Best Ice Buckets

Updated October 2019
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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 we never accept free products from manufacturers. 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 
Why trust BestReviews?
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 we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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 we never accept free products from manufacturers. 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 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

43 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
51 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best ice buckets

Last Updated October 2019

An ice bucket can make drinking and serving beverages more cool and convenient for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re entertaining a few friends at a backyard barbecue, waiting to surprise your special someone with a chilled bottle of champagne, or simply keeping ice cubes on hand for a guest’s soda.

While the situations that require an ice bucket vary, the basic purpose of the product remains the same. In addition to functionality, you likely want an ice bucket that is practical and pleasing to the eye. Our favorite picks meet our stringent standards. Consider what you plan to use the ice bucket for, if you would like it to match your décor, and how large you need it to be.

Our buying guide for best ice buckets has tips and advice on how to shop for the right ice bucket for your needs and how to know when you’ve found it.

Purchasing clear ice cubes is preferable to cloudy homemade ones. Clear ice cubes have less pollutants and melt slower.

Key considerations

Use

Some ice buckets are intended to hold one or more bottles or cans of different beverages. Others are simply meant to hold ice cubes for use in cold drinks. Some can be used for both.

Size

The size of your ice bucket is important for two reasons. First, it’s related to the amount of space you have available for using your bucket, whether that space is on the kitchen counter or in the backyard. Secondly, the size of your ice bucket is directly related to its capacity. Determine your size requirements while researching so you can narrow down your choices.

Design

The look of your ice bucket is important since it’s usually reserved for some sort of get-together or special occasion. Consider how and where you plan to use your ice bucket during parties and if there is home or backyard décor you want it to match. This helps you choose a style that works for almost any situation.

Portability

While some ice buckets are extremely portable, others are intended to be placed in one spot and stay there. Think about whether you plan to move your ice bucket around during use. If you need one large enough that it can stay in one spot all night and have the ice brought to it, a less-than-portable option would probably suffice. If, however, you want the freedom to carry your ice bucket around and offer your guests ice cubes, you need a bucket with more portability.

Insulation

Whether or not an ice bucket has a thick wall of insulation can have a major impact on how long the contents remain cold. Although double-wall insulation is advantageous, it’s not completely necessary. A number of models offer single-wall insulation that is thick enough to keep ice cold for longer than you might even need. Consider the length of use when choosing between ice buckets.

Dump all water out of your ice bucket before refilling. The water makes new ice cubes melt faster.

Staff
BestReviews

Features

Closing lid

A lid that is either hinged or free-floating helps keep ice and any other contents in the ice bucket cold for a longer period of time. Although some might find it inconvenient to open and close an ice bucket, it helps in the long run. To keep your ice bucket cold for as long as possible, opt for one that has an independently closing lid.

Ice tongs/scoop

There are few things more frustrating than needing to get ice out of an ice bucket and into a cup without a scoop or tongs. Many ice buckets come with ice tongs or an ice scoop. These are more often included with smaller ice buckets that serve the purpose of carrying ice cubes for drinks.

Carrying handle

In situations where portability is key, having a handle with which to carry your ice bucket makes perfect sense. If you plan to carry your ice bucket around your gathering, or if you want the ability to carry it back and forth to your ice source, consider a model that includes a carrying handle.

Double-wall insulation

Double-wall insulation is one of the most useful features available on ice buckets. When a bucket has double-wall insulation, the ice cubes inside last about 30% longer. The insulation not only keeps the outside heat at bay, it also keeps the cold air inside, making the ice bucket self-cooling.

Cleaning your ice bucket

Keeping your ice bucket clean is important. Bacteria can take hold quickly in wet conditions if the bucket isn’t washed and dried properly. While some ice buckets are dishwasher safe, many are not. For these, you’ll want to use dishwashing soap to clean them by hand. Some have cracks or crevices where the bottom of the bucket meets the sides. Take care to scrub your ice bucket thoroughly after every use, and properly clean and rinse these small cracks. They make the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so dry them well after every cleaning.

Ice bucket prices

Inexpensive: Less-expensive ice buckets fall between $7 and $30. These are mostly small hand-held buckets for holding ice cubes for use in drinks. These buckets will also be less durable than many of their pricier counterparts. They are good for small gatherings such as picnics and barbecues.

Mid-range: Mid-range ice buckets from $30 to $75 offer more of a variety, including small to large ice buckets and large metal ones. This category includes buckets that are more pleasing to the eye. They are great for those who may have regular need for an ice bucket but don’t want to spend too much.

Expensive: Expensive ice buckets range between $75 and $150. These include higher-quality materials such as copper and crystal. They tend to be ice buckets for those who want to make a statement. If you want to add a level of class and sophistication to every social gathering, consider getting an ice bucket in this range.

EXPERT TIP

Keep your small ice bucket in the freezer before bringing it out to use. This keeps your ice cold for a longer period once it’s been brought out.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Check that your ice cubes aren’t melting together. You can use an ice pick to separate them.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Don’t fill your ice bucket too early. Doing so causes the ice to melt prematurely, leaving you with a bucket full of water.

  • Whenever you plan to keep your ice bucket outside, try to keep it in the shade to avoid quick melting of your ice.

  • Clean your ice bucket thoroughly after every use. Leftover water in an ice bucket can smell unpleasant if left too long.

  • Place your ice bucket in an area that is accessible to all but not in the way.

  • Keep in mind that larger ice cubes in an ice bucket create larger gaps between them. Smaller cubes go farther to completely fill your ice bucket.

Other products we considered

Ice buckets are such a varied line of products that it was difficult to choose only five. As such, we’ve included these additional choices. An inexpensive option that works well is Homdox Ice Bucket. This beautiful stainless steel bucket comes with a matching set of ice tongs. If you’re in the market for a mid-range choice, consider Brekx Anchored Double Walled Hammered Steel Beverage Tub. A great high-end choice is Orrefors City Ice Bucket. It’s a beautiful crystal design that’s sure to impress anyone who sees it.

Don’t store a metal ice bucket outside when not in use, as it may eventually start to rust.

FAQ

Q. Why do I need an ice bucket?

A. An ice bucket is far more convenient than keeping your drinks in the refrigerator or forcing everyone to return to the kitchen for ice. With an ice bucket on hand, everyone can have their ice at a moment’s notice.

Q. Why can’t I just use a large bowl as an ice bucket?

A. Two reasons: first of all, bowls are very open and don’t have lids. This means that the ice is exposed to more air than it would be in an ice bucket. That exposure leads to faster melting of ice. Secondly, the lack of proper insulation in a standard bowl leads to cold air escaping through the sides of the bowl as well as warm air entering to melt the ice. Using a proper ice bucket solves both of these problems.

Q. How often do I need to change the ice in my bucket?

A. You only need to change out your ice once it has significantly melted. As long as the majority of ice cubes are still present, you don’t need to change them.

Q. Should I place beer bottles on their sides under the ice in a large ice bucket?

A. No. Beer cools best when it’s placed upright with at least half of the bottle base underneath the ice.

The team that worked on this review
  • Adam
    Adam
    Writer
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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