The Best Ice Makers For Cool, Refreshing Drinks
During the summer months, refreshing cold drinks are in high demand. Maybe you want to drop a few ice cubes into your drink. Or perhaps you’ll want to keep cans and bottles of drinks cold in a portable cooler for a party, or when camping. The ice cube tray in your freezer isn’t going to be able to keep up with the demand! If you need a large amount of ice quickly, a dedicated ice maker is practically a necessity.
You’ll see that there are several models of ice makers. Some are compact countertop models, while others are more like a small freezer that you keep under your kitchen counter. And yet other ice makers are portable models, that you can take along with you in an RV when camping.
We’ll look at some of the features of the best ice makers available. They’re a great addition to your home or office. And if you’re accustomed to buying large quantities of ice when you go camping, you’ll see that a good ice maker will quickly pay for itself!
Types of Ice Makers
You’ll see that you have a few options among ice makers, depending on the size of the appliance that you need. Consider the quantity of ice that you need to prepare and how much storage space you’ll require:
Countertop ice makers: These are ideal for household use. They’ll prepare ice for you in as little as 6 minutes! One such appliance is the Silonn Countertop Ice Maker. It is capable of making 9 ice cubes in 6 minutes, and 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours.
Silonn Countertop Ice Maker
Portable Ice Makers: Among the countertop models, there are also some designs that have a handle, so that you can carry them around with you. One such model is the Igloo Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker (Model No. ICEB26HNSS). Its ice-making capacity is similar to the Silonn Ice Maker. It can also store 1.25 pounds of ice at any one time.
Igloo Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker
Built-in ice maker: There are also built-in ice makers, which need to be hooked up to a dedicated water supply. (That has an advantage over the ice makers that have a reservoir that you have to fill every so often.) The EdgeStar Built-In Ice Maker is such an appliance. Not only can it serve as an ice maker. You can even use it as a freezer!
EdgeStar Built-In Ice Maker
What reviewers say
Here are some impressions of customers of their ice makers:
Best to use filtered water: People who didn’t use filtered water in their ice maker started to notice a grimy residue. The suggested treatment is to use either water with dishwashing liquid for the visible surfaces, or a water/vinegar mixture to clean out the rest of the insides.
Lifetime of the product: Many people were surprised that their ice maker only lasted around a year–around the extent of the warranty! Some models managed to survive two years of use. You can get an extended warranty for the more expensive GE Profile Opal 2.0 Ice Maker, but that also costs an extra $100.
Units that recycle melted ice: There are ice makers that produce ice, but the ice has to be transferred to a cooler or freezer. Some (but not all) ice makers recycle the melted water and turn it into fresh cubes. The Euhomy Ice Maker has such a recycling option.
Ice shapes: Most of these ice makers produce “bullet”-shaped ice. But you can also find ice makers that produce ice cubes in diamond, nugget, or crescent shapes as well.
Here are some features that are common in the best ice makers nowadays:
Automatic shutoff: There are ice makers which have special sensors to notify you if the water level is too low, or if the device has made so much ice that the storage bin is full. The NewAir Portable Ice Maker will not only notify you if there isn’t any water left. It will also shut off the machine automatically until you either add more water or empty out the ice storage bin.
Various sizes of ice: You’ll notice that ice makers give you the option of different sizes of ice. Some even allow for different textures of ice as well. The NewAir Portable Ice Maker allows you to choose from three sizes: small, medium, and large. It’s recommended that you use small ice cubes for keeping food and drinks cold, and larger ice cubes for drinks. A single large ice cube has less surface area than an equivalent volume of several small ice cubes. So, a large ice cube will melt more slowly. That means that a large ice cube won’t dilute your drink so quickly.
Self-cleaning: There are ice makers that have a self-cleaning function, to ensure that mold or mildew won’t accumulate in your appliance. There is an ice machine cleaner solution and descaler, which removes any calcium deposits from your machine as well. They recommend using the solution at least every 6 months. You first drain out any water from your ice maker. You then use the descaler solution or a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar or lemon juice to water. When you put this solution in the ice container and start the self-cleaning function, it will run the solution through 5 cycles.
Timer function: There are ice makers with a timer function, which will allow you to prepare ice up to 18 hours in advance, depending on the model. The GE Profile Opal 2.0 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker even has a SmartHQ app, allowing you to monitor and schedule the device so that you have ice ready for exactly when you need it! It also gives you the option of a Google Assistant or Alexa voice commands!
GE Profile Opal 2.0 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
We went through some of the best ice makers available on the market nowadays. With proper maintenance, a good ice maker should give you 12 months of use. But, they can be a real lifesaver in the heat of summer, whether you’re at home or camping. Whether you use an ice maker to keep drinks cool, or to keep your food fresh in the summer heat, it’s a worthwhile investment!