If you’ve ever had a dinner party, summer morning coffee or any other beverage ruined by a lack of ice, a countertop ice maker could be your saving grace. The machines, which can be plugged in and set to work instantly, free up valuable freezer space and produce impressively clear large cubes. However, deciding which to buy is all about finding a model that fits your lifestyle. When shopping for an ice machine, consider how you plan to use it, as well as your aesthetic and noise tolerance. The options range from nearly silent to unpleasantly whirring, so consider what you’re looking for and how it will fit into the rest of your kitchen.
To curate our list, Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing about consumer products like home appliances and gadgets, read through hundreds of reviews and specs to find the most reliable, high-quality models on the market. She also interviewed experts, including Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a Neighborly company. We based our top picks on the ice-making capabilities, ease of operation and cleaning, water capacity and noise level of the machines we tested.
For people who don’t have a lot of counter space, the Igloo Self-Cleaning Countertop Ice Maker is a great choice. It produces a respectable amount of ice—nine bullet-shaped cubes in two sizes—every 9.5 minutes and has a convenient clear window that lets you see how much is coming out. It also has a timer function and can connect to your WiFi to enable remote monitoring and scheduling. The only drawback is that it can take a while to fill the water tank, and its ice bin tends to make concerning cracking noises as it gets full.
The GE Opal is another option that we love for its ease of use and ability to create nugget ice. It has a user-friendly digital control panel and can connect to your WiFi, allowing you to operate it from anywhere and set a schedule for when you want it to turn on. Its storage bin can hold up to 1.5 pounds of ice at a time and comes with an alarm that warns you when it’s time to empty. It can also be used as a water dispenser, which is nice for parties.
While this Best Ice Maker Machine Review is fairly quiet, it does have a loud fan that runs constantly, which can be obtrusive. Its storage bin holds less ice than the other machines we tested, so you’ll have to refill it more frequently and it isn’t as portable as we would have liked, but its sleek design and low price point make it a good pick for anyone who wants quick, chewy nuggets. The machine is easy to clean and uses a solution of diluted dish detergent instead of bleach, as most other models require. The manual recommends rinsing the removable parts and running a self-cleaning cycle before using it for the first time.