Sometimes, you just cannot beat the feeling of having friends over for a get-together during the summer months, or the family over in fall. As well as getting a chance to catch up, the drinks are flowing and the wine is staying cold in the ice bucket.
All is going well until the ice runs out. Despite you buying a bag of ice, or perhaps you used the dispenser in your refrigerator, it has all been used up.
Whilst you could wait a few hours for the water to solidify or head to the store for more ice, there is another solution.
If you have found that this is a common occurrence in your household, then you are going to want to invest in a nugget ice maker.
Not only will it take a few minutes to turn water into ice (avoids your guests having to wait for ages), the machines create healthier ice that you are able to chew without damaging your teeth.
Luckily for you, we have already done the hard work so you do not have to. Below we have put together a list of some of the best nugget ice makers on the market, as well as an added buyer’s guide giving you the key areas to look at before you make the investment.
So, do not let those drinks go warm, read on!
If you are new to ice makers, then the stainless steel Silonn is a great option. We found that it was really easy to navigate – in fact, all you need to do is add the water, switch the machine on, select which size of ice cube you want and then off it goes.
When it is finished doing its job – 9 ice cubes in the shape of a bullet took around 7 minutes to complete – the light will start flashing. It will also do this when there is not enough water to make ice cubes.
Speaking of the ice cubes, there are two sizes to choose from in case you want a bigger cube for drinks, or smaller cubes to keep food chilled, just for example.
On average the maker will produce around 26 pounds worth of ice cubes in 24 hours. It is 2 pounds more than the average nugget ice maker on the market.
The nugget ice maker itself is also really quiet at 35dB which is very similar to a refrigerator. It can be doing its job in the background as you either socialize with friends or watch a TV show.
Another good thing about this product is that it has a clear window so you can see the ice being made, and make sure everything is going smoothly.
However, just like we stated before, the light will flash if it needs your attention, so you will not need to wait around looking at the machine doing its job.
It also has a self-cleaning function which is always helpful as these makers can be a hassle to clean.
Whilst it will make a good amount of ice, it does only make 9 every 7 minutes, so it is a great choice if you are only wanting small batches, or if you have time to do a few cycles at a time. Still, it creates nugget ice a lot faster than the traditional method!
- Stainless steel – made from quality material
- Self-cleaning – takes the hassle out of trying to clean it
- Two sizes – big or small ice cubes
- 26 pounds of ice cubes – in a 24 hour period
- Quiet operation – 35dB is the same level of noise as a refrigerator
- Small batch – it only produces 9 ice cubes every 7 minutes
On the more expensive end of the market sits the GE Profile Opal nugget ice maker. It has built-in Bluetooth so you can schedule it to make fresh ice, as well as monitor the status of the ice being made, amongst many other things.
Whilst this might not seem like a ‘must-have’ function right now, you will wonder how you coped without it. It is a game changer if you are helping the kids with homework and you have to get some ice made.
Due to it having a side tank to fill up with water, the machine can automatically make ice once there is no more left.
We found this was really useful when hosting a small gathering of friends, as the ice maker was working without the need of anyone touching it. That also meant we did not go without ice because someone forgot to add more water.
Also, no water is wasted either as any ice that melts because it was not removed will fall into the reservoir and be made back into ice another time.
The bin of the maker has a large capacity and can hold up to around 3 pounds worth of ice. It takes an hour to make 1 pound of ice, which is more than enough for drinks and for keeping food cool.
If you do plan on using the bluetooth connectivity, there have been reports of not being able to use it if using an android device, but that was not the case with iOS.
- Bluetooth – allows for scheduling of ice making
- Large capacity of ice – can make 1 pound per hour
- Side tank – allows for automatic refilling to make ice
- No water wastage – anything that melts can be made back into ice
- Not Android friendly – the bluetooth works better on iOS devices
If you have space for a bigger ice machine compared to the other models on this list, then the Frigidaire is a great choice. At 12 inches length, 17 inches width and 19 inches height, it might seem a little hefty. However, there is a good reason for that.
It is because it has a high capacity rate which means it will produce up to 44 pounds worth of ice in 24 hours, and the bin itself holds 3 pounds at any one time. That is quite impressive.
It also only takes 15 minutes to start enjoying ice, which we did find to be a bit slower than some of the other models. Due to the amount of ice it makes, it really was not a problem, however.
It also has an automatic function for unused water, perhaps from some ice that has been melted because it has been sitting in the bin for too long. It will end up back in the reservoir to be made into ice again.
Whilst it is portable, it might be a bit too big to carry, and is likely to be bought to sit in the kitchen, rather than taken round to the in-laws at Thanksgiving.
Also, there is no self-cleaning function. For a big appliance, that might seem rather daunting, though it can be done quite easily.
- High capacity – creates 44 pounds of ice in a day, and holds 3 pounds at one time in its bin
- Automatic function – any ice that has melted will be made back into ice
- Quick start-up – begins to make a batch of ice in 15 minutes
- Quite big – not as portable as some may like, but it looks great in the home
- No self-cleaning function – which means you will have to clean it by hand
The Crownful is a nugget ice maker that gives you two ways to fill it up with water depending on your preference. One way is by filling it up manually once there is no water left, or you can attach it to a water system.
The latter means that the ice maker will fill up automatically making it much more convenient.
Whilst it can hold 3 pounds of ice at one given time, at 18 minutes it does take a little longer to make the ice compared to other models. In all, it can make around 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours.
Even though it did take longer than usual to make the ice, it was worth it. Once left to its own devices, you would not even know because it automatically refills without you realizing there is no ice left.
If you are planning to use it manually, the use of advanced infrared technology causes a light to come on to alert you to add more water when there is barely any left.
You can also look through the window to check for yourself, or to watch the ice being created.
Also, the stainless steel ice maker also uses a powerful yet silent compressor that allows it to run quietly. Whilst not super quiet, it faded into the background of other kitchen noises.
There is also a self-cleaning function to make sure you can keep on top of making sure it stays in a good condition.
- Two ways to use – either through a water system or fill it manually
- Lots of ice – 3 pounds in bin at a time and 26 pounds in 24 hours
- Self-clean function – means cleaning is easy
- Automatic function – if using manually, it will let you know when the water needs to be added
- Longer to make ice – at 18 minutes it takes longer than other models
The AGLucky nugget ice maker is a compact and easy to use appliance. Just like the Silonn, it produces 9 ice cubes at a time, but it only takes around 6 to 8 minutes to do so.
We found that this kind of ice maker is perfect for unplanned drinks. Perhaps a friend has turned up and you both would like a cold, refreshing drink? Well the AGLucky can make just the right amount of ice cubes to cool you down.
Despite its size, it can make up to around 26 pounds worth of ice cubes a day. Once the tray becomes full, it will tell you to remove the ice.
Unfortunately, any used ice does not automatically get reused again, so it is better to remove the ice as soon as possible.
Another thing similar to the Silonn, is that you can choose the ice cube size. This gives you a choice depending on what you are using the ice for. The bigger cube will last a lot longer with a delicious beverage.
Also, it is really simple to use, and it has a control area that shows you when the bin for ice is full, and when you need to add the water. It also includes the on/off button and what size cubes you would like.
- Portable – is smaller in size at 12.3 inches (D) by 8.7 inches (W) by 12.6 inches (H)
- Quick timing – only takes up to 8 minutes to make ice cubes
- Size choices – you can produce small or big ice cubes
- Small amount – great for smaller quantities of ice cubes, though the tray fills up quick
If you are looking for an inexpensive yet good ice maker, then the Astrong is a great contender. Whilst slightly bigger than the AGLucky, it is a portable device that is really easy to use.
Like the other more portable versions of ice makers, it can produce 9 ice cubes within 8 to 10 minutes. Altogether, it can hold up to 1.25 pounds worth of ice, and make 26 pounds within 24 hours. That is plenty of ice!
We found this to be a really quiet ice maker, though obviously not completely silent. The ‘warm up’ time of getting the ice maker to the temperature it needs to be only took a couple of cycles of making ice before the ice was fully usable.
The ice tray also includes a reservoir to allow the water from melted ice cubes to re-enter the system and be made into ice again. This means there is no water wastage.
This is a great idea just generally, but more so if you really do not want to waste water.
Once the tray was full, the machine stopped making ice and let us know to remove it. Also, cleaning it was super easy because of the 5 self-cleaning cycles available to choose from.
It does advertise itself as being able to make sonic ice, but it actually does not, so do be aware if this is something you are after.
- Inexpensive – but is a quality model that is easy to use
- Fast ice maker – can make ice within 10 minutes
- Self-cleaning – has 5 different cycles to choose from
- Re-uses melted ice water – no wastage of water
- Quiet machine – does not sound loud when in use
No sonic ice – says it produces it but it does not
Now that you have taken a look at the list, you will want to know about the key areas to look at before making an investment. From how much ice it makes, to whether it makes ice automatically, it all needs to be looked at before you take the next step.
Ice Capacity and Time
There are a few main areas you will want to know about before purchasing an ice maker. One of those is how much ice it can make in one go.
Whilst the smaller, more portable ice makers will only make around 9 ice cubes at a time, larger ice makers can make a whole batch of them.
With this in mind, the less ice cubes it makes, the quicker the turnaround time will be from water to frozen ice. This does not mean that either is better or worse, as all ice machines will keep producing ice, and even the smaller models will fill up the tray after so long.
When it comes to these two areas, think about whether you are hosting parties or tend to use a lot of ice a day, or you just want a steady stream of ice. This will help you to decide which option is best for you.
Along with the amount of ice cubes made, how to refill the ice maker is probably the second most important point. Before you invest in an ice maker, you will need to know how you fill it up with ice, and how it stays ‘watered’.
Most ice makers rely on a person to manually pour water in. This is absolutely fine if you do not mind doing it every so often. Usually the machine will have a small light which shines when it is running out of water, or once it has all been used up.
Another option for some ice makers is an added on water tank. It can hold extra water and allows the ice maker to automatically refill itself.
You can also find an ice maker which allows you to plug it up to the water mains, meaning it will never run out of water.
Whichever one you prefer is all down to how long you are going to use it, and how many ice cubes you will need.
No Water Waste
Most ice makers allow for ice melted water to be reused. It does this when the ice is either melting too fast, or it has been left in the tray unclaimed. Once it melts, it falls into the reservoir and finds its way back to be used as ice cubes again.
This is a good option to have included because it means that there is no water wastage, and every last drop can be reused, and reused…
Ice makers that are on the more expensive end of the market might have bluetooth enabled. Whilst it is a cool feature to have, it actually is not necessary.
This is because it is more of an added on feature, rather than something you need to make the most out of to produce ice.
When the ice maker includes bluetooth, it is to allow you to switch the ice machine on remotely, and to start creating ice cubes whilst you are away from the machine.
There can also be an app to download, as well as extra accessories to buy straight from said app.
If you do not want bluetooth, then that is fine. If you do want it, then that is fine too. Again, it is all down to personal preference.
Some ice makers allow you to choose the size of the ice cubes. Normally this is either big or small, and it gives you an option as to whether you want something that will last in a drink, or used to chill a wine bottle.
Again, whilst this likely will not sway you one way or another, it is a cool feature to have. It means you have the option to have bigger ice cubes in your beverage that will last a lot longer, or you can use lots of little ice cubes in a cocktail, or to treat a bump.
What is nugget ice?
Nugget ice is a soft ice that falls somewhere between crushed ice and ice cubes. It has a soft texture yet can still hold its shape. It is also great to use in drinks, as well as to keep bottles of wine cold, etc.
Does nugget ice melt much faster?
The good thing about nugget ice is that it absorbs the flavor from the drink once it has been poured in, which helps cool the drink faster. This also means that the ice tastes nice too! Due to it being a little less dense than other types of ices, it does melt faster.
Is nugget ice softer than regular ice?
Yes, it is. This is due to how it is made using an auger-style system compared to other machines that use an evaporator plate. The nugget ice is better for the teeth because it can be chewed much more easily.
Why is nugget ice so popular?
Nugget ice is popular because it is easy to produce if you have a machine that does it for you. In fact, it is better ice than the one that comes out of the refrigerator, or from a tray.
It is softer and chewier, but lasts longer than crushed ice. It is also better for the teeth and works well in drinks.
Is nugget ice bad for you?
No – in fact, it is good for you! If you have a habit of chewing on ice, especially once the drink is over, then you will probably know that ice can wear down the teeth and cause issues.
Nugget ice is much softer and can be chewed without causing any problems.
The nugget ice is likely to melt anyway, but still give you that satisfying cold feeling.
Is it okay to leave an ice maker running or do you need to switch it off?
If you plan to keep making ice throughout the day, then you will need to keep the ice maker on. If you do not, once the ice has melted or been used, the machine will have no electricity to work and create more ice.
If you plan to only make a batch, then you can switch the machine off once finished. So really, it all depends on how you plan to use the ice maker.