The Best Portable Ice Maker

We discovered greater than 50 listings for transportable ice makers from a pair dozen manufacturers. However on nearer inspection, there are solely a handful of distinctive designs, constructed by simply two producers, so far as we will inform.

Since there’s comparatively little competitors on this class, and each choice is each uniquely interesting and significantly flawed, this information doesn’t actually pinpoint the “best” mannequin and even kind of transportable ice maker. However it does determine your choices and their relative execs and cons.

The king of low cost ice makers appears to be Hicon. Just one model (Magic Chef) would affirm that Hicon manufactures its machines. Curtis Worldwide (which sells Igloo and Frigidaire ice makers), Whynter, and Hicon itself didn’t reply to our request for remark. However it seems to be to us like Hicon does make fashions for Frigidaire, Igloo, and NewAir, and probably for Whynter, Della, Costway, and different manufacturers, too.

  • Six portable ice cream makers of different brands on a kitchen counter.

    A number of the ice makers we’ve examined: GE Profile Opal, Della Premium, NewAir AI-215, Igloo ICE108, Igloo ICE103, Magic Chef MCIM22/HNIM27. Photograph: Liam McCabe

  • Two similar looking portable ice makers sitting on a kitchen counter.

    Most transportable ice makers are clones of the identical smallish bullet-ice maker, manufactured by an organization referred to as Hicon. Photograph: Liam McCabe

The most evident clues are that the overwhelming majority of ice makers look alike and have related specs.

We additionally checked public import data and located that most of the manufacturers we listed had obtained shipments of ice makers from Hicon over the previous 12 months. Though some manufacturers’ import data have been unavailable, the machines they promote have almost the identical specs and an analogous look as those from the confirmed Hicon clients.

The seller page for Hicon on Alibaba (a preferred business-to-business market) has dozens of listings for unbranded transportable ice makers which are an identical to the branded fashions that seem at retailers within the US.

And we discovered a promotional video made by Alibaba with footage from the Hicon manufacturing facility, the place a number of well-liked variants of those transportable ice makers are being assembled or packaged, or simply sitting on show.

Hicon makes a couple of totally different sizes of bullet-ice makers, plus a clear-cube maker, and a mixture water-and-ice dispenser.

Hicon’s best-selling fashion, and the best-selling fashion general, is its small bullet-ice maker. These are the quickest, most compact, and lowest-priced machines out there. The ice itself is okay. We spent most of our time looking into these models. Hicon additionally makes larger variants of these bullet-ice machines, in addition to a clear-cube maker, which is price contemplating in case you drink plenty of carbonated drinks or publish glamour photographs of your iced coffees on Instagram.

A video of am magic chef icemaker in action
Most transportable ice makers freeze cubes (or bullets) in batches. (This can be a loop of the ice dropping off the freezing rods into the storage basket on the finish of the eight-minute ice-making course of.) Video: Michael Hession

There are a handful of different corporations that seem to fabricate transportable bullet-ice makers, together with Stomach, Aquart, and Geshini. It’s potential that they provide sure manufacturers, or no less than sure fashions to some manufacturers. However we couldn’t discover any data that they’ve exported any ice makers to the US. Both method, most of those fashions have specs and designs much like these constructed by Hicon.

The different notable producer is FirstBuild, which is a subsidiary of GE Home equipment (itself a subsidiary of Haier). It builds upscale, specialty-ice machines, now generally offered beneath the GE Profile model.

We examined a number of of the favored small, nine-bullet fashions, together with the Magic Chef MCIM22/HNIM27, Frigidaire EFIC108, and Della Premium Ice Maker; a big, 12-bullet mannequin, the NewAir AI-215; the FirstBuild Opal nugget-ice maker (additionally offered beneath the GE Profile model); and a clear-cube, waterfall-style mannequin, the Luma Comfort IM200SS.

A person measuring the temperature of a portable ice maker with an infrared thermometer.
We measured the floor temperature of the ice a couple of instances throughout every testing session. Photograph: Liam McCabe

The most useful testing we did for this information was simply utilizing every machine at residence for a couple of days, icing up our drinks with their cubes, and draining and drying the machines on the finish of the day.

We additionally did some timed head-to-head testing, and we measured the floor temperature of the ice at factors, too, however neither had a lot affect on our suggestions. Any spec that was alike or totally different on paper was predictably alike or totally different in the actual world, and any tiny efficiency variations we measured amongst related fashions are inconsequential.

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