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An ice maker is an appliance that’s easy to overlook until you’re having a party or living with a cramped freezer. While many refrigerators have a built-in ice maker, many don’t, so having a standalone model can’t hurt. While ice can be used to cool any drink, it’s also a crucial ingredient in many smoothie and frozen cocktail recipes. Knowing you can have pounds of ice ready within an hour without running to the store can come in handy more often than you’d think. The best ice makers will be well worth the counter space they take up when you need them.

How we chose the best ice makers

Our ice maker recommendations are based on a mix of hands-on testing and extensive research. We made sure our recommendations could make a sufficient amount of ice in a relatively short period of time while focusing on ice shape and size and water tank capacity. We also factored in price, which is a concern with any appliance purchase.

The best ice makers: Reviews & Recommendations

Whether you’re a cocktail-slinging home bartender or don’t want to leave the house to get a bag of ice to fill the cooler during the summertime, these ice makers have you covered, and we’re excited to share our nuggets of wisdom and water.

Best overall: Oraimo Nugget Ice Maker




  • Size: 19 X 9.7 X 16.7 Inches
  • Speed: 12 minutes per batch
  • Price: $499.99


  • Efficiency
  • Quiet operation
  • Ice quality


  • Price

Yes, Oramio’s ice maker costs $500, but it’s a worthwhile investment for anyone who needs or uses a lot of ice on a regular basis. The ice maker’s build quality was immediately noticeable when we took it out of its box. Its front door opened smoothly, its buttons were immediately responsive when pushed, and the entire machine felt incredibly solid. The first difference we noticed when testing Oraimo’s Nugget Ice Maker was that you could hook it up directly to a water line and continuously operate it without manually refilling its tank. This isn’t necessary in most home settings, but it shows the ice maker could be used in more professional settings. We refilled it manually during our tests and had no issues.

Upon filling up the ice maker, we only had to wait around 10 minutes before hearing ice hitting its plastic bucket. We were immediately struck by how many nugget cubes were produced in a single go, which was more than enough for a round of drinks for multiple people. There’s no option to change the size of the ice cubes, but we found the nuggets produced by Oramio’s machine were perfectly fine. Oramio says that most of the ice it produces can stay solid inside its machine for up to six hours. We didn’t push things that far, but we did leave the machine running for a couple of hours and didn’t notice any signs of significant melting from any of the cubes we pulled out.

The ice cubes produced by Oramio’s ice maker impressed us in two ways. The first was the uniformity of their size; each nugget was nearly identical to all the others. These nuggets were also solid, which is a lot different from most machines’ hollow, bullet-shaped ice cubes. We also liked how quietly this ice maker ran—you’ll hear its compressor working, but it’s not a loud-pitched whirring sound—so we could work in the same room as the machine without getting distracted. We understand Oramio’s Ice Maker is an investment, but it’s worth making if you need to make a lot of ice quickly.

Best countertop: GoveeLife Smart Countertop Ice Maker

Brandt Ranj / Popular Science



  • Size: 12.32 X 8.74 X 12.6 Inches
  • Speed: 6 minutes per batch
  • Price: $159.99


  • Multiple ice cube size settings
  • Alexa and Google Home support
  • App control


  • Ice basket was a little hard to remove

GoveeLife’s Smart Countertop Ice Maker has a lot going for it, and our tests proved it justified a place on your countertop. Its all-silver aluminum frame looks gorgeous in person, and setting it up took only a couple of minutes. You can run the machine by pushing clearly labeled buttons on its top side, which allow you to turn it on, select your preferred ice cube size, and run its cleaning cycle, or by using Govee’s iOS or Android app. You can even hook it up to run via voice commands through Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. In our tests, we stuck to using the manual controls, which worked very well.

In our tests, this ice maker produced ice every eight minutes or so, which is a little longer than Govee says, but not by much. We observed a noticeable difference between small, medium, and large cubes, which mostly came down to their thickness. The ice maker produces hollow, bullet-shaped cubes rather than solid ice nuggets, so be mindful if you’re particular about your ice shapes. GoveeLife says its ice maker can be used with non-pulp beverages if you’d like to make solid cubes of different drinks, which don’t dilute your beverage as they melt.

We didn’t run into any major technical difficulties during our time with this ice maker, but found it could be a little difficult to find the handles of its basket when the machine had been running for a few cycles. This isn’t a deal breaker, but something to watch out for if you pick the ice maker up.

Best portable: WANAI Ice Makers Countertop Portable Ice Machine




  • Size: 12.6 X 8.8 X 11.6 Inches
  • Speed: 8 Minutes per cycle
  • Price: $99.99


  • Built-in handle
  • Multiple ice cube size settings
  • Two buttons for easy operation


  • Barebones design

If you want an ice maker that’s easy to carry around your kitchen and entertaining areas—or even in and out of your house—this model from WANAI is the one to get. It has a handle located toward the middle of the machine, which makes it easy to grab and go. When you’re not taking it around, the ice maker’s handle can be flipped down around the back of the machine, where it won’t be a distraction or get in the way.

Beyond the handle, this is a pretty standard ice machine. It can make its first batch of ice cubes in under 10 minutes, allows you to switch between small and large-sized cubes, and only has two buttons for operation on its top side. Indicator lights will flash if the ice maker’s cleaning mode has been engaged, whether it needs more water in its taker, or whether its ice chamber is full. You won’t find any bells and whistles with this ice maker, but that’s fine if all you want is a quick way to make ice cubes in a couple of different places depending on where the party you’re hosting is taking place.

Best smart: GE Profile Opal 2.0


  • Size: 17.5 X 13.43 X 16.5 Inches
  • Speed: 10 minutes per cycle
  • Price: $499


  • WiFi and voice control
  • Side tank is easier to fill
  • Stainless steel construction


  • Price

If you’ve already committed to making a totally comprehensive smart home, GE’s Profile Opal 2.0 is the ice maker for you. Once you’ve connected it to your home WiFi network, you can engage all of the ice maker’s controls, and even schedule it to turn on at a specific time, through the Opal Profile app on iOS and Android. You also have the option to hook it up to Alexa or Google Assistant to operate it totally hands-free.

What separates the Opal 2.0 from other ice makers with similar features is its design. Its stainless steel construction is premium, and little touches, like having a water tank that can be detached from the side of the machine to be refilled more easily, make a big difference in how easy it is to use. Additionally, the Opal 2.0 makes nugget-shaped ice rather than hollowed-out bullet-shaped cubes.

If the GE Profile Opal 2.0 didn’t have smart features, it’d still be one of the most premium ice makers we could recommend. These additional functions push the machine over the top, making it a must-have gadget in any smart kitchen.

Best budget: EUHOMY Countertop Ice Maker Machine




  • Size: 11.57 X 11.42 X 8.74 Inches
  • Speed: 6 minutes per cycle
  • Price: $76.49


  • More compact size
  • Built-in handle
  • Price


  • Lower capacity

If you need a low-cost, compact ice maker that’s easy to move around, you can’t go wrong with this model from EUHOMY. It’s smaller than all of our other ice maker recommendations, and while that does mean it can hold less ice, the tradeoff is worth making given its sub-$80 price tag. In fact, EUHOMY says its appliance can make ice in six minutes, which means it’s faster than any other ice maker in our guide.

The machine only has a single button, which powers it on and off. There Are no options to change the size of its cubes, but the button can be used to engage the ice maker’s cleaning mode. While it doesn’t have any bells and whistles, this ice maker does have a built-in handle for easy transport, and it can be detached when not in use. LEDs will shine if you need to add water to the ice maker’s tank and when its chamber is too full, which are handy visual indicators it’s time to address an issue.

If you’ve been curious about ice makers, but haven’t wanted to spend a lot of money to see whether or not they’re a worthwhile investment, this is the best option for you.

What to consider when shopping for an ice maker

There are many factors to consider when shopping for an ice maker. These are the ones we thought were most important when picking the best machines to keep enough water frozen so that your good times continue to flow:


If you’re picking up a countertop appliance, it’s important to make sure you have enough space to accommodate it, whether it’ll be a permanent fixture or an occasionally used tool. All of our ice makers will take up more space than a typical blender, but far less room than a smart oven. If you have enough room on your counter for a stand mixer, you’ll be able to accommodate an ice maker.


The main purpose of using an ice maker over ice cube trays is its ability to get ice into your glass a lot more quickly. Our recommendations vary in speed, but all of them will begin to produce usable ice in under 10 minutes. If they’re left running for 24 hours (you’ll need to continually refill their water tank and keep ice from overfilling their inner chamber) you can get several pounds of ice.


We’re conscious of the fact that an ice maker, like any countertop appliance, can get very expensive. We’ve done our best to accommodate the widest possible cost spectrum.


Q: How do you make high-quality ice?

Using an ice maker will yield identical results, but you can increase the quality of your ice by using purified water, which may have a more neutral taste.

Q: Is it expensive to run an ice maker?

No. Ice makers require roughly the same amount of power as similarly-sized countertop appliances. Their energy draw will depend on how often you run them and for how long.

Q: Do ice makers use a lot of water?

Not necessarily. You have control over how much water you store in their tank, so be mindful of their capacity when deciding which one to get.

Q: How much does an ice maker cost?

This depends on its size and speed. Our recommendations range in price between $76 and $500.

Final thoughts on the best ice makers

An ice maker may not be the most essential countertop appliance, but it’s a unitasking gadget that does its job flawlessly. Once you have access to fresh ice on demand, you can optimize your freezer space and ditch ice trays, which are far less efficient. It’s worth picking up an ice maker even if you only need it a handful of times per year while hosting a party, but it’s essential if you’re buying bags of ice on a weekly or bi-monthly basis.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.