Written by:
Michael

Updated
09/18/2021

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Nugget ice makers can sometimes be visualized as an oversized, cumbersome machine that takes up more space than most of us can afford. There are, however, some nugget ice makers that break the mold so everyone has an opportunity to experience the best type of ice on Earth. 

Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfectly chilled beverage, or maybe you just want to munch on some tasty nugget ice, we’ve made it a little easier by researching the top brands and compiling a list just for you.

Our #1 Pick

The GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker is one of the most reviewed ice makers on the market, and for good reason. It delivers in all the right areas, from a good ice storage capacity, to blue tooth connectivity, all at a decent price.

-Best Small/Portable Nugget Ice Makers- 


1) GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker V1

GE’s Opal Nugget Ice Maker 1.0 is one of the most reviewed countertop ice nugget makers on the market. It features a relatively standard capacity to store up to 3 pounds at any time and 24 pounds throughout the day. According to several people who left reviews, this is more than enough ice per day. Interestingly, this machine comes with an optional side tank; the side tank costs an extra $50 but it saves you from having to fill the machine as often.

Most of the negative reviews centered around the lack of any real, comprehensive warranty or support from GE when their nugget ice maker malfunctioned. GE’s Opal Nugget Ice Maker 1.0 also offers an app with Bluetooth connectivity to schedule ice production and monitor the machine. Some reviewers did state that the Opal app was lackluster and “pretty basic."  

Storage Capacity: 3lb
Daily Ice Production: 24lb
Warranty: Limited 1-year entire appliance
Dimensions: 47lb, 15.5” x 16.5” x 10.5”

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Built-in Bluetooth connectivity to pair with Opal app
  • Produces perfect nugget ice
  • Optional side tank
  • 15 minutes or less first batch production

Cons

  • Warranty is limited and replacement takes time
  • Heavier - 47lb machine
  • Only made in stainless steel
  • Opal app is simplistic and limited

2) GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker V2

While version 1 of GE’s Opal Nugget Ice Maker is similar in size and design, version 2 sets itself apart with a few interesting additions. Instead of relying on the more simplistic Opal app and Bluetooth connectivity, GE’s Opal Nugget Ice Maker 2.0 utilizes WiFi and voice control. The voice control is operated through either Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s OK Google functionality. Through these applications, you can turn the nugget ice maker on and off, and you can also control the built-in ice bin light. 

To set itself apart, version 2 also comes with a self-cleaning system and a built-in UV light to help reduce bacteria. However, these self-cleaning tools are meant to be utilized alongside an Opal cleaning kit to be fully effective. 

What seems to be a trend for GE is the often-cited complaint about the warranty and lack of support provided by the company. With an “upgrade” in price, GE’s Opal Nugget Ice Maker 2.0 still has a 3-pound ice bin capacity, 24-pound daily ice production, and the warranty is still the same.

Storage Capacity: 3lb
Daily Ice Production: 24lb
Warranty: Limited 1-year entire appliance
Dimensions: 38lb, 17.5” x 16.5” x 13.43”  

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Built-in WiFi and voice control
  • UV light and self-cleaning makes maintenance easier
  • Available in 2 colors, stainless steel, and black
  • Produces the kind of nugget ice you want

Cons

  • Warranty is limited and replacement takes time
  • Heavier - 47lb machine
  • Only made in stainless steel
  • Lofty $600 price tag

3) KBIce Self Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker

Kitchen Basics’ Self Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker adds an interesting twist in comparison to the other nugget ice makers on this list. This appliance is closer in design to the ice dispenser that you might find on your refrigerator. You set your cup under a dispenser, hold a button, and bam, you’ve got munchy, crunchy nugget ice. No scoops, no spills...less mess? Reviewers complain that the machine, when at capacity, can be known to dispense ice nuggets at random times; sometimes causing water spots around the base.

Part of the luxury of having a self-dispensing ice machine is giving up ice bin capacity. Kitchen Basics’ nugget ice maker only holds 2 pounds of ice at a time, the smallest ice bin capacity on this list. While that might not make much of an impact for everyday, normal use, it could cause some issues if you’re having a get-together. Unlike some of the others being featured, reviewers seem to appreciate KB’s customer service and return/exchange policy. 

Storage Capacity: 2lb
Daily Ice Production: 30lb
Warranty: 1-year parts and labor warranty
Dimensions: 40lb, 16” x 17.5” x 12” 

Our rating:

4 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Solid customer service
  • Produces 30lbs of ice per day
  • Unique self-dispensing device
  • LED panel for cleaning, water level, & power

Cons

  • Noisy at times
  • Low ice bin capacity
  • Only available in 1 style 
  • Takes 25 minutes to start producing ice

4) Frigidaire Countertop Nugget Ice Maker 

This nugget ice maker is simultaneously the largest and lightest machine on this list. The Frigidaire Countertop Nugget Ice Maker's size lends itself to a huge 44-pound daily ice production but makes it considerably harder to store in smaller spaces or inside any cupboards. 

Several purchasers noted that they needed to put the machine on a tilt in order to stop the ice maker from leaking excess water onto the counter. While Frigidaire hasn’t responded to any of the complaints, one reviewer mentioned that stacking a few hand towels beneath the machine helps. This nugget ice maker is considerably cheaper than GE’s Opal ice makers, but it’s up to you if it is worth dealing with potential leaking.

Storage Capacity: 3lb
Daily Ice Production: 44lb
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
Dimensions:‎ 19lb, 17” x 19” x 12”

Our rating:

4 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Produces ice within 15 minutes of set up
  • Closer to midrange pricing
  • Massive 44lb daily production
  • The lightest machine at 19lbs

Cons

  • Design faults might occasionally cause small leaks
  • The height makes it difficult to store or even put on some countertops
  • Very small drain pan
  • Noisy 

5) Taotronics Nugget Ice Maker

The biggest issue with Taotronics’ Nugget Ice Maker is that there aren’t many reviews to go off. It’s a fairly large machine, only available in silver. That being said, the few available reviews indicate that this is a solid machine. It’s built sturdy, heavy, and produces up to 26 pounds of ice per day with an ice bin capacity of a little over 3 pounds.  

Unlike most of the others, this nugget ice maker allows you to connect a water line, which means you won’t have to refill every day. That also means it’ll be slightly more complicated to install and set up. You’ll also need to consider purchasing a water filter before connecting your waterline to this nugget ice maker. Taotronics also gave their nugget ice maker a self-cleaning option, however, it requires you to clean it manually as well.

Storage Capacity: 3.3lb
Daily Ice Production: 26lb
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
Dimensions: 40lb, 16.7” x 9.5” x 16.7”

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Attachable water line for ease of use
  • LED panel for power, cleaning, capacity, and when to add water
  • 18 minutes to produce nugget ice
  • Well insulated, keeps ice in bin frozen for a while

Cons

  • Heavy & bulky
  • Noisy vibrations
  • Retails for $550
  • Very limited amount of reviews

6) RaySonics Nugget Ice Maker

RaySonics’ Nugget Ice Maker is a very familiar design; truthfully, it’s almost identical in design to Taotronics’ Nugget Ice Maker. In fact, both listings include the same (slightly edited) photos. That doesn’t mean they’re identical all the way through though. 

The biggest difference between the two is the price. RaySonics Nugget Ice Maker retails for nearly $200 less than Taotronics. RaySonics also has more verifiable-purchasers to obtain information from. According to those reviews, this ice maker is a reliable, sturdy machine that is heavy, loud at times, turns out 26 pounds of delicious nugget ice per day and can store a little over 3 pounds of ice at any time. RaySonics Nugget Ice Maker also includes a self-cleaning option, but you’ll still need to do some manual cleaning on this one too. 

Storage Capacity: 3.3lb
Daily Ice Production: 26lb
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
Dimensions: 40lb, 10” x 17” x 17”

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Waterline capable for automatic refills
  • Affordable pricing
  • Sturdy
  • Produces great, tasty nugget ice

Cons

  • The ice bin is not well insulated
  • Slow to start making ice
  • Customer service is lacking
  • Heavy & bulky

7) J122 Nugget Ice Maker

While J122 might not be a household name, this nugget ice maker is perfectly adequate at doing its job. The lack of reviews, while slightly concerning, does answer a few important questions. The machine isn’t very loud, the ice is tasty, and it’s a bit slower to start than expected. 

The most impressive part of J122’s Nugget Ice Maker is its ability to store just over five pounds of ice at any time; this makes it the largest storage capacity on the list. Also, while it isn’t a big difference, this machine is somewhat lighter and smaller in size than some of the bulkier nugget ice makers listed.

Storage Capacity: 5.3lb
Daily Ice Production: 26lb
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
Dimensions: 37 lb, 16.7” x 16” x 9.5”

Our rating:

4/ 5 Stars

Pros

  • Recycles melted ice to create more nugget ice
  • Self-cleaning
  • Midrange pricing
  • Great nugget ice

Cons

  • Low amount of reviews
  • Slow to produce ice
  • The glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet

Consider Before You Buy


Check the Dimensions

Something to consider before purchasing a countertop nugget ice maker is to make sure it is going to fit onto your countertop. Most standard countertops are roughly 25 inches from the wall to the edge of the counter, so it’s doubtful that you’ll need to worry too much about any of these. 

Additionally, you should make sure you look into where you might store this machine in the event that you need to hide it away for whatever reason. Some of these nugget ice makers are taller than the others.

Clearance Needed?

Speaking of breaking out the measuring tape! Make sure that if you’re going to be setting up the nugget ice machine on a countertop with any overhead obstacles that you carefully measure the available space, and choose the right appliance. 

The tallest machine on this list is 19 inches. It’s possible the spot you’ve picked out might not have enough clearance for the nugget ice maker to fit. Also, make sure you give yourself enough room to open the ice maker, use the LED panels, and clean it easily.

Production Quantity 

These 7 ice makers have a range of production loads and ice bin capacities. On the low end, these machines produce up to 24 pounds of ice per day, and all the way up to 44 pounds per day. 

While it seems only practical that you store excess nugget ice in the freezer, the ice will all freeze together and no longer be "nugget" ice. 

Furthermore, when comparing the 24 pound-capacity machines to the sole 44-pound machine, keep in mind that according to the customer reviews, 24 pounds is more than enough to make drinks for your whole family. 44 pounds might come in handy if you are making and storing a lot of ice for future use.

Storage Capacity 

Each machine also has ice bins to store the ice that is churned out during the day. The ice bin storage sizes range from 2 pounds to just over 5 pounds, with the average being about 3 pounds. 

In contrast, if you’re hosting this year’s Christmas party, and you’ve already promised everyone drinks with chewable, munchable nugget ice - 2 pounds might not cut it, an larger production model may be the ticket. 

Water Filter & Cleaning 

Each one of these nugget ice machines gives the buyer the same cautious advice.

Using filtered bottled water, distilled water or a water filter will give you the best results; but what does that really mean? 

If you decide to use tap water in your nugget ice maker, you most likely won’t have an easy time in the long run. While some reviewers state that they never have problems with tap water, it really all depends on where that water comes from.

If your local tap water is hard then it could cause your machine to have extra build-up inside and eventually stop working. The easy solution to this problem is to use the right kind of water. Whether that be bottled, distilled, or filtered - It’s better to do things right the first time. 

We recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions for frequency of cleaning and the exact "how-to". Some of these nugget ice makers have a self-cleaning functionality, however, you should still read the instructions and take note of any extra steps involved with the cleaning and descaling processes. 

Only 2 of the nugget ice makers listed above have the ability to connect to a water line, in these cases, it’s highly recommended for you to purchase a filter to avoid any problems and keep your ice nugget machine as fresh as possible, for as long as possible.

In the end, using the right kind of water and keeping your machine clean is important to continually give you the best-tasting nugget ice. 

Warranty (extended warranty option?)

All 7 of these ice makers come with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty that’s fairly limited. Some of the brands listed above have better reviews when it comes to customer service than others. It’s important when you pull your ice maker out of the box to immediately check for any defects, dents, or missing items.

Be sure to let your ice maker sit up-right for at least 24 hours before using it and throw away the first batch it makes. This helps get any residual dust or chemicals from the factory out of the ice so it doesn’t ruin your experience. 

Frigidaire’s Countertop Nugget Ice Maker stands out for having an optional 5-year appliance protection plan from Assurant. This covers 100% of the functional parts and labor for normal, household use, so long as it was purchased from Amazon.

Concluding


Finding the space to add an extra appliance to your kitchen can be cumbersome. A smaller, portable countertop-sized nugget ice machine is essential to preserve space, and still give you that sonic-style, munchable, crunchable nugget ice. 

Cheers,

Michael

Founder of Robust Kitchen

About the author

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.


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