The 6 Best Ice Makers of 2022, According to Lab Tests

Whatever is on the drinks menu for the day or night—water, soda, or cocktails—a good ice maker can make all the difference when sipping a cool, refreshing drink. If filling and emptying ice molds isn’t your thing, a quality countertop ice maker could be your new favorite kitchen appliance.

“The whole point of ice is to make (and keep) your drink cold, while also adding some dilution from the ice melt,” says Jason Percival, beverage manager at Himmel Hospitality Group. “Although it might seem counterintuitive, the best bet to keep the beverage cold without watering it down is to use plenty of ice so that it fills the whole glass rather than a few cubes floating on top.”

Our team of experts tested 15 ice makers in our testing lab in Birmingham, Alabama, evaluating each machine based on water capacity, dimensions of the appliance, ice production time, ice cube shape, and the noise level of the machine.

Testers chose the Luma Comfort Clear Ice Cube Maker as the overall best ice maker because of its quiet operation and high production capacity—it can make up to 28 pounds of ice per day. We also liked its sleek design and that it produced clear, consistently shaped ice cubes.

Here are the best ice makers, according to testing.

The Bottom Line

From our extensive testing of ice makers, six of them were standouts, with the Luma Comfort Clear Ice Cube Maker coming out on top as our best ice maker overall due to its 10-cup water capacity, the best production of the bunch, and a nearly silent ice making process. We also love the price point and performance of the Silonn Ice Makers Countertop Machine for anyone wanting to try an ice maker without a big investment.

Our Testing Process

Our team of experts put 15 of the best ice makers to the test in our lab in Birmingham, Alabama, to measure the speed, quantity, and ice quality of each machine.

We filled the machines with water, recorded how long it took to make a batch of ice and how much ice was in the batch—and then continued to run the machine for an hour to see how much total ice it produced. Each machine was tested in a 71 degree room.

Next up, our testers dove into another important factor—noise level. They looked at both the noise of the machine’s motor and the sound of the dropping ice cubes, keeping in mind that these ice makers are for home use and that no one wants a noisy motor or overly loud ice sounds during dinner.

The testers also looked at the features and attributes of all the machines. They lifted and weighed the appliances to decide how easily they could be transported from room to room or to a car. They also looked at the dimensions of the ice makers to see how bulky they would be when left on a countertop. Finally, testers evaluated each machine’s water capacity to determine how often someone will have to refill the machine to keep the ice flowing.

What to Know About Ice Makers Before Shopping

Machine Size

For anyone shopping for a new countertop ice maker, space is obviously a key concern. Measure your space for the maximum appliance width and height it can accommodate, whether you’ll be keeping the machine on the counter or in your pantry.

“Finding a machine that can produce a new batch of solid cubes every 15 to 20 minutes is the standard that I would be looking for,” says Seth Corliss, lead bartender at Atlántico restaurant. “These styles of machines will roughly be around 1 cubic foot and have a weight that makes them portable enough to take to any location, given a supply of water and electricity is at hand.”

Capacity and Ice Production

To find the best ice maker for your home, first think about how you’ll use the appliance. Choose a model with a large water capacity and high output if you enjoy entertaining and will need to continually refresh drinks. That way, you won’t have to constantly be adding water to your ice maker. You can get away with a lower capacity if the ice maker will usually only be used by one or two individuals.

Ice Shape

Ice shape is a huge factor when making drinks, especially cocktails, Corliss says.

“Ice does a plethora of things to a cocktail; most importantly, however, is the chilling and dilution of the cocktail,” Corliss says. “Those attributes are directly tied to the shape of the ice. Ideally, I would be looking for a machine that produces a solid, squarish cube.”

Other Ice Makers We Tested

Costway Portable Self-Cleaning Countertop Ice Maker

Although we liked the fun color of the Costway Portable Self-Cleaning Countertop Ice Maker, the ice maker was slower and noisier than any of our top picks, taking over 10 minutes to create eight cubes of ice that weren’t a consistent size. It also ranked as one of the noiseiest models we tested.

NewAir Compact Bullet Ice Maker

The NewAir Compact Bullet Ice Maker has a large water capacity of 13 cups, and it produces clear ice. However, the machine received low marks from our testers for slow output, taking over 10 minutes to create nine cubes, and for having an excessively loud fan. Testers said it’s “not particularly efficient” and a “bit large,” particularly in comparison to the other ice makers we tested.

Sentern Portable Clear Ice Maker

The biggest strike against the Sentern Portable Clear Ice Maker is simple: The ice came out in clumps and didn’t break into individual pieces, which clearly makes it difficult to get into a glass. The machine was also very slow and “only made one batch of ice in an hour,” our tester wrote.

Your Questions, Answered

Can you keep a portable ice maker outside?

Yes, and that’s half (maybe more!) the fun of picking up one of these appliances. Portable ice makers can be used both indoors and outdoors as long as you have access to an outlet, making them a great choice for backyard barbecues. Keep in mind that they should be placed in a covered area for protection from the elements though.

Do ice machines need a drain?

Nope, and there’s no difficult installation either, explains Daniel P. Craig, chef and founder of Kitchen Deets. “Portable ice makers don’t require any installation or plumbing work beyond plugging them in and adding water,” Craig says.

Do ice machines use a lot of electricity?

Not really. Craig broke it down for us. “A portable ice maker uses a maximum of 200 watts of energy,” Craig says. “Suppose, the electricity charge in the US is $0.12 per kilowatt-hour. Now converting the 200 watts to kilowatt hours, we get 0.2 KwH (Kilowatt Hour). If the ice maker is run for 24 hours at an electricity rate of $0.12, the ice maker would cost $0.58 per day.”

Who We Are

Tanya Edwards is an award-winning writer and editor with bylines at Better Homes & Gardens and other publications. She was formerly the head of digital culinary programming at Food Network. For this story, Tanya worked with the testing lab, who did extensive testing of the best ice makers on the market. She also spoke with Daniel P. Craig, chef and founder of Kitchen Deets; Jason Percival, beverage manager at Himmel Hospitality Group; and Seth Corliss, lead bartender at Atlantico restaurant.

What Is BHG Recommends?

Next to all of the products on this list, you may have noticed our BHG Recommends seal of approval. Products that earn the seal have been put through rigorous testing to make sure they’re worth a spot in your home. We buy most of the products we test ourselves, but occasionally we are provided samples by companies if buying isn’t an option. In these cases, we use the same testing criteria we use to test the purchased products and we let you know that we got it for free to remain as transparent as possible about our picks.

Looking for more products that have earned our BHG Recommends seal of approval? Check out our picks for everything from picnic blankets to humidifiers.

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