A portable ice maker is the perfect companion for your home bar, it is small and produces more than enough ice for your daily drinking needs. When buying a portable ice maker there are some things that you need to keep in mind, such as the water bucket capacity, daily ice output, and the build quality. While most of these seem obvious, one of the features that is often overlooked in home ice makers is the function of having a variable sized cube.
If your machine can pop out cubes of varying sizes, you get more room to work with while preparing your favorite drinks and cocktails. You also need to pay attention to the type of ice that pops out of the machine as it can be cubical in shape, cylindrical, or some other weird shape. Read our review to find out which product we felt was the best ice maker for a home bar.
Avalon Bay Portable Ice Maker
Easily the best home ice making machine for a number of reasons. Firstly, it comes with every single feature that is expected from a high quality, premium portable ice making machine. It has auto off to prevent overflows, can make two different sizes of ice cubes – small and large, and has an easy drain system so you can empty the water and clean it up within minutes.
The buttons are large and well placed, while the LCD display is back-lit and super clear. But that was just the features. This machine boasts an impressive daily ice making rate of 26 pounds, more than you will ever need, unless you have a really giant party going on with a 100+ people. The AV-ICE26S makes the first 6-9 ice cubes in just 6 minutes and can hold up to 6 lbs of ice in the bucket. Ice made by this machine is hollow in the center and is odorless, making it perfect for drinks and shakes.
STAR BUDGET PICK
Gourmia Portable Electric Ice Maker
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While most home ice making machines at this price range sacrifice speed and capacity for price, the Gourmia can pop out 9 cubes in just 10 minutes and is a step ahead of the competition with triple cube size selections, besting even some premium ice makers in this aspect. It does not hold back on features either, as it has a 3-quart water tank with refill alarm that alerts you to fill up the tank when it is getting low.
The machine will automatically start making ice when it detects that you are using up the contents of the bucket, and will stop when the bucket is full in order to prevent overflow. It is super compact, meaning that you can carry it around with you on parties, road trips, visits to a friend’s house, or even a ride on your boat. The maximum capacity of this tiny machine is surprisingly high, at over 26 pounds of ice per day. Both the bucket as well as the scoop are removable and it can be easily placed on your kitchen counter top or underneath the bar table in your home bar.
Ivation Portable Ice Maker
Smaller than most portable ice makers, yet faster than any of them, the IVA-ICEM15SIL has a rather long and boring factory designation but its performance figures are very good. It can churn out perfectly chilled ice cubes in just 6 minutes, pour in the water and press the start button, easy as that. The water tank capacity is slightly limited at just 2.2 quarts, but given the rate at which this machine produces ice cubes, you will have to keep filling it rather frequently.
You can make ice cubes of two different sizes – small ones for smoothies and shakes, and big ones for beer, scotch, whiskey, etc. Daily capacity is a good 26.5 pounds, and the ice cubes have a hollow center to facilitate chewiness and stay cool for longer periods. It comes with auto start and stop, along with a water level monitor that alerts you when the water tank is getting low.
Ivation Counter-Top Ice Maker
This is basically the bigger brother of the previous ice machine on this list. It has a slightly larger 2.5 quart water tank and includes a similar body design, along with a see-through top that lets you see the ice forming up in the tray. Capacities are also similar, with a daily maximum load of 26.5 pounds, and the first ice cubes begin to pop out within 6- 7 minutes of turning on the machine.
As it begins to run, the ice cubes gradually get bigger so the first 9 or 10 cubes tend to be slightly smaller than the later ones. Standard features include automatic turn on and off to prevent overflows, a water level indicator that also alerts you to fill up the tank if it getting low, and a cube size selector that lets you choose between two cube sizes.
The dimensions on this portable ice maker are just 16.4″ x 15.6″ x 11.9″, and it weighs a mere 20 pounds meaning that you can easily carry it around with you on trips. The water recycling system allows unused ice to melt back and go into the water tank for usage once again.
Choosing the Best Ice Maker for a Home Bar
Ice for your home bar, to put into your drinks, should be softer, crunchier ice with a nugget shape. Nugget ice is better than cube ice for eating and it melts slower than flake ice which is crunchy, but does not keep drinks cool for long.
Another thing your machine needs to do is produce odorless and tasteless ice. Some low quality machines will produce ice nuggets that have a chemical-like odor in them, which could ruin a fine glass of brandy or scotch. You need to get a machine which can match your peak daily ice demands, and hold enough ice in the bucket to fill up multiple glasses at a time. Ideally, you want a machine that can produce 10 or more pounds of ice daily if you run a home bar.
If you only occasionally drink, or just want something for yourself then 3-6 pounds daily should be sufficient. Also make sure the machine can hold at least 3 pounds of ice in the bucket, and has an auto-turn off feature to prevent ice overflows in your house. Finally, get a machine with a quick and easy drainage system that lets you clean it up without having to mess around too much. We hope you enjoyed reading our review and our choice for the best ice maker for a home bar.