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The best countertop ice makers, according to experts

These countertop ice makers will make sure you always have ice at the ready.
Ice Machine on a counter top
Ice makers like these expert-recommended options make entertaining a breezeAmazon

If you love to entertain, you know that ice can be a hassle. Sure, you can buy a bag of ice at the store and lug it home, or overload your freezer with as many ice trays as possible. Neither option is ideal when your guests are waiting for their cocktails and mocktails. That’s where an ice maker can help. These countertop devices churn out ice at a steady pace, keeping you stress-free and your guests refreshed. We interviewed multiple experts in the hospitality industry to teach us what to look for in your next countertop ice maker.

SKIP AHEAD The best ice makers | How to shop for an ice maker

Our top picks

How we picked the best ice makers

Ice makers come in two forms: commercial, like the large ice makers you’ll find at restaurants, or countertop versions, which are much smaller and designed for at-home use. For the purpose of this article, we focused on countertop ice makers for keeping drinks cold at home. When shopping for the best countertop ice makers, experts recommend keeping the following mind:

Size and weight: The best ice maker for you depends on your kitchen’s aesthetic and space constraints. We considered options that were no more than 14 inches wide and weighed less than 40 pounds when empty.

Production capacity: Nearly every option we recommend takes no more than 20 minutes to produce an initial batch of ice. How large that batch is, varies.

Storage capacity: We included options that can store at least one pound of ice.

Type of ice: Ice comes in many forms, including nuggets (or pellets), bullets and cubes. Bullet ice, for example, melts more evenly and slowly, which means it can keep your mixed drinks chilled for longer, according to our experts. Nugget ice, on the other hand, is considered more chewable, making it a better choice for blended drinks, like frozen margaritas.

The best ice makers

Below, we’ve listed the best countertop ice makers to consider buying based on our experts’ guidance and recommendations.

Best nugget ice makers

GE Profile Opal 2.0

Erin Swain, a sommelier, mixologist and wine educator, recommended the GE Profile Opal 2.0 for its quick ice production and smart features This nugget ice maker produces 24 pounds of ice a day total and can store up to three pounds of ice. Your first batch will be ready within 20 minutes, according to the brand. It has Wi-Fi compatibility, allowing you to schedule when you want to make more ice or check how full the machine is. And, it has a self-cleaning system complete with UV light for disinfecting. This one also comes highly recommended by Kyle J McHugh, a bartender and brand ambassador for Bulleit Frontier Whiskey who’s spent for over 16 years in the distilled spirits industry.

Capacity: 3 lbs | Size: 17.5 x 13.43 x 16.5 inches | Daily Production: 24 lbs | Ice Type: Nugget | Weight: 38 lbs

Thereye Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

The Thereye ice maker has one of the largest production capacities of any ice maker we recommend — it can produce 30 pounds of ice per day with the first batch ready in just 15 minutes, according to the brand. The machine itself can hold up to 3.3 pounds and has a self-cleaning function that can be activated with the click of a button. There are two ways to refill this ice maker: manually through the water reservoir, or you can connect the 10-foot inlet hose to your water line which will automatically refill water as you need it.

Capacity: 3.3 lbs| Size: 17.63 x 10.43 x 17.72 inches| Daily Production: 30 lbs l | Ice Type: Nugget| Weight: 39.8 lbs

Newair 44lb. Nugget Countertop Ice Maker

This option from Newair is another one of Swain’s favorites as it creates softer, ‘chewable’ ice and has a sleek, minimalistic design that can blend seamlessly into modern kitchens. Leandro DiMonriva, the creator and host of The Educated Barfly and a mixologist, also recommended this ice maker which he primarily uses for crushed ice cocktails like a mint julep. It has a 44-pound production capacity, self-cleaning feature and can store 1.5 pounds of ice at a time. Its viewing window helps you keep an eye on how full the machine is.

Capacity: 1.5 lbs | Size: 15 x 9.84 x 16.54 inches| Daily Production: 44 lbs| Ice Type: Nugget | Weight: 34 lbs

Best bullet ice makers

Magic Chef Portable Ice Maker

Swain recommended the Magic Chef ice maker as it’s considerably lighter than most other ice makers on the market. It can produce 27 pounds of ice in one day, according to the brand. This ice maker also has a digital control panel that lets you know when the storage bin (which can hold 1.5 pounds) is full. There are two different sizes of ice bullets you can choose from, depending on your preference.

Capacity: 1.5 lbs | Size: ‎15.4 x 11.7 x 15.7 inches | Daily Production: 27 lbs l | Ice Type: Bullet | Weight: 17.8 lbs

Frigidaire Compact Countertop Ice Maker

Frigidaire makes some of the best affordable ice makers, according to McHugh. This ice maker can produce as much as 26 pounds of ice per day and store up to 1.7 pounds of ice at a time, according to the brand. One batch of ice takes around nine minutes, on par with other ice makers on this list.

Capacity: 1.7 lbs | Size: 13.5 x 10 x 14 inches | Daily Production: 26 lbs | Ice Type: Bullet | Weight: 17.16 lbs

Best cube ice maker

Klaris The Clear Ice Maker

If you’re looking for clear, large cubes, ideal for spirits on the rocks, DiMonriva suggested buying this ice maker from Klaris. Unlike other models, which are sold according to their production capacity, this model produces 2-inch by 2-inch ice cubes within 8 to 10 hours, according to the brand. This is much slower than any other option on our list but can produce ice cubes that won’t immediately melt when added to your mixed drinks.

Capacity: N/A | Size: 9 x 9x 12 inches | Daily Production: N/A | Ice Type: Cube | Weight: 9 lbs

Can ice makers keep ice frozen?

Ice makers are not designed to keep ice frozen — ice will eventually melt in your ice maker and make its way back into the water reservoir. The purpose of an ice maker is to make ice for immediate or quick use only. That said, commercial ice makers do sometimes have insulation built-in, but they’re an exception

How to shop for ice makers

“The consideration should always be ‘what am I going to do with this ice machine?” says DiMonriva. “The style of drinks you make will ultimately determine what you buy.” Here are other factors to keep in mind:

Maintenance: Nearly all of our recommended ice makers come with self-cleaning features, which help ensure your ice maker will always be ready to use.

Ice size: Camper English, a cocktails and spirits writer expert and author of “The Ice Book,” also recommended keeping your favorite drink in mind while shopping for an ice maker.” Do you and your family mostly drink sodas, iced tea and other non-alcoholic beverages? Then the size of the ice from the machine isn’t as important,” he says. “If you’re trying to make craft cocktails, bigger cubes are often better because they dilute more slowly.

Durability: Swain recommended staying away from budget ice makers, or spending much less than $300. “Expect your ice maker to call it quits after a year when buying on a budget.” A good ice maker can last you up to five years, or even longer depending on usage.

“At the end of the day look for clean, clear ice and don't be afraid to invest in quality,” adds McHugh.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Erin Swain is a sommelier, mixologist and culinary expert. She hosts a wine education podcast, mixology virtual classes and is a contributing wine writer at Hearst magazines.

Camper English is a clear ice expert and author of The Ice Book: Cool Cubes, Clear Spheres, and Other Chill Cocktail Crafts.

Kyle J McHugh is a west coast brand ambassador for Bulleit Frontier Whiskey. Kyle has spent over 16 years in the distilled spirits industry. He has also served as the president of the Sacramento Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild.

Leandro Pari DiMonriva is the Writer, Producer, Host and Co-Creator of The Educated Barfly.

Why trust Select?

Nishka Dhawan is the associate commerce editor at Select and has written about the beverage industry for over two years. For this article, she interviewed published authors, bartenders and mixologists to learn about the best ice makers.

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