Ice instantly changes a beverage. With a portable icemaker, you get ice anywhere you go.
No more buying overpriced bags of ice. No more lukewarm glasses of water. No more unpleasantly warm beverages in the middle of summer. With a portable ice maker, all of these problems are in the past.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good portable ice maker. Today, there are plenty of effective portable ice makers available online for $130 to $200.
Which portable ice maker is the best choice for you? What’s the best portable ice maker? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about portable ice machines in our ultimate buyer’s guide.
Ranking the Top 17 Best Portable Ice Makers in 2020
Our editorial team analyzed and tested some of the hottest countertop ice makers on the market to create the following rankings.
- 1 Ranking the Top 17 Best Portable Ice Makers in 2020
- 1.1 Igloo ICEB26AQ
- 1.2 Terra Hiker Portable Ice Maker
- 1.3 IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine
- 1.4 Frigidaire EFIC189
- 1.5 hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine
- 1.6 NutriChef Countertop Digital Ice Cube Maker
- 1.7 Euhomy Ice Maker
- 1.8 Cloud Mountain Countertop Portable Ice Maker
- 1.9 Sentern Portable Countertop Clear Ice Maker
- 1.10 GE Profile Opal
- 1.11 TRUSTECH Ice Maker
- 1.12 Crownful Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
- 1.13 Northair Compact Ice Maker
- 1.14 Kismile Countertop Ice Maker
- 1.15 COSTWAY Countertop Ice Maker
- 1.16 NewAir Portable Maker
- 1.17 How We Ranked
- 2 Who Should Use a Portable Ice Maker?
- 3 Benefits of a Portable Ice Maker
- 4 FAQs
- 5 Final Word
Igloo makes one of the world’s most popular portable ice makers. It’s not the largest or most powerful portable ice maker on this list. However, it outputs ice in just 7 minutes and creates 26 pounds of ice every 24 hours – all for under $130.
The Igloo ICEB26AQ may also be the best-looking portable ice maker on our list. You can choose from four stylish colors, including black, white, aqua, and stainless steel. In any color, the Igloo ICEB26AQ is an effective, easy to use ice maker for a variety of settings.
Terra Hiker Portable Ice Maker
Terra Hiker’s Portable Ice Maker looks more like a paper shredder than an ice machine, although it delivers effective ice-making power at a reasonable price. Priced at $135, the Terra Hiker Portable Ice Maker delivers a tray of ice within 6 minutes, creating up to 28 pounds of ice in 24 hours.
With the Terra Hiker Portable Ice Maker, you get a basket, a scoop, and a large (1.85L) water reservoir. The ice maker stops producing ice automatically when the bin is full thanks to its infrared sensor. At 43 decibels during operation, the ice maker is quiet enough to run in any environment.
IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine
IKICH’s Portable Ice Maker Machine is the current #1 best seller in Amazon’s ice makers category. At $170, it’s mid-range compared to other ice makers on this list. However, IKICH’s portability, large container, and easy-to-use design make it one of the best options on this list. It has an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 with 1,700+ reviews on Amazon.
IKICH is also one of the fastest ice makers on this list, creating a tray of ice cubes in just 6 minutes. The main drawback is that the ice maker only produces bullet-shaped ice cubes. You can change the size of the cubes (small or large), but you cannot change the shape. Some people prefer bullet-shaped ice cubes, while others do not.
Frigidaire is one of the best-known brands in the refrigeration space. In fact, it may be the only fridge or freezer brand people can name. The Frigidaire EFIC189 is a compact, portable ice maker featuring compressor cooling, a large see-through window, and multiple color options (silver, black, copper, or red).
The EFIC189 portable ice maker creates 26 pounds of ice every 24 hours with less than 38 decibels of noise. You can choose from two ice sizes, and the ice maker creates the small ice in just 6 minutes, making it one of the fastest machines on this list. At $200, the EFIC189 is also one of the priciest options.
hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine
hOmeLabs sells a popular portable ice maker capable of making up to 26 pounds of ice per day. The ice maker has a 2 liter water reservoir and creates up to 1.5 pounds of ice at a time. It freezes a new tray of ice cubes every 6 to 8 minutes, making it one of the fastest countertop ice machines on this list.
the hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine makes bullet-shaped ice cubes in small or medium size. You cannot change the shape of the ice, nor can you create extra large ice cubes. hOmeLabs does, however, emphasize an energy efficient design and ETL certification, among other features. And, with 2,400+ ratings and 4.0 stars on Amazon, it’s one of the best-selling ice machines in its category.
NutriChef Countertop Digital Ice Cube Maker
NutriChef’s Countertop Digital Ice Cube Maker is a popular and well-rated ice machine featuring a stainless steel design, built-in freezer, over-sized ice bucket, and other nifty features.
NutriChef’s ice maker also works quickly. Just pour water into the machine, and you can enjoy ice cubes in as little as 10 minutes. The machine is capable of making 33 pounds of ice per day. You can select three different ice cube sizes, including small, medium, and large. Whether restocking a cooler or chilling your drinks, NutriChef’s Countertop Digital Ice Cube Maker is an effective option.
Euhomy Ice Maker
Euhomy’s ice machine is a portable ice maker with two selectable cube sizes. It’s capable of producing about 26 pounds of ice per day, taking an average of 8 minutes for each cycle. The ice maker also has features you don’t see with other machines, including an infrared sensor.
Other useful features on the Euhomy Ice Maker include a removable ice basket, extra ice scoop, energy efficient design, and a quiet compressor. It’s also one of Amazon’s best-rated ice makers, with an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 and 650+ reviews. At $145, it’s not the cheapest portable ice maker on this list, although it’s an effective ice machine for a variety of situations.
Cloud Mountain Countertop Portable Ice Maker
Cloud Mountain’s Countertop Portable Ice Maker is one of the newest entries to the portable ice maker market. Priced at just $130, the ice maker delivers effective ice-making power at a very affordable price. It also comes with a removable basket and ice scoop.
The Cloud Mountain portable ice maker produces up to 26 pounds of ice every 24 hours. It also creates a tray of 9 bullet-shaped ice cubes in 6 minutes. The unit uses 21g R600a refrigerant, which means it freezes water without creating much noise. Plus, a smart indicator helps avoid overflowing.
Sentern Portable Countertop Clear Ice Maker
Sentern’s Portable Countertop Clear Ice Maker advertises a feature most other ice makers here do not have: clear ice. While other ice makers create cloudy or crumbly ice, Sentern emphasizes real, clear ice cubes. This is also one of the few portable ice makers on this list to offer cubed ice (not bullet ice). Many people prefer ice cubes because they melt more slowly.
It takes longer to create ice cubes, which is why it takes 15 minutes to create a batch of ice cubes in Sentern’s portable ice maker. However, the unit comes with a 2.2L water tank, an easy-to-use digital control panel, and some of the best-tasting ice on this list – all for under $225.
GE Profile Opal
The GE Profile Opal is the Rolls Royce of portable ice makers. At $550, the GE Profile Opal is easily the most expensive option on our list. Despite the high price tag, the unit delivers a similar amount of ice to other ice makers, creating 24 pounds of ice per day. The bin holds 3 pounds of ice at a time.
What separates the GE Profile Opal from casual ice makers? Two things: the GE Profile Opal makes high-quality ice and has smart capabilities. This is the only ice maker on our list with Bluetooth. You can use the GE Profile Opal app to create an ice making schedule from your phone. The app also alerts you when the bin is full of ice, preventing it from overflowing. If you want delicious ice and don’t mind paying a premium, then the GE Profile Opal is an ideal portable ice maker for a smart home. With 4.4 stars and 550+ reviews on Amazon, it’s popular among home and business owners.
TRUSTECH Ice Maker
TRUSTECH isn’t a well-known appliance brand, but the company sells a well-functioning ice maker through Amazon for $200. The device makes 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours in 2 sizes, including small or large. You get 9 ice cubes in 8 minutes.
The TRUSTECH Ice Maker has a semi-automatic cleaning function, an ice scoop, and a 1.5 pound basket. TRUSTECH emphasizes a stainless steel design and easy operation. You control everything via the LCD display. The main drawback of the TRUSTECH Ice Maker is its price: at $200, there are simply better portable ice makers available.
Crownful Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
The Crownful Ice Maker Machine for Countertop produces 9 ice cubes in 8 to 10 minutes, which is about average compared to other portable ice makers on this list. At under $170, however, it’s a surprisingly affordable unit that comes with most of the features found on higher-end ice makers.
The Crownful portable ice maker can store up to 70 to 80 ice cubes, comes with a 12-month warranty, and features a stylish and compact design for indoor or outdoor use. It gets the job done without breaking the bank. It’s also one of the best-rated portable ice makers on this list according to Amazon users, scoring 4.4 stars out of 5 with 350+ reviews.
Northair Compact Ice Maker
The Northair Compact Ice Maker creates 33 pounds of ice in 24 hours. It’s also one of the few portable ice makers on this list that allows you to choose three sizes – not just two. You can make small, medium, or large bullet-shaped ice cubes.
Where Northair really separates from the competition, however, is with price. At $160, it’s a very affordable portable ice maker suited for all types of settings. Other useful features include the LED indicator lights, thick foam insulation layer, and 1-year warranty.
Kismile Countertop Ice Maker
At $130, the Kismile Countertop Icemaker is one of the most affordable options on this list. The unit is small but ideal for home or office use. It’s available in one color (black) and makes up to 26 pounds of ice every 24 hours. A 9-cube tray is available within 6 to 8 minutes.
Despite the affordable price, the Kismile Countertop Ice Maker has a self-cleaning function, a transparent window, and two sizes (small and large), among other features you see on higher-end ice machines. It’s not the most stylish ice maker, but it gets the job done.
COSTWAY Countertop Ice Maker
The COSTWAY Countertop Ice Maker is similar to the Kismile ice machine above – but with an LCD display and a slightly higher price tag. The unit makes a tray of ice in just 7 minutes. It comes with an ice scoop and creates small or large bullet-shaped ice.
The COSTWAY Countertop Ice Maker is also ETL certified, making it a more energy efficient option than others on this list. And, with a self-cleaning function, it’s easy to keep your ice clean and fresh.
NewAir Portable Maker
NewAir’s Portable Maker is a portable ice machine with a unique designed compared to other units on this list. The stylish exterior is ideal for use in homes, offices, RVs, and camping. You can choose a black, white, or stainless steel design.
NewAir’s ice maker claims to be more effective than most other ice makers on this list, creating up to 33 pounds of ice per day. However, customer reviews indicate the machine may be slightly less powerful than advertised. You can choose from two ice sizes (small or large). Like most machines on this list, the NewAir Portable Maker creates bullet-shaped ice – not actual cubes.
How We Ranked
Every portable ice maker is marketed with similar claims: they all claim to quickly make lots of ice cubes. However, ice makers vary widely in quality. Our editorial team used the following factors to separate good and bad ice makers:
Cube Shape & Size Options: Do you like crushed ice? Cubed ice? Large or small cubes? Good portable ice makers give you an option. We preferred ice makers that allowed you to choose.
Speed: How quickly does the portable ice maker make ice cubes? A good portable ice maker works in just 6 to 10 minutes.
Output: Good portable ice makers create 20 to 30 pounds of ice every 24 hours.
Capacity: Some portable ice makers have large ice baskets and water reservoirs. Others have small baskets and reservoirs that require frequent filling or emptying.
UI: Is the portable ice maker easy to use? Can anyone control it without an instruction manual? Or is it difficult and annoying to use?
Ice Quality: Cheaper portable ice makers output cloudy, flaky ice cubes – and this reduced quality is especially noticeable after a few months of use. Good-quality ice makers output hard, dense, clear ice cubes that melt more slowly in your drink.
Energy Consumption: Most modern ice makers are energy efficient, although we still considered energy efficiency in our rankings.
Noise: Noise is a factor for many shoppers. We considered noise in our rankings. Good ice makers created ice at less than 40 decibels.
Price & Value: The portable ice makers above ranged in price from $50 to $300. We featured ice makers for every budget, although we emphasized fair value at every price.
Durability: Some portable ice makers are made from cheap material like plastic. They fall apart quickly. Others are high-end devices made from stainless steel.
Smart Features: Modern portable ice machines come with infrared sensors, Wi-Fi connectivity, and other smart features. We considered extra features in our rankings.
Other Features: Other features we like to see on portable ice makers include water reservoir alerts, clear tops, removable ice baskets, effective ice scoops, and an easy-to-clean design, among other features.
Warranty: Good ice maker companies stand behind their products with lengthy warranties.
Who Should Use a Portable Ice Maker?
Portable ice makers are ideal for all types of situations.
Maybe you’re having a backyard barbecue, house party, or any type of social gathering that needs lots of ice. Good portable ice makers can create a tray of ice every 6 to 10 minutes, keeping guests’ drinks chilled.
Portable ice makers are also popular for camping. Yes, most portable ice makers require a source of electricity and are too heavy for backwoods camping. However, if you are on a serviced campsite or have electricity, portable ice makers can keep beverages cool around the camp.
Others need portable icemakers to keep food cool. Hunters or fishers may use portable icemakers, for example, to avoid spoilage.
Some people keep a portable icemaker at home for a simple reason: they like ice and don’t like to dig around in a freezer to get it. If your fridge does not have a built-in icemaker, for example, then a portable icemaker is an effective solution. Others keep a portable ice maker at the office for a similar reason.
Portable ice makers are also extremely popular for tailgating, boat trips, and RVs. Wherever you need to keep drinks cool, a portable ice maker can help.
Others buy portable ice makers even though they have ice trays and a freezer. If you’re having a party, then your ice tray might quickly run out of ice for guests. A portable ice maker can keep up with demand, creating a new tray of ice cubes every 6 to 10 minutes.
Modern portable icemakers are suited for all environments. Some come with smart features. Others come with remote controls. Whether you’re tech-savvy and looking for a smart portable ice maker, or you’re satisfied with an ordinary icemaker, you can find plenty of affordable options to suit your needs.
Benefits of a Portable Ice Maker
Portable ice makers are useful in many settings. Whether you’re spending $100 or $600 on a portable ice maker, you get a device capable of creating a tray of ice in under 10 minutes.
Most portable ice makers work in a similar way. You add water to the reservoir, then the machine freezes that water to create ice. Machines typically use a compressor to freeze ice.
How do ice makers create ice so quickly? The secret is in the size and shape of the ice. The fastest portable ice makers create a hollow, cylinder-shaped ice cube (often called a bullet shape). The mold exposes more of the water to the freezing air than a standard ice cube tray. That means the water cools and freezes more quickly.
Bullet-shaped ice isn’t ideal for everyone. Bullet-shaped ice freezes more quickly – but it also melts more quickly. It can water down a drink, and it may not keep a cooler cold for extended periods of time.
That’s why some portable ice makers create genuine ice cubes. These cubes take longer to make (about 15 minutes per tray), but some people are willing to wait longer for better-quality ice.
Other portable ice makers create nugget ice, which is different from bullet ice. Nugget ice is similar to the ice you get at bars and restaurants. Its dense yet fluffy. Some describe it as ‘chewable’. Until recently, you could only get nugget ice in high-end ice makers ($3,000 and up). Today, you can find affordable ice makers that create nugget ice.
Check ice type before you buy. Most portable ice makers do not allow you to switch between types. Most portable ice makers allow you to choose a small, medium, or large cube – but switching between nugget, cube, and bullet-shaped ice is rare.
The best portable ice makers have benefits like:
Produce 25 to 35 pounds of ice per day
Create a tray of ice cubes within 5 to 12 minutes
Low voltage requirements (120V or below)
Quiet (45 decibels and quieter)
Compact, portable design
Some portable ice makers have even more features. They’re smart ice makers with Bluetooth connectivity, for example. Some portable ice makers come with an app. You can schedule ice making, get a notification when the device is full, and remotely deactivate the system.
Q: What is a portable ice maker?
A: A portable ice maker is a small electronic appliance that freezes ice on-the-go. You fill the unit with water, and the unit creates a tray of ice, then dumps the ice into a tray.
Q: How quickly does a portable ice maker work? How long does it take to make ice?
A: Most portable ice makers freeze a tray of ice cubes in 6 to 15 minutes.
Q: What is bullet ice?
A: Bullet ice is a cylindrical-shaped piece of ice. Most portable ice makers create cylindrical ice because it’s the fastest and easiest type of ice to freeze.
Q: What’s the difference between nugget ice and bullet ice?
A: Nugget ice, also known as sonic ice, is the type of ice you get at bars and restaurants. It’s soft, chewable, and textured. Bullet ice is cylindrical ice shaped like a bullet. You can find portable ice makers that make nugget ice or bullet ice, although it’s rare for a portable ice maker to create both types of ice.
Q: How much does a portable ice maker cost?
A: A portable ice maker costs anywhere from $100 to $600, depending on the model. Higher-end ice makers for hotels, restaurants, and businesses can cost over $5,000. You can find good consumer-grade portable ice makers for $150 to $250.
Q: Do portable ice makers refrigerate ice?
A: Many people assume portable ice makers keep your ice cold after making it. However, that’s not the case. Some portable ice makers are mini refrigerators, but most are not. The container will only be as cold or warm as the ambient temperature, which means your ice could melt if you don’t use it immediately.
Q: Do portable ice makers circulate water?
A: Some portable ice makers circulate melting water through the system again. If ice is in the tray, for example, then melts before you can use it, then the ice maker might circulate water through the system.
Q: How do portable ice makers work?
A: Portable ice makers use a compressor to pass cold air over water, which freezes it.
Q: What’s the best portable ice maker?
A: Igloo and Frigidaire both make popular, effective, and well-rated portable ice makers. However, any of the top-ranked options on our list are good portable ice makers.
Q: What’s the cheapest portable ice maker?
A: The cheapest portable ice makers on our list are available for under $120.
Q: How do I clean my portable ice maker?
A: Some portable ice makers have a self-cleaning function. Others can easily be cleaned just like any dish or appliance – just wipe it down with dish soap or run a water/vinegar solution through the entire machine for a few cycles.
Q: How many pounds of ice can a portable ice maker create per day?
A: A good portable ice maker creates 20 to 30 pounds of ice per day. High-end industrial ice makers can create hundreds of pounds of ice per day.
Q: Can I change the size or type of ice?
A: Most portable ice makers allow you to select either a large or small cube. Most ice makers do not let you choose different types of ice (like bullet or cube).
Q: What’s the difference between a countertop ice maker and a portable ice maker?
A: Portable ice makers and countertop ice makers are virtually the same thing. Both are small, on-the-go units that can be plugged into any ordinary electrical outlet to create ice.
Q: Do I need electricity for my portable ice maker?
A: Yes, most portable ice makers require electricity. You need to plug the ice maker into a standard electrical outlet. None of the portable ice makers above have batteries or can be recharged. They all need to be plugged into an electrical source.
Q: What happens if my portable ice maker breaks?
A: Most portable ice makers are covered by a one-year warranty. Consider making a warranty claim or returning the portable ice maker. Fans and other parts can become loose over time.
Q: My portable ice maker isn’t making ice – what do I do?
A: Some portable ice makers break down. Others slow down due to a lack of cleaning over time. Clean your unit. File a warranty claim. Or, check the manual for troubleshooting tips.
Q: Why does my portable ice maker have an infrared sensor?
A: Many portable ice makers use an infrared sensor to detect fill level. Once the water or ice cubes fill up to a certain point, it triggers the infrared sensor and tells the machine to stop making ice.
Q: Can I place my portable ice maker anywhere?
A: Most portable ice makers require a few inches of space underneath and around the sides. Portable ice makers generally have fans on the sides or bottom. Blocking the fan could impair the unit.
Q: Do I need to stand my portable ice maker upright before running it?
A: Most portable ice makers use a compressor system. Flipping your unit upside down or at more than a 45-degree angle could impact performance. Check the instruction manual before use, and try to stand the unit upright for 30 minutes to 60 minutes before running it (some manufacturers recommend letting the unit stand upright for 4 hours before running it to avoid issues with the compressor).
Q: How do I use my portable ice maker?
A: Most portable ice makers are easy to use. Just press the button or tap the screen to start producing ice.
Q: Why does the ice taste funny?
A: Portable ice makers can become clogged with contaminants. Some have a funny taste from the factory. Run two or three cycles through your portable ice maker and throw out the ice before using it for the first time.
Q: Are portable ice makers loud?
A: Most portable ice makers run at under 45 decibels (dB), which is approximately the sound of a refrigerator humming. Some are even quieter. The loudest part of any portable ice maker is the sound the ice makes when tumbling into the container, although some portable ice makers take steps to reduce that sound as well.
Q: How many ice cubes does a portable ice maker make?
A: Most portable ice makers create 9 ice cubes every 6 to 15 minutes.
Portable ice makers are ideal for tailgates, camping, RVs, and more. Some buy portable ice makers for parties because they can create a large amount of ice (one tray every 6 to 12 minutes).
No matter why you need a portable ice machine, the products above are some of the best portable ice makers you can buy in 2020.