ice cubes from counter top ice maker

On the Counter Ice Maker Recommendations

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An on the counter ice maker (also called a counter top ice maker) is a nice addition to your kitchen if you want a steady supply of ice in your kitchen. If your refrigerator doesn’t have an ice maker or if it can’t keep up with your household use, getting an ice machine will be a game-changer. These are popular for RVs as well.

In hot climates you can easily overtax your refrigerator’s ice-making capabilities. Family and friends coming into the kitchen all day for cold drinks can deplete your ice supply pretty quickly.

These units are also great to have on hand for entertaining. Running out of ice can be a party killer.

In this article we’re going to take a look at the best on the counter ice makers and the pros and cons of each. For the price, these machines make a nice upgrade to your kitchen.

The convenience factor is a benefit and of course so having an abundance of ice. And if you’re a fan of certain types of ice, you can find an ice machine to suit your preference.

We’ll be looking at these countertop ice machines in detail in just a second:

On the Counter Ice Maker Factors to Consider

When deciding on a countertop ice machine, you’ll need to determine which factors are most important to you and what kind of specs the unit must have so that it meets your needs. Some of these considerations include the following:

Daily Capacity

Many machines can produce 26 pounds of ice per day, but there are some units with output of up to 48 pounds.

Ice Making Time

How much time is acceptable for making ice? Machines range from six to eight minutes in most cases.

Ice Per Cycle

Units typically produce 9 ice cubes per cycle.

Ice Options

Many machines offer you a choice of ice sizes so you can use small or large cubes. This comes in handy if you need small cubes to fit into a water bottle, plus it’s nice just to be able to choose what you want.

See also  Freestanding Ice Maker Reviews

Ice Shape

Different machines produce shapes such as bullets or cubes, with most of them making cylinders/bullets.

Most make bullet-shaped iced so if you want cubes, this is the best machine: Sentern Portable Electric Clear Ice Maker

Ice Basket/Storage Capacity

None of these machines will keep ice frozen for long, so you’ll have to move ice to a freezer for long-term storage. There are storage baskets included for accumulating and moving ice that you’ve made.

Machine Size

Counter space is precious in most kitchens so be sure to check the machine’s dimensions.

Smallest machine: Northair 26-pound per day

Top 6 On the Counter Ice Makers

Let’s look at five of the best rated models available that cover a range of options and price points to suit your preference.

Igloo ICEB26RR 26-Pound Automatic Portable Countertop Ice Maker Machine – Retro Red

This machine has two things going for it right off the bat: very attractive retro-style appearance that will look good on your counter (other colors available including stainless steel) and a trusted brand name.

The unit has a window so you can easily check out what your ice supply is looking like. It also has a convenient handle for when you want to carry it to another room or to a function or party. If you want a good portable machine this may be the most convenient due to the ease of carrying it.

This machine makes the softer kind of ice that’s good if you like ice for chewing. The ice comes out kind of wet, which means it will stick together if you were to store batches of it in your freezer. You’d have to break it apart into smaller chunks for most uses.

Daily Capacity: The Igloo can make 26 pounds of ice per day

Ice Making Time: 7 minute cycle for small ice bullets

Ice Per Cycle: Makes 9 ice bullets (cylinders) per cycle, small or large

Ice Options: You have the choice of making small or large-sized ice cylinders

Ice Shape: Cylinder, round-ish in shape with a hole in the center also known as bullets

Ice Basket/Storage Capacity: 1 1/4 pounds of ice can be stored in the Igloo ICEB26RR

Machine Size: 9.6 x 14.7 x 12.4 inches

Weight: 20.5 pounds

Water Capacity: 2.8 L

Northair Countertop Ice Maker Machine Up to 26lbs/Day with LCD Display, Compact Electric Portable Ice Machine

The Northair 26-pound capacity unit is another stainless machine that produces bullet-shaped ice. Ratings currently stand at 4.7 stars, making this one of the highest-rated ice makers on the market. Like most ice makers, it will recycle the melted ice that’s left in the machine and make more ice. There is also a helpful LCD display that keeps you informed.

Daily Capacity: 26 pounds per day

Ice Making Time: 6 minutes for small ice bullets

Ice Per Cycle: 9 cubes

Ice Options: Small or large

Ice Shape: Bullet

Ice Basket/Storage Capacity: 1 1/2 pounds

Machine Size: 8.8 x 12.3 x 12.6 inches

Weight: 17.6 pounds

Water Capacity: 2 L

Vremi Countertop Ice Maker – Portable Stainless Steel Ice Maker with Ice Scoop and Basket

The Vremi kind of has the sleek stainless look of a small version of a restaurant ice machine. It should blend in with most kitchens, especially of course if you have other stainless appliances. Like most of the competition, it makes nine bullet-shaped pieces of ice in about nine minutes.

See also  Freestanding Ice Maker Reviews

It has a removable ice bucket and it comes with a scoop. There is no carrying handle on this unit. It only makes one size of ice. There is a window so you can see how much ice you have ready.

In addition, it’s basically designed to make ice and that’s it — it won’t keep the ice cool, which means you’ll have to move it to your freezer pretty quickly if you want to store some.

One user noted that the machine doesn’t keep the ice cold enough to stay frozen for very long, so the ice melts and then the machine repeats the ice making cycle with the melted water. This isn’t an unusual trait for an on the counter ice maker in this price range, but it does seem to be more of an issue with this particular unit.

Daily Capacity: 26 pounds per day

Ice Making Time: 9 minute cycle

Ice Per Cycle: Makes 9 cubes per cycle

Ice Options: One size, small

Ice Shape: Bullet/cylindrical

Ice Basket/Storage Capacity: 1 1/2 pounds of ice can fit into the storage bucket

Machine Size: 9.5 x 12 x 13.5 inches

Weight: 23.6 pounds

Water Capacity: 2.2 L

Sentern Portable Electric Clear Ice Maker Machine Stainless Steel Countertop Ice Making Machine

The Sentern on the counter ice maker is at the high end of the price spectrum, and it stands out because it makes small sheets of cubes that look like what you’d get from a commercial ice maker.

The company says the ice this unit makes is clear, unlike most of the bullet-style ice makers that produce cloudy, white-ish ice. However, some users had trouble with achieving a perfectly clear result so it does seem to be tied to what kind of water you’re using.

These cubes are harder and last longer in your drink than the bullet-style ice. And you can get a lot more ice at a time with this machine but the cycle time is longer. You can select small, medium, or large cubes. Cube dimensions are the same for all three, the difference is in the amount of hollow area inside the cube. Small cubes have more hollow space.

Like other machines, this one doesn’t keep the ice frozen so you will have to move it to a freezer for storage. A viewing window allows you to easily check on your ice supply.

This machine is several pounds heavier than most others and has a larger counter footprint. There is no carrying handle on the Sentern. It has a hefty, commercial look to its stainless steel body.

Daily Capacity: 48 pounds per day

Ice Making Time: 15 minutes to 25 minutes depending on the cube size that you select

Ice Per Cycle: Up to 24 cubes

Ice Options: Small, medium, large cubes

Ice Shape: Cube

Ice Basket/Storage Capacity: Stores 2.4 pounds of ice

Machine Size: 11.2 x 14.4 x 13.8 inches

Weight: 27 pounds

Water Capacity: 2.2 L

Aicok 26lb Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop, Stainless Steel

The Aicok is another sleek-looking stainless steel unit that will look right at home in your kitchen. Like most others, it makes bullet-shaped ice that’s on the soft side. It has a window like the others so you can check on your ice supply easily. It has a self-cleaning function and infrared sensing technology that alerts you when the ice storage basket is full or when the machine has run out of water. There’s also a LCD information display.

See also  Freestanding Ice Maker Reviews

Daily Capacity: 26 pounds per day

Ice Making Time: Cycle time is 6 minutes for small ice bullets

Ice Per Cycle: 9 bullets of ice per cycle

Ice Options: Small, medium, large

Ice Shape: Bullets

Ice Basket/Storage Capacity: 1 3/4 pounds

Machine Size: 15.9 x 11.6 x 15 inches

Weight: 23.3 pounds

Water Capacity: 2.2 L

Northair Ice Maker Countertop with 40lbs/Day

Here’s an on the counter machine that’s slightly more expensive, but if you want clear, cube-shaped ice from one of these machines this is one of your only options. It also makes a lot more ice at a time than most of the other units on our list, although with a cycle time that’s about twice as long. As with the others, it has a larger viewing window for monitoring your ice.

This clear, cubed ice lasts longer in drinks than the bullets do, and is a bit harder in consistency. The ice storage basket is removable and it comes with a scoop. You can select the ice size although the actual cube dimensions stay the same — what changes is the thickness. So large cubes are the thickest and naturally small cubes are the thinnest.

The unit’s appearance is similar to the others (except for the retro Igloo) with a sleek stainless look. It’s also got a LCD display.

Daily Capacity: 40 pounds per day

Ice Making Time: 15 minutes

Ice Per Cycle: 24 cubes

Ice Options: Small, medium, large

Ice Shape: Cubes

Ice Basket/Storage Capacity: 2.4 pounds

Machine Size: 11.3 x 14.7 x 14.1 inches

Weight: 26.9 pounds

Water Capacity:  2.2 L

Final Thoughts

An on the counter ice maker is a useful addition to your kitchen. If you have a large family, like to entertain, or simply prefer the ice that comes from one of these ice machines over ice tray ice or your freezer’s ice maker ice. These counter top machines are great for setting up on your patio area for days out by the pool, and some are also very easy to take with you if you’re going to a party.

Keep in mind that these units don’t have built-in refrigeration, which means you’ll have to move the ice to a freezer if you want to store it. Typically what happens is the ice is made and stored in the unit; then when it melts, the water is cycled back into the ice making stage so you get a fresh new batch of ice.

Also, these machines don’t make a lot of ice per cycle (up to 24 cubes), but the cycle times are pretty short — ice can be made in just 6 minutes on some of these. But if you need more ice output per cycle then you may want to check out these larger freestanding ice machines.

A freestanding (also referred to as an under counter ice maker) machine may be better suited to keep up with your needs if you expect to need more than 9 to 24 cubes per cycle. Like the counter top machines, the freestanding ones don’t keep the ice frozen for you but they can produce upwards of about 90 pounds of ice per day.

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