Imagine this; you got home from a long day at work. It was a tough day, but somehow you made it through. Now you want to sit back, make your favorite drink, and relax.
You mixed up your drink and opened up the refrigerator to mix ice. But lo and behold, you have none. And now you cannot enjoy your drink to the fullest. If you don’t want this happening to you, then I have the perfect thing for you, the best pellet ice maker.
Nugget ice is extremely popular among those who enjoy their cocktail with ice. This soft, chewable, and flavorful ice can enhance the quality of your drink tenfold. And with a pellet ice maker in your kitchen, you can make it yourself.
In this article, I will give you a thorough rundown of some of the top-rated pellet ice makers in the market so that you never have to run out of ice when you want it the most. So, without further ado, let us get started.
What Is A Pellet Ice Maker And What Are The Advantages Of Using It?
The first thing you need to know about is what pellet ice is. Pellet ice, or nugget ice, are small, soft ice cubes that you can chew to ingest small amounts of water at a time. They are different from regular ice cubes, which are hard and difficult to chew.
Simply put, a nugget ice maker is used to make pellet ice using a high-pressure pump and shredder. It can use regular tap water or bottled water or, with some models, can even be hooked up to kitchen plumbing for continuous water supply.
There is a wide variety of applications for pellet ice. You can use it in your drinks and cocktails, use it to keep patients who have a hard time swallowing liquid hydrated, and can even serve to store fruits and vegetables for a long time.
Here are a couple of major benefits that you can get out of a pellet ice maker:
1. Packaging Fruits and Veggies
One of the main benefits of having a pellet ice maker is that you can use the ice you make to package fruits and vegetables. Compared to regular ice cubes, pellet ice has a much longer shelf life. So, you will be able to wrap up your produce with pellet ice and keep it fresh for longer.
2. Fast Ice Production
A pellet ice maker allows you to produce nugget ice whenever you want. And the best part is that it works fast. Most nugget ice makers can produce more than a pound of ice every hour. And if you want, you can also keep them running throughout the day to have ice available to you at all times.
3. Environment Friendly
A pellet ice maker consumes very little amount of power and water to produce nugget ice. So, you will not be taking a massive hit on your energy bill if you decide to buy it for your home.
4. Perfect Of Any Business
Lastly, pellet ice is an extremely useful product that fits into almost any business. And if you have a pellet ice maker, you do not have to buy nugget ice and can instead make it yourself at your own time.
Top 11 Best Pellet Ice Maker Reviews in 2022
A pellet ice maker is a must-have for people who enjoy nugget ice with their beverages. But if you have never used one before, you should be careful before you buy one. It requires a lot of research to understand which ice makers are worth buying.
Well, to save you from the hassle, here is my rundown of some of the best nugget ice makers that you can buy for the market.
1. GE Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with Side Tank
I will start off with my favorite pebble ice machine for home, the Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker by the brand GE. This unit features an exquisite design and gives you fantastic pebble ice that is no short of the quality that you will get in high-end restaurants and bars.
This ice maker can produce one pound of ice each hour, and if you have it running for 24 hours non-stop, you will never be in short supply of nugget ice. It also has a built-in side tank to store ice as it is produced with a capacity of 3 pounds. Just make sure you empty it out if you plan on making more ice.
The unit is made with high-quality stainless steel and has a compact dimension of 17-1/5 inches X 10-1/2 inches X 15-1/2 inches. It weighs only around 47 pounds which means you will be able to move it around as you please. So, if you are looking for a portable pellet ice maker for camping, this can be a great choice.
What’s even more impressive is that it comes with Bluetooth connectivity features that, once paired with your phone, allow you to make ice directly through your smartphone. You also get an ice scoop included with your purchase to serve ice in cocktails and party drinks easily.
- Compact size and portable design
- Strong and durable construction
- Bluetooth connectivity features
- Includes an ice scoop with your purchase
2. FirstBuild Opal Countertop Ice Pellet Maker Machine
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For my next pick, I went with another Opal profile ice maker, but this time I would recommend the FirstBuild brand. This might be on the expensive side of things, but if you enjoy savory, chewable pellet ice with your drinks, then this is the perfect pickup for your kitchen countertop.
Similar to the last product I reviewed, this one too can run 24 hours a day, producing a pound of ice each hour. It requires no water-line hookup, and you can use potable water with it that has less mineral density. The side tank in the unit can hold up to 3 pounds of ice for you to enjoy.
It features an exquisite construction with a plastic door and a stainless-steel outer exterior. The dimensions of this ice pellet maker machine are 15.5 inches x 10.5 inches x 17.2 inches. So, you will not have to commit too much of your countertop space to set it up.
It even features Bluetooth connectivity for easy pairing with your phone. And once you set it up with your smartphone, you will have complete access to operation right at your fingertips. It works quickly and makes sure you never have to enjoy your drink without pellet ice.
- Compact and powerful design
- It does not require any mainline hookup
- Strong and durable construction
- It can be paired with your smartphone via Bluetooth
3. Frigidaire EFIC235-AMZ Chewable Nugget Ice Machine
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Pellet ice maker for home can be expensive, and the last two products on my list should already make it quite clear. However, if you are on a tight budget, then the EFIC235-AMZ Countertop Ice Maker buy the brand Frigidaire is a good alternate for you. Its priced reasonably and offers you all the features you would want in your ice machine.
The thing I love the most about this pebble ice maker machine is its speed. You will get your first nugget of ice within 10 to 15 minutes of operation, which is frankly quite fast for its price. Throughout the course of the day, the machine can produce up to 44 pounds of ice and has a storage tray with 3 pounds of ice capacity.
Needless to say, it is quite capable of meeting your daily ice needs. But what surprises the most is its size and the performance that it delivers in contrast to that. The unit has a measly dimension of 12 inches x 17 inches x 19 inches, and its build quality is also quite decent.
However, it does not come with any modern, smart features like Bluetooth or wi-fi connectivity. But the control panel is quite easy to use and should not prove a challenge for anyone. So, if you are a fan of pellet ice cubes and want an affordable option, this is a great pickup.
- Can produce up to 44 pounds of ice each day
- Compact and portable design
- Built-in 3 pounds capacity storage tray
- It comes at an affordable price
4. KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Pebble Ice Maker
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The brand KBice holds a special place in the hearts of pellet ice lovers as they came up with the first self-dispensing ice maker. If you want a unit that can give you ice with the press of a button, this unit is one of the finest ones out there. So, it is only natural that I add it to my list of the best pellet ice maker.
Throughout the day, this unit can deliver up to 30 pounds of ice which translates to more than a pound each hour. It also comes with an internal ice storage compartment that can hold up to 2 pounds of ice that you can pour with just the press of a button.
It is a compact and well-made device with a dimension of 16 inches x 12 inches x 17.5 inches. The total weight is only 40 pounds which is light enough for you to carry with you when you go camping. When in use, the ice maker produces a low noise of only 52 Db. Loud ice makers, as you know, can easily kill the mood.
While it may not feature any smart connectivity features, it does come with a self-cleaning operation. So, you will not have to open it up and clean it yourself if you see it performing poorly. Considering the quality and ease of use that this unit provides, the price is quite reasonable.
- First-ever self-dispensing ice maker
- Can produce up to 30 pounds of ice each day
- It comes with a built-in 2-pound ice storage
- Low noise and self-cleaning feature
5. NewAir Sonic Ice Maker Speed
Coming up next, I will be giving you an inside look into one of the finest pellet countertop ice makers out there by the brand NewAir. This is one unit that I have loved for ages because of how quick and easy it makes to get ice whenever you are having a drink.
In fact, if you are looking for ice, you can get your first nugget within just 12 minutes of starting it up. It can produce up to 40 pounds of ice each day which is perfect for people who like to make ice in high volume. And the insulated wall of the device also keeps your ice cold for longer.
The construction quality of the ice maker is also impeccable, featuring a strong stainless-steel exterior that will not get dented easily. With a total dimension of 16.5 inches x 10.5 inches x 16.3 inches, you will not have to commit too much of your kitchen counter space to accommodate it.
This is a fully analog device without any smart features. The control panel is quite simple, though, which makes it extremely easy to use for any homeowner. On the plus side, it also comes with a self-cleaning feature to periodically clean the interior without any hassle on your part.
- Excellent build quality
- Can deliver fast ice
- Can produce up to 40 pounds of ice each day
- Includes a self-cleaning feature
6. Euhomy Ice Pellet Machine
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Euhomy is another brand worth noting if you are on the market for a countertop ice maker machine. This particular model features an excellent design that not only looks pretty but also makes it extremely easy for you to make pebble ice whenever you get the urge for it.
Powered by a high-efficiency compressor, this unit is capable of producing ice continuously throughout the day. It can give you the first nugget within only 18 minutes and can tally up a total of up to 26 pounds of ice each day. So, in essence, you are getting more than a pound of ice each hour.
While this unit can produce ice with bottled or tap water, you can also hook it up to your main water line if you do not want to fill up the water tank yourself. Its total dimension is 17.64 inches x 9.69 inches x 17 inches. The built-in storage tank can store up to 3.3 pounds of ice.
It ever features an automatic self-cleaning function to make sure the interior remains clean. The device is built-well and has a see-through window for you to check the compartment for leftover ice. As an affordable option, this ice maker can be a great pickup for your home.
- Built-in 3.3 pound storage compartment
- It comes with a self-cleaning feature
- Affordable price tag
- Stylish and classy look
7. CROWNFUL Portable Countertop Ice Machine
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The nugget ice maker by the brand Crownful is another one you want to look out for if you are planning to get an ice maker. It is a bit pricey, but the performance it delivers is well worth the cost. If you are a fan of nugget ice, then this is a must-have for your kitchen.
This unit comes with a built-in storage compartment that can handle up to 3 pounds of ice. But if you keep it running throughout the day, this machine can deliver up to 26 pounds of ice. So, you will be getting around a pound and a half of ice nuggets each hour.
With a dimension of 20.16 inches x 12.2 inches x 19.13 inches, this is not the smallest option out there. However, it is still compact enough to fit comfortably on one corner of your kitchen countertop without looking too inconspicuous. The build quality of the unit is quite excellent.
You can either add bottled or tap water into the machine to turn to ice or hook it up straight to your waterline for continuous water supply. It is an efficient and fast ice maker that will make your drinks more delicious with its savory and chewable pebble ice.
- Sturdy build quality
- It comes with a 3-pound storage compartment
- Can deliver up to 26 pounds of ice daily
- You can hook it up to your waterline
8. Miroc Ice Maker
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If you are on a tight budget, that does not mean you cannot enjoy pellet ice. But your options are somewhat limited when you are shopping on a tight budget. This ice maker by the brand Miroc is a worthy pick up, though, and its price is extremely reasonable if I say so myself.
But just because its price is low does not mean it lacks anything in terms of quality and performance. It is capable of delivering 26 pounds of ice throughout the day. And its built-in 3.3 pounds capacity ice bin also comes in handy for keeping your ice stocked for your party.
This countertop pebble ice maker has a total dimension of 16.7 inches x 9.7 inches x 16.7 inches making it quite compact and portable. It has a smart ice refill feature which makes the device turn itself on when you scoop out a bit of ice from the bin. So, you will always have your ice at the ready.
It even features a self-cleaning function that allows you to clean up the interior of the device without any hassle on your part. You can add water manually for producing ice. But for those who do not want to take the trouble, you can always hook it up to your kitchen plumbing.
- 26 pounds of ice producing capacity each day
- It has a 3.3 pound capacity ice bin
- Smart ice refill feature
- It comes with a self-cleaning function
9. FZF Portable Ice Maker Machine
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For many people, kitchen aesthetics is just as important as the quality of appliances. And if you are one of them, then you would settle, not settle for anything that does not look good in your kitchen. Well, in that case, this ice maker by the brand FZF is a great choice for you.
It features a stylish black exterior that will enhance the look of your kitchen or wherever you decide to set it up. With a capacity of 40 pounds of ice each day, you should not feel any lack in its ice production speed. It also has a 2.4 pounds capacity ice bin built into it.
It is a pretty compact and lightweight ice maker with a total dimension of 14.1 inches x 11.2 inches x 13.7 inches. You cannot hook it up to the waterline but instead should always use tap or bottled water to make ice with it. The water tank can handle up to 2.2 liters of water.
This unit also comes with a timer function and has a large LCD digital display. You will be able to access all the features of the unit quite easily, thanks to the intuitive control panel. As an efficient and low-noise ice maker, this one is a fantastic investment.
- Portable and compact design
- Ice bin capacity of 2.4 pounds
- Can produce up to 40 pounds of ice each day
- It comes with an ice scoop
10. Wamife Ice Cube Maker
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Coming up next, I will be talking about another fantastic pelletized ice maker that is worth your consideration. This model by the brand Wamife comes with a moderate price tag and gives you delicious, chewable ice within minutes of operation without any hassle.
When you turn on the unit, you can expect the first batch of ice to be completed in under 18 minutes which is quite fast. It can produce up to 26 pounds of nugget ice each day and can hold up to 3.3 pounds of ice in the ice bin that is built into the machine.
The device supports a two-way water refill, meaning you can either hook it up to your waterline for continuous water supply or add tap or bottle water yourself when you want it. Its total dimension is 17.64 inches x 9.69 inches x 16.93 inches which can fit quite nicely on any kitchen countertop.
Another good thing about the unit is its fantastic self-cleaning feature. It has a five-minute cycle, after which the interior of your ice maker will be as clean as new. Sure, it costs a bit, but you get exactly what you pay for – a high-quality ice maker with a cool and stylish design.
- It can produce up to 26 pounds of ice each day.
- Supports two-way water refill
- Includes a self-cleaning function
- Looks quite stylish
11. Frigidaire Small Ice Pellet Bevarage Machine
I saved the cheapest option for the last, not because it lacks in quality. The truth is I like to finish off with style, and this small ice maker by the Frigidaire felt like the perfect unit.
Its blend of affordable price, fantastic performance, and stylish look make it truly an excellent option.
This freestanding ice maker can produce up to 26 pounds of ice every day. But the real impressive part of it is that it can deliver the first batch of ice within seven minutes. Even a high-end ice maker often takes longer. So if you have doubts about the quality of this one, here’s your answer.
The ice maker is small, with a dimension of only 14.10 inches x 9.54 inches x 12.90 inches allowing it to fit just anywhere. It comes with a 2.5 pounds capacity ice basket and makes practically zero noise while in use. But sadly, you cannot hook it up to your plumbing for continuous water supply.
One thing that I really love about this unit is its ability to produce ice of 2 sizes. So you will be able to mix it up depending on the beverage that you are planning to make. It might not make much of a difference in taste, but it does make your drinks look a bit more appealing.
- Portable and compact design
- Quiet, noise-free operation
- High-speed ice production
- Comes with a 2.5 pounds capacity ice basket
Pellet Ice Maker Buying Guide
Knowing about the top ice makers on the market can make it easier for you to choose which one you want. But to make a fully informed choice, you also need to know about what factors make them special.
Without a clear picture of the features you are looking for, there is a risk of making the wrong choice. To that end, here are a couple of things that you want to consider when you buy the best pellet ice maker for your home.
Ice Production Speed
The first thing you want to check is how soon the ice maker can deliver the first batch of ice. With most models, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to prepare the initial batch. But some options can give you the first nugget of ice in only under 10 minutes.
The advantage of getting a unit with a fast production speed is that you do not have to keep your unit running at all times. Instead, you can simply go home and start up the ice maker, and by the time you freshen up, your nugget ice will be ready for you to serve in your drink.
Another thing to consider is the daily ice production capacity of the unit. A unit with a higher capacity of daily ice production naturally costs a bit higher than one with a low capacity. So, the price of the ice maker also can play a role in its capacity.
An ice maker that can produce up to 24 pounds of ice each day can only produce one pound of ice each hour. Now, this might not be an issue if you keep your unit running at all times. However, for those who use ice more frequently, a unit with a 40 pounds daily capacity might be a better pickup.
Ice Bin Capacity
Regardless of the daily capacity of the ice maker, it will only give you enough ice to fill the ice bin. This means even if it can produce up to 40 pounds of ice daily, if the ice bin can accommodate 3 pounds of ice, it will not produce any more of it. You need to scoop some ice out of the bin for it to start running again.
Some might argue that the ice bin capacity is even more important than the daily capacity of the ice maker. And I would agree with them wholeheartedly. Still, an ice maker with a 3-pound capacity ice bin is not a bad deal at all. And if the production speed is fast, you do not have to wait around for a new batch of ice too long.
Size and Portability
Another thing that you want to think about is the overall size of the ice maker. If you are planning to install it on your kitchen countertop, then you need to make sure it does not eat up too much of your space.
Furthermore, if an ice maker is lightweight, you can take it with you when you go camping. You can simply hook up your portable ice maker that makes pellet ice generator, and you will have nugget ice even if you are out camping in a forest somewhere. But if you are buying it strictly for your home, this might not be the biggest concern.
Ice makers are generally quite energy-efficient and should not hit your energy bills too hard. Still, if you want to get the most value out of your investment, make sure the energy consumption rate of the ice maker is low.
Sadly, there is no easy way to determine the energy consumption of a particular model before you look at your energy bill for the month. I would advise looking out for features such as energy saver or eco-friendly to get a general understanding of its efficiency.
If you are planning to keep your ice maker running 24/7, make sure it is not noisy. Most ice makers make a gentle hum when it is running. But over time, the sound can get loud. An ice maker can also get suddenly louder when there is a clog in its inner mechanism.
Water Refill Method
Ice makers need water to run. While most budget-friendly ice makers will require you to refill the water reservoir with tap water, some models give you the option to hook it up to the main waterline.
Those can be a good option if you want a continuous water supply to the ice maker and do not want to take the hassle of filling up the tank manually every time you want to make ice.
Types Of Nugget Ice Machine
There are mainly two types of pellet ice machines that you can buy in the market, horizontal and vertical ice makers. And while some may say that both of them works the same, I believe there are some pretty major differences between them.
Horizontal Ice Makers
Horizontal ice makers are the perfect pickup if you are planning to use them for businesses such as restaurants and hospitals. It is capable of producing large volumes of ice daily. In addition, you can easily scoop out the ice from these machines without disrupting the production.
A huge benefit of this type of ice maker is that they are extremely easy to use. They are also quite durable requiring maintenance only once or twice every two years. Typically, horizontal ice makers are less noisy compared to vertical models, which is also a good thing if you are using them in a business institution.
Vertical Ice Makers
Vertical ice makers, as the name implies, need to be installed vertically, and they are also capable of producing a large volume of ice. This type of ice maker is typically used by homeowners as it takes up less space on your countertop, thanks to its vertical design.
However, these devices require a bit more maintenance compared to vertical models. I would recommend getting it checked once or twice every year for a smooth operation. Vertical ice makers are not necessarily noisy, but they are still louder than most horizontal models.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does a Pellet Ice Maker Work?
The working mechanism of a pellet ice maker is actually pretty simple. It starts working the moment you turn it on, granted there is plenty of water in the water reservoir. In the first stage, the water inside the water tank freezes, becoming a slush.
Then, it drops down to the evaporator plate of the machine through a small opening. When it reaches the plate, the water starts to freeze into different regions of the place, transforming into solid blocks of ice. Afterward, it breaks down into little segments that fall down to the ice collection bin at the bottom.
There is a small auger mechanism inside the collection bin that compacts the ice fragments into solid blocks, which are a bit larger than a two by two. Typically, this entire cycle takes about 15 to 20 minutes of time.
The cold air around the ice also is driven towards the collection bin to make sure that the ice remains frozen. Your ice maker machine will continue this cycle until the collection bin fills up. Once it does, it turns itself off automatically until you scoop out enough of the ice accumulated in the bin.
Most ice makers also have an indicator to show you when the water level is running low. If the water level is low, it will not be able to produce any new ice.
2. Are there any differences between nugget ice and pellet ice?
No, nugget ice and pellet ice are practically the same thing. This type of ice can also be called sonic ice, pebble ice, or cubelet ice. Some people even call it Chick-fil-A ice.
3. Are pellet ice makers durable?
If treated with care and maintained every now and then, pellet ice makers can be extremely durable. Typically, horizontal models last longer, but even a commercial vertical model can also last five or six years if you take care of it.
4. Can I make flavored or sweetened pellet ice?
While theoretically, it might be possible to make sweetened ice by mixing additives into the water, I would strongly advise against it. Artificial sweeteners or flavors contain sugar which can crystalize inside your ice maker. It can later block out the inner mechanism and ruin the lifespan of your machine drastically.
5. How often do I need to clean my ice maker?
It depends on how frequently you are using the ice maker. For those who use it daily, cleaning it once a week is extremely important. Hard water contains a lot of minerals that can sediment inside the machine and cause blockage. Without cleaning your ice maker, you will notice a drastic decline in its efficiency.
6. Can I leave my nugget ice maker running overnight?
Yes, you can. Pebble ice makers usually come with safety switches that automatically turn off the machine once the ice storage bin has been filled. So, your energy bill should not skyrocket if you leave it running overnight. It will shut down automatically once it has filled the ice bin.
Pellet ice makers are becoming popular for their efficiency, quality, and convenience. They are used by restaurants, bars, and other businesses that need an alternative to traditional methods of making ice.
Getting a nugget ice maker is a great investment if you use ice regularly with your drinks. It is extremely easy to use, and you will always have a batch ready to go whenever you need it.
I hope my comprehensive look into the best pellet ice maker could help you figure out the perfect option. Good luck!