Portable Ice Maker Buying Guide

Ice makers made their debut around the last century. Instant ice was hard to obtain before that time. Huge blocks of ice were imported from colder regions and provided by delivery services. The luxury of instant ice is now widely enjoyed with the modern convenience of the portable ice maker.

Why Portable Ice Makers Beat Standard Ice Dispensers

Portable Ice Makers

Time, Time, Time!
Instant ice is much more appealing compared to standard ice produced by your freezer which can take between 75 and 120 minutes to produce. Plug in your portable ice maker, pour water into the reservoir and begin the ice making cycle. This allows you to make fresh ice in as little as 6 minutes.

Portability, no permanent installation
A portable ice maker makes your life easier because you can move it from one area to another, and it can go with you if you relocate your home. Take the party on the road in your RV or any other place that contains a proper outlet.

Clean Ice
A standard freezer ice maker uses water from the area you live in, which can contain minerals that make your freezer ice taste funny. By placing purified water in your portable ice maker, you can get clean, flavorless ice. Also a portable ice maker will not pick up food odors from the freezer.

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Portable Ice Maker Advantages

Many of the portable ice makers on the market today have special features that add convenience and cater to your ice needs:

  • Ice Diversity: Some portable ice makers allow the choice of various ice cube sizes for different drinks.
  • Capacity: Portable ice makers come in a wide variety of sizes to suit any need.
  • Clean: Minimal maintenance makes cleaning a portable ice maker simple and easy.
  • Compact: A compact design allows portable ice makers to be easily stored or transported.
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Common Questions About Portable Ice Makers

What capacity will I need?
This depends on the size of the party you are catering to. Ice that is produced must be used quickly, so make sure you do not choose too small of a capacity or you may run out of ice in the middle of your BBQ or cocktail party. Too large of a capacity will mean there is ice left over. (if this is the case, try using the extra ice to chill food or place it in a cooler to chill drinks.)

How much ice does it make?
Ice production will depend on the portable ice making appliance that you choose. Some portable ice making units produce up to 50 pounds of ice in a day.

What size cubes do I want?
This is a decision for the consumer. If you have smaller glasses (like a scotch glass), you may consider bullet-style ice which is smaller and more compact to fit those glasses. If you're drinking from a large cup, larger ice may be needed to cool the drink quicker.

How do I maintain my portable ice maker?
Maintaining a portable ice maker properly prevents ice maker problems. Clean the water reservoir regularly after use, and wipe down the outside. Each ice maker is different and you should refer to your manual for proper cleaning methods.

* Tip: To neutralize any odors or tastes, clean the machine with a cap of vinegar or lemon juice.

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Operating A Portable Ice Maker: A Step-By-Step Guide

  • Step 1: Make sure the appliance is placed on a sturdy, level surface. Do not place your portable ice maker on its side or upside down. Always check placement when the appliance is being moved.

  • Step 2: Let the refrigerant inside the appliance settle after transportation.
    (A waiting period of at least three hours is recommended before turning the appliance on).

  • Step 3: To make sure your portable ice maker operates properly, check for vents and make sure they are not obstructed by a wall or other appliance. Ventilation must not be obstructed during use.
    (A gap of at least 10 centimeters (4 inches) is recommended).

  • Step 4: Locate and remove the water tank and pour fresh, drinkable water into the tank (commercially bottled still drinking water may be used as well), replace the water tank securely.
    If using a portable ice maker with a direct water supply hose, users do not need to remove the water tank. The unit will automatically draw the water supply into the ice maker water tank.
    (Do not fill beyond "MAX" waterline indicator if one is visible.)

  • Step 5: If your portable ice maker comes with a water line connection hose, make sure the hose connections are tightly connected to water mains and to the rear of the unit to avoid any leakage.
    Note: If a replacement hose is required, a food grade hose is recommended. Most manufacturers will sell replacement parts.

  • Step 6: Determine if your portable ice maker will require a drain.
    Manual Drainage: Water from melted ice in the ice cube tray must be manually drained on occasion. Ice that is produced is meant to be used quickly. An ice maker does not double as a freezer; it cannot keep ice frozen for long periods of time.
    Automatic Drainage: Water from melted ice in the ice cube tray will be automatically drained out using a drain hose.

  • Step 7: Plug your portable ice maker into a suitable outlet and turn it on.
    Note: If your portable ice maker has a direct water supply hose, connect the hose to the water mains and to the unit. Turn your unit on and then turn on the water mains.

  • Step 8: When the water tank has been filled, you will be able to start the ice making cycle. Fresh cubes will be deposited into the Ice Drawer.
    Note: Variables such as water temperature and ambient temperature can affect ice cube size, and how long it takes to complete a cycle.

  • Step 9: If you have a manual ice maker, then when the ice cube drawer is full, it will need to be emptied. Emptying the ice cube drawer and replacing it allows you to continue making ice. If the ice cube drawer is not emptied, the cubes will melt and the water will drain back into the water tank.
    * Tip: Remember to fill up your water tank once the water has been converted to ice if you have a manual portable ice maker. It is not necessary to top off the tank immediately.
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Portable Ice Maker Tips

  • If not in use for periods exceeding 48 hours, it is recommended that your portable ice maker be disconnected from the electricity supply and any remaining ice cubes and water be removed.
  • Do not use solvents, detergents and abrasives when cleaning, the chemicals may effect the taste of your ice cubes.
  • Do not immerse the appliance in water or other liquids.
  • The ice making element gets very cold! Touching them could result in freezer burns.
  • Do not use water that is below 8°C (46°F) as this may cause the ice cubes to fuse into one large block of ice.
  • If used outdoors, make sure your portable ice making unit is protected from the elements and is plugged into an ELCB or GFCI for safety. Do not expose the appliance to rain and do not use it or store it where it could get damp or wet.
  • Do not put the appliance near heat sources.
  • Using parts not recommended by the manufacturer can be dangerous. Only use the appliance for its intended purpose, the production of ice cubes. An ice maker does not double as a freezer
  • The refrigerant gas used in the appliance is chemical waste. Disposal of the appliance must be executed in a proper, environmentally friendly way. Ask your municipal waste processing department about proper disposal.
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