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The Best Ice Machines For Every Occasion

We recommend a host of cool choices, including undercounter and countertop ice makers.

best ice makers
Staff, Courtesy of Euhomy

I remember the first time I moved into a house that had an ice machine built into the refrigerator. It felt like the height of luxury. And that’s what stand-alone ice makers offer: ice on demand, a luxury for anyone that’s ever had plastic or silicone trays as their only option.

Ice machines have evolved to meet our beverage passions. You can get clear, Instagram-worthy ice for cocktails or crunchy little pellets like the ice from a soda fountain. Whether you need to fill a glass or a cooler, there’s an ice maker out there for you, and we put together a list of the 10 ice machines that make sure you stay chill.

Best Ice Makers

Types of Ice Makers and How They Work

Ice machines are good at making ice, but they aren’t freezers. Ice inside will melt eventually. In good news, the melt water is returned to the tank and made into ice again. A tip here: To get the most out of your ice machine and cut down on mineral build-up, use bottled, distilled, or filtered water.

Countertop ice makers are built for small spaces, perfect for a pantry or RV. The average countertop machine makes nine to 24 cubes—enough for two or three glasses of iced tea—every 6 to 20 minutes. But if you’re throwing a party, you’ll need an undercounter or freestanding model depending on how much of the neighborhood is invited. Freestanding and undercounter ice makers typically have a dedicated water line and drain line (you might need a plumber or licensed contractor for the installation), whereas their countertop counterparts have a tank to hold water and a plug to drain it.

If you want features beyond sensors that know when an ice tray is full, you’ll likely have to spend more money. Self-cleaning cycles, timers, the ability to adjust ice thickness (thinner ice melts faster but is quicker to produce), and a larger capacity are more common on expensive models.

Like diamonds, you should think about the shape and clarity of your ice before buying an ice maker. Bullet ice (cone-shaped with a hole in the middle) is made by cooled metal rods dipping into a pool of water. Clear cubes, like the kinds you see in craft cocktail bars, are produced in layers with water continuously flowing over a chilled rack. Pebble ice (often called Sonic ice or pellet ice) is made of flakes of ice that have been compressed together. Crescent ice are the half-moons you usually see in a freezer.

How We Evaluated

I’ve been a food writer for more than a decade, authored two cookbooks, and tested and reviewed small kitchen appliances for national publications. I also have relied on a countertop ice maker for several months during a kitchen renovation when our refrigerator was a mini fridge. I compared the daily ice output, size, durability, and price of ice machines, as well as the type of ice produced. I looked at expert sites, like Wirecutter and, customer reviews from Amazon and Williams-Sonoma, and online videos of the machines in action. The 10 machines below are the best ice makers for a variety of needs and situations.

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Best Space Saver
Magic Chef 27-Pound Portable Ice Maker
Magic Chef
$152.45 (24% off)

Key Specs

  • Daily Ice Output: 27 lb
  • Ice Cube Storage: 1.5 lb
  • Time to First Cubes: 7 min

This tiny silver ice maker, just 9.5 inches wide, is well-suited for apartment kitchens where counter space is limited. It’s small but mighty, with a slightly larger basket than similar models and can make nine cubes in seven minutes. Enjoy bullet ice at two sizes: small cubes for crunching and larger cubes for drinks.

  • Compact
  • Two cube sizes

  • Fast-melting ice
Best Portable Ice Maker
Igloo Automatic Self-Cleaning Portable Countertop Ice Maker
$142.63 (11% off)

Key Specs

  • Daily Ice Output: 26 lb
  • Ice Cube Storage: 1.25 lb
  • Time to First Cubes: 7 min

Ice makers, like humidifiers, can build up scale if you’re using them infrequently. The Igloo Automatic 26-Pound Ice Maker has a handy self-cleaning mode and a handle that makes this ice maker easy to take with you. The retro look and aqua color, one of five available, is charming.

  • Handle for carrying
  • Self-cleaning option

  • Small plastic scoop
Best Value
Newair Countertop Ice Maker

Key Specs

  • Daily Ice Output: 50 lb
  • Ice Cube Storage: 2 lb
  • Time to First Cubes: 7 min

This square ice maker takes up a bit more counter space at 16.5 inches tall—still small enough to fit under standard cabinets—and 17.2 inches deep. But the bigger footprint comes with the benefit of a larger ice bin (you won’t have to empty it as often) and nearly double the daily output of other budget countertop options. In this case, bigger is better, as it makes a dozen ice cubes in seven minutes.

  • Programmable timer
  • Three sizes of ice

  • Takes up a lot of counter space
Best for Cocktails
Euhomy Portable Ice Maker
$219.99 (21% off)

Key Specs

  • Daily Ice Output: 40 lb
  • Ice Cube Storage: 2.2 lb
  • Time to First Cubes: 12 min

You can almost hear the clink of cubes in a cocktail with the Euhomy. This friend of a bartender produces clear, cubed ice, by running a waterfall over a rectangular grid that will mesmerize you through the large front window. At 25 pounds, you can move it, but it’s more likely to stay put by your bar cranking out two dozen cubes every 15 minutes.

  • Variable ice thickness
  • Self-cleaning

  • Heavy
Best Pellet Ice Maker
GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker

Key Specs

  • Daily Ice Output: 24 lb
  • Ice Cube Storage: 3 lb
  • Time to First Cubes: 15 min

Bells meet whistles. You’ve probably heard about “good ice.” Technophiles will love the smartphone-syncing Opal that produces little ice pellets that promise a satisfying crunch you might crave. The trendy ice maker comes with a hefty price tag, but the sleek design looks nice on countertops, and the optional side tank (for $70 more) means less refills.

  • Bluetooth-enabled for remote operation
  • Optional side tank available

  • Expensive
Easy Pebble Ice Dispenser
KBice Self-Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker

Key Specs

  • Daily Ice Output: 30 lb
  • Ice Cube Storage: 2 lb
  • Time to First Cubes: 25 min

This little rectangular ice maker begs you to tilt your glass underneath the dispenser and fill it to the brim with pebble ice. Don’t worry, there’s more being made. A simple push-button interface cranks out 1 pound of ice per hour. It also alerts you if the water is low, so you don’t have to miss your fix.

  • Dispenses ice at the push of a button
  • BPA-free parts

  • Needs 4 inches of clearance on each side
Best Workhorse
Homelabs Commercial 99-Pound Ice Maker Machine

Key Specs

  • Daily Ice Output: 99 lb
  • Ice Cube Storage: 29 lb
  • Time to First Cubes: N/A

The Homelabs Commercial ice maker looks like the machine waiting for you at the end of the hotel hallway—except you don’t have to be embarrassed if you’re caught wearing slippers and plopping a few, small square cubes in your iced coffee. The freestanding machine holds 29 pounds of ice at a time but needs a water line and drain line to run. It’s also rated for outdoor use, even if your slippers aren’t.

  • High daily output
  • Deep bin

  • Finicky water connection
  • More complicated installation
Largest Daily Ice Output
Manitowok Neo 140 Undercounter Ice Machine

Key Specs

  • Daily Ice Output: 132 lb
  • Ice Cube Storage: 90 lb
  • Time to First Cubes: N/A

If you can’t stand running out of ice, the Manitowok commercial model will help you sleep at night. The undercounter machine with a nifty sliding door holds a whopping 90 pounds of ice and can make 132 pounds of ice per day. But peace of mind doesn’t come cheap. It’s as expensive as some high-end fridges.

  • Huge volume of ice produced
  • Simple controls

  • More parts that could lead to potentially costly repairs
  • Very expensive
Best for Cocktail Parties
Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ-DS Top Hat Cuber Icemaker

Key Specs

  • Daily Ice Output: 55 lb
  • Ice Cube Storage: 22 lb
  • Time to First Cubes: N/A

If you’ve spent any time talking to a bartender about their ice program, you’re a likely candidate for the Hoshizaki. They might even have one behind the bar, given this machine’s popularity for commercial use. It produces ice, in clarity and shape, meant for whiskey and mojitos because the larger, hard, clear cubes that look like Abe Lincoln’s hat, will melt slower in drinks meant to be savored.

  • Crystal clear ice
  • Can be used under a counter and outdoors

  • Requires an additional water pump and gravity drain
  • Very expensive
Durable Undercounter Option
U-Line 14-Inch Crescent Ice Maker

Key Specs

  • Daily Ice Output: 23 lb
  • Ice Cube Storage: 12 lb
  • Time to First Cubes: N/A

The U-Line is like the reliable car that gets you to work every day. The matte black exterior is not flashy. It’s smaller than most other undercounter units at just under 14 inches wide. It’s also probably as much machine as you’ll need. The crescent ice cubes dropping every 20 minutes means this ice maker is fast enough to keep up with drink orders.

  • Small footprint
  • Reliable

  • Less storage than a number of other undercounter models
  • Expensive
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