Our recommendations are made independently through Research & Testing. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links.

Best Countertop Ice Makers in 2024 Tested and Reviewed

We tested and reviewed over 10 of the best countertop bullet ice makers and were surprised by some of the results. Read on to find out how we test ice makers and which ones made it to the top of our list.

By , , and ·Updated
Four best countertop ice makers on a countertop with two rows of additional ice makers on a shelf in the background.

A portable ice maker has a built-in water reservoir and therefore no need for an inlet water line. The most popular of these countertop ice machines make bullet-shaped ice. Bullet ice makers are an affordable and fast way to make ice. They are easy to keep clean while also quiet to run.

How We Test

Two portable bullet ice makers on a countertop with a ZeroWater pitcher to the left, a bundle of ice scoops, an ice scoop with a TDS meter in front of each machine and two empty ice baskets to the right side.
Two bullet ice makers getting readied for testing

Most portable bullet ice makers claim to make up to 26 lbs or 12 kg of ice in one day. We have never substantiated such claims since there are many variables that can affect the working rhythm of an ice machine and its ice quality.

Our ice capacity test focuses on practical concerns that affect users.

  1. We prep machines by running them overnight.
  2. The tanks are refilled with slightly chilled water.
  3. We assess 3 consecutive rounds of large ice bullet making.

From this, we calculate the average time it takes to fill a basket, how much ice you get per basket, the ice capacity per hour, and how much ice you can expect over 24 hours.

For our ice quality test, we run the machines from start up, timing and separately weighing each round of ice making. All our tests use zero TDS filtered water.

We see how long it takes a machine to produce ice bullets of a consistent weight. Most machines stabilize to a net weight of 5 grams or more. A decent machine usually takes 5 to 8 rounds of ice making to stabilize and we run our test for 15 to 20 rounds.

You can read more in detail about how we test ice makers.

How We Rate

Apart from the data driven tests above, we also monitor ice makers for the noise they make. As part of our overall rating system, we evaluate various key aspects of design and how this impacts user-friendliness.

We pay careful attention to visibility into machines for easy-of-use and effective troubleshooting. We rate machines for build quality, control panels for user-centered design, and ice baskets for effective scooping. We also run machines overnight to test lid insulation.

Ranking by
OverallScore Performance60% Design15% Usability25% ScoreOverall 60%Performance 15%Design 25%Usability VIVOHOME Automatic...Best OverallFrigidaire Portable...Best Runner-UpCROWNFUL Ice MakerBest Compact DesignEUhomy Ice Maker IM...Silonn Countertop I...Best Tech and Color Line-UpAGLucky Ice Maker H...Igloo Portable Ice...8.48.57.68.68.18.08.38.46.65.67.88.17.67.28.38.0
Showing: 7/7 Items

Reviews of the Best Portable Bullet Ice Makers in 2024

Here are our picks for the best countertop ice makers tested and evaluated in our lab. For more detailed information, follow the link at the end of each review.

1. Best Overall: VIVOHOME Automatic Ice Maker

Price at publication
$133.64
Dimensions
L13.1 x W9.5 x H13 inches
Weight
15.4 lbs (7 kg)
Ice bullet sizes
Small / Large

Things We Like

  • Large chunky ice bullets
  • Spacious control panel
  • Large ice basket
  • Reservoir capacity
  • Easy-to-clean body

Things We Don’t Like

  • Lid insulation
  • Bulky design

The Vivo Home VH808 won out as our best countertop ice maker due to its robust build and top-class performance. Although somewhat bulky and ergonomic in its design, its most stand-out feature is the spacious and user-friendly control panel.

In our tests, the Vivo Home consistently produced some of the largest and chunkiest ice bullets we have ever seen. The average weight of a large ice bullet was 7 grams with some reaching up to 8.56 grams. Close rivals rarely managed more than 7 grams on occasions.
An ice bullet from the Vivo Home portable ice maker being measured and showing a length of 25 cm.
A chunky 25 cm ice bullet.

The Vivo Home was also one of the few machines we tested that consistently produced zero amounts of broken or waste ice. The average basket capacity was a whopping 561 grams—just slightly more than our runner-up the Frigidaire EFIC189 and the time per basket clocked 10 minutes more at 113 min per load.

The Vivo Home design is a little dated compared to more modern designs which often have larger transparent lids. Nonetheless, we particularly liked the upfront control panel on the Vivo Home lid and the wide ice basket had good scoop leverage.

If you’re looking for a no-fuss machine that consistently makes excellent quality ice, and the large chunky bullets, this Vivo Home is our top pick for a countertop ice maker.

Read our full VIVOHOME Automatic Ice Maker in-depth review

2. Best Runner-Up: Frigidaire EFIC189 Portable Ice Maker

The Frigidaire EFIC189 portable ice maker, lid open on a countertop and a full basket of ice in front with ice scattered around leading to an ice scoop on the right side.
$99.99
(Price at time of publish)
Dimensions LxWxH
9.5 x 14.1 x 12.9 inches
Weight
16.9 lbs
Ice bullet sizes
Small and Large
Indicators
Add Water, Ice Full, Power, S / L

Things We Like

  • Performance
  • Production capacity
  • Internal visibility
  • Firm ice basket
  • Good insulation
  • Easy to clean exterior

Things We Don’t Like

  • Ice basket fit
  • Drainage plug

The Frigidaire ice maker is an all-round excellent machine. Good design and build quality is matched to both consistent high ice quality and top production capacity.

It was one of the few machines, like the VivoHome, that averaged over 18 oz or 500 g (555g exact) of quality ice per basket. It produced 11.4 oz (323 g) of ice per hour and one basket took around 103 minutes.
Ice taken from the Frigidaire EFIC189 countertop portable bullet ice maker in a plastic jug on a measuring scale showing a 608 grams in weight.
A full basket of ice weighing 608 grams.

Not only that, the average weight per large ice bullet was a good 6.2 g, and occasionally it managed to put out bullets of 7 grams. The amount of waste or broken ice produced was only an average of 1.8% of net basket weight, which was one of the lowest.

The Frigidaire EFIC 189 has a rounded rather than boxy design with high interior visibility. However, we found the control panel a bit cramped at the rear end of the machine, and the lid joinings were not so good. For keeping and serving ice throughout the day, the lid insulation was not the best, and very similar to the Vivo Home.

Read our full Frigidaire EFIC189 Portable Ice Maker in-depth review

3. Best Tech and Color Line-Up: Silonn SLIM01 Countertop Ice Maker

The Silonn Countertop Ice Maker SLIM01 with a basket of ice toppled over in the front and a shelf in the background with numerous other ice makers.
$106.48
(Price at time of publish)
Dimensions LxWxH
12 x 9 x 13 inches
Weight
15 lbs
Ice bullet sizes
Small / Large
Indicators
Add Water, Ice Full, Power

Things We Like

  • Stainless steel body
  • Large transparent lid
  • Spacious panel

Things We Don’t Like

  • Flimsy basket
  • Basket design

The Silonn is at best an average performing machine, but it has a couple of nice design features and is available in a variety of colors. We tested the stainless steel body model, but you can get identical plastic-bodied machines in black, teal, red, silver, and white. 

There is also a model that uses a smart app for an additional user interface.

The average weight per basket was an average low of only 15 oz (427 g), but the time per cycle was relatively good at 94 min and the hourly capacity was somewhat better than a few other machines.
The Silonn portable ice maker on a countertop with a stopwatch resting against the front showing a full ice-making cycle taking 1 hour and 33 minutes.
One basket took 1 hour 33 minutes

Overall, this machine produced good chunky ice bullets with an average weight of 5.6 g. However, the bullers were not always smoothly shaped and sometimes came out looking like spent slugs rather than slender bullets.

Regardless, the Silonn has a refreshing and spacious design for its control panel and we also liked the large view window. The ice basket is very generic, made from a lower quality type of plastic, and identical to the AGLucky.

If you like the color choice, it’s not a bad machine. Also, not many portable ice makers have a model with a smart app which can be used to set a timer, select ice bullet size, run auto clean, and get status notifications.

Read our full Silonn SLIM01 Countertop Ice Maker in-depth review

4. Best Compact Design: Crownful Small 22lbs Portable Ice Machine

Price at publication
$102.91
Dimensions
L11.2 x W9 x H11 inches
Weight
13 lbs (6 kg)
Ice bullet sizes
Small / Large

Things We Like

  • Compactness
  • High visibility
  • Ice scoop
  • Ice basket

Things We Don’t Like

  • Control panel
  • Varying ice quality

Although all bullet ice makers we review are portable, this Crownful is the best compact ice maker we have tested. It’s significantly smaller than most other machines and is a 22 lbs ice maker rather than a 26 lbs machine.

Apart from being small and compact, the Crownful is customized in other ways thus avoiding generic parts and designs. The small ice basket has a sloped design to maximize ice storage and a raised edge for easier ice scooping.
A portable ice maker with a bowl of freshly made ice on a scale showing 39 grams in total.
An average to good round of ice making.

It also has a neat bonnet-like transparent lid that forms part of the front body. The control panel has uniquely designed icons, although we felt them to be cramped and not so intuitive to understand.

In terms of performance and ice making, the Crownful understandably produces less ice than a full-sized machine. Overall, it took slightly longer to make ice and the bullets were only 4 grams on average, or one to two grams smaller than most other machines.

You can expect around 284 grams per basket within an average time of 87 minutes. Ice quality varied somewhat and although measured against a high benchmark, we found the performance to be good for its size.

Read our full Crownful Small 22lbs Portable Ice Machine in-depth review

Other Machines We Have Tested

  • AGLucky HZB-12/B: A worthy competitor especially in terms of ice bullet size, quality, as well as overall capacity. Its performance is better than the Silonn, but the build quality is rather average and the ice basket a low quality generic design. 
  • EUHomy IM-01-WA: The EUHomy has excellent build quality and non-generic custom made parts. However, it falls short in terms of performance with time, capacity, and ice quality all much lower than competitive machines. 
  • Igloo (Nostalgia): The Igloo is attractive for its retro-design and nice color range. It disappointed with performance and is not a machine we recommend.

Things That Affect Good Ice Making

A close up of two countertop ice makers with full baskets of ice. The one to the right has clear ice made from zero TDS water, the one to right has cloudy ice made from tap water.
Left: Clear zero TDS ice; Right: TDS 0.45 ppm tap water ice

Regardless of what portable ice maker you buy, there are a few things that will affect the quality of your ice and your machine’s production capacity. 

  • For clear-looking ice and to extend the lifespan of your machine, use filtered water or zero TDS water.
  • Refill using chilled (filtered) water of around 10℃ (50℉) to maintain consistent ice bullet weight and production capacity.
  • Run your ice maker away from direct sunlight and with a room temperature of 10‒32 ℃ (50‒90℉).

What is a portable countertop ice maker? 

A portable countertop ice maker has an internal water tank or holding reservoir. This means it does not need an in-line water connection. Therefore, you can place them anywhere—in your kitchen, in a pantry, or even an RV home.

Some portable ice-makers can also include the option of an in-line water connection. These ice makers tend to be for making pebble or nugget ice. They are often more expensive and may have built-in refrigerated ice storage.

What kinds of ice can a countertop ice maker produce? 

A portable ice maker will generally only make one type of ice. Bullet ice makers are more affordable and usually include the option of small and large bullet sizes. However, many people prefer pellet or nugget ice, and a few portable machines can make ice cubes.

Large ice bullets:

  • Average 5 to 7 grams.
  • Best for ice teas, smoothies, sodas, and similar beverages.

Small ice bullets: 

  • Average 2 to 5 grams.
  • Best of ice beds for seafood, beer, or other beverage containers.

Nugget ice: 

  • Easily chewable.
  • Absorbs beverage flavors.
  • Best ice for cocktails, smoothies, teas, and more.
  • Can be used for ice beds for seafood and beverage containers.

Cube Ice: 

  • Similar to ice made in traditional ice trays.
  • Preferred for some types of beverages.

Often, the key choice is whether to go with a countertop bullet ice maker or a nugget ice maker. This handy comparison table can help you understand the choice better:

Bullet Ice

Nugget Ice

Usually only portable.

Portable and / or uses a water-line.

Usually no freezer compartment.

Usually has a freezer compartment.

More affordable.

Pricier.

Small and large bullets.

Small sized nuggets.

Good for ice teas, smoothies, sodas.

Good for most drinks, esp. cocktails.

More versatile than ice cubes.

Chewable and absorb beverage flavor.

Small bullets can be used for ice beds.

Suitable for ice beds.

Portable ice makers, as convenient as they are, can be temperamental! Here are a few common issues we came across during testing, and tips to keep the ice flowing.

1. Why are my Ice bullets so small?

If the (large) ice bullets continually come out too small (<5g average) the problem could be the machine isn’t selecting the correct ice type even though you select large. Remember, it usually takes around 8 cycles to reach 5g or more.

Solution: Hold down the start button to run the self-cleaning function. This will flush the system and probably clear the settings. Switch the machine off for about 3 minutes and then restart.

2. Why does my ice maker say ‘ICE FULL’ when it’s not?

Sometimes the ICE FULL alert will display, but the ice basket is not full. This could be due to the fit of the ice basket or other interference with the infrared sensors. 

Solution: Make sure the ice basket is secure by pressing it down more firmly into place. Wipe the sensors to remove any mineral deposits and check to see if light refraction isn’t affecting the interior of the machine.

3. Why does my ice maker say ‘ADD WATER’ when there is water?

A more common problem we encountered was the ADD WATER alert popping on even though the tank had enough water. There could be a number of reasons for this such as maybe an air blockage or dirt in the system.

Solution: Usually, if you long-press the start button to run the self-cleaning function the problem will sort itself out. An additional trick is to drain some water out the machine and the pressure could move the air block. Failing this, we fixed one ice maker by cleaning the machine with a solution of white vinegar and water. Grime under the water guard could also be an issue.

4. Why does it take so long to make ice (often poor quality)?

If you’ve been running your machine for a long time, there could be an ice blockage. Alternatively, your water and room temperature may not be ideal. 

Solution: Switch off the machine for at least an hour to melt any ice that may be trapped and then restart using fresh water. Use water of over 15℃, check your room temperature, or place the machine in a cooler location.

5. Why is my ice always so cloudy?

This has nothing to do with how your ice maker or if it’s not working properly. The clearness of your ice will vary according to the quality of water you use for your ice maker.

Solution: If you want clear-looking ice then you need to lower the total dissolved solids (TSD) of your water. Use filtered water, or even better use a TDS zero water filter. If you are happy with cloudy ice, then remember to descale your machine more often to reduce mineral deposits.

Our Expertise

Your product guide, Roger Shitaki, has developed expertise in refrigeration and water related appliances such as water cooler dispensers, mini refrigerators, and refrigerator water filters. These include numerous in-depth articles, buying guides, and test-based reviews.

He actively participated in both the test design and implementation phases of this ice maker series. Each ice maker went through at least 36 hours of ice making including preliminary and actual test phases.

During this time, our team became familiar with each machine’s working pattern and encountered various troubleshooting issues along the way. We checked the working of sensors, and experimented with different grades of water and the effects of temperature.

FAQ

1. Do countertop ice makers keep ice frozen?

Typically, more affordable portable ice makers do not have a refrigerated compartment. They can maintain ice to varying degrees of quality for up to 8 hours. Over time, ice will melt back into the water reservoir below the basket.

2. Can I leave my countertop ice maker on all the time?

Yes, you can. Eventually, ice will melt and if it drops away from the ‘Ice Full’ sensor, ice production will resume. Some countertop ice makers, especially for nugget ice, have a refrigerated compartment to preserve ice quality.

3. What to look for when buying an ice maker?

First, decide whether you need bullet ice, nugget ice, or ice cubes. Portable bullet and cube ice makers are the cheapest and use a built-in water reservoir. Nugget ice makers often need a water line connection, but some are portable. Ice making capacity per hour is a good quality indicator as are good lid joinings and clear visibility into the machine.

4. What is the best type of ice maker?

It depends on what kind of ice you prefer, how much ice you need per hour, and your budget spend. Generally, ice makers with a refrigerated ice compartment are more convenient. Ice makers with a water line inlet like typical nugget ice makers produce more ice per hour than cheaper portable ones.

5. What is the difference between an ice maker and an ice machine?

Largely it is a question of semantics. However, an ice maker usually refers to an ice making mechanism in a refrigerator. Ice machines tend to be stand alone appliances, sometimes quite large or even built into a kitchen cabinet. Small, countertop or portable machines are often referred to as ice makers.

About your guide

Headshot of Roger Shitaki
Roger ShitakiReviewer

Roger Shitaki is a writer, author, and editor. His niches are household appliances, health & wellness, and travel. He’s a freelance contributor to a Tokyo lifestyle website and a leading ophthalmology magazine in Asia.

Headshot of Lap Vo
Lap VoTest Lead

Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.

Headshot of Nguyen Ntk
Nguyen NtkVisual Specialist

Nguyen Ntk is a graphic designer, photographer, and videographer whose philosophy centers around respecting and celebrating the beauty of reality. Through his lenses, Nguyen strives to capture the true essence of objects and events, showcasing and highlighting authentic features without distortion or exaggeration.

You have 3/3 full reviews left

To access unlimited full product reviews, product prices and other exclusive site features Become a Member