5 Best Nugget Ice Makers of 2021: Expert Reviews, Comparison, and Price Lists

For this review, we tested 5 of the best nugget ice makers available on the market.

Trends come and go, but nugget ice is forever. Practically every household uses ice, especially in the heat of summer, but the hard crunch of a traditional ice cube can be a real pain. If only there was a way to have your cool ice without the hardness – oh, wait – there is.

What you need in your life is a nugget ice maker. Designed to create ice that’s cool to eat but softer to chew, it is the perfect solution for those hot summer days. Why not take a look at our selection of the best nugget ice makers and sonic ice makers? We know you’ll love them. 

Table of Contents

What is Nugget Ice, aka “The Good Ice”?

Why is nugget ice such a big deal, and what makes it so special when you compare it to the cool and traditional cube? Well, the truth is that nugget ice gives you all of the things you love about this frozen treat with all the softness of something more akin to a hard ice cream.

Even when you compare it to crushed ice there is a big difference. Crushed ice is made from, well, crushed ice cubes. However, nugget ice is made from delicate flakes of ice that have been compacted into delicate little nuggets.

As a result, you get lovely and airy pellets that melt slower than traditional cubes and allow your drink to penetrate them for added flavor. They are gentler on the teeth, with a softer texture that is still very appealing to the avid ice-eater but without any difficulty or discomfort. It comes as no shock that the criteria are quite vast to find the best nugget ice makers.

Lucky for you, we did all the hard work.

Best Nugget Ice Makers

Product

Features

Prices

As usual, the first unit we’ll take a look at is the overall best nugget ice maker

Best Nugget Ice Maker Reviews (or sonic ice makers)

BEST OVERALL

Once again, GE has completely wow’d us by their sleek innovation.

I’m an ice-fiend. I use my GE Profile Opel Nugget Ice Maker daily. In fact, before buying this one, I wore out 3 over the last 5 years (non GE, but still good).

With ice pellets about 1/2″ long and 1/4″ in diameter, I found it soft enough to chew while hard enough to chill all my drinks. 

The cherry on the top is the built-in cleaning function. 

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Features We Love

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CONS

This nugget ice maker truly is the best on the market, offering quick and efficient ice production that leaves everyone at the party feeling cool and refreshed. It’s the ideal size for the home as well, with a sleek and compact design that tucks away nicely on the counter.

While the bin does have a small capacity, it is easy to get things started again. The machine only takes 20 minutes to make the ice, and you can start the process manually or using the app on your phone via Bluetooth – what more could you want?

The smart sensors on the machine work to ensure that the bin never overfills – switching off production as soon as this is realized. This keeps the machine safe from potential damage and also avoids the risk of overspill all over your lovely counters.

Installation is quick and easy, you’ll be ready to go in a matter of minutes. Maintenance and cleaning is also a breeze. The fact that it is portable also means that you can switch things up. Want to host in the garden but keep the ice close? No problem, move the machine. 

PREMIUM CHOICE

As most people can agree, a cold beverage in the summer is just abut the best thing. We’ve all been there – running to the grocery store or gas station when we need ice.

However, my experience with the TaoTronics Nugget Ice Maker has been a very favorable one. While arriving in a much bigger box than expected, the machine was heavy. Despite the size, the ice is incredible. Often referred to as “the good ice”, I can see why.

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Features We Love

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CONS

The fact that this nugget ice machine works with or without a water supply is an absolute dream. It makes life so much easier, providing you with greater flexibility with regards to its placement and how it’s used. Party outside? Go for it. Party inside? You bet.

In just 18 minutes, you have a full 3lb ice bin that’s ready to serve people. In a day, it can easily produce 26lbs of nugget ice – giving everyone the chance for some cool refreshments. It looks great too, fitting in with the aesthetic of any space and offering a modern design.

Once the ice bin is full, the smart system will detect this and stop more ice from being produced. This prevents leaks and overspills as well as protecting the machine from damage. Using it is also really simple, with a series of clearly labelled controls to help you get the hang of things.

To get the self-cleaning started, it couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is press the clean button for three seconds and it will start a five-minute cycle. This flushes everything out and clears the system so that you aren’t at risk of mould and mildew. 

Editor’s Choice

Often considered a rival to the fan-favorite GE Opel, the NewAir Nugget Ice Maker provides a budget-friendly alternative in the good ice show-down.

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Features We Love

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CONS

Starting off with probably the most impressive feature of this nugget ice maker, the fact that it is able to produce a batch of ice in a mere five minutes. It is the fastest on the market, and certainly blew us away when we tried it out. The best part? It’s good nugget ice too.

It is incredibly compact, fitting in everything you would expect from a commercial nugget ice maker into one that slides in with your home. It can sit comfortably on the countertop and is completely portable, allowing you to move it around as needed for events or personal use.

Could it be the holy grail of nugget ice makers? We think so. It even has a little viewing window for the ice, allowing you to keep an eye on how full the bin is, it can produce a good 40lbs a day. Its ice-cold interior also means there is no risk of the ice melting throughout the day.

It comes with a handy scoop so that you can get those servings out quickly. The self-cleaning function is exceptional, reducing the risk of mould and mildew by flushing itself out after every use. Nervous about BPA plastics? We get it, and this nugget ice maker has none at all.

Honorable Mention

While the Frigidaire EFIC235-AMZ is significantly cheaper than our top 3 picks, it comes at a cost.

The machine is very loud – so much so that we think you should take into consideration spending a bit more and not having that issue in the future.

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CONS

It has such an elegant design, unlike anything we’ve seen in a sonic ice maker before. Sleek, modern, stylish, it’s sure to fit in with the aesthetic of any home. It’s also unbelievably lightweight, allowing you to transport it from location to location with effortless ease.

It doesn’t need a water hookup, which makes outdoor gatherings even easier to host. It also has a superb 3lb capacity and can make 44lbs of ice in a day. After just 15 minutes, your nugget ice will be ready to go – allowing you to enjoy the cool and refreshing feel in no time.

The settings and controls are exceptionally easy to use, with a smooth control panel that allows you to switch between ice production and cleaning as well as switch on the regular light and UV one. It also has an indicator to let you know when the ice is full.

This machine has a reservoir, which means when the ice eventually melts it goes back into it to be remade into nuggets. This is highly efficient and ensures that you always have a supply readily available. Being able to recycle the water will also save money on your water bill.

Honorable Mention

If you live with others and are hygienically-minded, the KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget Ice Maker is for you. 

As the 1st self-dispensing machine on the market, this unit offers something truly unique. If you don’t mind paying a little more for some well-deserved luxury, the KBIce unit is for you. 

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Three buttons are all you need. One to clean, one to make the nuggets, and one to dispense them. This nugget ice maker keeps things simple, allowing you to fill your glass as often as you like at the press of a button. Sometimes, you can be too fancy with these things.

It makes ice quickly, taking only 30 minutes to create around 1lb of ice. This is great for those hot days where you want to enjoy the cool touch of ice without waiting forever for the freezer to get the cubes solid. What’s more, its daily ice production is fantastic at 24lbs.

There is no water hookup needed, making it fully portable so that as long as you have a power outlet you will be able to enjoy the benefits of this fantastic little machine. It’s best to use distilled water with this machine, and recommended by the manufacturer, for the best results.

If you’re worried about stale water, mould, and mildew, don’t be. This nugget ice maker has a self-cleaning function that flushes everything out and keeps it running smoothly. There is also a fantastic 1-year warranty to keep you covered in case anything happens.

How is Nugget Ice Made?

The process of creating nugget ice is completely different to a traditional ice cube. With this, there are no trays of water thrown in the freezer – there’s a lot more science and pizazz to the process.

First, the water is funnelled into a cylinder where it is frozen. The result of this is thin sheets of ice. Next, the ice is pushed through an auger and shaved to create flaked ice – tiny fragments that can’t quite be considered shaved ice but are also definitely not cubed.

The flaked ice is then compressed, forming larger nugget-shaped lumps that will retain their structure when cold but break down almost instantly once they touch the warmth of your lips. It’s the perfect way to enjoy your drink as well as the refreshing cold of the ice afterwards. 

Wrapping Up

For us, the GE Profile Opal was the clear winner for the best nugget ice maker. While every model we have featured is excellent, this one really stole the show. It has style, tons of great features, and it works quickly so that you can get your party started.

NewAir came a close second, offering a compact design and superb quality that really gives you value for money. Self-cleaning and free from BPA, what more could you want from a speedy little machine like this? 

 

No matter which model you choose, we know your life is about to change for the better. Make sure you let us know how you got on with your new nugget ice maker. We can’t wait to hear.