The KBIce maker is currently the only nugget ice maker (specifically designed for home-use) available with a self dispensing feature. In other words, no ice scooper, no touching the ice, and no unintentional contaminations. It has a simple design and has received unanimously positive reviews in terms of the nugget ice quality. Despite all this, there are still some things you should consider before taking this route.
KBIce Nugget Ice Maker
4.5 / 5
- True Nugget Ice
- Self Dispensing (More sanitary)
- Self-Cleaning function
- No Water Hookup Required
- Great Customer Service Reviews
- Requires Distilled Water
- Only 1 LB Ice Storage Capacity
- Have to Frequently Fill Water Reservoir
WOW! I am so happy with this ice machine from KB Ice. This is my first review since I've been on Prime for over a decade and am writing this because this machine and company blew past my expectations.
Home Nugget Ice Makers Compared
Our 2 Cents...
All 3 of the well-known countertop nugget ice makers (shown above) have similar ratings, so quality of the product should not be a huge consideration here (however, you should know this technology is still very much in its infancy).
The 2 major factors that make the KBIce ice machine unique are the self dispensing feature and the stellar customer service. So, if the whole family plans to use the ice maker, the self-dispense feature will reduce the risk of contamination. However, if you'll be the only one using the ice machine, this feature may not serve a huge purpose.
In terms of customer service, KBIce has far more positive reviews than its competitors. This becomes increasingly important for a product whose technology has yet to be perfected. In the off chance you get a defective unit, KBIce is the company you want to work with. This is the only product KBIce produces, which makes it easier for the customer service team to be as knowledgable as possible.
What We Liked
1) Self Dispense Function
If you've ever worked in the bar industry, then you know the ice scooper never leaves the ice chamber. It's one of the first rules you learn.
But why is this?
Well, if you contaminate the scooper, once you place it back in the chamber, you've gotta dump the whole batch out (that is, if you care).
It's a giant pain!
The cool thing about self-dispense is that you never have to worry about this issue. The ice storage is enclosed and only lets ice out when prompted. In other words, the ice is hidden from our germ-infested world so there will be no need for bulk-dumping of contaminated ice.
If you take a look at the customer reviews, people generally loved the idea of the self-dispense feature when serving larger groups of people. People also generally liked the self-dispense function because...well...it's just cooler 🙂
2) True Nugget Ice
One of the primary reasons we began researching nugget ice makers was because all the "best of" articles listed ice makers that didn't make true nugget ice. Just to clarify, there is an extremely unique process to making nugget ice (or sonic ice) and the alternatives.....are NOT the same.
Just ask anyone who's obsessed with nugget ice like we are.
Put very simply, nugget ice is created by flaking the ice (think margarita shaved ice), and then recompacting it to form a softer version of its former self.
So why are there only 3 reputable home nugget ice makers when the demand is so high?
Well, if we had to guess, it's probably because the production process is way more involved than a regular ice machine. In other words, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. This can become a huge headache for companies while the technology is still in the process of being perfected.
This is our longwinded way of saying, the KBIce maker creates tried-and-true nugget ice that buyers love. Even customers who had a unit that gave out early said the nugget ice was of great quality. While the machine isn't perfect, it does in fact make nugget ice.
3) Self Cleaning Function
Maintenance is a pain. Especially when it requires taking things apart and reading potentially confusing instructions. It's always nice when the manufacturer implements a self-cleaning function into the product. That way you know the ice maker is getting cleaned exactly as the company intended.
Here's the simple procedure for cleaning the KBIce nugget ice maker:
Basically, you fill it with water, push a button and drain the water when the clean cycle is completed. Here's the KBIce Quick Start Guide if you're interested in learning more about how this product functions.
4) Customer Service
Humor me for a second speed readers!!!
Open these 3 URLs in three separate tabs (it'll all make sense in a minute).
Go down near the bottom of the screen, just above where the reviews are. You'll see a search bar. Type in "customer service" and press enter on each page.
Scroll down a bit and you'll see every customer review that has the phrase "customer service" in it. You'll quickly find that KBIce's customer service has gotten nothing but phenomenal reviews.
We believe this to be one of the most important factors when considering the right nugget ice maker. Again, this technology is still in its infancy. Choosing a company that has your back will save you A TON of potential headaches.
What We Didn't Like
1) Requires Distilled Water
First off, it IS NOT surprising that the KBIce maker requires distilled water. High minerality in water can wreak havoc on metal-moving parts, and we're fairly confident all nugget ice makers should use distilled water.
With that being said...
If we're dropping over $400 on an ice maker, it's rational to have the expectation that the company provides everything needed for the unit to function properly.
Unfortunately this ice maker has neither an inherent water filter, nor does it have an external filter you can buy separately from the company (contrary to the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker).
Usually not a make-or-break situation for people with distilled water on hand. For those who were planning on using their local tap water, you may have to reconsider.
2) Low Ice Storage Capacity
With every single product we've ever reviewed, there's always one feature (or lack thereof) where our whole team is like, "what was the company thinking?!"
Unfortunately, the ice storage capacity on this unit is only 1-2 Lbs of nugget ice (compared to the 3 Lbs of storage available with the GE and Frigidaire models). We say one to two pounds because Amazon says 1 pound and KBIce's help forum says 2 lbs.
Seeing discrepancies like this is always a little disheartening when purchasing such an expensive product.
With that said, there were only a few customers who complained about having to frequently refill the water reservoir. Also, as the nugget ice melts in storage, it's recycled back into the water reservoir to be turned back into nugget ice. A cool feature considering the storage compartment isn't super insulated.
Suggestions Before You Buy
Before making a purchase, make sure to look at our suggestions list. We compile this list based on customer responses to help you avoid the issues others struggled with.
- We highly recommend investing in the 5 year protection plan. This is only available through Amazon! You'll see the option at the top of the page on the right hand side just underneath the "buy now" button and the "return policy." BY FAR the most common complaint from unhappy customers is that their unit gave out way too early.
- Unless you have distilled water on hand, we recommend checking the hardness of your tap water to make sure it's under 100ppm hardness. This will ensure you can safely use your tap water in the ice maker without worries. Otherwise you'll have to use store-bought distilled water. A reverse osmosis water filtration system (affiliate link) will also work.
- The KBIce nugget maker requires a minimum clearance on all sides! Make sure you have the necessary space. KBIce says the unit needs "12 inches on the left side, ½ inch on the right, 2 inches at the back, and ½ inch on the top to ensure proper function of the unit". The dimensions of the unit are 12”W x 16”D x 17.5"H.
- Make sure you're happy with the functionality of the KBIce Maker before you make the purchase. Take a look at the video below for a full product demo.
Overall Product Rating
Overall, we're very impressed with KBIce's ability to create a countertop nugget ice maker that is like no other on the market. If the self-dispensing feature is an attractive quality to you, and you take customer service seriously, we can't recommend it enough.
We hope this review was helpful. It's VERY IMPORTANT that you leave a comment below if you have any recommendations for how we can improve this page.
We're not perfect!
We try to make these articles as comprehensive as we can, but there are always angles we miss. We'd like to know what those are!
Happy hunting 🙂
Founder of Robust Kitchen