Welcome to our review of the best nugget ice makers available on the market today! Before we get into the pros and cons of our top 7 models, let’s first discuss what nugget ice actually is, and why you might want an ice maker that creates it.
- Best Nugget Ice Makers – Introduction
- About The Ice Makers In This Review
- The Best Nugget Ice Makers Are:
- Home Use: $100 – $300 Price Range
- Home Use: $300 – $600 Price Range
- Commercial Use: $500 – $4000 Price Range
- Best Nugget Ice Makers – Conclusion
Best Nugget Ice Makers – Introduction
Nugget ice, also known as pebble, pellet, or chewable ice, refers to layers of flaked ice frozen together in a process that incorporates pockets of air in the ice.
It is also commonly known as Sonic ice because it was first introduced by the fast-food restaurant decades ago. It has become so popular that Sonic started selling it by the bag, and have even introduced drinks that revolved around nugget ice.
What makes nugget ice so special? This kind of ice is much more light and airy than standard ice cubes, making it extremely satisfying to munch on.
It is also drier than crushed ice so it does not melt as quickly, and it also absorbs the flavors of drinks effectively, making it perfect for smoothies and frozen drinks. If you are fond of juleps, piña coladas, crushed ice cocktails and pretty much every other kind of cold drink, then this is the ice for you!
Sonic originally used Scotsman commercial ice machines to make their nugget ice. However, with the fast-growing demand for it, manufacturers listened to their customers and started designing and manufacturing a wide variety of nugget ice makers for both home and commercial use.
About The Ice Makers In This Review
Below we cover nugget ice makers from a wide variety of price ranges, and for both residential and commercial use. If you are already familiar with the nugget ice maker market, then you might notice that we haven’t included any of the most affordable ice makers (under $100 or so) in this review article.
This is deliberate, for one very simple reason – we couldn’t find any in this price range that were actually worth reviewing.
Most of the models we considered in this price range either leaked, didn’t make nugget ice properly, or were simply so cheaply made that they wouldn’t have lasted more than a few months.
We take the experience of our readers very seriously, and as such have decided to only include ice makers that we truly feel are worth the investment, even if it means omitting an entire price range from our review.
We hope you agree with this decision, and trust that you will still find the right nugget ice maker for you (our most affordable one reviewed below comes in at around $130, so it should be ok!)
The Best Nugget Ice Makers Are:
- AGLucky Countertop Ice Maker
- Snoworld Ice Maker Machine
- Northair Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
- KBice Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
- GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
- Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker Machine
- Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L Ice Maker
Out of the models listed above, here are our top picks for each price range:
If you’re looking to make a quick decision, we highly recommend selecting the nugget ice maker in the table above in the price range suitable for you – these are the best of the best out of all the models available today!
Now let’s get into the detailed reviews and pros and cons of each of our 7 models.
Home Use: $100 – $300 Price Range
AGLUCKY Countertop Ice Maker Machine
Our top pick in this price range!
The AGLUCKY Countertop Ice Maker Machine is a compact ice maker perfect for making ice at home.
It measures 12.3” x 8.7” by 12.6” and weighs 17 lbs. Its compact design makes it perfect for countertops, and its light weight makes it extremely portable, meaning that you can easily take it to friend’s place for BBQ’s or margarita nights too.
This highly efficient ice maker can produce 9 ice cubes in 6-8 minutes, and make up to 26.5 pounds of ice a day. You can even choose the size of ice cube you want.
It is equipped with intelligent control buttons that are simple to operate. It is also equipped with an intuitive display that will remind you when the tub is already full of ice or if more water is needed.
Its heavy-duty compressor allows this machine to make ice without any loud noises. It also has an efficient rear cooling system to help release heat, which in turn prolongs the life of the device and ensures it’s safe to operate for long time periods at home.
Snoworld Ice Maker Machine
The Snoworld Ice Maker Machine is a countertop ice maker that provides a constant supply of fresh nugget ice, making it great for parties or dinners at home.
Its 12.6” x 8.9” x 11.6” dimension is ideal for any countertop at home, be it in the kitchen or any table around the living area.
It is capable of producing up to 9 pcs of ice cubes within 8-10 minutes, for a total of up to 26 lbs in 24 hours. If the ice melts, the water automatically flows into a reservoir where it is re-used to make more ice. Its eco-friendly R600a refrigerant is efficient and energy-saving, making it great not only for the planet, but for your electricity bill too!
The infrared sensor will stop the ice maker when the basket is full or when more water is needed. The indicator light on its user-friendly panel will light up to notify you according to what it needs.
You can control this ice maker on your smartphone using the SmartLife app and your home WiFi. You can even set up an ice-making and self-cleaning schedule, making it the perfect set-and-forget ice maker.
Home Use: $300 – $600 Price Range
Northair Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
The Northair Countertop Nugget Ice Maker is a compact ice maker that is equipped with a range of amazing high tech features.
It measures 9.8″ x 16.1″ x 19″ and weighs 40.7 lbs. It has a 3.7 L top water tank capacity and a 2.2 L bottom water tank capacity.
It can produce ice in only 15 minutes and up to 44 lbs within 24 hours – this is the most ice produced in a day out of all the other ice makers reviewed in this article (excluding the commercial grade ones below!) This makes the Northair perfect for big parties where there are lots of drinks going around, or for those with a big family who like a constant stream of ice on hand.
The basket can hold up to 3.31 lbs of ice at one time. When the ice melts, the water is automatically returned to the reservoir to be made into ice again.
We found the electronic controls on this ice maker are user-friendly and easy to read. The indicator lights up if there is not enough water or if the ice basket gets full, so you don’t have to remember to keep checking the machine during parties or gatherings.
Its unique design does not require a water installation. You just need to put water into the reservoir manually and it is ready to make ice. This means that this machine can be placed anywhere in the house or backyard regardless of if it’s near a tap or not.
KBice Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
KBice Countertop Nugget Ice Maker is a self-dispensing nugget ice maker that is compact and fits perfectly on any countertop.
It measures 12” x 16” x 17.5” and weighs 40 lbs. Its compact size and weight are comparable to other similarly-priced countertop ice makers. The big difference? You can also place it under your cabinets because it does not have a lid on top that you need to lift to be able to put water in it. The water reservoir is accessed through a door panel on its front.
It can produce ice in as little as 30 minutes, and as much as 30 lbs in a 24-hour period. It does not require a separate water installation as you can put water directly into the reservoir and plug the unit into an outlet to start the ice-making process.
Another feature that sets the KBice Ice Maker apart is the ultra-convenient self-dispensing design. No need to handle the ice with your hands or scoops as you can dispense it directly to your cup. This makes the ice extra hygienic as it hasn’t come into contact with any hands before it goes into your drink!
GE Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
Our top pick in this price range!
The GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker is the “good ice” maker that may be your dream come true for your home because of its affordable price and superior quality.
It measures 15.5” x 10.5” x 16.5” and weighs 47 lbs. It can produce ice in as little as 20 minutes, and up to 24 lbs a day. The ice basket holds up to 3 lbs of ice at a time.
You can schedule when to make ice, monitor its status, and even order any accessories through the app on your smartphone with its built-in Bluetooth connectivity. This means that you can tell the machine to turn on while you’re at work or out shopping, and come home to fresh nugget ice waiting for you when you get back.
The set up is super easy as well, as no additional water installation is required. You just fill the reservoir with water yourself, plug it into any 120v standard electrical outlet, and you can start making ice. If the ice melts, the water automatically goes back to the reservoir where it will be made into ice again.
Commercial Use: $500 – $4000 Price Range
Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker Machine
The Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker Machine is a stand-alone ice maker suitable not only for home use but for commercial use, as well, with its ETL certification. You can use it at home or in restaurants, bars, hotels, and more.
It measures 17.3” x 15.7” x 31.4” and is made from high-grade stainless steel for durability. It is equipped with an intuitive LCD control panel where you can access the power, delay, and cleaning functions as well as smart indicator symbols that light up when the ice basket is full or attention is required.
It can produce ice in as little as 11 minutes and up to 100 lbs a day. The ice bin has a 33 lb ice capacity. It comes with a complete set of accessories including an ice shovel, water supply pipe, and drainpipe.
You can adjust the ice type to make it chewable or dice, depending on your restaurant’s needs.
Other outstanding features include a quiet yet efficient operation, an anti-corrosion and anti-rust copper nickel-plated ice tray, and adjustable feet for stable installation.
Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L Ice Maker
Our top pick in this price range!
The Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L Ice Maker is a powerhouse ice maker that can provide a large volume of ice for any restaurant, bar, or food truck.
It measures 16.5″ x 24″ x 35″ and can produce a massive 315 lb of ice in a day. The only draw back is that it’s bin can only store 10lb at any one time, so it’s really only suitable for high-volume commercial settings where the ice is constantly being used.
Additional features include a DuraTech front panel which is scratch and bump resistant, and easy to clean, which will preserve the look of the machine for a long time and maintain a good image for your customers.
Another reason why this ice machine is perfect for commercial settings is the way it dispenses the ice – either through the push leaver in the middle of the machine, or a touch free sensor. Not only does this prevent your staff from having to scoop up ice for every drink, which saves them valuable time, but it’s also much more hygienic, which is good for your staff and your customers.
This machine dispenses water as well as ice. It’s also very simple to plug in and set up. This machine also has one button to start the production of ice, and to initiate it’s self cleaning process. What could be more simple than that!
Finally, and probably most importantly, the Manitowoc creates delicious, chewy nugget ice. If your staff aren’t impressed with the performance of the amazing ice maker at their workplace, at least your customers will definitely be impressed by the quality of your ice!
At this price point and level of functionality, it would be pointless to have this ice maker in a home setting (unless you have the space at home and feel like really splashing out!) However, for a restaurant or bar that relies on good quality nugget ice to make food and drinks, we think this machine is a winner.
Best Nugget Ice Makers – Conclusion
We hope that this article has helped you gain a better understanding of the different types of nugget ice makers on the market today.
All of the models reviewed above are the best in their price range. We recommend opting for the one that suits your needs the best.
Here are some related articles you may also enjoy:
Hi there, I’m Richard Parker! I own two food truck businesses in Hawaii, selling snow cones, gelatos and frozen drinks. I’ve been working with ice makers for most of my professional career, and created this website to pass on my knowledge. I hope you enjoy!