How to Choose the Best Portable Ice Maker [Buyer’s Guide]

Countertop Ice Maker

If you’re looking for a new way to have refreshing ice whenever and wherever you need it, we suggest investing in a portable ice maker. Not sure if portable is the way to go? Or not sure which unit is right for you? Not to worry, here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about these alternative ice making appliances:

What is a portable ice maker?

Portable Ice Maker in Kitchen

Portable ice makers are compact appliances that produce ice without requiring permanent installation. Although they operate similar to traditional ice machines, they don’t require water or drain lines.

To begin the ice production process, you simply pour water into the reservoir and turn it on. On average, portable ice makers produce up to 35 lbs. of ice a day and are able to store up to 2 lbs. of ice at a time.

Why would I need a portable ice maker?

Those who don’t have traditional freezer ice makers are confronted with the hassle of either buying bagged ice or using bothersome ice trays. Portable ice makers offer a convenient alternative.

Having a dependable ice source is also an issue for RV and boat owners. When out on the water or while traveling cross-country, ice can be hard to come by. Those are the exact scenarios in which portable ice makers are best able to meet ice needs. Because only a power source is required, the opportunities, especially if you employ a DC power adapter, are endless. From camping to tailgating, portable ice makers are able to provide ice in otherwise difficult situations.

What should I consider when shopping for a portable ice maker?

So, you’ve decided that a portable ice maker is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Now, it’s time to find the perfect unit for your ice wants and needs.

Before you choose, here are all the elements you should consider:

1. Ice Production:
Although most portable ice makers have similar production rates, there is some variation. If you know you’ll be using ice frequently, then a small increase in production can mean quite the difference.

On the smaller side, portable ice makers make approximately 20 lbs. of ice per day. On the large side, a portable unit is capable of making up to 35 lbs. of ice in a 24 hour period.

2. Ice Type:
Most portable ice makers make semi-soft bullet shaped ice. Although a different shape, this ice has the same taste and consistency as the ice made by a traditional freezer ice maker. For those that prefer restaurant-quality ice, there are a select few portable ice makers that produce clear impurity-free ice.

3. Ice Size:
If having various cube sizes is important to you, you’ll want to look for a unit with ice size options. Some portable ice makers offer up to 3 sizing options.

4. Style:
If home décor is important to you, you’ll want to be sure and choose a unit that flows with your existing style. Portable ice makers feature modern finishes – such as black, stainless steel, and white – that match or update any space. For example, if you have all stainless steel appliances in your home, a stainless steel portable ice maker will harmonize perfectly your space.

5. Innovative Features:
Although insulated, portable units are not freezers. This means that unused ice will eventually melt back into water. Some models have an intelligent water-use design that automatically re-uses the water from melted cubes to make more ice. If you want the unit to run continuously while you’re away, then this option would be beneficial for you.

Another innovative feature that may sway your buying decision is an automatic timer function. Only a select few portable ice maker models have the option to set ice production to either start or stop at a specific time. Like the water-use design, this also allows you to leave the unit unattended yet still have ice ready exactly when you need it.

Ice is one of those commodities that you rarely notice until it’s not there. When finding a reliable source of ice is either a hassle or not thought possible, portable ice makers offer a fast and reliable solution.

We hope this guide helps put ice out of your mind and into your glass. Cheers!

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About Author

Sarah is a savvy urbanite with small town roots. As a foodie, wine lover & adventurer, she loves the bustling city and the great outdoors equally. Her motto is that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort, convenience, or fresh air for small-scale urban living.


  1. Dominica Alozie says

    needs portable icemaker for travel to areas with no steady clean water supply and no steady power supply. will be powered by generators in 220 voltage situation.

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