If you’re like many who enjoy entertaining family and friends at home, quite like you’re planning on equipping your home bar with an icemaker or ice machine.
Now, there are actually quite a few excellent choices available on the market. Ice making technology has truly come a long way over the past several years, and it’s surprising how much power, performance, and capabilities you could get for not that much money.
If you are looking for the best ice maker for your home bar, now is as good a time as any to explore the different options available.
So in this guide, we’ll be taking a looking at what could be the best ice maker for home bar.
How to Buy an Ice Maker for Home Bar
There are a few qualities and features to look out for when buying an icemaker for use in your home bar.
First and foremost is…
At the very least, you’ll want a home bar ice maker that can produce a lot of ice–and produce it quickly.
In most households, there really isn’t a need to have a lot of ice on hand at any given moment – most likely the refrigerator’s freezer section can handle your daily needs. So the large amounts of ice produced by a capable ice maker really only comes in handy when you have company.
But let’s say that you want to be prepared for the likely scenario where guests come over unannounced (in other words, always being prepared), in addition to always having a batch ready on hand…
This means you need to be able to make large batches of ice on short notice.
When shopping for an ice maker therefore, you should look for a model that can produce a good-sized batch in a few minutes, and a lot more over the next couple of hours.
Depending on your preferences, the quality of ice produced should also be of a specific quality.
Some ice makers are known for their superbly crunchy and chewable ice, which avid ice chewers swear by. Again this may or may not be a deciding factor for you depending on your tastes, but high-quality ice definitely adds a touch of class and elegance to any gathering.
Durability (of the icemaker) is an especially important factor. You will probably want to get a lot of use out of an ice maker for home bar, so it should be able to withstand frequent and continuous use. An ice maker is really only as useful as its ability to produce quality ice consistently, so any unit you purchase should be able to go the distance without breaking down.
Learn more about how an ice maker, ice machine, or ice generator works from this Wikipedia article (then get back here! )
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What’s the Best Ice Maker for Home Bar?
During the course of researching this article, it immediately became apparent how far ice making technology has come in recent years.
Every single unit we reviewed is actually pretty impressive, with features and capabilities that make it ideally-suited for use in a home bar.
Of course, this made it that much more difficult to pinpoint the particular models that qualify for the “best ice maker” and “best budget ice maker” spots. Nevertheless, after extensive research and comparison, we honed in on the two that stand head and shoulders above the rest in their respective categories.
The Opal Nugget Ice Maker is our clear winner in the “Best Ice Maker for Home Bar” category, beating out the closest competition by a wide margin.
Ice-chomping connoisseurs know that really good ice–the kind that has a satisfying crunch when chewed–isn’t always that easy to come by. Some people have in fact been known to go to great lengths to buy a bag or two of their favorite brands for recreational chomping at home.
The ice produced by the Opal will undoubtedly satisfy even the most discriminating ice chewers. Soft, crunchy, and pleasurably chewable, the nuggets that issue forth from the Opal rivals that which is served in the finest restaurants.
Upon turning on the unit, you can expect the first nugget to come tumbling out within 20 minutes. That’s certainly not the quickest time possible for an ice machine, but it is more than acceptable for most situations. You do get a pound of ice in about an hour, which is a pretty respectable amount by most standards.
The Opal Nugget Ice Maker for home bar admittedly comes with a fairly high price tag. But the build quality is absolutely superb, and the onboard features place it in the same category as commercial ice makers. If you are ready to get serious about making ice at home, the Opal is the only real choice.
User Impression Video
Choosing the best budget ice maker was a bit more challenging. In the end however, the EdgeStar IP210TI ice maker for home bar edged out the competition with its outstanding performance and features. It helped too that all of these came at a very low price.
The EdgeStar promises to make ice in as little as ten minutes, and it seems that this claim isn’t far off the mark. It produces about 28 pounds of ice in a day, and can be set to produce three sizes of nuggets. It also has a generous one-gallon capacity water reservoir, which doesn’t have to be refilled nearly as often as other ice makers.
If you are in the market for a budget ice maker that doesn’t compromise on performance and capabilities, the EdgeStar IP210TI might your ticket.
The 5 Best Ice Makers for Home Bar
If the above choices don’t suit your fancy, take a look at the full guide below.
DELLA Electric Ice Machine Portable Automatic Icemaker
The DELLA Automatic is a handy and portable ice maker designed specifically for RVs, boats, kitchens, or any other area with limited space. With this device, a nearby electric outlet is all you need to have all the ice you could ever want.
It’s an efficient and easy-to-use ice maker, the DELLA can be used right out of the box with no installation necessary. Simply plug it in, add some water, and you could have your first batch of ice within minutes. And with the ability to produce buckets of ice in a couple of hours, you’ll never have to make those last-minute mad dashes to the store whenever guests come around.
Design, Specs, and Usability
As you can see, the DELLA Automatic icemaker for home bar is clearly designed for form as well as function. A strikingly impressive unit finished in classy stainless steel, it can be installed in even the most elegant surroundings without looking the least bit out of place.
But the DELLA is more than just a pretty face. Underneath its stylish exterior is a fast and efficient ice-making mechanism that can churn out as much as 26 lbs. of ice in a span of 24 hours. Best of all, the ice produced is of the highest quality, and is comparable to the ice you get at the fanciest restaurants in your city.
The insulated storage bin keeps up to 1 ½ lbs. of ice solid and ready to serve at a moment’s notice. You can make ice nuggets in a few different sizes, and even check how much ice has already been produced via the convenient top window.
What others are saying
For many users, the most impressive thing about the DELLA is how fast it is able to produce usable ice. In this regard, the manufacturer’s claim pertaining to the ability of the unit to make ice within six minutes seems to be right on the money. Many have in fact plugged in the unit upon delivery and had enough ice for a few drinks within minutes.
Users also appreciate the unit’s generous water capacity, with the reserve tank holding up to two gallons of water. The DELLA’s design–with the water inlet at the bottom–also negated the need for a connected water line. There is even a side drain cap that makes it easy to empty the reserve tank.
The DELLA Automatic Icemaker is designed for one thing and one thing only: making ice quickly. It certainly lives up to that promise, with the ability to churn out loads of ice in a couple of hours.
A lot of thought has clearly gone into the design of the machine, with features that make it a fast, efficient, and convenient ice maker. Placing the water inlet near the bottom is a stroke of genius, and positioning the perforated ice holder just above the water reserve ensures that the water from melting ice is recycled to produce more ice. These and many other seemingly minor touches simply serve to enhance the DELLA’s price-to-performance ratio.
Opal Nugget Ice Maker
FirstBuild’s Opal Nugget Ice Maker caters to that select group of individuals for whom only the finest nugget ice will do. If you belong to this discriminating crowd, you know that driving all the way across town for a bag of nugget ice to chomp on isn’t out of the question. The good news is that with the Opal Ice Maker, you no longer have to go through such lengths to get your fix!
The Opal is an affordably-priced solution to getting that crunchy, chewable ice you constantly crave for. Priced much lower than commercial nugget ice makers, it produces ice that is every bit as good and chewable.
Design, Specs, and Usability
FirstBuild has packed a wealth of features into the Opal, making it just as capable as the most efficient commercial ice machines. Yet it remains remarkably easy to use, and the convenience of being able to get bucket load of ice within minutes means that you will likely get a lot of use out of it.
One of the Opal’s best features is its ability to automatically start and stop making ice as needed. The built-in sensor detects the amount of water in the bucket, and turns the mechanism on or off depending on the level. As the ice melts in the bucket (albeit slowly, due to its insulating properties), the Opal will turn itself on to ensure that more ice is made.
Beginning from when you turn it on, the Opal can produce ice in about 20 minutes. You get a pound of ice in about an hour, so three hours should be enough to fill the 3-pound bucket.
The Opal even has Bluetooth capability, so you can set it to turn on remotely from the FirstBuild app.
What others are saying
As far as its most avid users are concerned, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker fully satisfies the need for crunchy, chewable ice. Those that have previously gotten their ice from restaurants are especially gratified at having ready access to the same quality ice at home.
Others were equally impressed at the presentation, with the packaging scoring high marks with quite a few users. The simplicity of operation also made it possible to put the unit to use immediately after unpacking.
Like many ice makers, the Opal doesn’t have a refrigeration system, relying on the ice itself to keep the interior cool. Some melting is to be expected of course, but the water simply drips into the reservoir, from where it is recycled into new ice nuggets.
The Opal Nugget Ice Maker is every bit as capable as the ice machines you will find in the finest hotels and restaurants, albeit with a smaller capacity. It certainly produces–and stores–more than enough ice for the needs of the average household, and the quality is absolutely flawless.
The unit itself is of outstanding quality, with a solid build that inspires confidence in its durability. It’s also nice having a large front window through which you could see the ice.
The Opal is admittedly a bit pricey. But if you simply must have ice of the highest quality at the ready at all times, you could very easily justify the cost as money well spent.
DELLA Portable Ice Maker Stainless Steel with LCD Display
The Della Portable Ice Maker for home bar promises to make ice making quick, easy, and convenient, with its superb combination of state-of-the-art features and rugged dependability. Capable of producing a very respectable 35 pounds of ice in just 24 hours, it can even rival the hardiest hotel and restaurant ice makers in terms of sheer output alone.
Amazingly, the DELLA Portable Ice Maker packs all this power into a very compact form. Small enough to fit in RVs, boats, and kitchens, it is just the perfect fit for a modestly-sized home bar. It looks pretty impressive as well, with a stylish stainless steel exterior that will fit right in with your other bar accessories and equipment.
Design, Specs, and Usability
High capacity is what the DELLA Portable Ice Maker is all about, and it definitely delivers on that promise. You can certainly use this for your everyday ice making requirements, but its full range of capabilities really come to the fore when you need a lot of ice and you need it fast.
The unit provides a great deal of control over the ice making process. The LED display lets you know when you need to add more water, or to empty the ice bucket so that more ice can be made. There is also a soft-touch panel from which you can turn the unit on or off and control the clock and timer functions. You could also specify the size of the nuggets produced, from small to medium to large.
The storage bin is insulated, so the ice won’t melt too quickly. And with the convenient window on top, you know exactly how much ice there is without having to pop the lid and let warm air in.
What others are saying
The DELLA Portable Ice Maker wins out over most other models in terms of the amount of ice it can produce over a given period. Thirty five pounds of ice in a day is a pretty impressive amount to say the least, and most users never even come close to needing that much.
Nevertheless, some users have put the unit to good use during large gatherings. On such occasions, the DELLA performed admirably, churning out bucket upon bucket of ice without a hitch.
Some users did notice that starting the machine ‘cold’ produced only small nuggets, regardless of the “size” setting. After a couple of cycles however, the machine starts producing appropriately-sized ice.
The DELLA Portable Ice Maker is the one to get if you regularly have a need for large amounts of ice. The amount produced by this unit in a single day is more than enough for even fairly large households, so it should be more than sufficient for even a sizable home bar.
Admittedly, most users want nothing more from an ice maker than the ability to crank out buckets of ice at a push of a button. If you want a little more control over the process however, the precision controls onboard should make the DELLA the perfect choice for you.
NewAir AI-100W 28-Pound Portable Icemaker
The NewAir AI-100W ice make for home bar promises to fulfill all your ice making requirements with a slick combination of features and functionality in a very stylish package. Bucking the trend toward all things shiny and silvery in ice makers, this one comes in a range of colors that will liven up any home bar. It also comes in classic stainless steel of course, but if you are looking for a splash of color for your bar or rec room, this is the one to get.
As pretty as the NewAir AI-100W is, its capabilities are what you will likely appreciate the most. With its huge capacity, modern features, and convenient design, this eye-catcher of an ice maker becomes even more impressive in action.
Design, Specs, and Usability
The AI-100R pumps out enough ice to compare with the best of them, with 28 pounds produced in a day. That’s more than enough for a good-sized crowd, so you never have to worry about coming up short when you have the gang over.
Furthermore, it only takes 15 minutes max for a batch of ice to come tumbling out. So even if a couple of buddies come over unannounced, you won’t have to suffer the indignity of serving drinks at room temperature.
The AI-100R produces ice in three sizes: small, medium, and large. You can specify the size you want from the electronic control panel. This panel also has an indicator that tells you when you need to add water, or when the receptacle is filled.
Clean up is fast and easy with the convenient side-mounted drain. If you aren’t going to be making ice for a while, simply pull the plug to drain out the remaining water.
What others are saying
The NewAir AI-100W scores major points among users with its ability to make a huge batch of ice quickly without any fuss and bother. As helpful as the control panel is, most users found that making ice required little more than filling the reservoir and specifying the size of the ice to be made.
Uses were also pleasantly surprised to find that ice remained solid overnight, even with the machine turned off. And as with all good ice makers, the ice melts pretty slowly, and the water is simply recycled into fresh, new ice.
The NewAir AI-100W ticks all the boxes as far as home ice makers are concerned. The 28 pounds of ice it can produce in a day should be sufficient for most situations. You could even whip up a good batch quickly when guests unexpectedly show up.
In terms of maintenance, the NewAir AI-100W is pretty easy to clean. However, you do have to put some extra effort in cleaning the receptacle tray, which can get a bit gunky with prolonged use. Even so, this minor detail doesn’t detract from the capabilities and performance of this unit.
EdgeStar IP210TI Portable Countertop Ice Maker
Is it a portable or a countertop ice maker? In the case of the EdgeStar IP210TI, it’s both! Equally at home in your RV and in your home bar, this unit features a smart design and is available in a few different color choices. If you like bar or kitchen accessories that fit in with the rest of your décor, the EdgeStar should be right up your alley.
Of course, performance is what counts the most as far as ice makers are concerned, and the EdgeStar definitely delivers on that score. Capable of producing a good-sized batch of ice in about ten minutes, this is one ice maker that you will be glad to add to your growing collection of bar equipment.
Design, Specs, and Usability
The EdgeStar Ice Maker for home bar packs an almost unbelievable amount of power and performance in a surprisingly compact form factor. Small enough to fit discreetly in a corner of your bar, it is also the perfect size for stowing in your camper on those long, hot summer trips.
You won’t have to worry about running out of ice either, whether you are in the middle of nowhere or entertaining guests in your bar. Ten minutes is all you need to whip up enough ice to fill a few glasses. Let it run continuously for a full day, and you get as much as 28 pounds of ice in three sizes of your choosing.
The soft-touch control panel is where you will find the on/off switch and the control for setting ice size. The EdgeStar Ice Maker even recycles water from the ice as it melts, converting it into more ice.
What others are saying
Users of the EdgeStar IP210TI are generally impressed with how quickly the machine makes ice. After adding water and turning the machine on, users have a good-sized batch of ice waiting for them within ten minutes.
The large capacity of the water reservoir also makes the IP210TI a great choice for those that value convenience and ease of use. The ability to hold nearly a full gallon means less time and effort refilling. The water recycling function also keeps the machine churning out ice long after most other ice makers have dried up.
Some users did find the unit to be a little noisy, with most opting to turn it off when enough ice has been made. Although not quite as effective as a freezer, the well-insulated receptacle does a decent job of keeping ice from melting too quickly.
The EdgeStar IP210TI is made even more impressive by its remarkably low price tag. Priced considerably lower than most other ice makers on the market, it is nevertheless capable of delivering performance that can compare with the big boys.
Other factors going in the EdgeStar’s favor are the handy soft touch controls, the compact form, and the durable build quality. If you are looking for a good ice maker for your home bar and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, the EdgeStar is practically a no-brainer given the exceptional value that it provides.
Ice makers are the kind of bar equipment that most people put off purchasing in preference to other, more immediately-useful pieces of equipment.
Check out most people’s home bars, and you would likely find a full complement of bar accessories and equipment, with nary an ice maker in sight. After all, surely a fridge or a freezer would be sufficient to handle all your ice needs…right?
But there are many good reasons to invest in a dedicated ice machine, many of which we’ve touched on above. Imagine never having to make an emergency ice run or running out of ice when company comes over, and you will gain more appreciation for the value of a good ice maker.
As you have seen, many of the best units don’t necessarily cost a lot of money. Sure there are several-hundred-dollar units that boast of state-of-the-art features and advanced capabilities. But how much of those features do you actually need or will put to use?
If you are like most people, your needs are likely to be pretty simple and modest. In most cases, all that is really required from an ice maker is the ability to produce several pounds of ice quickly. That being your main criteria, almost any one of the fine models reviewed above should be the right ice maker for you.