Ice makers have become increasingly popular in recent years as machines that can generate large quantities of ice for either home or commercial use. Regular fridge-freezers simply cannot cope with the volume and speed that ice makers can produce. If you own a supermarket, café, restaurant or any establishment where ice is required to keep products cool or added to food/drink, an ice maker is essential to give you all the ice you require in a typical day. Many modern-day ice makers use energy-saving technology, so you will hardly notice the difference in your monthly bills if you purchase an ice maker.
What are the best ice makers currently available to purchase? This article attempts to give you some answers to guide you in the process of purchasing the best ice maker to suit your needs. In our buying guide, we outline certain features to consider when buying an ice maker, these include size, capacity, installation, ice shape and user-friendliness. It is important to take time and research before you commit to purchasing.
Top 6 Ice Makers Review 2020
This article has been put together from various online sources, including manufacturer websites and customer reviews. The article first has a comparison table of the reviewed products, followed by 6 in-depth reviews of some of the best ice makers currently available to purchase. The reviews include key features, pros/cons and product descriptions. The article then presents a buying guide, FAQ section and concludes with the top three best ice makers.
Powerful and producing low noise this high quality ice maker can store up to 29 pounds of frozen cubes
Capable of producing up to 135 pounds of half and full-sized ice cubes per day Manitowoc machine can also adjust height
Great ice maker to fit under counter up to 31 inches high and made of rust-resistant stainless steel with a convenient LED panel
Great for bigger restaurants this commercial ice maker can produce 500 pounds of ice cubes per day with the 375 pound capacity
Compact ice producing machine with a 6-minute long cycle of work with a convenient viewing window and a 2-liter water reservoir
Budget-friendly compact ice maker with automatic shut-off option and multiple indicators to control the functioning fully
HomeLabs Freestanding Commercial Ice Maker Machine – Editor’s Choice
- Dimensions: 17.6 x 15.7 x 31.4 inches
- Production per day: 99 lbs
- Cycle time: 11-20 min.
- Ice shape: cube
- Warranty: 2-year limited
More features: 29 lbs storage capacity, 6’5’’ drain hose, 9’ water supply hose, ice scoop included, LCD indicator, 1.2-liter water tank
The HomeLabs Freestanding Commercial Ice Maker Machine is renowned for its intensive ice-making capability and serves as one of the best commercial ice machines currently available to purchase. Featuring a freestanding design with dimensions of 17.6 x 15.7 x 31.4 inches, the HomeLabs Ice Maker can slot in anywhere in your kitchen or pantry.
One of the best benefits of the HomeLabs Ice Maker is its storage capacity. At 99lbs, the machine can produce a huge amount of ice per day which is made in the form of ice cubes. This is ideal for bars or restaurants who frequently require large amounts of ice. The speed at which the ice can be produced is also very competitive, with cycles typically lasting between 11 to 20 minutes.
Another great benefit of the HomeLabs Ice Maker is that the 1.2L water tank can fit straight onto your water supply. This makes the refill process considerably easier, with users prevented from having to physically remove the tank to refill. The controls of the ice maker are very easy to use. Controls can be adjusted for the thickness of the ice as well as the time it takes to produce the ice. The automatic cleaning function also makes machine maintenance much easier.
Purchasing the HomeLabs Ice Maker includes a variety of essential accessories to make the cycle of ice production easy to manage. Such accessories include an ice scoop, water supply hose and connector as well as a draining hose, making it one of the best under counter ice makers currently available.
- Easy to use controls
- Compact size
- Large quantities of ice production
- Requires expertise to fit water supply
- Only suited to those requiring large amounts of ice
Manitowoc UDF0140A – Upgrade Pick
- Dimensions: 26 x 28.5 x 38.5 inches
- Production per day: 135 lbs
- Storage capacity: 90 lbs
- Ice shape: half and regular-sized cube
- Warranty: 3-year limited
More features: adjustable height, LED control panel, 16.7 gal per 100 lbs water usage, 3/8’’ water connection
The Manitowoc UDF0140A is a premium range ice machine that performs fantastically well in producing a high capacity of ice and ice storage facilities. This an upgrade pick for those wishing to invest in a machine with high-performance capability. With new levels of performance, this machine is certainly worth considering.
Constructed from stainless steel, the Manitowoc UDF0140A is part of the new breed of ice machines that are highly efficient in terms of ice production but also for energy conservation. The delay feature is a real energy-saver. With the Manitowoc UDF0140A, you can program the machine to make ice only when you need it. If there are times when your establishment is closed, or you only need ice for a specific period, this ice maker can cater to those needs.
The Manitowoc UDF0140A has an energy star rating which gives purchasers peace of mind that their need for ice is not a huge drain on energy resources. The model comes with an easy to operate glide door which can be lifted and slid out with a couple of fingers. The performance matched with the convenience makes the Manitowoc UDF0140A one of the most sought after ice makers.
The convenience of the machine is helped by the easy to understand LED indicator icons which allow you to understand the power level, delay service buttons and cleaning…to name a few. You will certainly understand how the Manitowoc UDF0140A operates from the moment you purchase it.
- Energy conservation
- High storage capacity
- Slid out doors
- Premium price
- Large dimensions
ROVSUN Built-in Stainless Steel Commercial Ice Maker – Best Under Counter Machine
- Dimensions: 18 x 16 x 31 inches
- Production per day: 100 lbs
- Cycle time: 12-18 min.
- Ice shape: cube
- Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: 33 lbs storage space, ETL approved, rust-resistant stainless steel, ice scoop included, LED panel
The ROVSUN Built-in Stainless Steel Commercial Ice Maker is well-built and safe to use ice making appliance that provides long-lasting reliable performance, making it one of the best under counter ice makers currently available to purchase. With dimensions of 18″x16″x31″, the machine is guaranteed to easily fit into your workspace.
Containing a freestanding design ensures the ROVSUN Commercial Ice Maker is perfect for homes as well as cafes, restaurants and supermarkets. The machine is very user-friendly, with installation very straightforward. One of the requirements when installing is that you have access to a water pipe outlet and a floor drainage outlet near to your ice maker unit. Aside from those necessities, setup is easy and helped by the smart control system.
A common issue with ice makers is the loud noise they make when operating. The ROVSUN Commercial Ice Maker overcomes this with low-noise technology which also reduces the energy consumed by the unit. Having an ice-maker that is both productive and energy-efficient is crucial nowadays. The ROVSUN Commercial Ice Maker can produce up to 100lbs of ice per day and can produce the ice in cycles lasting 12 to 18 minutes. The machine produces nicely sized ice cubes that look smart.
The ROVSUN Commercial Ice Maker also comes with an ice scoop to help you collect the ice when it has been made. The machine is ideal for any business or a homeowner efficiently wanting large quantities of ice.
- Quick ice production cycle
- Low noise
- High volume ice production
- Short warranty agreement
- Limited storage space
FOSTER Commercial Ice Maker – Best Commercial
- Dimensions: 30 x 33 x 66 inches
- Production per day: 500 lbs
- Storage capacity: 375 lbs
- Ice shape: cube
- Warranty: 3-year limited on parts and labor, 5-year limited on compressor
More features: stainless steel exterior, water filter included, NSF approved, modular machine
The FOSTER Commercial Ice Maker is known for being one of the best commercial ice makers in the marketplace. With vast production capability and storage facility, the ice maker blows rivals out of the water when it comes to commercial suitability. The FOSTER Commercial Ice Maker can produce a whopping 500lbs of ice per day and has storage capacity for 350lbs, making it one of the best residential ice makers. The large storage bin can keep the cold for up to 24 hours which is ideal for minimizing wastage.
The FOSTER Commercial Ice Maker doesn’t just focus on quantity, but also on the quality of ice produced. The machine can produce perfectly shaped ice cubes that are neat and suitable to use in drinks, buckets for wine and fine dining. The full dicing process is a real bonus to ensure that the ice you serve to customers is not sharp or untidy.
Silence is golden. The FOSTER Commercial Ice Maker ensures that the high volume of ice that is produced is made with minimum noise and disruption. It certainly will not disrupt your conversations or give you a driving headache if you are in the kitchen all day. The air cooling system can ensure the hugely powerful compressor used to form the ice does not overheat and lost a long time.
The FOSTER Commercial Ice Maker also comes with a generous three-year warranty agreement. This gives business owners great peace of mind by having good purchasing protection.
- Unrivalled ice production and storage
- Quality diced ice cubes
- Generous warranty
- Premium price
- Only suited to large commercial establishments
- Drain on energy resources if overused
IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine – Best Countertop Ice Maker
- Dimensions: 8.7 x 12.3 x 12.6 inches
- Production per day: 26 lbs
- Cycle time: 6 min.
- Ice shape: half and full-sized bullet
- Warranty: 30-days money back, 2-year limited
More features: 2-liter water reservoir, viewing window, ice basket and ice scoop included, exhaust fan, portable
The IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine is a compact ice maker that is renowned for being one of the best countertop ice makers and best portable ice makers. With this machine, you do not need to assign a large space for it, it can easily slot into your working or home kitchen surface. When installed, the machine can produce within 6 minutes, to give you a fast and compact ice-making solution.
The IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine produces bullet-shaped ice cubes 9 pieces at a time. There are two sizes of ice cube to choose from. From the 2 liter tank, the ice maker produces 12 kg of ice within 24 hours. These low capacity levels make the IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine best suited to home environments where large volumes of ice are not essential. One of the best aspects of the ice-maker is its ability to generate ice using minimal amounts of energy and with minimal noise. Especially in a home environment, noise reduction is very important.
The setup and use of the IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine are very straightforward and as it is countertop, does not require attachment to the water supply. To operate, simply plug the machine in, fill the water tank and press the power button. This ensures ice making is very practical. Although limited in ice capacity, for those wanting occasional quick ice production, the IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine offers an affordable option.
The IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine comes with a two-year warranty to give you decent purchasing protection for this home-based product. It certainly is the best ice maker for home use.
- Very fast ice production
- Easy to install
- Low volume ice production and storage
- Needs manual refilling
COSTWAY Commercial Ice Maker – Budget Pick
- Dimensions: 13.5 x 13 x 23.5 inches
- Production per day: 88 lbs
- Cycle time: 12-18 minutes
- Ice shape: cube
- Warranty: 90-day limited
More features: 70-inch long cord, 8.8 lbs storage capacity, ice scoop included, automatic shut off, low water indicator, LCD screen
If you are looking for an affordable commercial ice maker, the COSTWAY Commercial Ice Maker is certainly one of the best bets for a budget pick. Producing 88lbs of ice per day, this ice maker is likely to satisfy the majority of commercial ice needs but at an affordable initial purchasing price.
The COSTWAY Commercial Ice Maker ice production cycle is competitive with more expensive options, ranging from 12 to 18 minutes. The shape of the ice is in the familiar cube form. When the affordability makes the specification suffer is in terms of storage capacity and ice cube type. At 8.8lbs, the COSTWAY Commercial Ice Maker has minimal storage, forcing users to find alternative storage means for the ice that has been produced. The ice maker also only forms one size of ice cube which can be a downside for those wanting different size options.
Despite this, the COSTWAY Commercial Ice Maker is very user-friendly, with easy installation to the existing water pipe. The smart panel display ensures the product is easy to operate, with water-level, energy-saving, cleaning and low noise options easy to view. A great benefit of this unit is that the ice production stops when the ice bin is full, ensuring that energy is not wasted.
The compact design of this freestanding ice maker is also of great benefit for those commercial spaces that have small amounts of space. While production and storage capacity of ice is limited in the COSTWAY Commercial Ice Maker, it certainly offers a cheap ice-making option for businesses.
- Very affordable
- Low ice production and storage levels
- Single size ice cubes produced
Ice maker’s way to improve your home and business
The following are some of the benefits of having an ice maker in your home or business:
- If you have a portable ice maker, it will be easy for you to carry around when traveling as long as there is a plug.
- They make ice faster compared to the freezer in the refrigerator especially if you need more for a party.
- Many ice makers can produce large amounts of ice in one day. An average ice maker can produce up to 35lbs of ice within 24 hours.
- They are easy to use. A child and an elderly person can use them without any difficulty. It is as simple as pouring water into it, turning it on and coming back in less than 10 minutes to collect your ice.
- Some ice makers allow you to make your preferred size and shape of ice cubes, could be small, large or even bullet-shaped.
How do ice machines work?
The following steps show how the ice maker works:
- You need to manually fill the unit’s reservoir with water using a bucket. Faucet or jug, up until the fill line.
- The water is then pumped up through a water filter into the ice tray which is on top of the unit. If there is any excess water it spills back into the reservoir.
- Refrigeration cycle begins and the heat exchanger has 1/2 -inch prongs which are lowered into the water in the ice tray. Ice will begin to form quickly as the prongs get cold fast.
- The size of the cubes formed will depend on the amount of time that you leave the prongs in the water. It will take 6 minutes to make smaller ice cubes, while bigger ice cubes will take twice as much time. The time the unit has been running and the ambient temperature will also affect the freezing time.
- The ice tray will empty the excess water back to the reservoir when the cubes have reached the desired size. The heat exchanger will then reverse itself heating the spikes enabling the ice cubes to slide through the prongs into the ice bin.
- There is a second sensor in the storage basket which monitors the storage of the ice. It empties it when it is full.
Tips on how to use an ice maker
Before you take one home and get to using it, here are a few tips that can help you:
- A portable ice maker is not the same as a freezer. It will not keep the ice frozen once it has made it. You should either use the ice cubes immediately or keep them in your refrigerator’s freezer so that they do not melt.
- if the ice cube melts, the water will drain back into the reservoir for it to be used again.
- A portable ice maker can make ice cubes much faster than a freezer because the element of freezing is placed in the water.
- Sanitize your ice maker: Some manufacturers will give sell to you their formulas that you can use to sanitize your ice maker while others will recommend a bleach solution that you can mix by yourself. Flush the ice maker inwards with any of the cleaning solutions and then rinse with water to prevent biological contamination. You should also clean the outside part of the ice maker to prevent dirt and stain build up as well as making it look great. Use damp clothe and maybe sometimes use soap to get rid of the dried spills.
- Change the filter: You cannot use dirty water to maker quality ice. Most ice makers have filters to improve the odor and flavor of the water while others can remove volatile organic compounds. Many filtration systems of ice makers used for commercial purposes have bacteriostatic effects to prevent the production of bacteria. Take note of when you should change the filter by reading the manual as some ice makers need you to change the filter every three months, six months or one year.
- Don’t forget to descale: Unless you have an ice maker with a reverse osmosis system, you will notice deposits of calcium which is known as scale. It is necessary to descale from time to time.
- Room to breathe: Most ice machines have proper ventilation to function well. under counter, ice makers have vents located on the bottom edges. The right-side vents allow cool air to enter in while the left side vents allow warm air to be expelled out. Make sure that there is no obstruction on the sides and back of the ice maker.
Ice makers have a high range of price points. Large industrial size ice-making machines such as the FOSTER Commercial Ice Maker will cost close to $2000. More affordable options such as the COSTWAY Commercial Ice Maker are available below $500.
The home-based ice machines are the cheapest but generate the least ice, they can be bought for a figure below $200.
Features to consider while buying the perfect ice maker
Before buying an ice maker, consider the following features:
Size and installation
There are two ways to install an ice maker, one is under the counter and the other is on the floor. Keeping it under the counter will give more space to a busy kitchen. However, this installation requires more costs and work. Installing the ice maker on the floor will take much space in the kitchen but there is no extra cost or work involved apart from connecting it to the drainage and water line.
The volume of ice an ice maker will produce depends on the model of the ice maker and where it will be used. Most portable ice makers produce a minimum of 25 lbs of ice. Under-counter and larger ice makers produce 50 lbs at a minimum. The volume storage is important as the production volume. Portable ice makers have a minimum of 2.5 lbs of ice cubes in storage and the large under-counter ones have a minimum of 20 lbs of ice cubes in storage. Units such as the FOSTER Commercial Ice Maker can store as much as 375 lbs of ice.
The ice maker does a lot of work when producing ice cubes which means that it produces a lot of heat. The air-cooling mechanic in the ice maker ensures that it is in the right temperatures. When setting up the ice maker, the vents should have at least 6 inches of clearance space to prevent damage and overheating.
Shape and clarity of ice
You should consider the quality of ice when purchasing an ice maker. A good quality ice cube should be crystal clear without any cloudiness. The ice cubes should also be dense and hard. They should not start melting as soon as you put it in a glass. Most of the ice makers reviewed above make gourmet ice. The ice should not be hollow as well.
Most small-sized ice makers produce the first batch of ice cubes faster compared to bigger models. The best ice makers in the market can produce ice for more drinks in just 6 minutes while others may take up to 20 minutes to finish their first batch. Speed is a good sign that the ice maker is of good quality.
Most ice makers do not need regular maintenance and cleaning. Purchasing an ice maker that has a self-cleaning cycle and their mesh filter is better. The ice maker has automatic functions makes it cost-effective. The ice maker that you buy should also be easy to install and produce less noise when producing the ice.
Material and design
The majority of ice makers are constructed from stainless steel which makes them resistant to rust and very robust. If you have a particular color theme to your kitchen or pantry space, you may wish to select an ice maker that matches your overall theme.
Common accessories that accompany the purchase of an ice maker include an ice scoop as seen in the ROVSUN Built-in Stainless Steel Commercial Ice Maker review or a water filter.
Warranties provide consumers with purchasing protection. Typical warranties for ice makers last between a year to three years.
Ice maker maintenance tips
The ice maker is just like any other household appliance. It should be well maintained because keeping it dirty will lead to the growth of germs causing health problems.
The following are some of the tips to help you maintain your ice maker:
Whether you’re a first time owner or if the ice maker is simply to new of a machine for you to figure out, here are a few of your most frequently-asked questions, answered:
The amount of power used will depend on the models and brands of your ice maker as well as the frequency of using and cleaning the machine. But mostly, portable ice makers do not use much energy.
Most under counter ice makers do require a drain while other models do not because they can keep the ice frozen. The ice makers that do not keep the ice frozen will require a drain because the ice melts and it will automatically drain the excess water. Most of the ice makers that need a drain will come with a free one when you purchase it.
Most ice makers use between 18 to 200 gallons of water which is 68 liters to 756.9 liters of water.
No. this is because the shape of the ice cubes is determined by the ice maker's manufacturer. However, some models give several options for the size of ice.
Hopefully, this article has given you all the essential information that you need to know about ice makers to guide you in the process of purchasing the best ice maker to suit your needs.
Our verdict on the top three best ice makers are:
The HomeLabs Freestanding Commercial Ice Maker Machine comes first in our ranking because of its easy to use controls, fair price and compact size.
The Manitowoc UDF0140A finishes second in our ranking due to the modern energy-saving technology and it’s easy to use control panel.
The ROVSUN Built-in Stainless Steel Commercial Ice Maker comes third in our ranking because of its quick ice production cycle and the ice machine produces minimal noise.
Before purchasing the best ice maker to suit your needs, consider how much volume of ice and the price you’re willing to pay to ensure you get the best value ice maker.