Portable Ice Makers

Portable Ice Maker Won’t Make Ice: Troubleshooting Your Problem

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Portable ice makers are fantastic. I love my portable ice maker, and I wouldn’t know what to do if it all of a sudden it stopped making ice. I’m just saying that our mealtimes wouldn’t be the same. The good news for people who have a portable ice maker that has stopped making ice is that they are not complicated to understand.

Understanding your ice maker is where troubleshooting begins.


Portable Ice makers aren’t overly complicated.

Check out my top portable ice makers this year by clicking here.

Water is pumped into a small tray where freon points are dipped into water.

How to troubleshoot a portable ice maker

The water begins to freeze around these points and form bullet-shaped ice.

Once the ice gets to the desired size, the water is drained from the tray, and the ice is dropped.

Bullet ice from a portable ice maker

A small paddle pushes the ice into the ice bucket, where it’s ready to be used.

Not all portable ice makers produce bullet-shaped ice. Some portable ice makers produce clear ice or nugget ice. You can learn more about the different types of ice in an article I wrote here.

That’s how portable ice makers make ice. It’s simple, right? As the ice melts, it drips back into the water reservoir where it’s used to make more ice. Portable ice makers have an excellent design so that you never need drainage hoses or water lines. This design makes them truly portable because all you need is a power outlet and some water and you can start to make ice.

Portable ice makers have so many uses, and because they are portable are not just limited to your home. You can use a portable ice maker for camping or take it with you on your RV – they are great!

Now that you understand how ice is produced using a portable ice maker, this should help us in troubleshooting your ice maker if it stops making ice.

We’re going to look at different problems with portable ice makers and how to troubleshoot the issue.


Here are some common reasons why a portable ice maker will not turn on.


The first thing you need to do before trying any other troubleshooting steps is making sure you have power to your machine.

Make sure that it’s plugged in, and that it’s turned on.

Portable Ice maker won't turn on

I know this sounds elementary, but you’d be surprised how many portable ice makers return to functionality by just flicking a breaker or turning on a button. Maybe you have to check the power receptacle or use another outlet to ensure it’s receiving power.

Make sure your portable ice maker has power

If your ice maker is getting power, and it’s turned on, then you can move to the next steps.

Reset Your Portable Ice Maker

Check to see if the portable ice maker that you own has a manual reset button. Some units have fuses or breakers built in the unit. If this breaker is tripped or fuse is burnt out, then it will have to be reset.

Related: Reset an Igloo Ice Maker

To find out if your portable ice maker has a reset button, check your owners manual.

Control Board is Busted

On a more serious note, it could be that the control board on the ice maker is damaged and won’t properly power up the ice maker. In this case, my advise would be to purchase a new portable ice maker or contact a specialist who can repair it.


If you portable ice maker won’t make ice, then take the following steps to troubleshoot the issue.


One of the most common causes for portable ice makers not making ice is it’s not getting any water.

This may be an issue with the pump, a plugged water pipe on the bottom of the ice maker, or calcium buildup.

My first step would be to do a thorough cleaning of ice portable ice maker.


At the bottom of the water reservoir, you are going to notice a small hole.

This small hole is the water intake valve, where the water is pumped into the small tray at the top of your ice maker. At the top is where the freon points are submerged in water. You want to make sure that this small hole isn’t plugged, and that water is getting to where it needs to be. It goes without saying that if that water cannot be pumped from the water reservoir to the cup at the top, then you’re not going to have a lot of ice.

This also may be the reason why your ice pieces are not as large as they ought to be. A really good cleaning of your ice maker is the logical plan of action.

Check to see if this small tray is filled with water. If there’s no water in this small tray then you know that something is plugged, stopping the water’s flow.

You will also hear the plump winding, trying to pump the water. If the pump is working hard and the water reservoir is full of water – you have an issue and I would guess it’s plugged.


If you do not have a portable ice maker, and your ice maker has a water hose (direct water), then you want to make sure that this hose isn’t pinched, cut, or frozen. Make sure that water is reaching its destination.

You may have to remove the back of your portable ice maker to get to the water hose and see if it’s not cut or blocked. A hint that your water supply is plugged is you begin to notice leakage from your machine.

Important: If you see water around your unit, first check to make sure that the plug is in the water reservoir isn’t loose or missing. If the water plug is secure, then make sure you check all water connections.


Water won’t flow if the water pump is damaged in your portable ice maker. When there is a small issue, like a plugged line, the water pump works harder to get the water where it needs to be. This results in the water pump burning out over time and a bigger mess on your hands.

Typically, if the problem is because of a damaged water pump, I would replace the unit with a newer model. You can check out a great selection of portable ice maker reviews to help you choose a new unit.


Make sure that your ice maker has enough water. If you hear a whining sound from your ice maker, then it’s probably your pump trying to get water. Add more water into your unit, and it should return to normal.

If your ice maker uses a water line (direct water), make sure that the water is flowing freely and that water is reaching your machine.


Portable ice makers that two sensors that help it to be more efficient.

If your unit is not making ice it may because there is something wrong with the one of those sensors.

I advise that you take some time and clean your portable ice maker. Make sure that there’s no debris or anything that would interfere with the sensors in any way.

The water sensor located on the bottom of the water reservoir tells your ice maker that it needs more water. If this sensor fails or is interfered with then it could be the reason your ice maker isn’t making ice.

Another sensor to be aware of is the storage sensor. This sensor tells you that your ice maker has a full storage basket and that you need to empty the storage basket before it continue making ice. If the storage sensor fails, then your machine will not function.

The first ice maker stopped one day and always showed the “ice full” indicator light on. I tried everything to fix the issue; I found out later that the sensors were damaged and that it would be way too much money to correct the problem.

I was forced to replace the ice maker because of this problem. If your “Ice Full” indicator light is on or “fill water” indicator light is on, and it is obviously wrong, it may be bad news. Try to reset the ice maker (if it has a reset option), or clean it, but it may be a sensor failure.

Sometimes the “fill water” light will be on even though the water is filled because the water is too pure and there are not enough minerals in the water for the sensor to detect. Try adding a pinch of salt to the water (which will add some minerals) to help the machine detect the water.


Portable Ice makers are designed to work in rooms that are at room temperature.

If your ice maker goes through the ice-making process, but there is no ice in the end, it may be because your room is too warm​.

If a room is too hot, your ice will melt before you can enjoy it. If this is the problem, then you need to move your ice maker to a room with a more moderate temperature.

When the room is too warm, the ice will melt into smaller pieces of ice. You’ll open the lid to get ice and it will be all slushy and small.


Most portable ice makers will make noise (some louder than others). You’re going to hear the sound of the pump drawing in water and the compressor​ as the ice maker continues through the ice cycle.

If your portable ice maker is making more noise than usual then try giving this a try. 

Make sure that your unit is level. An unlevel machine could cause more noise than necessary.

If you hear a loud knocking or metallic pinging, then this could be the compressor inside your ice maker. If your portable ice maker is under warranty, then you need to call customer support or return it for another one.


If you have a problem with smelly Ice, then it means your ice machine needs a good cleaning. Mold inside your unit can cause a lot of health problems, so you need to make sure that you deal with it properly.

It’s a good practice to make sure that your ice maker is cleaned at least every three weeks to make sure that dirt and debris are removed, and that mold doesn’t begin to form.

It’s incredible how much dirt begins to form inside a portable ice maker. When dirt forms on the inside walls of your ice maker, it ends up in the water and eventually into the ice.

Keeping your unit clean will not only give you fresher ice but also protect your machine from damage in the future.


If you notice that ice isn’t being dumped into the storage basket, it could be two possible reasons.

It could be a faulty sweeper. The sweeper is what pushes the ice into the storage tray. Faulty sweepers will have to be replaced by a professional. You could also make sure that the sweeper isn’t loose or something isn’t blocking it.

I would suggest checking for loose wires or corroded parts. If you cannot find anything that would indicate a failed component, then I would call support.

Another reason why your ice isn’t ending up in the storage basket is that of a faulty ejecting element. Again, look for loose wires. If you cannot find a reason for it not to be working, call customer support, or return the ice maker.


If you are looking to troubleshoot any portable ice maker, we have created an easy cheat sheet to help you.

A Quick Guide To Troubleshoot Your Portable Ice Maker

A Quick Guide To Troubleshoot Your Portable Ice Maker

We have put together a list of steps for you to begin if your ice maker isn’t working correctly.

1. Check all connections

If you portable ice maker isn’t working the way that it should, it’s making noise or doing something that isn’t normal. I would begin with checking electrical connections, your outlet or breaker.

2. Check the Water Supply 

Make sure that your portable ice maker has enough water and that water is being supplied to your machine. Most portable ice makers will shut off automatically when the water level is low or the ice storage bin is full.

3. Check the Ice Level

If you have too much ice in your ice maker, this will set off the sensor and shut down the unit. I would suggest checking the ice level or cleaning the ice level sensor.

4. Give the Unit a Good Cleaning

Ice makers get dirty over time. The dirt and grime that’s forms inside your ice maker will affect the taste of the ice and the performance of the unit. Take some time and clean the unit thoroughly. Cleaning your ice maker should improve the performance.

5. Check for Leaks

Take some time and check for coolant or water leaks. If you notice a coolant leak, you should have your ice maker serviced by a professional.


Ice makers are great.

It’s hard when they don’t work the way that they ought.

Sometimes portable ice makers get worn out, and the time is right to replace them.

When that time comes, we have put together a great list of the best portable ice makers on the market today.

We also created a great list of clear ice makers. Gourmet ice has a lot of benefits and is used for home bars, restaurants, and businesses. 

If you have any questions about troubleshooting your portable ice maker, you can add your questions or comments below.


Find informative articles, videos on home and living, family, work-life, helpful products, hacks, how-tos, and everything in between.


  1. My frigidaire portable ice machine is not freezing ice everything else work it’s only runs but it doesn’t freeze please help

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      Hey Laura,

      Unfortunately, that sounds like a compressor problem. If the ice maker is under warranty, I would contact the manufacturer right away and have them take a look at the problem. If the ice maker is older, then it’s probably time to purchase an new ice maker. I would recommend checking out our comprehensive buyers guide.

      • Hi, I got a frigidaire countertop ice maker about 1 1/2 months ago. Worked great for 4 weeks then stopped consistantly making ice. It will make a few cycles then just run through cycles not making ice, then might drop occasional ice. Some very small, some normal size. Warranty department is useless.

        • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

          It sounds like the ice maker has a compressor issue. You should return the unit for a new one.

  2. Trevor Valentine, Melbourne Reply

    Could you please tell me where in Melbourne I could take by portable icemaker to have it repaired. The shop in Dandenong is useless as their opening shot is $85 and then they charge you for finding, repairing the machine , which could work out rather expensive. I would appreciate any help. I am a pensioner and for obvious reasons I cannot pay large sums of money. Thank you.

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      Hey Trevor, thanks for reaching out to icemakergeeks.com.

      I am not familiar of any shops in Melbourne that can repair your ice maker. Depending on the type of ice maker that you have replacing it is often the best solution. I would suggest calling up some local repair shops and ask them if they will diagnose the problem for free. This way you can determine if repairing it is worth your money.

      • My portable frigidaire icemaker only uses 4 of its 9 fingers to make ice. 2 of those 4 make normal sized ice while the other 2 make smaller ice cubes. I’m guessing that the coolant isn’t reaching all of the fingers, but I’m not sure. What could be the issue, and how can I fix it? Thanks.

        • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

          It sounds like either two things to me. That the compressor isn’t working correctly or there is something malfunctioning with a sensor. If it’s the compressor I would advise you purchase a new ice maker. You can give it a good cleaning to see if a sensor is dirty and not working right.

      • Carlotta Bond Reply

        My ice maker full light is on but its no ice in the tray and is not making any why what is wrong

        • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

          Sounds like your sensor malfunctioned. I would do a thorough cleaning of the unit with something that will dissolve any hard water. If that doesn’t solve the problem, I suggest you purchase a new ice maker.

      • Sherry Lowman Reply

        I have a MAS/Intertek portable ice machine. The fan started to make a noise. I’ve tried finding info out but failed. Please help

        Thank you

        • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

          The fan could be clogged with dirt and dust. You can try blowing it out and seeing if that makes a difference.

    • Hello, I have an Igloo counter top ice maker. The water tray seemed to lock up so I replaced the tray motor and it appeared to start working again but after 3 ice making cycles it just stops producing. I reset and the same thing happens. Any other ideas?

      • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

        This is a difficult one to diagnose. In my experience, it would seem that the ice maker control board has malfunctioned and it’s not allowing it to complete the cycle. Depending on the age of the unit, it may be time for a replacement.

        • Hi, I just got an ice maker. I let it sit for the recommended 2 hours before turning on. Then it has gone through several cycles but it isn’t getting cold the posts are staying room temperature. It sounds fine just isn’t getting cold

          • It sounds like the ice maker is a dud. I would return it to the retailer ASAP. I would assume it’s a faulty compressor.

  3. stephen dilley Reply

    hello there I have an ice maker which has power going to it the paddle seems to be working but the water does not go to the ice bars

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      Sounds like the water pump is shot. If my diagnosis is correct is it better for you to purchase a new unit.

      • Destiny Herrera Reply

        My frigidaire countertop ice maker is not making ice. It also makes a sound like like a loud shocking sound. Any ideas on what it might be?

        • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

          You should keep it unplugged and take it to a professional. Depending on the age of the portable ice maker, you should probably consider replacing it.

  4. My machine won’t fully turn to hold the water to freeze. I tried the ten second trick. I get one tray of ice then machine won’t fully turn to restart the freezing again

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      This sounds like the board of the unit is faulty. If your ice maker is under warranty then you need to have it sent away for repairs. If your ice maker is not under warranty then I suggest that you begin to look for a new unit. You can check out our comprehensive buyers guide.

      • Tommy Driver Reply

        My Frigidaire model efic-108 portable Ice maker is not taking water into the reservoir, Any suggestions ? Thanks in advance….

        • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

          It sounds like the pump has failed. I suggest you purchase a new unit. You can check out our top choices here.

  5. Shirley Gamm Reply

    How do I know if my compressor , on my portable ice maker is the problem that it’s not working ? Shuts down right away after I started it up .

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      If your compressor is the problem, then the water will not freeze.

  6. How to you troubleshoot a compressor and replace it on a counter top Frigidaire Ice Maker?

    • Barbara Hermansen Reply

      I just got an igloo ice maker. I have it set up according to instructions. It hasn’t made any ice. I think there is a problem with the sweeper. It never moves, shouldn’t it go down so when ice forms it can push into basket? But it just sits at top.
      Brand new never used.

      • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

        If your ice maker is making ice, but the sweeper isn’t moving then it’s an issue with the sweeeper. If the unit isn’t producing ice at all then it has a faulty board, compressor, or all of the above. You should contact support for Igloo or return the unit.

  7. Whynter ice maker. Paddle retracts and drops ice but does not come back to catch the water. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      Sounds like the gears are slipping or damaged. I would call Whynter’s customer support for more help.

  8. Alice L. Finton Reply

    My Frigidaire counter top ice maker’s water tray wiil not return to the proper position to catch the water to fill for freezing into cubes

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      Make sure nothing is causing it to stick. It may also be good to give it a good cleaning, as well as descale the unit.

      • Hello! I have a fridgidaire EFIC117. I’ve only had it for about four months now and it has started to take longer to produce ice. It used to produce ice in 7 minutes now it is taking 12 minutes to produce. I clean it often and make sure it has plenty of space for the fan to have clean air. I’m getting frustrated and don’t know what to do. Please help.

        • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

          Make sure you’re producing ice in room temperature and that the ice maker is out of direct sunlight.

  9. My counter top Frigidaire ice maker power light blinks but won’t power on to start. I tried holding the power button to restart but it does nothing. What’s wrong and how do I fix it?

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      I know how frustrating that can be. I am not sure how old this ice maker is, but it sounds like something only a professional can fix. I would start by cleaning the unit with a descaling solution. It’s hard to diagnoses it online, but something like that sounds like an electronic issue that is probably not worth fixing. You may want to consider purchasing a new unit instead of the money you’d pay to fix it. You can check out my top choices for a portable ice make here.

  10. When powered on My Frigidaire countertop ice maker tray goes through several back and forth movements and then stops in the empty position and never calls for water.

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      This sounds like a malfunction in the mechanics of the ice maker. It’s difficult to completely diagnoses the issue with your Frigidaire countertop ice maker, but in our experience, it’s too much to repair. You’re better to purchase a new one (Get our top countertop ice makers here). You could try to reset the unit, if there is a reset button on your model. Best of luck.

  11. We have a brand new Costway ice maker and it works fine I guess. Can you tell me why the ice sticks together when we put it in the freezer. Thank you, Kay

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      The ice in the ice maker doesn’t have a freezer, so it’s slowly melting. When you throw that ice in the freezer, that melted ice freezes again, and sticks to the other pieces of ice. You can just break the ice by dropping the bag of ice on the ground or hit it with a mallet.

  12. We’ve had a VivoHome ice maker for about 4 months, and it just recently started making a loud, screeching sound while operating. It produced ice more slowly as well. We’ve been unable to reach anyone in Vivohome customer support so far. Any other advice? We are using it on a level surface.

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      Sounds like this ice maker has a blown compressor. You can check to see if it’s getting cold, or if there is a coolant link somewhere on the unit. I would recommend you purchase a new one.

    • My fridgare portable ice maker freezes up had unplugged two days pluged bk in worked oneday and bk to frexzing up

  13. rodney haley` Reply

    My costway ice maker only partially freezes a row of ice, if you don’t manually pull it off the racks it starts to run the next round of ice & makes a chunk of ice that needs to melt before it will fall. Refrigerant problem or bad sensor?

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      It sounds like a bad sensor. I would begin by giving it a really good cleaning. Check out my cleaning article here.

  14. Patricia Lyle Reply

    Just got a brand new Frigidaire portable 3 size cubes ice maker and it won’t make ice or even get cold. The water runs through it and dumbs but it is just water. What can I do?

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      I would send it back. If the water is running and the system is going through the ice cycle then it’s something that isn’t worth fixing. Send it back to the manufacturer right away.

  15. docme1701a Reply

    Help! Frigidaire, model EFIC117-ss, water flows and pumps. Tray moves ok, but the Freon points do not get cold at all. I can hear the motor running, and can feel air coming out the vent. Is there something like a refill Freon like for the car? Thanks in advance.

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      It could have leaked all of the freon out of the unit.

  16. my fridgidaire tabletop ice maker works fine but when it comes time to make the ice the compressor comes on for about 2 minutes and shuts off and not making the ice

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      Hi, it sounds like your compressor is not running the full cycle. Something is telling the compressor to turn off before making a full cycle of ice. You could try resetting it by turning it off for a couple of minutes and then trying it again. Your manual may say how to reset your particular ice maker. If it was me, I would call support or return it to the store.

  17. Rebekah Adams Reply

    My ice maker is filling up however the water isn’t freezing. The water just keeps flowing through back into the reserve. The water won’t stop and it doesn’t make the normal sound like it is freezing. What should I do?

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      Sounds like an issue with your compressor. You need to return the unit or call support.

  18. Heribeth Basto Reply

    My Frigidaire counter top ice maker won’t come cold anymore. What can I do about it? I purchased it online thru Walmart.com and don’t know how long the warranty is. It was purchase last year.

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      If it won’t get cold then it’s probably the compressor. I would send it back.

    • Ice Maker Geeks Reply

      If it won’t get cold, then it’s probably the compressor. I would send it back.

  19. I have a Frigidaire portable ice maker model EFIC235. Had it for a year and worked great. Started making more and more noise, sounds like a screeching or rubbing, and big pop/ click sounds. The reservoir isn’t recycling the water. It just sits, and molds up. The noise got so loud, we had to unplug it. It leaked a little water a day or two before unplugging it. Is it worth fixing? Better yet, can it be fixed?

  20. Eyshon Salahuddin Reply

    Where can I find a replacement ice storage basket. It’s a intertek model 96187

    • Portable ice makers don’t normally have replacement parts. When they die, or a part breaks, you have to replace the whole unit.

    • If your product is new, then I would suggest contacting Newair support. It sounds like the product needs to be replaced.

  21. They shouldn’t be allowed to make the junk – so much friggin landfill material –

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