The Best Ice Makers for Your Home Bar (2021 Edition)
These days, like all other kinds of tech, ice makers have really advanced in recent years and now you can get restaurant- and bar-quality ice in your own home bar. And great ice is what’ll elevate your drinks from good to incredible, keeping your friends coming over for more.
At a glance, below are our top picks for the best ice maker for your home bar.
Ultimately, you want a reliable, efficient ice making machine that works for your personal needs. And to help you make that important decision, I’ve picked a selection of the top 5 ice makers around right now, to help give you a better idea of what’s on the market and the features they boast.
What Kind of Home Bar Speaks to You?
Whether you’re the connoisseur of vintage design with an plenty of oak and mahogany, or you’re all for the modern approach with minimalist décor and contemporary lighting, you’ll still want your home bar to be the best in town.
You might not be old enough to remember this, but I certainly have memories of the terrible home bars of the 80s, with their Formica surfaces and little drinks cabinets on wheels (remember those things?)
As time’s gone on, I like to think we’ve learned the difference between vintage and kitsch, between timeless and tacky, but one thing’s for sure: the home bar is still my favorite part of the house.
Related: Awesome 40 Bar Designs For Men
It’s not even about the drinks themselves. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve collected some beautiful scotches over the years, and I’ve learned how to keep my beer at just the right temperature, but it’s more about what the bar means.
It’s late nights with your buddies. It’s proving that you can make a man-cave cool! And ever since the pandemic closed a lot of the good bars in town, my home bar’s been seeing a lot more ‘custom.’
I’ve taken the time during lockdown to improve my drinks-making skills, including a whole range of cocktails but even the simpler, classic drinks like scotch on the rocks, or the dry favorites like the vodka martini. (And here’s something I learned: James Bond should have had his stirred. It’s way better than shaken. Believe me.)
What do all these drinks have in common? Sounds crazy, but it’s the ice.
Why is the Right Kind of Ice So Important?
When you get a soda or coke at a restaurant, one of the reasons it hits the spot in all the right ways is because of the ice. It sounds odd but how often have you wondered why you can never recreate that amazing beverage experience when you’re at home?
It’s like what we say at Ice Maker Geeks – It’s Nice to Have Ice!
Well, if you get the right kind of ice, you can. And the right kind of ice comes from the right ice maker.
50 years ago, an ice maker would cost thousands of dollars to own, but now you don’t have to break the bank to own a top-of-the-line ice maker.
Industrial ice makers are equipped with the technology to make that perfect, chewable ice that you’ve had a thousand times and still can’t get enough of. Clear ice looks amazing in your glass, and bulet-shaped ice is cheap to produce and can be used for almost anything.
There are three types of ice that you’ll need to know about when it comes to a home bar.
- Clear Ice
- Bullet-Shaped Ice
- Nugget Ice
These three types of ice are the most common and the most popular types of ice for a home bar.
Cubed-clear ice is the perfect ice for any beverage. It fits perfectly in your glass and doesn’t have any air bubbles, so the ice stays frozen for a longer time. This means it’s not going to water-down your beverage.
Bullet-shaped ice is a very general and is available in cheaper countertop ice makers. You can purchase a portable ice maker that produces bullet-shaped ice for only $100.
You can learn more about the top portable ice makers on the market here.
The last type of ice is nugget ice. It’s also called sonic ice, pellet ice or hospital ice. This type of ice is soft and chewable, and fills your glass with so much ice, it chills your beverage instantly.
Nugget ice is the best for cocktails, smoothies, Mint Julep, Cherry Limeade, Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade, Strawberry Screwdriver, Caipirinha, Classic Mojito, Lemon Rosemary Gin Fizz, Strawberry Basil Moscow Mule, Blackberry Bourbon Smash, and all types of sodas.
What Makes a Good Home Bar Ice Maker?
The best answer I can give to this question is: it’s the one that works for you.
Sounds like a copout, I know, but it’s true. If you’re big on entertaining large numbers of guests, all with different drinks preferences, then you’ll want a machine that produces a lot of ice each day.
But, if you only want the machine for yourself and you only like shorts, then you might want a machine that makes beautiful, large, clear gems for your glass.
Do you want one for the home bar, or the kitchen? You can get ice makers that fit underneath counters, but ones that sit on top of them, too. Do you want an ice maker that doubles as a freezer, or one that you’ll remove the ice from to put into an ice bucket? The choices are endless.
It’s a good idea, I’ve found, to get one that’s self-cleaning. That not only saves you the hassle and the expense of filtered water, but it means that the pipes stay so clear that the ice will always be crystal clear, too.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 6 ice makers for your home bar.
Remember, there may be a couple on here that don’t speak to you at all, but then there might just be one that ticks all your boxes. And if you still can’t make up your mind? Put the whole idea on ice, so to speak, and come back to it when you’re ready.
The Top 6 Ice Makers for a Home Bar
I’ve arranged these so that my very favorite ice making machine is at the end, but each of these machines has some fabulous features and I’d honestly be pretty happy with any one of them.
Even though this comes in at number 5, it’s still a great machine and would do very well in a home bar. It’s easy to install, comes with a water filter and makes large, clear ice that looks awesome in a glass.
It’s the perfect machine if you’re a scotch drinker, because the ice it makes is ideal for the rocks over which you’ll splash your amber nectar.
One thing I didn’t like too much was the noise, especially on start-up, but if your bar’s out of the way then you don’t need to be bothered by it as it makes the ice, as it’s silent once the ice is done and ready for use in your home bar.
You’ll never run out of ice in your home bar, and at only 33 inches high it’ll fit snugly under the counter and chill drink after drink.
One of reasons this ice machine appealed so much to me was that I’d seen pictures of the quality of the ice it produced, and I immediately wanted to try it.
Plenty of machines make ice. My regular refrigerator, for one. But I dislike the ice from my fridge because it comes out with those milky-looking, frosted blocks that just don’t look appetizing to me.
The NewAir Countertop really does make diamond-clarity ice cubes that look like they’ve been chipped from God’s own personal ice block. Of all the ice machines I’ve tried, this makes the clearest ice I’ve seen, so if that’s your number one stipulation, then you won’t get a better machine than this.
One drawback is that the ice melts quickly, so it looks great but will rapidly water down your drink. Bear that in mind, as well as the somewhat noisy mechanism. Once the ice is made it’ll sit pretty and without a peep until your guests need ice, and then they’ll wonder at the cube clarity!
I added the IKICH to my list because it’s one of the cheapest portable ice maker’s on the market today. It’s has a compact design, produces 26 pounds of bullet-shaped ice, and is light and easy to carry around.
The IKICH isn’t the most elegant or highest quality portable ice maker on the market, but it’s going to do the trick.
If you want an ice maker without breaking the bank, then the IKICH is your best bet. I put together a comprehensive review here, you can check it out to learn more about the IKICH.
This machine is a little different from a regular ice maker, but I’ve decided to include it because of its versatility. The EdgeStar IN120SS is in fact a mini refrigerator, only it has its very own ice maker built in.
The very fact that you’ve essentially got a fridge and ice maker in one machine that weighs only 12 pounds is what made me feel I had to include this machine in the list. It’s easy to install in your home bar but it’s a fabulous little piece of kit to take with you in a camper van, too.
It even comes with a 25-foot-long water connection line, so you’ll have no problem connecting to a water source for the built-in ice machine, wherever the mains is located.
The quality of the ice is very good, and the mechanism is quiet enough for you to not even know it’s busy making ice while you do other things. Sure, it’s a small fridge and the ice maker inside is even smaller but for personal use and a very appealing price, look no further.
Now we’re getting into serious ice-making territory. No more playing at ice, this machine is the real deal. It might be called a ‘commercial’ ice maker machine, but all this really means is that it gives you commercial-quality tech for a home-ice-machine price.
Related: A Euhomy Commercial Ice Maker
It’s a sturdy little machine, and once it’s under the counter of your home bar it’ll give you superb quality ice within just a few minutes. This thing can make a whopping 100 pounds of ice per day. You could use this for a BBQ, birthday party, or even a wedding and you’ll still have plenty of ice for everyone and save you a fortune buying ice in bulk.
It makes so much ice at once that a great tip I’ve heard is to buy ice bags at the same time you buy this machine. It only holds 30 pounds of ice at a time so any extra you make, bag it up and put it in your freezer for another time.
And the Number One Ice Maker for Your Home Bar Is:
I love this machine because of three main factors:
- The restaurant-quality, chewy nugget ice is my all-time favorite kind
- It doesn’t need attaching to the mains
- I can control it using an app on my phone, via the Bluetooth capability on the machine.
These three reasons make the GE Profile Opal my favorite, hands-down, but there are a whole host of other features that make it so appealing. Little things like having a reservoir on the side of the machine, rather than the top, so there’s more room for the ice compartment.
Related: Opal Nugget Ice Maker Review
It lights up with an icy blue glow which just makes my home bar look cooler. And don’t worry if it looks like it’s not working for a few minutes of running the first time, you’ll get a lot of icy water but let it do its thing and you’ll soon be crunching on that drive-through ice.
Which Ice Maker Works for You?
As I’ve said, it all comes down to personal preference.
Depending on what it is you’re looking for in your home bar, you’ll be intrigued by one machine in this list over another. All that matters is that you get the ice machine that’s right for you.
Anyway, that’s all from me. All this reviewing’s made me thirsty, and I’m off to fix myself a nice cold drink with my favorite, chewy nugget ice!