Best Portable Ice Maker

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A lot of portable ice makers produce opaque “Bullet” ice which tends to melt relatively quickly. There are some pros and cons to this from an engineering standpoint. However, clear ice tends to be harder and colder, which means it lasts longer in the collection bin as well as in the glass.

The Sentern Portable Countertop Clear Ice Maker is specifically designed to produce hard, clear ice cubes. Then they also heavily insulated the collection bin to help keep the ice frozen for longer. A single cycle takes around 15-minutes, which is a little longer than some of the competitors, but the ice lasts longer.

The Sentern Portable Countertop Clear Ice Maker has a large 2.2-liter water reservoir and was designed for quieter operation. The stainless steel exterior and the digital control center also means it looks good on a kitchen counter.

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LITBOOS IML-001 Portable Ice Maker

  • Small countertop footprint and only 22-pounds
  • 1.7-liter water reservoir and a 1.5-pound ice bin
  • Can produce up to 26-pounds of ice per day

The LITBOOS IML-001 Portable Ice Maker was engineered for easy portability and fast operation. It only weighs 22-pounds and also has a relatively small countertop presence. This makes it a great choice for RV travelers, and tailgaters where space is at a premium, but still, need ice on demand.

It has a 1.7-liter water reservoir, which is significant given its compact size. This portable ice maker can generate 9 cubes of bullet ice in roughly 7 to 9 minutes. It has an internal ice bin that will hold up to 1.5 pounds of ice cubes at a time which is about 75 to 80 bullet ice cubes. It’s rated to produce up to 26-pounds of ice in a single 24-hour span.

It has a sleek stainless steel and black plastic exterior. The plastic components are BPA-free and certified to meet ETL standards. The control panel includes indicator lights and there is even an automatic shutoff feature.

The GE Opal Ice Maker is one of the larger and more sophisticated portable ice makers on the market. This particular unit weighs in at 47-pounds. So, it’s probably not the ideal choice for a tailgate party. Still, it’s compact design means it can live on your kitchen counter or in an RV. It’s especially attractive for a home kitchen with a refrigerator that doesn’t have an ice maker in the door.

It’s can produce up to 3-pounds of ice per cycle, and a single full cycle takes just under 20-minutes. The ice bin can also hold up to 3-pounds of ice at a time, which is usually enough to supply your average family at home or on an RV adventure. It’s also worth noting that the GE Opal is rated to produce up to 24-pounds of ice per day.

This portable ice maker also comes with Bluetooth connectivity and the GE Profile app. It allows you to do other things, while still keeping tabs on it. Which can be handy if you’re entertaining outside, while It works in the kitchen.

How We Picked

Portable ice makers are a somewhat new appliance that makes the most out of modern-day materials and engineering. Right off the bat, they appeal to campers and RV travelers who have access to electricity but don’t want to get tied up making daily ice runs. Though portable ice makers can appeal to so many other niches. This includes homes with outdoor kitchens, pop-up restaurants, food trucks, and people who want ice on demand, but their current refrigerator doesn’t have a water line.

We tried to keep these various interests in mind during the review process. Of course, the best portable ice maker for each niche can be influenced by several factors.

Total Ice Production Per Day

RV travelers, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts tend to lean toward portable ice makers that can support their coolers without having to take time out of their day to make a run to the ice store. This also means they prioritize units that can produce more than 20-pounds of ice per day. Not only does this kind of capacity save you time, but it also helps pay for itself, by saving you the cost of daily bags of ice.

Cubes Per Batch

Factoring in the amount of ice you need at any one given time can also be a factor depending on how you want to use the portable ice maker. If you are looking for a unit that can provide ice on demand for you and another person in your man cave cocktail station, then you might want more total cubes per cycle.

Cube Type And Size

Most portable ice makers create “Bullet Ice” which tends to be opaque and has a propensity for melting faster than cube ice. From an engineering standpoint, bullet ice lends toward rapid freezing and melting. It’s arguable “Soft” to the point where you might even be able to chew it. Bullet ice’s somewhat faster melting rate also helps the unit to recycle the ice back into the reservoir for another batch. In that light, it uses water efficiently.

Clear ice tends to be much harder and it takes longer to start melting. The tradeoff here is that it usually takes longer for clear ice to fully freeze. So, you’re going to have more time in a cycle. It’s particularly nice if you want your portable ice maker to support your RV or campsite cooler. With these units, we also tried to look for portable ice makers that had superior insulation in the sidewalls of the ice collection chamber. That way you can make a big batch and trust that you’re not going to lose much if any to melting.

Cube size is also a factor in freezing and melting rates. Some portable ice makers have features that let you select the size of the cubes. The smaller the cube the fast it tends to freeze, but it can also mean the ice will melt faster. Especially with bullet ice.

Size And Weight

As the name implies a “Portable Ice Machine” needs to be portable, at least to some degree. While you don’t need to install direct water or drain lines, you also probably don’t want to lug a monster ice machine with you. Especially if you want it for tailgating or camping.

Throughout the reviewing process, we tried to keep an eye out for a wide spectrum of sizes and weights. Ideally, if you’re going to be on the move a lot with a portable ice machine, you want it to weigh less than 25 pounds empty. When you also add in the water and ice it could be a real back-breaking experience.

Of course, some portable ice makers aren’t going to be moved around a lot. A few just live on a kitchen counter to make up for a refrigerator without an ice maker in the door, or an RV kitchen. These can be a little larger or smaller depending on what your needs are. Ideally, it’s still a situation where you should measure twice before buying.

GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Specs:

  • 3-pounds of ice per cycle
  • 24-pounds per day
  • Produces ice in under 20-minutes
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • GE Profile Opal app
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • 15. 5 x 14.25 x 17. 2-inches
  • Unit weighs 47-pounds

The GE Opal Ice Maker is one of the largest and arguably one of the most sophisticated units in this market niche. Weighing in at 47-pounds, it’s not the sort of thing you are going to take with you on a tent camping trip or to a tailgate party. Yet it is still compact enough to have a deserving place on your counter, in your RV, or as part of a protected outdoor kitchen space.

GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

It’s rated to produce 3-pounds of ice per cycle, which is typically enough to keep drinks cold and refreshing for around six to seven people. One full cycle takes just under 20-minutes, which is a little bit longer, but the trade-off is the high capacity per cycle.

GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

The GE Opal is rated to produce up to 24-pounds of ice per day, and the collection bin holds up to 3-pounds at a time. It also comes with a side tank, ice bin, ice scoop, and a drip tray.

GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

One other area where the opal stands apart is the Bluetooth connectivity and the GE Profile app. This lets you be away from the portable ice maker, while still knowing is status and what it’s doing. It’s especially handy if you happen to be entertaining outside, while It’s working away in the RV or home kitchen.