How to Choose the Best Portable Ice Maker?
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Top Best Portable Ice Markers Based on Reviews and Price
How to Choose a Portable Ice Maker?
In summer and winter, we need ready-to-use ice cubes. They are useful for treating acute injuries, beauty routines, cocktails, or to fill the champagne bucket. You can’t leave the portable ice machines behind while planning for your poolside party, tailgating, boating, RV and camping activities. Unlike the bulky industrial-size and refrigerator versions, this compact modern machine can produce a large amount of ice in just 6 minutes and continuously.
However, before purchasing yours, it is essential to pay attention to certain criteria. They must be objective and reflect your needs. Here are the most important factors to consider before choosing a portable ice maker.
10 Factors to Consider When Buying a Portable Ice Maker
1. Compact Dimensions
The dimensions of an ice cube machine should not be left to pure chance if you want to enjoy the full functionality of this product. Its size plays an important role both in the level of congestion you’ll have to endure throughout its use and in terms of its ability to produce the quantity of ice you’ll need.
If you plan to place it in your kitchen where it would logically be with many other machines and utensils, then it would be better to opt for a smaller model that is less bulky. For use in the kitchen, opt for a countertop ice maker.
For ease of use, transportation for use away from home, consider a machine within the ranges of 7-9 inches in length, 10-13 inches in width and height of 10-13 inches.
2. Reasonable Weight
Machines are said to be portable when you can easily carry, move them around or transport them. Hence, weight isn’t a factor you should overlook when shopping for a portable ice maker. A machine could be compact and have small dimensions but still, be weighty.
However, it all depends on how you’re going to utilize the appliance. The weight may not be a significant factor if the machine will only maintain a static position. For example, when you only need it for home use.
Meanwhile, if you’re buying ones you wish to go around with, then the weight matters. If you want one you can easily put in your car trunk, caravan, or RV, then you can consider a machine that measures between 7 to 12 kg in weight. This range, along with the recommended dimensions, will offer enough portability.
3. Opt for Countertops
The countertop ice makers are made for the family and people who need to entertain their circle of friends. They are also ideal if you would be transporting them from one place to another. Of course, the place must have an electrical connection such as a cabin on the beach, in the countryside or on your yacht. They are the types you could place on kitchen countertops, hence, saving space.
In fact, if portability is what you look for in an ice maker, the ultra-portable ones are the countertops. Besides, they are easy to install. So watch that keyword when doing your search.
4. Tank Capacity
The portable ice makers can have a tank that can take in between 1.8 and 3 liters of water. For small receptions, generally, this is more than enough. Such a device can produce between 12 and 15 kg of ice cubes per day, which is quite substantial.
Also, the storage space for the ice produced should be able to store from 400 to 800 grams.
However, note that the produced ice that the average portable ice maker stores melt faster than the standard industrial types. So, for portable types, it is advisable to use the ice immediately or store it elsewhere.
5. The Refrigeration System
The ice equipment often consists of the condenser, throttle valve, evaporator and, most importantly, the compressor. Obviously, you will need a powerful compressor. It compresses the low-pressure refrigerant vapor into high-pressure vapor before it gets to the system’s condenser.
A minimum of 120 watts is required to get a quick result. This can be about 10 to 15 minutes for the first ice cubes. Also, turn to a system that passes no odd smells and tastes into the ice.
In addition, if you want specific ice cube sizes for each type of drink, make sure your device is capable of producing between two and three different sizes.
Portable ice makers are also designed to blend in with the kitchen aesthetically. In the market, you can find products with different shapes and designs that can go along with the different styles of each kitchen.
Some products are more rounded and stylized. Meanwhile, others, commonly the industrial ones, tend to be more square, coarse and not really aesthetically pleasing.
The design of a portable ice machine also has to do with the construction, coating, and color. Concerning the type of material, it is recommended to choose stainless steel ice makers. These are more durable, require much less energy to cool or heat and are easy to clean.
As for the color, some brands have devices in different colors. Meanwhile, the most common are white, black and gray. We know portable ice machines aren’t designed solely for the kitchen. However, models with beautiful finishes and a pleasant color that harmonizes with your interior are all details that you can consider.
7. Cycle Time/Production Speed
For portable ice machines, production speed is usually measured by indicating the number of kilos of ice the unit can make per day.
The most popular models should be able to produce between 10 and 21 kilograms of ice in 24 hours. Obviously, models with faster production capacities will have numbers that are closer to the upper end of this range.
Another speed factor to consider is the speed with which the device will start producing ice. On average, you can expect the first batch of ice cubes to drop within 8 to 15 minutes.
However, faster machines can drop the first cycle in just 6 minutes. Also, they produce at least 12 kilograms in a day.
In comparison, bigger commercial ones usually take a little longer for the first cycle. This can be about 15 minutes. One factor to consider is that the larger the shape of the ice, the longer it will take to be ready. This specification does not matter if you will not be in a hurry. But this is something to keep in mind if you want to cool your drinks quickly.
8. Self-cleaning System
Generally, ease of maintenance is a factor we all must consider in home and kitchen appliances. This function contributes to the machines’ hygienic use and how durable they can be.
Portable ice machines with an automatic cleaning system are much more practical, simpler to use and easy to maintain.
Some ice machine models are made of easy-to-clean materials such as stainless steel. They allow you to eliminate bacteria or germs that develop inside the ice tray. Other models have a self-cleaning system that automatically cleans the microorganisms.
With this, they eliminate the need to manually clean the machine frequently, regardless of the material it is made of. Therefore, it is also important to check this feature before making a price comparison.
9. Heat Insulation
Generally, there is a major disadvantage in portable ice makers when compared with commercial types. While these machines are fast ice-making equipment, the ice they produce doesn’t tend to maintain that icy state for long.
A little while after the production (which usually doesn’t exceed 10 to 12 minutes), they begin to thaw. Meanwhile, the ice thaws out into the water, then recycled to make new ice. This may result in a considerable waste of energy at the end of the month and even having to wait for the thawed water to ice again.
However, to avoid this, you can find models with a more secure and heat insulation system.
To start with, these types have stainless steel constructions and thick internal insulation materials. Although they don’t work like freezers, they can prevent produced ice from melting for about 3 to 7 hours.
10. Other Essential Features
Convenient features make it easier to use your machine. The portable machine has to have a simple start and stop button.
Adjust the Ice Cube Size
A basic function is the ability to choose the size of your ice cubes. This is available in models with the Ice Size Selection feature.
You should also look for models with indicator lights. This indicates the water level in the tank or the level of ice cubes in the bin. For easier adjustments, better visibility and aesthetics, prioritize models with LCD screen. Some models have visibility windows.
Models with automatic dispensing features are also on the rise. They let everyone serve themselves simply and hygienically. You just need to place the glass under the dispenser to collect the ice cubes.
Also, remember to see how the emptying of your ice maker works. Generally, a drain valve is built into the device to allow the water remaining in the tank to flow.
Safe and Convenience
Furthermore, good stability is necessary to guarantee safe use. Opt for a device with non-slip feet. Besides, always look for models with features such as Intelligent Water Usage and Ice Scoop.
Wrapping It Up
Portable ice makers aren’t just for use in the kitchen. These practical devices are perfect for any situation where people need to have access to a constant supply of ice for therapies, camping, and recreational vehicle trips, follow-up parties, boat trips, and even office break rooms. Consider the suggested criteria before making an order, and you’re almost certainly guaranteed a long-lasting, purpose-built and efficient machine.