Quietest Ice Makers (Best Way to Free Up Your Freezer Space)
Can we all just agree to put our days of buying bagged ice behind us? All of the best party hosts have ice makers, anyway. However, in my experience, many home ice maker machines also make a whole lot of noise. So if you want to know which are the quietest ice makers on the market, you’ve come to the right place.
After all, it wouldn’t make sense to get an ice maker that’s even louder than the freezer you already own. Without a doubt, the quietest way to make ice remains the freezer method — whether you’re using bags, trays, or custom ice molds. Yet, that’s still a lot of work for just a few ice cubes.
At most, the noise freezers make is a low buzzing sound. Besides, there are plenty of reasons why you might not be able to spare the room in your freezer as you’ll see in just a minute.
After we talk about why you might need a quiet ice maker in the first place, I’m going to explain the features you’ll want to keep in mind when shopping for your unit. I’ve made sure to include both countertop and under-counter machines in my reviews, so everyone will have some options. Now without further ado, let’s talk about ice machines and why you need them in your home.
WHY YOU NEED A QUIET ICE MAKER
There are many reasons why someone might need an ice maker machine that’s separate from their freezer. For one, your freezer could already be full to the brim with other things, or you could just need the ice for a road trip. If you want to have an awesome camping trip or a picnic in the park, you can pack a portable generator and plug your ice maker into that.
However, we should probably stop to define the types of ice makers we’ll be talking about.
At the mention of these types of products, you might think of the ice dispensers many fridges have nowadays. But that’s not really what we’re talking about here. Instead, many of the machines I’ll be talking about today are basically just boxes that are small enough to fit either under your counters or on top of them.
So some ice makers can be built into your cabinets like a garbage bin. On the other hand, most of them are meant to sit on your counter or kitchen island, and you can even use them on an RV or a boat as well.
Where I come from, the summer heat is no joke. Before I got an ice maker, I used to have to fill up the freezer with plastic bags or trays every year. And every year, those methods only produced the most subpar misshapen ice cubes you’ve ever seen. Besides, a freezer can take several hours to make ice, whereas most ice machines have much shorter turnover times.
What You Could Use a Quiet Ice Maker For
Aside from finally being able to free up some freezer space, there are plenty of other reasons to swap out your ice bags for an ice maker. As I’ve just mentioned, the turnover time can be really short, as most machines take less than 10 minutes to get you your first batch of ice. Furthermore, even the smallest models can produce about 25 pounds of ice within a day, which is probably more than a freezer can manage.
Additionally, there are so many uses you could get out of a portable ice machine:
- You can use it to make cocktails and other refreshing drinks. You can have the machine in your kitchen or station it in the garden or near your pool if you’re hosting a party.
- Ice machines are also great for offices. Having a new gadget to play with can make the workday more fun for everyone.
- You can also take your ice maker on a cruise or a boat ride, or keep your drinks cool on a camping trip. Trust me — having an ice machine makes tailgating so much more fun. As I’ve previously mentioned, you can plug them directly into an RV power outlet or use a generator. That should alleviate any concerns you might have about the ice melting, as it would if you were to buy a bag of ice from a nearby store.
- Even if you already have an ice machine under the counter, you could still use a smaller one for the countertop. If you have a large family that uses up a lot of ice, getting another quiet ice machine could be the perfect solution.
FEATURES TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN SHOPPING FOR ICE MAKERS
As fun and convenient as having an ice maker could be, I should point out that many of them tend to make some noise. If you’ve ever had an old fridge, you know the type of low buzzing sound I’m referring to. Still, all of the units I’ve decided to review have either been marketed as “quiet” by the manufacturers or have been called that by the reviewers.
Now, I’d also like to discuss the features that I paid special attention to while scouring the Internet for the quietest ice makers. These are some of the things that helped me narrow down the list of products I’ll present later on. For now, let’s begin with the most obvious feature.
As always, the most important thing about the products I review is the amount of noise they make. Well — I suppose their efficiency is also important. But, if you’re going to be using this kind of appliance in an apartment, an office, or even a hospital, you will need it to be as quiet as possible. Even if you’re using it to make ice at a party, you probably don’t want it to overpower the conversation.
With that in mind, most people would agree that having a quiet ice maker is the goal. However, most manufacturers don’t state any kind of metric you could use to compare their products to the other brands’ machines. In my other review articles, you might have seen me talk about the loudness of various appliances in terms of decibels. But since that’s not possible in this case, I’ll just be going by user opinions.
Still, you can rest assured that the products on my list have been thoroughly vetted by yours truly. And, if you’re planning on getting an under-counter unit, I might even share a few tips you can use to soundproof your counter cabinets.
Appearance and Size
The appearance, and more specifically, the size of the model you end up going for will affect several things.
For one, if you get a smaller unit, you’ll easily be able to place it on top of your counter or put it away in a cabinet. However, larger machines that were specifically made for under-counter placement are going to look quite bulky out in the open. And, of course, the smaller units will be easier to pack up and take on a trip.
Furthermore, the size of an ice maker is also going to affect the amount of ice it can make. After all, the amount of ice your machine will be able to produce comes down to the volume of its tank. That may not be important to everyone, but if you’re planning on hosting large parties or you need an ice maker for your business, you might want to opt for a unit with a large capacity.
Another aspect of the appearance you might want to consider are the materials the manufacturer used. Not only will that help you determine whether a machine will fit into the rest of your kitchen decor (or wherever else you’d like to place it), but it will also let you decide if a particular unit is safe to leave outside.
After all, if you’re planning to use it to make ice for your poolside lemonade or take it camping, you’ll want it to be durable. In those cases, keep an eye out for stainless steel and similarly long-lasting materials. Moreover, you should also mind the temperature of the environment. Most ice makers need to be set up in an area with plenty of ventilation and a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius.
In addition to the features I’ve already explained, you’ll also want to consider the type of ice each of the machines can make. Depending on the way you usually use ice, you’ll have three options to choose from:
- Traditional ice cubes usually look great in any drink, but there are some drawbacks. Namely, ice cubes are typically too bulky to fit through the top of a bottle.
- Bullet-shaped ice is ideal for those of us who like to carry water bottles everywhere we go.
- Lastly, you can also get a machine that produces nugget or pellet ice. Actually, because one of my brothers has always loved chewing ice, the first machine on my list makes this kind of ice. I know he’s stubborn enough not to quit, so I thought that making it a bit easier would be the next best thing. Besides, crushed ice also looks pretty good in a glass.
You should also keep in mind the clarity of the end result. Several of the products I’ve found advertise the fact that their machines make the most transparent ice. Clear ice seems to melt more slowly, so it should dilute your drinks to a lesser degree.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, you should also remember to check the production rate of the machines you’re looking into. Some of them can take up to half an hour to start producing ice while others do it in under 10 minutes. But if you’re someone who plans ahead, you can start the ice maker and keep it running for as long as you need it.
Finally, there are some additional features you’ll want to watch out for when you’re shopping. For one, any good ice maker should have a drain system, whether it’s a gravity drain or a pump. That system enables excess water and melted ice to escape the ice box. Depending on the kind of drain your machine has, you may have to put it near a kitchen drain.
Furthermore, an ice machine should come with a built-in water filter that could help produce clear ice cubes. You will eventually have to swap out the filter for a new one, as per the instructions that come with the product. If you’d like, you can also buy an extra water filter when you get the machine.
Many machines will also come with warranties, which are always worth saving. Amazon itself almost always offers to exchange products that break down too quickly after purchase.
And, if you’re going to use your ice maker for commercial purposes, such as in a bar, hotel, or even a hospital, you might want to make sure that the machine you get is ADA compliant. That means that it was built in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act design requirements.
Moreover, while we’re on the subject of commercial use, you could also seek out an Energy Star rated machine. Energy efficiency is even helpful for casual ice maker owners who are looking to keep their power bills low.
BEST QUIET ICE MAKERS
At this point, there’s not much left to say other than the reviews. As I’ve already hinted earlier, I’ll begin with a countertop machine that makes chewable nugget ice. The next several products are all smaller and potentially portable units, and I’ll close with two of the best and the quietest under-counter machines I’ve found. So without further ado, let’s check out the contestants.
1. Opal Nugget Ice Maker
The Opal Ice Maker from First Build is one of the most interesting products I’ve found, which is why I felt compelled to talk about it right away. So let’s discuss the basics before we go into the specifics.
This machine is only 15.5 inches tall, 10.5 inches wide and about 17.2 inches deep, making it the perfect size for most countertops. In fact, it actually weighs only 44 pounds, which makes it easy to pack up and take on a tailgating picnic. The unit’s sleek stainless steel and black build is nicely complemented by the transparent ice drawer in the middle and the two orange logos above and below it.
The ice maker only has one button above the drawer. Just pull the drawer out and pour regular drinking water into the machine; you should have your ice pellets within 20 minutes. Once the ice maker really gets going, it’ll produce about a pound of ice per hour, capping the production at 3 pounds. And it’ll all be easy to take out thanks to the scoop that comes with the machine.
However, this product does not keep the ice cool. It will shut off automatically once the drawer fills up with ice, and the nuggets will gradually melt, sinking back into the reservoir. That water can then be turned into ice nuggets, ready to go into smoothies, lemonades, or whatever else you can come up with. Just remember to use potable water with a water hardness of under 12 grains per gallon (or 205 parts per million).
As long as you keep the surrounding temperature between 55 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the machine should keep working. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that this is probably not the quietest product on my list. Many users have said that it’s quieter than the average dishwasher — but it does make a humming noise.
Furthermore, due to an issue in certain machines, the product you end up with might break down. Still, the company does offer a 1-year warranty on this ice maker. You’ll probably be able to catch any potential problems in time.
And I’ve saved the best feature for last. This product is fully Bluetooth enabled, which allows you to control it from the First Build app. The app lets you schedule whenever you want your machine to start making ice. You can even mess with the lighting settings.
If you’d like to know more, I also recommend checking out this video on YouTube for a more comprehensive review.
2. Luma Comfort Portable Clear Ice Maker Stainless Steel
Even though the Luma Comfort ice maker doesn’t have an app that goes with it, you’re about to see exactly why I’ve decided to feature it today. Not only is this machine incredibly quiet, but it also makes some of the most crystal clear ice on the market. So how does it do that?
Well, let’s just say that this small and portable unit packs a mighty punch. At only 11 inches long, 14.25 inches wide and 14 inches tall, this device is definitely smaller than the previous one. It’s also less heavy at 25.5 pounds, but it’s still fairly sturdy and durable. What’s more, as I’ve already mentioned, this unit does have one huge advantage — it makes clear, restaurant-quality ice cubes.
In fact, this machine is capable of producing about 28 pounds of ice per day. However, it definitely can’t hold all of it. After all, the removable basket inside can only handle about 3.5 pounds at a time. So you’re going to have to take the ice out and use it or store it in the freezer. Like the previous ice maker, this one simply produces the ice. Once it melts, the water goes right back into the tank again.
Speaking of which, let’s talk a bit about how all that clear ice gets made. Once you get the machine, you’ll want to plug it in and turn it on. The LED indicators will tell you to add water into the tank — so you’ll pop open the cap on top and do that. Right off the bat, you’ll notice that this unit is almost completely silent.
- Best machine for clear ice cubes
- Melts 5 times more slowly, not diluting the taste
- Makes 28 pounds of ice per day
- First ice cubes in 15 minutes
- With a removable ice basket and a scoop
- See price on Amazon
Inside the ice maker, the water you added will start circulating and pouring over a vertical metal ice tray. The metal ice tray will be very cold, freezing the cascading water in layers. That’s what makes the end result so transparent. Once the tray is completely frozen over, it will heat up, causing the ice to slip off into the basket. You should have your first batch of transparent ice cubes within 15 minutes.
Of course, nothing is perfect, so this invention does come with some flaws. Specifically, the main drawback seems to be that this model doesn’t have a great water filter. Because of that, the ice eventually stops coming out clear, and a goopy substance appears inside the drain pipes. However, the solution to this problem is pretty simple.
Basically, it comes down to hygiene. As long as you clean the system every time your ice starts coming out foggy, you’ll be fine. And if all else fails, you’ll have a 1-year warranty for repairs and replacements with all expenses paid by the manufacturer.
This machine also comes in two colors — stainless steel and white. Depending on the kind of decor you have in your kitchen or bar, both of these options might be a great fit for you.
3. hOmeLabs Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
The bullet ice machines from hOmeLabs are some of the most popular countertop ice makers on the market. Many other brands have tried replicating the way these machines operate, so many other units look like this one.
The hOmeLabs silver ABS unit weighs in at just under 20 pounds. It’s also 9.5 inches wide, 13 inches tall and 14 inches long.
The machine has a transparent window at the top that lets you see how much ice you’ve got. Aside from that handy visual guide, there are also LED indicators on top. One lets you know when you need to empty the 1.5-pound capacity ice basket, while the other tells you to add water.
The refilling process is pretty much the same as with the first machine we discussed. Just lift the basket and fill up the tank up to the maximum line. This model can hold about 2 liters of water, and it can produce about 26 pounds of ice per day. However, as with all of these smaller models, they’re not refrigerators, so you’ll need to transfer the ice elsewhere.
When you add the water into the tank, it will circulate to the top of the machine where the bullet-shaped metal bits will be submerged into it. That part works similarly to the cool ice tray we just talked about, so it results in mostly transparent ice. Still, the one big difference with this machine is that it lets you choose between two sizes of bullet ice — small and large. The small ones would be great for water bottles with a small entrance or for chewing, but they’d probably also be quicker to melt.
With this unit, you’d be getting batch after batch of bullet-shaped ice every 6-8 minutes or so. You can use the scoop that comes with the machine to get your ice out as it’s being made. Alternately, you can lift the whole basket every 40 minutes or so to get the whole 1.5 pounds of ice out.
According to users, the only sound you’ll be able to hear is the gurgling of the water as it reaches the bullet molds. You may also hear it when the ice drops into the basket.
Basically, this little machine has everything you could want from a portable ice maker. You can even pick the ice sizes!
When you’re ready to set the machine away after the summer, you can clean it with vinegar or some soap. Then, thoroughly dry it and set it aside. Ideally, though, you should be cleaning your ice makers every few weeks or so to preserve the integrity of your ice.
4. Whynter Undercounter Automatic Stainless Steel
Now that we’ve talked about my favorite portable ice makers, let’s talk about two of the best under-counter ones I’ve found.
When it comes to ice makers, you can’t go wrong with the Whynter brand. This time around, though, I want to talk about their stainless steel ice maker.
At about 14 inches wide, 24.5 inches tall, and 16 inches deep, this unit should fit most under-counter cabinets. There is a large vent at the front of the machine, but the rest of the metal shell is closed. This means that any sound the machine makes will only escape out the front vent. But technically, you should never cover those vents while the machine is running.
Naturally, the front ventilation design allows you to effortlessly slide the machine into a cabinet. Additionally, it will also allow you to implement some soundproofing methods, should you need to do so. However, most users claim that this unit barely makes any sound at all. So you may not need to tweak it.
The ice maker itself looks like a short stainless steel fridge, with a latch-secured reversible swing door. That will let you choose how you want your ice maker to open depending on your cabinet doors. Furthermore, inside the machine, you can see the small box that produces the crescent moon-shaped ice and the ice bin the crescents fall into.
This ice maker can use 3 gallons of water to produce 23 pounds of ice per day. However, the removable ice bin can only hold about half of that amount. So you’ll still need to store the rest of the ice somewhere if you don’t intend to use it immediately.
On the other hand, you can always just make 12 pounds of ice and leave it in the ice maker. Unlike the other units I’ve reviewed so far, this one can keep the ice frozen. In fact, if you want the ice to thaw, you’ll have to do a manual defrost.
At this point, you can probably see how under-counter ice machines differ from countertop ones. Aside from having a greater capacity and larger ice cubes, these machines also tend to have a water supply. This one has a 6-foot braided stainless steel water hose. Basically, that hooks the machine to your drinking water so that you don’t actually have to add water manually.
As I’ve previously mentioned, only the front side of this ice maker has a vent. So if you wanted to pad the other sides to prevent them from vibrating against the wooden cabinets, you could. I recommend padding the inside of the cabinet with MLV or some type of foam or rubber material. That would definitely eliminate the last of the buzzing noises.
5. EdgeStar Built-In Ice Maker
Finally, I didn’t want to leave you with just one quiet under-counter ice maker. So here’s another great option — the EdgeStar IB120SS.
From the outside, there are a few things that distinguish the previous model from this one. For one, this one is primarily black with only the door being made of stainless steel. However, this door is reversible, like with the previous unit.
Overall, this ice maker is about 15 inches wide and a bit over 25 inches tall. Without the handle in the front or the pipes in the back of the machine, it’s only 18 inches deep.
If you want it to fit completely into your cabinet, you’ll need at least 20 inches of space. Also, because of the extra features in the back of this unit, I wouldn’t advise soundproofing it in the same way as you would the Whynter machine. Still, you could at least pad the sides that don’t have vents if you wanted to.
When it comes to this machine’s capabilities, it’s a bit of a hybrid. Like the Whynter machine, this one makes crescent-shaped ice. However, it has a much lower capacity. It can only make about 12 pounds of ice per day, and only about 6 pounds can fit into the removable drawer.
Like the other under-counter ice maker I’ve mentioned, this one doubles as a freezer, so your ice won’t melt. However, that also means that the ice can’t melt on its own and get drained away. This is another model you’d have to defrost yourself as you would a traditional freezer.
When it comes to usage, under-counter ice makers are about as straightforward as the countertop ones. Still, they’re a bit harder to install. I recommend having someone else install it, especially if you’re not used to doing those kinds of projects. The manufacturer offers a 90-day labor warranty and a 1-year warranty for parts. So this is pretty much a safe bet.
This product is also ADA certified. Remember — that just means that people with disabilities would be able to use this ice maker without an issue. So you could put it in a hotel, bar, or even a hospital. What’s more, like some other units on this list, this one will even shut off automatically when the ice bin is full.
Finally, this ice maker also comes with a waterline connection that’s significantly longer than the previous unit’s hose. With 25 feet of hose, you’ll definitely be able to easily reach the nearest water supply.
And that wraps up my reviews of the quietest ice makers on the market.
Throughout this overview, I tried to show you a few samples of the different kinds of ice makers. You could see 3 countertop machines that all make different types of ice as well as 2 under-counter units with different dimensions and capacities.
Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with any of the machines I’ve mentioned here. Besides, all of them have decent warranties. So if anything goes wrong with the unit you got, you should be able to get a new one. One thing is certain — anyone who brings an ice machine to the neighborhood picnic will quickly become a fan favorite.