Summer just wouldn’t be summer without the gentle clinking of ice cubes in a cold drink, but getting ice on the go can present a challenge. Portable ice makers are often overlooked, yet thanks to their speed, convenience and low purchase price, they make an ideal appliance that can be used in the home, your RV, and elsewhere.

If you’ve never tried a portable ice machine before, or you’re just getting sick of running out to the store for ice, take a look at our portable ice maker reviews, buying guide, and list of frequently asked questions. Reading through will help you to make the right choice and enable you to pick the very best portable ice maker for the summer months and beyond.

  • Produces 28 lbs of ice per day
  • LED control panel
  • Three ice size settings
  • Fast six minute freezing cycle
  • Easy clean with side mounted drain
  • 1-year warranty

  • LED control panel
  • Low-water alert
  • Removable ice basket
  • Auto shut-off
  • Ice lid window
  • LED control panel
  • 2-year limited warranty

  • Up to 26 lbs of ice per 24 hours
  • LED display
  • Flip top, transparent lid
  • Six minute ice production time
  • Two ice cube sizes
  • 2-year warranty

  • Makes up to 26 lbs ice per 24 hours
  • Transparent lid
  • Drain plug
  • Ice production in less than six minutes
  • Choice of two ice cube sizes
  • 1-year warranty

  • 26 lb ice production per 24 hours
  • LED electric control panel
  • Fast seven minutes ice production
  • Removable ice basket
  • Transparent lid
  • 1-year warranty


This stylish portable ice maker by NewAir has a compact, sleek design that will fit most tight spaces and countertops. Simply plug in and add water for up to 28 pounds of ice per day. Whether you need an ice maker for your home, RV, or party, this portable ice maker not only looks good, it is also reliable and easy to use. The LCD control panel features push-buttons and indicator lights to let you know at a glance when you need to add water and when your ice is ready. It is also simple and easy to clean thanks to its side mounted drain.

With a fast ice production cycle from as little as six minutes, this compact portable ice maker is great for iced drinks all summer long. There is also the option of three different ice size settings, so you can have your ice just as you like it to suit your drink, glass, and personal preference. Some users complained, though, that the ice it creates doesn’t remain frozen for long, so you may need to re-run the cycle a few times. Moreover, while it doesn’t make a lot of noise, you may prefer not to run it all day as it can be a little loud.

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • LCD control panel with indicator lights
  • Choice of 3 different ice sizes
  • Creates ice in only 6-minutes
  • Capable of making 28lbs of ice per 24 hours
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Slightly loud
  • Ice melts relatively quickly

Need a portable ice maker for an event or just to keep your drinks cool at home without paying out for an expensive ice machine? Then check out this portable ice maker by HOmelabs.

With its large 26-pound-per-24-hours ice production capacity, it is perfect for your family get togethers and events. It also produces ice in under eight minutes so you won’t have to wait long to start cooling down. While the LED control panel alerts you when the water’s running low and when the ice basket is full, you can also see via the transparent section on the lid when your first ice cubes are ready to go.

A great feature of this particular model is the auto shut-off function so you don’t need to worry about being around to turn off the ice maker when it’s done. The removable ice basket is also extremely useful and allows you to quickly and easily empty the entire contents for immediate use or freezing.

Unfortunately, draining the contents out after use is not quite as simple due to the drain plug location which tends to result in some spillage when tipping it up to empty. While this portable ice maker makes a good choice for anywhere that space is limited, bear in mind that it is a little bulkier than some other more streamlined models.

Pros

  • Creates ice in less than 8 minutes
  • Convenient removable ice basket
  • Able to create up to 26lbs of ice per day
  • Switches off automatically when finished
  • Easy-to-use LED control panel
  • Clear view window for simple monitoring
  • Alerts you when water is low

Cons

  • Drain plug location
  • Bulky design


This portable ice maker by Ikich is an excellent choice for ice where space is of a premium or where you may not have a convenient water hook up. With a 26-pound maximum ice production per 24 hour period, this portable ice machine has the capacity and durability to fulfill your iced drink needs all summer long.

Thanks to its fast six minute ice production size with a choice of two ice cube sizes, this portable ice maker is a must-have for your next party, event, or family gathering. The flip top, transparent lid makes it easy to see when your ice is ready to use and the removable basket makes it easy to take out the whole amount when the cycle is complete to store in your freezer or to use straight away.

The handy LED control panel features indicator lights to let you know when your ice maker is full and when you need to add water. While it is fairly noisy, as you would probably expect, the only real drawback to this model is its plug drain that is unnecessarily tricky to access. On the whole, however, this is a good choice portable ice maker with a nice design and excellent features.

Pros

  • Makes ice in only 6 minutes
  • Clear LED display on lid
  • Choice of two ice cube sizes
  • Creates up to 26lbs of ice a day
  • Removable ice basket
  • Transparent lid

Cons

  • Plug drain difficult to access

Save yourself from running out to the store for ice with this portable ice maker by Frigidaire. In less than six minutes from plugging in and filling it up with water, you’ll have ice for your drinks.

With a choice of two ice cube sizes and a maximum ice production capacity of 26 pounds per day, this portable ice maker makes an excellent choice for any home or gathering. Thanks to its transparent lid, you can see straight away when your ice is ready to remove, making it a good choice for events and parties when you need ice quickly. The noise levels are more agreeable with this model, too, at below 38dB.

The drain plug makes this portable ice maker easy to clean, simply remove to evacuate leftover water and ice before rinsing out. We found, though, the main inconvenience to be the control panel location. If you are using it on a conventional countertop with overhead cupboards it is hard to see and you won’t notice the indicator lights.

Pros

  • Ice cubes are ready within 6 minutes
  • Drain plug is easy to access
  • Choice of 2 ice cube sizes
  • Simple to clean
  • Low noise levels
  • Creates 26lbs of ice per day

Cons

  • Control panel located at back.

The Igloo Automatic Ice Maker is a rapid portable ice maker that can generate up to 26 pounds of ice production per day. Simply touch the buttons on the LED control panel where the indicator lights let you know when to add more water or when the ice maker has reached full capacity.

The transparent lid makes this a great portable ice maker for parties as you can see straight away when your ice is ready. With ice production in just seven minutes, this fast portable ice maker is the easy way to keep your drinks cool during summer hot days, as well as for parties and family gatherings.

This portable ice maker has a removable basket so you can quickly and easily empty the unit either into multiple glasses or into a freezer bag for storage. Combined with the drain plug, this makes this ice maker easy to clean so it will be ready for use whenever you are. While this is a portable ice maker, it is a little on the large size, so if you are thinking of purchasing this model, be sure to check the dimensions match your space. It can also be rather noisy, although thanks to its rapid ice production you won’t need to run it for long.

Pros

  • Simple, touch-button controls
  • Indicator lights
  • Transparent lid
  • Makes ice in only 7-minutes
  • Easily removable ice basket
  • Large capacity

Cons

  • Large footprint
  • Fairly noisy

Comparison Chart

HOmelabs Portable Ice MakerIkich Portable Ice MakerFrigidaire Ice MakerIgloo Automatic Ice MakerNewAir Portable Ice Maker
Dimensions (in)12.9 x 9.5 x 1413.4 x 10.2 x 14.614.9 x 14.7 x 11.49.6 x 14.7 x 12.414.5 x 11.8 x 15
Capacity (liters)2.221.22.842.2
Choice of Ice Cube SizesX
Auto Shut OffXXXX
Removable Ice BasketXX
Price Range$$$$$$$$$
Weight (lbs)19.316.817.8620.524.3
Warranty2-year2-year1-year1-year1-year

Buyer’s Guide:

Portable Ice Makers

If you don’t have a built-in ice maker in your fridge-freezer, you’re short on space, or don’t want a huge financial lay out for an ice maker, then a portable ice maker is perfect for you. Portable ice makers are also excellent for use camping, in your RV, holiday home or for events. Not only is ice pretty much essential for your chilled drinks when entertaining, it’s also great for aches, pains and swellings, and can be used to great effect in the kitchen, for example for serving up a fantastic shellfish platter.

Portable ice makers are generally compact, countertop models that are designed to work without a water line. This makes them ideal for use in a variety of places, as all you need on-site is power.

If you’re wondering how portable ice makers work, here’s a quick run through of what goes on inside your portable ice maker. Your portable ice maker will need to be plugged in and you’ll need to pour water into its reservoir up to the advised level. The ice maker will then super-cool metal elements around which the water will rapidly cool forming ice. This will continue until the ice cubes reach the set thickness then they will fall into the ice bucket ready for your drinks.

The machine will continue to do this until it reaches its full ice cube capacity. Some machines determine this by the amount of water in their reservoir, others use sensors to detect when the ice cubes in the ice basket reach a certain height. Once your portable ice machine has reached full capacity it will stop producing ice cubes. If you do not remove the ice cubes, they will eventually melt. This will refill the reservoir and reduce the level to below where the sensors are set, kick starting the machine back into ice production mode. If you remove all of your ice and want to make more batches, you will need to add more water.

When you’re looking for the best portable ice maker, it helps to keep an eye out for certain features that will make your ice maker easier to use. Here’s our guide to what to look out for when choosing the best portable ice maker:

Dimensions

Start off by checking out the exact dimensions of the portable ice machine that you are looking to purchase. If you are planning to use it in a variety of locations then this is less important, but you should still make sure that it will fit comfortably on your kitchen countertop, in your RV, or any other place that you will probably use it most.

Capacity

If you will need a lot of ice, then it makes sense to choose a high-capacity portable ice machine. Machines with a higher capacity will tend to be a bit larger but can produce more ice over a 24-hour period than lower capacity ones. Consider your average needs before deciding on which capacity is best for you.

Speed

Most portable ice machines produce ice cubes in around six to eight minutes. While this may seem less important now, when your drink is ready and you’ve only just remembered to get the machine out then it will seem like quite a while. If you intend to have your portable ice machine running for long periods daily, then you may want to focus more on capacity and durability rather than speed.

Ice Cube Settings

Some portable ice makers come with different sized ice cube settings. This can be useful for when you want to make different types of drinks in different styles of glass, or just to suit your own preferences. You can also opt for larger, thicker ice cubes that will take longer to make but will last longer when the weather is hotter or if you’re drinking outside.

Drain

A drain with a plug helps to you to empty out your portable ice maker after use for cleaning. Pay attention to its location and how it opens to make sure that it will be easy to use.

Removable Ice Basket

A removable ice basket makes for a quick and easy way to get all of your ice cubes out in one go. This saves you time digging around chasing ice cubes with a scoop, instead enabling you to remove the whole lot in one go. You can simply transfer to your serving bucket or place into freezer bags for use later. Furthermore, the quick-emptying provided by a removable ice basket also allows your portable ice maker to get started on the next cycle more quickly.

Control Panel

Beyond the ability to turn your portable ice maker on and off, a control panel allows you to see when you need to top up the water reservoir or when your maker has reached full capacity. Make sure that the control panel is in an easy to view location, especially if you will be making regular use of your portable ice maker. This will ensure that you notice when it needs filling or emptying as soon as possible.

Transparent Lid

A portable ice maker with a transparent lid lets you see how much ice has been made and is ready for use. This is handy when you’re waiting on ice and enables you to decide when to start preparing your drinks.

Pros

  • Inexpensive – Compared to buying a freezer with ice making capacities or a dedicated ice machine, portable ice makers are relatively inexpensive. They are also much cheaper to replace or repair when anything goes wrong.
  • Rapid – Portable ice machines produce ice much more quickly than dedicated ice machines or the ones you find in home freezers. They are also much quicker than waiting for a traditional ice tray to freeze. Most portable ice machines make ice cubes in as little as six to eight minutes.
  • Convenient – Thanks to their portability and speed, portable ice machines are highly convenient. Simply plug yours in and add water for ice cubes in no time.
  • Money saving – If you frequently call to the grocery store for bagged ice, then a portable ice maker could more than pay for itself if used frequently.
  • Compact – Designed to fit on a countertop or small table, portable ice machines are compact and can be placed in numerous locations. If you need ice but don’t have much space, then you would definitely benefit from a portable ice machine.
  • Easy to use – Switch it on, add water and voila! Portable ice machines are extremely easy to use. They do not require any installation or programming.
  • Energy- efficient – Portable ice machines are highly energy efficient and use a very small amount of electricity. As they are insulated rather than chilled, they only use electricity when they are actually producing ice and not when they are sitting at full capacity.

Cons

  • Won’t keep ice frozen – Portable ice makers are not freezers. While they are insulated, the ice they make will eventually melt if it is not removed and used or frozen. If you need large quantities of ice, you should empty your portable ice machine ice cubes into freezer bags and keep them in the freezer until needed.
  • Small capacity for large events – While portable ice makers produce ice quickly, you would be advised to prepare and freeze your ice in advance if you need ice for an event with a lot of people.
  • Noise – Many portable ice makers can be quite noisy during operation.
Portable Ice Makers

Pros

  • Compact & Portable
  • Convenient & easy to use
  • Create ice in a few minutes
  • Energy efficient
  • Cheaper than repeatedly buying bagged ice or purchasing a freezer/ice maker

Cons

  • Cannot store ice for long periods
  • Small capacity for larger events
  • Can be quite noisy

  • Do portable ice makers use a lot of electricity?
  • No, portable ice makers are extremely energy efficient and won’t add on much to your electricity bill even when used regularly. Some even come with an auto shut-off function to save you even more energy. Once your portable ice maker is full it will stop producing ice; only when the ice has melted and the level has reduced will it start producing more again. Removing your ice when it’s ready and freezing it can help you to cut down on energy use rather than allowing your ice maker to keep going through several cycles.

  • What’s the best way to clean my portable ice maker?
  • The best way to clean your portable ice maker is to do it regularly and to make sure that it dries out after use. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations to ensure that you don’t damage the internal workings of your portable ice maker. Drying out your portable ice maker completely every so often, then flushing it through with water before drying it out again, will ensure that mold doesn’t form.

  • Can I store ice in a portable ice maker?
  • No, while ice makers are insulated to keep your ice cool before you use it, they are not freezers. If you don’t need to use your ice from your portable ice maker immediately, then we recommend placing it in a plastic bag and storing it in a freezer. If you are using your portable ice maker away from your home and there is no freezer available, simply start it shortly before you need ice and keep it running to use the ice as needed. The ice machine will keep topping up the supply, so you won’t run out.

  • Could I make ice cream or sorbet in my portable ice maker?
  • No, you should not try to use your portable ice maker to make ice cream or sorbets. Portable ice makers are carefully designed to produce ice rapidly and adding other ingredients could damage the internal workings. While you could try making flavored ice cubes, you should always check with the manufacturer’s usage recommendations to ensure that it won’t become damaged and to make sure that you will be able to clean it effectively afterwards.

Final Thoughts

Portable ice makers are quick, easy to use, and could save you money. Purchasing a portable ice maker will definitely save you time on running to the store for ice and a lot of people prefer the taste of ice machine ice to the cubes from a home freezer.

If like most of us, you feel you could benefit from a portable ice maker, then we recommend checking out the NewAir Portable Ice Maker. It’s stylish good looks are perfectly complemented by its high functionality. It has an above average 28-pound-per-day capacity and a choice of three different ice cube settings. It is one of the most rapid portable ice makers, producing ice in under six minutes. It is also a high quality, durable model that has been built to last.

If, on the other hand, you need a budget portable ice maker, then look no further than the Ikich Portable Ice Maker. It has a great 26 pound capacity per day, makes ice in just six minutes and has a streamlined design that makes it compact and easy to use. The flip top lid features a transparent window so you can see when your ice is ready, while the LED control panel lets you see when full capacity has been reached or when you need to top up.

Further Reading

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