Best Portable Ice Maker – Reviews & Comprehensive Buying Guide

Okay, who doesn’t like ice cubes with their drinks? Who doesn’t love snow cones with exotic flavours on them? Who wouldn’t love having ice cubes ready in the blink of an eye, without having to spend money for buying ice from grocery stores, every time they want to a party and need large amounts of ice? Well, the answer to all these queries is: portable ice maker. These handy little machines produce much quicker than refrigerators and standard size freezers and ice makers used for commercial purposes, are more convenient, great for health and also come with a bunch of other useful features.

Moreover, these appliances can be used wherever you happen to have electricity and also, they don’t require any kind of installation whatsoever. But, as is the case with everything out there in the market, there are lots of different ice makers from various brands, but not all are of equal qualities. So, below I have given a list of some of the best portable ice makers in the market.

Best Best Portable Ice Maker - Our Picks

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Weight (Pounds)


Editor's Rating

NewAir Al-100R






Igloo ICE101-Black Counter



Magic Chef MCIM22TS



Whynter IMC 270MS



The Best Ice Makers in the Market

NewAir Al-100R 28 Pound Portable Ice Maker

Editor Rating:

It is a highly efficient ice maker, takes around 15 minutes to make a batch of ice, and produces around 28 pounds of ice per day. The ice produced is a cup shaped cube with a hole through the center, which provides more surface space that helps cooling your drinks faster but also ends up melting quickly itself.

Another great feature is that the ice blocks produced are tasteless, so that you can easily put them in your drinks. The device is not too loud, other than the sound of newly made ice pouring into the basket. But, the thing is, it comes in only one colour, red. While some people might like that, others might not like the colour and as a result, not buy the appliance at all.

The device comes with an LED control panel that helps you choose the size of ice that you want; there are three sizes available – small, medium and large. The machine is really small in size and weighs just about 24.3 pounds.

It’s pretty inexpensive and uses only about 120V of current. It has a side drain through which the water has to be drained every time after use, otherwise, it just continues to produce ice. Also, the ice basket has to be emptied time to time, due to a sensor in the machine, it stops producing ice as soon as the basket fills up. Also, if the ice melts on the basket, don’t worry because the water will be recycled for making ice again.


Editor Rating:

This is pretty much one of the most stylish and compact ice maker in the market, and is capable of producing about 26 pounds of ice per day. Here too, you can choose from three different cube sizes, although, when in hurry, it’s best to go for the smallest size as it is produced faster and is better if you want to shave or crush it. 

There are easy to use buttons and LED indicators that help control the device better, for instance, the LED blinks after choose a size; alert beeps and LED indicators alert you when to add more water or when to take out the ice filled tray, etc. This ice maker also comes with a removable ice tray, which is extremely useful, since, it allows you to just pull out the tray and use or dump the ice somewhere, otherwise you would have to scoop the ice blocks out slowly that is pretty hectic. It also has a large see through window that lets you monitor the process and check the level of ice. Here again, the melted ice water is reused for making new ice. It has a performance-oriented design and weighs only about 22.1 pounds.

Igloo ICE101-Black Counter Top Ice Maker

Editor Rating:

This sleek device which comes in a classic black colour, can produce up to 26 pounds ice per day and one batch of ice within 6 minutes. It features two cube sizes, and each cube looks like a bullet with a hole through the middle. It also has a 2.3 quart reservoir where you can make and store ice beforehand. It is an extremely stylish model and weighs about 20 pounds. 

The device has electronic easy-touch push buttons with LED light indicators that help alert on the various functioning of the machine. It weighs around 20 pounds. Uses up to 120V of power and is comparatively cheaper than other products with the same features. Just as in the other two devices, it too recycles the melted ice to make new ones.

Magic Chef MCIM22TS Portable Ice Cube Maker

Editor Rating:

This stainless steel high tech device produces around 27 pounds of ice in 24 hours, making each batch in around 6-10 minutes. It goes on producing ice if water level is maintained and ice tray is emptied at regular intervals. The ice produced is a clear doughnut shaped and is mostly dry which is a great feature, considering, dry ice last longer. 

Here too, once the ice melts through the ice bin, the water would be used again to produce new ice. It also has a water/ice level indicator along with an oval shaped control panel which has all the buttons to control. To be honest, it is a bit noisy. It uses 120V of current and is quite pocket friendly. The machine weighs about 31.2 pounds.

Whynter IMC 270MS

Editor Rating:

This device comes in a metallic silver chassis and has finesse to its looks. It produces up to 27 pounds of ice per day, serving the first batch out in less than 15 minutes. It has a strong CFC-free compressor cooling technique, quite easy to use LED control panel. The ice cubes produced are bullet shaped and come in two different sizes. 

This device doesn’t need direct plumbing and is highly affordable. It can store up to 1.5 pounds of ice and also has a 2.2L reservoir. It weighs about 19 pounds.

General Overview

Ice trade has been there in existence since a very long period of time but it was mostly used for preserving food items. Even till as late as 1960’s, ice was a very rare commodity that only the very rich could afford. But with the invention and rapid popularity of refrigerators and freezers, it became easier to preserve all kinds of food items and ice, that was once a rare, became a favourite in households all around the world. But this ice was either made in refrigerators or bought from stores. In the next half of the century, with more advancement of technology, making ice has never been so easy. The portable ice makers are way more than just simple ice trays.

Why Do You Need an Ice Maker


  • The convenient and compact design makes it easier to carry it around anywhere as long you have electricity, whether indoors or outdoors.
  • On an average, it takes 10-15 minutes to produce one batch of ice, saving you the trouble of going to the store to buy or having to wait over an hour for the refrigerator to do its work.
  • Very pocket friendly, considering the one time investment instead of spending for ice each time you want some.
  • Shape, size, consistency as well as quality are maintained throughout.
  • Size and amount to be produced is under control.
  • Very efficient regarding electricity consumption when compared to the refrigerator.


  • May seem like an unnecessary expense to those do not usually require much ice.
  • Although most models are less noisy or even silent, but some are very loud.
  • Usually require a running water systems, though now many models have been made which can use both tap as well as bottled water.
  • There is not much difference in the ice block sizes.

How Does a Portable Ice Maker Work?

Although, different devices work in different ways, in general, a portable ice maker cools and freezes water by lowering the temperature of the metal chamber of the machine; or by lowering a metallic prong in the water, which, in turn, freezes the water. Since the machine is really compact, it is easier to remove the heat from the chamber and directly start the freezing process. This is why; these appliances take such a less time in producing ice than refrigerators and freezers.

Now, depending on the model, it is either an automatic machine that would take water only through attached hose with the tap or it is a manual type that you can pour water into by using any container, as per your need. Once, the water is up to the level marked in it, and you plug it in, the cooling process begins. The water is sucked up from the reservoir into a molding tray. Now, depending upon the size of the cube you opted for, the tray would change. An internal timer gets activate and alerts the machine once the ice blocks are frozen, which makes it pour the ice into the basin or the removable ice tray, as provided.

Generally, it is advised that, when using for the very first time, you should throw the first batch of ice out, since it may stink or have a metallic tang to its taste. But this is not compulsory; many devices are good to go from the first start. Being exclusively designed to do this job quicker; this appliance produces just one batch of ice within a time range of 6-15, and can produce 26-28 pounds of ice per day depending upon the device quality.

How to Choose the Best Portable Ice Maker

Just like everything else, these appliances too are manufactured by tons of companies and brands. But how will you select the one that suits you best? Here are some tips to help you narrow down your search.

There are a certain number of factors you have to consider before investing in a portable ice maker. First and foremost, you have to decide upon your budget, then the device’s design, efficiency, ease of operating, capacity of ice production, time taken for one single batch, the power consumption, water intake facility, the weight and size of the device that would fit in your kitchen, etc. Also, apart from these, you may have a particularly preferred brand or model.

Most of the choice depends first upon how much ice do you require per day. Next, you have to consider the storage. Portable ice makers are meant to produce, not store it. So if you want the process to run smoothly, either keep emptying the ice tray or let it melt there; in almost all the portable ice makers, this melted ice water is used up to produce the next batch of ice, thus it saves water wasting too, along with saving you electricity. The next to consider is whether you need different sized ice cubes or any one size would suffice.

Generally, portable ice makers offer two to three different sizes of ice cubes you could choose from. The last but not the least, you have to think about its maintenance. Well, good news is, these appliances need very little and very basic maintenance. Just remember to drain excess water after every use and swipe the inside once with a clean, damp towel.

Also you could you lemon or vinegar to wipe it once in a while to keep any bacteria or other stuff from growing inside due to the forever damp environment of the reservoir. In addition, while buying the product, you should check out the warranty offered and whether replacement parts are available in the market. Compare your choice to other good products to make your final purchase and you are good to go.

My Assessment 

After an extensive research, I found that the five products I mentioned above are among the top lists of best portable ice makers in the market. These have been repeatedly reviewed and recommended by users. There are, of course, numerous other brands and models that you can choose from. Just keep in mind your preferences and requirements out of the product, its efficiency, durability and maintenance. And if you are buying it online, do not forget to check the specifications of the product you choose and compare it with others.

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  • Updated October 11, 2016