Even though nowadays most refrigerators are equipped with dedicated ice makers, their output might not be enough for some people. And if you are the type of person who likes to host frequent parties or do not like handling ice trays (which is totally understandable) or making regular trips to the convenience store to buy premade ice bags, you will certainly relate to this feeling.
Thankfully, the ice maker industry is still on the rise, so you can spare yourself from a lot of effort just by ordering a unit online. Generally speaking, household ice makers fall into two categories – countertop models which are small and light, and built-in (or under the counter) models, which are bigger and have a much larger output. If you are interested in technical information about ice makers, you can read more about this on Ice Maker Pro.
But regardless of your needs, if you are reading this article, it is safe to assume that you are in the market for a high-quality (and preferably cheap) ice maker. Without further ado, here are the best ice makers to buy if you are on a budget.
Igloo ICE 103 Ice Maker
If you are the type of person who values high mobility and portability, the Igloo Ice 103 is one of the best models you could purchase. This particular unit is capable of producing up to 26 pounds of bullet-shaped ice in the span of 24 hours. It is worth noting that some people might be put off by its low storage capacity – which sits at around 2.2 pounds.
However, in order to achieve both a high production output and be portable at the same time, sacrifices and compromises had to be made – a design decision which you will totally agree on as soon as you turn it for the first time and watch it do its magic. Not to mention that compared to other portable models, the Igloo’s storage capacity is higher than average.
The Igloo Ice 103 comes with tons of useful features. This unit has a removable ice bucket (which is also easily replaceable if need be), a sturdy ice scoop and push-button controls. Thanks to its compact size (14 x 12 x 15 inches), it can fit in pretty much any space, so if you are dealing with budget and spatial restraints at the same time, this model is the perfect choice.
Whirlpool Gl15NDXZS Freestanding or Built-in Ice Maker
But let us assume for a moment that you have a particularly large kitchen and want to fill the space with useful utility units. If you have a little more money to spend, the Whirlpool GI15 will cover your ice demands for years to come. This medium-sized monster is capable of generating around 50 pounds of ice in 24 hours – almost double compared to the unit featured in the previous entry – , and has enough space left to store half of that produced ice. Its only downside is that it makes only one size of ice cubes.
But this drawback will become irrelevant as soon as you realize how many features and options it comes with. The package includes a durable ice scoop, a self-cleaning cycle – but do not think you will never have to clean your ice machine, you will just do it more rarely -, touch-pad controls and a door alarm. Its best feature is by far its automatic ice level detector, which will terminate ice production as soon as the bin reaches full capacity.
If you intend to go for this model, you should be aware of the fact that it requires a separate drain. Apart from this little inconvenience, the machine is easy to install without any professional assistance thanks to its self-leveling legs (good for uneven floors). The unit is available in two color schemes – black and white – so you can easily match it up with other utilities.
Della Portable Ice Maker
When it comes to portable ice makers, this Della Model, priced at $100, is as low as you can go. It has a production output of 26 pounds per day, with a storage capacity of 1.5 pounds. It features a removable tray, an ice scoop, and an intuitive control scheme that is easy to comprehend and learn even by those who have never owned an ice maker. Other than that, the Della Portable offers the same things as other brands, the only difference being that it does not last as long.
Despite its low production output – 12 pounds of ice cubes in 24 hours – , this model is ideal for people who prefer built-in models, but do not need very much ice on a regular basis. Furthermore, with a price tag of $300, it is one of the cheapest built-in models on the market.
But do not let the low prices fool you, because this model has the same features as its more expensive counterparts. Similar to other models, it has an automatic shutdown system when the bin reaches full capacity, an ice scoop, and a removable bin. The best thing about the Whynter UIM is that it does not require a special draining system in order to function, you just plug it in, and you are ready to go.
Even though ice makers might seem like unnecessary luxuries, they are actually very useful even if you are not the gregarious type. And ice maker will spare you from the awkwardness of ice trays, and frequent trips to the convenience store. If you are in the market for an ice maker but you are not willing to spend a fortune, these four models are one of the best choices in this respect.