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