in the line. If not, then add one. Consistency of water quality is really important.

Filtering the water removes also most of the minerals that can mar the ice texture and clog up your ice maker.

2. The freezing process

When the water gets into a Sonic ice maker, the really cold bit of the journey begins. Here is where a traditional cube ice maker and a nugget ice maker part ways.

When making traditional ice cubes, water is passed over a tray with several cubic molds on it.  A refrigeration system freezes the water in the molds to form ice.

Once the cubes are set, the tray is then heated to unstick the ice cubes and get them to fall into the ice bin, ready for scooping by the owner.

Here is a "How Its Made" showing how a traditional ice maker functions.

Unlike a traditional ice cube maker, a sonic ice machine does not use an ice tray.

Instead, it uses a cylindrical tube with a rotating auger in it.

Like the traditional ice maker, it also uses a liquid refrigerant to freeze the water.

The refrigerant passing through tubes takes away heat from the water, causing it to chill down into ice flakes.

The flakes naturally attach themselves to the cold wall of the cylinder.

Then, a slowly rotating auger scrapes the ice flakes off the wall and moves them to the top of the cylinder, where there is an exit into an ice bin.

Note that Sonic ice makers do not use a heater. So, they use less power compared to traditional ice cube makers.

3. The Nuggets

The final part of the journey, from auger to ice bin, varies from machine to machine.

In most Sonic ice makers, the flakes are gathered and forced through a compression tube where they come out as nuggets.  They break apart naturally, due to gravity.

In other units, a blade cuts the nuggets as they are extruded from the tube. This produces more uniformly shaped pellets.

In more expensive models, a little more finesses is done, before the ice is released.

First, they may compress the nuggets extra had, to get rid of excess water.

Compressed ice nuggets are firmer and slightly harder than Sonic nuggets. They are not as crunchy though they are not as hard as traditional ice cubes.

Compressed nuggets are ideal if you want Sonic ice that lasts longer in your drink. They are especially good for outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes.

In the video below, a compressed sonic ice maker is illustrated to show how nugget ice is  made. The rotating object is the auger, which scrapes ice flakes from the wall and pushes them upwards. 


You Have Been Served!

Scottsman Nugget Ice

Ahhh....

What was once only deliveted to your car door window, now has become a delight you can enjoy at home, thanks to the availability of new residential Sonic ice makers.

Supplied with fresh, clean water, the right Sonic ice maker can deliver a bin full of crunchy, soft Sonic nugget ice to make you whole family happy and keep them cool.

See the best Sonic nugget-style ice machines and ice makers selling today.

Wintersmith Crystal Clear Sphere Ice Maker

Wintersmiths Crystal Clear Sphere Ice Maker Is a Kickstarter Winner

The Wintersmiths Crystal Clear Sphere Ice Maker is the best gourmet ice ball maker around. It produces crystal clear ice, something most ice ball makers are unable to do.

Because of their elegant look and slow-melting nature, these large (2.4") ice balls are perfect for cooling your best whiskey, vodka, rum, and highball cocktails.

The ice chest is easy to use at home. You don’t need any special water or skill to create a perfectly round and clear ball of ice.

About the Wintersmiths Crystal Clear Sphere Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Capacity: 4 large ice cubes or spheres depending on the mold selected
  • Dimensions: 7 3/8"H x 4 7/8"W x 13 3/8"L
  • Weight: 4lbs
  • Made from food-grade silicone, BPA-free plastic, and EPE foam
Wintersmith Crystal Clear Sphere Ice Maker

Overview

This is the second Kickstarter project by Wintersmiths. The first was the $69 Ice Baller that makes a single clear ice sphere using ordinary tap water. That project raised $173,000.

The earlier Wintersmiths ice chest launched on Kickstarter in 2014 was also a hit. They raised $241,000 for it.

This new Wintersmiths ice maker + ice chest has a much larger capacity than the original Ice Baller.

Instead of making just one ice ball, you can make four at a time.

The best part is how easy it is to use. Using just tap water and a freezer, you can make similar quality ice ball like the ones you find at high-end bars where they use expensive and sophisticated ice ball makers.

Wintersmith Crystal Clear Sphere Ice Maker

The Wintersmiths ice maker costs ​about $120 with either the sphere molds or cube molds. For an additional $40, you can get it with both types of molds. Standalone clear ice makers can cost as much as $2,000 or more.

With just over a hundred bucks you can enjoy clear gourmet ice at home. The only disadvantage is that you can only make four ice balls, which takes at least 24 hours.

For most people that’s not an issue. But if you want a higher-capacity standalone clear ice maker, see our gourmet ice makers buying guide for the best options.

Oh, and by the way, they have another bigger capacity clear ice maker on Kickstarter that’s available on pre-order. It can make up to 7 clear ice balls and up to 16 ice cubes. The Phantom Ice Maker has raised more than $400,000.

Ice Making Ability

The new Wintersmiths ice chest can make up into four ice cubes or balls. As I mentioned, you can choose the balls mold, cubes mold or both types of mold. Each comes with four shaped grooves.

Once you add tap water to the chest, it takes 24-30 hours for the ice balls to be ready. If you’ve followed all the instructions, the balls should be hard and crystal clear.

They shouldn’t be cloudy at all. You can then store the balls in a storage tube, sold separately by Wintersmith.

The cubes measure 2 inches while the balls are 2.36 inches or 60mm in diameter.

Quality Ice

To achieve clear ice without using an ice making machine, this ice chest uses the same scientific principles you’ll find at a frozen lake or pond.

The water freezes from top to bottom because the earth is insulating the water at the bottom.

Wintersmith Crystal Clear Sphere Ice Maker

As the water freezes, it pushes air bubbles further below, resulting in clear ice at the top of the lake. In Wintersmith’s ice maker, these air bubbles are completely pushed out of the molds resulting in ice that is completely transparent.

This lack of trapped air bubbles also makes the ice harder. It melts slowly and is less likely to crumble when you put it in your drink. This is perfect for drinks that you don’t want to be diluted.

Ease of Use

Making clear ice using a home freezer has always been an elusive art. There are all sorts of suggestions online. Some people suggest using bottled water. Others say distilled water does the trick while others recommend boiling the water.

While changing the type of water you use can remove some of the cloudiness, it doesn’t get you a clear ice ball.

Wintersmith Crystal Clear Sphere Ice Maker

The Wintersmith Crystal Clear Sphere Ice Maker uses ordinary tap water to make gourmet ice. You don’t have to boil water or do some other magic.

Just fill up the chest with water, insert the molds and let the water freeze for 24-30 hours. The resulting ice balls will be a perfect sphere and 100% clear.You can serve the ice immediately or store it in your freezer for future use.

What Others Say

One thing I’ve noted is that these guys have excellent customer service. In the beginning, several Kickstarter backers complained about one of the components breakings. They got a free replacement immediately.

The feedback from users so far from Amazon and around the internet has been positive. The ice chest, people say, is not a gimmick. It works, producing beautiful ice spheres every single time.

There was a bit of learning curve for many. You have to know the perfect amount of hours to leave the water to freeze. For some, it’s 24 for others it’s 26-28.

The most important thing is to avoid removing the ice too soon before it forms. By tweaking freezer temperature and freezing time, you’ll know what works best.

Buying Advice

I normally don’t recommend using a freezer to make ice. Ice makers are much faster, more efficient and produce more ice. I’ll make an exception in this case.

Wintersmith Crystal Clear Sphere Ice Maker

You are not going to find any ice maker that makes ice balls that are these good at this price. I highly recommend it if you love gourmet ice balls with your favorite drink.

If four ice balls/cubes are not enough for your needs, wait a while longer for the larger capacity Phantom Ice Maker.

Conclusion

Don’t compromise the quality of your drink with cloudy ice balls or cubes that melt in no time. The Wintersmith ice chest makes ice balls that are not only better for your beverage but make it look elegant too. It's a great thing for perfectionist. Ice isn't only efficiently cooled, it looks so good in your drink!

Scotsman Brilliance Sonic Ice Machine Review

Scotsman Brilliance Sonic Ice Machine Review

Large ice machines that used to appear in restaurants and bars are now in homes.

Companies that used to focus exclusively on commercial ice makers now are making them for homeowners as well.

Scotsman is one of those companies, and the Brilliance Nugget ice maker is one of the products they’ve designed for use in homes.

Its solid build, ease of use, high ice production capacity and excellent ice quality are why we’ve chosen it as the best standalone Sonic ice machine

About the Scotsman Brilliance Sonic Ice Machine

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 80lbs/day
  • Storage capacity: 26lbs
  • Dimensions: 14.88” wide x 22.75” deep x 33.88” high
  • Weight: 129lbs
  • Type of ice: nugget ice
Scotsman Brilliance Sonic Ice Machine Review

Comparison Table

Scotsman SCN60GA-1SS

* Best Scotsman Ice Maker
Scotsman Brilliance Sonic Ice Machine Review
Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight 

129 lbs

Product Dimensions

14.88” x 22.75” x 33.88” inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

80 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

reversible door

Color

silver

My Rating:
Check Price:

Scotsman CU50GA

* Gourmet Ice Maker
image of Scotsman CU50GA
Technical Details

Brand Name 

Scotsman

Item Weight

100 pounds

Product Dimensions

22 x 14.9 x 34.4 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

60 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

gravity drain with cord

Color

silver

My Rating:
Check Price:

Scotsman CU0715MA

* Commercial Ice Maker
image of Scotsman CU0715MA
Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight 

95.0 pounds

Product Dimensions

24 x 15 x 38 inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

80 lb

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

environmental friendly

Color

black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

If portable and mid-size sonic ice makers are too small for your needs, the Scotsman Brilliance nugget ice maker is perfect.

It is the gold standard for undercounter and standalone ice machines. It’s easy to use, allows you to customize its style and produces plenty of ice.


And by plenty, I mean up to 80lbs of ice per day. So you can even use it in a small restaurant, office or venue.

It produces the much beloved sonic ice. They are soft ice nuggets that crumble easily in your mouth and make for the perfect addition to a margarita, cocktail and many other sweet drinks.

The Scotsman Brilliance can be used as an under-counter or standalone ice machine.

If you are installing it under the counter take careful note of its dimensions (check the specs above) to make sure it will fit. For quick reference, it’s about 15” wide and 34” high.

You can install your own custom panel and even reverse the door.

This particular Scotsman Brilliance model comes with a built-in drain pump. It’s ideal if you don’t have a floor drain and the only place to drain the water in the sink.

If you have a floor drain where water can flow on its own, get the Scotsman Brilliance SCN60GA-1SS gravity drain model.  It’s around $500 cheaper but doesn’t contain an integrated drain pump. 

Regardless of the model, you get set up takes a while because you have to connect a water line as well as the drain hose. Most customers find it easier to hire a plumber to do the installation.

Once you’ve set it up. It’s really easy to use. You can leave it to make ice continuously whenever you empty the ice bin or switch it on only when you need ice. 

Ice Making Ability

The Scotsman Brilliance makes a lot of ice. In a span of 24 hours, it can make up to 80lbs of nugget ice. It can store a maximum of 26lbs in the ice bin. This is good if you need a lot of ice for a big company.

When the bin fills up, a sensor automatically stops production of ice. When you scoop some of the ice out, the machine starts making some more.

So you basically have an endless supply of ice.

But note that the ice machine cannot store ice forever; it is not a refrigerator. If you don’t use it up quickly, the ice will start melting. This is no problem although it could lead to increased water usage.

The bin is well insulated and can keep one batch of nugget ice for around a week before it all melts. If you want to keep it longer than that, I suggest storing the ice in the freezer.

One other thing to note is that the production capacity can change depending on the temperature of the surrounding environment. If you install the machine outdoors, put it in a cool, shaded place. 

Ice Quality

Scotsman Brilliance Sonic Ice Machine Review

The quality of ice the machine produces will mostly depend on the type of water you use. Make sure the water is clean and portable. Avoid using hard water. You can use water filter to make sure that water suite for this type of ice.

The minerals can build upscale inside the machine and affects its operation and also reduce its lifespan.

Scotsman recommends installing a filter in the waterline to filter out any minerals and particles that could affect the ice quality.

The manual also warns against using deionized water. It could damage the machine.


As long as you use clean, water, you'll get soft chewable ice in the bin.

It has the same texture as Sonic ice, making it perfect for crunching. It’s also great for margaritas, fruit juices, cocktails, iced tea and many other drinks.

The ice comes out in one shape and size. But because of melting, you may find differently sized nuggets when you go to scoop the ice.

Ease of Us​​​​e

The only bit of work is in installing the machine. To save time, I recommend getting a plumber to do it. But you can also do it yourself; it takes about an hour.

You’ll need to set up the drainage and then hook up the water line and install a filter if necessary. Then plug it in, and you are good to go.

The control panel is visible when you open the door. It consists of three indicators for when the unit is in operation, when there is no water coming in and when you need to clean the group.

There are also two buttons for on/off and CLEAN.

Regarding maintenance, you only need to clean the machine twice a year. Clean it more often if you use hard water.

Check the manual for instructions on cleaning and also how to prepare the machine for storage during winter.

Other Options of Scotsman Ice Maker

Gourmet Ice Maker: Scotsman CU50GA

image of Scotsman CU50GA

Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight

100 pounds

Product Dimensions

22 x 14.9 x 34.4 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

60 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

gravity drain with cord

Color

silver

Commercial Ice Maker: Scotsman CU0715MA

image of Scotsman CU0715MA

Technical Details

Brand Name 

Scotsman

Item Weight

95.0 pounds

Product Dimensions

24 x 15 x 38 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

80 lb

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

environmental friendly

Color

black

What Others Say

The Scotsman Brilliance has mostly positive customer reviews. Customers love the amount of ice it makes, how soft and chewable it is and how easy it is to use the machine.

Those who have owned it for years have not experienced any significant problem.

The only (minor) complaint is that the ice maker can get a bit loud when the ice is falling into the bin. Otherwise, it works very quietly.

Buying Advice ​ 

At almost $4,000, this is one of the most expensive ice machines. But the investment is worth it. It will give you years of excellent service and an endless supply of delicious Sonic ice.

But if you think it’s too big or too expensive, see our smaller and cheaper recommendations. 

Conclusion

If you are looking for the best undercounter sonic ice maker, you can’t go wrong with the Scotsman Brilliance. It’s pricey, but it quickly proves its worth.A great buy for families that can’t live without Sonic ice.

Avalon Bay Sonic ice maker

Ice Maker Not Working? Try These Easy Fixes Before Calling a Pro

It’s easy to take your ice maker for granted until it suddenly stops working or produces smelly or misshaped ice cubes. The convenience of having unlimited fresh ice cubes on demand becomes more apparent than ever.

Luckily, ice makers, and especially portable ice makers, are not overly complicated machines. With a little investigative work, you can often get it working right again without having to spend money on repair or replacement.


What's In This Guide

As with any machine, understanding the various parts and inner workings of an ice maker is important in being able to maintain it. So before we get to some easy fixes you can try, here is a brief primer on how ice makers work and their various components.


How Ice Makers Work

ice makers not working ice 2400

Like the ice mold in your freezer, ice makers work by simply turning liquid water into ice. But the process between the two is quite different. While the water in a tray takes hours to freeze, an ice maker can spit out perfect ice cubes in less than 15 minutes.

A good way to visualize ice makers is as mini ice making factories. The entire process is fast and automated. You just have to provide the water, either through a water line or by filling a reservoir, and clear the basket when it’s full.

In most ice makers, the water is passed into a set of molds where a refrigeration system freezes the water into ice cubes. A heating system is used to unstick the frozen cubes which are then pushed into the basket, ready for scooping. Sonic and clear ice makers have a slightly different process.

Large commercial ice makers may also work a bit differently. To fully understand your particular ice maker, check the manufacturer’s manual. If you don’t have a physical copy with you, it should be pretty easy to find one online in PDF format.

The manual will list all the parts in that specific model and will usually contain handy troubleshooting advice.The following tips are therefore meant to be basic fixes for common problems.

Depending on your type of ice maker, you may need professional help. When fixing your ice maker, always make sure you work within the warranty terms and conditions. That is if the warranty period is still active.

Additionally, double check that the power is turned off and power cord unplugged before you take apart the ice maker. Check out these common ice maker problems and possible fixes you can try. If none of these solve your problem, consider calling a pro.


Ice Maker Not Working

​Problem

Ice maker not making ice is one of the most common problems people encounter. It can happen suddenly, but it is often preceded by certain issues you may have ignored. That’s why it is important to check your ice maker even at the smallest problem. It could save you money and time down the road.

Possible causes

  • The ice maker is turned off.
  • The ice maker is not receiving any electrical power.
  • The ice maker is not receiving any water.
  • The water is not getting delivered to the ice tray (or whatever ice-making component your ice maker uses).
  • Clogged water supply line.
  • Full ice bin.
ice makers not working

Try these fixes

If the ice maker had stopped suddenly when it was working perfectly well the first thing to check is the power connection. The plug could have come off by accident or maybe your power source is faulty.It may seem obvious but make sure you also check that the ice maker is turned on.

Most ice makers will indicate when they are on. Depending on your ice maker model, you may also have hit the pause button without realizing it. Also, check whether the ice bin is full which could be preventing the ice maker from making more ice. If none of that is the issue, make sure there is water coming into the ice maker.

This applies to larger ice makers that require a water line. The inlet tube could be clogged, or there could be a problem with your home water supply. For clogged tubes, find out what is causing the blockage and remove it.

If it is frozen water, a hair dryer should do the trick.If you have a portable ice maker, check the water level in the reservoir. If it is too low or there is no water, the ice maker will not make ice even if it is on.

If you are shopping for an ice maker, I recommend buying one that alerts you when there is no water in the reservoir. The other common issue is water not reaching the ice-making area of the machine. This could affect any ice maker, whether it uses a water line or a reservoir.

For this problem, open the ice maker and check the tube that provides water to the ice tray for clogging. Depending on your model, there could also be a pump problem that causes water not to circulate properly within the ice maker. The pump may need a professional checkup or full repair.


Ice not Ejecting

Problem

At first, you suspect that the ice maker is not making any ice at all since you can’t find any in the ice bin. But when you open up the ice maker, you find that there is some ice in the tray. So the issue is not that the ice maker is not making ice but that the ice cubes are not ejecting into the collection bin.

Possible causes

  • Faulty ejector mechanism
  • Faulty heating mechanism

Try these fixes

To remove ice cubes, an ice maker uses a heating system to heat the bottom of the ice tray. This unsticks the ice from the tray. An ejector mechanism then sweeps the ice cubes out into the basket where you can scoop them.

If either of these two components fails, that’s when the above problem occurs. To fix it, you need to inspect individual parts within these systems. Check for any loose wires, corroded parts or broken components. You may have to replace a few things.If the damage looks severe, get a pro to look at it.


Ice is Smelly

Problem

This is another common problem that you’ll likely encounter at some point. Good quality ice should be like water – tasteless, odorless and fresh. Then one day you make a batch that tastes and smells funny.

Most people describe it as a stale taste as if the ice has been cooped up in an airless space for days.The stale taste transfers to beverages that you put the ice in.

The stale taste and smell are even more apparent if you prefer eating ice from a nugget ice machine

Possible Causes

  • Dirty ice maker.
  • Low-quality water.
  • Leaving ice in the bin for too long.

Try these fixes

Cleaning the ice maker usually sets everything right again. Refer to your manual for specific instructions on how to disassemble and thoroughly clean every component. Pay close attention to the tray, making sure you wipe it down properly.

Experts recommend running two cycles using water mixed with vinegar and discarding the ice. By the third cycle (with water only), your ice should taste and smell fresh. Note that new ice makers can cause ice to have a particular ‘plastic’ taste.

Use the same cleaning process to get rid of it. Sometimes the problem may not be the ice maker; it could be the water you are using. Low-quality water results in low-quality ice. Some ice makers come with a built-in filter that helps purify incoming water.

If you have an ice maker with a water line, consider adding a filter to the line. For portable ice makers, only add clean and filtered water to the reservoir. Sometimes there is no problem with the ice maker at all. Staleness is caused by leaving the ice cubes in the basket for too long.

After a few hours in there, they lose their freshness. The problem is especially common with ice makers that re-use melted ice water. When you don’t empty the bin, the ice melts, and the water is pumped back to the reservoir where it is used to make more ice.

If the ice maker keeps reusing the same water, your ice might taste stale. Even for basic ice makers that don’t recycle water, experts recommend changing the water in the reservoir every 24 hours.


Plastic Bits in Ice

ice makers not working 2500

Problem

This is one of the most worrying ice maker problems. It can occur whether you have been using your ice maker for three years or you just used it for the first time. Most people report seeing foreign objects, usual bits of plastic, embedded in the ice cubes.

Possible causes

  • Broken component inside the ice maker.

Try these fixes                   

 The plastic bits have apparently come from inside the unit. Most ice makers use a lot of plastic parts inside that could end up in the ice, though it’s not very common.

Because of a manufacturing error, aging or damage during transport, a component could get loose and mix in with the water being frozen. If it often happens with an old ice maker (5-7 years old), I’d recommend replacing the entire unit.

There are a lot of affordable ice makers nowadays. If it’s a new or relatively new ice maker, you need to check inside for anything that might be broken.

Sometimes it could just be a few plastic bits left over from the factory, in which case a thorough cleaning process should solve the problem. It could also be a broken part that needs replacing.


The Ice Cubes are Misshapen

Problem​

If you are using an ice maker in a commercial establishment, then the shape of the ice cubes matters a lot. Though it may not be a big deal at home, it will still bother you if your ice maker begins to produce ice cubes in weird shapes.

Maybe the ice cubes are too big, too small or just a shape that is not in the ice maker’s settings.

Possible Causes

  • Defective water valve.​
  • Faulty ice cutting mechanism.
  • Type of water used.

Try These Fixes

Before you declare it a problem, check the number and type of shapes of ice cubes the ice maker can produce. Most ice makers can make two different ice cube sizes while others can produce several different shapes.

You may have changed the settings by mistake.If that’s not the issue, then it could be a mechanical problem. The common culprit is the water valve that controls the amount of water dispensed to the ice-making area (usually a molded tray).

It could be producing too much water or too little, thus affecting the normal size and shape of the ice. A faulty valve is often caused by clogging, where mineral deposits prevent the valve from opening and closing regularly.

It could also be that the valve has reached the end of its life. First, try to clean the valve and the water inlet area and if that doesn’t correct the shape problem, get a new valve.

If your ice comes out as one big chunk, or the ice cubes are not fully separated from each other, the problem could be the ice cutting grid.

This is a mechanism that uses heated wires to cut an ice block into individual cubes. The source of the problem could be electrical or mechanical. Check whether there are loose wires or anything blocking the mechanism.

You may have to replace some parts. Finally, if the above two issues are not to blame, the water could be the problem. Hard water contains a lot of dissolved solids.

When the water is frozen in the ice maker, these solids could cause an unusual shape.Always use filtered water to get the best quality ice and to prolong the life of your ice maker.​


Water is Leaking

Problem

No one wants to see their machine leaking, whether it is a car or an ice maker. It indicates a serious internal problem. In the case of an ice maker, you’ll notice a pool of water on the floor near the bottom of the ice maker. This may be accompanied by other issues such as unusually small ice cubes or the ice maker not working.

Possible causes

  • Broken hose.​

Try these fixes

Open up the ice maker and check for any defective component. Most likely, you will find a broken hose or tube. If the leak is serious, you should be able to spot the broken part easily.

If it is a small leak that takes hours to turn into a pool of water, it may take more time to discover where it is coming from. Make sure you also check the valves, the pump, water outlet (for units with drainage), reservoir and ice bin for any issues.

Once you find the faulty part, call the manufacturer to find out if they sell replacements. If your ice maker is old, a better solution would be replacing it.

The leak is most likely a sign of aging and an indication of more problems to come. If you find a leak but the leaked substance doesn’t appear to be water, you may have a coolant problem on your hands. That is much more serious.


Leaking Coolant

Problem

Although quite uncommon, problems with you ice maker could be originating from the cooling system. Specifically, the liquid used to freeze the ice may be leaking. This causes the ice maker to start producing less ice and in some cases stop working completely.

If you find an oily substance on the floor near the ice maker or inside on various components, it could be the coolant liquid. This is a bigger problem than leaking water.

Possible causes

  • Aging.​
  • Rough handling when carrying the ice maker.

Try these fixes

Only professional can fix this problem. Call them, so he can give you some advices. He can change the coolant in your ice maker or it will be necessary to replace the entire cooling system if it's broken.

If that’s the case, contact your manufacturer for more advice. If your ice maker is still covered by a warranty, they might even replace the entire unit for free.


Ice Bin Overflowing/Ice Maker Doesn’t Stop Making Ice

Problem

The ice maker keeps making more ice even when the ice bin has filled to the brim. The only way to stop it is by switching it off.​

Possible causes​

  • ​Faulty sensor.

Try these fixes

Most ice makers, whether potable, countertop or built-in, have a sensor that detects when the ice bin is full. It triggers the ice maker to stop making more ice until the basket has been emptied.

If the sensor is faulty, the above problem will occur. The best solution is to replace the sensor. Call your manufacturer to find out if they sell replacements.

If it’s not possible to replace it, ask a repair technician to check if the sensor can be repaired.If all fails, you have to manually control the ice making process. Keep an eye on the ice bin. Once it fills up, shut off the ice maker until you need more ice.


Need to Replace Your Ice Machine? 

Check out our reviews of the best ice makers sold online, below.

how to make ice cubes

How to Make Ice Cubes Without Using a Tray

While ice cube trays are the most common implements for making ice at home, they are not the only option. You may find that your freezer is too small to accommodate an ice tray and even if you have a large freezer, your tray may go missing just when you need it most.

It’s a great idea to have some alternative options in mind when you cannot or don’t want to use an ice cube tray. Below, we have some tips (or life hacks) on how to make ice cubes without using a tray.

This list consists of a mixture of short term solutions (before you find your lost tray or buy a new one), emergency solutions and long term alternatives to completely replace your tray. If we have left out any ‘tray-less’ ice making method, feel free to mention it in the comments.

Ziploc Bags

A simple and quick solution when you don’t have an ice tray is using Ziploc bags. They are very common, and you most likely have some at home.

To use a Ziploc bag, you just need to fill it with cold water and leave it to freeze for several hours. The amount of water you put in will determine how much ice you get. If you fill the bag to the brim, you’ll get a large ice rock that you may need to crush into smaller bits.

how to make ice cubes

One trick is to fill it up quarter way, zip it up tightly and then lay it flat in the freezer. This will create a medium-thick layer of ice that you can easily break into smaller pieces.

The downside with Ziploc bags is that you will not get perfectly shaped ice. But if aesthetics are not an issue for you, go for it.

You can use ordinary plastic bags, but in this case there is a risk of water leakage, besides, getting ice from this bags is not so easy. 

If you want actual ice cubes, there are some ice cube bags sold on Amazon. You fill them up with water, close them tightly, and you’ll get several dozen ice cubes perfect for picnics, parties, and your everyday cocktails.

Silicon Molds

Silicon molds are used to make a wide variety of things including candy, baked cakes and bread and even soap. Thanks to their versatility, you can also use them to make ice cubes.

As you would do with a normal ice cube tray, fill the molds with water and leave them for several hours in the freezer. Leaving them overnight results in harder, well-frozen ice that doesn’t melt as fast.

how to make ice cubes

Because these molds come in a wide array of shapes, you can create ice in all sorts of fun and unique shapes from large crystal balls to heart-shaped ice for the kids.

Egg Carton

This is a bit of an unusual solution but if it works, why not? To be clear, this is just an emergency alternative, and you should not turn it into an everyday thing.

If you have guests coming over and you have no ice tray and no silicon molds, an egg carton will come in handy. You will need some aluminum foil.

Take the aluminum foil and spread it on the bottom half of the carton, the half where the eggs rest. The foil should smoothly fit into the rounded egg dimples.

how to make ice cubes

With the foil protecting the carton, you can now add water to each of the compartments and then place the carton in the freezer. Leave it for several hours to harden into ice. You may have to crush the ice into smaller pieces.

Built-in Freezer Ice Makers

From here we get into long term ice making solutions that you should consider. With either of these alternatives, you never have to bother with ice cube trays again. Let’s start with a built-in freezer ice maker.

Some large fridge models come with an extra-roomy freezer that is fitted with an ice making kit. It then dispenses ice whenever you need some.

The upside with this option is that you can get ice any time you need it. There is not necessary to wait for hours for water to freeze into ice cubes. Additionally, after setup, you don’t have to do anything to get ice. The ice maker works automatically.

The downside is that such a fridge will be pricey. Another major downside is space. The ice making kit will take up a lot of space inside the freezer. The fridge itself may also be quite big, hence requiring more real estate in your kitchen.

Portable/Countertop Ice Makers

If you don’t need to spend a lot of money on an alternative solution to an ice tray, I highly recommend a portable ice maker.

Portable or countertop ice makers are compact, lightweight and take up very little space in your kitchen. You can even carry one to the picnic, in your RV or on a boat as long as there is a power source.

Depending on your needs you will find ice makers with different ice production capacities. If you just need your ice, get an ultra-portable ice maker that produces around 20-26lbs of ice every day. If you want an ice maker for your whole family or home parties, get one with a minimum of 26lbs production capacity.

There are other larger portable ice makers (28lbs-40lbs) that are ideal for bars, large events, and offices. See our complete guide to the best portable units

Freestanding and Under-counter Ice Maker

If you have a bit more money, you can go for a much bigger dedicated ice maker. There are two varieties: freestanding and under-counter.

A freestanding ice maker looks very much like a fridge. An under-counter ice maker is a bit more compact and is fitted underneath the cabinet. Both have much higher production capacities than portable ice makers with some producing as much as 85lbs of ice per day.

I recommend a freestanding or under-counter ice maker if you have a huge family or you frequently hold large events at home. If you love nugget ice, you may also have to go for a full unit since there aren’t any good portable nugget ice makers. 

Do you have your tip on how to make ice cubes without a tray? Add it in the comments.

U-Line BI95B-00 14

U-Line BI95B-00 14″ Ice Maker Review

Many ice makers with integrated freezers tend to compromise on production capacity.

The Sunpentown IM-150US and EdgeStar IB120SS, for instance, can store ice for as long as necessary but they only produce 12 lbs of it per day. 

On the other hand, the U-Line BI95B-00 provides a freezer function while still producing a party-friendly 23 lbs of ice per day.

So if you are looking for a high-capacity ice maker with an integrated freezer, we highly recommend this one.

This is why we picked it as the best under counter ice maker for large kitchens and home bars. 

About the U-Line BI95B-00 Under counter Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 23lbs/day
  • Storage capacity: 12lbs
  • Dimensions: 13.9" wide x 17" deep x 25.1" height
  • Weight: 53lbs
  • Type of ice: 0.5” W x 0.75” H x 2.25” Crescent-shaped ice cubes
U-Line BI95B-00 14" Ice Maker Review

Comparison Table

U-Line BI95B-00

* BEST U-Line Ice Maker
Undercounter Ice Maker
Technical Details

Brand Name

U-Line

Item Weight

 53 lbs

Product Dimensions

13.9" x 17" x 25.1" inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

23 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

only requires a 1/4 inch outside diameter water line connection

Color

black

My Rating:
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U-Line UCLR1215S40B

* Clear Ice Maker
Image of U-Line UCLR1215S40B
Technical Details

Brand Name

U-Line

Item Weight

106 pounds

Product Dimensions

28.2 x 17.5 x 36.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

no information

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

reversible door

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
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U-Line UADA15IMS00B

* Stainless Steel Ice Maker
Image of U-Line UADA15IMS00B
Technical Details

Brand Name

U-Line

Item Weight

86 pounds

Product Dimensions

28.2 x 17.5 x 36.5 inches

Ice Storage

25 pounds

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

reversible door

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

Clad in an all-black exterior, the U-Line BI95B-00 looks great. It will blend in well with any kitchen décor.

 More importantly, it will give you a continuous supply of good quality ice cubes and even store them frozen for you in the refrigerated bin.

It’s a mini-freezer that happens to make ice. But unlike the ice maker in your refrigerator, it’s quicker and makes more & better ice cubes.

The venting is at the front so you can install it under your counter without worrying about ventilation. You can also leave it standing though it might not blend as seamlessly into your kitchen.

If you decide to install it under the counter, take careful note of the measurements (see the specs above). It’s around 14” wide and 25” high.

Because the ice doesn’t melt, you only need to connect a water line and then plug the ice maker into a grounded outlet. Use soft water or use filters to get high-quality clear ice without extra minerals and tastes. You can also use boiled water.

I love that you can use your own custom door panel. Make sure it’s a quarter inch thick and 13.4” high.

You can also change the door’s swing direction depending on your kitchen’s layout.

The ice maker produces small crescent-shaped ice cubes measuring around half an inch thick and two and a quarter inches long.

It works quietly with just a few occasional noises as the ice drops into the bin.

Ice Making Ability

Unlike most freezer-integrated ice makers, the U-Line BI95B-00 does not compromise much on production capacity.

It is still lower than the 26 lbs/day capacity of portable ice makers, but it’s double what other refrigerated ice makers can achieve.

So if you have a large family or love hosting often, this ice maker is perfect for you.

You get 23 lbs of ice per day, and the storage bin can hold 12 lbs of ice. In just one batch, you get enough ice to chill all the drinks at a dinner party.

Unfortunately, you have to wait around 12 hours if you need another batch.

 If you were hosting a lot of guests, store several quantities in your freezer several days before and then leave an extra bunch in the bin.

Note: Install the ice maker in a cool location. Too much heat will reduce ice-making capacity.
Ice Quality

The ice produced by the U-Line BI95B-00 falls somewhere in the middle of the gourmet ice and nugget ice.

 It’s not crystal clear or hard like gourmet ice cubes (it’s clear but with a cloudy center) nor is it as soft and chewable as nugget ice.

They are small crescent-shaped cubes that measure around two and a quarter inches long and half an inch thick

.The ice is great for cocktails, fruit smoothies, and juices, iced tea, and margaritas.

 But I don’t recommend it for chewing (too hard)or certain beverages like whiskey (they melt too fast).

I highly recommend installing a filter on your water line to prevent any strange odors and tastes in the ice.

 Also, remember to clean the ice maker as directed in the manual regularly.

Ease of Use

U-Line BI95B-00 14" Ice Maker Review

One of the advantages of refrigerated ice makers is that you don’t need to drain them. This makes installation and setup a whole lot easier and faster.

You need to hook up the water line, plug the unit into a grounded outlet and then push it under the counter.

There is only one button for switching on the ice maker. The machine will then automatically pause or continue production depending on the level of ice in the bin.

I wish there were indicators for when there is no water coming in and when the ice bin is full.

 But you can quickly open the door to check the level of ice.

If you want to stop ice production before the bin is full, just raise the bin arm and lock it into position.

Other U-Line Options

Clear Ice Maker: U-Line UCLR1215S40B

Image of U-Line UCLR1215S40B

Technical Details

Brand Name

U-Line

Item Weight

106 pounds

Product Dimensions 

28.2 x 17.5 x 36.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

no information

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

reversible door

Color

silver/black

Stainless Steel Ice Maker: U-Line UADA15IMS00B

Image of U-Line UADA15IMS00B

Technical Details

Brand Name

U-Line

Item Weight

86 pounds

Product Dimensions 

28.2 x 17.5 x 36.5 inches

Ice Storage

25 pounds

Installation Type 

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

reversible door

Color

silver/black

What Others Say

U-Line BI95B-00 14" Ice Maker Review

Looking at the Amazon ratings, the U-Line BI95B-00 has nearly 80% favorable rating (4 stars and above) from customers.

Customers love that it makes a lot of ice and that they can leave it in the ice maker without melting

.It works quietly, reliably and maintenance is not a problem.

The only (minor) complaint is that the ice comes out as a sheet. But it’s easy to break up. 

Buying Advice

Buy this ice maker if there is high demand for ice at your house especially during summer.

You get a double advantage of refrigerated ice storage and enough ice to chill everyone’s margaritas and cocktails.

Note: If you are looking for a machine that makes soft chewable ice or clear gourmet ice, this is not for you.

Conclusion

U-Line BI95B-00 14" Ice Maker Review

The U-Line BI95B-00 will serve you well whether you need a couple of ice cubes for your afternoon iced tea or 23lbs of ice for your pool party.

And if you don’t need to use all the ice immediately, just leave it in the ice maker for later.

Opal Ice Maker

GE’s NEW Opal Ice Maker: How Does It Stack Up?

If you crave true, Sonic-style  chewable nugget ice, then the new Opal ice maker is for you.

This is the eighth product idea to come to life in the First Build factory.

Launched first on IndieGoGo, the Opal Ice Maker has garnered a ton of excited reviews with  expert reviewers and customer literally gushing over  the quality of its soft, chewy ice.

So.... how does it stack up against other Sonic ice makers

Keep reading to learn more!

About the Opal Nugget Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 1lb/hr, 24lbs/day
  • Storage capacity: 3lbs
  • Dimensions: 10.5” wide x 15.5” deep x 17.25” tall (3” clearance needed on the sides and back)
  • Weight: 44lbs
Opal Ice Maker

Comparison Table

Opal Nugget Ice Maker

* Best Overall
Technical Details

Brand Name

FirstBuild

Item Weight

44 lbs

Product Dimensions

15.5 x 10.5 x 17.2 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

24 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features​​​​

bluetooth connection

Color

silver/black

My Rating: