Updated: September 30, 2015

Ice Maker Reviews:

We take having ice in our freezers for granted when it wasn't too long ago that ice was hard to come by. The original "ice boxes" were what we consider to be our modern day refrigerators. People used to have a box where they stored food and a big chunk of ice was stored in it as well to keep food cold. Ice used to be delivered to homes and people would pay for it. Today, we just open our freezers or use the ice dispensers that many refrigerators have on their fronts. You can even get crushed or "slushy" ice if you want. Most home ice makers in your refrigerator/freezer will produce plenty of ice to keep you and your family going on a hot summer day, but what if you have a party and need lots of it. Owning a portable ice machine or ice maker that sits on your countertop and only makes ice can come in handy for entertaining purposes. Sure, you can buy bags of ice at the convenience store, but who wants that stuff in their drinks or frozen margaritas.
ice maker

Buying Guide - When you are out researching an ice maker for your home, consider how much ice you want to make in a given day as the key factor. The larger home ice machines will give you over 40 lbs of ice in 24 hours which is usually plenty for parties. Many homeowners find they can live with a portable unit in their homes that make closer to 30 lbs of ice/day. The majority of ice machines are really easy to use, just plug them in, fill the reservoirs with water and the ice will start coming out in less than 15 to 20 minutes. They are somewhat noisy just like the built-in ice makers in your fridge or freezer. We found in reading reviews on several consumer sites that the portable ice machines had a higher breakdown rate and needed more repairs as compared to the more expensive units for residential use. Definitely don't buy a portable ice machine and think that will be your sole source of ice going forward. They are not meant for everyday use as the primary ice maker in the home. Look for models that have water filters so you get "clean and clear" ice cubes and consider ice makers that produce a variety of sizes in cubes. We found more people using portable ice makers in their RVs and boats than almost anywhere else since those vehicles called for compact and portable ice making appliances. Nevertheless, having a stand alone ice maker in your home is still a good idea if you use it as a secondary source of ice. The top brands are Avanti, Danby, Scotsman, Sunpentown, Whirlpool, U-line and Viking. You can find reviews online at Target and Amazon for the residential brands to see what customers are saying. We have tried to supply a quick list below of those that stood out from the rest in consumer reviews. RECOMMENDED - We suggest browsing the top selling NewAir ice machines online here.

Best Residential Ice Maker:

Perhaps you own a freezer that doesn't produce much ice or just want a separate ice machine. In ice maker reviews few brands stood out amongst consumers and experts feedback. We did find that the NewAir ice makers received excellent owner comments and experts agree with their top rating. You will find them in white, stainless steel, black, and red colors. The top models are the AI-100R, AI-100S, and the AI-215SS. Most are priced between $150 and $250 making them the perfect small appliance to have around for those summer events. The Smart+ Products SPP15AIM is another popular model - it's small (under 15 inches in height), making it perfect for wet bar use or on countertops. It starts creating ice in less than 10 minutes. Can produce up to 33lbs in a day and stores up to 2 lbs of ice at a time. The stainless steel look fits in perfectly with modern kitchens. The controls are easy to use (LCD display) and owner comments include "great little ice maker" and "works perfect".

Portable Ice Maker:

The Danby White Portable Ice Maker ($210) is the best choice for homeowners that need a compact ice maker. It makes 30 lbs of ice in a 24 hour period. You can choose from small, medium or large ice cubes. Great for chilling soda or wine, the Danby 110-volt ice maker is the perfect party accessory. Features a 1-gallon reservoir, a removable ice basket, a delayed start program, and LCD display, and a self-clean program. Owners say it's compact enough to store out of the way when not in use and an overall "great value". If you have the extra money, we suggest at least looking at the Portable Countertop Ice Maker ($350) on the Wine Enthusiast website. The compact ice machine is slightly larger than the Danby with a 1.5 gallon reservoir and it can turn out 35 lbs of ice a day. Once you turn it on, you can get ice in less than 10 minutes time and the lift-out bin makes getting to the ice an easy chore. Made for home bars this portable ice maker also works in boats or RVs. Just fill the ice machine with water and choose the size of ice you prefer and it will do all the work. View a list of best-selling ice makers here.

Commercial Ice Machines:

Scotsman is the name of most commercial ice makers you see in hotels, gas stations, convenient stores, schools, and hospitals. Their website is located at Scotsman-ice.com and they offer a plethora of ice producing machines. You can buy ice dispensers, ice machines that produce flakes, nuggets and cubes. The Scotsman ice makers are not only energy-efficient ice machines but they are self monitoring and easy to clean. Other commercial ice machines are made by Kold-Draft, Manitowoc, andn Hoshizaki. You could go with the portable types listed above, but for durability and power to product consistently, we suggest buying a more expensive model. Avanti, Franklin, U-Line, Marvel, Scotsman, Electrolux, and Viking all make quality home ice machines that range from $400 to $1800. The features vary, but all in all they do the same thing - produce ice cubes. If you entertain often and hold large parties where fresh supplies of ice cubes are necessary, consider the Scotsman - DCE33 Residential Ice Machine ($1175). This undercounter ice maker creates "gourmet ice cubes" that are crystal clear and odorless. It can store up to 26 lbs of ice and comes with a 1 year warranty on all parts and labor and a 5 year warranty on compressor parts only. The Franklin FIM35 Automatic Ice Maker ($750) offers commercial features that are still within a household budget. It can produce up to 44 lbs of ice per day and stores up to 25 lbs at a time. The computerized controls and automatic overfill prevention keep the operation of this ice machine easy. The stainless steel front door will enhance the decor of any kitchen