Countertop Ice Makers

flseadogDecember 23, 2008

I thought there was a thread on these machines about a year ago but I can't find it. We have to make a final decision on whether or not to get the in the door ice and water dispenser in our main refrigerator. I don't particularly care for the look of this and have heard that when refrigerators need repairs it is usually due to an issue with the ice makers and dispensers. After 30 plus years of marriage DH has just told me that he really likes shaved or crushed ice when he has a root beer (which is about once a month)or when he has a sore throat. He says just having the ice in his mouth is better than any medicine. I'd like to make him happy without getting the ice through the door. Is there a countertop machine out there that I could use on these occasions for him? Any advice will be appreciated.

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live_wire_oak

You can buy a countertop ice machine that will make a small amount of ice for about $200. Then you can buy an ice crusher machine for another $100 or so. The ice maker won't have a hookup to a water line, so you'll have to manually add water when you want ice. It won't store the ice in a freezer section either, it'll just melt and be reused to freeze again. The "storage" is just a small bin that you'll have to dump to put in your freezer if you want to accumulate any stockpile of ice larger than a soda bottle. The ice crusher can do about a drink's worth of ice at a time, and you'll have to either leave both small appliances on the counter all the time or drag them out when you want ice and crushed ice.

If you want a restaurant type ice maker/crusher, you'll spend $4k or so and it'll be noisy, unservicable in your home, need a drain, and be a big energy hog as it won't store ice in a freezer compartment either. Now, you can get a domestic ice maker for undercounter installation, but they aren't that quiet or energy efficient, and none store the ice in a freezer compartment either. They will keep producing ice all day long though, so you will have a "unlimited" amount of ice available. All will require a water hookup, and will need some type of drain, either gravity or an optional pump purchased.

There is always the manual ice tray that you pop the cubes out of, and then buy a separate ice crusher for those few occasions you want crushed ice. My mother lives with such a fridge even now and refuses to go to a in fridge ice maker. Having been spoiled by an in fridge one, I'll never go back, but that's just me.

Ice makers are on homeowner refrigerator freezers because of the convenience factor. Yes, they break more often than any other portion of the refrigerator. But, to get any other type of setup requires a lot of money and space and inconvenience of different types. It's cheaper to just pay the service call on a domestic model regular ice maker when it breaks than to dedicate the money/time/space to any other setup.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 11:15AM
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shadow0000

But you even try to search in ebay or google search to find or maybe try to search in some ice machine industry i think there's a lot of tips you can get or idea about your problem in Countertop Ice Makers!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Scotsman Ice Machine

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 4:39AM
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renno

Question for live wire oak, is there a disadvantage to getting a counter top ice maker and having the water recycle? Wouldn't this mean that the machine will continuously make ice if left plugged in and water replenished?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 5:16PM
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live_wire_oak

It will continuously make ice from the melted ice, no problem. But, because it does not contain a freezer to store that ice below freezing, it will need to be sanitized once or twice a week or so to remain bacteria free. We had one at work in our breakroom, and no one wanted the responsibility of that task and it got to be pretty yucky. Despite having a scoop there, people would put their hands in it, and so will your family. That puts even more bacteria into the mix, and accelerates the need for cleaning. I personally would never use ice from the ice maker because of the cleaning issue, and after we had a bout of GI disease sweep through the company, we eliminated the ice maker. In a home situation, with one single person responsible for sanitizing it, it might not be as much of an issue, but it needs much more regular attention than a "regular" ice maker in a freezer which remains below freezing 100% of the time.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 7:51PM
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homepro01

Can you accommodate a smaller fridge freezer combo for undercounter? You can look on Ebay or Craigslist for someone getting rid of one locally. You can make it your beverage center. For the cleaning reasons mentioned by LiveWire, I probably would not get a countertop model either. Can you get an icemaker in your regular fridge? That lives with just the method of creating crushed ice which my KA blender does just fine.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 12:33PM
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renno

Thanks so much Live Wire Oak for the information. There was a $400 countertop machine I was going to buy at Williams Sonoma, but after reading what you had to say, it is not worth it for me. You saved me a lot of money and headache!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 6:41PM
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ulinesalesguy

I wanted to address a comment made by live_oak_wire that all undercounter ice machines require drains, and do not freeze ice, causing you to have to continually make new ice. What he/she is describing is a clear ice machine. I can speak for U-Line that we have a 100% efficient (100% of water turns to ice) undercounter ice machine that does not require a drain (the temperature in the unit is approximately 0 degrees). I believe Marvel also has a "freezer-type ice unit". Just wanted to ensure everyone has the correct information when making a decision

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 9:51AM
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renno

Question for Ulinesalesguy. The undercounter ice machine you are refering to by Uline, does it make crushed ice, or small ice cubes? Is it loud? Is it expensive?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 12:19PM
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ulinesalesguy

The undercounter ice machine I referred to previously that does not require a drain makes the crescent-shaped ice you are familiar with from your full-size refrigerator-freezer. The difference is efficiency; because your full size refrigerator-freezer is frost-free, it makes ice relatively slowly, while the manual defrost ice machines make ice much more quickly

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 11:59AM
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