Are you tired of running to the store for bags of ice?
Thinking about buying a home ice maker to solve your problem?
In contrast with what most appliance stores and home builders will tell you, you
don’t need to spend thosands of dollars on an ice maker.
In fact, that might be a huge mistake, because many of the highest-line makers break on an alarmingly frequent basis.
The fact is, ice-making technology has come a long way, and manufacturing costs have plummeted since the early 2000s.
Some of the best ice makers today cost less than $200.
Unfortunately, are a LOT of ice makers to choose from today in this price range. They differ in type, size of ice, amount of producing ice per a day, but for small family or office one of the ice-makers below will be the great choice.
We wrote this buying guide to help you narrow your short list down to the ice makers that provide the most bang for your buck AND are proven and reliable AND have excellent online reviews from verified owners.
Listed below are what we believe are the best ice makers selling for less than $200 - plus one built-in ice maker that's a steal.
You can't go wrong buying any of them - but make sure you know what you want before selecting one!
Aicok Stainless Steel Ice Maker
RCA-Igloo 26 Lb Countertop Ice Maker
Frigidaire EFIC103 Heavy Duty Ice Maker
Whynter UIM-155 Stainless Steel Built-In Ice Maker
What To Look For
When you are picking an ice maker there are four things to keep in mind:
How much room do you have?
Are you trying to fit an ice maker under some cabinets or do you want to sit it on your countertop?
If you are looking for the most portable possible ice maker for camping, then you may want the smallest one possible.
Make sure you have the proper dimensions in mind before you pick an ice maker or you will be thoroughly disappointed.
How big is your party?
Do you need to make ice for just you and your children, or do you need an ice maker that can handle a party of 20 or more?
Check to see how much ice is made in one batch and how much ice your ice maker can produce in a day.
You don't want to get an ice maker that can't satisfy your needs, and you certainly don't want to overspend on an ice maker if your needs are minuscule.
Most ice makers do not keep ice frozen for you. Only the very expensive models come with a built-in freezing room.
This means if you want a bulk amount of ice you will have to come up with your storage plan.
If your needs are immediate, then its best to keep your ice in a cooler. As you fill it up with more ice, the ice will keep the rest of the ice cool.
If you want to have ice ready to go at all times, use plastic or Ziploc bags. Put the ice in the bags and place them in your freezer. This will give your ice a hard freeze, but you will also always have ice ready.
If you have no need for ice storage, and just want ice for whenever you need it, you can skip the storage and just wait a few minutes for you machine to make you some fresh ice.
Most ice makers come with options, but check if your machine makes small ice or large ice.
It's important to know what you want, as most ice machines cannot make them all.
There are ice makers for all sorts of ice types: shaved ice, crescent-shaped ice, sonic-style nuggets or gourmet clear ice cubes.
The density of the ice also matters, so know if soft ice is okay, or if you want thicker harder to melt ice.
Our Top Recommendations
The following ice makers have 4-star average reviews or higher on most major retail and review sites..
They all have plenty of verified owner reviews and have been on the market long enough to ensure their reliability.
AICOK Stainless Steel Ice Maker
The AICOK easily makes our list of best ice makers under 200 dollars.
For starters, the AICOK can make up to 26 pounds of ice in a day. This can come in one of three different ice cube sizes.
The AICOK retails for around 300 dollars, but you can find this ice maker for less than half the retail price on Amazon.
The stainless steel product is really attractive & comes with a simple and easy to use backlit display. It looks great in any modern, updated kitchen.
The display tells you when the ice tray is full and when the ice maker is low on water.
It is also where you select the size of your desired ice cubes as well as configure your programmable timer.
All in all, the stainless steel and display blends in well with other stainless steel kitchen appliances.
Though it can make 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours, the ice tray only holds 2 and a half pounds of ice at a time.
Any ice that melts will be reused, so none of your water will be wasted.
This unit comes with an ice scooper as well.
This countertop ice maker is a very easy to set up.
On your very first run, you will need to run a 1:1 ratio vinegar and water solution through five cycles of the ice maker. This will not make Ice; it is merely intended to clean out the ice maker.
Just to ensure that your ice doesn't smell like vinegar after, run the cycle with clean water afterward once or twice.
From then on, it'll take about 10 minutes to make a tray of ice.
The ice size is minuscule and could be considered baby ice. It's not the best for drinks, but it certainly is perfect to munch on. The larger and medium sizes come out well.
This ice maker can keep up with the needs of eight adults at a free-flowing summer party, or twice that during the winter.
That said, you can make more ice beforehand and store it in an ice bucket.
The one annoying part of the ice maker for me is that it beeps loudly. It beeps when it starts making ice, finishes making ice, when the timer finishes, and when it needs water. All of these beeps get annoying since they are so loud, and I have yet to discover a way to turn this audio off.
RCA-Igloo 26 Lbs Counter Top Ice Maker
The RCA-Igloo is one of the most affordable ice makers on this list. At under 100 dollars, this compact device is easily one of the best portable ice makers on the market.
You can buy the Igloo in one of five color options: black, red, silver, white, and stainless steel.
This ice maker is smaller than the AICOK, and can only hold a pound and a half of ice at a time. It makes ice in two sizes and can produce up to 26 pounds in a day. There is also a 2.3 quarts reservoir so you can make a good bit of ice beforehand.
This is a great portable ice maker. I would rather have the AICOK as a countertop ice maker, but the RCA makes sense for on the go. It can make a batch of ice in just 6 minutes. You will have to pay twice as much on the company’s website, so definitely take advantage of Amazon’s lower price.
Keep in mind the first few batches of ice will be smaller and more liquidy. You should run it about five times when you first open it up to get to the thick solid ice cubes. Make sure to clean it first though.
One thing to appreciate about this ice maker is that it is pretty. Especially the shiny red, it's not bulky or ugly like many of the other models out there. If you are planning on using this as an ice maker for your kitchen, make sure you take out the ice every hour. Otherwise, it will just melt and become recycled.
I recommend using plastic bags to carry the ice and place them in your freezer. This way you will always have ice ready, and you can use the ice maker only when you need some more ice.
Some people claim that the ice maker stops working after a while. This is a problem with the sensors. As long as you wipe the sensors and keep it clean, this won't happen. When you leave the ice in the maker for extended periods of time, and then it melts and refreezes, some of the ice gets stuck to the sensor, so the machine will always think that it is full. Just wipe down the sensor every few days, and you won't have this problem.
If you are worried, you can spend just a few dollars to purchase a full warranty. The ice maker and warranty will still be cheaper than most other ice makers.
Frigidaire EFIC103 Heavy Duty Ice Maker
The Frigidaire EFIC103 is one of the best-selling countertop ice makers, today.
For just a few dollars more than $100, this Igloo countertop icemaker is a bargain.
It comes with an oversized ice bucket that holds 2.2 pounds of ice. It looks great, too with a stainless steel design and black lid.
The Frigidaire is more like the AICOK than the RCA-Igloo and it makes ice in three different sizes.
The Frigidaire is faster than the AICOK, too - it can make a batch of ice in 6 minutes.
You can use it anywhere you can plug into an outlet, and it is lightweight.
The machine is clever. Eventually, your ice basket will become full. When this happens, the machine will go to sleep. When the stored ice melts, the machine will wake up to replace the melted ice.
The Frigidaire doesn’t make more noise than a typical refrigerator - except for when it’s dumping ice.
It is a little bit larger than comparable units, so I wouldn’t recommend it for a camping trip unless you are bringing your car to lug things around.
If you are serving more than 20 people, the Frigidaire EFIC103 won't keep up. It's more suited for crowds of 8-10 people, and even that may be pushing the limits on a hot summer day.
If you are having a large get-together, make some of the ice beforehand and store it in a cooler.
This ice maker easily fits on the counter and in most cabinets.
I would not recommend operating it anywhere that is a snug fit. You want at least an inch around the sides of free space for optimal air flow.
I also wouldn’t recommend keeping it on, all the time.
For personal use, keep a few bags stored in your freezer, and use the ice maker to replace your stored ice. It is a much more efficient use of electricity, and you won’t be stuck with another humming noise in your fridge all day.
This model has some of the same problems as the RCA-Igloo. Most importantly, there are a few complaints that the product stops working after three months.
An extended warranty is only about 10 dollars.
Della Premium Ice Maker Portable Counter-Top
The Della Premium Ice Maker comes in 4 different options:
- Portable Ice Maker - This version comes in black, silver, stainless steel or red. It is very similar to the RCA Igloo. This is the cheapest model, at around 100 dollars. It comes with a little see through window at the top so you can check on your ice production. This model makes up to 26 pounds per day.
- Stainless Steel Countertop - This is a little more expensive, at slightly less than $200. This is a much larger model and can make up to 48 pounds of ice in a day. It measures 18"x21"x20" and is pretty thick. It has a black lid with a view-in window, similar to the previous model.
- Stainless Steel / LCD - This model is priced in=between the last two. Ice production is also in between - this unit makes about 35 lbs of ice in a day. This version comes with an LCD with a button configuration to select ice size and to set your timer. It's also the smallest unit, coming in at 12.25"x14"x14.5".
- Black / Stainless Steel Countertop - This model makes about 28 pounds of ice in a day. It’s close to $200 online. This version has a very simple control panel and looks higher-quality than the others. It's compact, too, at 11.5”x15”x14” and makes ice very qickly.
The size, weight, and amount of ice the Della makes may differ from machine to machine, but they all use the same technology.
Most people find that the Della's are a little larger than the pictures indicate, so we made sure to give you the proper dimensions.
All Della units will give you a serving of ice about every 6 minutes.
There is something to know about the Della's though. You can hold down the power button for 5 seconds to get thicker ice cubes. It will add 2 or 3 minutes, but if someone wants a scotch on the rocks, it's worth it.
Sometimes the ice cube tray get frozen stuck in one giant block. If this happens to you, don't worry - hold the power button down for 5 seconds, which will heat the tray and make the cubes fall.
Another thing to note: the included plastic scooper is cheaply made. I recommend adding the aluminum scooper (less than 5 dollars).
The Whynter UIM-155 Stainless Steel Built-In Ice Maker
So... technically, we're cheating by covering this unit in this guide - because this ice maker is about three hundred bucks.
That said, this is an extremely well-priced premium under-counter ice maker.
Most portable / countertop ice makers store ice properly. In the models above, your ice will melt if left untouched.
The Whynter is different. It can only produce 12 pounds of ice in 24 hours, but it can store 6 lbs of ice for a long time in its insulated bin.
The Whynter looks like a mini fridge and is suited for underneath a bar where you have room for an 118"x15"x25" ice maker.
It's not very portable, but it does include a water line connection.
So this is more of an option for someone who wants to make room for a permanent ice maker.
If this description fits you, the Whynter is the best deal you will find.
The ice comes in a crescent shape, which is nice.
You won’t need to drain the ice maker either.
The Ice bin and ice scooper are included.
The ice making does start slow, but once it gets into a groove, the ice picks up the pace.
Installation is easy, and if you have any trouble Whynter customer service is very helpful. In fact, out of all the ice makers previously mentioned, the Whynter customer support team is the best.
This unit is perfect for under cabinets inside - or even for an outdoor kitchen. You'll never need to go to the store for ice again.
There are some complaints about the ice maker rattling. It seems to me that those who correctly installed the ice maker found no trouble. So make sure you install it correctly.
All in all, this insulated undercounter ice maker costs a little more than two hundred dollars, but for a drainless cabinet door ice maker, that is extremely cheap.
You won’t find an ice maker with all the same features of the Whynter for less money. The value is so great that we decided to include it.
If you want the cheapest and most portable possible ice maker, go with the RCA Igloo or one of the cheaper Della models.
These will offer you the best value, but they also make the least amount of ice.
If you want a countertop ice maker with more features that could be portable if you needed it, go with the Frigidaire or the AICOK.
The Whynter is in a category of its own. If you want an undercounter ice maker with a drain that can keep ice cool on its own, then this is the best value you will find.
All ice makers are mechanical devices that are subject to wear and tear.
So, no matter which ice maker you get, make sure you give it proper maintenance.
For all models except the Whynter, you should run a 1:1 vinegar and water solution through the machine a few times each couple of months. This will keep the unit clean of mineral buildup.
Make sure you regularly clean the sensors and ice trays, too.
Asides from regular cleaning, though, there’s not much needed to take care of your ice maker.
Best of all: no more runs to the ice store!
So what are you waiting for?
Head to Amazon or your local store today and pick up the best ice maker for your life.
With warm weather coming around the corner, your guests will really appreciate it.