Portable Ice Maker Machine Buying Guide

07:20 30 July in Blog

It’s hard to imagine that ice makers have only been in existence since the last century. In the past, ice was hard to acquire. Consumers often had to rely on delivery services which provided huge blocks of imported ice from colder regions. In some of the hottest parts of the world, ice was expensive and considered a luxury.

The History of the Ice Maker

Portable Ice Maker Machine Buying GuideThe advent of the home refrigerator in the 20th century brought food preservation and ice cube production into modern day homes, and in the 1960’s, home freezer ice makers made ice readily available to the masses. The downside was that these early ice makers were primitive: water was poured into a mold and then left in the freezer until it turned solid. The resulting ice cubes were then extracted several hours later.

Today’s Modern Home Ice Maker

Today’s modern home ice makers found in most new refrigerators are much more advanced and act like ice cube “assembly lines.” These ice makers make use of electric motors, electrical heating units, and electrically-operated water valves. All of these mechanisms are powered by a refrigerator’s electrical circuit. The ice maker is then hooked up to the home water line in order to provide water for the ice cubes.

Why Freezer Ice Makers are Inconvenient

Many consumers often complain that home freezer ice makers are slow at making ice. A new batch of ice can take anywhere from 75 to 120 minutes. Yet another complaint about freezer ice makers is the quality of the ice. For those living in areas with water chock full of minerals, this affects the taste of the ice cubes. Moreover, because the ice in freezer icemakers is stored in the refrigerator, the ice often picks up unpleasant food odors. All of these drawbacks can be eliminated with a portable ice maker.

Portable Icemaker Benefits

Simply put, the main benefit of a portable home ice maker is the fact that it produces ice quickly. Most home units can make ice in just minutes. Once the unit is plugged in and water is poured into the reservoir, the ice making cycle begins. This eliminates any set up time or adjustment period for the compressor to reach a specific temperature.

Residential ice makers also allow you to control the size of your ice cubes and even your ice quality. Most units take either bottled or tap water while some give you the flexibility of a direct water line connection. With a portable ice maker, you can enjoy great tasting ice in a matter of minutes, and it’s easy to see why they’re a welcome addition to parties and gatherings!

Choosing a Portable Ice Maker

When doing your research on a countertop portable ice cube maker, in addition to looking for the lowest price, it’s important to take other several factors into consideration before making your purchase.  Here are some common questions to ask yourself when deciding on a specific unit:

How much ice do I need?

How much ice can I store?

What size ice cubes do I want?

How do I maintain my portable ice cube maker?

How much ice do I need?
One of the key factors to choosing a portable ice maker is figuring out how much ice you need. This will eventually help you determine the size of the unit. After all, you don’t want to run out of ice in the middle of a cocktail party or BBQ. Compact countertop ice makers such as the NewAir AI-200Wcan produce up to 35 pounds of ice per day, while small portable ice makers such as the NewAir AI-100Rcan make up to 28 pounds per day.  If you need anything more than this, you may have to look into purchasing into a commercial unit or an under counter ice maker.

How much ice can I store?
While portable ice makers can store varying amounts of ice, keep in mind that they can’t store ice for long periods of time. In other words, once ice is produced, it’s meant to be used pretty quickly. You’ll find that the greater the unit’s ice making capacity, the larger the storage bin.

What size ice cubes do I want?
Countertop icemakers produce bullet-shaped ice cubes, and some models such as the NewAir AI-200SS, will produce ice cubes in three sizes – small, medium, and large. The large size ice cubes are roughly the same size as those you’d make in a typical ice tray.

Most water dispenser-ice maker combination units such as the NewAir AI-300S crushed ice makercan only produce ice in one size, so depending on how you like your drinks, you may want to consider purchasing a unit that makes multiple ice cube sizes for more versatility.

How do I maintain my portable ice cube maker?
Proper maintenance of a portable ice maker ensures year of hassle-free service and prevents ice maker problems, so make sure you take good care of your unit. Maintaining a portable ice maker is usually easy: simply wipe down the outside of the unit and clean the water reservoir regularly after use. Another way to ensure great tasting ice and a properly functioning unit is to occasionally clean the machine with a cap of vinegar or lemon juice.

For even easier cleanup, models such as the AI-210SS by NewAireven boast self-cleaning cycles!

Compare Portable Ice Cube Makers Side-by-Side

If you’re still confused over which model to choose, w e’ve compiled our top rated portable icemakerstogether and compare them side-by-side.

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