The Benefits of Nugget Ice and How to Make it at Home

If you are a fan of soft, crunchy ice that you can easily chew on, you might be interested in the benefits of nugget ice. Nugget ice is a type of ice that is made from compressed ice flakes, resulting in small, porous cubes that absorb the flavor of your drink and melt evenly. Nugget ice is also known as pebble ice or Sonic ice because it is popularized by fast-food chains like Sonic and Chick-Fil-A.

This type of ice is versatile and you can use it for various purposes. You can enjoy it with your favorite soda, juice, cocktail, or smoothie. You can also use it to make cold desserts like shaved ice or slushies. Nugget ice is also ideal for healthcare facilities, as it is easy to chew and swallow, and you can mold it into therapeutic cold packs.

But how can you make nugget ice at home?

You might think that you need a fancy commercial machine or a special attachment for your refrigerator, but that’s not the case. There are many countertop nugget ice makers that you can buy online or in stores, and they are relatively affordable and easy to use. Here are some of the best nugget ice makers that we recommend:

  • GE Profile Opal 2.0 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker: This is one of the most popular and highly rated nugget ice makers on the market. You can produce up to 24 pounds of nugget ice per day and has a 3-pound capacity ice bin that you can refrigerate to keep the ice fresh. It also has a water reservoir that holds up to 2.5 quarts of water and you can connect to a water line for automatic refilling. The Opal 2.0 has a sleek design and a touchscreen control panel that lets you schedule ice-making, adjust the size of the nuggets, and monitor the status of the machine. You can also control the machine with your smartphone via Bluetooth or WiFi.

GE Opal Profile 2.0

  • Product Dimensions: ‎‎17.25 x 9.75 x 17.1 inches
  • Ice Production: 24 pounds per day
  • Voltage: 120
  • Euhomy Countertop Nugget Ice Maker: This is another great option for nugget ice lovers. You can get up to 30 pounds of nugget ice per day and has a 2.2-liter water tank that you can fill manually or hook up to a faucet. It also has a 2.5-pound capacity ice basket that is removable for easy cleaning. The Euhomy nugget ice maker has a simple LCD display that shows the water level, ice-making time, and ice full indicator. It also has a self-cleaning function that helps to maintain the hygiene of the machine.

Euhomy Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

  • Product Dimensions: ‎‎17.64″D x 9.69″W x 17″H inches
  • Ice Production: 30 pounds per day
  • Wattage: 170

Kitchen Basics 101 KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget Ice Maker: If you want a nugget ice maker that can dispense ice directly into your cup, this is the one for you. You can get up to 30 pounds of nugget ice per day and has a 1-liter water tank that you will need to refill manually. It also has a sensor that detects when your cup is full and stops dispensing automatically. The KBice nugget ice maker has a compact design and a simple button control that lets you turn on/off the machine and select the size of the nuggets.

Kitchen Basics 101 KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

  • Product Dimensions: 16″D x 12″W x 17.5″H inches
  • Ice Production: 30 pounds per day
  • Wattage: 120

Now that you have your own nugget ice maker at home, you can enjoy making various recipes and drinks with it. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Lemonade Slushie: Blend some lemonade with nugget ice until smooth and slushy. Add some fresh mint leaves for extra flavor and garnish with lemon slices.
  • Iced Coffee: Brew some strong coffee and let it cool slightly. Fill a glass with nugget ice and pour the coffee over it. Add some milk, creamer, or sweetener as desired.
  • Margarita: In a blender, combine some tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup, and nugget ice. Blend until smooth and frosty. Rim a glass with salt and pour the margarita into it. Garnish with lime wedges.
  • Shaved Ice: In a small saucepan, combine some sugar and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Add some food coloring and flavoring of your choice (such as strawberry, blueberry, pineapple, etc.). Transfer to a squeeze bottle and let it cool completely. Fill a bowl with nugget ice and drizzle the syrup over it.
  • Mojito: In a glass, muddle some fresh mint leaves

Portable Ice Maker Won´t Make Ice

melted ice cubes

Why My Portable Ice Maker Won’t Make Ice?

If your portable ice machine isn’t working, don’t be left without buying another one before properly diagnosing the problem. Different components, such as the water inlet valve or fill tube, can cause slow ice making and other ice maker-related problems. Use this troubleshooting guide to reduce potential ice maker failure problems.

Whatever the model of ice maker you have in your home, if you have problems making the ice as it should be, these tips can help you, although it is also advisable to review the user manual of each equipment.

Power supply

Yes, as silly as it may seem, the first thing to verify is that the machine is receiving electrical power. You can verify that the panel’s lights are on, that the power cord does not have any type of damage, and if the machine does not turn on, try to connect another electronic device in the same socket to verify if the problem is with the socket itself and not with the machine.

Power Supply

Operating time and temperature

If you are using your cooler for the first time or it has not been used for a long time, you should know that for it to start making ice, the equipment must be on for at least about six hours if after that time the portable ice maker does not work as it should.


Check the container and ice cubes

It is important that both the storage container and the ice cubes are checked from time to time, as this may be the reason why ice is not being produced. Some causes are:

  • The passage of the cubes may be blocked by the ice itself, preventing it from producing more, so it is advisable to check and clean from time to time, and use warm water in the opening of the ice cube to clear the way.
  • Check the condition of the ice, for this, you must slightly lift the lid of the bucket. If the ice is clumped and stuck, it prevents more from being produced, removes the ice, and waits for the maker to make new cubes.

ice cubes

When the machine is not producing enough ice, here are some problems that could be to blame:

Dirty Condenser or Filter:

If the freezing and harvesting cycle is too long,  dirt and scale can build up on the condenser or filter. Cleaning both components should help increase production. If you notice damage to either one, be sure to replace it right away.

Fan Motor Problems:

The fan motor may not be spinning or has an open pressure control. Check if the motor or fan blade is damaged. The controller should be tested by an authorized technician.

Low Refrigerant Charge:

Low refrigerant charge can prevent ice build-up. An authorized service agent should check for low charges and perform necessary repairs, including repairing leaks, refilling refrigerant, and replacing any components.

Misleading ‘Bin Full’ Light:

If the ‘Bin Full’ light is on but the bin is not full, the ice sensors may need to be cleaned or replaced.

Here is a very useful blog post from Better Home + Living that can help you out as well when your countertop ice maker won’t make ice.

What is an Ice Maker?

countertop ice maker

An ice maker is an appliance that makes ice. It can be found within a household freezer or as a standalone device, and other names for it include ice generator and ice maker. The function of an ice maker is easy to understand, but exactly how do these machines work?

It turns out that these devices are relatively simple but well-designed. Most ice makers are made up of three main components: an electric motor with a cooling unit, a heating unit, and an ice tray. They also require a clean water supply. It doesn’t matter if you have to fill it with water yourself, or if your ice machine has a water line dedicated to it. If the water is not clear enough, you can use filters to get higher quality, more transparent ice.

Euhomy Ice Maker

When you are ready to make ice, clean water is pumped into an ice tray in some way. Once the water is at the correct level, the cooling unit will activate and freeze the ice. All ice makers have built-in thermostats, so they know when to turn them on and off.

The heating unit kicks in after the water freezes in the ice tray. The heating unit heats the base of the ice tray so that the gigantic lump of ice separates and falls into the form of different cubes. The ice then falls into the ice bin where it is ready to be removed and served.

Before you buy a Portable Ice Maker

Because they may fit on a countertop, ice makers for homes are often referred to as Portable Ice Makers and/or Countertop Ice Makers. You can plug it in and make ice at your convenience, or store it out of the way when you don’t need it. Ice machines that are portable can produce tons of ice fast and effectively.

You don’t have to bother about connecting your appliance to a water source because the little machines have their own reservoirs and may fit on the kitchen counter. To ensure you have access to ice when away from home, they are also simple to move and set up in an RV or camper. But if you are thinking of buying an ice maker, then there are a few more things you also need to know. First of all, most ice makers are designed to make ice, not to store it.

Many ice machines do not include a cold storage unit. This means that ice storage is a temporary solution and melting is inevitable.

melting ice cubes

You will need a freezer to properly store ice, so don’t think you’re going to buy an ice machine with built-in ice storage unless you’re willing to pay a much higher price for a unit with a freezer.

An intermediate solution is to buy an ice machine with an insulated storage box, but most small, portable ice machines DO NOT come with insulated ice storage. You will probably have to buy a case packer or built-in unit to do that.

How to Clean a Countertop Ice Maker?

It’s fundamental to know how to clean a countertop ice maker which will avoid encountering mineral build-up and odd-tasting ice and mineral in it which can significantly decrease the ice production.

Steps to Clean your Portable Ice Maker

The mineral build-up can obstruct the production of ice or even stop it completely. Additionally, the molds can frame on the off chance that you don’t keep the machine clean.

There are portable ice machines with self-cleaning capability that makes the cleaning very simple, just taking some with vinegar, water, and the push of a button to get it done. Be that as it may, for different models which require manual cleaning, here’s the ticket:

  1. Unplug the machine from the electrical plug
  2. Drain the water out of the water tank
  3. Prepare some warm water and delicate detergent
  4. Using a damp piece of cloth gently rub off the dirt from the water repository, getting into the corners
  5. Remove the ice bushel and give it an exhaustive wash with the warm water and the detergent
  6. Leave the ice bushel to dry totally; you could even pop it in a radiant spot
  7. Wipe out the water tank with a dry fabric until totally dry
  8. Mix water and vinegar and then add it to the water tank
  9. Start the machine for a couple of ice cycles for the vinegar water to go through the machine
  10. Drain out the vinegar water and dry the machine altogether
  11. Leave the machine to sit still for 5 hours or overnight before using it again, as the cleaning procedure may have upset the coolant inside
  12. On the off chance that you notice any mildew-covered spots, utilize vinegar and water to wipe the machine and dry it.

Our Top 3 Cleaners for Portable Ice Makers

Now that you know how to clean it we’ll show you what you can clean it with. And remember, you just don’t clean your portable ice machine to remove the odd taste of your ice, ice makers can grow bacteria, and keeping it clean can do a huge favor to your well-being.

Here is what we considered the best cleaners for countertop ice makers:

Following these simple steps, you will avoid the common issue of odd ice tasting that can definitely spoil your drink, keep the ice production rate, and prolong the machine’s durability.

How To Use A Portable Ice Maker?

Setting Up A Countertop Ice Machine

As we’ve mentioned it is always recommended to read the user’s manual for your machine to know how to set it up, but there are some default steps might be able to follow despite the model or brand, so that you can know how to use a portable ice maker:

  1. Unwrap the machine
  2. Always put the ice maker on a flat surface and close to a power outlet
  3. To allow the airflow make sure there is a couple of inches of free space around the machine
  4. Clean the inside of the machine
  5. Let the machine’s coolant settle leaving it overnight on a flat surface
  6. Power it on
  7. Fill it up with water
  8. Start making ice!

countertop ice maker

How To Use A Countertop Ice Maker?

A Portable Ice Machine is usually a pretty easy-to-use device, regardless of the model or brand. There are a few principles to ensure proper and safe usage (it is always good to take a look at the user’s manual of your device). Below we have a step by step mini-guide that will help you with properly using a portable ice maker:

  • Set up your darn machine xD
  • Make sure the coolant is settled by letting your device stay still in a flat place overnight (the recommended time is 5 hours, but I personally let it sit for a whole day) before the first usage.
  • Plug it into the power outlet and make sure the device is ON. As basic as that might sound people tend to oversee the most obvious things in life.
  • Fill up the water tank, ideally with distilled water for better ice cubes.
  • If your device has an option for different ice sizes, select the desired one.
  • Drink a beer and let it do its magic, the ice cubes will fall into the ice tray.
  • In the event your machine doesn’t have a sensor to automatically turn it off when the ice tray is full, you can manually switch it off.
  • You can use the ice right away or put it into your cooler or freezer, otherwise, it’ll melt.
  • Never shake or tilt your ice maker, make sure you give it its proper maintenance.

And that’s it, it’s not a big deal since free-standing ice machines are user-friendly and you can learn how to use them just by reading the buttons on the digital panel.


8 Things to Consider To Choose the Best Portable Ice Maker

You might be pretty confident with choosing a Countertop Ice Maker, but there are 8 things to consider to choose the best portable ice machine that we recommend that you pay close attention to so you get the best home-ice maker based on your needs.

Size and capacity

For the most part, portable ice machines will be on the small side, which is what makes them portable, but you’ll find some variety in the amount of ice they can produce, the space they take up, and even the amount of ice cubes they can store. Manufacturers will provide the dimensions and capacity ratio in their product specifications, making it easy to confirm that you are buying the size or capacity you need.

If your portable ice maker will spend most of the time sitting on a counter in your home kitchen, RV or boat, then you should check how much space is available there to make sure you don’t end up with a machine. That does not fit. However, if you want to take your ice maker from one place to another or only use it when you have company, then we recommend that you check the weight of the appliance to make sure that it is something that will be comfortable for you to carry.

If size and weight are not particular concerns, then the main thing is to think about capacity. You want a machine that can hold as much ice as you need unless you agree to bag the ice to move it to a freezer for storage. An ice machine that is too small will not completely solve your problems, and one that is too large will probably only waste energy and space. Carefully consider how much ice you think you’ll need before making your purchase, as this will help you determine which ice machine will be best for your particular situation.

Production capacity and speed

ice bucket

In addition to calculating how much ice your ice machine needs to hold, you need to make sure it will make ice fast enough for you. Production capacity is typically provided in pounds of ice per day.

If you and your family or office colleagues regularly go through a lot of ice or want to be sure that your party guests will never have to wait for the glass to be refilled, then the higher the production capacity, the better off you will be.

If you’re going through the ice quickly, be aware that someone will have to take a minute to pour more water. Part of what makes this type of “portable” ice maker is that you don’t have to connect it to a dedicated water line. While this eliminates any complicated installation requirements, you will still have to continually add water manually. It’s not a great job, but it’s one that someone will have to make sure to do to keep the ice from running out.

Most manufacturers also make it clear in their product specifications how long you can wait until you start getting ice. Most countertop ice machines will start producing ice somewhere in the 10-20 minute range after first adding water and turning them on. This will vary from model to model, so if speed is an important factor for you then you will want to make sure you keep an eye on this.


piles of money

Portable ice machines are relatively affordable devices. They usually start at about $100 and then range in cost to around $350 for higher capacity models. All in all, it’s not a huge range in cost. A detailed review of the reviews suggests that going one step beyond the more cost-effective models typically means ending up with a machine that lasts longer. Many of the cheapest starting ice machines seem to have problems in the first year, especially when they are heavily used.

Durability is going to be the main reason you should consider going with a unit that costs a bit more. If you plan to use it frequently or keep it plugged in all the time, then you’ll want to consider spending a little more to make sure you have an ice maker that’s built to last. However, if you only plan to use it for special events or when you have guests, then a lower-priced ice machine will probably fit your needs.

Production capacity is another factor that will influence the global price. Higher-capacity models will probably cost a bit more. There are some features that can also raise the cost of a machine, such as smart water usage or easy-to-use controls.


countertop ice maker

If your portable ice maker is constantly kept on a counter, then you probably want to consider which of the available models will look good there. As you search your options, you’ll quickly notice that counter ice machines are available in a range of colors and finishes.

The most common colors will be black, white, and stainless steel. However, you will also find many units available that will allow you to add a pop of color. So if all your gadgets are red, you will have options to match. The aesthetic appeal is purely subjective, so you only have to explore your options to see which models you like the most and which ones you think will fit in with your current home decor.

Easy to use

In general, portable ice machines are fairly easy to use. Most of them have intuitive controls, and basic instructions, and have no real installation requirements (only one outlet is needed). There are models with a user-friendly buttons setup that makes them easier to use, and others with features like self-cleaning or the simple feature of indicating to you when the ice tray is full. However, in general, you shouldn’t worry too much about knowing how to use a portable ice maker.

One thing that really lends itself to ease of use is a smart water use feature that filters and freezes the water again as the ice in the machine melts. You won’t have to refill the machine as often, or drain all the ice you don’t use on time. Of course, you will still have to clean the ice machine between uses, but the function saves some of the steps you would have to do differently.


A self-cleaning ice machine makes the most tedious part of using a portable ice machine – cleaning – much easier.


Freezing water is hard work. Therefore, any machine that is not particularly well made is likely to have problems in a relatively short time of use. Unfortunately, portable ice machines aren’t the kind of appliance you can count on buying once and using for a decade or more, even most of the highest-quality models are unlikely to last that long. But spending a little more can be the difference between getting a year or less of use or a few years of your machine.

Most portable ice machines come with warranties on how long you can count on the machine to last (or giving you peace of mind that you’ll at least have a replacement if there’s a problem). Others allow you to purchase a warranty, which may well be worth the cost based on how many reviewers of various models had problems.

The best way to get an idea of ​​how long you can expect your portable ice maker to last is to read the reviews. People will complain if their model doesn’t last long enough to satisfy, and many also take the time to praise a machine that runs smoothly for a decent time.

Smart use of water

One of the most enjoyable features that a portable ice maker can offer is the smart use of water. If you don’t use all the ice the machine creates before it melts, the ice machine will reuse it and make it nice again.

Since counter-ice machines do not keep ice frozen, without this feature there is a risk of wasting water being thrown away if the ice is not transferred to a freezer or used quickly enough. And you’ll have to deal with more mess between uses. Clever use of water saves water, saves you the trouble of having to refill the machine, and ensures that you can use the product without running out and having to add new water as often.

Extra features:

Automatic timer

An automatic timer allows you to set a specific time for the machine to make ice so that it is ready for you when you need it.

Ice Size Selection

Some portable ice machines allow you to choose between two or three different ice sizes based on your personal preference.

Ice Shovel

A few portable ice makers come with an included ice shovel.


Just got your portable ice maker or thinking about buying one? We got you, with the most FAQs about countertop ice makers.

How can I get perfect cubes from my ice maker?

The most practical way to get perfect ice cubes is to boil and cool the water prior to adding it to your ice machine. This will assist with disposing of little air bubbles and any particles stowing away in the water.

There are some countertop Ice Makers that can excellent or near-perfect ice cubes, yet most produce foggy or murky ice. There’s not much hazardous about foggy ice. That just means that your ice might melt quicker because of the nearness of air in the ice.

How long do ice makers usually last?

We have to be aware that it will depend on the brands since each brand has its own quality standard, but also depends on the user as well if we take into count maintenance and usage. An ice maker with proper maintenance and safely carried over will last longer, in theory.

Keeping a portable ice machine upstanding consistently and abstaining from movement or inclining can last longer, as disturbing the cooling system and coolants can damage the machine. In general, Ice Makers can last up to 3 years minimum.

Can I make my Ice Maker make ice faster?

There is not too much to do when it comes to changing the rate at which your portable ice maker produces ice. Ice creators accompany a specific speed that can’t be manipulated, so that’s wide we included the speed into our article about the factors to choose the best ice maker.

We might not have a button to increase the ice-making speed but what we can do is to fill the tank up with colder water to help the ice creation along. In the event that you need ice rapidly, and your machine offers diverse ice sizes, pick the littler size as the ice production cycle will be quicker than the bigger ice sizes.

Can Portable Ice Machines keep the ice frozen?

No, most portable ice machines are intended just to make the ice, not to store it like in a cooler. You can leave it in the ice tray for a little, but you are supposed to either use it right away or put it in a cooler or a freezer if you want to store it for a longer period of time.

Do I have to use a water filter?

Not really. You can simply use the water you would regularly drink. You can also use the tap water, as long as it is sanitary and safe, if it is, you won’t need to filter it. Be that as it may, in case you’re concerned, you can use purified water or distill it before you empty it into the tank (you can also boil it and let it cool).

What is the best ice maker brand for camping?

There are many options and we have made countertop ice maker reviews to find the best ice makers but when it comes to camping we think Edgestar and Homelabs can give you the best performance for outdoor activities, they are very practical and the melted ice goes back to the water tank for reuse.

4 Benefits of a Portable Ice Maker

There are not too many factors to consider when buying a portable ice maker because all models have similar characteristics. Once you have defined the necessary size, the use it will give you and the amount of ice you need, you are one step away from acquiring a portable ice cube maker. We’ll show you the 4 benefits of a portable ice maker.

If you are still not sure if you need a portable ice maker, I will show you below the advantages of buying one of these portable ice machines.

  1. Portability

These machines can be easily transported to the place you need them most, such as the dining room, the terrace or outside in the garden.

  1. Fast Ice Production

Portable ice machines produce ice very quickly. This is ideal for situations where we forget to put ice in the freezer or just did not have in the supermarket. All you have to do is fill the tank, turn it on, and in ten minutes or less you can enjoy ice cubes for the drink. You don’t have to fill ice trays and wait for your freezer to do its job, which often takes up to 1 hour.

  1. Little Maintenance

The third advantage of having a portable ice machine is that it requires very little maintenance. They are easy to clean and often recycle water from melted unused ice.

  1. Easy to use

1Last but not least, a portable ice maker is very easy to use. It is not necessary to read the instruction manual (although it is recommended to do so) to know how they work since their operation is extremely easy.

Ice Maker Refrigeration Cycle

The vapor-compression refrigeration cycle used in a home ice maker is the same that is used in an air conditioner, refrigerator, or freezer. It’s based on the scientific principle of thermodynamics, which explains the transfer of heat during evaporation. When a coolant, like a refrigerant, transforms from a liquid into a gas, it is able to absorb the surrounding heat during the transformation. The coolant then releases that heat when it changes back into a liquid to complete the so-called ice maker refrigeration cycle.

A refrigeration system has four main components that facilitate the transfer of heat via the coolant.

Components of an Ice Maker:


Compresses the coolant, turning it into a hot, high-pressure gas.


A set of coiled pipes on (or near) the exterior of the unit that dissipates heat as the coolant transforms into the high water pressure.

Expansion Water Valve

Also known as an inlet valve, releases the pressure on the coolant, turning it into vapor again and lowering the temperature of the coolant.


Another set of heat-exchanging pipes on the interior of the unit makes the interior of the unit cold

Here is a diagram of how the system works in principle:

With a freezer or refrigerator, the cold air produced by the evaporator is collected in the unit’s insulated interior. In an air conditioner, the cold air is distributed throughout the room by means of a fan. In a portable ice maker, however, the cold produced by the evaporator is concentrated in the prongs attached to the evaporator, so that ice forms on them when they are immersed in freshwater.

Keep in mind that those prongs can get very, very cold, avoid touching them when the unit is plugged in and operating!

Troubleshoot a Portable Ice Maker

Several mechanical systems work together in a portable ice maker. Problems in any one of them can lead to underperformance, or outright failure, of the unit. Here’s how to diagnose operational problems and troubleshoot a portable ice maker.

Common Countertop Ice Makers Issues

Power supply

power supply

If the unit won’t turn on, we have make sure if it is plugged into an outlet of the proper voltage and the circuit breaker is functioning. If the problem persists we will have to get take the unit to a qualified electrician for repair.

Broken pump

If the water pump in an ice maker fails, no water will be moved from the water reservoir to the freeze tray. Replacing the water pump should correct this problem.

Leaking water

If the pump is operating but no water is reaching the freeze tray, or there is water leaking from the unit, likely causes are probably a blocked or broken hose in the pump system.

Leaking coolant

If the system appears to be operating normally, but ice doesn’t form, there is probably a coolant leak. You might actually see an oily substance leaking from the unit. This needs to be repaired by a qualified technician.

Insufficient ice

If the ice produced is too small, it may be the ambient air temperature is too warm, the water supply is low, or the water placed in the reservoir is too warm. Try using chilled water and see if it helps. If the problem persists, there may be a small coolant leak that is affecting system performance. We need to get this repaired by a qualified technician. Likewise, if ice is only forming on some of the evaporator prongs.

If you experience problems with your countertop ice maker, you should contact the customer service center for assistance. Most of the brands have a generous 365-day return policy and they’d be happy to help you resolve your problems, so you can continue enjoying plentiful fresh ice whenever you need it.