Frigidaire EFIC103 Countertop Ice Maker Review

There are many ways to cut back on the amount of work you do in the kitchen.  

Buying an ice machine is a good one. And, it can pay for itself in less than 2 years.

If your household uses ice in large quantities, then you probably spend money and time buying ice, especially in the summer and for outdoor activities.

Figure-in $5 of gas each way plus $2-4 for the ice, and you're spending $15 a month for ice. Not to mention your time.

If you are sick of always having to go to the store to pick up bags of ice, then take a look at this excellent countertop ice maker by Frigidaire.

Buying an ice machine at this low price is an investment that pays itself back in terms of time and money.

About The Frigidaire EFIC103

Specifications

  • Bucket holds 2.2 lbs of ice (1 kg)
  • Three ice cube sizes
  • 26 lbs of ice over 24 hours
  • Takes as little as six minutes for a batch of ice
Silver Igloo ICE103 Portable Ice Maker

Comparison Table

Frigidaire EFIC103

* Holds Big Amount of Ice
Image of Frigidaire EFIC103
Technical Details

Brand Name 

Frigidaire

Item Weight

25 pounds

Product Dimensions

14 x 12 x 15 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

shovel included

Color

silver/black

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Frigidaire EFIC115

* Great Production of Ice
Image of Frigidaire EFIC115
Technical Details

Brand Name

Frigidaire

Item Weight

40 pounds

Product Dimensions 

 19 x 16.5 x 18.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

48 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

removable ice tray, indicator light

Color

silver

My Rating:
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Frigidaire EFIC206

* Budget Buy
image of Frigidaire EFIC206
Technical Details

Brand Name 

Frigidaire

Item Weight

17.86 pounds

Product Dimensions

15 x 14.5 x 14.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type 

freestanding

Special Features

ice in less then 6 minutes

Color

silver

My Rating:
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The Product

Portable Igloo ICE 103 Ice Maker

Frigidaire is one of the better-known manufacturers of countertop ice machines, and this model is one of their best-selling units.

This is a no-frills, simple ice maker that just works - reliably.

This Frigidaire countertop unit offers a choice of three different sizes of ice cubes and can produce  26 lbs of ice in a one day.

The oversized non-insulated ice bucket can hold up to 2.2 pounds of ice so you can be prepared when guest drop by.

Construction

This machine looks far higher quality than it should, given its price.

The steel gray exterior will fit in with the aesthetics of your kitchen, regardless of the colors or style.​

Ice Making

The Frigidaire EFIC103 is a great choice for your first ice machine.

Overall, it functions reliably, making consistently-sized ice cubes quickly and efficiently.

Controls & Operation

The LED control panel is easy to use and intuitive for anyone to grow accustomed to.

The reservoir is easy to refill with water, so you do not have to deal with changing filters.

Other Frigidaire Options

Great Production of Ice: Frigidaire EFIC115

Image of Frigidaire EFIC115

Technical Details

Brand Name

Frigidaire

Item Weight 

40 pounds

Product Dimensions 

19 x 16.5 x 18.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

48 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

removable ice tray, indicator light

Color 

silver

Budget Buy: Frigidaire EFIC206

image of Frigidaire EFIC206

Technical Details

Brand Name

Frigidaire

Item Weight

17.86 pounds

Product Dimensions 

15 x 14.5 x 14.5 inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

26 lbs

Installation Type 

freestanding

Special Features

ice in less then 6 minutes

Color

silver

What Others Say

The most common praise that is voiced by verified owners in their reviews is how well it makes ice.

The ice cubes produced by this machine are evenly sized, and the three sizing options work well.

One common gripe is that this machine takes a little longer to make a complete batch of ice than more expensive models, but this is to be expected from a cheaper machine.

Buying Advice

This Frigidaire ice maker is a really great deal - it's available online for about a hundred dollars.

This is an excellent price for a machine with this capacity that makes three sizes of ice.

Igloo Silver Ice Maker

Conclusion

This machine is an excellent choice for an entry-level countertop ice maker.

It's reliable, offers a choice in ice size and looks great in any kitchen.


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:
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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:
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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:
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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:
Check Price:

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:
Check Price:

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.

Aicok Stainless Steel Ice Maker Review

Let's face it. Making ice in cube trays tends to get annoying.

And refrigerator ice makers typically make poor-quality, nasty-tasting ice - or not enough.

During the summer months, when everyone wants ice, nobody else but you ever seems to be willing to make that drive to the nearest convenience store.

If you plan on making drinks, smoothies, milkshakes or any other form of iced beverage, you need a decent amount of ice.

The Aicok stainless steel ice machine is a great, inexpensive portable ice maker that can solve all of these problems without breaking your bank. On top of that, it looks great!

Let's dive-in and see what it can do.

About The AICOK

Features

  • Two years warranty
  • Makes 26 pounds of ice per day
  • Touch controls
  • High-quality stainless steel construction
  • Three ice cube sizes
  • Bin holds 2.3 lbs of ice

Comparison Table

Aicok Stainless Steel Ice Maker

* Best Aicok Ice Maker
Technical Details

Brand Name

Aicok

Item Weight 

 23.1 pounds

Product Dimensions

14.6 x 6.3 x 2.9 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

self-cleaning function, quiet DC fan

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:
Technical Details

Brand Name 

Aicok

Item Weight

23.1 pounds

Product Dimensions

14.6 x 6.3 x 2.9 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

ice cubes ready in 6 minutes

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

The Product

The Aicok Stainless Steel Ice Maker is another great kitchen appliance offered by AICOK.

This portable ice machine comes can make ice in three different sizes, and it can make a large amount of ice in a short period.

Knox Ice Stainless Steel Machine Buttons

With its backlit display and touch control panel, this machine is intuitive and easy to use

It comes with a two-year warranty, too.

Ice Making

This Aicok ice machine can make 26 pounds of ice in a day, which should be more than enough for a party of up to 8 people during the summer, or twice that in cooler months.

The AICOK Stainless Steel Ice Maker works far better than a large number of ice makers we have tried.

The pieces of ice it produces tend to be uniform and do not feature any of the downsides of less expensive devices, such as runny ice, soft ice or inconsistent sizes.

Construction

The stainless steel construction is of high quality and seems to be durable and resilient.

Another aspect of the construction is that this machine looks sleek and modern and will fit in with the aesthetic of most kitchens.

Another Aicok Option

Countertop Ice Maker Aicok

Technical Details

Brand Name

Aicok

Item Weight

23.1 pounds

Product Dimensions

14.6 x 6.3 x 2.9 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

26 lbs

Installation Type 

freestanding

Special Features 

 ice cubes ready in 6 minutes

Color

silver/black

What Others Say

Most verified customer reviews state that the ice comes out in a uniform size, with good density. Most also love the ability to make ice whenever needed - for such a low price.

One downside often mentioned is the amount of noise that it makes.

There is an audible beep whenever you initiate an ice-making routine or whenever the ice is finished, along with whenever most of the buttons are depressed, meaning that you will often hear this machine from across the room.

Buying Advice

This Aicok ice machine tends to retail for around $300, which is not bad price for a machine of this quality and capacity.

This unit is often on sale at Amazon for just under $200 which is even better. 

Conclusion

The Aicok Ice Maker is an excellent counter top ice making machine for a big company of friends or for small office with fantastic build quality, great looks and excellent ice-making capabilities. It has exellent value for this money.

If you are looking for higher-quality ice than cheaper units can produce, then the Aicok is a great choice.


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:
Check Price:

Scotsman SCN60PA-1SS

* High Production
Image of Scotsman SCN60PA-1SS
Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight

129 pounds

Product Dimensions

22.8 x 14.9 x 33.4 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

80 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features​​​​

undercounter Drain Required

Color

silver

My Rating:
Check Price:

Ice-O-Matic GEMU090

* Minimalistic Design
Ice-O-Matic GEMU090
Technical Details

Brand Name

Ice-O-Matic

Item Weight

133 pounds

Product Dimensions

22.6 x 14.9 x 33.4 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

85 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features​​​​

ice maker without pump

Color

silver

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

This is the first proper countertop nugget ice maker that makes sonic ice and is affordable. Other true Sonic ice machines like the Scotsman line are too expensive while less expensive ice machines like the Della Easy-Touch portable ice maker don’t produce true nugget ice, just a close approximation. 

So the Opal ice maker is a really big deal. No wonder there was so much excitement when it launched.

This ice maker started its journey on IdieGoGo, where it got almost $3 million from over six thousand backers. It received almost 17 times the original funding goal, showing just how much anticipation there was for an affordable nugget ice maker.

At $500, you won’t get a cheaper true sonic ice maker than this.

Other commercial-quality nugget ice makers cost well over $2,000.

Opal Ice Maker

But is it any good in real life?

According to early customer feedback, it’s better than expected. People are addicted to the machine and its soft, chewy ice. The ice, according to one customer, is better than any he has ever gotten at a restaurant.

The Opal makes a pound of ice every hour and can hold up to three pounds. It’s slightly bigger than a portable ice maker but still small enough to fit on your countertop. See the specs above for dimensions.

This is a great nugget ice maker. If you are obsessed with sonic ice, get it. It’s a good bargain.

This model of ice maker have great minimalistic design with metal panels and plastic glosy inserts. Bluetooth connection and app makes it interesting high-tech product for geeks.

Ice Making Ability

Opal Ice Maker

Here is how one customer describes the Opal nugget ice maker; “It makes perfect nugget ice quickly, quietly, and consistently.”

It takes only 15 minutes to make the first nugget of ice and 1 hour to make a full pound of nuggets. So even if you have several friends around, the machine produces nuggets quickly enough to keep everyone’s drinks chilled.

The bin’s storage capacity is 3 lbs. This means the bin can only hold 3 pounds of ice at a time. When it’s full, the ice maker stops making any more ice until you clear it.

So you can even leave it working overnight without worrying that you will find a wet mess all over the floor in the morning.

If you need more than 3lbs of ice, some users recommend you store the ice in the freezer. Just place the nuggets in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. The ice maker can then keep making more ice. This is a great idea if you are preparing for a bigger event such as a birthday party or wedding shower.

Note that this ice maker is not meant for commercial use. If you try to use it in a bar or restaurant, you’ll disappoint your customers. It’s a kitchen appliance.

Ease of Use

Opal Ice Maker Review

The Opal nugget ice maker is really easy to use.

It doesn’t use a water line. Instead, it has a 2.5 quarts reservoir. So you have to add water manually any time you want to make ice. It has a water recycling feature where any melted water in the storage bin is sent back to the reservoir and reused.

With no water line needed, setup is a breeze. Just unbox the ice maker, set it up on your counter and connect it to a standard power socket.

You need to clean the inside and run a rinse cycle first to get rid of any factory and plastic tastes. Use the manual for help on cleaning the unit.

When you are ready to make ice, just add clean potable water to the reservoir and press the start button.

You can set a schedule for the ice maker to follow. For this, you need to download the First Build app. It’s free. Pair it with your Opal ice maker via Bluetooth.

You can now use the app to set an ice making schedule. You can set a custom schedule for each day or set a specific time daily.

When you are in Bluetooth range, you can also monitor the status of the unit and turn the night light on or off.

Other Nugget Options

High Production : Scotsman SCN60PA-1SS

Image of Scotsman SCN60PA-1SS

Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight

129 pounds

Product Dimensions

22.8 x 14.9 x 33.4 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

80 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

undercounter Drain Required

Color

silver

Minimalistic Design : Ice-O-Matic GEMU090

Ice-O-Matic GEMU090

Technical Details

Brand Name

Ice-O-Matic

Item Weight

133 pounds

Product Dimensions

22.6 x 14.9 x 33.4 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

85 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

ice maker without pump

Color

silver

What Others Say

Most customers are elated about their new buy. Most didn’t expect it to be this good. It makes ice fast and silently.

The best part is the ice quality. It is soft and chewy, just like sonic ice.

Opal Ice Maker

The only issue is the small storage bin especially for large families and those who plan on holding frequent events. But you can always store the ice in a freezer as one customer advised.

Buying Advice

If you are still using your freezer to make ice, you are living in the Stone Age. Freezers are slow and inefficient.  Get an ice maker.

If you prefer the soft chewable ice to the hard bullet-shaped pellets of most ice makers, then get the Opal nugget ice maker. There is no better choice on the market, today.

The price is great, and it comes with a 1-year warranty.

Opal Ice Maker

Conclusion

Finding a good quality and affordable Sonic-style nugget ice maker has been something of a unicorn search.

The New Opal nugget ice maker is exactly what many people were looking for.  It makes real sonic ice, the price is reasonable, and it takes up very little space in your kitchen.

The extra features such as Bluetooth and app control are nice bonuses.

Types of ice cube styles

The Definitive Guide to Drink Ice Styles And How To Make Them

No so long ago, the only place to get good really good drink ice was at a restaurant, drive-through or store. 

Making your own ice at home involved the tedious process of filling dainty ice trays and waiting overnight - or buying ice in bags or blocks, then breaking it up with a mallet or your fist.

Thankfully, commercial ice machine manufactures long ago turned their marketing sights on residential customers, and today there are a wide variety of ice makers designed for your home, office, kitchen, RV and boat..

Even gourmet drink ice, once the preserve of only the finest bars, can now be made relatively cheaply, in your home.

Many people swear by Nugget ice machines that make the famous chewable Sonic ice.

If you are thinking of adding an ice maker to your kitchen, then you are in the right place.

This page is a comprehensive guide to all of the different ice styles you can make at home, and what kinds of ice machine to buy for each.

So let's get started!


Crushed ice

Crushed ice

This is the kind of ice most of us grew up with. You’ll find crushed ice in many homes as well as most restaurants, cafes and bars.

You don’t need an ice maker to make crushed ice.

As long as you have a freezer that can produce solid ice, you can crush our own ice at home. There are several ways to do it.

The easiest is to put chunks of solid ice in a plastic bag or a Lewis bag (recommended), and then use a wooden mallet to crush it. Y

ou can also use a clean baseball bat if you don’t have a mallet around.

Another popular method is to crush ice using a heavy duty food processor or blender. This produces finer crushed ice, ideal for cocktails or munching.

Crushed ice tends to chill drinks quickly, but also melts faster than many other types of ice.

If you don’t want to dilute your drinks, then you may want to use a different kind of ice.

Best For:

  • Cocktails.
  • Blending with smoothies, cocktails and other drinks.
  • Adding to snow cones and ice creams.
  • Adding to drinking water bottles. In this case, the ice melting is not a problem..It is actually welcome.
  • Adding to desert delicacies such as yogurt pops, shakes and slushes. 

Cubed Ice

Cubed ice

This is another traditional type of ice preferred for alcoholic drinks, on-the-rocks cocktails and carbonated beverages.

There are two major types of cubed ice: full cubes and half cubes. The main difference between the two is just size. Half cubes are ideal when you need more ice cubes in your drinks.

Cubed ice is hard and usually clear. It melts slowly making it great for a wide variety of drinks where dilution would ruin the taste of the beverage.

You will find cubed ice in most commercial places such as restaurants, bars and malls.

Interesting point: Most lower-cost home ice makers don’t make ice cubes - they produce bullet ice, instead.

You'll have to invest in a specialized ice cube maker, usually an under-counter or freestanding one, to produce real cubed ice at any sort of volume.

Of course, you can also use your freezer to make cubed ice.

All you need is the right mold or tray and clean water.

On the downside, it will take much longer to make ice cubes using your freezer and it may not be as hard and clear as cubed ice from an ice maker.

You may also come across another close cousin of cube ice referred to as 'dice'.

'Dice' is just as hard and clear as an ice cube, though with a slightly slanted (rhomboid) shape. There are full dice cubes and half dice cubes.

Best For:

  • Carbonated drinks.
  • Certain alcoholic drinks such as whiskey and spirits.
  • Adding to drinking water in a glass.
  • Mixed drinks.
  • Restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues.
  • Offices.

Bullet Ice

Bullet ice

This is the kind of ice produced by most residential ice makers, especially portable ice machines.

Bullet ice has an elongated, bullet-like shape with a hollow center.

Unlike clear ice cubes, bullet ice has a cloudy appearance. This is caused by air and minerals in the water.

Most portable ice makers can make two or three different sizes of bullet ice. The smallest ice sizes are ideal for cocktails and chewing, while the larger ones are better for drinking water, carbonated drinks and alcoholic beverages.

Bullet ice falls somewhere in the middle of cubed ice and Sonic nugget ice in terms of hardness.

It is not as hard as cubed ice, and thus will melt faster.

On the other hand, bullet ice is not as soft and chewable as nugget ice. 

If you don’t have an ice maker, you can make bullet-style ice using a special tray. You just add the water and then put the tray in the freezer until the water freezes.

That said, the freezer tray method is slow and will not produce as much ice as an ice maker.

A bullet ice tray / mold will take over an hour to freeze just a few ice bullets, while a portable ice maker requires only 6 to 10 minutes to make a new batch.

Best For:

  • Mixed drinks.
  • Carbonated drinks.
  • Drinking water.
  • Cocktails.
  • Homes, RVs and camping.

Gourmet Ice

Gourmet ice cubes

High end restaurants and upscale bars take special care when making their ice.

Gourmet ice not only has to chill a drink very slowly, it also has to look elegant in the glass and not impart a flavor of its own.

Gourmet ice is very clear to the point of being transparent.

It is also extra hard. This ensures It can stay in a drink for a long time without melting and diluting the taste. 

Thankfully, today you don’t have to go to the bar to get gourmet ice.

There are several residential ice makers you can buy that can make gourmet ice cubes.

A good example is the Scotsman CU50GA-1A Undercounter Gourmet Ice Maker

If you prefer something smaller and more compact, go for the Luma Comfort Portable Clear Ice Maker.

You can also make gourmet ice in your freezer using a mold and super-filtered clean water - though it probably will never be as hard nor as clear as gourmet ice from the right ice machine.

If you or your friends and family love fine scotch, whiskey or on-the-rocks cocktails, then a gourmet ice machine is probably worth the investment. 

Best For:

  • Bars, restaurants, offices and homes.
  • Events.
  • Cocktails.
  • Whiskeys and scotch. 
  • Carbonated drinks..

Nugget (chewable) Ice

Scottsman Nugget Ice

Nugget ice is the cotton candy of the ice world: super-soft, easy to chew and addictive.

Sonic Drive-Ins introduced the nugget ice craze with their soft and crunchy ice.

In fact, this type of ice has become so synonymous with the drive-in that its unofficial name is Sonic ice.

Sonic, or nugget, ice is perfect type of ice for cocktails, smoothies, juices and a variety of other beverages.

It is by far the best ice for crunching in your mouth.

As with gourmet ice, back a few years ago, Sonic ice could only be purchased at commercial outlets... until several manufacturers started making residential nugget ice machines. 

With home nugget ice makers, today you can make your own Sonic style ice cheaply and quickly.

The two most popular brands of Sonic ice makers are Ice-O-Matic and Scotsman. You can see the best Nugget ice machines in our full Sonic ice makers guide.

There are a few tricks you can use to make nugget ice without a specialized ice maker. But they are tedious, inefficient and you most likely will not get quality Sonic ice.

So, if soft and crunchy ice is your desire, then we strongly recommend buying a good quality nugget ice maker and enjoy endless amounts of chewable ice at home.

Best For:

  • Cocktails.
  • Mixed drinks.
  • Blending.
  • Homes, offices, restaurants and bars.

Flake (shaved) ice

Flaked or shaved ice

Shaved ice is often confused with crushed ice, but they are not the same thing.

While crushed ice requires just a mallet or hammer, making flaked ice takes a bit more work.

The best shaved ice is made using specialized ice shaving machines. They take full ice cubes and cut them down to thin flakes.

An alternative method is to use a blender or food processor. You simply place full ice cubes in the appliance and then break them down into smaller bits.

The downside with this method is that the ice shavings will not be nearly as flat, so the ice will still be a bit lumpy, with many hard bits. 

Shaved ice is very popular in the Deep South of the US and in Hawaii, where it is often mixed with cream, approximating ice cream. By using various colors and flavors, you can also make your own shaved ice cream at home.

Flaked ice is also commonly used in grocery stores where they use it to display fish and other produce. Restaurants also use it in salad bars, and bakeries use flaked ice to keep dough cold.

Commercial flaked ice is harder than shaved ice for drinks, so the flakes don’t melt quickly, ensuring they keep products chilled for long.

Best For:

  • Making ice cream cones.
  • Restaurants and grocery stores.
  • Making cold deserts.

Crescent Ice

Crescent ice is a subcategory of gourmet ice.

It is clear and extra hard. The only difference from traditional gourmet ice cubes is the shape and size.

Crescent ice resembles…well, a crescent. Unlike the hard angles of an ice cube, crescent ice has curved edges and is usually smaller.

Crescent ice is not that popular in homes. You will mostly find it in restaurants and bars.

One of its advantages of a curved ice surface is that it does not splash when you pour a drink into it. The curved shape allows beverages to flow smoothly over it. Reduced splashing means less wastage for bars.

Due to the smaller size of crescent ice, you can also fit more of the cubes in a single glass. Only one or two of traditional gourmet ice cubes can fit in a single glass.

If you want crescent ice in your bar, restaurant or at home, invest in a specialized crescent ice maker.

A good example is the U-Line Undercounter Crescent Ice Maker, which can produce 25lbs of crescent ice per day.

Best For:

  • Bars, cafes and restaurants.
  • Mixed drinks.
  • Whiskeys and scotch. 
  • Soft drinks.
  • Cocktails. 

Ice balls

Ice balls

The ice ball is where you’ll find all the artistic creativity of ice lovers.

From alien-like ice balls to clear globes, there are plenty of unique ball styles to choose from.

Ice balls are also a form of gourmet ice. They are round, clear, hard and big.

You can only add one or maybe two ice balls to a glass. Like gourmet ice, this ice is super-hard, which ensures it takes a long time to melt.

There are no specialized ice ball machines that I know of, that you can buy for your home.

The easiest way to make an ice ball is using a tray mold. There are many different types of trays, some with only a single mold and others with as many as six or more.

Some companies even sell custom trays which come in handy if you want a unique ice ball style for your bar.

Ice balls tray

Most homemade ice balls have a cloudy white appearance.

If you want a gourmet-style clear ice ball, use filtered water. You can also boil it beforehand to get rid of trapped air bubbles inside the water and which cause the cloudy look of most ice cubes.

But even then, getting perfectly clear ice balls is not easy. You’ll just have to be satisfied with something close to the professionally made ice ball you would get at a bar.

Best For:

  • Whiskeys and bourbons.
  • Iced teas and coffees.
  • Homemade beverages such as cocktails and fruit juices.
  • Kids popsicles (using flavored ice balls).
  • Carbonated soft drinks.
  • Bars and restaurants.

Factors that Determine Quality of Ice

There are two main factors that determine the quality of ice you make. The first and most important is the quality of the water you are using.

Remember that ice is just water frozen solid. So the type and quality of water used will greatly determine the ice you get.

The most important thing is to use clean, filtered water. Make sure it is water you can drink yourself.

You can then use methods like carbon filtering or boiling to change the ice quality.

For instance, using filtered or boiled water tends to make the ice clearer and harder.

The second factor is the ice making equipment.

Different ice maker units produce different qualities of ice. Some machines make clear ice while others only produce cloudy nugget ice.

So make sure you buy the right ice maker to get the kind of ice you desire.

Additionally, keep your machine clean and well maintained. Otherwise, your ice will taste and smell stale.


Conclusion

Ultimately, the best ice maker and ice style depends on your specific situation and needs. Do you need the ice for a bar or homemade cocktails? Do want to make ice cream cones or popsicles?

See the best portable ice makers selling today in our Buying Guide.

The Best Ice Makers Under 200 Dollars

Best Ice Makers For Less Than $200

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!

Technical Details

Brand Name 

AICOK

Item Weight

23.1 pounds

Product Dimensions

14.6 x 6.3 x 2.9 inches

Capacity

26 liters

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

portable and compact

Color

silver

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Technical Details

Brand Name 

RCA

Item Weight

 3.2 ounces

Product Dimensions 

15 x 11 x 14.5 inches

Capacity

1.5 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

produces 26lbs of ice per day

Color

red

My Rating:
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Technical Details

Brand Name

Frigidaire

Item Weight

25 pounds

Product Dimensions

14 x 12 x 15 inches

Capacity 

26 cubic feet

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

choice of 3 ice cube sizes

Color

silver

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Technical Details

Brand Name 

hOmeLabs

Item Weight

 19.3 pounds

Product Dimensions

12.9 x 9.5 x 14 inches

Capacity

1 gallons

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

energy efficient

Color 

silver

My Rating:
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Technical Details

Brand Name

Whynter

Item Weight 

60 pounds

Product Dimensions

18 x 15 x 25 inches

Capacity 

0.19 cubic feet

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

no drain required

Color

black

My Rating:
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What To Look For​

When you are picking an ice maker there are four things to keep in mind:

Size

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.

Ice Maker Kitchen Bar

Make sure you have the proper dimensions in mind before you pick an ice maker or you will be thoroughly disappointed.

Ice Production

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.

Ice Storage

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.

Undercounter Ice Machine With Ice

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.

Ice Type

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

Technical Details

Brand Name 

AICOK

Item Weight

23.1 pounds

Product Dimensions

14.6 x 6.3 x 2.9 inches

Capacity

26 liters

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

portable and compact

Color

silver

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

Technical Details

Brand Name 

RCA

Item Weight

 3.2 ounces

Product Dimensions 

15 x 11 x 14.5 inches

Capacity

1.5 lbs

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

produces 26lbs of ice per day

Color

red

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

Technical Details

Brand Name

Frigidaire

Item Weight

25 pounds

Product Dimensions

14 x 12 x 15 inches

Capacity 

26 cubic feet

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features

choice of 3 ice cube sizes

Color

silver

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.


hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker

Technical Details

Brand Name 

hOmeLabs

Item Weight

 19.3 pounds

Product Dimensions

12.9 x 9.5 x 14 inches

Capacity

1 gallons

Installation Type

freestanding

Special Features 

energy efficient

Color 

silver

hOmeLabs Portable 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 Homelabs 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 Homelabs 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

Technical Details

Brand Name

Whynter

Item Weight 

60 pounds

Product Dimensions

18 x 15 x 25 inches

Capacity 

0.19 cubic feet

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

no drain required

Color

black

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.


Conclusion

Black Igloo 26 Lbs Ice Machine

If you want the cheapest and most portable possible ice maker, go with the RCA Igloo or one of the cheaper Homelabs 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.

Final Point

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.

Whyner Stainless Steel Built-In Ice Maker

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.

Maxx Ice Built-In Undercounter Clear Ice Maker: My In-Depth Review

If you need a high-capacity gourmet ice maker, then this undercounter model by Maxx Ice is one of the best.

Producing up to 65lbs of crystal-clear ice per day, it’s perfect for large homes as well as small commercial establishments like bars, restaurants, and venues.

At home, it’s a great addition to ​your kitchen, game room, home bar or basement. It’s also rated for outdoor use but only in a covered place like the patio.

The Maxx Ice is sleek and modern with a reversible door to give you more flexibility in installation.

Keep reading this page for my complete in-depth review.

To compare this Maxx Ice gourmet ice maker against other leading gourmet ice machines, read my buying guide for the best clear ice making machines

About the Maxx Ice Undercounter Gourmet Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 65 lbs/day
  • Storage capacity: 25 lbs
  • Dimensions: 23.4” D x 14.6” W x 32.6” H
  • arrow-right
    Weight: 92 lbs
  • arrow-right
    Type of ice: Clear/gourmet ice cubes

Comparison Table

Maxx Ice Undercounter

* Best Maxx Ice Maker
Technical Details

Brand Name

Maxx Ice

Item Weight

 92 lbs

Product Dimensions

23.4” x 14.6” x 32.6” inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

65 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

great daily production

Color

silver

My Rating:
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MaxxIce MIM75

* Ice Maker for Small Restaurants
Image of MaxxIce MIM75 Ice Machine
Technical Details

Brand Name

Maxx Ice

Item Weight

93 pounds

Product Dimensions

21.5 x 16.5 x 33.5 inches

 Capacity(24 hrs)

95 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

Ul and nsf approved

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
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Maxx Ice MIM475HB

* Best Commercial Ice Maker
Image of Maxx Ice MIM475HB
Technical Details

Brand Name

Maxx Ice

Item Weight

247 pounds

Product Dimensions

30 x 24 x 59 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

475 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

large ice storage

Color

silver

My Rating:
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Overview

This is one of the largest-capacity gourmet ice makers you can buy for home use.

Only a couple of clear ice makers like the Scotsman Prodigy (84 lbs) and Scotsman CU50GA-1A (65 lbs) surpass it in terms of capacity.

This makes it an excellent choice if you use a lot of clear ice at home. It’s also large enough for commercial use in restaurants, entertainment centers, and bars.

The combination of the 60 lb daily capacity with a 25 lb ice storage bin means you’ll always have enough ice on hand no matter the situation.

You’ll love it if you love hosting large parties.

I love the design of this ice maker.

The long elegant handle and stainless steel door gives it a sleek modern look that looks amazing in any space be it your home bar or office kitchen. It looks great especially in modern-designed kitchens.

Note that this is an Energy Star appliance meaning it is very energy efficient. It won’t add much to your electric bills.

Ice Making Ability

The Maxx Ice undercounter ice maker is more than capable when it comes to producing ice.

As I’ve mentioned, it can produce 65 lbs of high-quality gourmet ice cubes every 24 hours.

Just make sure there is clean water always flowing into the machine.

The ice cubes are stored in a large 25 lb bin that slides out easily when you need ice.

If you don’t want to remove the entire bin, you can also use the included scoop to collect just the amount you need.  

I love that the scoop is stainless steel and not one of those flimsy plastic ones that most ice makers come with. There is a scoop holder inside the ice maker to keep it is within easy reach.

The ice maker will start dropping ice into the bin within a few minutes of turning it on. It will keep adding more ice until the bin fills up.

When the bin is full, a sensor stops the ice-making mechanism to prevent an overflow. 

So you can leave the ice maker on all the time without worrying that you’ll come back to a mess.

As soon as you empty the bin just a little, it will automatically start making more ice.

Ice Quality

Gourmet ice cubes

This ice maker produces clear gourmet ice.

This is the same type of ice you get at bars and restaurants. It is almost transparent without any of the cloudiness you see in normal ice cubes from your freezer.

The ice is not just different in appearance. It’s also harder and denser. It melts much slower than other ice cubes.

This makes it perfect for drinks that you don’t want to be diluted too quickly.

The Maxx Ice ice maker produces only one size of ice cubes measuring about 3/4" x 3/4" x 1".

To ensure the ice doesn’t have a strange smell or taste, make sure you regularly clean the ice maker as directed in the user manual.

Also: always supply this unit with clean, filtered water.

I highly recommend adding an inline filter to your water line when installing the ice maker.

Avoid hard water as it can lower ice quality and reduce the ice maker’s lifespan.

Ease of Use 

Despite its capacity, the Maxx Ice ice maker is super easy to use.

All the buttons are located along the bottom panel just below the ice bin. They include an on/off and clean button. There is also an indicator for ‘bin full.’

Installation is fairly simple. You can opt to install it undercounter or leave it freestanding. Take note of the dimensions if you decide to go with the first option.

But it should fit easily in most undercounter spaces. It has a standard width of 14.6” and a height of 23.4”.

All you need to do is connect the water line and set up the drainage.

There are two drainage options:

  1. If your drain line opening is lower than the drain plug on this unit, just use the normal gravity drain hose.
  2. If your drain opening is higher than the plug (say, in your basement bar), then use the included drain pump. So no need to buy it separately.

Another convenient feature is the reversible door field. You can set it up to open from the left or right.

An interior blue LED light comes on as soon as you open the door, providing convenient illumination when you are collecting the ice.

​Other Maxx Ice Options

Best Maxx Ice Maker: Maxx Ice Undercounter

Image of MaxxIce MIM75 Ice Machine

Technical Details

Brand Name

Maxx Ice

Item Weight

93 pounds

Product Dimensions 

21.5 x 16.5 x 33.5 inches

 Capacity(24 hrs)

95 lbs

Installation Type 

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

ul and nsf approved

Color

silver/black

Best Commercial Ice Maker: Maxx Ice MIM475HB

Image of Maxx Ice MIM475HB

Technical Details

Brand Name 

Maxx Ice

Item Weight 

247 pounds

Product Dimensions 

30 x 24 x 59 inches

Capacity(24 hrs) 

475 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

large ice storage

Color

silver

Buying Advice

Maxx Ice undercounter ice makers are available in many restaurant supply stores and on major retail sites like Amazon.com.

If you don't want to spend time shopping at your local commercial supply store,  you can also find this appliance online at Amazon.com.  The prices are often lower there, as well.

Conclusion

If you ever need to supply groups of more than 4-6 people with clear or gourmet ice, then definitely consider buying this Maxx Ice undercounter ice maker.

I also highly recommend it if you are looking for a high-quality lower-capacity  commercial gourmet ice maker.

If this unit is not big enough for your needs, then check out the Scotsman Prodigy which can make up to 84 lbs of clear/gourmet ice per day.  

There also plenty of smaller options if you don’t need that much ice. See our clear ice maker buying guide for my best recommendations. 

This ice machine definitely costs more than your average ice maker, but the Maxx Ice undercounter gourmet ice machine is one of the best in its class.

Highly recommended!

Ice-O-Matic Ice Maker Review

Ice-O-Matic Sonic Ice Maker Review

The Ice-O-MaticGEMU090 ice machine makes soft chewable sonic-style ice.

Ice-O-Matic calls it Pearl ice. It’s perfect for margaritas, smoothies, cocktails and iced tea.

You can also just crunch it in your mouth. It has a soft texture that crumbles with ease between your teeth.

This ice machine is designed for under-counter installation at home or at small cafes, offices, and venues. It’s also rated for indoor and outdoor use.

About the​​​​ Ice-O-Matic GEMU090 Ice Machine

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 85lbs/day
  • Storage capacity: 22lbs
  • Dimensions: 14.875" wide x 22.625" deep x 33.375" height
  • Weight: 133lbs
  • Type of ice: nugget ice
Ice-O-Matic Ice Maker Review

Comparison Table

Ice-O-Matic GEMU090

* Best Ice-O-Matic Ice Maker
Ice-O-Matic Ice Maker Review
Technical Details

Brand Name 

 Ice-O-Matic

Item Weight

133 lbs

Product Dimensions

14.875" x 22.625" x 33.375" inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

85lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

energy efficient

Color

silver

My Rating:
Check Price:

Hanover HIM60701-5SS

* Touch Controls
Image of Hanover HIM60701-5SS
Technical Details

Brand Name 

Hanover

Item Weight

84 pounds

Product Dimensions 

23 x 15 x 34 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

32 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features 

touch control

Color

 silver

My Rating:
Check Price:
Technical Details

Brand Name

SPT

Item Weight

55 pounds

Product Dimensions

18 x 15 x 25 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

12 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

reversible door

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

The GEMU090 comes with the build quality, ease of use and reliability that the Ice-O-Magic brand is known for. You can be sure it will last for years.

The compact ice machine is designed to go under the counter. It measures around 15” wide and 33” high. Of course, you can also leave it standing on the floor if you want. But it’s far too big to put on the counter.

It’s primarily a gravity drain ice maker. That means that water from melted ice flows down on its own into a drain.

But if you don’t have a floor drain that is close enough to drain the water into, you can order the machine along with a pump.

This allows you to direct the water up to the sink or any other drainage that’s further away. It is best if you hire a plumber to install the pump.

Once you’ve set it up, the GEMU090 produces enough ice for a large family; up to 85lbs per day. You can also use it in a small office or break room.

The ice, as I mentioned, is the chewable type you get at Sonic. It’s soft and crumbly rather than hard or clear like the ice from most ice machines.

Price-wise the GEMU090 is one of the most expensive ice makers in the market. It costs anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on the seller. But the price is high due to the type of ice and its quality, which not so many models of ice makers can produce. It's great for some types of coctails, which will be better with the nugget ice.

Ice Making Ability

This ice machine may be pricey, but it gives you your money’s worth. It can produce up to 85 lbs of soft nugget ice per day. That’s more than even some bigger ice makers around.

It’s certainly more than enough for large families and perfect for small venues, offices, and businesses.

Its storage capacity – the maximum amount of ice it can hold at a time –is 22lbs.

Ice-O-Matic Ice Maker Review

That’s a lot of ice. If you have an event, one batch of ice is enough to serve everyone before you need to prepare the next one.

Note that this machine is not a refrigerator. If you leave the ice inside for too long, it will start melting.If you can’t use all the ice at once, put it in the freezer for later use.

 
One thing almost every customer is saying about the GEMU090 is how quiet it is. You won’t even realize it’s on. 

Ice Quality

The GEMU090 ice machine produces soft nugget ice. This is very different from the white pellets or clear gourmet ice cubes produced by other ice machines.

This ice is meant for either chewing or uses in drinks like margaritas, cocktails and fruit juices. I wouldn’t recommend it for whiskey or bourbon.

This is because it melts too quickly meaning it will dilute your drink. It also doesn’t look as elegant in a glass of vodka as gourmet ice.

But for a margarita, this type of soft ice is perfect. 

Ice-O-Matic uses a technology they call Pure Ice® that protects the ice from bacteria or odors. So your ice comes out pure and fresh without any stale smells.

This technology also prevents scaling inside the ice machine especially if you use hard water. This not only maintains ice quality, but it also lengthens the life of the machine.

Ease of Use

Setup can be a bit tedious especially if you are using the pump kit. There is no water tank, so you have to hook up a water line at the back. You also have to set up the drainage.

I recommend getting a plumber to do it for you.

But once you have set it up, it’s easy to use. The control panel is visible when the door is open. Here you’ll find indicators for when the machine is operating, when there is no water coming in and when it’s time to clean.

There are also two buttons for power on/off and cleaning/reset.
Because this is nugget ice, there is no option for changing the size of ice cubes.

Alternative Undercounter Options

Touch Controls: Hanover HIM60701-5SS

Image of Hanover HIM60701-5SS

Technical Details

Brand Name 

Hanover

Item Weight

84 pounds

Product Dimensions

23 x 15 x 34 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

32 lbs

Installation Type 

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

touch control

Color 

silver

Image of UNDERCOUNTER ICE MAKER STAINLESS STEEL DOOR

Technical Details

Brand Name

SPT

Item Weight

 55 pounds

Product Dimensions

18 x 15 x 25 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

12 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

reversible door

Color

silver/black

What Others Say

Most customers love it. They love that they now have an almost endless supply of high-quality ice.

Many are surprised at how quiet it is especially given how much ice it makes.

The one complaint I’ve seen from a few customers is regarding the motor.

It starts developing problems 3-4 years into the life of the ice machine. Buying a replacement and fixing it is not cheap. 

The warranty is only one year long (too short for a $2,000+ machine, in my opinion)so you’ll have to cover the costs yourself.

Buying Advice

Ice-O-Matic Ice Maker Review

If you really need a high-capacity sonic ice machine for your home, office or business, this is a good choice.

It works well and is reliable…at least for the first 3 or 4 years. Budget around $1,000 for repairs when the motor eventually breaks down.

But for most families, consider getting a cheaper and smaller nugget ice machine. See our recommendations in this sonic ice machine buying guide

Conclusion

The Ice-O-MaticGEMU090 may be expensive, but it’s one of the best nugget ice makers.

If you absolutely love Sonic ice and you are tired of buying bags of it every time, invest in this ice machine and then you can enjoy as much nugget ice as you want without paying a dime.

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

Scotsman CU50GA-1A Gourmet Clear Ice Machine Review

The usual way to make clear ice cubes or balls is by using silicone ice molds.

Problem is, silicone ice molds take a long time to make ice, and you are limited on the number of ice cubes you can make in a batch.

If you want to always have plenty of gourmet ice on hand for your home bar, then I recommend the Scotsman CU50GA-1A under counter ice machine.

It’s our pick for the best under counter ice machine for home bars and is one of the best gourmet ice makers you can buy. 

About the Scotsman CU50GA-1A Gourmet Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Production capacity: 65lbs/day
  • Storage capacity: 26lbs
  • Dimensions: 14.9" wide x 22" deep x 34.4" height
  • Weight: 100lbs
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    Type of ice: clear gourmet ice cubes
Scotsman CU50GA-1A Ice Machine Review

Comparison Table

Scotsman CU50GA-1A

* Best Scotsman Ice Maker
Scotsman CU50GA-1A Ice Machine Review
Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight

100lbs

Product Dimensions

14.9" x 22" x 34.4" inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

65lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

pump drain with cord

Color

silver

My Rating:
Check Price:

Scotsman CU0515GA

* High Production
image of Scotsman CU0515GA
Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight

90.0 pounds

Product Dimensions

23 x 15 x 33 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

84 lb

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

high production

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

EdgeStar IB450SS

* Gravity Drain Ice Maker
image of EdgeStar IB450SS
Technical Details

Brand Name

EdgeStar

Item Weight

78 pounds

Product Dimensions

23.6 x 15 x 32.8 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

50 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

produces restaurant quality clear, cubed ice

Color

silver/black

My Rating:
Check Price:

Overview

Gourmet ice is great for certain drinks like whiskey, bourbon and some cocktails.

This is not just because it makes the drink look more elegant; it’s also because of its slow-melting nature. It won’t dilute your drinks like other types of ice cubes.

The Scotsman CU50GA-1A is designed for under-counter installation though you can also leave it freestanding if that’s what you want. The most important thing is to install it where you can easily run a water line.

Because it is a gravity drain model, it’s also important that you locate it near a floor drain to which you can direct the drain hose.

If you don’t have a floor drain, get the Scotsman CU50PA-1A. It’s the same model except it has a pump drain. This allows you to drain the water into a sink or a drain that is higher than the ice machine.  

The ice maker is 15 inches wide and around 35 inches high, so it should fit under most counters. Installation takes a bit of time; around half an hour to an hour. It might be much easier to hire a plumber.

 When it’s ready to go the ice machine produces plenty of ice, enough for most families and the occasional home function.

Overall, this is a great investment for those who love their drinks. Get it for your kitchen, home bar, lounge or den.

Ice Making Ability

As expected, the Scotsman gourmet ice machine makes a whole lot of ice - 65lbs per day to be exact.

This is probably more than you need but comes in handy if you are hosting some guests.

You can also install the ice in a small office or venue.

The ice bin can hold up to 26lbs of ice at a time. When it fills up, the ice machine stops making more ice until you scoop some of the ice out.

If you leave the ice in the bin for too long, it will start melting; the machine is only insulated not refrigerated. For longer storage, transfer the ice cubes to your freezer.

There is only one size of ice cubes. The ice is shaped like small cylinders measuring around 1” long and 1.25” thick

Ice Quality

Scotsman CU50GA-1A Ice Machine Review

This ice machine produces gourmet ice. It’s crystal clear without any of the white cloudiness you see in normal ice cubes. It’s the same kind of ice you find in bars and some restaurants.   

Because of the ice-making process, the cubes are harder and denser than usual. They melt far more slowly than average ice cubes. This makes them great for drinks which you don’t want to be diluted. This ice is perfect for long drinks, scotch and whiskey, which no one would like to dilute with water.

You can sip your beverage slowly without worrying that the ice will melt and dilute the taste.

To ensure the best quality ice, make sure you use clean potable water. The company highly recommends installing a filter in your water line. This will get rid of any minerals and particles that could affect ice quality.

Also clean the ice maker regularly as directed in the manual. This prevents the cubes from acquiring a stale or plastic taste

Ease of Use

The Scotsman CU50GA-1A is easy to use. The control panel, which is visible when you open the door, comes with buttons for switching the unit on/off and cleaning.

There are also indicators for when there is no water coming in when the machine is working and for reminding you when it’s time to clean.

The only bit of work is in installation. You can call in a plumber to do it for you.But unless you are rushed, it’s something you can do yourself. Block out around an hour from your schedule to install and test the ice machine.

Other Gourmet Ice Makers Options

High Production: Scotsman CU0515GA

image of Scotsman CU0515GA

Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight

90.0 pounds

Product Dimensions

23 x 15 x 33 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

84 lb

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

high production

Color

silver/black

Gravity Drain Ice Maker: EdgeStar IB450SS

image of EdgeStar IB450SS

Technical Details

Brand Name

EdgeStar

Item Weight

78 pounds

Product Dimensions

 23.6 x 15 x 32.8 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)

50 lbs

Installation Type

built-in/freestanding

Special Features

produces restaurant quality clear, cubed ice

Color

silver/black

Scotsman CU50GA-1A Ice Machine Review

What Others Say

Customer feedback for the Scotsman gourmet ice maker is mostly positive. Users love the quality of ice and the fact that it’s available in plenty.

Surprisingly, installation wasn’t a big issue for many users. They were able to do it on their own within half an hour or so. 
The machine is very solidly built; you can expect it to last for years without any issues.

There were complaints that the machine can be a bit noisy as the ice hits the bin. But you won’t notice it when you are in another room. 

Buying Advice

This unit is not cheap, but if you want proper gourmet ice – the same high quality of clear ice served in high-end bars–it’s a worthwhile buy.

And you get to impress your friends who are used to the same old cloudy ice cubes.

Scotsman CU50GA-1A Ice Machine Review

Conclusion 

You're no longer have to wait until you go to a bar or restaurant to enjoy a drink chilled with gourmet ice. With the Scotsman under counter clear ice maker, you can enjoy slow-melting and elegant-looking ice in your favorite beverages.

What To Know Before Purchasing An Ice Maker

What To Know Before Purchasing An Ice Maker in 2020

You’re having a party. Everyone’s enjoying themselves.

Your patented tropical smoothie is delicious, everyone agrees - and it's going fast.

Oh, crap: You’ve run out of ice again.

Time for someone to make another trip to the store.

If you've experienced this problem before, then you've come to the right place.

An Ice Maker is the answer to your problems - and this guide will help you select the right one for your needs and budget.

Ice Maker Kitchen Bar

Whether you just need a few cubes here and there for personal use, or you need enough ice to handle an entire party, there’s an ice maker out there for you.

Do you need an inexpensive small ice maker or one that can make gourmet ice cubes, or sonic nugget ice?

When warm weather arrives, an ice maker is a must.

Before you pick one, it helps to learn more about what an ice maker is and how they work.

What Is An Ice Maker

The function of an Ice Maker is easy to understand - but exactly how do these machines function?

Turns out, they are relatively simple - but well-engineered - devices.

Most Ice makers are comprised of three main components: an electric motor with a cooling unit, a heating unit and an ice tray.

They also require a supply of clean water. Either you have an ice machine with a connection to a water line, or you have to fill  your ice maker with water on your own. If the water not enough clear, you can use filters to get more quality and transparent ice.

When it's time to make ice, clean water is pumped into an ice tray of some form.

Once the water is at the right level, the cooling unit will activate and freeze the ice. 

All ice makers have built-in thermostats, so they know when to turn on and off.

The water freezes in the ice tray, and then it’s time for the heating unit.

The heating unit heats the base of the ice tray, so the giant clump of ice separates and falls as different cubes.

Then, the ice falls into the ice bin where it is ready to be scooped out and served.

That's it!

But if you're in the market for an ice maker, then there are a few more things you also need to know.

Portable Counter Top Ice Maker

First off, most ice makers are designed to make ice, not to store it.

Many ice machines do not include a cold storage unit. This means that the ice bin is a temporary solution and melting is inevitable.

A freezer is needed to properly store ice, so don't think that you will be purchasing an ice machine with built-in ice storage unless you are willing to pay a much higher price for a unit with a freezer.

An in-between solution is to purchase an ice maker with an insulated storage bin, but most portable and small ice makers do NOT come with insulated ice storage. You'll probably have to buy an undercounter or built-in unit to get that.

Why Buy An Ice Maker At All?

Going to the store is a nuisance. But we’ve already gone over this.

There are quite a few other reasons a home ice maker can come in handy, though.

For example, if you are setting up the office break room, you may want to invest in a compact ice maker

Likewise, if you go camping and want fresh ice, bring along a portable ice maker. It makes life so much easier.

Woman Holding Spon With Ice

And, if you enjoy tailgating and aren’t sure how much ice you will need, bring along your own personal ice maker.

If you love fishing or boating, a portable ice maker can also be a life saver.

When purchasing an ice machine, though, most people don’t realize how portable some of them are.

Factors To Consider When Buying An Ice Maker

There are lots of things to consider when you buy your ice maker.

Don’t just go with what you think is the best deal.

Sure, it’s important to get the best value you can, but make sure everything you need is accounted for before looking for a deal.

For your convenience, consider the following a checklist of important factors to consider:

Price

We'll put this first since it's likely the most important factor for you.

You can get a basic small portable ice maker for right around $100 US.

Higher-capacity and efficient ice makers (up to 45 lbs per day) shouldn't cost more than the $300.

If you want to make sonic ice nuggets or gourmet ice, then you'll likely need to buy a specialized under counter or built-in ice maker. These range from a few hundred dollars to many $1,000s.

Make sure you check prices across different online stores, as the price of ice makers isn't as uniform as other products.

In my experience, Amazon often offers the lowest prices across models, and mall-style retail stores are on the higher end of the spectrum.

Size

If you want your ice maker to become a part of your kitchen or bar, decide where you want it before you buy.

Take precise measurements and figure out what the maximum size ice maker you can afford to use.

The biggest problem people have is that they find out their ice maker is too large for their desired space.

Blue Portable Ice Machine

Another issue comes when you don't give your ice maker enough breathing room.

As a rule of thumb, you should allow a minimum one inch clearance on all sides of a countertop ice maker to allow for maximum oxygen circulation.

For under-counter and built-in ice makers, the clearance can be a bit more than an inch - and some of the larger units need special ventilation ducts, so check your model's installation guide before buying.

Without enough space, your ice maker will likely overheat, and you will be stuck with super wet and soft ice. 

Ice Production: How Many Pounds Per Day?

Single Spoon With Ice

How big is your party?

Are you purchasing an ice maker just for yourself and a few others - or are you trying to keep an entire party served?

Ice makers are very diverse regarding ice production.

You can buy a small ice maker that makes just enough for one glass, or you can invest a significant amount of money into buying an ice maker that can put out a mountain a minute.

How fast does the ice maker produce ice (minutes to first serving) and how much ice can it make in total (pounds per day)?

In my opinion, the smallest ice maker you should settle for will make 20 pounds of ice in a day.

Just keep in mind, when a company tells you how much ice your ice maker is capable of making, that's in 24 hours of continuous ice production.

Unless you plan on keeping yours on all day, realize that this isn't how much ice you will get immediately. The next part of ice production to consider is speed. A safe speed is one batch every 6 minutes. If it takes longer than 10 minutes for a batch of ice, it's probably a little too slow.

Style

Many ice makers  come in a stainless steel design, which fits most kitchens.

You can find them in white or black or silver as well generally.

Aside from these standard colors, many come in red as well.

The color should be an easy decision, but they also come in one of two basic styles. They are either boxy or smooth.

The box ones are meant to be placed under cabinets and in their grooves, while the more fluid ones are more so meant for countertops. Just know that the style of your ice maker often speaks towards its overall purpose as well.

Simplicity

A confusing ice maker should not exist.

Most important options include: set a timer, to turn it on, and to select your ice size.

Silver Ice Maker Counter Top

An icemaker should also be easy to clean.

If it looks like it would be difficult to clean the water filters, cooling trays and heating elements (like a lot of built-in units are), you’re going to find yourself stuck with dirty ice.

And lastly, it should be easy to install.

Longevity

You may have a perfect ice maker for a month, but if it breaks down after just a few weeks is it worth it?

I have found a real correlation between durable ice makers and good customer support.

If the product was meant to break down fast, it will be cheap and have no helpful customer service. So check those online reviews carefully.

It's worth to pay an extra $20-100 dollars to get a product that has good customer support and proven durability.

A good ice maker should last you at least a few years without heavy maintenance. If you are maintaining it regularly, it should not break down or even begin to rattle just after a few months.

Most ice makers come with a warranty, although usually short - maybe 90 days to a year.

So for this type of appliance, it's worth considering an extended warranty.

Water Recycling

A simple, innovative technology makes your ice maker easier to live with.

Because ice makers don't store your ice at a freezing temperature, ice left untouched will melt. In older models, this melted ice would sit in the main compartment and even potentially damage the product.

The water recycling feature takes this melted ice and recycles it back into the system. This means you won't need to drain the water or refill the machine. It will go back to the front of the cycle, and your water will be reused into more ice cubes. This saves you time, water, and a lot of hassle.

Most ice makers have a water recycling feature, but some of the older models - even expensive built-in units - do not. So definitely check.

Ice Type and Size

There should be an option to pick between small and large cubes. If not, then make sure your ice machine creates ice in your desired type (crescent, cube, nugget, sonic ice, clear cube, crushed or gourmet) and size. 

Ice Machine With Ice And Spoon

The density of ice is also important.

If your machine makes ice that is too soft, it will ice-up more often and the ice will melt faster. That said, a soft-ice unit will typically produce more ice, faster.

This is just an opinion, but you probably want your ice machine to make thicker, denser ice that is better suited for those hot summer days. 

Water Source

If you are buying a heavy duty undercounter or built-in ice machine, then you will need to connect it to a water source.  Tap water is assumed, and there are filters in the unit that will need to be cleaned regularly.

Smaller, portable ice machines need to be refilled by hand. They do not come with filters - you need to make sure you use clean/filtered water. 

Now you have a better understanding of what to look for in an ice maker.

There are many different types of ice maker sold today.

Understanding the different types of ice makers is essential for you to do this.

Ice Maker Types

Chances are you’re looking for a portable or countertop ice maker.

If you are, feel free to skip ahead.

If you are unsure of what type of ice machine you need, the consider the following.

Modular

Modular ice makers are extremely good at making ice in volume.

These units can make up to 1,000 pounds of ice in a day - if you need that much. They are the type of ice machine you find in hotels and in larger restaurants.

these beasts typically cost thousands of dollars and are the oldest type of ice machine. They are also loud, large and need their own well-ventilated corner to operate (no built-in or counter top installation is recommended).

Modular ice makers also require a dedicated water line to feed them with enough fresh water.

The main two things you'll want to look for when buying a modular ice maker is the maximum ice production and the speed of ice production.

After that, make sure the ice size is what you are looking for.

Unless you need a LOT of ice for outdoor parties, I can't recommend getting one for your home.

Undercounter

Undercounter ice machines are designed to hide below a bar or kitchen counter.

Undercounter units are typically expensive and high-capacity: they can often make 300-400 pounds of ice in a day.

Undercounter Ice Machine With Ice

An under counter ice machine needs a line to connect to a water source.

If you regularly have large groups of people over or need to fill up ice chests regularly for boating or outdoor activities, then an undercounter ice machine may be perfect for your home.

Countertop Ice Makers

Most countertop ice makers are small, compact units, about half the size of an under the counter unit or less.

You can find good-quality countertop ice makers for less than $200, these days.

Countertop ice makers can produce anywhere from 20 to 80 pounds of ice in a day.

These icemakers are the most practical for placing in an existing kitchen.

Portable Ice Makers

If you want an ice maker for the kitchen that you can move outside, to your garage, or to a different room, then this is your best bet.

These are the cheapest ice makers - you can get for around $100.

Portable units also make the least ice, typically just a few pounds - but some can make up to 60 pounds per day.

Portable Ice Maker Machine With Ice

Obviously, portable ice makers are small, and you can fit them almost anywhere.

If you want an ice maker for camping trips or tailgating, this is your best bet.

If you want an ice maker for your kitchen but you can't afford to give your ice maker its own personal spot, then get a portable ice maker.

You can bring them out when needed and easily store them away when you no longer need them.

Personal Ice Makers

The personal ice maker is just a subset of the portable ice maker.

These are handheld and usually rechargeable using 115V (wall plug) or 12V (car charger)..

Personal ice makers are ideal for camping and boating, where you will only need enough ice for one or two people infrequently.

These are usually the same price as a portable ice maker.

I can't recommend buying one of these unless you are a serious camper who needs to carry as little weight as possible.

Built-In Ice Makers

The built in is a combination of the countertop and under the counter.

This is the type of ice maker most home builders install in a high-end kitchen.

A built-in ice maker is designed to fit under your bar or kitchen counter.

Most built-ins make a relatively small amount of ice - maybe 20 or 30 lbs a day, max - but they have insulated or refrigerator ice storage, so whatever ice they make is kept cold.

In contrast, portable and countertop ice makers don't keep ice frozen.

Built-in ice makers are about the size of a mini-fridge and are fed with a water line. They can't make a tremendous amount of ice, and they will keep it frozen overnight.

They use water filter systems that require regular cleaning, which may require disassembling the unit to get to the parts.

Built-in ice makers are expensive - usually they cost over $1,000 - and even that would be a real bargain.

Common Problems

An ice maker is a simple contraption but it's a mechanical machine which is prone to a number of common issues.

It doesn't matter what kind of an ice maker you need, all ice machines need to be cleaned well.

When you first purchase your ice maker, there is a little cleaning ritual that is imperative. Run a water vinegar solution through the entire machine for a few cycles. This will not create ice; it will just clean the machine a little bit.

After you have done this, make sure to run plain water through the ice maker for at least a few cycles. Once this is done, your ice maker is ready to go.

There are two other potential problems.

The first is that fans can come loose. This will cause rattling and other annoying noises. To correct this, it's usually simple enough to open the unit up and adjust your fan - or you can contact customer service and let them know about this common problem, if you are still under warranty.

Ice Maker And Lemonade On A Counter

The next common problem has to do with sensors.

If you find that your ice machine seems to be fine, but it just won't make more ice there is a good chance your ice machine thinks it's full due to a faulty sensor.

This is a common problem for people who leave the ice in their machines for prolonged periods of time. Water will freeze and stick to the sensor, giving your sensor the impression that the device is filled with ice.

To fix this problem, wipe your sensor clean now and then. Easy to do.

So now you know everything you need to know about ice makers.

You understand how they function, and what parts to pay attention to.

Just make sure you're buying the right size and type of ice machine for your home or business.

Pay attention to ice size, daily capacity and speed of ice production.

Decide whether you're OK using a dedicated water line or refilling the unit by hand. 

the Scotsman Ice Maker Review

Scotsman Standalone Gourmet Clear Ice Maker Review

The Scotsman CU50PA is one of the best standalone ice makers for making gourmet ice at home and in bars and restaurants.

This Scotsman produces crystal clear, high-density ice cubes that are ideal for whiskies, vodkas, cocktails and other premium drinks. Such ice melts slowly and harder than standard ice cubes.

With a production capacity of 65lbs and a storage volume of 26lbs, the Scotsman can easily hold its own in any situation whether it’s your daily afternoon cocktail or a full party with drinks flowing nonstop.  

About the Scotsman Standalone Gourmet Clear Ice Maker

Specifications

  • arrow-right
    Production capacity: 65lbs
  • arrow-right
    Ice storage capacity: 26lbs
  • arrow-right
    Weight : 100lbs
  • arrow-right
    Dimensions: 14.87(width) by 34.37(height) by 22(depth) inches
  • arrow-right
    Built-in accessories including a drain pump and water quality sensor.
Scotsman Ice Maker Reviews

Comparison Table

Scotsman Standalone

* Best Scotsman Ice Maker
Scotsman CU50GA-1A Ice Machine Review
Technical Details

Brand Name

Scotsman

Item Weight

100lbs

Product Dimensions

14.87 x 34.37 x 22 inches

Capacity(24 hrs)