Best Portable Under Counter Ice Maker (2019 Guide)

Best Portable Under Counter Ice Maker (2020 Guide)

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Almost everything we buy nowadays has a focus on convenience and space-saving. The latest products are designed to be as compact and portable as they can, without restricting performance. We are always demanding more from the purchases that we make, and brands have to consistently keep up with that demand.

On a warm summer’s day when all you crave is an ice-cold drink of lemonade or water, you will really appreciate the luxury of having ice available in an instant.

A regular freezer can accommodate a small volume of ice. However, it is not always practical in many homes to use this limited space for ice, and even less practical to install a large, expensive, industrial machine. Some refrigerators have a small section for making ice, but that is not usually enough when demand is higher—on a hot day, perhaps, or when friends are visiting for evening drinks.

That´s where under-counter ice makers save the day. They are a great idea for establishments that need an ice maker but don’t have a lot of space, or for homeowners to consider buying for their kitchen, or for somewhere else convenient in the house.

Ready to find the best under-counter ice maker for your needs? Let’s take a look!

 

Top Rated Under Counter Ice Makers

Finding the right ice maker can be hard—especially if you have no idea how to go about it, or which ones have a good reputation.

Here are our top five ice makers.

 

1. Whynter UIM-155 – Stainless Steel Body

Whynter UIM-155 - Stainless Steel Bodyir?t=selectedbest 20&l=li3&o=1&a=B002ROS27U

The Whynter Stainless Steel ice-maker is a product that will not require you to spend extra on an additional drainage line.

The storage capacity of this ice maker machine is quite adequate at about six pounds, and it can produce about 12 pounds of crescent-shaped ice.

It is designed to fit any home, and with its sleek, stainless-steel body, it will surely add sophistication to your modern kitchen design. This is undoubtedly the best under-counter ice maker for a lot of people.

 

Pros Cons

  • No need to worry about energy consumption, as it will automatically turn off once the ice bin is full
  • With its sleek design, it can be built-in or freestanding
  • It is already equipped with its own ventilation system to help regulate the temperature
  • Weighing 65 pounds, it is compact and can be installed easily, with minimal supervision
  • Tends to be quite a noisy machine when in operation

In general, this product is a top option. It meets almost all the criteria for a good ice maker, and it’s definitely a product you cannot take off your list without careful consideration. The only concern is the noise; make sure that it is water-cooled to avoid these problems.

2. Sunpentown IM-150US – Built-in Front Ventilation

Sunpentown IM-150USir?t=selectedbest 20&l=li3&o=1&a=B000WO5892

An ice maker with a stainless steel door and a sleek black body, this machine by Sunpentown produces about 12 pounds of crescent-shaped ice per day.

It does not require a separate drainage line, so your budget is safe.

It can store around six pounds of ice, and it comes as a built-in machine or a stand-alone.

However, even if it does not require a complicated installation process, seeking assistance from experts may still be advisable.

Pros Cons
  • Equipped with built-in front ventilation to help you regulate and control the temperature
  • A compact and highly portable machine which you can move around easily, with reversible doors
  • Turns off automatically when the ice bin is full, so that it doesn’t waste energy
  • Has been reviewed as having a fragile water connector, with a tendency to produce a lot of noise
  • It comes with a low-quality plastic nut, which may cause leaks if not changed early on

Some say this product is defective or performs only half of what it is expected to do, but the main concern is its water connector. This is a problem that can be dealt with straight away, so choose a sturdier replacement to avoid further damage. The overall capability of the machine is far more significant than its flaws.

3. Edge Star – For Commercial Use

Edge Starir?t=selectedbest 20&l=li3&o=1&a=B00DNVBCEQ

With a commercial-grade stainless steel door, this ice maker by Edge Star has computerized controls to produce high-quality cube-shaped ice for different types of establishments and uses.

Black in colour, it is quite small compared to a regular ice maker, and can easily be incorporated or built-in under a counter or as a stand-alone. It can produce approximately 45 pounds of restaurant-quality ice but is also appropriate for daily use.

 

Pros Cons
  • Built-in front ventilation for temperature regulation
  • Designed for flexibility of use, so it can be effective both for under counter built-in usage or as a simple stand-alone
  • Lower energy consumption, as it will automatically turn off once your ice cabin is full
  • Even though it has a simple three-step installation process, it is still highly recommended that you seek help and guidance from an expert
  • Produces noise and vibration during operation, which may be a problem for some establishments
  • Some consumer reviews say that it does not produce solid cubes of ice

The small concerns raised about this product are manageable.

Upon installation, ask your plumber for advice on how you can effectively manage the noise it produces, but be sure to check with the seller whether it is air or water cooled.

Unless you need a specific type of ice, it should not be a major concern as long as the machine does the job.

4. U-Line BI95B-00

U-Line BI95B-00ir?t=selectedbest 20&l=li3&o=1&a=B002DZ3SPY

A compact, all-black machine, this U-Line ice maker is priced a bit higher than others due to its capacity and features.

With its sleek design, it will add style and sophistication to your kitchen. Plus, with its compact size and height, it doesn’t require you to allot a huge amount of space for it.

Pros Cons
  • Meets the requirements of the American Disabilities Act’s (ADA) height requirements
  • Produces up to 23 pounds of ice in a day, all the while using only about three gallons of water and a minimal amount of electricity
  • Suitable for home use or special events
  • Does not require a separate draining system.
  • Five-year warranty for the compressor
  • Considering its size and amount of ice produced, it is not advisable for very busy restaurants or establishments, as it may not produce enough ice
  • Limited to indoor use only; this is a con for some users who may want to use it for outside events

This is a great ice maker for home use. Even though it is priced a little higher, this is balanced out by the fact that it does not consume very much water or energy.

This is an advantage, giving you enough ice for home use, without paying too much for it. This product proves that often size is not a measurement of capability.

5. SPT IM-600US – Best For Restaurants

SPT IM-600USir?t=selectedbest 20&l=li3&o=1&a=B00CKFI8HU

This ice maker by Sunpentown is a stainless steel under-counter machine that requires water filtration and installation by an expert.

It is designed to meet the needs of restaurants and other similar establishments. This stainless steel under-counter ice maker will complement any décor.

 

Pros Cons
  • Produces high-quality gourmet ice
  • Sleek stainless design – easy to incorporate with any type of décor
  • Automatically turns off when the ice bin is full, so you do not have to worry about it consuming more energy than necessary
  • Built-in front ventilation for easier regulation of temperature
  • Easy-to-use digital control
  • Produces a lot of noise, which may be a concern for business owners
  • Not advised to be used as a built-in under the counter ice maker – better as a stand-alone

Despite the fact that it is not advisable to use as a built-in product, this machine may serve well as a regular ice machine.

Although I have nothing against this product, there are other products that can provide the same quality without some of the disadvantages.

What’s The Best Portable Under Counter Ice Maker?

Choosing the right ice maker can be challenging, and it´s important to think about how you are going to use it and where you will put it, to avoid investing in a product that does not suit your needs.

Ice machines are very useful; just makes sure you really need one, as they are not cheap.

We hope this article helps you find the best under-counter ice maker for your needs.

 

Factors to Consider

There are many factors to consider when choosing a new product. It´s important to ensure that you are making a worthwhile investment and that you have made a quality purchase that does not have any hidden costs or limitations.

Here are a number of factors you may want to take into consideration to help you find the ice maker that’s perfect for you.

 

Is Your Ice Maker Energy Star Rated?

The amount of energy your home consumes on a monthly basis can be one of the major sticking points when considering buying new appliances.

It is important to choose an ice maker that does not consume too much electricity so that you do not have a nasty shock when you receive your next electricity bill.

It is always advisable to check how energy efficient your ice maker is. Bear in mind is that an ice maker that is ENERGY STAR rated may help you save up to 15{34425e45e8b393ad605fe7a2e0d6fe96dc6f2432ba22e601559bd8fd509dd38b} on electricity and approximately 23{34425e45e8b393ad605fe7a2e0d6fe96dc6f2432ba22e601559bd8fd509dd38b} on water.

 

Understanding Water Filtration Technology

Another thing to consider is the water filtration system that your ice maker uses. As water is the only necessary component for making ice, it is important to make sure that the water is safe to drink. Although installing a water filter is not a mandatory requirement, it is highly recommended for health and safety reasons.

Water filters are also important when it comes to machine maintenance. Higher quality of water and a good filtration process, if set up correctly, can lead to an extension of product lifespan.

 

Ice-Makers: Space Savers?

One of the things we often consider before purchasing a kitchen appliance is the amount of space it will take up, and if it will look good in a carefully-designed home. The last thing you want is an oversized, ugly appliance ruining your beautiful kitchen!

Luckily, there are ice makers that can be customized to fit your décor – the door panel can be adapted to suit your style, for example. Another option to consider is a freestanding one that will blend in easily with your existing furniture.

 

Drainage Capabilities

There are no two ways about it; ice makers require water. However, most under-counter ice makers cannot keep on working twenty-four hours a day without a separate drainage line.

If you have the budget for a high-end, modern ice maker you may not need to consider its drainage capacity, as they can constantly keep ice frozen without needing more drainage. Standard ice makers need a drainage line, but should already have a ventilation system installed that can take care of the rest.

 

Cooling Systems

There are two types of cooling systems for ice makers; with the first one, the air is cooled. Units that are air-cooled may be a little cheaper but tend to be noisier. Plus, these units usually emit warm exhaust air that can affect room temperature.

The other type of cooling system is water-cooled. These units work efficiently and quietly, although they are usually a little more expensive than their air-cooled competitors and may also increase your water bill.

 

Types of Ice

As surprising as it may sound, the type of ice a person needs is an issue which is taken seriously by companies and by customers.

Type of ice has become a deciding factor in helping buyers to choose the best product for them. Below is a list of the different types of ice that can be produced:

  • Cubed: This is the most common type of ice. It is used almost everywhere – even in the comfort of your own home. Most freezers come with an ice tray shaped in cubes.
  • Flaked: Flakes of soft, semi-crushed ice are usually seen in the supermarket, and are used to preserve seafood. Also widely used in the medical sector.
  • Crushed: Crushed ice is most commonly used in snow cones and slushies. They are opaque and vary in shape and size.
  • Nugget: Nuggets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and you may have seen them in bars, or other places where drinks are served.
  • Gourmet: For high-end use, or to help beverages maintain their temperature for longer. Harder than other types, and melts slower to keep drinks chilled.
  • Crescent: Usually found in the food and beverage industry, very useful for keeping drinks chilled and for preserving food.

 

Why Buy an Ice Maker?

Take your needs into consideration when narrowing down your options.

Knowing why you need an ice maker, and where you are going to put it, are both important questions to ask yourself before spending a significant amount of money.

  • Cafeteria: With a fairly predictable amount of traffic, you can calculate about one pound of ice per person. To avoid any problems, invest in a sturdy machine which you can rely on during peak hours.
  • Restaurants: Ice has a variety of uses for establishments in the food industry. They can be used for drinks, food, and even for preservation. An estimate of about one and a half pounds of ice per meal may be a helpful reference.
  • Health Care: The medicine and health industry is a good market for ice makers, as they require a high volume of ice: seven pounds per patient.
  • Lodging: With locals and tourists going away for a vacation, lodging establishments’ ice requirements can be around three pounds of ice per person, depending on the season.

 

A To-Do List For Maintaining Your Ice Maker

Recently, ice makers have been gaining popularity in household kitchens and food establishments.

As they produce ice in just a few minutes and in unlimited quantities, it makes mixing refreshing juices and beverages extremely simple.

However, it is important to maintain your ice maker well. This will not only ensure fresh, clean ice but also an efficient machine in the long run.

 

Set Reminders To Remind You When Your Ice Maker Needs Maintenance

Maintaining your ice maker includes daily cleaning and sanitizing procedures.

But before doing this, here are some important reminders.

Always – ensure that the ice maker is protected from extreme temperatures. Avoid exposing your machine to temperatures less than 40F and higher than 90F.  Make sure that the ice maker has an unrestricted air flow.

Weekly – clean the exterior of your ice maker to wipe off greasy residue and inhibit mould growth.

Frequently – rinse out ice machine air filters to remove grease, dust, and lint accumulation. Avoid hitting the air filters to clean them, since it will cause damage.

Never – use the ice machine for storing anything.

 

Cleaning Tips For Your Ice Maker

It is important to maintain the cleanliness of your ice maker. Make sure to clean it every 3-6 months with proper cleaning solutions and materials. This will remove limescale and mineral deposits in your ice maker.

Taking time to clean the machine will reduce limescale build-up. This impedes heat transfer and results in freeze-ups, delayed harvest times, reduced ice production, and costly repairs.

Before cleaning, always read the owner’s manual to avoid any damage to your machine caused by improper cleaning, or wrong choice of cleaning solutions.

  • Unplug and turn off the machine. Make sure that the water supply is turned off and remove all ice and water from the bin or dispenser.
  • Remove parts for cleaning.  Refer to the owner’s manual on how to properly unassemble them to avoid any damage to the machine.
  • Mix the cleaning solution with water. Refer to the manual for the appropriate amount of solution needed. You may also use a vinegar solution as an alternative cleaner. Use this to thoroughly clean all of the ice maker’s parts.
  • Rinse the machine with clean, lukewarm water. This will remove any traces of chemicals.

 

How to Sanitize Your Ice Maker

The sanitizing procedure is important to disinfect the unit and remove algae and slime. Failure to do so will result in the formation of dangerous slime and algae which can cause foodborne diseases.

  • Mix the sanitizing solution with water. Refer to the manual for the appropriate amount of solution needed.
  • Use a spray bottle to apply the solution to the removed parts. You may also soak them in the solution.
  • Replace the parts. Refer to the manual for how to reassemble the machine.
  • Wait for 20 minutes for the sanitizer to thoroughly disinfect the machine.
  • Restart. Press the “clean” or “wash” button.
  • Wait until the water trough refills, then add the correct amount of sanitizing chemical for the sanitizing cycle. This usually lasts for 20 minutes.
  • After the sanitizing cycle is complete, set your machine to automatically start.
  • Discard the first batch of ice made after cleaning and sanitizing, since it will have chemical residues.

 

Cleaning Tips For Your Ice Maker’s Exterior

By overlooking this simple procedure, you run the risk of contaminating not only the ice, but also your drinks. The dirt you get from touching a dirty exterior will be transferred to the ice.

Cleaning this part of the machine needs a diluted bleach solution, and a damp cloth to wipe off dirt and residue.

  • Clean the ice maker’s exterior as often as necessary, at least once a week. This will maintain its cleanliness and efficiency.
  • Wipe its surface with a damp cloth rinsed with a diluted bleach solution, to remove dust and dirt from the exterior.
  • See the manual for restrictions. Do not use chlorinated, citrus-based, or abrasive cleaners on exterior panels and plastic trim.

Ice makers, if maintained properly, are a valuable tool for any home and food establishment. They can help to quench thirst especially during the heat of summer. As with any appliance, ice makers need daily cleaning and sanitizing to perform at their best.

There are a myriad of cleaning and sanitizing solutions available on the market. Make sure to choose the ones that are best for your machine.

Always read the manual for instructions. Follow our recommendations above and you will be able to depend on your ice maker for many years to come!

 

9 Tips for Cleaning Your Portable Ice Maker

Ice is a staple in every food service setting. Its uses range from cafeterias, restaurants, bars, cafes, to household kitchens.

With an ice maker, there’s no need to worry about running out of ice, since it can easily produce it in minutes.

Even with constant use, ice makers are easily one of the most easily-neglected appliances. This eventually results in poor-quality ice production, or an expensive trip to a service technician when it breaks down.

Either as a food establishment owner or a busy homemaker, you should always make sure that all appliances are clean, and of excellent quality.

That is why it is important to regularly clean the ice maker. Any part of the unit that comes in contact with water can have limescale or mold build-up. These contaminants may harm anyone who uses the ice produced.

Cleaning the ice maker will not only ensure safe ice for consumption, but also lengthen the life of the appliance.

Cleaning your machine only takes a few minutes, and means that you can avoid the hassle of buying another unit, with no need to worry about diseases contracted from dirty ice.

 

Appropriate Cleaning Materials and Solutions

For faster results when cleaning, there are commercial grade cleaners available on the market.

Nickel-free cleaner and a soft rag for wiping are necessary. Vinegar solutions are also good choices for cleaning ice makers.

Vinegar is proven to be food and machine safe, and its acidity is good for sterilization. The only downside to using vinegar as a cleaner is that its low acidity makes cleaning time longer.

However, it is effective in removing hard-water deposits. Lemon, or lemon water can also be used instead of vinegar.

 

9 Top Tips

  • Clean the ice maker every 3-6 months.
  • Clean the machine´s exterior every week. This will remove daily greasy residue.
  • Ensure that the ice maker is protected against extreme temperatures. Avoid cleaning the machine at temperatures less than 40F or hotter than 90F.
  • Always follow the instructions in the manual. There may be specific instructions about which cleaning solutions to use.
  • All ice produced during the cleaning process must be thrown away. It is also highly advisable to discard the first batch of ice made after cleaning.
  • Observe safety precautions when handling chemicals. Wear rubber gloves and protective glasses when handling cleaner and sanitizer solutions.
  • Do not mix cleaner and sanitizer solutions together.
  • Make sure to read and follow the instructions stated on cleaning products.
  • Do not leave the control switched on for an extended period of time during cleaning, while the water tank is empty. This will prevent damage to the water pump.

 

Clean Ice Makers = No Stress

Whether you are using ice for commercial or home purposes, it’s very important to use fresh, dirt-free ice.

Keep in mind that a clean ice maker will always produce clean, ready-to-use ice.

Get into the habit of cleaning your ice maker every 3-6 months, and always consult the manual.

 

Ice Makers Are Replacing Freezers And Coolers

Freezers and coolers have been around for such a long time that they are now considered necessities for producing ice for drinks and chilling food. But there are times when these appliances fall short of our expectations.

Most freezers and coolers do not only contain ice but are used to store food and drink.

This makes it difficult to make the maximum amount of ice cubes possible because there is less storage space.

Aside from that, there is the possibility of contamination or unpleasant-tasting ice, since some enzymes or juices from other foods may accidentally mix with the ice.

The other thing to consider is accessibility. With many drinks or packets of food in the way, you may have to rummage around before reaching those ice cubes you prepared last night.

What if there everything is getting a bit hectic, or you are really thirsty? It could be a hassle.

 

Advantages Of Portable Ice Makers

So why choose an ice maker over other ice-producing machines?

 

They Are Lightweight and Handy

A portable ice maker weighs an average of 20-31lbs and has dimensions no greater than 15 inches. This machine is a space saver, whether sitting on a countertop or in the trunk of your car.

Portable ice makers can be taken everywhere you might want to enjoy a nice cold drink. All you need are taps (or bottled water) and a power outlet for them to work.

Since they are portable, there is no need for a trip to and from the house to just get ice cubes. This prevents unnecessary mess, and accidents caused by wet floors.

 

Easy to Carry

Because of its portability, this machine is a favorite during camping trips, parties, outdoor activities, and at opportunity for enjoying a cool drink. Unlike a non-portable ice maker, there is no need for a drainage system.

Simply pour clean water in the machine’s water compartment to have your ice cubes in 10 minutes.

Portable ice makers are eco-friendly, reusing the melted water you put into the compartment and turning it into ice again!

If the ice melts, the machine will refreeze it. In terms of appearance, many portable ice makers are designed to be compact and come in neutral colors. The machines look sleek and are suitable for many different situations.

 

User Friendly

Most portable appliances have minimal buttons and user-friendly settings, and portable ice makers are no exception. Standard portable ice makers only have 3 buttons, and there is also a LED indicator to signal when the water needs to be refilled.

Since portable ice makers are resistant to rust, maintaining and cleaning this machine is easy.

You will only need a cleaning solution or a homemade vinegar solution, and a soft rag to get rid of dirt or mineral deposits.

Just follow a few simple steps to maintain your machine and prolong its life.

 

Money Savers

The average price of a freezer ranges from $200 upwards, while a cooler costs from $200-$900.

Portable ice makers only cost about $300 because they’re… portable! They’re so small so that they don’t cost much.

Since freezing water needs a lot of energy, ice makers consume a lot of electricity. However, newer models (2012 and newer) have improved efficiency.

Maintenance is cheap; you just need a cleaning and sanitizing solution and a soft cloth to wipe the dirt away.

Repair is relatively easy and cheap in most cases, with common issues only requiring simple troubleshooting.

 

Ice Production in 10 Minutes

A portable ice maker can produce ice in just 10 minutes, and an average of 35 lbs in 24 hours. Another unique feature of portable machines are their nugget-shaped ice cubes.

Compared to cube-shaped ice cubes from ice trays, nugget-shaped cubes produced by a portable ice maker only need a simple tap to loosen them.
Portable ice makers can also produce varying ice cube sizes for different drinks.

 

They Are Compact

You will notice that appliances are getting increasingly smaller and compact to adapt to the functionalist lifestyle that many people lead.

Amid the multitude of appliances, the portable ice maker embodies the concept of a simplistic but functional way to refresh oneself – whether by quenching your thirst or by chilling food.

So, it comes as no surprise that this machine is becoming a must-have in households and food establishments.

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