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Whether you’re drinking cocktails, sodas, spirits, or water, an ice maker is an important sidekick. With a quality ice maker, filling and emptying ice molds or buying a bag of ice becomes a thing of the past. It’s a handy tool no matter the setting, though if you’re one to entertain, this appliance is sure to become your best friend.
Choosing the perfect ice maker for your home or bar comes down to a few key details: what kind of space you can allocate, the quality and type of ice you’re looking for, and how much you need at one time. For instance, if you’ve got a large household that consumes significant amounts of ice, you’ll want something in the home-friendly commercial range or a powerful countertop option. If you host the occasional small gathering and plan to bring your machine to other functions, consider something portable. Lastly, are you drinking casually or mixing up serious cocktails requiring large, clear cubes? Once you’ve laid out your priorities and needs, see our picks of the best ice makers for every scenario.
Best Overall: GE Opal Countertop
Pebble ice (also referred to as nugget ice) is great for tropical and tiki cocktails, cobblers, crusta's, blended drinks, juice and much more; it’s also a type of ice that’s difficult to make in bulk without a machine. The countertop Opal model from GE measures 15.2 x 14.2 x 17.2 inches and is smartly designed with a water reservoir that refills itself if ice begins to melt, minimizing water waste. The machine yields ice in as little as 20 minutes and can produce a total of 24 pounds in one day, holding up to 3 pounds at once. The Opal is also equipped with Bluetooth controls, so you can manage its production from your mobile device with the free GE Profile Opal app.
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Best Features: Costway Countertop Ice Maker
Packed with features at a relatively affordable price point, this machine from Costway can make up to two different sizes of ice (small and large), fitting all of your cocktail-making needs. The ice maker indicators alert you to take out the ice cubes when the basket is full, as well as to add water when the machine is running low. With an easy-to-use control panel, you can also track its ice-making production through the clear window. The environmentally-friendly, low-noise machine boasts a high-power compressor for fast ice making, producing nine ice cubes within six to 13 minutes and a total of 26.5 pounds of ice per day. At 9.5 x 14 x 13 inches, this compact ice maker will also fit on any countertop in your home bar or kitchen.
Best for Portability: Igloo Countertop Ice Maker
For those with aesthetics in mind, Igloo’s retro-inspired countertop ice maker is an excellent option. In seven minutes, this 9.6 x 14.7 x 12.4-inch mini machine makes nine small or large bullet cubes and can produce up to 26 pounds of ice daily (the inner basket can also store 2 pounds at once). Add water (up to 3 quarts), choose your cube size using the LED-illuminated control panel, and wait for your ice to appear––the ultra-quiet mechanism does all the leg work for you. This countertop ice maker includes an easily-removable basket and a scoop for serving. In addition to red, the machine is available in aqua, black, stainless steel and white.
Best Countertop: Frigidaire Portable Ice Maker
Sleek, space-saving and incredibly quiet, the stainless steel Frigidaire countertop ice maker is a silver bullet. With LED backlit controls, compressor-powered cooling to avoid overheating, and settings for two different ice cube sizes, this countertop model is portable and can be placed anywhere in your kitchen or bar. At 14.5 inches deep, 11.7 inches wide and 15 inches high, this freestanding machine can make ice in less than seven minutes and can produce up to 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours.
Best Undercounter: EdgeStar Built-In Icemaker
This EdgeStar ice maker is both built-in and compact in a stylish, stainless steel and black finish, all at an appealing price point for home and office use. With a front-facing vent and reversible handled door, this unit serves as a functioning freezer for up to 6 pounds of ice at a time and can produce 12 pounds total over the course of 24 hours. This machine is managed with a simple on/off switch and will even shut itself off when the bin is full of ice. At 15 inches wide, 20 inches deep and 26 inches high, this ice maker will easily fit under any countertop.
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Best Commercial: Kold Draft Freestanding Ice Maker
Kold Draft, also known as “the king of ice machines,” is easily the top industry standard for bars and restaurants worldwide. This particular machine can produce up to 59 pounds of clear, large cubes (1 x 1 x 1.25 inches) per day, storing up to 26.5 pounds in its well-insulated chamber at once––the ice thickness is also adjustable based on your preference (with low, medium and high settings), and the machine will automatically stop producing ice when full. This stainless steel ice maker is extremely easy to use and is self-cleaning. Note that a drain is required.
Best for Nugget Ice: NewAir Nugget Ice Maker
Touted as one of the fastest nugget ice makers on the market, this NewAir machine can churn out its first batch of ice in just five minutes. Thanks to a high-power cooling process, it can produce up to 40 pounds of ice per day—all in a compact, countertop body that measures 16.5 x 10.6 x 16.3 inches. The crunchy, yet chewy nugget ice it makes is perfect for chilling any cocktail or blended beverage. Even more, the interior's extra-thick wall keeps newly-made ice insulated. The freestanding machine also features a self-cleaning function and is made of BPA-free parts for clean, safe ice. Plus, its stainless steel exterior will look good on any kitchen countertop.
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