Sarah on March 12, 2014 37 Comments Portable ice makers are a fantastic option for compact living spaces, such as apartments, boats and RVs. They are also a great alternative to buying bagged ice or dealing with troublesome ice trays. Whether portable ice makers are a novel idea to you or one you’ve been contemplating for a while, you may have a few questions. We’ve compiled the most frequent questions we’ve been asked over the years. Hopefully we’ll be able to answer yours, perhaps even before you know what to ask. Shop for a Portable & Countertop Ice Maker Do I need a water line to use my portable ice maker? How do portable ice makers work? How quickly do portable ice makers produce ice? How small are portable ice makers? What makes portable ice makers portable? How do I clean and maintain my portable ice maker? What is the difference between ice production capacity and ice storage capacity? Do I need a drain line for my portable ice maker? What type of ice do portable ice makers produce? Do I need a special plug or power supply to run my portable ice maker? Can I use my portable ice maker outdoors? If you have a question about portable or countertop ice makers that you don’t see listed here, please leave us a comment below or give us a call at 1-800-297-6076. 1. Do I need a water line to use my portable ice maker? No. Portable ice makers do not require a water line. Instead, you only need to pour water into the unit’s reservoir and turn it on in order to start the ice production process. 2. How do portable ice makers work? Portable ice makers work like any traditional freezer ice maker. Water is pumped into the rotating ice tray. The compressor and fan then freeze the water into ice. Then a warm refrigerant causes the ice to be released into the bin. More Info: How a Portable Ice Maker Works 3. How quickly do portable ice makers produce ice? Most portable ice makers drop their first cubes into the bin in a matter of minutes. Traditional ice trays take hours and hours to produce ice. There’s no more waiting around with a portable ice maker. 4. How small are portable ice makers? Portable ice makers are compact enough to fit comfortably on a countertop yet large enough to hold a substantial amount of ice. Most models stand under 15 inches and have a width slimmer than 12 inches. 5. What makes portable ice makers portable? Because portable ice makers don’t require a water line or a drain line, only a power supply, they can be taken virtually anywhere a 110-120V outlet is available. 6. How do I clean and maintain my portable ice maker? Portable ice makers are very easy to maintain. Cleaning your portable ice maker periodically is really all you need to do to ensure it runs smoothly. To clean, add an ice machine cleaner to water and pour the mixture into the water reservoir. Run the ice maker until all of the water/cleaner mixture has been made into cubes. Discard the cubes. Run the ice maker using just water. Discard the batch again. You will also want to clean your included ice scoop. Like any utensil, this will need to be washed regularly. More Info: Step-by-Step Instructions to Clean Your Ice Machine 7. What is the difference between ice production capacity and ice storage capacity? The ice production capacity is how much ice the unit can make in a 24 hour period. The ice storage capacity is the maximum amount of ice the unit can hold at any given time. The production capacity is typically much larger than the storage capacity because the machine anticipates ice usage throughout the day. No need to worry about the unit overfilling though, once the storage capacity is reached the ice maker will suspend ice making until some of the ice is either removed or melted. If the ice is melted, the unit will then use that water to make more ice automatically. 8. Do I need a drain line for my portable ice maker? No, you don’t. Portable ice makers do not require a drain or dedicated drain line. Portable units reuse melted ice to then make more ice. If you wish the unit of water completely, there is a plug located near the bottom of the reservoir, much like a travel cooler, intended to make emptying easy and hassle-free. 9. What type of ice do portable ice makers produce? Most portable ice makers produce what is called bullet ice. Like it sounds, this ice is cylindrical. There are also units that produce impurity-free clear cubed ice, much like the kind typically found in restaurants. 10. Do I need a special plug or power supply to run my portable ice maker? Portable ice makers use a standard three-prong plug that must be connected to a 110-120V outlet. A DC adaptor can be used to connect the unit to the power source in your vehicle. 11. Can I use my portable ice maker outdoors? Yes, you can use your portable ice maker anywhere that a power source is available. It must be understood though that the more extreme the ambient temperatures, the harder it’ll be for the unit to produce and keep ice.