Are you currently in the market for an ice maker for your home bar or man cave? Do you want to know which is the best ice maker to use? If so, you have come to the right place. Here we have reviewed several of the most popular and hottest-selling portable ice makers on the market today, including the pros and cons associated with each model.
We have also put together an Ice Maker for Home Bar Buyer’s Guide, in which we will go over some of the factors and features you should consider when purchasing one of these countertop or portable ice makers for your home-based bar.
Table of Contents
Ice Maker Reviews
1. HomeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
The ultra powerful HomeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop creates delicious, chewable, bullet shaped ice—up to one and a half pounds at a time and up to 26 pounds of ice per day with its 2.2-liter water reservoir. It features the option of making small or medium size bullet shape ice that is ready to use in just 6 to 8 minutes. The small ice cube bullets are smooth and cylinder-shaped to easily fit into water bottle openings, and the medium size cubes are perfect for mixed drinks and other cold beverages. Its quiet compressor requires very little energy to operate; and a water reservoir sits below the ice basket and reuses water from the melted ice to make even more ice. This is one of the best portable ice mker machines we could find.
- Automatic Shut-off. The HomeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop has an automatic shutoff, making it very efficient and cost effective.
- Efficient. With its simple fill and drain system, this ice maker actually reuses ice that has melted making it very efficient and easy on your wallet.
- Portable. Thanks to its small size and lightweight design the HomeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop is very portable indeed.
- Problems with sensors. According to some reviewers, the sensors on the HomeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop are not ideal.
2. NewAir AI-215SS Stainless Steel Ice Maker
The powerful and efficient NewAir AI-215SS Stainless Steel Ice Maker is a large output ice maker that is perfect for parties and special events where you need consistent ice at a rapid pace. Its powerful compressor produces 50 pounds of ice a day, which means you will never have to run to the store for a bag of ice again. Easy to setup and operate, this simple, hassle-free ice maker requires no installation. All you need to do is plug it in, add water and wait—and the bullet-shaped ice is created as frequently as every 7 minutes.
- Great storage. The NewAir AI-215SS Stainless Steel Ice Maker has superior ice storage, which makes it perfect for parties and large gatherings.
- Self-cleaning. The self-cleaning capability of this ice maker makes cleanup a thing of the past.
- LED functions. The easy-to-ready LED Touch buttons on the NewAir AI-215SS Stainless Steel Ice Maker are easy to see, even at night.
- Noisy. Some reviewers have remarked that the NewAir AI-215SS Stainless Steel Ice Maker is a little noisy when making ice, which could be a distraction during the big game.
3. Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Silver Ice Maker
The very compact and portable Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Silver Ice Maker is the perfect addition to any home bar or man cave. Its ultra-powerful compressor kicks out 26 pounds of ice per day and can make a new batch of ice every 6 minutes. Like the other ice makers on our list, there are two ice size options—small and medium—and the automatic overflow protection means no more messy cleanups around the bar. And if you prefer a different color to silver – it also comes in red or black
- Overflow protection. With its automatic overflow protection you will never have to worry about messy cleanups with the Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Silver Ice Maker.
- Quiet. When this ice maker is in operation it is quiet as a mouse.
- Power efficient. Consuming very little power and using a dispense and drain system, the Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Silver Ice Maker is very cost efficient.
- Colors. Comes in a choeci of colors – silver, red or balck
- Flimsy materials. Some of the parts on the Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Silver Ice Maker are made from flimsy plastic materials that may break off.
Ice Machine for Home Bar—Buyer’s Guide
If you are currently in the market for a portable ice machine for your home bar or man cave, there are several factors and features you must consider. Understanding these characteristics and considerations can help you make a much more informed purchasing decision when the time comes to pony up the money for your new machine, and will help ensure you get just the right ice machine for your specific needs and preferences. To help you with this, below we have compiled a list of some of these major considerations. One additional consideration you will need to make will be an ice bucket, if you want to transfer the ice to a different location or allow friends to help themselves.
The Type of Ice You Need or Prefer
Depending on the type of ice machine you are eyeing for your home bar or man cave, it may produce just one type of ice or several different types of ice just by changing the settings on the machine. Thus, you will need to have a good idea about the type of ice you want or need based on the types of drinks you will normally be serving. Below is a description of each type of ice that these portable ice makers are known to produce:
Also known as pearl ice, cubelets, soft ice or sonic ice, nugget ice comes in very small, non-stick cubes that are chewy but not very crunchy. Some of the drinks and applications you would normally use this type of ice for include highball cocktails, cold or carbonated drinks like soda, salad bars, and more.
Also known as shaved ice, flaked ice is commonly used for things like displaying seafood and can be used in a variety of drink types. Although it is not very common as a bar ice, largely because it is very thin and melts quickly, it does make for great decorative ice at parties and such.
Full Cube Ice
Full cube ice is shaped much like nugget ice only about twice or three times the size. This is the most commonly used ice type and can generally be found anywhere, including at bars and restaurants. Full cube ice does not melt very easily, making it perfect for a wide variety of drink types and a favorite among the food and beverage industry. Full cube ice will quickly cool any drink type, but instead of being chewy it is crunchy and hard. You are likely to see full cube ice at places like banquets and special events for bulk cooling and packaging purposes.
Half Cube Ice
Half cube ice is the type of ice that is usually dispensed by large scale ice makers, such as those found in hotels and restaurants. It is essentially the scaled down version of the full ice cube, is very hard and melts slowly, but is known to stick to the sides of a glass. Like nugget ice, is one of the favorites among the bar industry.
As the name suggests, crushed ice is simply large ice cubes that have been crushed significantly. Although crushed ice is great for things like snow cones and other treats, it does not work very well for a bar setup.
If you truly want to wow your guests at your next party you can always invest in a portable ice maker that produces specialty ice. Specialty ice can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as crescent moon-shaped ice, or crystal clear ice balls to slowly cool a glass of scotch or whiskey. Although specialty ice can really make a splash with your guests, ice makers that produce this type of ice are typically much pricier than other types.
The size of your portable home bar ice maker is a major consideration, as you will need to buy one that fits in the space you have allotted for it. Ice makers range from small, under-counter models to behemoth monsters that require their own water line and drain to be installed.
Although the way an ice maker looks has little to do with its performance, chances are you want one that matches the décor of your home bar or man cave. Portable ice makers come in many different shapes, styles and colors, from shiny black ice makers to those that are all chrome with black accents.
How much ice does the ice machine produce every day, every hour or every minute? Although almost all portable ice makers make enough ice for a typical home bar setup, if you throw a big party with lots of guests you will need an ice maker that can keep up with the added demand.
Although some of the larger home bar ice makers will require a dedicated water line that will add significantly to your monthly water bill, others are much more efficient, making ice from a pre-filled reservoir and reusing any ice that melts while sitting in the tray. If you want to save money, the latter type of ice machine is probably for you.
Ease of Use
Last but not least, you definitely want an ice machine that is easy to setup and even easier to use. Therefore, we recommend you read a lot of reviews—such as the ones we wrote above—before pulling the trigger on your ice maker purchase.