Whether you're a home-bar enthusiast or the owner of a licensed restaurant, you should invest in a top-quality nugget ice maker.
These machines create soft, crunchy ice nuggets that preserve and elevate the well-balanced flavors of classic cocktails like mojitos, mint juleps, and Caipirinhas.
There is a wide range of nugget ice makers on the market, from commercial-style freestanding units with a substantial production capacity to portable, easy-to-install countertop models for home use.
In this list, we'll provide you with a selection of the best nugget ice makers available, using durability, production rate, ease-of-cleaning, and various other crucial factors as indicators of high-quality.
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The best nugget makers on the market combine a large production capacity with a high quality of ice and durable, robust construction.
The Opal Countertop model is our top pick on the list, with built-in Bluetooth connectivity and a 24 lbs. production capacity. The stainless steel exterior is robust and corrosion-resistant, while the ice produced is slow-melting, crunchy, and won't clump together.
When it comes to value for money, the Frigidaire EFIC102 is the best option for budget-conscious shoppers. This compact model has an impressive production capacity of 26 lbs. per day and can create a batch of ice in just over 6 minutes.
It also weighs just under 20 lbs., making it one of the most portable options on the list as well. It's the perfect machine for those who regularly host small gatherings and drinks events at their home, and the small storage bin means you'll save costs on water and electricity.
In terms of pure production capacity, the Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L is our top pick. The storage unit holds up to 10 lbs., but the production rate is 315 lbs. per day. If you're searching for a commercial machine for a licensed establishment or mid to large-sized office, you should go for the Manitowoc.
This premium unit also comes with a built-in condenser and an auto-defrost preset, so you won't have to worry about the system breaking down as it produces and stores substantial batches of ice.
Those wanting to bring a touch of class to their home bar will love the NewAir countertop model, which is the best on the list when it comes to producing clear, clean ice cubes.
Clean ice tastes and looks better than cloudy ice. It also takes longer to melt, preserving the flavors of your drink for a longer period before dilution. This NewAir machine has a production capacity of 40 lbs. and compact dimensions of 14.76" x 11.3" x 14.06". If you're looking for an affordable unit that can produce premium-quality ice for small home gatherings, opt for this product.
Choosing the Best Nugget Ice Maker
There are several essential factors to consider when it comes to choosing the best nugget ice maker for your home or workplace.
Nugget Ice Quality
Perhaps the most critical aspect to take into account is the quality of ice that the machine makes. Top-quality nugget ice should be soft and easily chewable. These cubes have a unique, porous texture that helps you to munch through them as you enjoy your drink.
The best nugget ice should also be slow-melting as this allows you to enjoy the balanced flavors of a chilled cocktail for as long as possible before these flavors become diluted by the melting cubes.
Finally, nugget ice looks best when it's clear, not cloudy. As well as lending a touch of professional-standard class to any mixed drink, clear nuggets last longer and taste better than their cloudy counterparts.
Portable, household ice makers are more affordable than commercial models, and many have an impressive production capacity. However, these smaller ice makers sometimes serve up cloudy or slightly misshapen ice nuggets that melt quickly whenever you add them to drinks. If you want a compact, affordable unit for personal use, make sure to double-check the quality of ice it produces before committing to the purchase.
By contrast, commercial units often offer up better-quality nugget ice than cheaper models, making them ideal for offices or licensed bars.
Another crucial factor to consider is the unit's durability. It's always worth spending that little bit extra on a model that lasts a lot longer and saves you money on ongoing maintenance costs. Look for ice makers that are constructed with typically sturdy materials like stainless steel and aluminum.
Make sure the unit's storage tank is well built and well insulated: you don't want the bin breaking when you pour too much ice into the reservoir. You also don't want your ice to melt when it's still inside the machine.
Lastly, it's always a good idea to look for a product that comes with an extended company warranty. A top-quality ice maker is quite an investment, so you want to make sure you've got some insurance in place. An extended warranty also displays the company's confidence in its product's longevity.
Production Capacity & Speed
You should choose an ice maker with a production capacity that suits your needs. If you're looking for a machine that can produce ice for you and your family, any unit with an output of up to 20-30 lbs. per day should be more than enough.
If you want an ice-making machine for your home bar, a production capacity of 26 lbs. per day is ideal. You should also make sure that you're getting a model that can create ice quickly. The best countertop options can produce nuggets in cycles of between 5-1o minutes, so you won't have to worry about running out of ice for your guests.
Those looking for ice makers for their offices or licensed establishments will need to find a commercial-style unit that creates upwards of 75-80 lbs. of ice every day. Because of the meal-time rush at these workplaces, you'll need to make sure that your ice maker can produce new batches of ice quickly, without taxing the machine components.
Ease of Cleaning
It's always useful to look for an ice maker model that's easy to clean. Try to find a device with a built-in water recycling function as these machines save you from draining the system yourself.
You should also look for units with removable storage bins. This feature makes it a lot easier to get rid of excess or melted ice at the end of the day. You can also clean removable tanks efficiently.
Models constructed with stainless steel are easy to wipe down. They're also mark and corrosion-resistant, so they will keep clean for longer periods than other options.
If you don't tend to use all your ice in one sitting, then you should buy an ice maker with a decently-sized storage bin. Larger commercial units can hold between 20-30 lbs. of ice.
People who go through ice quickly and want to use the machine for smaller events and family gatherings should opt for a unit that prioritizes production rate over storage capacity.
Size & Weight
Consider the dimensions and weight of your ice maker. If you want a machine for your home bar, opt for a portable countertop unit. If you are looking for a suitable unit for the office, go for something larger that can fit in the break room and offers greater production and storage capacities to suit your co-workers' needs.
If you need a nugget maker for your commercial, licensed bar, try a large, under-counter unit that makes the most of narrow bar areas.
Top 8 Nugget Ice Makers Reviews
This GE product is the best nugget ice maker available, with a durable construction, portable design, and a handy built-in Bluetooth function.
The GE team has designed this ice maker to fit neatly on top of your kitchen counter. It measures 15. 5" x 14.25" x 17. 2" and weighs just under 50 lbs., so you'll have no issues moving it around your home. Because the Opal ice maker doesn't require any water hookup to operate, you can easily use this product anywhere in the house.
Those who prioritize a rapid ice production rate will love this model, which can produce up to 24 lbs. of ice each day. The detachable side tank has a storage capacity of 3 lbs., allowing you to keep a supply of ice to hand as you make drinks for friends and family.
This unit's stainless steel outer casing is robust and anti-corrosive, while the storage tank's heavy-duty plastic works as an insulator, preventing external heat from melting the ice.
We love the Opal's built-in Bluetooth connectivity. You can download the GE Profile Opal app for free. Then, you'll be able to customize the ice maker's production schedule. The unit also contains a safety sensor that prevents the tank from overflowing when it nears maximum capacity.
The GE Opal Countertop model produces soft, delicious ice nuggets that crunch when you bite into them. In under 20 minutes, you'll have plenty of ice for refreshing mint juleps and Caipirinhas.
This classy unit may come with a premium price tag, but it's an ideal choice for those who require a machine with a larger ice production capacity. The Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L model can make up to 315 lbs. worth of ice nuggets every day. The storage tank has a sizable capacity of 10 lbs., so you won't waste electricity or water creating more ice when you've already got plenty left over from the last cycle.
We love the built-in condenser.This feature means you don't have to buy a remote refrigerating unit separately. The self-contained design is a breeze to clean.
We also appreciate the auto-defrost preset, which prevents the system from freezing up and breaking when it's storing lots of ice. The blue LED light helps you locate the machine in dimly-lit offices or commercial kitchens, while the auto-refill alert tells you when the system needs refilling.
This machine's ice dispensing process is smooth and straightforward. You can choose between two activation presets: touchless or activation arm. Just hold your cup or jug underneath the chute, and you'll get a steady flow of ice nuggets instantly.
You can fit this 16¼" x 24" x 35" unit on most kitchen countertops, and the slick, stainless steel design provides a contemporary focal point for any home. The ice itself is chewable and satisfying, with an impressive ratio of 90% ice content to 10% water content. This ice will bring a refreshing edge to any cocktail or soft blended beverage.
This weather-resistant product has an impressive 80 lbs. production capacity, meaning you won't ever have to worry about running out of ice during family barbecues and backyard tailgates.
The Scotsman SCN60GA-1SS is a hefty, freestanding unit that measures 22.75" x 14.88" x 33.38" and weighs just under 130 lbs. While you won't be able to put this ice maker on your kitchen counter or install it under your home bar, you can set it up on your patio or in your backyard. Just make sure you've got access to a drainage system and main water line for the hookup.
The built-in gravity drain draws melted ice down through the machine and toward the base of the unit. This process ensures that the Scotsman will never overflow or clog up and makes the product easy to clean.
We also like the auto-refill preset. When the storage tank is nearly empty, the built-in sensors alert the system, and it begins churning out more ice.
Those who care about durability will love this smooth and heavy-duty stainless steel unit. Stainless steel is a low-maintenance and heat-resistant metallic alloy with strong anti-corrosive properties. This ice maker won't rust after exposure to air or water. You'll also find that this structure can endure extremely low temperatures and stormy conditions.
Friends and family will admire this Scotsman product, with its sleek, high-quality appearance and notable production capacity. As the owner, you'll appreciate how easy the ice maker is to wipe down and clean.
Frigidaire Counter Top Ice Maker
If you're looking for a practical and lightweight ice nugget maker that comes with an affordable price tag, you'll love this Frigidaire model.
You can fit this 11.5" x 15" x 15" machine on any countertop or table in your house. This product is also one of the most portable options on the market, weighing just 19.55 lbs.
Despite its compact size, this ice nugget maker has a surprisingly large production capacity of 26 lbs. per day. It's also efficient, creating a full batch of ice in just over 6 minutes.
All you need to get this machine working is access to an electrical outlet. Once you've installed the unit, pour 9 cups of tap water into the built-in reservoir and it's ready.
We wish the side tank had a larger capacity, but we still appreciate that you get a built-in, additional storage unit for this price. If you're careful, you'll be able to last a full day on the 1.5 lbs. of stored ice before running another cycle.
The transparent window on the unit's roof allows you to check how much ice you've got left, while the built-in drain plug at the machine's base makes cleaning a breeze.
We love how muted this ice maker is. It operates at under 38 dB, which is quieter than the average refrigerator. You won't need to worry about waking up your family when you creep downstairs for that midnight glass of iced water.
When you buy the Frigidaire EFIC102, you'll receive a shovel, allowing you to serve ice hygienically.
Scotsman Undercounter Ice Maker
People looking for an under-counter unit that produces ice of an exceptionally high-quality will love this Scotsman nugget ice maker. This machine creates smooth ice that is slow to melt, retaining the balanced flavors of your cocktail. The ice is also completely clear, unlike the cloudy nuggets produced by other models.
We also think you'll appreciate the user-friendly control panel,with its built-in power indicator and handy no-water alert.
This Scotsman unit has a production capacity of 64 lbs. per day and an impressive storage capacity of 26 lbs., making it the ideal model for a small office, staffroom, or large household.
You can also use this ice maker outside, whether for a large family barbecue or a backyard tailgate as this unit is fully certified for outdoor use.
Our favorite feature of the Scotsman CU50GA is its water quality sensor, which detects mineralized, hard water, and sends a signal to the control system. This system then automatically flushes out the hard water during each harvest cycle. Not only does this process prevent scale buildup in the machine, but it also saves you time on cleaning.
This unit measures 14.88" x 22" x 34.38" and weighs 100 lbs., so you'll find it quite hard to shift once it's installed. However, the built-in adjustable legs allow you to place this machine on rocky, bumpy terrain with ease.
The Scotsman team is known for producing highly durable machines, and this under-counter model is no exception. The stainless steel construction is eco-friendly, anti-corrosive, and weather-resistant. This machine is also relatively quiet during the ice-making process.
This 14.5" x 9.8" x 12.8" ice maker is one of the best on the market when it comes to portability. The machine produces smooth and sleek bullet ice cubes that pair perfectly with mixed drinks like an old-fashioned or a daiquiri. The ice melts quickly and evenly, diluting your whiskey or rum and creating a refreshing drinking experience.
This unit can create bullet nuggets in 2 different sizes, allowing you to customize whatever drink you're making. You can elevate a top-quality spirit-forward drink like a Manhattan with large ice cubes, while smaller ice nuggets enhance the flavor of a mint julep or boozy tiki cocktail.
Despite being small and compact, this DELLA model produces up to 26 lbs. of high-quality ice every day. The digital display panel on the top of the unit features several useful indicators, including an add water function and a full ice bucket light.
With a short, 6-minute operating cycle and a removable ice tank, this machine is efficient and ergonomic. You don't need access to a water hookup. Just find a standard electrical outlet, and you're good to go.
We also appreciate the built-in shut-off function, which makes this unit cost-effective and energy-efficient. The handy side drain helps make the cleaning process a lot easier, while the additional scoop allows you to serve up ice in a clean and classy way whenever you have guests over.
Lastly, we think that this DELLA unit is excellent value for money. This is an affordable and cost-effective unit with a sizable production capacity and 2 ice cube options. You won't find too much else on the market that will give you more bang for your buck.
Those searching for a heavy-duty and quiet ice maker for offices, conference rooms, or school canteens will like this Ice-O-Matic unit. This machine measures 15⅜" x 26 ⅛" x 34⅜" and weighs just over 160 lbs.
Where the Ice-O-Matic countertop unit really comes into its own is in its production capacity. It can create up to 273 lbs. worth of ice every single day. We also love its impressive recovery rate, which ensures it can produce nearly 12 lbs. of ice every hour. With the Ice-O-Matic, you won't ever need to worry about running out of ice during busy lunchtime rushes or staff meetings.
We think that the tank's 12 lb. storage capacity is a little disappointing, especially considering this ice maker's substantial price tag. This product's strengths lie in its ability to churn out ice at a rapid rate, so if you're looking for a unit that holds unused nuggets throughout the day, then this isn't the right machine for you.
We love the user-friendly digital control pad, with its ice only, water only, ice water, and pitcher dispensing options. The dispensation process is touchless. Just hold your glass or jug under the chute, and the built-in infrared sensors will detect motion and send through the ice.
The Ice-O-Matic countertop nugget ice machine is cost-effective and highly efficient. Given its price tag, you'll probably want to purchase it in a commercial capacity rather than a personal one. If you invest in this product, your co-workers will appreciate having an endless supply of deliciously crunchy and soft ice nuggets for their drinks.
NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker Machine
If you're a home bartender who wants to make elegant cocktails that match the standard of those from your favorite licensed venues, you'll need clear ice. That's because clear nuggets tend to taste better than their cloudy counterparts. These ice cubes also take more time to melt, preserving the flavors of your handcrafted cocktail for longer.
People searching for a portable countertop unit that produces perfectly clear ice nuggets will love this NewAir model. This affordably priced ice maker has an impressive production capacity of 40 lbs. per day and can create a new ice cycle every 15 minutes.
The tank's interior lining is well-insulated, so you won't have to worry about your ice cubes melting before they've even left the machine. You also won't have any trouble installing this unit as you can just plug the back cable into an electrical outlet, fill up the top-loading reservoir.
This compact model measures 14.76" x 11.3" x 14.06" and fits on any kitchen top or table surface in your house. The built-in auto shut-off sensors sense when the tank is in danger of overflowing and prevent water leakage and system failure.
We love the look of this ice maker, with its stainless steel finish and its user-friendly push button display. The smooth, metallic design is both durable and aesthetically-pleasing. This silver, reflective finish fits neatly into any kitchen style, from transitional to Scandi to contemporary.
We also appreciate the removable ice bucket, a handy feature that helps with ease of cleaning.