Written by:
Michael

Updated
08/17/2022

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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 small nugget ice makers that break the mold so that 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.

Below we've outlined the best portable nugget ice makers to date. It should also be noted that these models are the best small nugget ice makers on the market. 

Enjoy!

Our #1 Pick

GE-opal-ice-machine

The GE Opal Sonic Ice Maker is one of the most reviewed, portable 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 comparatively decent price.

-Best Small/Portable Nugget Ice Makers- 


1) GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker V2

This is the upgraded version of the GE Opal, which is probably the most popular countertop nugget ice maker ever made. Like Version 1, this model perfectly crunchable nugget ice at a respectable pace of 24 pounds per day. The update added some sophisticated smart features, like voice commands and wifi connectivity. 

That means you can control your GE Opal 2.0 with GE’s SmartHQ app. It lets you keep track of the device’s status and schedule ice production, so you can have a full bin waiting for you when you get home from work. If you’re setting the machine by hand, the LED-illuminated controls are easy to see and simple to program. 

A few reviews complain about the noise level, but that’s true with every nugget ice machine. The process is a bit louder than standard ice making, and so far there’s no way around this. However, many customers note that the 2.0 is quieter than the original model. Those reporting loud squealing or grinding noises are likely using unfiltered water, which can cause mineral buildup in the machine.

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

GE-opal-ice-machine

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Built-in WiFi and voice control
  • UV light and self-cleaning make maintenance easier
  • Available in 2 colors: stainless steel and black
  • “The machine is easy to clean and drain. Just pop off the tube on the back.”
  • Produces restaurant-quality nugget ice
  • Optional side reservoir for extra capacity

Cons

  • Warranty is limited and replacement takes time
  • “I wish this came with a little bucket to put the ice scooper in.”
  • Substantial price tag
  • “It takes 1 hour for 1 pound of ice.”

2) Gevi Household Nugget Ice Maker

Gevi’s nugget ice maker doesn’t have as many reviews as the Opal, but the customers who did respond had overwhelmingly positive takes. The ice you’ll get from this machine is crisp and crunchy, and the thick insulation helps it last longer in the bin. That’s unusual for nugget ice. You can’t freeze it without destroying the delicious flakiness, so it usually melts very quickly. In the Gevi, though, your ice will stay nicely chilled for a while.

Another benefit of the thick walls is that they cut down on noise. No nugget ice maker is completely silent, but this one runs fairly quietly. And the Gevi Household has a relatively roomy ice basket that holds up to 4.8 pounds of pellets. Plus, unlike the GE Opal, you can connect this machine to a water line so you don’t need to refill it by hand.

Storage Capacity: 4.8 lbs
Daily Ice Production: 29 lbs
Warranty: 1 year warranty, lifetime tech support
Dimensions: 39.9 lbs, ‎17.6"D x 9.7"W x 16.9"H

gevi-nugget-ice-maker

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Comes in blue or white
  • 29-pound daily capacity
  • “The machine works great and the crunch the ice makes is fantastic!”
  • Responsive customer service
  • Clear indicators when the machine needs cleaning or refilling

Cons

  • “The machine was much heavier than I anticipated.”
  • “It needs a few inches on each side for ventilation.”
  • Ice bin may not stay full unless you open and close lid regularly

3) KBIce Self Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker

Kitchen Basics’ Self Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker adds an interesting twist in comparison to the other small 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’ small 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: 2 lbs
Daily Ice Production: 30 lbs
Warranty: 1-year parts and labor warranty
Dimensions: 40 lbs, 16” x 17.5” x 12” 

kbice-nugget-ice-maker

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 V2

Nugget ice takes longer than standard cubes to produce. So many countertop pellet ice makers run out of ice quickly. If that’s a frequent issue for you, you’ll appreciate the impressive 44-pound daily capacity of the Frigidaire Countertop.

This is the second version of Frigidaire’s portable pebble ice machine. It’s noticeably more compact than the original, and it requires no water hookup, making it great for taking on the road. On the other hand, that does mean there’s no option to set it for an automatic refill.

The updated model has very few reviews, so you’ll be taking a chance on this ice maker. In particular, it’s unclear whether Frigidaire has fixed the issue that caused frequent leaking in the original version. If you opt for this machine, we’d suggest sliding some towels or coasters under the front to tilt it back slightly. This helped prevent leaks with the old machine. And don’t run the Frigidaire 24/7 - version 1.0 was prone to breakage with constant use.

Storage Capacity: 3 lbs
Daily Ice Production: 44 lbs
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
Dimensions:‎  9.5 x 13.5 x 15.5 in; 25 Pounds

frigidaire-nugget-ice-maker

Our rating:

4 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Slim profile
  • Makes ice fast
  • Fairly lightweight
  • Antibacterial UV light to combat odors

Cons

  • Few reviews - hard to trust
  • Possible durability issues
  • Noisy
  • Complaints about customer service

5) Mueller Nugget Ice Maker

This nugget ice maker comes from a brand that’s well-known for producing reliable, sturdy appliances. Most of the reviews are too recent to speak to long-term durability. However, users of the Mueller Nugget Ice Maker generally report that it’s solidly built, low-noise, and simple to set up.

It can run without a water hookup, improving its portability, though it is on the heavy side. The top-loading design is convenient and cuts down on countertop drips. And if you prefer to skip the chore of refilling, you can connect the Mueller Nugget Ice Maker to a water line. That said, make sure you have enough space for this machine’s lid under your cabinets. Otherwise, you may have to slide it to scoop your ice.

Storage Capacity: 4.4 lbs
Daily Ice Production: 30 lbs
Warranty: Lifetime manufacturer warranty
Dimensions: 40.25 lbs, 17.6"D x 9.7"W x 16.9"H

mueller-nugget-ice-maker

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Sturdy build
  • Makes great nugget ice
  • “The button lights are easy to understand”
  • Low noise

Cons

  • “It does take some patience to get up and running.”
  • No reviews yet from long-term users
  • May not fit under some kitchen cabinets
  • “Heavy and awkward.”

6) Electactic Nugget Ice Maker

If there’s one thing that home nugget ice makers have in common, it’s that they’re expensive. But this countertop model from Electactic is more affordable than just about any of its competitors. And it boasts the same 44-pound daily capacity as the Frigidaire.

Given all of that, you might expect us to rank this machine higher. We have some reservations, though. Electactic is a mostly unknown brand, and its marketing materials make it look like one of those notorious fly-by-night Amazon sellers that pop up for a year or two and then vanish. And with only 26 reviews, it’s hard to know whether this product is worth your trust.

Still, the majority of those reviews have good things to say about the speed and convenience of the Electactic Nugget Ice Maker. If you’re willing to take a gamble in exchange for a wallet-friendly price, then this machine might be right for you.

Storage Capacity: 5 lbs
Daily Ice Production: 44 lbs
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
Dimensions: 29 lbs, 9.5 x 13.2 x 15.3 inches

electactic-nugget-ice-maker

Our rating:

4.5 / 5 Stars

Pros

  • Low cost for a nugget ice maker
  • “It makes and holds a lot of ice…fast!!”
  • One of the more compact options
  • Timer with digital display

Cons

  • Hard to know if seller is reliable
  • Some complaints about durability

7) Thereye Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

The Thereye Countertop does just what it says on the box - produces a steady supply of high-quality pellet ice. It’s not the cheapest, fastest, or most    
feature-rich machine on the market. But it gets the job done. Multiple reviews emphasize that it continues running smoothly even when you keep it in constant use for large, ice-hungry families.

The usual cautions apply with this machine: use filtered or reverse osmosis water, unplug it every so often to let it rest, and be aware that it will make some noise while in use. The good news is that the machine comes with clear instructions, making setup easy.

Storage Capacity: 3.3 lbs
Daily Ice Production: 30 lbs
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 17 inches; 39.8 lbs

thereye-nugget-ice-maker

Our rating:

4/ 5 Stars

Pros

  • “This ice maker came with the simplest manual and quick hands-on instructions.”
  • Works well even with high demand.
  • “Small and easy to use.”

Cons

  • Won’t automatically reload the ice bin unless you open it
  • Some reports of leaking
  • On the slow side

Consider Before You Buy


Check the Dimensions

Something to consider before purchasing a portable pellet 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 small nugget ice makers aren't so when trying to store. 

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 sonic 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 with your portable 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 portable sonic 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 portable pellet 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 Portable Sonic 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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