How to Choose Your Portable Ice Maker

If you like to have your ice stock or enjoy hosting parties at your place, owning a portable ice maker is something to consider. But not all portable ice makers are the same, and depending on the quantity and quality of ice, is the type of portable ice maker you need to purchase. 

Here is an easy buying guide to make the easiest and best decision about your next portable ice maker.

What is a Portable Ice Maker?

A portable ice maker is a medium or even small gadget that can make ice continuously throughout the day. This gadget doesn't need to be connected to a water line or installation; you can add water and get the machine going. 

The process is similar to the one in your freezer’s built-in ice maker or commercial ice maker.

This device can be used in the kitchen, in your RV, or even in your outdoor BBQ if there is an electrical hookup. And if it is not needed, it can be stored as any other electric device at home. 

There are also different ice makers in the market.

Built-in ice maker: In general, installed under the kitchen counter. They tend to be the most efficient and hold the most significant quantity of ice.

Countertop ice maker: They can be moved and easily installed but will take up some space.

How Does a Portable Ice Maker Work?

These machines are built with cool trays that will freeze the water into different sizes and shapes. Once the ice is done, it will fill a storage bin. Since it is not a freezer, we recommend placing the ice into a freezer or cooler until it is time to use it.

Depending on the type of ice you need, the time it will take the machine to produce the ice and fill up the storage. Water quality and the device's condition are also essential to consider. 

Generally, a single batch of ice will be ready within 7 and 15 minutes. And on average, a portable ice maker can make up to 35 lbs of ice and store as much as 2 lbs of ice.

Even though a portable ice maker can  be left on, it is essential to remember that it will not maintain the freezer's temperature, and the ice will start to melt. The good part is that if this happens, the machine will recycle the melted water into a new batch of ice, so there is no water left. 

Take into consideration that the recycled water may be contaminated with bacteria since every participant of your gathering will be touching the ice. Having said this, consider changing the water from time to time.

How To Choose The Portable Ice Maker?

You are now convinced that you need a portable ice maker. Here are some factors that we would like you to consider; this will help you to find a suitable machine depending on your particular needs.

Size and Ice Capacity

Yes they are portable. However, you may find a variety in how much space, weight and amount of ice they can produce and store. 

First, you need to make sure where this device will be placed, measure the location, and then you can check the size chart that each product has. 

Knowing how much space is available will ensure you do not end up with a machine that does not fit. Plus, if the machine will not be placed on a fixed corner,make sure about the machine´s weight, since some can be quite heavy.

If size and weight are no concern, you must consider your machine's ice capacity. You need a device that can hold the amount of ice you need unless you can bag and store your ice and have a stock in your freezer.

Consider the amount of ice you will need when this machine is set to use. If the device is too small it will not solve your ice requirements, and a larger one will be more of a waste of energy and space.

Ice Production 

When considering how much ice you will need, ensure it will get done when needed. This is the production capacity, and you will find it to be shown as in lbs of ice per day.

We did the math, and to make it easier for you, one pound of ice is enough for three drinks, so a machine that produces 30 lbs of ice per day will work out roughly four drinks worth of ice every hour. This is mainly for a gathering with friends on a lovely summer evening.

Planning a weekend of excursions with a group of friends and want to avoid buying bagged ice. Consider an ice maker that can store 20 lbs of ice. With 10 lbs, you can cool up to 12 canned drinks, so 20 lbs should do an excellent job for a whole weekend.

All this is considered under ideal conditions. If the ambient temperature, especially around the ice maker, is over 70° F, ice production will take longer. Another point to consider is ventilation. Without proper ventilation, it will produce at a lower rate. To ensure your ice machine has at least 1" of clearance on all sides for adequate ventilation.

Type of Ice

We are getting into the specifics of the different ice types. You can read it in our blog post-Commercial Ice Maker Buying Guide. But we consider it relevant for you to know the basic ice types portable ice makers produce.


This is a multipurpose ice. You can find it in most drinks since they will cool them fast and will melt slowly.

Cubelet or Nugget Ice 

If you are like me, who likes chewing ice, this is the ideal one. You can use them as well for soft drinks because they cool and melt quickly.

Pearl/Bullet-shaped Ice

Ideal for blended drinks, as well as for chewing. This is the most common for portable ice makers. It also cools drinks and melts quickly.

Tips on Using a Portable Ice Maker

As you may have noticed along this blog, we have provided you specific details about the ice maker, here are some facts when making use of it. 

In the event that your ice maker is not working properly you can check our blog why is my portale ice maker not working- how to fix it.

Clean Water is Key

Since portable ice makers do not have a large water container, the best way to keep your ice clean is to replace your unit's water regularly. This is so because the water in the device gets recycled, which can contain dirt or bacteria. 

Our kismile machines have the advantage that they are self-cleaning, which means you don't need to do all the work and have more time to relax.

Choose the Right Location

If you purchase an under-counter machine, this is something that you do not need to consider. These types of machines can withstand outdoor temperature fluctuations.

If you are moving your ice maker, you need to choose a location that is easily accessible and has a practical outlet function. Ensure this place has proper ventilation and is not exposed to the sun or your bbq!

Store Ice

As we have mentioned, to keep your drinks running, whatever ice you see is left, store it in your freezer, a cooler, or at your drink station. This will avoid ice recycling and your guests won't be waiting for their drinks.

Consider storing ice beforehand so that when your guests arrive, you already have your ice ready to go, and then set your machine to work.


When finding a portable ice maker, have a look at their warranty details. Our products' warranty is for 12 months. But the best advice we can give is to read the reviews of every model to get an idea of what you can expect from each device.

Energy Efficiency

Regular ice makers need a constant flow of electricity. The best option to reduce energy usage is to get a portable ice maker with a power compressor. This will reduce your electric bill, plus they run more quietly.

Taking Everything Into Consideration

We know that owning a portable ice maker might be a luxury, but as technology moves forward, ice makers have become more common in our kitchens.

Consider the main goal of your ice maker, quantity of ice you require, the place where you are going to place it. Plus having a freezer close by or a cooler to store your ice will make everything easier.

You can also check this blog post about how to clean your portable ice maker and have it set up and ready to use always!