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If you’re hosting or your fridge simply doesn’t have a built-in ice maker, you might want to consider stocking your kitchen with a countertop ice maker. In addition to being a great appliance for your kitchen, the best countertop ice makers also work well in an RV, a dorm with only a mini-fridge or an area of the house that’s far from the kitchen, like a wet bar. Even if your freezer does have an ice machine, adding one of these to your countertop ensures you never run low on ice. The best part? None of these require any installation or hookup to your fridge or faucet.
Countertop Ice Maker Buying Guide
From the machine’s capacity to the type of cubes you can make, here’s what to look for when buying your ice maker.
Capacity: How much ice do you typically need? If you’re just looking to add a few cubes to your drink or make a morning smoothie, that’s a big difference than the amount you’ll need for a party or packing a cooler for a picnic. Even the ice machines on the smaller end still produce a lot, around 20 pounds, but if you know you’ll need a ton, go bigger.
Build: Stainless steel is easy to keep clean (and some machines can run a self-cleaning cycle), as does the speed of how quickly the cubes come out if you need them fast. Sound is another factor, as these can get loud. Also consider their speed. Some of the makers on the market can produce ice under 10 minutes.
Design: These should be pretty simple and straightforward to use, and luckily most of them are. Put your water in, hit a button, and wait for the cubes. A low water light can help make sure you’ve got ice ready to go, as can a see-through window on top. Built-in safeguards can also help prevent overuse and damage from things like a power outage or overfilling itself. A well-placed water drainage tray gives melted ice a spot to pool that’s away from the compressor or any other electrical parts.
Type of Ice: Not all ice makers churn out ice in traditional large cubes. Decide what’s most important for you and your needs, whether you want ice cubes or crushed ice.
Extras: Some higher-end models have a motion dispenser, where you simply put your glass down and let the ice automatically drop in. Units with WiFi are also available if you want to connect it up to Alexa and the rest of your smart home and command it by voice. An LED screen can be helpful if you’re looking for a clear way to control everything, but if you just want a cold drink, a control panel with a button or two will do just fine.
What Are the Best Countertop Ice Makers?
1. GE Countertop Ice Maker
Right from the first look, this eye-catching GE has a unique and clean design that stands out from the pack.
The unit is built with a side tank that’s easily accessible and quick for filling up with water, and features a pull-out drawer instead of a bucket. The ice it produces is soft and crunchy, but still solid enough to keep a drink cold.
This is awesome for entertaining, and can create a pound of ice in an hour. When connected with the smart phone app, you can monitor its status, order accessories, or even set it to start making fresh ice whenever you know you’ll need some.
2. Euhomy Ice Maker Machine
If you frequently host parties or pack up coolers, you’re probably going to need more than the usual 26-pound capacity of most countertop ice makers, but less than a commercial machine you’d find at restaurants.
That’s where this Euhomy is right at home. This can do 40 pounds in 24 hours, and 24 cubes in 13 minutes. Checking on the status or supply of ice inside is clear too, thanks to the transparent window in front. The recycling system inside makes sure that all water is used efficiently without wasting any that’s melted, while a compressor keeps the unit cold and quiet.
Filling up the water tank in back is simple, and similar to a drip coffee maker. The LCD screen gives you the ability to do things like create a schedule, and set it to automatic cleaning when all your guests have gone home.
3. Igloo Automatic Electric Countertop Ice Maker
The design of this Igloo fits into both a retro and modern look, with a control panel that’s easy to understand and operate. LED lights let you know when it’s time to add water, remove a full ice bucket, and even lets you choose between whether you want large or small cubes.
This comes with a scoop and inner ice basket capable of holding 2 pounds, and the transparent lid keeps you updated on how much ice has been made. With a consistently full 3-quart water tank, this can churn out 26 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period.
A drain plug makes it easy to empty, and cleaning can be done with warm soapy water between uses.
4. Frigidaire EFIC189-Silver Compact Ice Maker
This unit churns out fresh and clear ice cubes in as little as six minutes, and stays pretty silent in the process, keeping it to under 38db, or about the noise level of a library. It even alerts you with lights instead of beeps.
A big transparent window up top lets you clearly see how much ice remains, with a capacity of holding 1.2 kg of cubes. This is able to make around 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours, or about nine cubes in under 15 minutes. When you’re done, empty the drain plug into the sink and it’s ready for the next round.