Updated March 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Best of the Best
COSTWAY Portable and Compact Ice Maker
Portable and Compact Ice Maker
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Customer Favorite
Bottom Line

A super fast and portable ice maker our cooking expert appreciates for use at parties and everyday.


This product boasts a 6-minute ice-making time and is available in 6 different colors to match your home or decor. It is quiet, has a window so you can see when the ice is ready, and the water tank holds 74 ounces.


Some longevity concerns.

Best Bang for the Buck
ZAFRO Countertop Ice Maker Machine
Countertop Ice Maker Machine
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Compact Design
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One of our expert's top picks thanks to its portable design at an affordable price point.


Easy to power on and off thanks to its one-button design. Weighs in at a little over 26 pounds when full of ice, making it easy to carry around when needed. Runs fairly quiet even when making the maximum amount of ice.


Some reports of the ice melting together if left for longer than 24 hours.

EdgeStar Large Capacity Portable Stainless Steel Ice Maker
Large Capacity Portable Stainless Steel Ice Maker
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Best for Large Households
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Capable of making almost double the ice of others in its class.


Portable and able to make up to 48 pounds of ice per day, which makes it ideal for large get-togethers. Can be used indoors too. Makes ice in three different sizes for whatever your drinks require. Has a stainless steel finish.


Slightly noisy when it's producing ice.

NewAir 28 lb. Portable Ice Maker
28 lb. Portable Ice Maker
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Trusted Brand
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Portable, practical, and colorful; a great pick for outdoor gatherings.


Easy to transport for outdoor events, but can also be used in your kitchen. Makes up to 28 pounds of ice per day. Comes in several fun colors, including bright red.


A little water tends to pool in the machine after use, requiring drainage.

Arctic-Pro Portable Ice Maker
Portable Ice Maker
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Bottom Line

A super stylish outdoor ice maker that includes extra features.


This ice maker can make up to 26 pounds of ice per day and features an effortless one-button ice-making system. Included with the purchase, you'll get an ice basket and scoop. Comes in two modern colors. Very affordable.


Has some longevity issues, and can't store ice for very long.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best outdoor ice makers

If you regularly entertain outdoors, it can be frustrating to constantly leave the party in order to get more ice indoors. With an outdoor ice maker, however, you can keep plenty of ice close at hand whenever you need it. No need to miss out on any of the fun! Outdoor ice makers are also useful for outdoor bars and for anyone who wants to serve cold drinks at a market stall or similar.

Of course, outdoor ice makers still need to be kept under cover, as they're not waterproof — though you could position a portable one out in the open on a dry day. You'll need access to a power outlet to run an ice maker, and there are more factors to consider, too, such as ice production capacity, storage capacity, and the shape and type of ice produced.

If you’re in need of a handy outdoor ice maker, we’ve got you covered. This guide will give you all the information you need to pick the best one for your requirements. To make shopping easy, we’ve also spotlighted several of our favorite top-performing outdoor ice makers for your perusal.

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Choose an outdoor ice maker that's fairly lightweight if you intend to store it indoors during the winter.

Key considerations

Large ice makers vs. portable ice makers

Outdoor ice makers fit into two broad categories: large ice makers (full-size and under-counter options) and portable ice makers.

If you want to set up a permanent outdoor kitchen or turn your garage into a bar area, a large outdoor ice maker is the way to go. You can attach the appliance to your home’s water supply and set up a draining system, which means no refilling water reservoirs or emptying water from melted ice.

Large ice makers like these often have larger production and storage capabilities than portable models. The downside is the high price and the fact that you need to have a covered area in which to set up your appliance.

Portable outdoor ice makers aren't intended for full-time outdoor use, but you can easily bring yours outside when you need it. Due to the portable and compact nature of this appliance, you can use it anywhere you have access to a power outlet, even if you need to run an extension cord. Portable models tend to be inexpensive compared to large ice makers, and their production capacities are reasonable — many can make up to 50 pounds of ice per day.

Production capacity

The production capacity of an outdoor ice maker is how much ice it can produce in a set amount of time. This is usually listed as the number of pounds produced in a 24-hour period. Production capacity ranges from around 12 pounds in 24 hours for compact models to up to 500 pounds in 24 hours for high-end commercial units. For home use, something at the lower end of that range would likely suffice.

Storage capacity

Once your ice machine makes a round of ice, it drops the ice into a storage area to be held until you need it. Portable outdoor ice makers generally have fairly small storage capacities — usually no more than a couple of pounds. Large outdoor ice makers tend to hold around 30 pounds of ice, though the biggest commercial models can store up to several hundred pounds of ice.

Ice type

You should also check what type of ice is produced by any outdoor ice maker you're considering. There are more types of ice than you might realize: classic cubes, half cubes, bullet pieces of varying sizes, non-clumping crescent ice, flaked ice, chewable nuggets, totally clear gourmet ice, and more. Some buyers don't particularly mind what type of ice their ice maker produces, but others have strong preferences.

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Expert Tip?
Avoid setting your ice maker in direct sun. It’s already working hard to make ice and keep it cold – don’t make the job harder.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert


Ice size settings

Some outdoor ice makers allow you to choose ice cube sizes. Check the specs, as products vary in this regard. One machine might give you a choice between small and large cubes, whereas a slightly more sophisticated machine may up your choices to three: small, medium, and large cubes.

Small cubes are usually quicker to produce but will melt more quickly in your drink.


When the ice in the storage container starts to melt, your excess water needs to go somewhere. Some ice makers feature a drain hose that automatically siphons off the water, directing it down a drain or to another appropriate spot.

Water recycling

You can find newer outdoor ice makers with a water recycling function. Rather than draining the water from melted ice, this water is recycled to produce more ice, which helps to save water.

Water filters

Some outdoor ice makers have built-in water filters, so the water used to make your ice is as clean and pure as possible.

Expert Tip
Research the shape and style of ice you want. Three popular shapes are bullet (dome-shaped ice with a hole in the center that doesn’t go all the way through), square (an actual ice cube), and crescent (the half-moon shape).
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Outdoor ice maker prices

Now that you know a little more about outdoor ice makers, how much should you expect to pay for one? This varies depending on a range of features, such as production capacity, size, and style.


These outdoor ice makers cost around $100 to $200. These are predominantly portable models.


In this range, outdoor ice makers are priced at around $200 to $600. If you want a large built-in or freestanding model for home use, you'll be able to find a suitable option within this price range.


High-end outdoor ice makers cost roughly $1,000 to $2,000, though you may find a few for a little less. These are high-capacity models designed for commercial use. They're great if you're running an outdoor bar or similar, but they are unnecessary even for large parties at home.


  • Check the size of any outdoor ice maker you're considering. Portable models should be compact enough to easily move from point A to point B when you need them. Non-portable options must be of the correct size to fit the space you intend for them.

  • Look for models with Energy Star certification. An Energy Star-certified outdoor ice maker uses less power than other models, which is better for the environment and for your bank balance.

  • Think about how regularly you'll use your outdoor ice maker. Commercial-grade models can cost thousands but would be overkill for occasional home use. It isn't a great idea to spend a huge amount on an appliance that you'll only use lightly or once in a while.

  • Consider the climate you live in when choosing an outdoor ice maker. In hot, dry areas, you might be able to set it up for the whole summer without worrying about rain, whereas in wet areas, even a solid awning won't protect it from driving rain.
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Check how long it takes your chosen outdoor ice maker to produce ice. Slow or low-output ice makers may not be sufficient for parties or large gatherings.


Q. Where should I position my outdoor ice maker?

A. Despite the name, outdoor ice makers can't be set up just anywhere outside. If you choose a large freestanding or built-in model that will stay in position year round (or at least during the warmer months), it must be installed somewhere that is covered. Many people place their outdoor ice makers under a hardtop awning or patio cover. You can be more flexible with portable ice makers since you can move them to wherever you want; it doesn't matter if they're under cover as long as it isn't raining. With any outdoor ice maker, however, you will need access to a power outlet for it to run.

Expert tip
Consider purchasing a set of metal ice tongs with teeth for easy and sanitary ice retrieval by guests.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Q. Does an outdoor ice maker need to be hooked up to a water supply?

A. Non-portable outdoor ice makers usually give you the option to connect to your water supply. Those that aren't plumbed into a water supply have a reservoir that must be filled manually — the ice machine draws from this to make ice. If you choose to plumb in your outdoor ice maker, you'll need the correct attachment points in your pipes. Otherwise, a plumber will need to make some changes.

Q. Do outdoor ice makers have a timer function? 

A. Yes, some outdoor ice makers have a timer function. You can set them to start producing ice at a particular time or to switch off at a particular time.

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