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Nugget Ice Maker: The Buying Guide and 9 Best Standout Machines Reviews in 2021

Best for nugget ice
GE Profile Opal Portable Nugget Ice Maker
5/5
Best commercial ice maker
Euhomy IM-02 Commercial Nugget Ice Machine
5/5
Best budget Ice maker
Magic Chef 27-lb Portable Countertop Ice Maker
5/5

Home nugget ice makers make your life cooler. Really!

First, you don’t need to rush to the nearest store whenever you, your friends, and your family want to have a drink.

Two, while it’s sizzling in the summer, you can chill at the pool (or wherever) with a glass of your favorite cocktail filled with some soft nugget ice.

But not all nugget ice machines are actually worth it. So in this article, you’ll know features to look out for when buying a nugget ice maker and the 9 best nugget ice makers in 2021.

And just in case you’re not sure how ice nuggets are different from crushed ice, here you go.

What is Nugget Ice?

Technically speaking, nugget ice is not really ice per se.

Instead, nugget ice is actually a compressed mass of frozen snowflakes that’s been made to look like a near-solid nugget. So this nugget ice looks like ice and is dispensed under almost the same temperature conditions.

But the major difference between nugget ice and crushed ice and the other types of ice is in their physical properties (mostly texture). Nugget or sonic ice is softer, while crushed ice is gotten by breaking your regular ice cube. Even though the crushed pieces are tiny, they’re still tough to chew.

Another distinguishing factor is that nugget ice melts slower.

And if you’re still wondering what nugget ice is, you probably know it by its other names; sonic, chewable, pellet, crunchy, chewy, or pebble ice.

Note: There’s a subtle difference, though, between pebble and nugget ice in that the latter is a bit larger. But most people refer to all of them as the same.

What You Can Do with Nugget or Sonic Ice?

Ice pellets have found application in several scenarios. Some of which I’ve listed below;

Cocktail versatility

This is like the most popular application of nugget ice. Sipping on a beverage is nowhere as exciting when it’s taken cold. Nugget ice keeps your drinks cold for quite a long time as they melt slowly. Plus they don’t dilute the taste of your beverage.

Here are some of the beverages people love enjoying them with;

  • Cherry limeade
  • Mint julep
  • Pina colada
  • Frappe coffee

Plain nugget ice

Chewing on soft nugget ice is simply refreshing during the summer and it cools your body.

This is unlike struggling with rock-hard ice which could even worsen the heat.

Patio and pool parties

Whether you’re hosting a birthday bash on your patio or just hanging with your posse or in the pool, having a nearby pebble ice maker will save you the stress of always leaving the scene to fetch ice.

Plus it will make chilling and partying more fun.

Jump to Section

The 9 Best Countertop Nugget Ice Makers Reviews in 2021

1. NewAir AI-215SS Portable Ice Maker

Features

Having a dedicated ice machine like the NewAir AI-215SS reliably serving you and your guests at home makes your chilling moments more exciting.

This NewAir 50-pound portable ice model has an ice production capacity of 50 lbs. of ice every day. And it can steadily produce 12 blocks of bullet-shaped ice every 13 minutes.

Having a dedicated ice machine like the NewAir AI-215SS reliably serving you and your guests at home makes your chilling moments more exciting.

This NewAir 50-pound portable ice model has an ice production capacity of 50 lbs. of ice every day. And it can steadily produce 12 blocks of bullet-shaped ice every 13 minutes.

This way, you and your friends will never run out of ice when sipping on that vodka or cocktail. How sweet!

Aside from producing ice very fast, another interesting feature we love about this nugget ice machine is that it’s super easy to clean. It actually cleans itself (internal water pipes) when you set it to the self-cleaning mode.

It also has indicator lights to notify you to add more water or take the nugget ice pellets out when the removable ice bin is full.

You’ll also love the sleek ergonomic design of this nugget ice maker as it’s fashioned with a catchy silver exterior and black lid. A glass window has been attached to the lid to help you monitor ice cube production.

And finally, the NewAir portable countertop nugget ice maker is quite versatile: it can make three different types of nugget ice (and in a variety of sizes, too!).

The NewAir AI-215SS has definitely got to be one of the best nugget ice machines in 2021.

 

 

Pros
Cons

2. GE Profile Opal Portable Nugget Ice Maker

Features

The first thing most people agree upon is its simple and minimalist design that’s appealing to the eyes. First, this nugget ice maker sports a shiny, sleek stainless finish and a transparent glass lid. And to further strengthen its simplistic approach, it’s got only one control button on its face which is circled by an LED indicator.

 

Another sonic ice maker that will fit nicely in your home’s entertainment area or kitchen counter is the GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker from FirstBuild.

The first thing most people agree upon is its simple and minimalist design that’s appealing to the eyes. First, this nugget ice maker sports a shiny, sleek stainless finish and a transparent glass lid. And to further strengthen its simplistic approach, it’s got only one control button on its face which is circled by an LED indicator.

Now to its functionality: the GE Profile Opal nugget ice maker can produce 1 lb. of chewable nuggets in an hour and 24 lbs. in a day. Also fitted in this Opal sonic ice maker is a refrigerated ice storage bin with a capacity of 3 lbs. Plus there’s an ice scoop to collect nugget ice.

And when your ice starts melting in the transparent bin, the machine has got a sensor that triggers it to automatically recycle the water to begin production again.

Another cool feature of the GE Profile Opal nugget ice maker is that it literally puts control in your hands. With its Bluetooth technology, you can operate it from almost anywhere within your home.

And by downloading the FirstBuild app, you can set a production schedule when you’re far from home. Impressive!

The GE Profile Opal nugget ice maker is expensive compared to the many other products on this list. But this kitchen appliance is definitely worth every buck you’ll pay for it.

Pros
Cons

3. Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L Countertop Nugget Ice Maker and Water Dispenser

Features

The ice machine is also easy to operate. You can get ice and water using the lever arm. And there’s another interesting feature to help you get ice and water even easier: it’s the touchless dispenser that works with a sensor. It’s a more sanitary way to keep the product clean and free of germs.

 

The Manitowoc CNF-0201A is a nugget ice maker like no other.

First, it’s not like the other nugget ice makers for residential properties. This is because you’ll be limiting its potential. Instead, this sonic ice machine will be better off in commercial and business environments like the office, hotel, bar, and lobby.

The second reason being that, this remarkable machine doesn’t only dispense ice nugget, it also dispenses water (not cold, though). And if you desire both, it can deliver that. It also makes the chewable soft-textured nugget ice.

And thirdly, this model was built to produce 315 pounds of icy nuggets in 24 hours. That’s massive! And that’s why it’s better suited to commercial places. But it’s got a low ice storage capacity of 10 pounds.

The water and drain connections are fixed at the back or bottom.

The ice machine is also easy to operate. You can get ice and water using the lever arm. And there’s another interesting feature to help you get ice and water even easier: it’s the touchless dispenser that works with a sensor. It’s a more sanitary way to keep the product clean and free of germs.

The front panel is also made with DuraTech that’s easy to clean and resistant to hard water staining.

And mind you, both the production and cleaning can be operated with the push of a button; making the machine all the more user-friendly. You can hardly get a more hygienic nugget ice machine.

And should you need nugget ice or water in low visibility conditions? This gadget sports a blue LED light to illuminate the dispenser.

While most others work with a compression cooling system, this ice machine uses an air cooling effect. And finally, a large drain pan is fitted at the bottom of the model to trap excess ice nugget; thereby keeping your kitchen worktop, floors, and home clean.

The Manitowoc CNF-0201A Nugget-style appliance is a game changer when it comes to producing great nugget ice. Although it’s expensive, most of the few people that left reviews felt this machine is worth every penny.

Pros
Cons

4. Euhomy IM-02 Commercial Nugget Ice Machine

Features

The Euhomy IM-02 is very hygienic. The ice tray is coated with anti-corrosive and anti-rust copper-nickel. This way, you can be sure your diamond-shaped sonic ice is safe for your drinks and those of your customers.

 

If you need a freestanding nugget ice maker for your bar, restaurant, or lobby area, this wonderful model from Euhomy is the best you can get.

Despite its size, it still looks great. First, this appliance sports silver and black colors on its exterior for an all-round good look.

But its beauty is not what makes it stand out.

The Euhomy IM-02 is very hygienic. The ice tray is coated with anti-corrosive and anti-rust copper-nickel. This way, you can be sure your diamond-shaped sonic ice is safe for your drinks and those of your customers.

Another reason we love this sonic ice maker is its production capacity. This machine can make 45 nugget ice in 13 – 20 minutes which results in an impressive 100 pounds of ice in 24 hours. Only a few similarly large models can boast faster operation. It’s also got a storage capacity of 33 lbs.

And unlike most of the other ice machines on this list, the Euhomy IM-02 allows you to pause its operation. The appliance has also got adjustable feet so you can raise or lower it to your desired height. And the curved flip cover makes it more convenient to collect ice without bending down.

The equipment is also versatile as it can serve as both an undercounter and freestanding nugget ice maker in your bar, indoor or outdoor kitchen, or commercial centers.

Another cool feature is how easy it is to use and clean. It has a smart LED-lit panel that houses all its functions. You can also adjust the size of the ice cubes and monitor the temperature of its environment (if the surrounding temperature is too high, it’ll cause the ice to melt).

Despite being a piece of pricey equipment, the Euhomy IM-02 has got qualities that are worth the price. And it will last long in whatever position you see fit.

Pros
Cons

5. Frigidaire EFIC108 Compact Countertop Ice Maker

Features

This Frigidaire ice machine has a 26-pound ice nugget production capacity in 24 hours. And it can produce two different sizes of ice; small and large ones. It’s also got a production rate of 9 standard ice cubes in 6 minutes and 1.1 lb. an hour.

With most of the previous countertop nugget ice machines weighing over 30 lbs., people will hardly believe there’s a type weighing under 20 lbs.

But the Frigidaire EFIC108 weighs an impressive 19 pounds; making it the best compact nugget ice maker to use in residential properties, take on camping trips, and install in your RV. Plus its plastic exterior has got a shiny silver or red finish that looks very attractive.

But such versatility and ambiance are only a few of its unique features.

This Frigidaire ice machine has a 26-pound ice nugget production capacity in 24 hours. And it can produce two different sizes of ice; small and large ones. It’s also got a production rate of 9 standard ice cubes in 6 minutes and 1.1 lb. an hour.

Did I also mention that the nuggets are thick? This is so they don’t melt quickly as this ice maker model isn’t refrigerated.

One drawback is that this appliance’s ice bin can only carry 1.2 pounds of ice. And when the machine gets filled up, it notifies you before shutting down to avoid overflowing.

There’s a digital control panel at its top that’s user-friendly and a transparent window to monitor its progress.

The Frigidaire EFIC108 is one of the best countertop appliances that is fairly priced, built to standard, and highly functional.

Pros
Cons

6. Magic Chef 27-lb Portable Countertop Ice Maker

Features

Many ice makers produce only one size of nugget ice, but not the Magic Chef brand. This is one of the few countertop appliances that produce two sizes of icy nuggets (small and large cubes). Very Fast!

 

This is the pellet ice maker to have If you’re in the mood to sip on your margarita (or any other cocktail), favorite juice, or wine but don’t have all the time in the world.

Many ice makers produce only one size of nugget ice, but not the Magic Chef brand. This is one of the few countertop appliances that produce two sizes of icy nuggets (small and large cubes). Very Fast!

And it does so by making 9 bullet-sized cubes in as little as 7 minutes, and 27 lbs. in a day. So if anything will make your weekend chilling experience not great, it definitely won’t be ice!

This kitchen gadget makes soft icy nuggets for you to enjoy your drink with (after all, it won’t be called nugget ice if it wasn’t soft, right?). It also recycles melted ice by draining the water into the water reservoir to freeze again.

This is also one of the best ice makers that is user-friendly. The controls are simple and straightforward. Plus the removable basket makes it easy to collect sonic ice pellets for your drinks or to store in the freezer.

Are you a fan of soft nugget ice pellets and do you want to never be caught without ice again? Then buying the Magic Chef 27-lb Portable Countertop Nugget Ice Maker will be money well spent.

Pros
Cons

7. KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Features

The first reason is, it’s the first self-dispensing worktop model made for domestic purposes. So you don’t need to bother about scooping ice by yourself. Just get your ice nuggets with the push of a button.

 

Even with a weight of 40 pounds, this compact nugget ice machine is epic!

The first reason is, it’s the first self-dispensing worktop model made for domestic purposes. So you don’t need to bother about scooping ice by yourself. Just get your ice nuggets with the push of a button.

Another awesome feature is that the gadget is hygienic as it’s self-cleaning, BPA-free, and has two water drains at its rear. The body parts were made with BPA-free plastics and you don’t have to bother about any buildup or hard water forming. Simply push a button and the cleaning will take care of itself.

Furthermore, no water hookup is also required. Simply pour water into the reservoir and push the designated button.

The device has got only three buttons that are straightforward to operate; Clean, Dispense Nuggets, and Make Nuggets buttons. And it makes 24 lbs. in 24 hours. It seems to have other superpowers other than the ice-making itself.

This machine is indeed all about convenience and simplicity.

If you don’t have guests often or many people living with you, you’ll enjoy using this kitchen gadget. It can be a priceless feature in your home, recreational vehicle, and office.

Pros
Cons

8. NewAir NIM040SS00 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Features

The simple and modern design of the machine is such that the equipment’s exterior is made from shiny silver plastic with its controls on its front panel. And the lid has got a transparent window for you to monitor the ice production process.

 

If your utmost desire is to get ice ASAP, then you’ll love the NewAir NIM040SS00 ice machine.

This device has speed as its superpower as it churns out its first icy batch within 5 minutes. This results in making 40 pounds of nuggets before calling it a day. Most machines boast an ice batch production in 20 minutes.

It’s got a compact, sleek, and aerodynamic design that’s appealing to the eyes and makes it sit nicely on a kitchen worktop, an office desk, or an RV counter.

The simple and modern design of the machine is such that the equipment’s exterior is made from shiny silver plastic with its controls on its front panel. And the lid has got a transparent window for you to monitor the ice production process.

Another reason we fancy this ice maker is that it’s also hygienic and so mold or mildew growing on your countertop nugget ice maker wouldn’t be a bother. It is self-cleaning and made with BPA-free interior plastic.

Still on the interior: it is insulated to be melt resistant. But if your sonic ice eventually melts, the water will be recycled. This way, you’ll never be caught without ice.

For everyone that wants safe nuggets at the click of a finger (which is pretty much everybody), the NewAir NIM040SS00 Nugget Ice Maker might just be your best buy.

Pros
Cons

9. Ice-O-Matic GEMU090 Pearl Self-contained Ice Machine

Features

It produces an impressive 85 lbs. of soft crunchy ice in 24 hours and has a spacious ice storage capacity of 22 lbs.. But because of its cost, and production rate, it’s better suited to commercial settings.

The Ice-O-Matic is a real bad boy and it’s got some cool exclusive features to prove it.

First, aside from the fact it’s got a robotic name, we love the undercounter model’s fashionable design that looks like a small refrigerator with a stainless steel exterior.

Secondly, it produces an impressive 85 lbs. of soft crunchy ice in 24 hours and has a spacious ice storage capacity of 22 lbs.. But because of its cost, and production rate, it’s better suited to commercial settings.

And despite its size, sound-muffling modules have been installed to make it a quiet and convenient gadget.

The ultrasonic anti-forehead tech is its special anti-spill feature that eliminates worries of ice spilling out of it. And its Pure Ice tech also ensures your ice is healthy and safe for consumption.

The equipment is also easy to install and its 115-volt design means you won’t face any compatibility issues with the machine.

The Ice-O-Matic GEMU090 Pearl Ice Machine is one of the best nugget ice makers on the market, and you can see the reasons why.

Pros
Cons

The Types of Home Nugget Ice Makers in 2021

Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Countertop models are the most popular of all ice makers.

They’re mostly lightweight, have a compact design, don’t require a water hookup, and are portable.

Another feature that makes these ice makers a people’s favorite is their ease of operation: Simply fill the water reservoir with water, plug the machine, push the dedicated button, and voila, it starts producing ice for you.

But despite their compact ergonomics and ease of use, these types of ice makers still occupy much-needed space on the kitchen countertop. And their ice production is low compared to the other products.

A countertop ice machine can produce ice very fast; around 25 – 40 lbs. of nugget ice in 24 hours. But the nugget ice also melts as they don’t have cold storage to keep the ice frozen.

Undercounter Nugget Ice Maker

Now an undercounter nugget ice maker occupies the space under your counter instead of sitting on your precious worktop.

It’s larger than a countertop ice maker, has a larger ice storage bin, and produces a larger quantity of nugget ice. Typically, around 30 – 400 lbs. in a day.

However, because of their size, it’s difficult to move them around, they take a longer time to finish a batch, and they don’t store their ice nuggets for a long time. Although some of the products come with an integrated freezer.

You can get the built-in type (which will be more of a permanent fixture) or a portable product (which isn’t permanent and will look better in your kitchen). And to install the built-in ice maker, you’ll need to connect it to a dedicated water supply line.

Standalone Sonic Ice Maker

Standalone or freestanding sonic ice makers produce more ice and are more portable than the undercounter models. They’re also more expensive and typically produce around 50 – 300 lbs. of nugget ice in a day. Indeed, they’re the best ice models.

Because of their size and cost, they’re better suited to commercial establishments. But if you can afford it, you can install one in your home bar. Just remember to install it close to a water supply line.

Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Sonic Ice Maker for Your Home

So whether you live in the city or an RV, since the pandemic happened, remote work has now become the new normal.

So nothing stops you from sipping a chilled glass of sweet juice, healthy smoothie, or a refreshing homemade (champagne) cocktail while you’re working remote or Zooming.

Just don’t drink a champagne cocktail when Zooming with your boss or a client.

So here are all the factors you need to consider before buying the best portable nugget ice maker that will serve you, your family, and friends chilled beverages.

Nugget ice production and storage capacity

Your–and probably your family’s–lifestyle will determine the type of ice maker you’ll get.

If you’ve got a big family or you’ve got friends that love partying, you might want to opt for a model that produces a lot of chewable ice and has a large storage capacity; probably an undercounter model.

But if you live alone, a more portable model that can serve 1 – 3 people will be a better option. And also go for one with a larger ice bin storage capacity.

Speed of production

When you want to have a glass of chilled wine, you don’t want to wait all day for your ice maker to churn out ice.

Typically, it can take up to 6 – 20 minutes for a countertop nugget ice maker to make a batch of pellet ice. While some others can take as much as 30 minutes. Can you wait that long?

So the faster your ice maker delivers, the merrier.

Dimensions

Size and space are always an issue when it comes to kitchen equipment. But the dimensions of your new kitchen or bar appliance will be hinged on your lifestyle, needs, and how much space you’ve got.

If you’re a travel enthusiast, portable machines with smaller dimensions will make for your ideal ice maker. But if you have a large family, an undercounter or freestanding type might be a better choice.

Price

Nugget ice makers are quite expensive gadgets.

Their cost ranges from $200 to well over $5000. That’s not cheap. But some are less expensive than others. For starters, countertop gadgets are cheaper than undercounter and freestanding models.

And most times, the more expensive a machine is, the better its quality. And the reverse may be the case for cheaper options: indeed, you get what you pay for.

So also take this into account before swiping your card.

Ease of use

All ice makers aren’t built the same. Some feature technology that makes it easier to operate them. S

For example, some high-end machines may have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, self-cleaning, and self-dispensing technology. And some can be operated by the push of a button; making it more convenient for you to use it.

Special features

Everyone loves products with a few perks. But should you get one because it’s got enhancements? Well, that depends on your needs.

Some of these models use Bluetooth and/or WiFi technologies, self-timers, alarms, a special kind of finish, can make multiple sizes of ice cubes, and some even come with extra hardware.

While WiFi and some other modern technologies can make your life easier, are they really worth the investment for your specific needs? Factor that in, too.

Nugget or cubed ice

While this might not be much of a big deal, the deal breaker for some people is that the ice must be soft and chewable, not teeth-shattering.

So ensure you go for the real compressed nugget ice as it provides the same cooling effect without the hardness of its tougher counterparts.

Warranty

When you’re spending over $200 on an item, you want to be sure it’s got a good guarantee.

Take a close look at the warranty policy of these models and see what it entails. Some offer a limited warranty on the compressor or another function; but not on less critical parts. While some other brands offer a better warranty.

So check their websites or better still, write the companies to be double-sure.

Operating temperature and power consumption

While this might not be an important factor to consider when choosing your nugget ice machine, it plays a role in your home.

All nugget ice makers produce heat. But if yours releases too much heat, that could affect the surrounding appliances like your freezer or refrigerator.

Secondly, if your ice machine consumes so much power, you know what that means whether you live in a house or a recreational vehicle.

So when choosing the gadget to make your next ice cube, think about this.

Now you know all that is to nugget ice-making, make sure you choose one that suits your lifestyle needs and your family’s.

And most importantly, do have pleasurable sipping and chilling moments!

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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