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Which Machine is the Best Ice Maker for a Home Bar?
Having the very best ice maker for ANY home bar means having a reliable machine that can offer the most convenient way of making ice right from the comfort of your home. And to do it at an affordable cost.
Just think, no more wanting a cocktail and finding someone forgot to fill the ice cube trays again. Or making friends a few cocktails in your basement bar and needing to run upstairs for ice every time. Or worse, dealing with bags of ice and water everywhere because your ice is melting. Enough, it’s time!
All the machines we’ve used and tested are portable, so they can be set up anywhere. and they don’t need a water line run to them for them to work properly. They can go on a countertop, in your basement bar, or anywhere really. And a few can work for residential or commercial use. So read on…
Our Top Picks
Best Ice Maker Overall: GE Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
This maker isn’t just well designed, it can create 24 lbs. of ice per day and can give you ice from scratch in 20 minutes. It’s also a “smart” choice due to it’s Bluetooth capabilities.
Best Budget Ice Maker: Magic Chef 27-Lb. Portable Countertop Ice Maker
This portable counter top ice machine is not only affordable, but it’s also the best countertop model as well. It’s made of stainless steel and produces 27 pounds of ice a day.
Best Home Bar Ice Maker: – Euhomy 40-lb Portable Ice Maker
This unlike most other machines makes a solid clear ice cube, perfect for a home bar or a drink enthusiast as these cubes don’t melt fast and water down your drinks.
Best Portable / Countertop Ice Machine: Vremi Countertop Ice Maker
This unit can produce bullet-shaped ice-cubes in as little as 6 minutes. Affordable and manufactured by a long lasting company, this model gets our top pick for best portable / countertop option.
Best Small Ice Maker for Home Bar: Whynter UIM-155 Stainless Steel Built-In Ice Maker
This stylish stainless steel ice-maker is the perfect size for behind your bar or under any other countertop. Creates 12 pounds of ice per day and keeps it frozen for ice anytime. Quiet, fast and yet affordable.
- Our Top Picks
- Our Reviews of The Best Ice Maker for Your Home Bar
- What Types of Ice do they Make?
- Flake Ice
- Additional Types
Our Reviews of The Best Ice Maker for Your Home Bar
These machines are listed in order of the best machine and as the best value.
1. GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker
The GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker is perfect as an ice maker for your home bar because of the actual ice it produces.
This specific model makes ice by compacting ice flakes, which means a “fluffier” sort of ice that is perfect for most drinks.
This sort of ice is also helpful when you want to make blender drinks, as the ice is literally softer and doesn’t put as much torque on your blender making it the best ice maker for cocktails.
Of course there is a draw back if you’re a Scotch drinker and want proper ice cubes. But then I’d just purchase good cube trays or something to make ball ice or something similar.
I also like the design of this. It looks great on any counter, although it does take up space. Much more than other machines I’ve reviewed for this article due to its side water compartment which enables the machine to make more ice without needing to be filled so often.
The actual dimensions are 13.43” Wide x 16.5” High x 17.5” in diameter.
This runs on any standard 120v electrical socket, but one thing I’d advise is to use a small power surge protector when you plug it in just to be safe. You can get this one manufactured by GE as well pretty cheaply. They’re super cheap and why not, right?
The one thing I really dislike is the price. It’s not cheap at around $500! For that price I’d rather have the Whynter UIM-155, but it’s a built in and isn’t portable. But it does keep your ice frozen and it’s like $200 cheaper.
Or the Magic Chef 27-Lb. Portable Countertop Ice Maker that also creates “bullet” style ice and is a bit more than one fifth the price at under $150. But again, this maker doesn’t recycle the water from melted ice.
So decide what luxuries your really need vs the price you’re willing to pay.
One more thing I don’t like at this price point is that the machine doesn’t actually keep the ice it creates frozen. Rather the ice goes into a bin where it can keep for a few days, but will eventually melt.
Now, like I said above, that melted ice just gets recycled and is made into ice again. But that also means your unit will need to run every few hours in order to always have ice on demand. That can push an electric bill up.
One thing to mention is that bulk of General Electrics home appliances division, GE Appliances, was sold to the Chinese multinational home appliances company Haier back in 2016.
And although the bulk of manufacturing is still in the USA, the parent company Haier has now opened two “subsidiaries” under the FirstBuild brand in South Korea, and “a FirstBuild location in India opened its doors in 2019” according to Wikipedia.
For me personally, this signals that like most Chinese companies, Haier may soon move more manufacturing overseas where it’s more cost efficient. The problem is, that also can mean products that aren’t as well built as before.
It’ll be interesting to see if any new problems with the GE Opal come up as more manufacturing is done abroad.
Customer Support Link: https://onpoint.mizecx.com/cc/customerSupportRequest.html?account=FirstBuild
The Opal’s User’s Manual: https://www.geappliances.com/ge/service-and-support/literature.htm
2. Euhomy 40-lb Portable Ice Machine
I love when a company specializes in one thing and take it seriously. Euhomy deals with refrigeration and the company only makes refrigerators and ice machines. In fact, they make a great commercial ice machine as well. But this countertop ice machine is pretty powerful as well making 40 pounds of ice per day.
But be aware that it does take about a hour and a half to make its first cubes. So if you’re going to use this for a party or use it as an ice maker for basement bar, make sure you have it going a few hours ahead.
You also need to add the water which means no water lines need to be plumed out, but it also means you’ll need to keep filling this when you need ice. Always a plus and minus. The bigger plus is you can use this anywhere where you can run an electric cord.
So if you’re having a pool party, you can place it close to the party rather than everyone trapping through your house with wet feet.
The water tank holds 2.2-liter of water and this machine does recycle the melting water from the ice bin, so that’s another big plus. And the automatic shut off stops the machine from making more ice when the ice basket is full.
But that also means if you want more ice, you’re going to need to empty the bin so it starts making ice again. It weighs 25 pounds, and makes 24 ice cubes per hour. Not bad for something so small.
And speaking of the ice, the most important aspect, right! The reason I chose this model as the best ice maker for a home bar is because unlike most of the other brands and models I’ve written about here that make bullet or crushed ice, this machine actually makes solid cubes of ice. These cubes are perfect for drinks as they melt a lot slower and won’t water down your drink. For me a super important aspect.
I do really like the design of this ice maker. It comes in stainless steel and looks good anywhere. I really prefer stainless over plastic, regardless of the color. And this design is sleek and clean. Perfect for any modern kitchen or home bar.
There’s also an automatic cleaning setting on this maker. All you do is hold the “timer” button for more than 5 seconds and it will clean itself so no smelly ice. I suggest you do this after every use since you don’t need to do anything else.
Overall this is a great looking machine with a solid ice making capacity. The biggest downfall for me is the warranty is only a year. I’d like to see a 5 year warranty, but you can’t have everything I guess. But I would pick up the extended warranty if you order from Amazon here, it adds an extra 3 years. And I rather be safe than sorry later.
3. Vremi Countertop Ice Maker
The compact and portable ice maker is perfect for your small kitchen, boat, and RV. It can also work in almost any outlet available. With a daily ice making capacity of up to 26 lbs, then this is the perfect machine that is well designed to meet your daily ice making needs.
Here is why you will definitely like everything about this ice maker…
- Beautiful finish-the ice maker boasts a beautiful finish that makes it an attractive model to look at
- Unmatched ice production capabilities- the fact that this ice maker can produce up to 26 lbs of high-quality ice on a daily basis means that it can meet all types of commercial and domestic ice production needs.
- Easy to monitor-it gives you the ability to view through the window thus allowing you to monitor the ice making process.
- Offers an incredibly fast and easy way of making ice in a matter of minutes
This ice maker is a great option for anyone who wants to make ice in bulk. It’s a great option if you don’t have a margarita machine and you’ll be using a blender instead. It’s portable and easy to use nature allows you to make ice in almost any outlet. Simply put, it combines the best features anyone would find irresistible in an ice maker.
4. Luma Comfort Ice Machine
This ice maker is the ice making necessity for any kitchen or home bar. Boasting a modern ice making technology and a sleek stainless steel finish, this portable ice maker is equally attractive as it is versatile.
It is great for making ice for smoothies on the go or almost anywhere, from home to the road.
This ice maker has your needs well taken care of when it comes to making ice, thanks to the reasons below
- It produces high-quality ice the ice maker is designed to churn out 28 pounds of high-quality ice
- Easy to use- the ice maker comes with push button controls, therefore making it quite easy to use even for those with little or no experience with ice makers.
- Uses modern-ice making technology thus enabling it to produce a huge amount of high-quality, crystal clear ice
- The portable ice maker can be perfect for either home or commercial use because it can be carried to almost anywhere you wish to go with it
This superb ice maker is a nice choice for anyone searching for an ice maker that uses the latest technology to produce high-quality ice. Its portable nature allows you to use it almost anywhere you wish to.
This model comes handy for anyone who wants extra ice for an event, party or picnic. It’s made by a company called Pyle, but marketed as NutriChef. The ice maker is not just portable, but it can also produce up to 33 lbs of high-quality ice in 24 hours.
It also comes with LED digital display alongside an ice basket designed to hold 1.3 lbs of ice. It comes with a plethora of smart features that you are definitely going to like. They include.
- Ultra quiet operation-enables the ice maker to remain silent while in operation
- Offers a quick way of making ice in just 12 minutes
- Easy to clean due to its stain-resistant interior
- Safe to use thanks to the automatic shut off feature together with the scheduler timer that automatically shuts off the unit once the scheduled time has elapsed.
- Comes with a convenient and spacious ice basket that can handle 1.3 lbs of ice
This portable ice maker is a wonderful selection for anyone wishing to produce high-quality ice in minutes. It boasts a plethora of exciting features designed to make ice making less of a task.
Check Out if it is Available Here!
6. Igloo ICE103 Countertop Ice Maker for Home Bar
This small ice maker for home bar is designed to meet your needs regardless of what they are. It boasts three cubic options namely small, medium and large.
The portable ice maker produces a whopping 26 lbs of ice within 24 hours. Its stainless steel ice basket can hold up to 2.2 lbs of ice, hence giving you plenty of ice to use when you have guests who seem to get thirsty quickly and want their cocktails now.
The ice maker has some exciting things that you will truly find irresistible. Below are some of the wonderful things about this model that make it the best countertop ice maker we’ve reviewed.
- Portable and lightweight- the ice marker’s portable and lightweight nature makes it possible to move around with it as needed.
- Produces a huge amount of ice per day, thus ensuring you have more than enough ice for your guests or frozen drinks.
- It comes with versatile features geared at offering a simple and quick way of making ice. For instance, it comes with 3 ice cube sizes, a large stainless steel ice basket and a compressor Model ICE 103.
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This ice maker is suitable for anyone looking for an easy and a quick way to make ice. It takes as little as 6 minutes to make your ice using this unit. The ice maker is easy to move around almost anywhere you wish to.
When finding the right ice maker for your business, find an ice maker whose capacity is higher than the capacity you need. Manufacturers often test and rate their products in perfect conditions, but the product may work with a 20% inefficiency in real life scenarios.
Choosing a bigger capacity will help you remain within your range even when the ice makers’ efficiency goes below the ideal description.
What Types of Ice do they Make?
Choosing the right type of ice is one of the most important considerations when shopping for an ice machine. Different types of ice are designed for different situations including home bars.
Full cube ice is also called “full dice” ice. It measures 7/8 of an inch all the way around, and resembles a cube in shape. This is also a great ‘block’ of ice if you want to carve or shape it for a better drink presentation.
Full cube ice melts slowly and has a lot of surface area. This helps cool beverages quickly and keeps them cold for long periods of time.
Full cube ice also adds visual appeal to drinks like whiskey and vodka or scotch and other cocktails served in rocks glasses.
- Salad Bars
- Bagged Ice
- Hotel Ice Dispensers
Half-cube ice, also referred to as “half-dice” ice, is used in a wide range of applications. Most half cube ice cubes measure 3/8″ x 7/8″ x 7/8″.
With its unique shape, half-cube ice can pack more tightly into a glass, displacing more liquid. This will increase your beverage profits since customers get a lot of ice in relation to the beverage. It also gives customers a super-chilled drink.
Half-cube ice also blends more readily than full-size cubes, making it a good choice for blended coffee drinks or smoothies.
- Blended Drinks
- Iced Coffee
- Mixed Drinks
- Soft Drinks
- Therapeutic Uses
As the name suggests, flake ice consists of small slivers of ice that are flaked off to provide a packable ice perfect for displays. Flake ice packs together well and effectively chills down products on display, from seafood in groceries stores to food pans in a salad bar. This is also the same style of ice you get in a lot of restaurants serving frozen margaritas made with the pre-mixes.
Molding ice around the product allows more even cooling results. Since flake ice is soft, the product is less likely to scratch or bruise. Flake ice can enhance the visual appeal of product displays while maintaining safe food temperatures.
- Blended Cocktails
- Ice Wraps/Therapeutic Use
- Meat/Seafood Displays
- Produce Displays
- Salad Bars
Nugget ice is also known as chewable ice, pellet ice, pearl ice or “Sonic” ice. It is soft and chewable; a customer favorite. Benefits Aside from providing customer satisfaction, nugget ice also displaces more liquid than cube or half-cube ice, so operators will see even more beverage profits with this ice.
It also blends easily and cools quickly, making it ideal for blended cocktails and smoothies. Nugget ice is great for flavor and color retention in beverages, too. Finally, health care facilities use this type of ice for patient drinks because it is so easy to chew.
- Blended Cocktails
- Carbonated Drinks
- Health Care Settings
The aforementioned ice types are the most common, but there are a handful of specialized ice styles that add a little extra flair to a drink. The majority of these ice types are available in undercounter commercial ice machine units only, and will be placed in the back bar area for use in mixed drinks.
Crescent ice has the shape of a crescent moon. It is ideal for soft drinks or other beverages. The shape allows the ice to pack together better than full or half cubes, displacing more liquid and further increasing your beverage profit margins.
Gourmet ice has a distinct top-hat shape and adds extra sparkle to the drink. The visual appeal makes this ice type ideal for all types of mixed drinks or cocktails. It also melts slowly, so customers can enjoy their drinks at a slower pace without it becoming warm or watered down.
Octagonal ice has the same function as full-cube or half-cube ice, in that it displaces a lot of liquid while quickly cooling the beverage. It just has an octagonal shape, appealing to operators who want to break with the tradition of serving standard cubes in their beverages.
Hopefully after reading all of this, assuming you really did, you’ll have a much clearer idea on what make a top ice maker for a home bar or restaurant. The machines I wrote about are all solid ice makers and some have a few extra bells and whistles, so decide on what are must haves and what you can do without.
Just remember size as some of these are big, heavy and not portable. And you don’t want to continually lug them around. Let me know which one you decide on and how it’s working for you in the comments below!