Undercounter ice makers (aka built-in ice makers) are a great choice for anyone who wants to make a lot of ice in the shortest possible amount of time. Unlike portable ice makers which come in a smaller size and ensure the option of portability, these machines have bulkier footprints and are usually difficult to move around.
Despite this, the best undercounter ice makers are compact enough to fit seamlessly into your kitchen without overwhelming the space available. Their heavy weight might make them difficult to install or move around but if you are looking to make a lot of ice, they are a great option.
Undercounter ice makers are well-suited to large area installations, like a bar, college canteen, restaurant, cold drinks shop, or company break-rooms. Though they are more expensive than countertop models (almost double), they provide higher capacity production and better performance capabilities (up to 500lbs/day). With the spacious, oversized ice buckets, they can also contain a larger amount of ice.
How to Buy the Best Undercounter Ice Maker
Before delving into the reviews, it’s important to look at what’s available and be clear about what you need. If you follow the instructions below, you’ll be sure to end up with the best built-in ice maker for you. Things to consider:
At this point, you need to figure out exactly how much ice the machine can contain at one time. Built primarily for commercial purpose, a good undercounter ice maker must offer enough storage space to meet most of the ice demands for any form of use. The ability to store about 5 lbs of ice at a time will suffice to serve a dinner gathering or an outdoor party for 7-10 people.
To make an appropriate final buying decision, do not forget to evaluate how much ice per day you need on average. If you plan on using the ice maker for commercial purposes, the yield of the machine should be more than 26 pounds per day. On the other hand, capacity ranging from producing 12 pounds to 20 pounds of ice a day seems to be more than good enough for residential purposes.
Type of Ice
You can find built-in ice machines that will freeze the water into different shapes: dice shape or bullet shape are popular, while some others are designed to make nugget ice, cube ice, or crescent ice.
- Dice ice: This is the best ice for mixed and soft drinks. The ice is slow to melt so it will not change the flavor of your drinks as drastically.
- Crescent ice: This ice is great for soft drinks, mixed drinks and blended drinks. It’s not ideal for sipping drinks like cocktails and whiskey, because it melts and cools and dilutes your drink quite quickly.
- Nugget ice: This ice is small and soft, which should be the perfect choice for soft drinks, fountain drinks, and blended cocktails. Because it has a softer consistency, it melts and waters down your drinks very quickly. The softness also makes it very easy to break down when chewed. That’s why nugget ice is more favored by ice chewers.
- Bullet-shaped ice: The ice melts into your drink more quickly than dice ice or crescent ice. It’s perfect for soft drinks, margaritas, iced tea, and blended beverages.
- Gourmet ice (aka top-hat ice): This ice is commonly served in high-end liquors and upscale drinks. It’s the slowest melting on this list, and cools your drinks quite well.
Under-counter ice makers are roughly comparable to mini fridges. As stated above, with a heavy weight (around 50 pounds) and relatively large size, these devices may look a little bulky in your kitchen and may not suit those with space constraints. Therefore, before you pay, make sure the installation area is roomy enough for the machine to steadily stand.
Furthemore, having in mind where you want to install the device will then allow you to identify the right size and type. So you can be positive to get one that is entirely capable of satisfying your needs in terms of ice production and storage.
Reviews of The Best Undercounter Ice Makers in 2021
Now it’s time to take a peek at some of the top options and shop for the one that suits you most.
- Scotsman CU50GA-1A Undercounter Ice Maker – Best to Buy 2021
- VEVOR 110V/230W Stainless Steel Machine – Best Commercial Undercounter Ice Maker
- Manitowoc SM50A-161 SM50 Undercounter– Best Portable Clear Undercounter Ice Maker
- Costway Commercial Ice Maker Automatic Portable – Best Automatic Freestanding Undercounter Ice Maker
Top-rated Undercounter Ice Makers Comparison Chart
|Product||Production capacity||Storage capacity||Material type||Warranty|
|65 lbs||26 lbs||Stainless steel||1 year|
|VEVOR 110V/230W||550 lbs||350 lbs||Stainless steel||2 years|
|Manitowoc SM50A-161 SM50||53 lbs||25 lbs||Stainless steel||3 years|
|Costway Machine||88 lbs||33 lbs||Stainless steel + iron painting||N/A|
Here’s our picks for the Best Undercounter Ice Makers.
1. Scotsman CU50GA-1A – Best To Buy 2021
The Scotsman CU50GA-1A is a heavy-duty ice maker, cranking out up to 65 lbs of gourmet ice per day. With the ability to store 26 lbs on a daily basis, it is entitled to be the ideal machine for any under-counter or bar application.
- Has power cord for safe installation
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Long-lasting ice
- Approved for outdoor use
- Heavy weight
Why You Will Like It
This machine is not the most efficient ice maker on our list. But when it comes to consistent performance, nothing can beat the Scotsman CU50GA-1A. The machine also stands out from the rest with its WaterSense technology.
We like that the water-quality sensor can detect hard water conditions and purge mineral-laden water very effectively. Thanks to this possibility, beyond extending the time between routine maintenance, the unit can also ensure your beverage’s flavor profile remains uncontaminated for a long period of time. So you no longer have to worry about sacrificing quality for quantity.
The Scotsman CU50GA-1A is a user-friendly ice maker, with an intuitive control panel. During every freezing cycle, you will immediately be alerted to any changes in the machine’s status. Via its accessible control panel, not only can you follow the daily ice production closely, but you’re also able to protect your machine against any electric problems.
This slow-melting ice maker isn’t too noisy when operating, but definitely not the quietest. Since the produced crystal clear ice cubes are pretty large, you can hear them dropping out into the bin from another room.
That being said, in comparison to other models featured with a powerful motor, its noise level can be considered relatively average. So for many users, it’s not a huge deal at all.
Also, it should be noted that, although most Scotsman’s stainless steel ice makers are certified for outdoor use, it might be safer to keep them away from extreme weather elements such as rain or direct sunshine.
What Can Be Improved
The only downside we can really think of is that it’s a little bit expensive. However, what you receive are first-rate materials, modern technologies and long-term productivity. It’s worth every penny you pay, honestly.
All in all, this gravity drain model ensures the production of high quality gourmet ice that’s harder, denser and will melt far more slowly than average ice cubes. So, if you have had your eye on the Scotsman name and can afford to pay for a new kitchen companion, do not hesitate to give it a chance.
2. VEVOR 110V/230W – Best Commercial Undercounter Ice Maker
The reason why the VEVOR was successful to grab a spot in our list is that it’s now one of the rare ice makers in the market that can provide up to 500-550 lbs of ice per day. With the Vevor ice maker, keeping up with your demand is no longer a concern.
- Quick and convenient
- Amazing capacity
- High technologies
- Lower energy consumption
- Lack of proper installation instructions
Why You Will Like It
The VEVOR is the fastest and most powerful ice maker on our list, producing 182 clear cubes in 8-15 minutes. Its storage capacity is also very impressive, which can accomodate 350lbs of ice at a time.
As a great bonus, the machine features a double-layer thickened foam insulation layer, which aids in isolating external heat and providing better insulation. With this function, your ice cubes can be prevented from melting for 5-7 hours, which is definitely an astonishing upgrade in technology from its rivals.
The VEVOR is a versatile ice maker, allowing you to choose between three different ice sizes (thin, middle, thick). For sure you will find the ideal one for your specific need. It’s also a very convenient tool. Besides enabling you to set the time to make ice in advance (up to 5 hours), the machine will automatically inform users when the ice bin is full or when any problem is occurring through its smart LCD display panel. Plus, there are many protection settings which make this revolutionary ice maker much more reliable and safer to use than many traditional models.
Although it may take a little bit of time to master the control panel, once you get the hang of this, it will be super fun to experiment with different types of ice on your own.
Not only does the machine bring you convenience and efficiency when it comes to ice production, but it also saves you a lot of time and effort.
Constructed with stainless steel, this handsome free-standing ice maker promises to deliver its best performance for quite a long period of time (as long as it’s regularly maintained).
What Can Be Improved
The included booklet does not contain proper installation instructions. This means there’s no way you can get it into operation without consulting outsourced supports, unless you’re an expert in this industry.
VEVOR is one of the most affordable commercial ice makers available on the market that are satisfying in all respects. So far, it works great, produces lots of ice fast and is super easy to hook up once you’ve found outside support, deserving to be rewarded as the best ice maker for commercial application.
3. Manitowoc SM50A-161 SM50 Undercounter – Best Portable Clear Undercounter Ice Maker
Another great built-in ice maker that sits on loads of positive feedback from its satisfied users is the Manitowoc SM50A-161 SM50 – a perfect fit for hosting upscale parties at home.
- Ease of setup, access and maintenance
- Large ice bin
- Proper sanitation
- Convenient ice scoop
- Easy to access stored ice
- Energy and water savings (up to 25%)
- Delay start option
- No pump and water filter parts
Why You Will Like It
This undercounter appliance from Manitowoc Ice has truly revolutionized the ice machine world by saving at least 25% more water and 10% more energy while delivering up to 53 pounds of ice within 24 hours. It’s an outstanding breakthrough into a new level of convenience and performance.
Its self-contained bin effectively holds a standard of 25 lbs capacity, allowing you to make a huge amount of ice ahead of time or have it available for a hundred drinks per day. That excellent performance means SM50A, with an intelligent built-in, ensures that you don’t have to worry when running a busy operation.
Additionally, by equipping the products with a Delay Feature, the engineers at Manitowoc have successfully come up with a new approach to make their brand even more special.
To be more precise, this function permits the users to pause the ice making process for 4, 12, or even 24 hours so as to keep the machine dormant while it is not in operation.
The machine also has an illuminated power button with LED lights and a full bin indicator which will give you an advance notice during production. Those are just small features, yet add a lot to the overall satisfaction and ease of use.
What Can Be Improved
In agreement with many buyers, it’s a little bit noisy when producing ice. This is to be expected with any machine that has to deal with a high demand everyday.
Designed for use in either residential or business settings, this workhorse can be used in every home kitchen, office break room, moderate outdoor party, or fast food chains. Its stainless steel housing and nice looking appearance are a great solution for those worrying about it not fitting well with their kitchen interior décor.
4. Costway 88LBS/24H – Best Automatic Freestanding Undercounter Ice Maker
The Costway Automatic Freestanding Ice Maker machine is a very easy-to-use kitchen appliance designed with the objective of being powerful enough to provide sufficient quantities of ice at any point of time. It is also designed to be strong, durable and unbreakable.
- Auto shut off
- User friendly
- Smart LCD panel
- Reasonable price
- Relatively noisy
Why You Will Like It
Passing the stringent UL certification and authorized to be safely used for both commercial and residential purposes, the Costway gives you maximum peace of mind with protection against any unexpected failure.
Like the Vevor model, it allows you to freely control the ice thickness, and automatically shuts off when the storage bin is full. That means you don’t have to stand near the machine all the time to follow the operation. Plus, the ice is held well in the cold preservation stage to make sure it doesn’t all melt too quickly.
We’re also highly impressed by its ability to self-clean with the press of a button on the control panel, which is very easy to use and set up.
Included with its large 33-pound storage capacity are an ice scoop for convenient ice cube transferring, a water line with quick-connect filter to the faucet, and a pipe for water drainage. For sure, this will be a great purchase for anyone wanting the convenience of installation and lower cost of operation.
What Can Be Improved
The only weakness of this smart programming tool is that it’s quite loud. But I think that is just a small price to pay for a machine that can produce ice on a large scale constantly.
The product from Costway is proving to be a shining example of a modern ice making machine that (1) comes at a competitive price, but with high quality design and sustainable construction, (2) possesses many exclusive features, which aim at providing users a more flexible way to get the best outcomes.
Undercounter ice makers are a super convenient tool for when you want to make a lot of ice in a short amount of time. Compared with portable ice makers, they have a stronger motor, larger capacity, and much more solid construction. They run more efficiently, but also take up more space, and are relatively more noisy. Though it’s expensive, it’s worth every penny. If you want to buy a good one, our reviews of the best undercounter ice makers have almost everything you need to know to make the most informed purchase.