The 9 Best Portable Ice Makers

Updated May 07, 2018 by Jordan Melcher

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Nothing brings a fun gathering to a grinding halt like running out of ice. Suddenly, you can't make any more frozen margaritas, piña coladas, or daiquiris. Conversations will die down, and people will start slowly shuffling out the door. However, with one of these portable icemakers, your party will run like a well-oiled machine long into the night. Just try not to annoy the neighbors too much. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best portable ice maker on Amazon.

9. NutriChef PICEM75

The NutriChef PICEM75 allows you to connect directly to a water supply line, and is designed to fit on just about any surface. If you've been trying to find the best option for your home, or for those wild office parties, look no further.
  • housing is stain resistant
  • includes a water dispenser
  • reservoir is on the smaller side
Brand NutriChef
Model PICEM75
Weight 30.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Whynter IMC-270MS

Barely a handful at 19 pounds, the Whynter IMC-270MS is highly portable, compact, and doesn't require direct plumbing. All you need is a 110v outlet and some water, and you'll be enjoying a cool, refreshing beverage in no time at all.
  • automatic shutoff
  • good for small groups of people
  • won't keep ice frozen very long
Brand Whynter
Model IMC-270MS
Weight 20.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Ivation IVA-ICEM25WH

The Ivation IVA-ICEM25WH combines, ease of use, a huge reservoir, and fast production into one unobtrusive package. Its bullet-shaped ice cubes come in three sizes, so you can accommodate almost any type of drinker, and there's a removable tray for easy transfer.
  • simple push-button operation
  • viewing window in the lid
  • can be a bit noisy
Brand Ivation
Weight 25.5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S

For budget-minded shoppers, the Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S is a high-quality product that's still priced to sell. The handy indicator lights remind you when it needs more water and when the basket is full. Additionally, it has a drain that makes emptying and cleaning a breeze.
  • clearly labeled controls
  • removable basket
  • output is relatively low
Brand Avalon Bay
Model AB-ICE26S
Weight 20.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. NewAir AI-100BK

The streamlined, easily maintained NewAir AI-100BK will be a welcome addition to your kitchen counter, your poolside cabana, or anywhere else you see fit. It's regulated by overflow protection, and the elegant design won't clash with the surroundings.
  • convenient side-mount drain
  • scoop comes included
  • takes a while to work
Brand NewAir
Model AI-100BK
Weight 27.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. RCA ICE102

The RCA ICE102 is fast and capacious, with a 2.3 quart reservoir, so you can make sure you have plenty of cubes to go around. It can have everything ready in well under 10 minutes, so don't worry if you're already getting thirsty.
  • great price given its quality
  • comes in four color combinations
  • electronic led controls
Brand RCA
Model ICE102-Red
Weight 22.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Della 048-GM-48298

The Della 048-GM-48298 runs quieter than a desktop computer, and has a see-through window so you can keep an eye on its progress when in use. However, you may as well just let it run, since it features an alert system to let you know when it needs servicing.
  • clear and simple instructions
  • integrated storage bin
  • great for camping trips
Model 048-GM-48298
Weight 21.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Think Gizmos TG22

The Think Gizmos TG22 is quite an attractive unit, thanks to the stainless steel design and ABS housing. All you have to do is pop the lid and fill it up to the water line, and you'll be on your way to producing 3 separate sizes of ice in no time at all.
  • 12-month warranty
  • easy to access front selection panel
  • exhaust fan won't heat up too much
Brand Think Gizmos
Model TG22
Weight 25.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. HomeLabs HME010019N

The HomeLabs HME010019N boasts an updated, simplified control panel, and arrives ready for use. It has a storage capacity of up to 1.5 pounds, and creates multiple batches of wonderfully shaped cubes in as little as 8 minutes.
  • doesn't take up much space
  • quiet compressor
  • keeps ice frozen for hours
Brand hOmeLabs
Model HME010019N
Weight 19 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Simplicity On Your Counter Top

A portable ice maker is a machine that contains an independent ice generator that will form and freeze ice cubes.

While large, commercial ice makers often require a connection to a water line, a portable ice maker simply needs to have water deposited into its reservoir. The portable ice maker only needs to be plugged in to operate, and it will even keep the ice frozen for a certain period of time before you transfer it to a drink, cooler, or freezer.

The portable ice maker is a variation of the standard ice maker that can be found inside some home freezers or industrial-sized machines. When someone refers to an "ice machine," however, they generally mean a stand alone appliance intended specifically for making ice.

Your average portable ice maker has to be small enough to fit on a counter top. They are the smallest ice makers that you can purchase on the market, and they produce ice faster than the average ice maker built into a home refrigerator. Most produce their first batch of ice within an average of ten minutes.

All you have to do is fill the designated reservoir with water, plug in the machine, and turn it on. The water pumps into a tub that has metal pegs equipped with a heating and cooling system. The cooling system causes the water to freeze around the rings, and the heating system warms up just enough to cause the ice to drop off from the rings once the ice is fully formed in a bullet shape.

Unfortunately, they don't keep your ice frozen indefinitely, so you have to transfer the ice into your freezer, drink, or cooler once the bin is full. Otherwise, the ice will melt and then recycle back into the reservoir to make more ice.

The Portable Ice Maker Advantage

There are not a lot of individual factors to consider when choosing the best portable ice maker to suit your needs. Once you have taken into account your plans for its use, what size you need, and what style you like best, you are well on your way to portable ice maker heaven.

If you are still on the fence about whether or not you need a portable ice maker at all, take a moment to consider all of the advantages that come with owning one of these machines.

The first and most obvious advantage is its portability. (It's right in the name!) You can easily transport your chosen machine to whatever place is most convenient for you. If you enjoy boating, camping, or throwing outdoor parties, your portable ice maker can go wherever you go.

Secondly, portable ice makers work fast. Even if you forgot to put ice in the freezer for your drink with tonight's dinner, all you have to do is fill the reservoir, turn it on, and you will have your ice in ten minutes or less. You don't have to fill ice trays and wait for your freezer to do its job.

The third advantage to owning a portable ice maker is that it requires very little maintenance. They are simple to clean and often recycle the water from unused ice that was melted. To keep it clean, you only need to wipe it out and occasionally send some lemon juice or vinegar through the drain.

Last, but not least, a portable ice maker is convenient. You barely need to read the instructions (although we still recommend that you do) because the operating system for each portable ice maker is so straightforward. No matter what you plan to use it for, you can't go wrong with a purchase of a high-quality portable ice maker to save you time and money and keep you cool year-round.

History of the Portable Ice Maker

Up until the mid-19th century, ice was a precious summer commodity, especially in the southern parts of the United States. People often had to import ice from northern states, and obviously not everyone could afford to do that.

Even during the 1800s, the idea of having ice to cool down on hot days was hard to sell. Case in point, Frederic Tudor of Boston. Tudor, along with his brother, came up with the genius idea to harvest ice from their estate's pond, and sell it in the stifling West Indies. After spending dollar after dollar, including five thousand alone to ship the ice via boat, Tudor arrived in the Caribbean, and no one wanted to buy the ice.

It took Tudor 10 years to see any profit. Even that didn't last long thanks to a mix of war, bad weather, and family monetary issues. By 1813, Tudor found himself in debtor's prison three times, and tried his best to allude the sheriff for years to follow. He eventually found success, however, and Tudor died an old man with a net worth of 12 million in today's dollars.

On July 14, 1850, Dr. John Gorrie threw a party in Florida and served his guests trays of ice - the first to ever be produced by a machine. His medical practice had led him to pursue cooling solutions to keep his patients with tropical diseases more comfortable.

He gave up his practice in 1845 and made refrigeration experiments a full time pursuit. He improved on the inventions of men that had attempted the same things before him. His original machine now resides in the Gorrie Museum in Apalachicola, Florida. Not only was he a pioneer in modern ice making, but he helped pave the way for modern air conditioning systems as well.

He perfected the process of "vapor compression refrigeration" that resulted in mechanically produced ice. Modern ice makers use a refrigerant (such as Freon) to aid in the cooling and compression system. Because portable ice makers require a much simpler form of this process, they are the fastest way to produce ice.

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Last updated on May 07, 2018 by Jordan Melcher

Born in California, Jordan moved all over the country before deciding that maybe he should just come back to the Golden State and stay for a bit. He’s a writer and musician who holds strong opinions about most things.

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