9 Best Nugget Ice Makers [Updated 2023]
Many of us have had the opportunity to enjoy ice makers in our fridge and freezer combination.
Then, there are those of us who still make our ice the “old-fashioned way” using ice trays and a tub of some kind to hold the ice when it’s cracked out of the trays.
No matter what you’ve been experiencing for your ice making, nugget ice makers are the current trend.
Everyone loves these ice makers because they don’t require running a water line to the fridge or upgrading to an expensive refrigerator when yours still works perfectly fine.
They make the PERFECT ice with little round nuggets. It’s pretty amazing.
What is the best nugget ice maker? The best nugget ice maker will make consistent ice that is chewable and crunchy without being too hard. Options that fit on the countertop or store neatly underneath are especially useful.
In this guide, we will break it down for you and share the 9 best nugget ice makers. There are quite a few options out there but it’s important to distinguish between the so-so options and the really great options and that is what we are here for!
Keep reading to learn about the 9 best nugget ice makers and more!
Choosing the Best Nugget Nice Maker
What you will find is that there are some high-quality nugget ice makers out there and then there are some nugget ice makers that just really aren’t what you were hoping for.
We’ve found some of the best options out there to help get you started. We’ll lay them out below.
At the same time, there might be some things you want to know or consider before you buy. There are some varying factors that may be of interest to you so take a look at this buyer’s guide before you make a final decision.
Why is Nugget Ice So Good?
You might have heard other names for nugget ice, like ‘chewy’ ice or ‘pellet’ ice or maybe even just the ‘good’ ice!
On the same note, if you live in one of the 44 U.S. states that have a Sonic, then you know exactly what we are after when we talk about nugget ice. It’s the coveted Sonic ice.
Either way, we’re pretty sure you can understand why this ice is so awesome if you look at the details.
If you like to chew on ice or simply just like light ice that isn’t huge and bulky in your glass, nugget ice is amazing.
Ice nuggets are light and chewy, and yet don’t just melt away immediately either. They’re a different beast than crushed ice, which actually tends to melt pretty quickly.
Nugget ice will keep your drink cool and chilled for a good length of time. It’s easy to chew on, but also a pretty satisfying type of ice even if you just want a good cold margarita or any homemade cocktail with reliable ice!
Ice Maker Type
So when it comes to a nugget ice maker, there are several different options. The most popular option is a counter top model. These are the easiest to use and have access to and probably what you will see the most of, particularly in this guide.
A lot of times, you can use a countertop nugget ice maker and not even have to worry about a water line.
You simply fill the water reservoir as needed to make your ice. These models are also the best price when you look at the big picture. The only downside is that you will have to make room on your countertop.
We promise – it’s well worth the counter space!
Apart from the countertop models, there are also freestanding and under-counter models available.
The freestanding models are large and make a significant amount of ice. They are more popular for commercial purposes but can be installed at home as well. These may or may not require a water line but can make up to 300 pounds of nuggets a day if needed.
Finally, you have the under-counter models as well, which are sometimes the same thing as free-standing, depending on the height of the machine.
If you have the space, under-counter models are nice for sparing for your cooking room. This particular type is built-in to the space and will require a water line. They often make a bit more ice than the countertop models but not as much as freestanding models.
They also tend to cost a bit more than your average countertop model so just be aware of those details.
Since this is still somewhat new technology, it’s safe to say there could be glitches and other problems. Choose a model that has a good warranty and that has a reputation for standing behind their warranty.
This will be an investment and certainly will not be cheap so be sure your investment has the protection it deserves. Always confirm and set up your warranty so you are covered.
The 9 Best Nugget Ice Makers
Now that you know why you need a nugget ice maker and some things to consider before you buy, it’s time to get down to business. Choosing an ice maker doesn’t have to be hard.
Below, you will find our top picks for the 9 best nugget ice makers:
|1.||GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker||Countertop|
|2.||Prime Home Portable Ice Machine||Countertop|
|3.||Ice-O-Matic Pearl Ice Machine||Fits under counter|
|4.||Frigidaire Nugget Ice Maker||Countertop|
|5.||AGLUCKY Ice Maker Machine||Countertop|
|6.||KBICE Nugget Ice Maker||Countertop|
|7.||LITBOOS Portable Ice Maker||Countertop|
|8.||NewAir Nugget Ice Maker||Countertop|
|9.||Scotsman Air-Cooled Nugget Ice Maker||Fits under counter|
We’ve narrowed down the market to give you a selection of the very best out there. You may recognize some of these brands and names but you might also see some new ones here.
We’ll think you’ll be happy with any of these ice makers, but read on to pick the best one for you.
1. GE Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
This first option is our best overall pick. It made the #1 spot here for a reason and you will quickly see why.
Not only is it our top choice, but it also seems to be one of the best-selling options across the board. It is highly-rated in every category. You can’t go wrong with this choice.
This nugget ice maker from GE is sleek and stylish. It’s compact and small but can make about 24 pounds of ice per day. It’s made to be elegant and stylish so it won’t look overly bulky or awkward on your countertop. There may be some noise during various cycles but it doesn’t seem to be disruptively noisy.
This nugget machine is made with stainless steel and plastic materials. It’s even equipped with Bluetooth settings so you can schedule your ice-making if you like.
If you happen to have ice melt before it gets used, it returns to the reservoir and makes more ice. That’s pretty neat.
This is made well all around. The technology is great and it’s simple to use. We love that it recycles the water. The best part is, the nuggets are perfect as well!
- Able to make 24 pounds of ice per day
- Sleek and stylish appeal
- Easy to use
- Bluetooth compatibility
- Recycles melted water to make new ice
- The bin only holds 3 pounds of ice at one time.
- May be a little noisy.
2. Prime Home Portable Ice Machine
If you’re looking for an affordable but high quality option, this might be a great option to try out. This portable ice machine makes great nugget ice and is also well-rated across the board.
This nugget maker can make a batch of ice in just 8 minutes. It can make a total of 26 pounds of ice in one day, although it’s not clear how much ice it makes in one go.
This machine was made to be compact and portable so you can take it with you on the go whenever it’s needed and no water hookup is required.
This has some smart features built-in. This ice maker is designed not to overflow and will automatically shut off if the ice bin is full. It’s quiet during operation and energy-efficient as well. It comes with a nice basket and ice scoop for your convenience.
- Compact and portable
- Comes with a basket and scoop
- Makes a batch in 8 minutes
- Makes up to 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours
- Simple and convenient to use
- It doesn’t seem to make very much ice at once so not ideal for party settings or gatherings.
- Doesn’t keep ice cool and the ice melts away pretty fast if not used right away.
3. Ice-O-Matic Pearl Ice Machine
Here is a freestanding option if that is your preference. Remember that these are designed to make a lot of ice and sometimes most suitable for commercial use. They also cost a bit more because they have extensive capability compared to the smaller countertop solutions.
This Ice-O-Matic is self-contained. It creates and makes pure ice with quiet operation. It’s a sleek stainless steel model so it’s very nice looking and will blend in well wherever you decide to hook it up.
This machine can fit under a counter. It does require installation, so plan on that; this is not a mobile option. However, the Pearl ice maker is perfect. It can make and hold a lot of ice! It also comes with a nice scoop and the ice inside is kept cold and frozen.
This one is good if you need a full-sized option in small sizes. It runs quietly and doesn’t use a ton of power. It makes ice quickly and effectively.
- Makes a lot of ice and fast
- Permanent under counter installation
- Operates quietly
- You can add a pump
- Nice and reliable setup
- The warranty can be a struggle to work with.
- Repairs required outside of the warranty can be expensive.
4. Frigidaire Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
This next one is another countertop model that is really well-made. It’s pretty highly rated across the board and similar in both size and style to the GE Opal Ice Maker we shared earlier. This one actually makes up to 44 pounds of ice per day so it has a slightly higher capacity overall.
This nugget ice maker from Frigidaire is elegant and stylish. It makes the perfect ice and the machine is not bulky. It does rest on the counter but for the capacity, it doesn’t take up an excessive amount of space.
A cycle can produce a good amount of ice in about 15 minutes. It’s quick and it’s powerful and you get quite a bit of ice per cycle. The bin can hold 3 pounds at one time. This is a portable machine so you can take it wherever you need it. As ice melts, the water is recycled to the reservoir to make more ice for you!
- Melted ice is recycled to new ice
- Makes up to 44 pounds per day
- Bin holds 3 pounds at a time
- Makes a batch of ice in 15 minutes
- Stylish with modern functionality
- The fan can be a bit noisy when it is running.
- You may need something underneath for occasional dripping.
5. AGLUCKY Ice Maker Machine
Next up, we have a sleek red option for you. If you don’t like the red, you can also choose black or stainless steel instead. This one makes bullet ice but it’s very similar to nugget ice and is small and chewable and airy like nugget ice is popular for.
This ice maker is designed to be compact and portable and it sits on the countertop. It’s lightweight so you can move it around easily or carry it to wherever you need it.
This model is also said to be both efficient and quiet thanks to the design of the fan with an open space for the fan. It can make up to about 26 pounds of ice per day and each batch takes around 8 minutes.
The nuggets are kept cold in the bin thanks to the cooling system so your ice lasts longer overall and saves you energy by not having to re-make ice that melted. There are several indicators and a clear door so you can see in. Everything is easy to use and moderate per your needs.
- Fun style available in red
- Simple and easy to use
- Quiet and smooth operation
- Keeps ice chilled
- Indicators so you always know what is needed
- To achieve nugget similarity, you have to use the small bullet size.
- Does not offer a cleaning option.
6. KBIce Self-Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker
This nugget ice maker is definitely one-of-a-kind. You rarely find a countertop model, or many other models for that matter, that dispense the ice for you.
This one is certainly unique and stands out with that capability. This model actually brags that they are the first model that offers self-dispensing nugget functionality.
This does take a little bit longer to make ice, requiring about 30 minutes per cycle. It’s nice and compact so it sits on your counter but doesn’t take up a lot of excessive space. It can make up to 24 pounds of ice in 24 hours, which is pretty average for a countertop model.
This model has a modern and stylish design and we love the dispensing capability. It’s simple to operate with a touch panel for control and it even has a cleaning function to make your life easier.
- Small, countertop model
- Dispenses ice on its own so it’s touch-free!
- Modern technology functions
- Can make 24 pounds of ice per day
- Self-cleaning capability
- Recommended that you only use distilled or bottled water.
- Takes a bit longer to make ice.
7. LITBOOS Portable Ice Maker
Here is another well-loved ice maker. It’s a great value for the money and will make you some nice ice in just a few moments.
It’s listed as a nugget ice machine but it makes bullet ice, which is very similar in style and will most likely achieve what you’re after.
This is a quick and powerful little ice maker that will make you ice in about 9 minutes. It can make up to 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours so that’s a nice boost as well. It’s sleek and stylish by design and the fan on the side helps to reduce working noise.
This model is stainless steel and comes with a nice scoop. The bin is also well-made. It has simple light indicators so you know when to add water or even when the ice bin is full. The size is quite portable and compact and it also has automatic shut-off so when the bin is full it stops making ice.
- Budget-friendly, affordable option
- Sleek and compact design
- Quiet operation
- Automatic shutoff
- Makes ice in 9 minutes
- Makes a small amount of bullet ice at one time.
- The noise indicators can be loud.
8. NewAir Nugget Ice Maker
This next model comes from NewAir and it seems like some of their older models maybe have some glitches that weren’t wonderful. However, the model has been improved and it looks like it might be worth a second chance. This model is described as the holy grail of the ice world.
NewAir’s nugget ice maker makes the perfect nugget ice, that is actually nuggets and not bullets. It’s soft and airy and yet lasts as well. It’s a model that is fairly quick and well-made and takes about 12 minutes for a full batch of ice. It’s designed to be efficient.
The inside is built to keep the ice cool so there will be less ice that melts throughout the day. The storage bin is insulated to keep the ice cold for longer. Any ice that does melt recycles the water to the reservoir to make more ice again. It’s compact and fits on your countertop and is pretty easy to use overall.
- Makes ice in about 12 minutes
- Ice bin holds almost 5 pounds of ice
- Includes a cleaning function
- Keeps ice cold longer so less melting
- Compact and sleek design
- Not very quiet.
9. Scotsman Air-Cooled Nugget Ice Maker
Finally, we leave you with another freestanding or under-counter model ice machine. Remember that these tend to be larger and require more installation, but you really can’t go wrong here if you want something larger and you’re able to house it.
This is a highly-rated ice-making machine. The Scotsman ice maker makes the perfect nugget ice. This little machine has a storage capacity of 57 pounds so it holds a ton of ice and it can make up to 167 pounds of ice per day.
This has a space saver design for the style. It is only 20 inches wide. It’s vented in the front. This model has a door that slides up and back for easy access. It’s sealed and it’s easy to maintain for a commercial quality unit. The legs are adjustable so you can adjust the fit to your needs.
This is designed for long-lasting performance and can be used in a home or commercial setup.
- Under counter nugget making machine
- Holds up to 57 pounds of ice in storage
- Makes up to 167 pounds of ice per day
- Easy to use and maintain
- Heavy-duty build for long-lasting use
- Made in the USA
- The warranty is more suited to commercial use.
- It’s a fairly new, and therefore less tried and tested, model
Up Next: 5 Best Coffee Brands For Cold Brew