BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Kitchen

Get Sonic-style ice at home with these nugget ice makers

Because of its composition, nugget ice doesn’t melt as quickly as crushed ice, making it perfect for cocktails and other mixed drinks.

Nugget ice makers for home

With plenty of sweet treats, delicious beverages and crispy fried favorites to choose from, it’s no wonder that Sonic is one of the most popular fast-food chains. But it’s a bit surprising that one of its most coveted items is its ice. But then again, who doesn’t love soft, crunchy ice you can munch on all day without hurting your teeth?

Sonic’s pebble ice fits the bill, but you don’t have to trek to your nearest drive-thru to enjoy it. Instead, with one of these nugget ice makers, you can have Sonic-quality ice at home whenever the mood strikes.

Shop this article: Frigidaire Countertop Crunchy Chewable Nugget Ice MakerMueller Nugget Ice Maker Machine and GE Profile Opal 2.0 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with WiFi

What is nugget ice?

Nugget ice, also known as pellet or pebble ice, is unlike traditional ice cubes because it has a cylindrical shape. It has a rough side and a smooth side because it isn’t cut from large blocks of ice like other cubes. Instead, it’s made of thin ice flakes pressed together into a nugget or pebble shape.

Because of its composition, nugget ice has a much lighter, airier texture than other types of ice. That helps ensure it’s distributed more evenly throughout your drink. It doesn’t melt as quickly as crushed ice, either, so you don’t have to worry about watered-down beverages. As a result, it’s perfect for cocktails and other mixed drinks.

But for many people, the main appeal of nugget ice is that its softer texture makes it more comfortable to chew on than traditional ice cubes. Many Sonic fans also feel it’s more satisfying to crunch on.

Best nugget ice makers

Best nugget ice makers that cost under $350

Euhomy Nugget Ice Maker

Thanks to its powerful compressor, this ice maker can produce up to 30 pounds daily as long as you empty the basket. It has a clear window on top, so you can see how full the bin is without opening the machine. It offers energy-efficient operation too.

Sold by Amazon

Frigidaire Countertop Crunchy Chewable Nugget Ice Maker

While this machine can make up to 44 pounds of nugget ice per day, it’s still compact enough to fit on your counter. Its bin can hold 3 pounds of ice at a time, and the self-clean feature makes it easy to maintain. It doesn’t require a water hookup either.

Sold by Amazon

Silonn Countertop Ice Maker

A quiet, portable countertop ice maker that fits perfectly in a modern kitchen. It produces 9 ice cubes in  6 minutes, yielding 26 pounds in 24 hours. Holds around 1.3 pounds of ice at a time. Makes 2 sizes of bullet cubes.

Sold by Amazon

Joy Pebble Nugget Ice Machine

With a clear window in the lid, this ice machine lets you see just how much ice you have without opening the bin. It operates at just 45 decibels, so it’s quieter than normal conversation. It takes just 10 minutes to make a full batch of ice too.

Sold by Walmart

Crownful Portable Nugget Ice Maker

This countertop ice maker can make up to 26 pounds of nugget ice daily. It connects to your water supply, so it can automatically add water when the tank is empty. It also has an infrared sensor that knows when the bin is full and turns the machine off.

Sold by Amazon

Northair Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

This compact ice maker doesn’t require a water hookup. You only have to plug it into a standard electrical outlet and add water to have your first ice nugget in just 10 to 15 minutes. It has a transparent basket that lets you see how much ice you have and an “Add water” alert to notify you when the tank is empty.

Sold by Amazon

Best nugget ice makers that cost $350-$450

Wamife Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

With stainless steel housing, this ice maker has a sharp, modern look. It can make 26 pounds of ice daily and can hold 3.3 pounds in its ice bin. It also has a removable basket and a scoop to remove the ice.

Sold by Amazon and Walmart

Kismile Nugget Ice Maker

This self-cleaning ice maker features contactless ice extraction for easy, sanitary operation. Its large-capacity water tank and self-cleaning feature make it a convenient, easy-to-operate ice maker. Its high-efficiency compressor can produce 44 pounds of ice in a day too.

Sold by Amazon

Mueller Nugget Ice Maker Machine

This portable ice maker is easy to move around, so you can leave it on your kitchen counter or bring it out to your patio for barbecues. It can hold over 4 pounds of ice at a time and produce 26 pounds in a day. It also comes with an ice scoop for easy dispensing.

Sold by Amazon

Newair Nugget Countertop Ice Maker

This compact ice maker takes up less than 1 square foot of counter space, despite producing up to 44 pounds of ice a day. It offers convenient drawer access to the ice bin, which is lit by an attractive blue LED light. It’s simple to clean too.

Sold by Amazon

Best nugget ice makers that cost over $450

GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with Side Tank

With its unique design that recirculates melted ice, you never have to worry about your ice clumping with this machine. It takes less than 15 minutes to produce its first ice nugget and can produce 24 pounds daily. It also comes with an ice scoop and drip tray, and it alerts you when it is running low on ice.

Sold by Walmart

GE Profile Opal 2.0 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with WiFi

This compact ice maker can do everything the previous model does, but it also offers built-in Wi-Fi that lets you monitor its status on a connected app. You can also connect the appliance to your Alexa or Google Assistant, so you can use voice commands to operate it. It recirculates melted ice to prevent clumping and leaks too.

Sold by Amazon

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals. 

Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

Share this post: