The 5 Best Nugget Ice Makers for 2022

We like the GE Profile Opal 2.0 the best.

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Best Nugget Ice Makers

Amazon

Most of us probably don’t spend much time thinking about ice. Maybe we’re served the occasional cocktail with a remarkably precise cube, or we find ourselves in a hotel room with an ice bucket, and we’ll think, “cool” (with no pun intended, of course) and move on with our day.

But anyone who has lamented the rapid melting of ice — with nothing to show for the crystalline cubes other than a diluted drink — can understand the importance of shape and quantity. Too much ice, and there’s not enough room for the intended beverage; too little, and we’re left with a watered-down tipple. No surprise, then, that so many folks have a thing for nugget ice.

Also known as pellet ice or even Sonic ice, the superiority of nugget ice comes from its diminutive size and irresistible texture. Nugget ice is small enough to pack into a cup or glass, while the compressed layers of frozen water comprising each well-honed nugget allow liquid to flow around — and indeed nearly through — each piece of ice. The clever shape melts slowly, keeps drinks cold, and is fun to chew on afterward. 

Since it’s not always practical to visit a restaurant purely for the purpose of ice acquisition, nugget ice enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that it’s possible to make this coveted creation right at home. We’ve taken a close look at the best nugget ice makers on the market today, and while the GE Profile Opal 2.0 is our favorite, it’s not the only player in the game.

Best Overall: GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker

3.8
GE Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Amazon

Pros: This is a fast-producing, high-capacity, top-notch nugget ice maker.

Cons: It isn’t cheap, and it requires valuable counter space.

Widely considered to be the gold standard among at-home nugget ice makers, the GE Profile Opal 2.0 can produce an impressive 24 pounds of ice per day. It also has wifi and voice control capabilities, which don’t necessarily seem like things you’d need in an ice maker — but as the old saying goes, go big or go home. With this machine, you’ll be going big at home. 

Configuration and maintenance are easy thanks to the Opal’s LED display and self-cleaning system; the only arguable downside to this nugget ice maker (other than a price tag that also makes it our pick for “best splurge”) is the counter space it requires. This is a large machine, and this particular model has an additional side tank for water. You can buy it without the tank, but at this price point, you might as well buy the whole thing and enjoy the Opal’s full potential.

Price at time of publish: $529

  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 10.5 x 15.5 inches
  • Bin capacity: 3 lbs / 24 lbs per day
  • Production speed: 20 minutes

Best Value: AGLucky Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

AGLucky Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Walmart

Pros: Self-cleaning and high-yield ice maker made all the better by its price.

Cons: The machine can feel bulky for those with limited space, and it’s not as sleek as other options on the list.

“Best value” is a tough category here since nugget ice makers are not, as a general rule, a budget appliance. That said, this one from AGLucky — which is both self-cleaning and capable of producing a whopping 44 pounds of ice every 24 hours — is priced at less than $300. It comes with an ice basket and ice scoop for easy ice storage. 

We won’t call it a steal, but this is still a hard-to-beat price on a high-capacity ice machine that can have you enjoying a few nuggets of ice in as little as 10 minutes. 

Price at time of publish: $290

  • Dimensions: 13.39 x 9.45 x 15.35 inches
  • Bin capacity: 2.6 lbs / 44 lbs per day
  • Production speed: 10 minutes

Best with Dispenser: KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget

KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Amazon

Pros: A built-in dispenser makes this a practical countertop companion.

Cons: It’s loud, and unless purchased on sale, it’s quite pricey.

Short of having an in-door ice dispenser in your refrigerator, the KBice self-dispensing nugget ice maker does an excellent job of filling the void. Simply press a button and dispense fresh ice into your glass — no scooping or pouring required. The wait time from an empty tank is about 25 minutes, but the KBice can produce 30 pounds of ice per day, so you’re unlikely to find yourself coming up short.

We like the black and stainless steel design of this machine, which lends a modern aesthetic to what can otherwise be a bulky contraption sitting on your countertop. We also appreciate the 12-month warranty and self-cleaning capabilities. 

Price at time of publish: $590

  • Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 17.5 inches
  • Bin capacity: 2 lbs / 30 lbs per day
  • Production speed: 25 minutes

Best with Insulation: Gevi Counter Top Nugget Ice Maker with Thick Insulation

gevi ice maker

Gevi

Pros: Ice melts more slowly thanks to the insulated bin.

Cons: Price is on par with the GE Profile Opal, and its design isn’t as modern as comparative models.

If you want a nugget ice maker but won’t necessarily go through piles of ice each day, this one from Gevi Household might be worth a closer look. It features a thick layer of insulation that retains 70% of produced ice, even when the ambient temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours. This means less waste and less waiting time — since ice will likely always be ready for use. And much like the other models on this list, the nugget ice maker features a self-cleaning feature, always ensuring clean cubes. 

Price at time of publish: $480

  • Dimensions: 17.6 x 9.7 x 16.9 inches
  • Bin capacity: 4.8 lbs / 26 lbs per day
  • Production speed: 15 minutes

Best Looking: Frigidaire Countertop Nugget Ice Maker V2

Frigidaire Countertop Nugget Ice Maker V2

Amazon

Pros: A sleek stainless steel design meets 44-lb ice capacity. 

Cons: Considerably more expensive than its predecessor.

Looks aren’t everything — especially when you’re purchasing an arguably non-essential appliance — but we can’t deny the aesthetic appeal of Frigidaire’s V2 nugget ice maker. The stainless steel body looks sleek and will match almost any kitchen setup, while its ability to produce 44 pounds per day will ensure you’re kept flush with fresh, glorious nugget ice.

If the $400 cost has you on edge, consider the original model, which features the same capacity, is still widely available, and is priced right around $260.


Price at time of publish:
$400

  • Dimensions: 11.65 x 16.93 x 20.87 inches
  • Bin capacity: 3 lbs / 44 lbs per day
  • Production speed: 10 minutes
Our Favorite

The GE Profile Opal 2.0 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with Side Tank is an undeniable all-rounder with its good looks, generous capacity, and ease of use.

Factors to Consider

Water connection and dispenser

The nugget ice makers we’ve featured here — and indeed most you’ll find that are specifically geared toward the production of nugget ice — do not require a water connection. Simply fill a tank or reservoir as needed, so these machines are pretty much plug-and-play. In terms of actually using your ice, the KBice maker has the nugget ice market cornered on built-in dispensing. That said, a few models do require a water line, so be sure to check what’s required before purchasing. 

Installation type

All five of these nugget ice makers just require an electrical outlet. They’re meant to sit on the countertop and get to work straight away.

Size and yield

All of the ice machines we’ve recommended here can produce between 24 and 44 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period. Unless you’re regularly throwing parties, you likely won’t have to worry about capacity. That said, they’re all fairly bulky machines, so choose based on the yield that makes the most sense for you.

Ease of cleaning and operation

These nugget ice machines are all self-cleaning and operate either with the touch of a button or an LCD screen. Flip quickly through the user manual after setup, and you should be on your way to nugget ice in no time. 

Warranty

Most ice makers available today come with a 12-month warranty, but be sure to check your specific model’s offering.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the difference between pebble ice and nugget ice?

    They’re the same thing! Both are characterized by their small size, compressed layers, and ability to be chewed without making every dentist in a 10-mile radius cringe at the very sound.

  • Is nugget ice the same as Sonic ice?

    Yes!

  • How do you clean an ice machine?

    Most ice machines are — fortunately — self-cleaning, but you’ll definitely want to double-check the manufacturer instructions and discern whether your machine cleans itself regularly, or if there’s a cleaning cycle you’ll need to activate. Shelly Martin of Easy Kitchen Guide offers the following cleaning tips:


    “I clean my ice maker by unplugging it and then removing any ice cubes that may be in the reservoir. Then I fill the machine with clean water and run the self-cleaning cycle. When that is finished, I drain all the water, wipe down the inside of the ice maker with a clean, damp cloth, then dry it thoroughly before plugging it back in.” 


    Martin says she repeats this process every month to ensure her ice machine stays in prime condition.



Our Expertise

This article was written by Summer Rylander, a food and travel journalist who has written about food, beverage, and cooking products for Food & Wine, Allrecipes, Serious Eats, and The Kitchn. She made her selections based on in-depth research and conversation with experts.

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