Ice Makers

What’s the Best Water to Use in a Portable Ice Maker?

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How important is water to your portable ice maker? Well, it’s what your ice consists of. If you want good-tasting ice, then you need to make sure that you use the proper water.

The best water for your portable ice maker begins with water that is safe to drink. If the water in your tap, fridge, or watercooler is safe to drink, then it should be suitable for your portable ice maker.

But there is more than just choosing between water that’s good to drink and water that isn’t. We’re not just going for good water; we want to know which water will bring us the best results. 

In this article, we’re going to break down everything that you need to know about which water you should use for your portable ice maker. 

Can You Use City Water in A Portable Ice Maker?

Can You Use City Water in A Portable Ice Maker?

Portable ice makers should make great ice with normal city water. This is water that is 12gpg hardness or less (205ppm hardness). If you use hard water in your portable ice maker, then it leaves small deposits of minerals like calcium and magnesium inside your unit, which will reduce its production after time. These minerals will start to cling to the walls of your ice maker, cover over sensors, corrode hinges and gears, and ultimately destroy your appliance. 

Extremely hard water is also more difficult to freeze, which can reduce performance and cause your ice maker to work harder then it needs to. All of these factors are working against your ice maker and not giving it the best chance to work well. 

Even water softeners don’t give you the best results. Water softeners, though it takes out some minerals, it adds other minerals to your water and doesn’t always give you the best tasting ice. 

Using a water filter will help you in two ways. First, it will protect your ice maker long term. Using a water filter will protect your ice maker from calcium and magnesium deposits that can damage the operation of the unit. 

Secondly, having a water filter will give you better tasting ice. 

I have a portable ice maker and a reverse osmosis system. We installed the APEC Water Systems RO-90 from Amazon and love it! It’s priced unbelievable, and it’s easy to install. I say easy, but we did hire a plumber to come and install it for us.

Click here to head over to Amazon and read more about the reverse osmosis system that I purchased and check out the phenomenal price.

Should You Use Distilled Water in a Portable Ice Maker? 

Distilled water will give you slightly more transparent ice with your portable ice maker. Distilled water isn’t always available, but if you are able to use distilled water then I believe you’ll notice the difference.

There is one problem with using distilled water or reverse osmosis water, and that is sometimes the water sensors won’t pick up the water due to the lack of minerals. 

Should You Use Distilled Water in a Portable Ice Maker?

The water sensors use an electric current that travels through the water to detect that water is actually in the water reservoir; distilled water or any filtered water could trick those sensors in thinking there is no water in the ice maker. 

This is what I recommend; I say to use half tap water and half distilled water if you are having this problem. If you add distilled water into your portable ice maker and it indicates that you need to add water – then it may be the sensors. 

Add some tap water into the reservoir. This way, you get the benefit of the distilled water, but the water will have some minerals for the sensor. 

Every ice maker is different and some may not give you any problem.

As I mentioned above, we have a reverse osmosis system that takes away all the minerals from the water, and our ice maker works just fine. 

If you can use filtered or distilled water, it will be better for your ice and your ice maker. We want ice that doesn’t have any flavor so that we can enjoy our beverage.

Use Fresh Water 

Use Fresh Water in your portable ice maker

I believe that because you are reading this article that you want to serve the best ice possible. You want to protect your portable ice maker as well. The tip that I’m going to give you now is going to serve both purposes.

Make sure that you use clean water and make sure that it’s always clean water. I’m saying change your water every 24 hours. 

Portable ice makers don’t have a fresh water intake like commercial or undercounter ice makers. This means that the water rotates around and around the ice maker again and again. It’s easy for the water to start getting dingy and stale. So what to do? Change it. Every. Day. Change. Your. Water. 

I hope that you get my point. 

If you want to serve clean ice, then you have to use clean water. 

It’s that simple. I know this may seem to be something that we should already know, but most portable ice makers that are running right now are using water from 2-5 days ago. This water isn’t going to produce the best ice


Water is the heart and soul of your ice. Good ice is because you used good water, and great ice is because you used great water. 

My simple motto is when it comes to water for any ice maker. Use the best water that you have available.

You’re not going to regret using great water, and it’s not just because it produces the best results when it comes to your ice. Using great water also preserves the life of your ice maker, and helps it to run the way it was designed to run. 


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