The Best Ice Makers for Restaurant-Style Ice at Home

You don’t have to swing by your favorite fast-food restaurant to get the ice you love so much. These machines offer a way to make your beloved frozen accessory wherever you want—including your countertop.

Best Overall

The GE Profile Opal 2.0 Nugget Ice Maker on a white background.

GE Profile Opal 2.0 Nugget Ice Maker

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Best Bang For The Buck

The Frigidaire Compact 26-Pound Countertop Ice Maker on a white background.

Frigidaire Compact 26-Pound Countertop Ice Maker

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Best Small

The GoveeLife Portable Countertop Ice Maker on a white background with a scoop of ice and a phone showing the GoveeLife app.

GoveeLife Portable Countertop Ice Maker

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Whether it’s the soft nugget-style ice or the large clear cube that looks great in a cocktail, there are likely some strong opinions on what makes the perfect ice and which ice makers can make just that. Ice makers—and especially countertop options—offer a convenient solution for RVing, camping, and tailgating. They can even act as a substitute for a broken ice machine in your fridge.

Now, thanks to better technology and plenty of demand, there are more choices than ever for producing restaurant-quality ice. We researched numerous options to find the best ice makers so shoppers can make their preferred shape of specialty ice for use in cocktails or for late-night crunching.

  1. BEST OVERALL: GE Profile Opal 2.0 Nugget Ice Maker
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Frigidaire Compact 26-Pound Countertop Ice Maker
  3. BEST SMALL: GoveeLife Portable Countertop Ice Maker
  4. BEST LARGE: Newair Countertop Clear Ice Maker
  5. BEST FOR PORTABILITY: Igloo 26-Pound Automatic Portable Ice Maker Machine
  6. BEST FOR NUGGET ICE: Easyera Nugget Ice Maker
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Aglucky Countertop Ice Maker Machine
The Newair Countertop Clear Ice Maker on a kitchen counter next to a refrigerator.

How We Chose the Best Ice Makers

We are picky about ice, and for good reason. It can make carbonated drinks tastier and enhance a cocktail-sipping experience. Or, for those of us who simply enjoy crunching on ice, soft, chewable ice is practically a must-have. Whatever the case is, we know you have equally high expectations, so we went to work researching the highest-rated ice makers. We looked at more than 25 ice makers, assessing ice type, size, design, capacity, and speed, and poring through real user reviews.

We also consulted with Jason Phillips, who is a chef, food writer, and contributing editor to Also the Crumbs, Please, on what consumers will want to look for when purchasing a countertop ice maker. Phillips explains how he’s researched this topic quite a bit thanks to living in numerous small places and his love of camping. “The first thing I look for is the capacity. I prefer larger batch ice makers but sometimes have to sacrifice this option due to a lack of countertop space.”

Phillips goes on to explain, “The second thing consumers should look for is a feature for different size cubes and shapes. This may seem trivial, but it eventually becomes important because the shape and size of the cube determines the density. Density determines how fast the cube melts. Ice makers will produce ice in a variety of shapes: crescent, square, round, cube, or nugget.”

Our Top Picks

The following are our top picks for the best ice makers. Whether you like nugget ice, clear ice, or just need a lot of ice, there’s an ice maker on this list that fits the bill.

Best Overall

GE Profile Opal 2.0 Nugget Ice Maker

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Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 16.5 inches tall by 10.5 inches wide by 17.5 inches deep
  • Ice production per day: 38 pounds
  • Ice bin capacity: 3 pounds
  • Time to ice production: 10 minutes


  • Restaurant-style nugget-shaped ice perfect for everyday use
  • Stylish, sleek stainless steel design that fits on countertop
  • Produces up to 38 pounds of ice per day, or 1.6 pounds of fresh ice per hour
  • Wi-Fi enabled and voice activated for monitoring ice production while away
  • Bin holds a sizeable amount of ice (3 pounds) before it needs to be emptied


  • Some reviewers complain of noise during production
  • Tall design is not as compact as other ice makers

The GE Profile Opal nugget ice maker sets the standard for so many other ice makers. Out of the box it starts producing ice within minutes—10 minutes, to be exact. It makes an incredible 38 pounds of fresh ice per day, or 1.6 pounds per hour, so buyers can use it for entertaining, tailgating, or if they simply enjoy crunching on ice throughout the day.

Compatible with Alexa and Google, the Opal features Wi-Fi connectivity and smart controls for those who may need to monitor ice production before hosting an event or those who need to start ice production from another room. While some reviewers complain about the noise level being high, the crystal-clear ice, true nugget shape, and substantial ice production may well be worth it—as evidenced by the thousands of rave reviews.

Get the GE Profile ice maker at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, or GE.

Best Bang For The Buck

Frigidaire Compact 26-Pound Countertop Ice Maker

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Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 14.75 inches tall by 13.5 inches wide by 10.25 inches deep
  • Ice production per day: 26 pounds
  • Ice bin capacity: 1.5 pounds
  • Time to ice production: 6 minutes


  • A budget-friendly option that produces a hefty amount of fresh ice per day
  • Includes a window so users can monitor ice production
  • Makes 2 sizes of bullet ice cubes for different needs and preferences
  • Sleek, stainless steel, and compact design suitable for a variety of kitchens


  • Some users say that removing the plug to drain the unit can be difficult

The Frigidaire countertop ice maker is a budget-friendly option that offers decent ice production and convenient features. Not only does this compact machine churn out 26 pounds of fresh ice per day, but it also starts producing ice within 6 minutes—rivaling or beating more expensive brands. The basket itself holds 1.5 pounds of ice, which is on the smaller side, but the speed of this little machine’s production may make up for that.

And noise? It operates at a 38-decibel level, which is quieter than the popular “quiet” dishwashers on the market, so it won’t drown conversations, music, TV, or other activities. A drain plug at the bottom of the unit allows for quick and easy release of excess water when it’s time for cleanup.

Get the Frigidaire ice maker at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, or Frigidaire.

Best Small

GoveeLife Portable Countertop Ice Maker

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Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 12.6 inches tall by 8.74 inches wide by 12.32 inches deep
  • Ice production per day: 26 pounds
  • Ice bin capacity: N/A
  • Time to ice production: 6 minutes


  • Produces 9 ice cubes within 6 minutes; up to 26 pounds of fresh ice per day
  • Makes 3 ice cube sizes for a variety of needs and uses
  • Convenient remote and self-cleaning mode
  • Provides alerts via an app when the ice bin is full


  • Ice must quickly be removed from bin or it will melt, according to reviewers

This small but mighty ice maker can squeeze into space other icemakers can’t, taking up just over 1 square foot of counter space. Even at its modest size, the GoveeLife ice maker produces 26 pounds of ice per day and can deliver up to nine cubes in just 6 minutes. It also offers a choice of three sizes to accommodate different glasses or preferences.

Better still, this ice maker is compatible with Google and Alexa, has its own app, and even includes a remote control—all of which enable use from just about anywhere. Cleaning is a snap too since it includes a convenient 10-minute self-cleaning option. While it may not be suitable for large events, the GoveeLife can hold its own for small get-togethers.

Get the GoveeLife ice maker at Amazon or Govee.

Best Large

Newair Countertop Clear Ice Maker

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Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 14.6 inches tall by 9.9 inches wide by 14.1 inches deep
  • Ice production per day: 45 pounds
  • Ice bin capacity: N/A
  • Time to ice production: 12 minutes


  • Produces enough ice for large gatherings; up to 45 pounds of ice per day
  • Offers hollow and solid ice cube settings for greater customization
  • Includes large viewing window for monitoring throughout the day
  • Includes removable ice basket to easily transport ice to freezer or cooler


  • Some reviewers complain of leaking from bottom of unit

Rivaling pricier built-in

under-counter ice makers

, the Newair ice maker produces up to 45 pounds of ice in a day. This impressive capacity virtually eliminates the worry of running out of ice during a party. In addition to its sizable capacity, it features an ice cube thickness selector, ranging from -6, which is a more hollow cube, to +6, which is a solid cube. Its intuitive LCD screen also provides full-ice-basket alerts and low-water alerts.

Of course, with this larger capacity comes a more robust size, which may mean it’s too large for some countertops. For kitchens where this ice maker does fit, however, the loss of countertop real estate may be worth it for the fresh, clear ice.

Get the Newair ice maker at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, Best Buy, or Newair.

Best For Portability

Igloo 26-Pound Automatic Portable Ice Maker Machine

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Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 16 inches tall by 11 inches wide by 14 inches deep
  • Ice production per day: 26 pounds
  • Ice bin capacity: 1.25 pounds
  • Time to ice production: 7 minutes


  • Compact design plus handle for extra-easy transport
  • Produces small or large bullet-shaped ice cubes
  • Includes a 5-cycle self-cleaning function for a consistent clean and less mess
  • Removable basket makes it easy to move the ice wherever it’s needed


  • Some reviewers say that just-made ice melts quickly

Whether it’s needed in the kitchen or on the deck, in an RV, or in a parking lot for tailgating, the Igloo ice maker is simple to take just about anywhere. Its built-in handle makes it easy to keep one hand free and carry this sturdy 22-pound ice maker.

This handy model makes 26 pounds of ice per day and offers options for small or large ice cubes. A straightforward LED-lit control panel indicates ice size and alerts the user to a full ice basket and an empty water reservoir. When the unit needs a deep clean, a convenient cleaning cycle will flush the user’s chosen cleaning solution (options indicated in the user manual) through the ice maker, including the water lines, five times.

Get the Igloo ice maker at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Nostalgia Products.

Best For Nugget Ice

Easyera Nugget Ice Maker

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Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 12.68 inches tall by 8.66 inches wide by 11.3 inches deep
  • Ice production per day: 33 pounds
  • Ice bin capacity: 1.54 pounds
  • Time to ice production: 5 minutes


  • Produces more ice per day than many models of similar size
  • Features a self-cleaning mode to make upkeep even easier
  • Includes removable ice basket and ice scoop
  • Narrow profile and small footprint can fit in a variety of kitchens
  • Straightforward operation panel makes for easy out-the-box use


  • Makes 1 nugget of ice at a time; takes 20 minutes to produce 2 cups of ice
  • Does not offer different nugget size options

The Easyera nugget ice maker is a great option for those who love nugget ice but may not have the counter space for the GE Profile Opal 2.0. Though it uses up less than 1 square foot of countertop space, it makes a whopping 33 pounds of ice in a day—enough ice to store for a large gathering or to have ice for several days of regular use. Plus, its intuitive control panel makes it easy to use right away. It only requires the push of a button to start ice production or cleaning, and lights indicate when the ice bin is full and when it’s time to add water.

While it takes some time to make enough ice to use and doesn’t offer different sizes, the Easyera delivers a large amount of a great type of ice.

Get the Easyera ice maker at Amazon.

Also Consider

Aglucky Countertop Ice Maker Machine

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Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 12.6 inches tall by 8.7 inches wide by 12.3 inches deep
  • Ice production per day: 26 pounds
  • Ice bin capacity: 1.5 pounds
  • Time to ice production: 6 to 8 minutes


  • Has a quieter cooling system, which keeps noise level to a minimum
  • Offers small or large bullet-shaped ice cubes to suit more preferences
  • Includes a window to monitor ice production


  • Some reviews mention that full-ice-bin light turns on too soon because ice piles on 1 side of the bin

One of the most common complaints about countertop ice makers is how loud they can get while operating. With that in mind, a quieter option, like this Aglucky model, may be a great find. This particular machine operates at about a 40-decibel level, which is about the same noise level as a refrigerator running.

In addition to its quiet operation, the Aglucky features a window on the top of the unit and a user-friendly control panel with lights indicating when the ice bin is full, when the unit needs water, and what size ice has been selected. Plus, it produces nine ice cubes in as little as 6 minutes. Available in four colors, including red and aqua, the Aglucky also includes a removable ice bin and scoop.

Get the Aglucky ice maker at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing an Ice Maker

Although ice is a daily staple, there’s actually quite a bit that goes into choosing the best ice maker, and how you use your ice maker on a daily basis (in the home, tailgating, cocktails, for example) may influence your exact considerations.

Ice Type

For at-home ice makers, there are generally three types of ice: nugget, cube, and clear. (Some ice machines make shaved ice, but those tend to be more for specialty use, such as snow cones, rather than for everyday use.) Nugget ice, also known as pellet ice, is compressed flakes of ice. Its porous texture makes it crunchy, chewable, and easily blended for smoothies and frozen beverages. Nugget ice also absorbs some of the flavor of the beverages it’s in, which means drinkers get a flavorful crunchy snack even after they’ve finished their beverage.

Cube ice is what most people have in their freezer, either made in ice trays or produced by an ice maker in the freezer. Cube ice is simply made by pouring water into a tray and letting the water freeze, whether manually or automatically. While it’s much denser, and not so delightfully chewable as nugget ice, its slow-melting composition makes it less likely to quickly water down a favorite beverage, particularly for larger cubes. Despite its name, cube ice comes in many shapes, such as crescent, top hat, half cubes, and more.

Clear ice, sometimes called gourmet ice, is similar to cube ice in that it’s solid, but it undergoes a different freezing process. Rather than freeze the water from the outside in, as happens with cubes, clear ice freezes in layers. To create clear ice, a steady stream of water runs over a surface that’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit until it freezes layer by layer into a cube. This slower freezing process creates clear ice, as gases and minerals aren’t pushed to the center as they are in regular cubed ice, creating a cloudy appearance.

Size and Aesthetics

Besides ice type, how much space an ice maker takes up and what it looks like in that space are almost as important to keep in mind when shopping.

Some ice makers can take up a significant amount of space on the countertop, and each manufacturer has its own version of what constitutes a “countertop” ice maker. If shoppers have a particular place they’re considering and where they want their ice maker to ultimately live, it’s crucial that they measure beforehand and make sure it fits where they need it.

When shoppers think of ice makers, their first thought may not be the style. However, if it’s something that they expect to keep out, they may want to keep appearance in mind. Most ice makers come in neutral decor-friendly options such as gray or stainless steel, but some are also available in sleek black or fun pops of color like red or aqua.

Speed and Capacity 

Speed is another important consideration with ice makers because you don’t want to wait around all day waiting for ice to form. Most manufacturers list the machine’s time for initial ice production, such as the GE Profile ice maker, which states the first ice gets produced within 10 minutes. If shoppers plan on using the ice maker for events or entertaining, they’ll want to take note of the speed of fresh ice production. They will also want to note the speed of a cycle after the initial production if faster production is essential to them. Most portable ice maker cycles fall anywhere from 6 to 18 minutes.

Capacity can refer to both the amount of ice the machine’s ice bin can hold and the amount of ice a machine can produce in a 24-hour period. Smaller ice bins can only hold about a pound of ice whereas larger countertop machine ice bins can hold about 3 pounds.

Production capacity for countertop ice makers generally ranges from 20 to 35 pounds of ice per 24 hours, though some larger machines can make more. This means users have to frequently monitor the ice production throughout the day so they can empty it as needed and keep ice melting/reforming from occurring.

Ease of Use

The basic idea of an ice maker is fairly simple: Users pour a directed amount of water in, close a lid, select ice size and/or type (if applicable), and press start. The unit then alerts them when the ice bin needs to be emptied and when water needs to be added. Of course, the smaller the unit, the more work users will have to do for more ice. Small ice bins require more frequent emptying, and smaller water reservoirs need to be filled more.

How to clean an ice maker varies a bit more across products. Although cleaning may not seem necessary—it’s just ice, after all—ice makers do require regular cleaning. Regular cleaning is an essential part of the overall operation and optimal function of the ice maker. Some offer a self-cleaning function while others are hand-wash only.

Regardless of whether a model includes a self-cleaning feature or requires hand-washing, it may be worth it to look at a user manual before purchase. There are a lot of moving parts that come into contact with water, so buyers will want to ensure that all parts are dry when the ice maker is not in use. As with most appliances, prolonged moisture can cause damage to parts and affect performance.


There may be more to an ice maker than you originally thought. Here are other common questions often seen when selecting the best ice maker for a particular household.

Q. How long do ice makers last?

Like other small appliances, it depends on how it’s taken care of, maintained, and how much use it gets. For normal household use, you can expect to get 4 or 5 years out of an ice maker.

Q. Do ice makers keep ice frozen?

Typically, a portable ice maker doesn’t keep all ice frozen, since it’s not as well insulated as a freezer. Eventually, any unused ice melts and then gets recirculated to the water reservoir.

Q. Do you need a water line for an ice maker?

Not for countertop or portable ice makers. For these types of ice makers, you usually only have to pour filtered water into the ice maker, so there’s no need for a water line connection.

Q. Do all makers have filters?

No, typically portable ice makers do not have filters, which is why most models require the use of filtered water when operating the machine.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Sara Coleman Avatar

Sara Coleman

Contributing Writer

Sara Coleman is a full-time writer, editor, and published author. She covers personal finance and lifestyle topics ranging from insurance and credit cards to small business and pet ownership. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bankrate, Joy Wallet, Wayfair, and Credible. When not writing, Sara enjoys ushering her kids from one activity to the next and spending time with friends and family.