Home Kitchen Things to Consider Before Buying a Portable Ice Maker

Things to Consider Before Buying a Portable Ice Maker

by Elizabeth N. Wilson

When you’re having a party and the drinks are flowing, the last thing you want to happen is to run out of ice.  Depending on the time and where the nearest store is, you may not be able to just run out and grab some more. That can be a disaster in party terms, no one wants to be drinking warm drinks.

That’s where a portable ice maker can come in to save the day. Rather than running out to grab more ice, or leaving your guests drinking lukewarm drinks, you can simply switch on this handy machine and make some more.  Keep the party going with a portable ice maker and we promise you won’t regret your purchase.

What is a Portable Ice Maker?

Portable ice makers do exactly as they say on the tin. Simply pour in some water and they will turn it into ice. They’re small enough to fit on a counter top and they don’t need an attachment to the water mains, just a plug outlet and they’re good to go.  They may cost a little to purchase, but they will save you a massive bill as you will never have to buy a bag of ice again.

How do They Work?

Portable ice makers don’t need attachment to a water mains in order to make ice, they simply require you to fill the basin with clean water. The machine will the move the water up to cold metal prongs to form the ice cubes, which will heat up to move the ice off of them. These cubes will collect in a little tray so that you can collect the ice once it’s finished. 

One important thing to remember is that ice makers aren’t freezers. They will keep the ice at a cold temperature but not cold enough to keep its shape, so it may melt if you don’t get to it in time. Most models automatically shut off when the ice tray is full, so it won’t stay cold at all. So, when buying and using a portable ice maker, remember to collect the ice regularly and store it in a freezer or use it straight away.


Portable ice makers come in a variety of sizes so that you can find one to fit the space requirements of your kitchen.  Usually, they are quite small but they vary in size. The larger the machine, the more capacity it will offer and the more ice you can get out of it in a single use. However, the larger the portable ice maker, the higher the weight, so if you’re planning on moving it around a lot, keep in mind how much weight you can manage to move.

The size of the machine will also affect its capacity. If you want a lot of ice, then you’ll need a bigger machine. These are usually best for parties and professional use. However, you can always use a smaller machine a few times and simply store the ice in a freezer for future use. It is also possible to purchase a built-in model for your kitchen so you don’t have to move it around, but these usually come with a higher price tag and aren’t portable.


Different portable ice makers will have different speeds of making ice. The faster you need the machine to work, the more you will generally need to pay. However, if your family goes through a lot of ice, or you’re having a large gathering, you may want to consider a machine with a high capacity and a high speed. Remember that these machines aren’t fully automatic, you will need to take some time to fill and refill the machine between uses to make sure it keeps going. 


Portable ice makers vary in the additional features they offer. The more innovative the features, the higher the price point, but these features make it worth the investment. Below are some features to consider if you’re looking to purchase a new portable ice maker.

  • Cube Size Selection

This feature will allow you to choose how large you would like your ice cubes to be.  This allows you to customise the ice to the drinks you are making, which is especially useful for cocktails.

  • Ice Scoop

An ice scoop makes taking the ice out of the machine much easier as you don’t have to take out all the ice at once, you can simply take out as much as you need.

  • Removeable Tray

If your portable ice maker doesn’t come with a scoop, it will almost definitely come with a removeable tray so that you can remove the ice quickly and easily.

  • Automatic Timer

A timer makes it easy to set how long the machine stays on for, or when to turn on so that you always have ice when you need it.

  • Self-Cleaning

To keep up with health and safety, it’s important to keep your portable ice maker clean.  That’s where a self-cleaning function can really come in handy, as it makes this maintenance much faster.

How to Clean a Portable Ice Machine

To make sure you don’t risk any stomach upsets, it’s important to regularly clean your portable ice maker. Start by taking out the ice tray and clean the interior with a diluted mixture of cleaning solution, lemon juice and warm water.  Use a soft cloth to make sure you don’t cause any scratches where bacteria can develop. Run a few batches of water through the machine and discard the ice to make sure there is no cleaning solution left inside the machine.

Clean the exterior with a mixture of mild detergent and warm water, then dry with a soft towel. If you’re looking to keep your party going and make sure you don’t run out of that essential party ingredient, a portable ice maker is the perfect investment. No longer will you ever have to worry if you have enough ice for your guests, because you can simply make more.

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