Square ice cubes, round cubes, small ice cubes…. even pellet ice cubes like Sonic has… all of those options are available on certain best-rated brands of portable ice makers (countertop ice machine ice makers) these days.
And those are just the options as far as what KIND of ice cubes you want your portable ice maker to make.
There are MANY more available features and options available that is can be mind-boggling.
So WHICH portable ice making machine is right for YOU?
That’s what this Portable Ice Maker Buying Guide is for – to help you figure out your ice maker portability needs, compare inexpensive models and high-end portable ice maker models, see current sale prices to get the best price, etc.
Best Portable Ice Makers 2017
These are the best countertop and portable ice makers (list updated for 2017).
#1 Best – Magic Chef MCIM22ST 27 lb Ice Maker Stainless Steel#2 – NewAir AI-100BK 28-Pound Portable Ice Maker, Black#3 – Luma Comfort IM200SS Portable Clear Ice Maker, 28-Pound#4 – Gourmia GI500 Electric Compact Professional Stainless Steel Ice Maker#5 – Newair AI-215SS Stainless Steel 50lb Portable Ice Maker#6 – Igloo ICE103 Counter Top Ice Maker with Over-Sized Ice Bucket
If you’re in a rush…
Alright – let’s jump in and get started.
First step… what/where/how do you plan to use a portable ice maker?
Review of My Portable Ice Maker
Info Found On This Page:
- Best Portable Ice Makers 2017
- Review of My Portable Ice Maker
- Portable Ice Maker Uses
- Popular Portable Ice Maker Brands
- Best Rated Portable Ice Maker
- Portable Ice Maker Buying Tips:
- Where to Buy
- Refurbished Options
- Which Portable Ice Maker is BEST?
- New Portable Ice Makers for 2017
- Portable Ice Maker Deals
We not only do a lot of entertaining at home… cook outs, backyard parties, birthday parties, holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter – and ALL require me to come up with LOTS and LOTS of ice.
But I also plan and throw baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, fundraiser events, house warming parties, church events, receptions, reunions, etc AWAY from home – so my little ice cube maker machine HAD to be portable and easy to ME to take from place to place.
In all seriousness, if you host ANY type of party, get-together, Super Bowl party, Christmas party or family dinner – you NEED a portable ice maker. You’ll never run out of ice – which makes YOU the hostess (or host) with the mostest =)
I had one more requirement for my choice of a portable ice maker – it had to have a freezer type storage compartment to keep the ice frozen. That frozen storage ability was a MUST HAVE for me.
in the picture: the portable ice maker I chose
I did NOT want to HAVE to tote a cooler around with me everywhere just so I’d be sure to have a place to keep my fresh ice frozen.
Portable ice makers that do NOT have that freezer storage option, well… sure, they make ice cubes, but they start melting right away unless you move the cubes to the freezer or a good cooler.
Instead, I wanted a portable ice maker that would also keep my ice cubes frozen.
Short story – this is the portable ice maker that works best for me.
BUT – it’s hard to find and sells out quickly. It’s also a more-expensive portable ice maker and not the right fit for those that want an affordable AND high-quality countertop ice maker that fits in their budget.
If you’re on a budget, yet want a great portable ice maker, watch this review video of this portable ice maker (it’s really good!)
Here are some more helpful reviews of “portable” ice cube making machines.
Portable Ice Maker Review Video
Here are other affordable portable ice makers with freezer combo models we considered.
So, that’s my story of the best portable ice maker for my needs – now, let’s talk about YOU.
Portable Ice Maker Uses
First, let’s start with WHERE you want to use your portable ice maker. This will help narrow down your choices dramatically.
Best For Camping
A portable ice maker is a GREAT thing to have when you’re camping. You’ll need some sort of power supply, from either your campground or from your vehicle.
Best For RV
There are different needs for a portable ice cube making machine for an RV motor home than there are for having one in your own home kitchen.
For many, needing a smaller ice maker is ideal so you save space on countertop areas. No one needs a big, bulky ice machine when you have limited space to begin with.
This is the favorite portable ice maker for RV use according to consumer reports, reviews, and feedback – they LOVE it!
It comes in red, white, and a silver/stainless steel color. Great little lightweight portable ice maker!
BUT, listen up… if you’re willing to spend just a little bit more, this Portable Mini Ice Maker from Magic Chef is really fantastic.
It makes 27 pounds of ice cubes per day, AND it makes a cycle of ice in about 7 minutes. It also has a choice of THREE types of ice cubes where the other one above only had a choice of 2 kinds of ice cubes.
I did a lot of research on RV and Motor Home forums and the over-whelming majority love their Magic Chef portable ice maker. When other “fancier” units broke, their Magic Chef was still going strong.
Best For Boat
I sure wish we had a portable ice machine in our boat last summer – how NICE that would’ve been to have freshly made ice as opposed to almost melted ice from the cooler (yuck!)
he over-whelming majority of boat owners swear by their U-Line Marine Ice Maker. They are truly awesome, make a ton of ice really fast, and the machines last for years. BUT, they tend to be a little on the expensive side and out of many boat-owners budgets. You can check current prices on U-Line Marine Ice Makers here.
Below are some other less-expensice portable ice makers for boat and pontoon use.
Best For Car
If you’ve ever traveled long distances in your car with your family/kids and or friends, I won’t need to prove just how awesome a portable ice maker would be in your car.
Using a portable ice maker in your car or truck requires special power supply cords, etc, so make sure you buy one that actually does what you need.
Here are some good deals on some highly-rated portable ice cube maker machines for car use.
Best For Outdoors
Since I’ve already covered camping use and RV use, let’s talk about having a portable ice maker on your patio or deck.
We entertain quite often and the first thing we always run out of is ICE.
Buying a portable ice maker for outdoor use is at the top of our list for our backyard entertaining this year.
These are the outdoor use ice makers we are choosing between:
Best For Office
My sister-in-law works in a small office with a handful of employees.
Get this, they still use those plastic ice cube trays to make ice!
But guess what? No one ever bothers to refill them.
She and her boss are now choosing between these portable ice makers for office use.
Best For Home Bar
Some day, when we completely finish our home bar in our basement, I WILL have one of these portable ice makers.
Best For Home/Kitchen
If I weren’t getting an ice maker for our outdoor use, I would just get one specifically for my kitchen. I’d want it to be smaller with less of a ‘footprint’ on my counter – and if it’s portable, I can take it anywhere I want/need.
Popular Portable Ice Maker Brands
There are MANY brands and styles from various ice maker manufacturers.
Some of the best portable ice maker brands to compare are: Dometic, Danby, Emerson, GE, Greenway, Frontgate, Kenmore, KoldFront, KitchenAid, Magic Chef, VinoTemp, Viking, AquaPort, Avantic, Nemox, Bellini, and Maximatic.
Needless to say, that’s not a complete list of portable ice maker machine brands, but it’s a good place to start your ice maker comparisons before you buy.
Best Rated Portable Ice Maker
The countertop ice maker and ice dispenser found here is a HUGE favorite in the portable ice maker category.
Simple & Hassle-Free Electronic Ice Maker – Just Add Water & Press the Button Quick Ice Making: Ready to Serve in 9 Minutes – Makes up to 33 lbs. of Ice Per Day LED Digital Display Indicators – Choose (2) Different Sized Ice Cubes, Small & Large Ability to Connect Water Supply Pipe Line for Direct Water Tapping – Tabletop Design Water Reservoir Capacity: 1.8L – Ice Storage Capacity: 600g – Size: 14.6″ x 12.2″ x 13.8″
Portable Ice Maker Buying Tips:
Below are some things you need to consider before you buy a portable ice maker.
Yes, price is the first consideration when comparing these portable ice making machines.
Sure, you want a great deal and you want the lowest price, but cheap is not the best option for a GOOD portable ice maker.
There are lots of high-end portable ice makers… and then there’s ones that cost less that $99 – $100 or so.
Be sure that you are getting the exact portable ice maker model you want with the WARRANTY you need to get the best value.
Energy Star ratings are very important to let you know how much power/energy your portable ice maker will use in YOUR specific situation.
Obviously, an ice maker installed at home won’t be as concerning energy-use wise as one that is plugged in via a 12volt plug to your car or RV – or draining the battery on your boat.
Be mindful of energy and power consumption for the model you choose.
Ice Maker Options
You can get portable ice makers with refrigerated storage, water filters, space-savers, 12 v, 220 volt, 24ov, gas-powered ice makers – even propane-powered ones.
There are portable ice makers with a water dispenser, some with a freezer compartment, some of these portable ice makers also have an ice crusher option – some are meant to be installed and other portable ice makers are free-standing and are truly portable. There’s even fancy, high-end portable ice makers with LED screens and all kinds of ‘whistles and bells’.
see this countertop ice machine here
As you can see from just that short list of options, there is a LOT of choices to be made. You are certainly not limited by options – most are only limited by their budget.
For almost all uses, a smaller sized ice maker machine is ideal. Easier to travel with and will save space on your counter tops at home or office.
Be sure to review the size specs before buying to make sure it will fit your needs.
Speed of Ice Making
This was a big one for us – how FAST does the portable ice maker actually make ICE? To be truly useful for us, it needed to make ice cubes quickly.
Amount of Ice Cubes
Another important consideration before buying a portable ice maker is to decide how MUCH ice you need it to make each cycle and the maximum amount of ice cubes it can make in a day.
Some people really want a portable ice maker machine that makes 50 pounds of ice cubes… other folks choose 35 lbs or 30 lbs.
Again, lots of option here as well.
Ice Cube Size/Shape
Another important factor for many people comparing portable ice makers, is the type/size/shape of the ice cubes the machine makes.
Here is a simple graphic to show the 5 different types of ice cubes.
As you can see, there are crescent ice cubes, square ice cubes, flaked ice (the kind of ice cubes that Sonics restaurants have – my personal favorite) – there are ‘Top Hat’ ice cubes, and ‘Cublelet’ ice (the softer small pellet shaped ice cube pieces).
If you’ve never even thought about the shape of your ice cubes and really don’t care, you might want to ask your family, friends, and/or co-workers. I guarantee that someone DOES have a preference!
Ease of Use
No one wants a complicated appliance to deal with. Who has time to keep reading the manual for directions to learn how to use a portable ice maker?? No one, right!
Make sure your ice maker is easy to CLEAN as well. There is nothing worse that getting a fancy new gadget – and THEN learning how to clean it is harder than you ever anticipated.
Make sure it’s simple to use AND simple to clean.
There are MANY colors of portable ice makers available… from black to stainless steel to red to teal and back around the rainbow.
If you plan to install your portable ice maker in your home or anywhere else the decor matters, be sure the color and style you choose will blend and match well so it’s an accent – not an eye-sore.
Where to Buy
Personally, I buy virtually EVERYTHING from Amazon – and they have an excellent selection of portable ice makers with all sorts of options here.
The Free Shipping alone lets me know I am getting a great deal and I’ve found the prices to be consistently competitive.
Plus, it sure beats GOING out to buy a portable ice maker sold in stores like Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Kohls, Costco, etc – I’d rather my UPS guy BRING it to me…lol!
Here are other well-trusted sites online that have good deals and sales on portable ice makers.
I was looking through the portable ice maker deals at Walmart and came across this great little unit that currently costs a bit over $100 at Walmart, but today I see it cheaper here: (check current price here).
It takes about 10 minutes to make a cycle of ice cubes and can make up to 26 lbs of ice a day.
Also makes 2 kinds of ice cubes.
Best of all, this ice maker doesn’t need directions or an instruction manual – it’s THAT easy to use.
I came across this really good-looking RED portable ice maker at Kmart here and after looking around online, I saw it on sale today here.
Super easy to use – just plug it in, add water (bottled or tap), and press start on the LED screen and you’ll have fresh ice in just a few minutes.
Has lots of storage room for ice and keeps ice frozen, too. Also has an 18 hour time to let you plan ahead to have ice cubes ready and waiting when you’ll need them.
Brookstone has a very cool stainless steel portable ice maker so I poked around to see if I could find a better price. (today, the better price was here)
It makes 28 pounds of ice and takes about 6 – 10 minutes to go through an ice making cycle.
Also, it makes 3 styles of ice cubes =)
This is a good deal on a high-quality portable maker (shown in picture below)
Great for kitchen/home/mini-bar use or for on the go use (camping, RV, boat, etc).
It has a nice LED screen, and 18-hour timer (that’s a great feature for portable ice makers to have).
BestBuy has a unit that is definitely worth mentioning – the Mr Freeze 26 lb Portable ice maker.
This is a great portable ice maker for boat use, camping use, and/or in your RV.
Yes, it works great for home use as well, but it is extra “portable” making it perfect for outdoor use.
Produces up to 26 pounds of ice a day and only takes a few minutes per ice cube making cycle.
This unit is also the most affordable and inexpensive portable ice maker I’ve found today.
I was thrilled to see this deal on a teal blue colored small portable ice maker, isn’t it unique?
Update: the color options change regularly. Today I see silver/stainless steel and black units on sale on this page.
The deals change every day, but I’ve seen many of these ice maker deals for under $100.
Ok to Buy Refurbished?
Not only can you see a LOT of money and get a really cheap portable ice maker, if there is the “Prime” logo next to it, Amazon will have your back in the off chance something is wrong.
I have never had a problem with a Prime purchase that Amazon didn’t correct very quickly for me, so I would totally trust a refurbished appliance from them.
Which Portable Ice Maker is BEST?
I took a stroll around the internet to some trusted product comparison and reviews sites to see which portable ice maker they say is best.
Here’s what I found out…
Consumer Reports Says:
I really never took a good look at that model before, but the consumer reviews are pretty good, so might be worth a deeper look.
It’s a good-looking stainless steel portable ice maker that would look great in the kitchen on the counter. Oh, and it makes clear ice, too, like the ice you get in bars and restaurants – that’s kinda cool.
There is a helpful and pretty interesting video on Amazon about this ice maker… click to watch it below.
Home Depot Says:
I took a peek to see what the good folks at Home Depot had to say.
They say that this portable ice maker from Magic Chef is best – and it looks like a good one.
Makes 30 pounds of ice and each ice cube cycle is complete in 7 minutes – that’ really good.
It also offers the option to create 3 different sizes of ice cubes, with the “small setting” being similar to Sonic ice.
The reviews on Amazon here are “all or nothing” star-wise – consumers either love it… or hate it.
If you’re looking for the best-selling and most popular portable ice makers, check this page on Amazon (updated daily).
Igloo ICE101-Black Counter Top Ice Maker, BlackAvalon Bay AB-ICE26S Portable Ice MakerIgloo Countertop Compact 26 lb. Portable Freestanding Ice Maker, Red (Certified Refurbished)DELLA© Stainless Steel Water Dispenser w/ Built-In Ice Maker Machine Counter Portable, 40-PoundKnox Portable Ice Maker w/LCD Display – 2.8-Liter Water Reservoir, 3 Selectable Cube Sizes – Makes up to 27 Pounds of Ice Daily ,Stainless SteelSunpentown IM-101 Portable Ice Maker with LCD
New Portable Ice Makers for 2017
Thre are new models and brands of portable ice makers coming into the 2016 market every day. Check this page to see the newest models available.
Portable Ice Maker Deals