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In this definitive list of the best clear ice maker machines, we review the very best products sold online and compare them on ice making capacity, ease of use, ice quality, price, and convenience.
To be crystal-clear (no pun intended), we are looking at only clear ice makers, sometimes called gourmet ice makers.
All of the units below produce ice cubes that are clear (rather than cloudy white) and harder than normal ice (verses softer, crunchier sonic-style ice nuggets). This type of ice is perfect for highball cocktails or any cold drinks you don't want to dilute too quickly.
To learn more about clear ice and other ice varieties, see our full guide to different types of drink ice and how to make them.
Many people love clear ice simply because it looks better. It gives drinks a certain elegant look.
That’s why clear ice is also called gourmet ice.
But bartenders and others who really care about the quality of their ice view gourmet clear ice as superior to traditional ice cubes for more important reasons that the look.
Sure, it looks good. And the elegance of a clear cube or ball of ice in a glass of whiskey is something a few people will pay extra for.
But clear ice has more important benefits for cocktail afficionados.
While cloudy ice is crumbly and often chewy and soft, clear ice is harder and denser. Unlike the usual ice cubes that you can crush in your mouth, gourmet ice can be so hard that it actually damage your teeth.
The extra hardness and density mean it melts much more slowly than other forms of ice. Hence, it can cool a drink for longer, without diluting it.
For serious drink enthusiasts, clear ice is the best kind of ice because it chills your drink without degrading the liquid's taste or quality.
Some establishments even charge extra for adding gourmet ice to drinks!
But this comes at a cost. A clear ice cube maker is typically far more expensive than other types of ice makers.
A few years ago, you could only find truly clear ice in high-end restaurants and bars that could afford expensive clear ice makers. If you wanted it at home, then you'd have to spend thousands.
Today, thankfully, there are less expensive options, if saving money is your concern.
During the past few years, a whole new range of cheaper residential clear ice makers has become available, so you can now make your gourmet ice at home with just the push of a button.
Next in this guide, we'll review the best-selling clear ice machines in several types and categories.
The Luma Comfort is one of the few inexpensive portable ice makers that produces hard and dense gourmet clear ice.
11.3 x 14.8 x 14.1 inches
portable and lightweight
For a portable ice maker, it is a bit large. It is not the kind of machine you can carry around with you on picnics and road trips.
But it’s perfect if you want a compact gourmet ice maker that you can place on your kitchen counter or use in your boat or RV.
You could even use it in a small to a mid-size restaurant, bar, entertainment center or office.
Most portable ice makers produce between 24-26 pounds of ice in a day.
The Luma Comfort has a daily ice-making output of 28 pounds. That's plenty enough for most parties, small homes and offices.
The Luma Comfort also scores highly in another important metric; storage capacity.
If you want to know how useful an ice maker will be, focus more on the storage capacity. This is the amount of ice it can store at any given time. Storage capacity is really important if you have to keep a steady supply of ice going.
With a 4.6-pound storage capacity, the Luma Comfort stores enough ice at a time to chill plenty of drinks. Its storage capacity is double that of most portable ice makers.
If 4.6lbs of ice is not enough to fill all the drinks, then the Luma comfort has another feature to save the day. Its powerful compressor can churn out 4.6 pounds of ice in just 15 minutes. So you don’t have to wait long to get more ice.
Almost all gourmet ice makers are either under-counter or standalone fridge-like machines.
It’s rare to use the term compact when referring to them.
But the Luma Comfort is really is compact - and portable.
While most portable ice makers are smaller and lighter than the Luma Comfort, it is practically tiny when you compare it to most clear ice makers used in bars and restaurants.
Measuring 11.13 (length) x 14.25 (width) x 13.88 (height) inches, the Luma Comfort portable clear ice maker can comfortably sit on your kitchen or bar counter. It also doesn’t take up much space in an RV or boat.
You also won’t have to worry about doing any plumbing when you buy this ice maker.
It does not need a dedicated water line. Instead, it uses a water reservoir. Just add water up to the level shown and push a button to get the ice started.
To drain water left in the reservoir, there is a drain plug at the back where you can connect a line to drain into a sink.
24.5 x 15 x 32.5 inches
50 cubic feet
stylish minimalistic design
If you make ice cubes often, the last thing you want is a machine that annoyingly hums the entire day long. You also have to be careful about the noise if you are using the ice maker in a bar or restaurant.
Problem is, gourmet ice makers use powerful motors to produce that perfectly dense and hard clear ice.
A powerful motor is often a noisier motor.
But that’s not the case with the Whynter free standing clear ice maker.
It’s big and powerful, but it’s also impressively quiet.
That’s why we recommend this sonic ice maker for anyone worried about noise.
As it churns out crystal clear ice cubes, the noise never rises above normal conversation level. You can comfortably chat with someone as you wait for the ice.
During our scan of verified customer reviews, many new owners are surprised at how quiet the ice maker is, for its size.
Whether you are serving a couple of dinner guests or a full restaurant during rush hour, this machine is ready for any situation.
For one, it can produce 50 pounds of gourmet ice in a day. This is enough to run a bar or restaurant comfortably. It also comes in handy if you have a large family or if you host guests often.
Secondly, it can store up to 25 pounds of ice at a time. This is plenty of ice to go round.
This Whynter ice maker has a sleek stainless steel door and black cabinet. It blends in perfectly in a modern kitchen next to your other appliances. If you are using it in business, it provides a nice high-end look.
Even better, you have two installation options depending on the amount of space you have and the look you want. The first option is built-in. This is ideal if you have limited space or if you want it to blend in completely.
The second option is freestanding. You just leave it standing on its own like a fridge. This option is ideal if you have more space and don’t want to incur the extra costs of recessing it inside a cabinet.
The ice maker has front-facing venting, so you don’t have to worry about any blockages when you recess it or set it against a wall.
To help you plan for installation, here are the ice maker’s dimensions.
Note that the ice maker weighs 77lbs, so you will need someone around to help you set it up.
You do not need to buy any extra accessories for the Whynter UIM-502SS ice maker. It comes with everything you need including a water hose, drain hose, and an ice scoop.
To prevent wasteful and messy overflows, the ice maker automatically shuts down when it senses the ice bucket is full.
28 x 15 x 23 inches
The Whynter clear ice maker we’ve listed above produces a lot of ice; 50 pounds per day to be exact. That’s double what you would get from a portable model.
Do you want more ice? 60lbs? 70lbs? What about 84lbs of ice every 24 hours? That’s the production capacity of the Scotsman Prodigy ice machine.
If you are looking for an extra high-capacity gourmet ice maker, I recommend this one. It is primarily a restaurant/bar ice maker. But who says you can’t also use it at home? It does not require any special installation that can’t be done by a plumber in your kitchen.
The Scotsman Prodigy is one of the biggest ice makers you can buy regarding production capacity. 84lbs of ice cubes per day is a lot and certainly enough for almost any situation.
The storage capacity – which is 27lbs – is roughly the same as many other full-size ice makers but still plenty enough to chill a round of drinks.
There are two ways to install the ice maker. You can install it under-counter, which helps free up space especially in a busy kitchen. On the downside, this type of installation requires more work and extra costs.
You could also leave it standing on the floor. It takes up more space but requires no extra installation work apart from setting up the water line and drainage.
With its high production capacity, the Scotsman Prodigy does a lot of work which means it generates a lot of heat too. It uses an air-cooling mechanics to keep internal components at the right temperature.
So when you are setting it up, make sure there are at least 6 inches of clearance space around the vents to prevent overheating and damage.
The Scotsman Prodigy looks luxurious whether you set it up on the counter or sit it on the floor.
If you decide to leave it freestanding, you’ll be glad for the leg stands. They make it easy to clean underneath the ice maker without having to move it.
It is also worth noting that ice maker has a front-opening bin for easy access to ice cubes.
For installation purposes, here are the dimensions.
35 x 15 x 22 inches
In a kitchen with limited real estate, a portable ice maker is a great choice.
You just need to clear a little space on the countertop.
But don’t limit yourself to a compact low-capacity ice maker just because you don’t have enough space.
You can still use a full-size ice maker without cramping up your kitchen or RV.
Just get an under-counter ice maker.
For making gourmet ice, I recommend the Scotsman CU50GA-1A under-counter ice maker. It produces a ton of gourmet ice per day and has a nice, sleek design that blends in well with a kitchen décor.
For installation purposes, here are the full dimensions:
Note that there is another almost similarly named model called the Scotsman CU50PA-1A.
The only difference between the two is the drainage method. The CU50PA uses a pump drain, while the CU50GA uses a gravity drain.
The Scotsman CU50 can produce 65lbs of clear ice every 24 hours.
This should be enough for any sized home or party. You’ll also appreciate thia large capacity on those occasions you have many guests coming over. It can also be used for family events.
As for the storage capacity, the Scotsman ice maker can hold up to 26lbs of ice.
If you are in a situation where you need a steady supply of ice, this ice maker is perfect.
The control panel is really easy to use and has indicators to tell you what’s happening at any time.
There are two buttons: an off/on button and a clean reset button.
There are three indicators: one to indicate ice making, another for ‘check water’ and the last one for ‘time to clean.'
The Scotsman CU50 is certified for use outdoors.
As long as there is a power source nearby and you can drain it properly, feel free to set it up on your porch or patio.
Obviously, keep it away from extreme weather elements such as rain or direct sunshine.
35 x 15 x 22 inches
As we noted above, the CU50GA and CU50PA are essentially the same units with the only difference being the drain type.
Otherwise, they have the same design, dimensions, and specs.
The main reason we recommend the CU50PA for standalone gourmet ice maker is the use of a drain pump.
When you place the ice maker on the floor, the floor drain in your kitchen may not be accessible by gravity.
The integrated pump drain allows you to easily drain the water into the floor drain or even a sink. The gravity drain in the CU50GA would not work in this situation.
The main downside with this pump drain model is that it costs a couple of hundred dollars more than the gravity drain model.
Here are the factors we consider when rating gourmet ice machines.
The whole reason you are buying a clear ice is, well, clear ice. So the quality of ice is the most important factor when choosing a good gourmet ice machine.
Quality gourmet ice cubes should be crystal clear, without a single hint of cloudiness. There are some models where customers complained that the ice cubes were not as clear as they expected. You must take into consideration that ice transparency depending on water quality too. So, in some situations you may install water filter.
Additionally, the ice cubes should be dense and hard. There were several complaints from customers claiming their machines produce clear ice that starts melting as soon as you put it in a drink. All our recommended ice makers produce dense ice cubes that melt five times or more slowly than conventional ice cubes.
We also check that there are no complaints of ice cubes with a strange taste or smell.
Most clear ice makers make full size cubed ice. This is the best type. If the ice is shaped like conventional bullet-like ice, that’s not gourmet ice. Additionally, the ice should not be hollow.
The ideal volume of ice produced by an ice maker will depend on where it will be used and what type of an ice maker it is. For portable ice makers, we select models with a minimum production volume of 25lbs.
For larger under counter and standalone clear ice makers, the minimum production capacity we consider is 50lbs.
The storage volume is as important as the production volume. For portable clear ice makers, the ideal minimum volume is 2.5lbs. For larger models, we check that the storage bin can hold at least 20lbs of ice cubes.
An ice maker with extra features will rank higher than one that contains only the bare minimum. Some of the useful extra features we look for include an auto shut off mode, indicators for full ice and low water, water quality sensors and built-in filter.
Image Credits - Amazon.com, Photo Stocks.