Portable Ice Makers

Opal Nugget Ice Maker Review

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I have some pretty exciting news for ice chewers!

Now you can enjoy nugget or sonic ice at home without buying an expensive commercial unit.

Related: The Top Portable Ice Maker on the Market

Related: My GE Profile Opal 2.0 Review

The Opal Nugget Ice Maker has been on the market for a while now, and it seems to be a popular ice maker for producing soft, chewable nugget ice at a decent price.

Related: Check out the Opal Nugget Ice Maker 2.0

I decided to grab about $500 and purchase one of these Opal Ice Maker’s myself and see what all the fuss is about.

This is my Opal Nugget Ice Maker Review.

What Is Nugget Ice?

Nugget or sonic ice is popular today for offices, home bars and those that love chewing ice. Nugget ice is also popular for smoothies, ice coffee, slushies, or any iced drink you want to create.

The invention of nugget ice dates back to 1981. The creator of this type of ice was Scotsman Ice Systems.

What is so appealing about nugget ice?

Bartender Jayce McConnell of Edmund’s Oast explains the appeal of nugget ice like this: “It’s porous and chewable, and every little pebble can carry some of the beverage with it.”

Related: The KBgoodice Self-Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker Review

Now, this ice maker isn’t the cheapest portable ice maker on the market today. You’ll probably spend about $500ish for this ice maker on Amazon. There are other options available if you’re looking to pick up a cheaper countertop ice maker (which produces bullet-shaped ice and not the nugget ice), but this ice maker isn’t like the others.

Click here to read more about the NewAir Countertop Nugget Ice Maker.

Click here to read our comparison between the Opal Nugget Ice Maker and the NewAir Nugget Ice Maker.

When it comes to producing nugget ice, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker does the job well.

Ice Production24 Pounds a day
DesignStainless Steel, Plastic
Weight44 lbs
Dimensions15.5 x 10.5 x 17.2 inches
Ice Cycle20 Minutes
Storage Capacity3 lbs
Ice TypeNugget Ice
Best PriceClick Here For Best Price

Let’s review this portable ice maker and see if it’s a unit you should consider purchasing.

Design and Features

There’s no doubt about it! The Opal Nugget Ice Maker is a sharp-looking unit. The ice maker is wrapped in beautiful stainless steel, and the back is a glossy black trim. It has a transparent bin that fits nicely on the front of the unit, and it’s lit with a LED light. I thought that it was very classy!

The GE Opal didn’t have the traditional portable ice maker look, which is refreshing. It’s practically a rectangular metal box on my countertop, but the stainless steel front and sides, and the front sliding storage bin, elevates its style to premium in my books.

It’s Built Well, A Little Heavy

The unit measures 17.2 by 10.5 by 15.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 44 pounds.

My opinion? It’s far too heavy. I actually had trouble lifting it from the box to my countertop.

The average portable ice maker weighs between 17-30 lbs. You’re going to want to find a place for the Opal and leave it there – it’s not designed to be moved around (my opinion) even though it technically can.

If you are looking for an ice maker that’s more for camping or your RV, check out my post on the perfect ice maker for camping.

How The GE Opal Ice Maker Works

Most portable ice makers freeze ice around small cylinders which produces bullet or hat-shaped ice. The Opal Ice Maker scrapes ice flakes from a cooled cylinder and compresses them together. This is what gives you that light-chewable ice.

Makes 24 Pounds of Ice Every 24 Hours

The Opal Nugget Ice Maker will produce for you one pound of nugget ice every hour (24 lbs of ice every 24 hours).

Opal Nugget Ice Maker 2.0
  • 24 Pounds of Nugget Ice Daily
  • Elegant Design
  • Wifi
  • Stainless Steel
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

This is a decent amount of nugget ice. Usually, refrigerator ice makers produce 2-3 pounds of ice every day.

It’s still not the largest capacity in an ice maker and falls short of the NewAir Nugget Ice Maker by almost 20 pounds of ice each day.

A Removable Ice Bin

At the front of the unit, there is a clear plastic removable bin. The bin is lit by an LED light which gives it a really nice look. You can slide the bin out whenever you need ice, and it easily slides back into place. My kids loved sliding the bin out for ice, and I found that it often was scattered around the base of the ice maker.

Beneath the clear plastic bin is the water reservoir. Like most portable ice makers, the ice storage bin has holes to drain the water from the melted ice. This allows the water to return to the water reservoir to make more ice.

The Opal doesn’t need a water or drain line. Everything works together within the ice maker itself.

You can purchase the Opal Side Tank, which extends the amount of water the reservoir can hold. This additional attachment gives you more ice and fewer water refills.

Indicating LED Light

On the front of the unit, there is a LED circle light that gives you an indication of the operation of the unit.

  • If the ring is solid white the bin is full of ice.
  • When the circle light is cascading white, it means that the unit is making ice.
  • A prolonged cascading white light says it is in defrost mode and should not be turned off for at least 30 minutes.
  • A pulsing yellow light means that the ice maker is in cleaning mode, and a rotating yellow light indicates that it is in rinse mode.
  • If the ice maker shows a swishing blue light, it means that the water reservoir is empty and needs more water before it can continue.

The Back of the Ice Maker

At the back of the unit, you’re going to find 14″ drain tubes that are used to drain extra water from the clean cycle. You’re also going to find a toggle switch which is used to switch between cleaning mode and making ice mode.

The unit comes with a small black plastic scoop. The scoop isn’t much to behold, and should be ungraded to a stainless steel scoop.

I went on Amazon and purchased a stainless steel one which matches the ice maker perfectly. Click here to head over to Amazon and read more about it. 

Installation and Cleaning

The great thing about the Opal Ice Maker is that you don’t have to pay for a professional to come and install it. All you have to do to start making ice is prepare your ice maker.

When the Opal arrived at my house, it didn’t take long to get it unpacked, cleaned, and to make nugget ice.

First, wash the bin with warm soapy water, and then do your best to rinse it thoroughly.

Plug it in and switch the toggle mode to cleaning.

You’ll need to fill the reservoir with water and then begin the cleaning cycle (Which will last for about 3 minutes) by touching the button.

When the light ring begins to pulse yellow, you need to disconnect the tubes and place them in a sink or a bucket. It’s a good practice to clean your ice maker at least once a week. You can purchase the Opal Cleaning Kit here.

Keeping your ice maker clean is vital in keeping your nugget ice tasting great and your ice machine working correctly.

The Mobile App

The Opal Ice Maker also has a mobile app that you can download from your mobile phone’s app store. This app allows you to connect to your ice maker through Bluetooth.

Remember that this ice maker doesn’t have a wifi connection. There is a big difference between WIFI and Bluetooth. With Bluetooth, you would need to be near the Opal Nugget Ice Maker to use the app. If you want an ice maker with WIFI, then the Opal Nugget Ice Maker 2.0 is your best choice.

The app allows you to turn the ice maker on and off. It also allows you to create an ice production schedule.

I never really used the app much. I guess it depends on the individual and what they are used to.

My Conclusion

It takes 20 minutes for the first batch of ice to fall into the bin. Your ice bin should be full in about 3 hours.

If you need a lot of ice, I would suggest that you purchase freezer ice bags from Amazon, and every three hours fill the bags and put them in the freezer.

If you are looking for an affordable nugget ice maker to your home, then the Opal Ice Maker is a great choice.

For $500, you’re going to get an ice maker that delivers genuine chewable nugget ice with a compact, stylish design.

I really enjoyed using the nugget ice maker. It was heavy, a little loud, but produced good ice, and enough for the entire family.

Opal Nugget Ice Maker Manual

You can download Opal Nugget Ice manual by clicking here.

Opal Nugget Ice Maker 2.0
  • 24 Pounds of Nugget Ice Daily
  • Elegant Design
  • Wifi
  • Stainless Steel
  • Heavy
  • Expensive


Sam Harning joined Better Home + Living team as a reviewer and writer in 2018. She has many hobbies and passions. Her favorite thing is trying new products, learning new things, and writing about her experience. She loves sharing with her readers and helping them make better decisions for their homes and family. Sam also loves playing golf, mountain biking, and walking during sunset or sunrise.


    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      (Edited) Originally, I posted that there were no portable ice makers that produce nugget ice, at the time, that was true. Now you can purchase the NewAir Countertop Nugget Ice Maker that produces 40 pounds of ice each day, and the first batch of ice is ready in 5 minutes. You can check it out here.

  1. hello i have a question about the Opal. Our Opal ice seems to come out solid and not porus. we are using water that comes from a water store that sell it for .35 cent a gallon. its clear and not white looking. is there something we can do to get it more pours like .my wife said it kind of hard like it is.. Any help with this problem. thank you Bob

  2. David Laughlin Reply

    Sadly if it breaks after the warranty period your out of luck.
    Zero repair options. Zero parts available. Only a list for when they come out with a service program that still does not exits. If your water pump goes out good luck getting a replacement. They do not sell them, no service manual to find one aftermarket either. Your just out your almost $500 you spent for amazing ice. My recommendation let your friend buy it so your not upset when it quits working and you cant get it fixed. My daughter whom I bought one for a Christmas gift is in that situation now. It is a pretty door stop that will not make ice and cannot be fixed. Wish I had spent the money elsewhere after talking to their customer service people and being told a list was the best they had for me.

    • Robert Washburn Reply

      LOL,not funny Mine is less then 2 years old and you are right was told nothing they will do to help,just bad luck she said,WOW SAD,Dont buy

  3. We have had our Opal for a couple of years now and have just noticed mold in the drain tubes. Do others have this problem? Are the drain tubes replaceable?

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      I would run the Opal cleaner through the machine several times and see if this clears out the hoses. You shouldn’t have to replace the hoses. If this doesn’t solve the problem, I would use a stronger mold killer and run it through the unit.

  4. We ran cleaner through the machine doe to it starting to make loud noise when running. We forgot to remove the filter. Should we discard the filter before we use the ice?

  5. My water coming out of my Opal icemaker is gray when I drain the water to clean it. I clean every week. What is going on with my icemaker

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      It could be the water filter. I would contact Opal and get them to diagnose the issue.

  6. My opal ice maker is constantly in cleaning mode. We clean it and then it makes 1 bin of ice (if that much) and the yellow light comes back on. We have tried using bleach as the manual indicates. We have tried vinegar. We have also tried the Opal cleaning/descaling solution. Any thoughts?

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      It sounds like a faulty sensor. I would contact opal support, and tell them the problem.

      • Contacted them. They pointed out that the yellow light can indicate ANY problem (not just internal issues). They told us to vacuum out the fan on the left side of the machine. Now its working again!

        • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

          That’s great news! It’s also awesome information to share with our readers. Thanks for sharing!

          • Ice Maker Geeks

            We didn’t have to take anything apart.

  7. Does this ice maker allow for the type of ice to be changed that it produces. When I purchased this ice maker I was under the impression that it would produce 3 different types of ice cubes. I am only able to get it to produce the nugget ice. I wonder why it would be marketed in that manner if this is not the case.

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      This ice maker only produces nugget ice. There are no ice makers that will produce three different types of ice. Portable ice makers will produce either nugget ice, clear ice or bullet-shaped ice and it doesn’t switch between the three. Portable ice makers that produce bullet-shaped ice, often will produce three ice sizes, but will never switch to different types.

  8. Shelby Renfeld Reply

    My ice maker makes a loud sound when the water bin is empty and doesn’t seem to pull automatically from the side container (we bought that extra). When we hear the loud nose we run and turn it off. Is the ice maker made to be turned off when it’s done making ice or does it remain turned on until it has enough water to make more ice. I assumed you just left it on all the time. But because of the loud noise that it makes, it worries me that it’s going to damage the machine. I don’t see anything in the manual it says to turn it off, so we’re just turning it off as soon as we hear the noise.

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      If the water is low then the sound you’re hearing is the water pump trying to pull water. If it’s not taking water from the side tank, then I would make sure that it’s installed correctly. You can also call Opal and talk to them about possible issues. It sounds like it’s new, so it would be under warranty.

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      I would recommend you send the Opal back for repairs. If the unit is leaking internally, then it’s probably a hose that’s disconnected or a crack inside.

  9. What occurs in the process to start the defrost cycle ,is it a timer , a sensor , or a safety feature etc ?

  10. I love my Opal ice maker. But it needs to be repaired. First Build has nothing to offer because I’m out of warranty.

    Has anyone found a repair option?

    • Better Home Living Reply

      Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the best. After the first year, you are on your own unless you purchased an extended warranty. I normally purchase the extended warranty offered by Amazon for more expensive units.

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