When you’re hosting a crowd or craving a cold drink, the last thing you want to find is that your freezer is out of ice. Avoid this heartache by investing in a countertop ice maker. These small machines can churn out fresh cubes in mere minutes, meaning you’ll never again be faced with the horror of freezer-burned ice or flimsy ice tray failures.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a countertop ice maker, including capacity and style. If you plan on using your machine to entertain, a high-volume option that can produce 50 pounds of ice per day is ideal. You’ll also want to decide whether you want the machine to produce clear or cloudy ice, as different styles melt and serve differently. Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind that size and cost are correlated; larger machines tend to be more expensive.
Unlike your freezer’s Countertop Ice Maker Machine, most countertop options don’t require a waterline and can be filled with tap or bottled water. They’re easy to use and can make ice within a few hours of turning on, but be sure to keep the reservoir filled with water at all times so you don’t overflow your bin.
Some models make cubes that are large and crystalline, while others produce smaller bullet-shaped cubes that melt more quickly. If you’re looking for the former, consider our top pick, which churns out 27 pounds of bullet ice in 24 hours and has a clear window that lets you see your ice being made.
If you’re a fan of chewable nugget ice, look no further than our runner-up, which churns out 44 pounds of the deliciously chewy stuff each day. It’s sized to slide under standard counter height and comes in several colors, with convenient touch-panel controls and a self-cleaning function. It’s a great choice for parties, RVs, and your kids’ lemonade stands.
Another feature to keep in mind is whether you’d like the ice to be crushed, shaved, or shaved and cubed. This is largely personal preference, but if you’re interested in having the option to change up your ice texture, you’ll need a model that offers these choices.
You’ll also want to consider extra features, such as alerts when it’s time to add water or empty the ice bin and a convenient scoop handle. Some models are even Wi-Fi compatible, allowing you to control the appliance from your phone and operate it with voice commands via Alexa or Google Assistant.