3 Best Nugget Ice Makers — Personally Tested and Reviewed

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Last updated on August 5, 2023


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Nugget ice makes the drinking experience better, period.

But constantly driving to the nearest fast-food joint for a 5lb bag can be tiresome (especially for true fans). And attempting to refreeze it? Well, it's usually a pale imitation of the original.

So, what's the solution to enjoying nugget ice 24/7?

Home nugget ice makers.

While we were skeptical of the roller coaster of customer reviews at first, we finally settled on three units that we bought, tested, and scrutinized.

We’ve come to the conclusion that home nugget ice makers are in the realm of a worthwhile investment. However, there are some things you should keep in mind. 

After Reading this Article, You Will…

  1. Understand the term "nugget ice" and why the trend has ceased to die out.

  2. Understand what a nugget ice maker is, how it operates, and why it’s so much more expensive than a cubed ice maker.

  3. Recognize the most common concerns raised by customers (that initially kept us from buying a nugget ice maker) and determine if they apply to you.

  4. Know our top 3 recommendations for those looking to buy a nugget ice maker.

  5. Become familiar with the features of three nugget ice makers that have separated themselves from the pack, comparing their style, ice-making speed, insulation, storage, and noise level (yes, personally tested).

  6. Have a well-thought-out backup plan in the off chance your chosen nugget ice maker encounters issues (if you’ve taken a look at the customer reviews, you know it happens).

Table of Contents

Our #1 Pick

Mueller Ultrasonic Nugget Ice Maker

During testing, the Mueller Ultrasonic Nugget Ice Maker distinguished itself as the standout performer due to its superior nugget ice quality, exceptional customer service, and an overall design marked by simplicity and efficiency.

Luxury Pick

GE Opal 2.0  

The GE Opal 2.0 stands out not only for its high-quality nugget ice but also for its superior insulation, ensuring slower ice melt. Additional features include a sleek design, an external water tank, and automatic nugget ice scheduling.

Unique Nugget Ice Shape/Texture

Newair 44lb. Nugget Ice Maker  

Standing out for its uniquely random, jagged-shaped nugget ice with a slightly harder texture, the Newair led the pack in terms of speed, churning out nugget ice at an impressive 1.52 lbs per hour (or about 3 pint-sized glasses full of ice).

What Is Nugget Ice and Does It Still Reign Supreme?

Everyone has their own preferences for chilling and adding texture to drinks.

But between the various ice types, is nugget ice still the most-loved ice on the block?

We think so.

Or at least we have yet to find anything that fixes the negatives of other ice types like nugget ice does.

Nugget ice has gained a loyal following because it essentially fixes the "flaws" found in other types of ice.


Cubed ice is obnoxiously large and hard, making it a dental nightmare (bullet ice has a similar story). Shaved ice, on the other hand, is too thin and melts too quickly (plus, it’s also not nearly as satisfying to crunch).

Nugget ice essentially strikes the perfect balance between cubed and shaved ice in terms of size, texture, and meltability.

It's a beautiful creation, and in our opinion, the hype is justified. 

So… how is nugget ice made? 

And why are nugget ice makers so much more expensive than cubed?

All questions we will be addressing in the following few sections.

How Nugget Ice Makers Work: Complexity Has Its Price

You might've noticed nugget ice makers generally have a steeper price tag than their cubed counterparts. 

The natural follow-up question would be, “Well… why?”.

Firstly, nugget ice makers have more moving parts.

To get a visual of how a nugget ice maker functions, here’s a short video illustrating its inner workings.

Furthermore, these parts are under constant pressure. The continuous pressure demands a more robust motor and parts that are built to last.

Yes, there's a bit more to nugget ice makers than your run-of-the-mill cubed ice maker. With more moving parts, more pressure, and longer functioning hours—these machines need to be intentionally engineered to withstand it all.

Hence the higher price tag

And while the price can be intimidating at first, we don’t think it should keep you from buying one.

We do, however, think you should have all the facts so you can decide whether a nugget ice maker is truly something you want.  

Addressing Customer Complaints (Not Usually How We Start Reviews, but…)

Yes, we know it's not the most glamorous way to kick off a review, but we thought it best to tackle these issues head-on. The product reviews are filled with a mixture of enthusiastic 5-star reviews and absolute nightmare 1-star reviews.

(This actually kept us from buying a nugget ice maker for a long time.)

Thankfully, many of the complaints don’t apply to us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t apply to you.

“It Doesn’t Keep the Ice Cold”


The most common complaint, by far, is that these nugget ice makers don't keep the ice storage compartment cold enough, causing the ice to melt too quickly.

Prior to buying a nugget ice maker, we were a part of this team of complainers.

But here’s the problem with freezing nugget ice.

The minute you freeze nugget ice, it loses that soft, crunchy texture we all adore it for.

In other words, the magic of nugget ice is a fleeting experience, and there's not much we can do about it. 

“So, why not just make the ice compartment refrigerated? Wouldn't that slow down the ice melting?”

Yes, 100%.

But, adding refrigeration would introduce one more major component to an already complex machine. It would also likely increase the price point even more (no thank you).

However, every nugget ice maker (that we’ve researched) has a built-in system that recycles melted ice and turns it back into nugget ice.


Therefore, it should become clear how vital it is to have effective insulation to slow the nugget ice from melting.  

To put this variable to the test, we conducted an insulation test for all three nugget ice makers (recording the melting speed over time). 

(Spoiler, the GE Opal V2 ice melted the slowest.)

“It’s Too Loud”

Alright, let's tackle the noise issue, which we’ll split into two categories:

1. People who thought the normal operation was loud.

As with most noise-making products, opinions on nugget ice makers are a mixed bag. Some people say it's as quiet as a ninja, while others claim it's like an earthquake in a china shop.

Ultimately, it boils down to your sensitivity to this particular sound.

We tested each nugget ice maker with a decibel meter and found that all fell between the 40-50 decibel range (an intensity that lands somewhere between a quiet library and a quiet household room).


Imagine a low-pitched hum, similar to your fridge's sound when the condenser kicks on. The difference is that while your fridge goes quiet once it hits the right temp (usually pretty quickly), the ice maker's hum only stops after it’s filled the ice bin, which can take anywhere from 2-4 hours (even longer if you place the ice maker in a warm environment). 

The sound doesn't bother anyone in our household; however, we'd still prefer not to have it serenading us in common areas, so we keep it in an out-of-the-way nook of the kitchen. 

To give you some hard data, we’ve compared the decibel readings of each nugget ice maker to sounds you're familiar with as a reference point for the sound intensity.

You’ll find this information in the features table under each nugget ice maker’s section.

2. People who experienced a malfunction that sounds like a high-pitched squeal.

Before we dive into this, it's important to note that many folks never experienced this noise, and their nugget ice maker has worked flawlessly since purchase (hence the large number of positive reviews most nugget ice makers receive).

But, some unfortunate souls have encountered the dreaded screeching noise. It's tough to pinpoint the exact culprit, but it's likely linked to the spindle, gear, or auger responsible for feeding ice through the chute.

[We suggest reaching out to GE and sending them the video of the screeching. See what they recommend.]

Most nugget ice makers come with an automatic defrost cycle that should help, but it isn't always 100% effective at silencing the screech. Based on our research and reviews, we opted to spend a little extra dough on a protection plan for each nugget ice maker, which we'll explain in more detail below.

“It Stopped Working”

Like any product, nugget ice makers can eventually bite the dust. But given the expense of these frosty gems, it's crucial they last as long as possible. And on the off chance they don't, you want them repaired or replaced with a minimal headache on your part.

In our quest for knowledge, we reached out to a few Facebook groups and found some folks who still have their First Build models chugging along (debatably, the first countertop nugget ice maker designed for residential use in 2014-2015).

So, how can you avoid the headache of a faulty ice maker?

1.   Invest in a nugget ice maker with a solid performance track record.

2.   Choose a company that's known for fulfilling warranty claims (unfortunately not the case with a lot of companies).

3. Opt for a protection plan to keep you safe outside the company's warranty period.

No need to worry; we'll touch on all these points below.

How to Buy a Nugget Ice Maker w/ Confidence

Find a Company Who Has a Track Record for Making Things Right if They Go Wrong

You know the saying, "expect the best but prepare for the worst"? Well, that's the mindset we encourage you to have when it comes to choosing a nugget ice maker.

Generally speaking: companies often become less willing to accommodate returns as products get bigger, heavier, and more expensive. This puts us in a bit of a pickle since that pretty much sums up what a nugget ice maker is.

So, what's the game plan?

Find a company that already has a reputation for fulfilling warranty claims without a fuss. 

That's why we chose to review the Mueller Nugget Ice Maker. Around 90% of customers who mentioned "customer service" in their reviews had extremely positive things to say. 

Is this an ironclad strategy? 

Not quite.

Sure, companies can be unpredictable, and there's no way of knowing for sure. But, at least this way, you have tangible data that shows the company has integrity. 

Find a Nugget Ice Maker You’re Confident Makes Your Preferred Ice

Navigating the world of nugget ice can be a little deceptive. 

"Nugget ice" has become a catch-all term for small, nugget-shaped ice, but with so much variety, not all companies advertising it offer the type you may be looking for, and if that weren’t enough, the ice pictured in the stock photos isn’t always an accurate representation of the kind of nugget ice the machine in question makes.

Not ideal.


What's perfect for another person might not be perfect for you. Thankfully, there are a couple of nifty hacks to help you find the nugget ice you know and love:

1. Customers often post pictures of their nugget ice in reviews (bless their hearts!). Most notably on Amazon—scroll down to the reviews section, and you'll see a stream of photos at the top. Click on one, and you can swipe right/left to check them all out. This won’t tell you the softness of the ice, but the shape tends to be pretty revealing. If the shape and texture look like the nugget ice you’re familiar with, it most likely is (or very close).

2. To make sure the ice has satisfied other customers, you can type different keywords into the review "search" field. Some dependable keywords to try:

  • "nugget ice"
  • "true nugget ice"
  • "sonic"
  • "chick fil a" or "chick-fil-a"
  • “[the place that serves the ice you’re looking for]”

If you're interested in examining the ice type of the three nugget ice makers we reviewed, we've included…

  • closeup pictures of each nugget ice
  • a rating for the "softness" of the ice, comparing it to Sonic ice (this just happens to be the store conveniently located to us).

Opt for the Insurance (Relatively Cheap in Most Cases)

We get it. Shelling out even more cash when you're already digging deep for a nugget ice maker can feel like a real bummer. But hear us out: the protection plan price is usually quite reasonable (especially on Amazon), and that peace of mind? Priceless.

If available, you'll find the protection plan option on the right side of the Amazon screen, under the "buy now" button. It'll say something like "add a protection plan" and then provide options.

At the time of writing this, we bought a 5-year protection plan for each nugget ice maker through Assurant

[The protection plans have a tendency to change every once in a while, so it may be through a different company now].

For reference, here is what we paid.

  • Mueller – approximately $12
  • Newair – approximately $12
  • GE Opal 2.0 – approximately $90

Pro Tip

Head to the insurance company’s Amazon page and go to their reviews section. Type "nugget ice" into the search field to see how buyers felt about their insurance claims. 

Fair warning: when the price of the product exceeds $500, the protection plan rate jumps quite a bit (hence the GE Opal's steeper cost).

3 Best Nugget Ice Makers

1) Mueller UltraSonic Nugget Ice Maker


Price with Insurance~$411
Nugget Softness (compared to Sonic ice)9 / 10
Nugget Ice ShapeCylindrical (Cap'n Crunch Shaped)
Storage (completely full)~4.5 Lbs
First Drop of Ice10 minutes
Ice Making Speed0.54lbs / 30 mins
Intensity of Sound42-44 decibels (A library is ~40 decibels)
Machine Dimensions17” tall, 17” deep, 10” wide
Bin OpeningTop Loading
ColorStainless and Black
Can You Put a Hard Line in?Yes (although not much instructions for doing it)

Mueller’s UltraSonic Nugget Ice Maker stood out to us for several reasons:

  • A multitude of positive customer reviews
  • Strong response for their customer service
  • Familiar images of nugget ice from customer photos (tested to confirm)
  • A budget-friendly 5-year protection plan (on Amazon only)

After several months of reviewing, here’s what I found.

The Mueller Nugget Ice Maker's output closely resembles the nugget ice from Sonic—small, Cap'nCrunch-shaped pieces with a distinctly soft crunch.


We appreciated the machine's top-loading design during testing. From my experience, it proved more manageable and less messy compared to drawer-style models; (however, it does take up more vertical space, so be mindful if placing it under cabinets).

As for the appearance, the unit sports a sleek stainless steel exterior. It looks nice on my countertop and feels well-built.


To see if the customer service lived up to its reputation, I personally reached out to Mueller's team (via email).

I received a reply in 76 minutes.

In a follow-up test, a response to another email came just 17 minutes later. Pretty commendable response time.

Bear in mind, the customer service agent didn't have a comprehensive understanding of my question regarding a direct water line hookup.

But personally, I was more focused on customer service's eagerness to respond and assist rather than their knowledge of the particular product.

Now a few potential downsides to this model.

Firstly, the Mueller machine is a bit on the slow side when it comes to ice production. Its competitors, GE and Newair, churn out about 1.5 lbs per hour, while the Mueller sticks to around 1 lb per hour (or about 2 pint-sized glasses full of ice).


There were a few common complaints of leaks. Among 415 reviews, the word “leak” popped up in 15 of them. But, it's worth mentioning that some of these customers followed up their review by saying Mueller quickly sent them a replacement unit.

And then there's the noise factor. Some describe it as a squeak, others as a grind, but ultimately it’s a noise that reveals the nugget ice maker isn’t working properly. Let’s be clear, though; noise complaints aren't unique to Mueller—they come up sporadically for every nugget ice maker available.

For a personal anecdote, our Mueller nugget ice maker hasn’t made any squealing noises after three months of daily use. 


  • Familiar nugget ice shape and texture
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Sleek stainless steel look
  • Simple and reliable


  • Rate of ice output is bit slower (~0.5 lbs/hr less than GE and Newair)
  • May not work under cabinets (due to top-loading design)

Compared to the other brands: 

  • Unique top-loading design 
  • Unparalleled customer service
  • Reasonably priced protection plan 

Best for: 

  • The Mueller Ultrasonic Nugget Ice Maker is a straightforward, no-fuss, and dependable pick. While it doesn't boast all the fancy features of the GE Opal, it's still about $200 lighter on your wallet. Plus, it's backed by stellar customer service and comes with an affordable protection plan option.

Worst For: 

  • Those who need a high yield of nugget ice on an hourly basis.

2) GE Opal 2.0 Nugget Ice Maker


GE Opal
Price~$529 (no tank) ~$573 ) w/ side-tank)
Price with Insurance~$600 (no tank) ~$650 (w/ side-tank)
Nugget Softness (compared to Sonic ice)9/10
Nugget Ice ShapeCylindrical (Cap'n Crunch Shaped)
Storage (completely full)~4.5 Lbs
First Drop of Ice10 minutes
Ice Making Speed0.72lbs/ 30 mins
Intensity of Sound45-46 decibels (Between Library and Refrigerator Level)
Machine Dimensions16.5” tall, 17” deep, 10 5/8” wide
Bin OpeningFront Loading
ColorBack and Silver Options
Can You Put a Hard Line in?No (might be some workarounds)

The GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker V2 stood out to us for several reasons:

  • Long-established design (First Build introduced the original model type in 2015).
  • Unanimous praise for nugget ice quality (validated through testing)
  • Equipped with Wi-Fi for remote scheduling (surprisingly nice)
  • Simply the best-looking (a luxury model)

After several months of testing, here’s what I found:

The GE Opal 2.0 essentially holds the title as the Mercedes of nugget ice makers, a distinction that comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Most importantly, the GE model makes the soft, Cap'nCrunch-shaped nugget ice most of us are familiar with.


Comparably, it’s indistinguishable from the Mueller model above (The Mueller can sometimes spit out ever-so-slightly longer pieces).

Among the three ice makers we tested, the GE model emerged as the winner in terms of aesthetics and robust build, with a notably sturdy ice bin (it’s the one we’ve kept in the kitchen throughout testing).


In terms of functionality, the GE’s insulation was the best (when we turned off all three nugget ice makers, the GE ice melted the slowest).

I admit we questioned the need for Wi-Fi compatibility in an ice maker, but after setting up an ice-making schedule, the convenience of not worrying about turning the unit on and off became surprisingly apparent.


The option for an external water tank also proved convenient, reducing the frequency of refills.


Now for the negative:

The GE Opal 2.0 is the priciest model in our review, with a significant mark-up of a few hundred dollars. Additionally, the protection plan costs considerably more than those for the other models we reviewed.

The 1-star reviews were the most alarming among all models, with many negative remarks highlighting unhelpful customer service—a letdown considering the product's steep price. We hope to see improvements in this area in the future.

The most common remarks on the 1-star reviews included leaks, algae growth, and noisy operation. Some users reported their units failing entirely.

So, how should potential buyers interpret these negative reviews?

Firstly, it's important to bear in mind the role that pricing plays in our expectations. As a more expensive product, we will naturally have heightened expectations of how the product looks, performs, and how well customer service treats us (I’m as guilty as anyone here). 

Consequently, when issues arise, the frustration can be amplified. The higher the price tag, the more we expect a seamless experience. 

Does that mean these reviews aren’t justified?

Absolutely not. 

But I don’t think a flurry of negative customer reviews (mixed with really positive reviews) should keep you from buying luxury, if luxury is what you want.

So…our advice?

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

If you're set on purchasing the GE Opal 2.0, we recommend investing in the protection plan. With this, you only need your unit to outlast the 1-year manufacturer's warranty. After that, it's all in the hands of the insurance company.

We purchased the insurance and will keep you updated with the status of our GE Opal ice maker (three months in now). 


  • Familiar nugget ice shape and texture
  • Best insulation (slowest ice-melting time)
  • Luxury features (WiFi Ice-making scheduler)
  • High-quality materials and parts


  • Considerably more expensive than competitors 
  • Common complaints about customer service

Compared to the other brands:

  • Unique WiFi-powered ice-making scheduler
  • External side-tank option
  • No-leak storage bin (has a check valve)
  • Best insulation (of the three we tested)

Best for: 

  • The GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker 2.0 is a high-end, convenience-focused pick. Built solid with a slick design, this one's about the luxury and ease it brings. Yes, it's more expensive, and that includes a bit more for the protection plan. But, for those who don't mind spending more for that extra peace of mind and can roll with potential bumps down the line, it's a top-tier choice. 

Worst For:

  • Those who place an emphasis on simplicity and affordability. 
  • Those who can’t stand dealing with customer service and warranty claims (but again much of this is mitigated with the protection plan).

3) Newair 44lb. Nugget Countertop Ice Maker


Price with Insurance~$361
Nugget Softness (compared to Sonic ice)7/10
Nugget Ice ShapeSmall, Jagged, random shapes
Storage (completely full)~4.5 Lbs
First Drop of Ice5 minutes
Ice Making Speed0.76lbs / 30 mins
Intensity of Sound48-50 decibels (The common refrigerator is 50 decibels)
Machine Dimensions16.5” tall, 15” deep, 10” wide
Bin OpeningFront Loading
Can You Put a Hard Line in?No (might have some workarounds)

This particular Newair nugget ice maker stood out to us for several reasons:

  • Sports a design that appeals to the classic bartending scene
  • More affordable than other models (similar to Mueller)
  • Creates uniquely shaped nugget ice
  • Comes with practical drawer-style storage (similar to the GE)

After several months of reviewing, here’s what I found:

The Newair 44lb. Nugget Countertop Ice Maker has a black exterior highlighted by a purple/blue LED light. If you want to see how it looks on the bar, you can check out this video: 

In terms of performance, our tests revealed that the Newair was the fastest ice producer at a speed of 1.52 lbs per hour. For comparison, the GE model can make 1.44 lbs per hour, while the Mueller churns out 1.08 lbs per hour.

It makes nugget ice fast.


What also sets the Newair model apart from the others is the shape and texture of the ice it makes.


Unlike the GE and Mueller models that make small cylindrical nuggets (similar to the Sonic ice you'd find at fast-food restaurants), the Newair's ice nuggets are jagged and random in shape. 

While we initially thought customers would hate this, it turns out most people said something along the lines of, "Not exactly like [fast food restaurant] ice, but we LOVE IT!"

But, of course, there are some potential negatives.

While the Newair model is cheaper than the GE Opal, it shows in the materials used. The plastic storage bin is thin—so thin that when we had guests over who didn't know how to pull out the drawer, they ended up breaking a piece of plastic off. The unit still works fine, but it's a reminder that you get what you pay for.


And there's also the ice itself. It's a bit harder than what we're used to with cylindrical nugget ice. But, as the ice starts to melt, it softens up, ending up pretty similar (texture-wise) to the ice from the Mueller and GE models.

When it comes to customer reviews, this model has similar drawbacks to other nugget ice machines, likely due to the similarities in technology. 

It's a mixed bag for customer service—some people have had great experiences, while others not so much. But, on the bright side, there's a protection plan available for this unit at a reasonable cost. 


  • Speedy ice production (1.52 lbs/hr)
  • Unique ice shapes (if you’re looking for something different)
  • Sleek, modern design (great for bartenders)
  • Cheaper model (relatively speaking)


  • Slightly harder ice texture
  • Cheaper-quality materials 

Compared to the other brands: 

  • Quick ice production
  • Randomly shaped nuggets (not the typical shape you find at fast food joints)
  • Cool, purple/blue internal LED light

Best for: 

  • The Newair 44lb. Nugget Countertop Ice Maker is best for those looking for a stylish nugget ice maker with quick output. It’s also ideal for those interested in random ice shapes instead of the uniform cylindrical nugget ice found in other machines.  

Worst For:

  • Those with an undying love for the typical “airy crunch” of nugget ice commonly found at convenience stores and chains like Sonic and Chick-fil-A—and who want the look and feel of superior quality materials. 

Noteworthy Nugget Ice Makers We Didn’t Review

Personal Chiller Nugget Ice Maker


The Personal Chiller Nugget Ice Maker is definitely a contender if you're considering cost, as it's more affordable than many of its counterparts (about $150 less than the next runner-up). Despite producing nugget-shaped ice, some users have reported that it lacks the signature soft crunch of nugget ice.

Something else to bear in mind with this model is the storage bin—it unfortunately doesn't drain (a quality many customers complained about). This means you'll end up with a bin full of ice and water that you’ll need to separate. Despite its attractive price, these negatives were definitely a deal-breaker for our nugget ice-loving team. 

AICook Nugget Ice Maker


The AICook Nugget Ice Maker might initially catch your interest, as it did ours, but there are a few things worth noting. For starters, we've been keeping an eye on this model, and it's been out of stock on their official website for quite some time. This could be a hint that the company has possibly stopped manufacturing or selling this particular model.

Interestingly, the design of the AICook model is almost a mirror image of the Mueller model we reviewed. If you're really keen on trying it out, you might still find some units available at Walmart at the time of writing this. The Walmart customer reviews are actually pretty glowing.

However, a word of caution. If a product is potentially no longer being manufactured, you might run into difficulties should you need to claim a warranty or buy replacement parts. So, even with the high praise, it might be wise to consider a similar design but with a company that still produces it. 

Gevi Nugget Ice Maker


The Gevi Nugget Ice Maker caught our attention and could potentially be a game-changer. However, it's still relatively early in its production, so we're on the fence about whether or not it's a solid improvement over previous nugget ice makers.

What we do find appealing about the Gevi is its sleek design and large storage bin. The storage bin is roughly twice the size of the GE Opal, which is a pretty significant upgrade for those who need a larger ice supply.

On the flip side, a quick skim through the reviews reveals a common issue that seems to plague most nugget ice makers—loud noises. This could be a minor inconvenience to some and a major annoyance to others.

However, a silver lining that's worth mentioning is that reviews indicate that Gevi's customer service seems to be reliable when it comes to honoring their warranty. So, as the Gevi Nugget Ice Maker is still new to the market, it might be worth keeping an eye on further reviews and updates before making your decision. We’ll be periodically checking in to see if the positive reviews hold.  

HiCOZY Nugget Ice Maker


The HiCOZY Nugget Ice Maker stands out for being slightly more affordable than some other options. It further differentiates itself by claiming to produce nugget ice faster and with lower electricity consumption than competitors.

Visually, the HiCOZY bears a similar resemblance to the GE Opal. Although it's debatable which design is preferred (we liked the GE look better), it's worth noting that HiCOZY doesn't offer an additional side water tank, a feature we found important.

Looking at the customer feedback on Amazon, the HiCOZY has an average rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars at the time of writing this. Slightly lower than the Mueller, Newair, and GE models we chose to review. 

KBIce Nugget Ice Maker


The KBIce Nugget Ice Maker's most attractive feature is its self-dispensing function. This can add a level of convenience that could be a game-changer for the right person. 

It’s also worth mentioning that this KBIce model has been on the market for a considerable amount of time (since around 2020), which is quite an accomplishment given the fleeting lifespan of most nugget ice maker brands. It has also consistently received fairly positive reviews, suggesting that it's well-made and user-friendly. 

However, it's worth highlighting a common critique that pops up among users—a relatively small storage capacity. Given the machine's self-dispensing feature, the storage size is a key factor in determining how well it can keep up with demand. So, while the KBIce Nugget Ice Maker has many appealing aspects, the storage size is something to keep in mind when considering this model.

The KBIce 2.0 has some upgrades, but it’s advertised with the same storage capacity of 2 lbs. It also has about the same review ratings as the previous 1.0 model.

Euhomy Countertop Nugget Ice Maker


The Euhomy Countertop Nugget Ice Maker has caught our attention for a few reasons. It's received positive feedback, particularly for its customer service—a notable accomplishment in this industry. It also comes with a price tag that's hard to ignore.

Its design is comparable to the Mueller model, giving it a familiar feel. However, when choosing our lineup for review, we went with Mueller. Why, you might ask? We've had first-hand experience with Mueller's customer service. It's not a reflection on Euhomy's quality but more about our history with Mueller. That being said, the Euhomy model is certainly a worthwhile contender.

Thereye Nugget Ice Maker


The Thereye Nugget Ice Maker is noteworthy for its cost-effectiveness. It's a wallet-friendly option that does not compromise on design, as it bears similarities with the Mueller model we put to the test. 

That said, our decision to review the Mueller model over Thereye was largely influenced by the weight of customer service feedback. Mueller had garnered more positive reviews in this area, which was a significant factor in our consideration. This decision doesn't reflect negatively on the Thereye ice maker. It's simply a reflection of the parameters we used for this review cycle, and the Thereye model remains a commendable choice for those looking for a budget-friendly nugget ice maker.

TaoTronics Nugget Ice Maker


The TaoTronics Nugget Ice Maker is reasonably priced, and we've had positive experiences with the brand's customer support in the past. We bought a heater from them, which died within the first week, but we were sent a new one immediately that’s worked perfectly for the last few years.

The TaoTronics nugget ice maker design is comparable to the Mueller model and probably shares many common traits. However, it has been consistently out of stock on various platforms, suggesting that this model may no longer be in production.

Freezimer Nugget Ice Maker


The Freezimer brand has two variants of nugget ice makers: a self-dispense model and a storage bin type. The self-dispense model appears to be out of stock across various retailers, indicating that it might no longer be in production.

Their storage bin model stands out for its unique design which offers Wi-Fi compatibility, similar to the features of the GE Opal 2.0. Notably, this model is priced quite competitively—to the point of raising eyebrows.

However, the number of reviews for this model is currently insufficient for us to form a well-informed opinion. We'll continue to monitor this model and provide updates as more information becomes available.

hOmeLabs Nugget Ice Maker


The hOmeLabs Nugget Ice Maker is a product from a brand that tends to receive high reviews for their diverse range of products on Amazon. However, it appears their nugget ice maker had a brief lifespan on the market. 

Currently, this model is no longer available for purchase on the hOmeLabs website, nor on Amazon. This suggests that it may have been discontinued or it's undergoing a redesign. As such, it's not an available option for potential buyers at this time.

Igloo Nugget Ice Maker


The Igloo Nugget Ice Maker, a luxury-priced, self-dispensing model, was once part of the brand's product lineup. However, it seems this particular model is no longer available for purchase, as all retail sites say “out of stock”.

Kismile Nugget Ice Maker


The Kismile Nugget Ice Maker is unique in its design and comes at an attractive price point. However, it is quite hard to find online. Furthermore, the reviews we have been able to find for this model haven't been very promising. This lack of availability and less than stellar feedback kept us from reviewing this model. 

RW Flame Nugget Ice Maker


The RW Flame Nugget Ice Maker stands out for its competitive price point and positive feedback regarding the quality of the ice it produces. However, there's a shortage of reviews about its customer support, making it difficult to form a comprehensive evaluation.

An additional point to note is a minor discrepancy in the product's listing—the word "portable" is misspelled in the title. While this is likely a minor oversight, it does underscore the brand’s attention to deail and the importance of thorough research when considering a product.


Nugget ice has made quite a splash since it first came on the scene. It's built a loyal fan base, and having a nugget ice maker right at home can really feel like an awesome luxury. 

But let's be honest: these machines aren't cheap, and reviews can be all over the map. It's super important to go into the buying process with your eyes wide open. To determine if investing in a nugget ice maker is right for you, weigh the initial cost (plus insurance or potential repairs) with how frequently you’ll use your nugget ice maker…and of course how much you enjoy crunching on the good ice.  

To hedge your bets, pick a nugget ice maker that gives you the kind of ice you love the most. You can take a look at customer pictures in the reviews to get a good idea.

And don't forget about customer service. Choose a company with a good track record—a quick search in the reviews can help you here. You might also want to think about a protection plan. Amazon has a 5-year option that can provide a little extra security.

We put three nugget ice makers to the test, and each one had its own strengths and weaknesses. 

  • If you're after a straightforward and dependable ice maker, the Mueller is a good pick. 
  • If you want luxury and convenience, the GE might be the one for you. 
  • And if  speed and a unique style of the ice are high on your priority list, check out the Newair.

We hope this guide sets you on the right path in your quest for the perfect nugget ice maker. If there's anything we can do to help you along the journey, let us know. 




Used Nugget Ice Machines

If you're looking for used nugget ice makers, one platform worth considering is Amazon. They often have a selection of used units, although the discount compared to new items isn’t always  as significant as one might hope.

To locate these options, if you're using a desktop, look for the "New & Used" button. This can be found just under the "Add to List" box located on the right side of the screen. On mobile, you can find similar options under the "Other Sellers on Amazon" button, which is just below the "Add to List" button. Exploring these sections could help you find a used nugget ice maker that fits your budget and needs.

Another option to consider for used nugget ice makers is IceMachineClearance.com. Please be aware, though, that the selection on this site tends primarily towards commercial models. If you're in need of a higher-capacity, commercial-grade nugget ice maker, this could be a good place to start your search.

Yes, Facebook Marketplace can be a valuable resource for finding used nugget ice makers, often presenting some enticing deals. However, as with all peer-to-peer selling platforms, it's important to exercise caution. Be wary of potential scams and always verify the legitimacy of the seller and the condition of the product before finalizing any transaction.

Other places to look:

1. Used.forsale: An online marketplace that curates used items from multiple platforms. 

2. eBay: While surprisingly scarce, used nugget ice makers do pop up on Ebay. 

As always, remember to practice safe online buying habits when considering these options.

Portable Nugget Ice Makers?

When it comes to portable nugget ice makers, it's important to keep in mind that while they are technically portable, they can be quite heavy. In our testing, we found that most countertop nugget ice makers weighed around 40 lbs, which was heavier than anticipated.

That being said, some companies have made efforts to make transportation a bit easier by adding handles to their models.

Here are a few examples of portable nugget ice makers:

1. Humhold Portable Nugget IceMaker

2. Countertop Self-Cleaning Portable Nugget Ice Maker 

3. FREE VILLAGE Countertop Self-Cleaning Portable Nugget Ice Maker

4. R.W. FLAME Portable Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Nugget Ice Maker with a Water Line

When it comes to nugget ice makers with a water line hookup, it's worth noting that not all models offer this feature. Some nugget ice makers are designed to be manually filled with water, while others have the capability for a direct water line connection.

However, based on our experience, we've found that companies often fail to provide adequate instructions on how to set up the water line connection, which can make it challenging for users to utilize this feature.

Fortunately, there are nugget ice maker owners who have taken the initiative to create helpful videos and guides on how to set up a water line connection at home. These resources can be valuable references for those looking to take advantage of the direct water line option.

GE Opal V1

GE Opal V2:


Is There an LG Nugget Ice Maker?

As of now, LG does not have a nugget ice maker in their product lineup. While several larger manufacturers have introduced their own versions of nugget ice makers, LG has not ventured into this market. However, it's worth mentioning that product offerings can change over time, so we'll continue to monitor for any potential developments from LG in the future.

Is the Opal Nugget Ice Maker Worth It?

Having personally tested and reviewed the GE Opal 2.0, we can confidently say that it's a worthwhile investment for die-hard nugget ice enthusiasts who are willing to splurge for a luxurious experience. It emerged as one of our top choices among nugget ice machines due to its appealing aesthetics, high-quality nugget ice production, and convenient features like WiFi scheduling.

However, it's important to note that customer service reviews for GE Opal 2.0 have not been optimal. If stellar customer support is a crucial factor for you, it's worth considering this aspect.

Furthermore, it's essential to acknowledge that the GE Opal 2.0 is the priciest non-commercial nugget ice maker on the market. While it offers exceptional features and performance, it comes with a higher price tag compared to other models. Consider your budget and priorities before making a decision.

Do Nugget Ice Makers Need a Water Line?

Most non-commercial nugget ice makers do not require a water line for operation. These models are typically designed to be manually filled with water, eliminating the need for a direct water connection. However, it's worth noting that some non-commercial models do offer the option for a water line hookup, providing a more convenient and continuous water supply.

On the other hand, most commercial-grade nugget ice makers, given their larger size and capacity, do require a water line connection. The manual process of adding water becomes impractical in commercial settings due to higher demand and usage.

Bottom line:, while the water line requirement varies between non-commercial and commercial nugget ice makers, if you’re planning to purchase a non-commercial model, it’s unlikely you’ll need a water line.

Are Sonic and Chick-fil-A Ice the Same?

Texture-wise and in terms of shape, Sonic and Chick-fil-A ice are similar. Both have that soft and chewable texture that nugget ice is known for. They also share a similar cylindrical shape. However, there can be variations in size between different locations and machines.

In our experience, we found that the nuggets at Chick-fil-A were noticeably larger compared to Sonic. It's important to note that this may not be the case for all Chick-fil-A and Sonic locations, as ice sizes can vary. 

Ultimately, while there are similarities between Sonic and Chick-fil-A ice in terms of texture and shape, there can be variations in size. It's best to try both and decide which one suits your preference.

Can You Use Tap Water with a Nugget Ice Maker?

Yes, it’s possible to use tap water with a nugget ice maker. 

However, it's important to note that tap water will likely require more frequent cleaning and descaling due to the minerals it contains. Minerals can lead to scaling and build-up over time, which can affect the performance and longevity of your nugget ice maker. 

Personally, I use purified water with my nugget ice maker. Purified water is free of impurities and minerals that can contribute to scaling, which in turn helps maintain optimal performance of the ice maker—and potentially extends its lifespan.

The decision to use tap water or purified water depends on personal preference and the quality of tap water in your area. If you choose to use tap water, keep to a frequent cleaning and descaling schedule. That said, opting for purified water will ultimately minimize scaling concerns and simplify maintenance.

How Long Is the Warranty For Nugget Ice Makers?

Typically, the warranty for nugget ice makers is one year. This standard warranty period covers any manufacturing defects or malfunctions that may occur during the first year of use. 

However, it's worth noting that certain websites, such as Amazon, offer extended protection plans that can increase the warranty coverage for 2 to 5 years. These plans provide additional peace of mind by offering continued protection beyond the initial one-year warranty period.

In our case, we personally opted for the 5-year protection plan for all three nugget ice makers we purchased and reviewed. The added investment for the extended warranty coverage provides an extra layer of security and reassurance. It's a personal decision, but paying a little extra for the extended warranty can offer greater peace of mind and potential long-term savings in case of unexpected issues or repairs.

Do All Nugget Ice Machines Make the Same Nugget Ice?

The short answer is no—not all nugget ice machines produce the same type of nugget ice. While many machines claim to make nugget ice, the term "nugget ice" has become a broad, catch-all term for small ice cubes in the form of a nugget.

To get a better understanding of the actual appearance and texture of the nugget ice produced by a specific machine, you’ll find it helpful to check customer reviews and look at the pictures shared by customers. Doing so allows you to see the actual ice produced by the machine and determine if it matches your expectations.

It's worth noting that sometimes companies may advertise ice that doesn't accurately represent the actual output of their machines. Therefore, relying on customer reviews and visuals can provide more accurate insights into the quality and appearance of the nugget ice produced by a specific machine.

Can I Leave My Nugget Ice Maker Running All the Time?

While it's generally recommended to give any machine a break, I personally ran my nugget ice makers continuously for a month without turning them off, and I didn't encounter any issues. However, monitoring the machine and following the manufacturer's guidelines is always a good practice.

What's particularly convenient about the GE Opal 2.0 is its scheduling feature. I set up my Opal 2.0 to turn on at 7 am and turn off at 9 pm, using the built-in scheduling functionality. This way, the machine isn't producing ice all night when I don’t need it to. 

How to Clean a Nugget Ice Maker

Typically, the cleaning process involves using a cleaning solution, often diluted bleach, and allowing it to circulate through the ice-making components. This helps disinfect and remove any buildup. Some models may also require a separate descaling procedure using an acid solution, such as vinegar, to break down mineral deposits.

The frequency of cleaning and descaling may vary depending on the manufacturer's recommendations. Always follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer to ensure effective cleaning and proper maintenance of your nugget ice maker.

For detailed and accurate cleaning instructions, refer to the user manual or contact the manufacturer directly. They can provide specific guidance tailored to your nugget ice maker model.

About the author, Michael

Michael spends his days eating, drinking and studying the fascinating world of food. He received his Bachelors Degree in Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis and spent much of his time at the school brewery. While school proved to be an invaluable experience, his true passion lies in exposing the hidden crannies of food for the cooking laymen.