In our post today, we’re going to look at the battle of the portable nugget ice makers.
Notice the comparison chart below.
We are going to break down all the specs between these two portable nugget ice makers, and decide which one is best for your home or business.
Let’s do this.
The NewAir Nugget Ice Maker
The NewAir Countertop Nugget Ice Maker is the new kid on the block. It’s an elegant, yet simple designed portable unit with very little distractions. This unit is wrapped in stainless steel with a single button on the front of the unit that controls all the operations.
This ice maker looks more like your conventional portable ice maker. It has the buttons on the front, and the viewing window on the top.
It produces 40 pounds of ice each day, and produces the first batch of ice in only 5 minutes.
This ice maker weighs 34 pounds which makes it difficult to move around. I recommend finding a home for this ice maker and leaving it there.
This ice maker looks like all the other portable ice makers on the market. In fact, it looks similar to all the NewAir’s other portable ice makers. It works the same as all the other portable ice makers – add water to the water tank, and the ice begins to produce and drops into the storage bin. When the ice melts, it returns into the water reservoir to make more ice. You do not connect a water line to this unit, and you do not need a drain line.
This unit does have a self-cleaning feature which is easy to use. All you have to do is hold down the power-button for 3 seconds, and the LED light around the power button will begin to flash red and purple. This will begin the cleaning cycle, and it’s important to run this cycle for at least 30 seconds.
The NewAir Nugget Ice Maker is great machine that produces the “good ice.” It’s not a large ice maker, and will fit nicely on your countertop.
The Opal Nugget Ice Maker
The Opal Nugget Ice Maker is the standard for nugget ice and portability being the first to market. It produces 24 pounds of ice every day, which is about 1 pound of ice every hour. It takes 20 minutes for this unit to produce it’s first batch of ice.
The Opal Nugget Ice Maker looks incredible.
This unit has an elegant design, and doesn’t look like a portable ice maker at all. It has a pull-out transparent bin, and it’s lit by a blue LED light, which gives it a little more flare than the NewAir Nugget Ice Maker.
The Opal Nugget Ice Maker also comes with bluetooth, which allows you to connect your ice maker to a smartphone, so that you can create an ice-making schedule.
The Opal has a built-in water resovoir, but comes with a separate side-tank that gives you more water, which leads to less filling, and more constant ice production.
It has sonic ice (nugget ice), a great design and is compact. The Opal is a great ice maker for your home or business.
Comparing the Two Units
At first glance, you may be thinking that these two ice makers are the same, but this isn’t true. In my option, these units are very different.
They both produce nugget ice or sonic ice, but the look and feel is very different.
The Opal Nugget Ice Maker doesn’t look like a standard countertop ice maker. it has a great design, that features the ice in a transparent, LED lit container on the front of the unit.
In our option, it has a very elegant feel and look. When someone walks into your kitchen, and sees this unit on display, their first reaction will be – wow, that’s really cool.
The NewAir isn’t going to win best ice maker design of the year award, because it looks like all the other portable ice makers on the market. It does has a nice stainless steel cover, with a simplistic design, but it looks like a portable ice maker at the end of the day.
✅The check mark goes to the Opal Nugget Ice Maker.
What about performance?
The NewAir is a beast of an ice making machine. It produces 40 pounds of nugget ice each day (which is almost 20 pounds more than the Opal), and produces ice in only 5 minutes (this is amazing!).
The ice maker produces the same soft, chewable ice as the Opal, and comes with a self-cleaning feature, and light indicators – the same as the Opal Nugget Ice Maker.
Overall, the NewAir beats the Opal with performance, but the Opal wins in design. I guess it comes down to how much ice you need, and how fast do you need it?
✅The check mark goes to the NewAir Countertop Nugget Ice Maker.
There is another factor that you need to consider when comparing the Opal Nugget Ice Maker to the NewAir Nugget Ice Maker, and that’s longevity.
Opal has been in the portable ice maker game longer, and have worked out all the bugs and problems.
With NewAir, you don’t really know what product you’e getting in the end, because they haven’t been making nugget ice for that long. I’m not saying that this product is good or bad, it’s just too early to give a conclusive answer.
With the Opal, it’s a unit that is loved, received well and has exceptional reviews. They worked on their weaknesses (added a side tank), and strive to make a better product.
✅The check mark goes to the Opal Nugget Ice Maker.
Both units are heavy. The Opal (with the side tank) weighs just less than 50 pounds, and the NewAir Ice Maker comes in at 34 pounds. I don’t think either of them are ideal for portability, but the edge would go to the NewAir Nugget Ice Maker because it’s lighter and less bulkier.
✅The check mark goes slightly to the NewAir Countertop Nugget Ice Maker.
The price for these two units are very similar – coming in at about $550 (give or take a few).
These units are both a great deal, considering a few years ago, the only way to get nugget ice was by purchasing a commercial ice maker which would put you back a couple thousand dollars. Commercial nugget ice makers produce more ice and have larger storage containers, but most of the time, you just don’t need that much ice.
A portable ice maker is all you need, and a little over $500 is a good price to pay.
Another plus with portable ice makers, you don’t have to pay to have them installed, or need any drain or water lines.
✅The check mark goes slightly to the Opal Nugget Ice Maker. It comes with a side tank and is still a little less money.
Which portable nugget ice maker should you purchase? It’s up to you.
If design is something that you feel strongly about, and you want something that is both elegant and tried – then I would purchase the Opal Nugget Ice Maker.
It’s been around for a while, has great reviews and looks incredible.
Just remember, that you’re going to get less ice each day, and it’s going to take 15 more minutes to make your first batch of nugget ice.
If you are looking for performance, production, and you’re not concerned with design or a relatively new product, then you should purchase the NewAir Portable Ice Maker (The NewAir Ice Maker isn’t ugly, it’s not as attractive as the Opal).
The NewAir is new, but it’s a production machine. Producing 40 pounds of ice each day, and making ice in only 5 minutes is a triumph.
Both of these units are good, and both produce amazing nugget or sonic ice for your home.
Below are links for the best prices online. Click on the links to learn more about these great ice makers.