There's nothing worse than running out of ice cubes and being forced to sip on a room-temperature drink. That's where portable ice makers come in handy. Whether you need to keep up with cocktails during happy hour or fill your insulated cooler on camping trips, these machines produce a nearly endless supply of ice, no matter where you are. Plus, they can start churning out ice cubes in minutes, so you never have to go long without 'em.
Since there are so many different types of ice makers and machines on the market, it can be hard to figure out the differences between every model. To help you out, we scoured thousands of customer reviews to find the best portable ice makers that are actually worth buying. From Igloo's top-rated colorful ice machine to GE's high-end nugget ice maker, there's an option on this list for you.
These are the best portable ice makers of 2021:
One thing to note: Like most refrigeration products, portable ice makers need to sit upright for a few hours before first plugging it in to make sure that the coolant is settled after shipping. This will help make sure the machine works properly. Also, you'll want to make sure that you regularly clean your ice maker to keep it in tip-top shape. Some models have self-cleaning cycles, but others will need to be rinsed and wiped down according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Keep reading to learn more about each of the best portable ice makers to buy in 2021.
This portable ice maker from Igloo has over 3,200 five-star ratings, making it one of the best-rated options on Amazon. Despite its small size, the machine can make nine ice cubes (in two different sizes) in about seven minutes — that adds up to 26 pounds if it runs all day. The included basket holds about two pounds, so you’ll need to transfer the ice to a freezer or cooler for big batches. If you don’t get a chance to use it all before it melts, the water will drip back into the reservoir so it can eventually freeze into ice again. “This might be the best purchase I’ve ever made,” wrote one shopper. “I use it every day. I never knew having a steady supply of ice could make me so happy.”
To buy: amazon.com, from $128
With prices starting at $110, Costway’s countertop machine is one of the most affordable ice makers on the market. It produces nine bullet-shaped ice cubes per batch, and the LED screen clearly indicates when it needs more water or when the ice bucket is full. Plus, it comes with a handy scoop and is available in six different colors. Its small footprint grants it a permanent spot on your kitchen counter or bar area, but the ice maker is also portable enough to bring on-the-go. “We purchased this ice maker to take with us camping,” wrote a customer. “[We] went for two weeks and with the heat and humidity we endured, we only had to buy four bags of ice. Our machine produced the rest to keep our cooler full and drinks cold… My husband said it was one of the best purchases I have made in a long time and it has already paid for itself.”
To buy: amazon.com, from $110
If you’re looking for a machine that produces ice very quickly, then NewAir’s portable ice maker is a great choice. It only takes a few minutes for the machine to start churning out ice, which comes in handy when you don’t want to wait long to pour a drink. And it lasts: One person said they’ve used the ice maker for three years and it “has never missed a beat.” There’s even an option to add on a scoop that makes it easy to transfer each batch of ice from the bucket to the freezer. Another shopper wrote: “I purchased this for my fifth-wheel RV so that when we traveled with it, we could make our own ice for drinks, parties, dinners, and for filling our ice chest when out away from the RV. This thing makes ice every six minutes and will make up to 28 pounds of ice a day!”
To buy: amazon.com, from $162
This high-tech GE ice maker is definitely more of a splurge, but many shoppers agree that it’s “worth every penny.” Every hour, the portable ice machine produces one pound of the highly sought-after nugget ice, which is known for being soft and chewable. It’s even equipped with Bluetooth capabilities that allow you to use a free app to control it and create custom schedules right from your smartphone. Plus, it has a sleek design with stainless steel accents so you won’t mind leaving it out on display. “The Opal makes the perfect ice for crunching and cooling drinks,” wrote one customer. “Even my husband (who doesn’t usually care much for ice) finds himself using more because it’s so nice!” Another added: “This has quickly become the most used item in the house.”
To buy: wayfair.com, $550
While the GE machine above yields soft, chewable nuggets, this portable ice maker from Luma Comfort is your best bet for crystal clear square cubes. Whether they’re sipping on iced coffee or cocktails, shoppers love using clear ice in their drinks: They swear it takes significantly longer to melt (and therefore longer to water down their beverages). According to one customer, the cubes make their go-to drinks “taste and feel” so “much fancier.” Another added: “This machine makes beautiful, clear, [and] restaurant-quality ice cubes 24 at a time. We had some guests over for cocktails on the front porch last week and ran out of ice. We fired up the Luma Comfort [ice maker] and had fresh cubes in 15 minutes.”
To buy: amazon.com, $219
This Frigidaire portable ice maker produces three different sizes of cubes, making it a great option for anyone who wants to switch it up depending on the use. If you’re trying to fill a cooler, then the large ice would probably work best. If you need ice to make smoothies or other frozen drinks, you might prefer small cubes that can be easily broken up by a blender. You don’t have to worry about it being too noisy, either. One customer said the Frigidaire ice machine is much quieter than the built-in one on their refrigerator. “I cannot say enough about this ice maker,” wrote another reviewer. “I run mine all day, every day and I LOVE the ice it makes. Not only is it fast, but it has three ice size options, is quiet, and fits perfectly on the countertop.”
To buy: amazon.com, $138 (originally $150)
Most of the portable ice machines on this list produce about 28 pounds of ice or less in 24 hours. If you’re looking for an option that’s bigger and even more efficient, go for this large (but still portable) ice maker by Euhomy that can produce 40 pounds per day. It whips out 24 ice cubes in every batch, and each cycle takes anywhere from 12 to 18 minutes. The water tank holds enough liquid for up to 120 ice cubes, and just like some other models on this list, it’ll recycle the water from any melted cubes so nothing goes to waste. Plus, there’s a convenient eight-hour timer function: set it in the morning and you’ll have ice ready right as you get back home. “We have a fairly large family and occasionally entertain. When the day calls for a little extra ice or a lot, this little machine meets the challenge,” one customer wrote. “We have had it running almost continuously for over two months and have had to do zero maintenance beyond typical cleaning.”
To buy: amazon.com, $210 (originally $260)
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