Yes, you can make ice on the freezer. However, it takes a bit of time to freeze water on ice cube trays, all while always seeming to run out sooner than you expect. Some refrigerators do have built-in ice makers and they tend to be very useful until they end up with problems that always seem to happen sooner than later. Plus, you’ll have to buy an entirely new fridge, which could be an issue if your current one continues to serve you well all this time.
For many folks, a countertop ice maker just might be a better option. This dedicated appliance allows you to make ice cubes at the push of a button, with wait times of well under 10 minutes, so you can simply do a chore and come back to a batch of ice cubes ready to put into your soda or iced coffee. Yes, they tend to take up a lot of counter space, but if you value being able to get ice any time you want it, it’s definitely worth making the room. Additionally, there are countertop ice machines in more compact sizes, so you might want to focus on those if you don’t have much extra space.
The best countertop ice makers can make anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds per day, which should be enough to cover most households’ ice cube needs. Some countertop ice makers have built-in freezing chambers that can keep the ice frozen until you use them, although some will just let them melt back into the device’s water tank, so with those machines, you’ll want to take the ice as soon as they’re made and put them in the freezer. Different ice makers produce different shapes of ice cubes, so if you have a preference in terms of shape and size, make sure that is something the ice maker you’re considering can actually make.
These are the best countertop ice makers to let you have a ready supply of ice cubes all day.
Igloo ICEB26RR Countertop Ice Maker
The most affordable ice maker in the list, this countertop machine can make nine bullet-shaped ice cubes in around seven minutes or so, with the integrated basket able to hold up to two pounds at a time. Do note, it takes quite a while to fill up the basket at that rate, so you will want to do something else while it fills up. Just make sure to check in every ten minutes or so, just to make sure your ice don’t end up melting. It makes ice in two sizes, by the way, so you can make bigger ice if you want cubes that can last longer or smaller ones if you like little ice you can chew on. In case the ice maker won’t run correctly, make sure to check the tiny filter in the water tank, which can occasionally get clogged. Other than that, though, this works charmingly, making it great value for the price.
When shopping for countertop ice makers, chances are, you’ll find many models similar to this one. From what we heard, they are basically all made by the same factories, just rebranded by different outfits. As such, they tend to have similar functions and form factors. We’re particularly fond of this one for its lower price point, which makes owning an ice maker really affordable.
This countertop ice maker is very similar to the Igloo above in function with slight differences in the design, such as vent holes on one side and an exhaust fan in the other. It’s just as reliable, cranking out nine ice cubes every seven minutes on its way to a maximum of 27 pounds in a 24-hour cycle. You can choose between two sizes of ice cube to fill up the basket, which can hold up to 1.5 pounds of ice at a time. It’s a bit more compact than the Igloo (around the three inches shorter in depth), so it should be easier to fit into a crowded counter.
This stainless steel appliance can make nine pieces of bullet-shaped ice cubes in as little as six minutes, with the basket able to hold up to 2.2 pounds of ice at a time. It can also make ice in three sizes, you’ve got a bit more options than the previous models in the list. There’s a large transparent window to the basket, so you can see how much ice you’ve got collected, with the machine able to produce up to 26 pounds in a 24-hour period. It’s actually one of the lightest ice makers we’ve seen at just a hair under 18 pounds, so this is a great option if you want one that you can move around from the kitchen to the backyard. The best upgrade feature it has over the first two is the self-cleaning program, which you can activate by pressing the Power button for five seconds. Do note the cleaning takes a full half-hour, so you’ll have to leave it for a bit to let it run through its paces.
If you need something faster than the first three options, you’ll appreciate this upgrade, which can produce 24 pieces of square-shaped ice cubes in just 15 minutes, with the integrated basket able to hold up to 2.4 pounds at a time. We love how much longer the square ice cubes last compared to the bullet ones, especially since they’re solid blocks, rather than hollow cylinders. That faster production allows it to produce up to 40 pounds of ice cubes in a 24-hour period, which could make this usable enough for smaller parties at home. The integrated water tank is a bit small at just 2.3 liters (for reference, the Igloo above has a 2.8-liter tank), so if you use a lot of ice, there’s a good chance you’ll have to refill frequently, considering how much ice it produces.
This fancy ice machine produces clearer ice than your typical ice maker. That’s because it uses a process that cascades water over a super-cooled tray which freezes ice layer by layer, leaving very little room for any gas or impurities. We’re talking about restaurant-quality ice here, so this is pretty impressive. It produces around 20 ice cubes every 20 minutes, with the option to produce thicker ice, which should take it a bit slower to make (not by much, so it’s still worth doing if you want it). The outfit claims a maximum output of 28 pounds per day, so it should be on par with most ice makers in the list. Like many ice makers here, it doesn’t keep the ice cubes frozen once they’re made, although the extra thick insulation allows it to last a fair bit longer before melting, so you can let them collect for a bit without worrying about losing otherwise good ice.
Whether you call it Sonic ice, pearl ice, nugget ice, or any of its other names, those soft, chewable style of ice cubes are incredibly fun to put in drinks and iced desserts. This countertop ice machine specializes in that, allowing you to produce those tiny frozen pellets from the comfort of your kitchen. It takes around 15 minutes for the machine to start producing ice, which it collects in the integrated drawer tray, with the machine continuing to make more until it’s full. Like many ice makers here, it doesn’t keep ice frozen, so you’ll want to transfer ice to the freezer if you want it to last, as the machine only uses insulation to keep it from melting quickly. The only downside for this is that the ice it makes have more of a square rather than round shape, so the ice is a little harder to chew while tending to stick together when you put them in the freezer.
GE Profile Opal 2.0 Nugget Ice Maker with Side Tank
If you want the best countertop ice maker for nugget ice, you’ll want this model from GE, which makes them rounder and chewier than the Newair model above. Its ice also doesn’t clump as easily, making it a better option if you want to move your ice to the freezer for later use. When you begin the cycle, it creates its first batch of ice in around 20 minutes, with the machine able to produce about a pound of ice every hour, so you can get 24 pounds in a 24-hour period. The container tray inside can fit three pounds of ice at a time, all while keeping it from melting a lot longer than most other options we’ve seen. We also appreciate the extra features, including the external water tank to minimize refill frequency, onboard touchscreen controls, app control via Wi-Fi, voice control, and a built-in UV light-based cleaning system.