If you are looking for a decent-quality, highly affordable portable sonic ice maker, then this unit by Tavata is a great choice.
It is a small compact ice maker, weighing just 15.65lbs that can produce up to 26.5 lbs of ice per day.
It fits easily on your kitchen counter top, and you can also use it in a boat, RV or when camping.
It’s our top pick for a budget Sonic ice machine.
It doesn't really produce perfect sonic ice, though it is close: it produces bullet-shaped ice that’s soft enough to chomp on with your teeth and is perfect for margaritas, ice tea, fruit juices, and cocktails.
About the Tavata Ice Maker
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a sonic ice machine for your home.
Sure, a pricey under counter ice maker is great, and all but you most likely don’t need 80lbs of ice every day. A good quality portable ice maker would probably serve you just as well.
The Tavata ice maker is one of the best and most popular portable ice machines. Measuring just 12.3 inches wide and 8.7 inches long, it will fit on just about any surface be it in your kitchen, your boat, RV by the side of the pool.
It’s also light enough (15.65lbs) that it’s no trouble lugging it around on your road trips and camping adventures.
It makes 26.5 lbs of ice every day, which is plenty enough for most families. The ice is bullet-shaped and pretty soft.
For the price, you are not going to get a better sonic ice maker. It does not make the crunchiest or softest nugget ice, but it comes pretty close.
Ice Making Ability
The Tavata ice maker makes up to 26.5 lbs of ice per day. This is enough for most families and comes in handy if you are hosting a small function at home.
The ice maker produces about nine pieces of ice cubes every 6-9 minutes. This will be enough for 3 coctails or glasses of scotch.
If you are entertaining more people than usual, you can keep cranking out enough ice cubes to keep up with demand.
Note that the actual time it takes to make one batch of ice varies mostly depending on the room temperature. For best performance, keep the ice maker in a cool place.
Another thing to note is that this is not a refrigerator. While well insulated, it will not keep your ice in solid form forever. After time, the ice will start melting.
As I said, this is not the best nugget ice maker. The ice is not as soft & chewable as you get at Sonic.
But it’s still soft enough that you can crunch it with your teeth. It also works well for any beverages that use nugget ice such as cocktails and margaritas.
The ice melts quite quickly, though, so don’t use it in drinks you don’t want to be diluted such as bourbon or whiskey.
The clearness of the ice will depend on the kind of water you use. Tap water tends to result in cloudy white ice while filtered water produces clearer ice with a cloudy center.
Using buttons on the control panel you can choose from two ice sizes: small and large. They are both around 1” long but differ in thickness.
The small size is perfect if you want more ice in your drink or want to put the ice in a bottle.
The large cubes are ideal for most drinks. Make sure you wash the ice maker (check the manual for instructions) before using it and then regularly after that. This prevents a stale or plastic smell on your ice.
Ease of Use
This ice maker does not need any setup; no drain hose or water line. Place it on the counter, plug it in and run a cleaning cycle. Then it’s ready to use.
The control panel has indicators for power ON, Ice Full (when the bin fills up) and Add Water (when the water tank is empty). There is also a button for selecting your preferred ice size.
The ice basket is removable which makes it easy to transfer the ice to another container. Or you can just use the included ice scoop to add the ice cubes to your drink.
What Others Say
Customers generally love this Tavata ice maker. They say it’s easy to use and makes plenty of ice despite its conveniently compact size.
The main complaint I encountered was that the ice cubes are often wet. This is a problem if you decide to store them in the freezer. They will clump together, and you have to break them apart.
Some customers say it’s a bit loud when the ice is dropping into the bin. But that’s only if you are in the same room where it is.
So you don’t have to worry that it will wake the baby or scare your pets.
If you don’t need a lot of ice, then this portable ice maker is s great and surprisingly inexpensive solution.
It makes a lot of soft, chewable ice quickly.
Because of its compact size, it’s also handy if you are using it in cramped space such as a small kitchen or in an RV.
It produces fairly soft chewable ice, but if you need proper Sonic ice, this is not the best ice maker.
At the next level up in price, I highly recommend the Opal Nugget ice maker which costs around $500.
Or, if you really want perfect Sonic ice and LOTS of it, then buy one of the under counter nugget ice machines made by Ice-O-Matic or Scotsman. But you’ll pay for the privilege...
The Tavata portable ice maker produces a decent amount of soft and chewy sonic-style ice without taking up much space.
It doesn’t require any setup, and maintenance is a breeze.
This is great buy if you are looking for a cheap but reliable ice maker.