Everyone loves having ice available.
No one wants to fill up ice trays and wait for a hundred years (okay, maybe not that long) for their ice to be ready.
When Floridian John Gorrie, M.D., invented the first-ever ice machine in 1845, he probably would have never dreamed how far his invention would go.
Now, you always see ice makers when you go to a restaurant, bar, or hotel, or stop in for some fast food. Ice makers are now a part of our everyday life. Below are reasons why owning an ice maker in your home makes sense.
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- Convenience: No need to remember to fill up ice trays or wait for them to freeze. With an ice maker, you have a continuous supply of ice at your fingertips.
- Consistent Ice Production: Ice makers produce a steady amount of ice, ensuring you never run out, especially during gatherings or parties.
- Space Saving: Built-in ice makers in freezers or standalone units can save valuable freezer space that might be taken up by multiple ice trays.
- Variety of Ice Shapes: Many ice makers offer different sizes and shapes of ice, from cubes to crushed to nuggets, catering to various preferences and drink types.
- Improved Taste: Ice makers often have built-in water filters, ensuring that the ice produced is free from impurities and doesn’t alter the taste of your beverages.
- Energy Efficient: Modern ice makers are designed to be energy-efficient, using minimal electricity to produce ice compared to the energy required to freeze water in trays.
- Saves Time: Especially useful during parties or gatherings, an ice maker eliminates the need to run to the store for bags of ice.
- Enhanced Aesthetics: A built-in ice maker in a kitchen can elevate the overall look and feel, adding a touch of luxury and modernity.
- Safety: With touchless dispensing options available in some models, there’s reduced risk of contamination, ensuring hygienic ice production.
- Economic Benefits: Over time, having an ice maker can be more cost-effective than regularly buying bags of ice, especially if you frequently entertain or consume a lot of beverages.
Most businesses use large commercial ice makers. Commercial ice makers can produce 100’s of pounds of ice every day and are used not only for commercial purposes but also for industrial.
What if you want to have a simple ice maker for your home? What if someone wants to enjoy ice for their home bar or have it available when people come over to visit? What are the best options for an ice maker for the home?
There are four options available to you. Let’s investigate each one.
A Fridge With A Built-In Ice Maker
The first way to enjoy ice at home is by purchasing a fridge with a built-in ice maker.
A Fridge with an ice maker is a simple way to add the option of ice to your home. Most refrigerators with ice makers will also give you the feature of selecting ice cubes or crushed ice. Most, if not all, will also have a water dispenser.
Sometimes you can dispense the ice from the door, other times you get the ice from the freezer.
The great thing about having a built-in ice maker in your fridge is that everything is together in one place, and you don’t have to give up any space for an extra appliance. Combining appliances is an excellent way of saving real estate in your kitchen.
- Convenience: An integrated ice maker provides a continuous supply of ice without the need to fill and refill ice trays manually.
- Space-Saving: It eliminates the need for multiple ice trays, freeing up valuable freezer space for other items.
- Automatic Refilling: Once the ice is used or starts to run low, the ice maker automatically begins producing more.
- Consistent Ice Production: Ensures you never run out of ice, especially during gatherings or parties.
- Filtered Ice: Many refrigerators with built-in ice makers also have water filtration systems, ensuring the ice is free from impurities.
- Variety: Some fridges offer both cubed and crushed ice options, allowing you to choose based on your preference.
- Hygienic: Touchless dispensing reduces the risk of contamination, ensuring cleaner ice.
- Maintenance: Ice makers can sometimes malfunction and may require repairs, which can be costly.
- Potential for Leaks: If not properly maintained or if there’s a malfunction, ice makers can sometimes leak, leading to water damage.
- Noise: Ice makers can be noisy when producing and dispensing ice, which might be bothersome to some people.
- Increased Energy Consumption: While the difference might be minimal, ice makers can increase the fridge’s overall energy consumption.
- Takes Up Space: While it eliminates the need for ice trays, the ice maker itself takes up space within the fridge or freezer compartment.
- Filter Replacement: If the fridge has a water filtration system for the ice maker, the filters will need regular replacement, incurring additional costs.
The negative of having a built-in ice maker is that ice can often take the odor or taste of the food in your freezer. This means that the ice produced is lower quality than what’s produced from a stand-alone ice maker, and your beverages are often wasted because of the extra flavors.
There is no doubt about it that fridge ice makers have come a long way. It’s a good option for having ice in the home, and if you want to replace your fridge, it may be the best option.
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An Under-The-Counter Ice Maker
The second option to enjoy an ice maker at home is by purchasing an under-the-counter ice maker. These ice makers are great because they hide under your counter and look almost like a built-in dishwasher. The ice is always fresh and clean, and you don’t use any counter space.
Most under-the-counter ice makers can also become freestanding ice makers. This means that if you do not have any room under your counter, you can set it up in a storage room or garage.
Some under-the-counter ice makers give you the ability to customize the front panel. A custom front panel gives your ice maker a nice finished look and blends everything with your kitchen.
The negative about under-the-counter ice makers is that they can be expensive and must be installed by a professional. Most of the time, you will need to install a water line and a drain line, which can add to the expensives.
The EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker is an excellent choice for your kitchen. It has front-venting, which is very important if you are going to enclose it, and a beautiful stainless-steel design.
Another great built-in ice maker is the EdgeStar IB450SS. This ice maker produces 45 lbs of ice each day and can store up to 25 pounds of ice at one time.
It’s important to note that this ice maker is not a freezer, and though it is well insulated, the ice will eventually melt. This is why you must connect a drain hose to this unit so that all the excess water will drain away.
I also love the NewAir under-the-counter ice maker. This ice maker produces 80 pounds of cubed-clear ice each day. You can use my coupon code BETTER10, to save 10% off your order.
Both these ice makers produce clear, restaurant-quality ice for your home. It’s great for entertaining, and you’ll love it for your home bar.
- High Capacity: Under-counter ice makers typically produce a larger amount of ice compared to standard refrigerator ice makers, making them ideal for frequent entertainers.
- Consistent Supply: They can produce ice continuously throughout the day, ensuring you never run out, especially during gatherings or parties.
- Space-Saving: Being tucked under the counter, they don’t take up additional floor space in your kitchen or bar area.
- Variety of Ice: Many models offer different sizes and shapes of ice, from cubes to nuggets, catering to various preferences and drink types.
- Professional Look: An under-counter ice maker can elevate the aesthetics of a kitchen or bar, giving it a more upscale and modern appearance.
- Dedicated Function: Unlike multipurpose refrigerators, these are designed solely for making ice, often resulting in better performance and consistency.
- Filtered Ice: Some models come with built-in water filtration systems, ensuring the ice produced is free from impurities.
- Initial Cost: Under-counter ice makers can be expensive to purchase and install.
- Maintenance: They require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure they function correctly and the ice remains clean.
- Energy Consumption: Running an additional appliance continuously can increase energy bills.
- Potential for Repairs: Like any appliance, there’s the potential for malfunctions or breakdowns, which can be costly to repair.
- Water Line Requirement: Installation requires a dedicated water line, which might not be feasible in all settings or could incur additional installation costs.
- Noise: Some models can be relatively noisy during the ice-making process.
- Heat Output: Ice makers generate heat, which might slightly warm the surrounding area, especially if not adequately ventilated.
If you have the money, an under-the-counter ice maker is your best choice.
A Small Commercial Unit
Another option to enjoy ice at home is purchasing a small commercial unit. Like the under-the-counter or freestanding ice makers, they must have a drain line and a water line installed.
If you plan on using a lot of ice, this is usually your best option. Commercial ice makers are great because of the many features available.
An example would be the VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Maker. This ice maker produces 88 lbs of ice every day. It makes 40 clear ice cubes every 12 to 18 minutes and can store up to 90 pounds of ice at one time.
This commercial unit is excellent for your business, but many people also use it in their homes. It’s energy efficient and doesn’t waste water, with a 99% water usage rate (an industry leader).
One of the best features of this ice maker is that it uses blue light technology to stop bacteria growth. This means you always know you have pure, clean ice in your glass. You have heard the nightmare stories of hotels and their ice – you can rest assured that your ice is clean.
The Costway Commercial Ice Maker is another great compact commercial ice maker that would fit nicely in your home or home bar. It also produces 88 pounds of ice daily and has an ice cycle of 12-18 minutes.
Installation is a breeze, and it’s simple to operate. It’s also priced right, making it one of the cheapest commercial ice makers you can buy.
- High Production Capacity: Commercial ice makers can produce a significant amount of ice in a short time, ensuring you never run out, even during large gatherings.
- Consistent Ice Quality: Designed for businesses, these machines often produce uniform, high-quality ice.
- Variety of Ice Types: From flake to nugget to full-size cubes, commercial ice makers often offer a range of ice types to suit different beverage needs.
- Durability: Built for heavy-duty use, commercial ice makers are typically robust and long-lasting.
- Storage Capacity: Many commercial units come with large storage bins, ensuring ice is readily available and doesn’t need to be used immediately upon production.
- Efficiency: Commercial units are designed for continuous operation and can be more energy-efficient per pound of ice produced compared to smaller units.
- Size and Space: Commercial ice makers are larger and require more space, which might not be feasible for all homes.
- Installation Complexity: They often require specialized installation, including dedicated water lines and drainage systems.
- Noise: Commercial units can be noisier than residential ice makers, which might be disruptive in a home setting.
- Energy Consumption: While efficient, the sheer size and capacity might lead to higher overall energy consumption.
- Heat Output: These machines can produce a significant amount of heat, which might require additional ventilation or cooling in the installation area.
- Maintenance: Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial to prevent scale buildup and ensure the machine operates efficiently. This might be more intensive than with residential units.
- Cost: Commercial ice makers are more expensive than residential units, both in terms of initial purchase and potential repair costs.
The Costway Commercial Ice Maker can be a free-standing unit, or you can use it as a built-in. It’s a reliable unit and has outstanding customer reviews. It’s definitely worth a closer look.
A Portable Ice Maker
The last option for you to enjoy great, clean, fresh ice at home is to invest in a portable ice maker.
The fantastic thing about portable ice makers is that they are not just limited to your home. A commercial unit, an under-the-counter ice maker, and a built-in fridge ice maker aren’t going to be portable – you know that!
Portable ice makers can go with you camping or RVing, and you can even take it along with you on your boat. If you are having people over for a party and they all decide to move the party outside – take the portable ice maker with you.
Portable units don’t produce as much ice as commercial units but are comparable to under-the-counter and built-in fridge units.
- Convenience: Portable ice makers can produce ice quickly, often in as little as 10-15 minutes, ensuring you have a steady supply when needed.
- Compact & Portable: As the name suggests, these units are designed to be compact and can be easily moved from one place to another, making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
- No Permanent Installation: Unlike built-in or under-counter models, portable ice makers don’t require a dedicated water line. Just fill them with water, plug them in, and they’re ready to go.
- Variety of Ice Sizes: Many models allow you to choose the size of the ice cubes, catering to different beverage needs.
- Self-contained: Most portable ice makers have a built-in storage bin, so they don’t require a separate freezer or container for storing the ice.
- Energy Efficient: Typically, portable ice makers use less energy compared to larger, commercial units.
- Limited Capacity: While they produce ice quickly, the amount they can make at one time is limited compared to larger, built-in units.
- Storage Limitations: The ice needs to be used relatively quickly or transferred to a freezer, as these units aren’t designed to keep ice frozen for extended periods.
- Water Quality: Unlike some built-in models with filtration systems, portable ice makers rely on the quality of the water you put into them. Using filtered water is recommended for better-tasting ice.
- Noise: Some users find portable ice makers to be a bit noisy during the ice-making process.
- Maintenance: Regular cleaning is essential to prevent mineral buildup and maintain ice quality.
- Durability: Portable ice makers might not be as durable as built-in models, especially with frequent use.
A portable ice maker produces about 25-35 lbs of ice every day. They usually take about 10 minutes to run the ice cycle and can store between 2-3 pounds of ice at one time.
You can store the ice maker wherever you want. It can easily fit on your countertop or tucked away in a closet.
The hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker is a great example. It costs less than $200. This portable ice maker produces 26 pounds of ice daily and can store 1.5 pounds at one time. It takes 8 minutes to make the first batch of ice and produces ice in two sizes: small and medium. The smaller ice is excellent for throwing in your water bottles, and the medium-sized ice is terrific for all kinds of beverages.
The hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker is an Amazon bestseller with hundreds of positive reviews. It’s an overall great ice maker.
Another great portable ice maker is the Frigidaire EFIC103 stainless steel ice maker. This ice maker is also well-built and has hundreds of positive reviews.
It can produce 26 pounds of ice every 24 hours and has an oversized storage bin that can hold 2.2 pounds of ice simultaneously.
This portable ice maker can produce three ice sizes: small, medium, and large, and will produce its first batch of ice in as little as 6 minutes. You can check out the Frigidaire EFIC103 on Amazon.
If you are looking for a way to get ice at home, then I would suggest you purchase a portable ice maker. They cost much less than other ice makers, and their use far exceeds the house. All you need is some room on your countertop, and you can have ice in your glass in less than 10 minutes.
If you want to add an ice maker to your home, the ones I listed above are the best options. Choose the option that best fits your life, budget, space and kitchen.
I purchased a portable ice maker several years ago, and I use it daily. My wife and I often host social events, and always having ice available is awesome. We disn’t have room for a built-in or commerical, and our fridge still worked fine so replacing it didn’t make sense. The portable ice maker seemed to be the best choice for us.
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