We Tested the Best Ice Makers for Restaurant-Quality Ice at Home

Here are six ice makers worth investing in for restaurant-quality ice at home.

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Best Ice Makers

Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

We've all been there: getting ready to enjoy an ice-cold beverage only to find that someone (likely you) forgot to refill those ice cube molds again. In addition to being fiddly, each tray only has enough ice for about one drink, and unless you've got stacks of them taking up valuable freezer space, you'll find you're perpetually refilling them. If you're a frequent party host, those pesky extra ice bags always cause a last-minute run to the store.

If you dislike constantly dealing with ice cubes trays or storing massive bags of ice, a good ice maker is the solution. That's why we researched and tested 15 popular ice makers to find the best ones that make restaurant-quality ice at the press of a button. After many trial rounds of ice making, it became clear that the Luma Comfort Clear Ice Cube Maker was the most dependable choice—it produced the most ice and was practically silent while in use. From barbecues to game nights to even road trips, read on for more of our favorite ice makers to use at home or on the go.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Luma Comfort Clear Ice Cube Maker

Ice Maker
Amazon

Pros: A practically silent motor and sizeable water capacity make this ice maker a standout choice.

Cons: Big and bulky, the Luma isn't the most attractive countertop kitchen tool. It also doesn't include a clear window to view the ice.

Overall, this Luma machine made the most ice in an hour—10 cups of water resulted in 24 perfectly shaped cubes or just about 1 pound and 4.5 ounces of ice in just under 24 minutes. Given the product's high water capacity, our testers estimate that this ice maker can produce at least two dozen pounds of ice daily.

This ice maker is practically silent, according to our testers. It keeps ice insulated for long periods, but you won't be disturbed when creating fresh batches of ice every so often. The only downside is the Luma isn't particularly stylish to store on your kitchen counter, which is sometimes part of the fun of owning a fancy ice maker.

Price at time of publish: $340

  • Ice shape: Cube
  • Speed during testing: 23 minutes
  • Dimensions: 11.13 x 14.25 x 13.88 inches
  • Machine weight: 24.2 pounds
Ice Maker
Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Best Splurge: Gevi Nugget Ice Machine

Ice Maker
Amazon

Pros: Like the Luma, this ice maker is very quiet compared to other options.

Cons: One of the most expensive ice makers we tested, you can find a similar-performing machine at a fraction of the cost.

Though not as silent as the Luma, the Gevi Nugget Ice Machine also got great ratings from our testers. This tool, which makes crunchy, chewable ice, produced nearly one pound of ice in an hour, making it one of the higher-producing machines we tested. Based on the amount of water used (11 cups), we estimate this machine can produce much more in shorter spurts.

It also keeps ice ready to go for up to 24 hours and includes self-cleaning and auto-refill capabilities. Of course, it helps that it's a bit more attractive when placed on a countertop compared to other models, too.

Price at time of publish: $490

  • Ice shape: Pellet
  • Speed during testing: 13 minutes
  • Dimensions: 17.6 x 9.7 x 16.9 inches
  • Machine weight: 40 pounds
Ice Maker
Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Best Value: Silonn Countertop Ice Maker

Ice Maker
Amazon

Pros: This ice maker specializes in small and large bullet-shaped cubes, which don't stick together or melt as quickly as other ice shapes.

Cons: The capacity isn't as large as other ice makers, so you may have to refill the water tank and empty the ice basket more often.

Product Description: One of the fastest ice makers we tested, the Silonn Countertop Ice Maker is also one of the sleekest. It's the sort of machine you'd proudly display in your kitchen or home bar, which is a rarity among traditional ice makers. Another notable feature is Silonn's bullet-shaped ice cubes, which don't stick together or melt as easily as other ice shapes.

The machine produces two ice cube sizes: small (perfect for keeping beer or other drinks chilled in a cooler or bar display) and large (best suited for cocktails and other beverages). It's easy to use — just press the "on" button, select the ice size, and ensure the water level is sufficient. An indicator light will appear when you're running low or when the ice bucket is full, and it also includes a self-cleaning function.

Price at time of publish: $120

  • Ice shape: Bullet
  • Speed during testing: 8 minutes
  • Dimensions: 12.3 x 8.7 x 12.5 inches
  • Machine weight: 15 pounds
Ice Maker
Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Best Self-Cleaning: Igloo Premium Self-Cleaning Countertop Ice Maker

Ice Maker
Amazon

Pros: One of the only ice makers with a convenient handle for easy carrying.

Cons: The machine's fan is noticeable and quite loud when making ice.

There are many reasons to love the Igloo Premium Self-Cleaning Countertop Ice Maker. For starters, it includes a handle for seamless transport. That may not sound like a big deal, but after our testers tried more than a dozen portable ice makers, it made a huge difference in a machine's overall convenience. You're more likely to use a countertop ice maker when you can bring it all over the house, from the kitchen to the backyard or even a road trip.

Then there's the self-cleaning factor, in which the Igloo offers one of the more sophisticated functionalities we saw in ice makers. A removable drain plug makes draining water a mess-free process, while a five-cycle automatic cleaning function effortlessly keeps the inside fresh for new, clear ice.

Ice cubes—which can be made in small or large sizes—appear in the back of the machine, automatically moving to the front for quick scooping. However, this ice maker can't handle as much water as some of the others, forcing our testers to refill often to compensate for maximum output. However, if you need ice fast, you can make up to nine cubes on demand in as little as seven minutes.

Price at time of publish: $153

  • Ice shape: Bullet
  • Speed during testing: 9.23 minutes
  • Dimensions: 13.9 x 10.51 x 15.28 inches
  • Machine weight: 19.16 pounds
ice maker
FOOD & WINE / RUSSELL KILGORE

Best Compact: AGLUCKY Countertop Ice Maker Machine

Ice Maker
Amazon

Pros: This tiny-but-mighty machine is an attractive option for a countertop.

Cons: The capacity is not as sizable compared to large ice makers.

If you find yourself fresh out of ice, this compact automatic ice machine can give you nine cubes in six to eight minutes. It produces small or large cubes relatively quickly, though our testers wished each batch dropped a few more. Still, compromising on capacity may be worth it if you're looking for a tiny, efficient option. It's also light enough to move around depending on where you need ice and perfectly sized for any size kitchen. Our testers were impressed with the machine's performance, capacity, and portability, given its small footprint.

Price at time of publish: $110

  • Ice shape: Cube
  • Speed during testing: 7.32 minutes
  • Dimensions: 12.32 x 8.74 x 12.59 inches
  • Machine weight: 16.81 pounds
Ice Maker
Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Best for Fast Ice: Arctic-Pro Portable Bullet Ice Maker

Ice Maker
Wayfair

Pros: It's hard to beat this ice maker's compact size and portability.

Cons: The machine is small, so you may need to supplement with ice bags depending on why you're making ice (for a few drinks versus a large gathering).

Product Description: Equipped with a digital control panel, this ice maker makes small and large cubes in a flash by filling the water reservoir and pressing the "on" button. It produced 14.25 ounces of ice in just under eight-and-a-half minutes—an impressive amount given the machine's small size. You'll still need to replenish water often because, as our testers noted, the machine is small. This is one of the less stylish ice makers we tested, and you'll most likely want to store it in a cabinet when not in use.

  • Ice shape: Bullet
  • Speed during testing: 8.28 minutes
  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 8.8 x 11.5 inches
  • Machine weight: 17.5 pounds
Ice Maker
Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Our Favorite

During our testing we found that what one ice maker offers with capacity and speed, it lacks in style and size. Our best overall ice maker—the Luma Comfort Clear Ice Maker—offers a practically silent motor and exceptional water capacity (which means more ice for your home bar or outdoor barbecue). The downside? The machine's less-than-stylish profile means you'll need to find space for it in a cabinet. On the flip side, the Silonn Countertop Ice Maker was one our testers would happily display in their kitchens, but the machine's small size meant less ice over time.

Ice Maker
Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Factors to Consider

Speed

With any ice maker, you're looking for a machine that drops ice at the fastest possible speed. On average, the machines we tested made approximately nine cubes in under 10 minutes, which means you'll be left with a decent chunk of ice in an hour. Most of these machines will do the trick if you're looking for a few cubes to throw in some drinks. But if speed is a deciding factor for you, you may want to consider a commercial-use machine, which produces higher volumes of ice in a significantly shorter amount of time.

Size

No one wants a portable home ice maker to take up their entire countertop. Ultimately, choose a machine that will seamlessly fit within the space between your counter and top cabinets. If you opt for one of the more clunky ice makers, you may want to confirm you have a spot inside a pantry or cabinet to store the maker when not in use. Pro tip: Make sure the dimensions of your chosen ice maker allow you to fully open the top of the machine without hitting your cabinets.

Ice Type

Of the machines we tested, ice ranged from small to large, clear to cloudy, and in shapes like cube, bullet, or pellet. Of course, one shape or size is no better than the other, so this comes down to preference on behalf of the user. In terms of clear or cloudy, so long as you are using filtered water, your ice should taste fresh and not affect the flavor of your drink.

Ice Maker
Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

The Tests

Our testers put the machines through their paces with two tests: ice production and noise level. For ice production, they noted how long it took each machine to make one batch of ice, how big the ice was, and continued to run it to see consistency and pace. They rated the noise levels during the process, from the motor whirring to the sound of the ice dropping. Testers also took note of extra features, self cleaning options, and the water tank capacity. Using ratings for portability, performance, and capacity, they determined which machines were the best in our top categories.

What Didn't Make the List

Insignia - 26 Lb. Portable Ice Maker with Auto Shut-Off

For the size of the machine, this Insignia ice maker produces a decent amount of evenly sized bullet cubes. However, water and storage capacity are smaller, which our testers said resulted in more water refills and less ice production over time.

Professional Series Clear Bullet Ice Maker 33-lb

Though the design of this ice maker is sleek, its practicality falls short. Our testers noted that the water reservoir was difficult to pour into without spilling, and the machine was loud when in production. The upside is that it made a generous amount of clear, bullet-shaped ice in an hour, with nine ice cubes ready in about 11 minutes.

Costway Portable Self-Cleaning Countertop Ice Maker

This is a great option if you're looking for a funky, fun ice maker for pool parties or casual hangouts. But when it comes to producing actual ice, this machine had one of the smallest water capacities in our test group. It barely held any water and had next to the lowest output in one hour compared to the other picks.

NewAir Compact Bullet Ice Maker

Though this is a large machine, our testers said it made the least amount of ice among all the makers we tested. The fan was loud, and due to the overall size of the machine, it's clear there are more efficient options as alternatives.

LifePlus Portable Countertop Ice Maker

This machine massively underperformed compared to other ice makers of similar size. Though the cubes were clear and evenly shaped, our testers wished the machine formed and dropped ice faster.

Sentern Portable Clear Ice Maker

Although it had a clear viewing window to watch the ice process, this moderately sized ice maker was one of the slowest machines our testers tried. It made one full batch of ice in about an hour, and ice was dispensed in clumps, making it difficult to break into individual pieces.

Costway 2-in-1 Ice Maker Water Dispenser

One of the larger machines we tested, the Costway 2-in-1 Ice Maker Water Dispenser is a solid choice for anyone who doesn't have a fridge with built-in water/ice functionality. Though it's bulky, you'll want to make the room on your counter to get the full benefit of it. However, our testers noted the machine only held eight cups of water, which made it tough to handle everyday use.

NewAir Portable Ice Maker

This was the biggest, bulkiest ice maker we tried, and our testers noted it's not worth the headache when compared to other comparable machines. Though it produced the most ice in one hour (1 pound) and offered a reliable performance during testing, draining the water was messy as it dribbled under the machine and onto the counter. Plus, depending on how your cabinets are laid out, it may be difficult to fully open the top of the machine on your countertop (as was the case for our testers).

Ice Maker
Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Q+A

Q: What makes nugget ice makers so expensive?

A: Though you may be under the impression that turning a few cups of water into clear, perfectly shaped cubes is a simple process, these machines require a significant amount of engineering—which explains why most portable ice makers are well above the $100 price point. Add in functionalities like self-cleaning, auto shut-off, water filtering, and more, and the price quickly creeps up.

Q: How do ice makers work?

A: On a basic level, ice makers pump the water from the reservoir into a container. Then, freezing-cold metal prongs—filled with refrigerant (the same substance refrigerators and air conditioners use to cool air)—are dipped into the container, creating ice in minutes. After the ice is made, a heat exchanger transitions the prongs from ice-cold to warm, helping the cubes drop into the bucket.

Q: Do all ice makers have filters?

A: A filtering system will result in the best possible ice. Since not all ice makers include filters, we recommend using filtered or bottled water for better taste and better drinks. It'll also keep the machine clean and free of limescale.

Ice Maker
Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Our Expertise

Clarissa Buch Zilberman is an acclaimed food writer with nearly a decade of experience. She has written for Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Travel & Leisure, and more. For this piece, we tested 15 different ice makers to find the best one. Using our culinary and product testing expertise, we assessed different kinds of ice makers—big and small, super-fast and sluggish, splurge-worthy and budget friendly—over the course of several days to determine the best options for restaurant-quality ice at home.

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