Best Nugget Ice Makers of 2023

By Heloise Blause Updated August 11, 2021

The coolest ice makers in town

Best Nugget Ice Makers of 2023

Are you fed up with regular ice cubes watering down your drink? Are you finding the cubes too bulky for your ice bag?

A nugget ice maker is a great way to get chewable pebble ice. It’s perfect for all of your drinking needs, and it cools anything down quicker than standard ice. That includes injuries, too.

We’ve put together our top seven picks for the best nugget ice maker machine currently available as well as a list of what you should consider.

Our Top Picks

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Best Nugget Ice Makers of 2023
Frigidaire EFIC235-AMZ Countertop Crunchy Chewable Nugget Ice Maker, 44lbs per day, Self Cleaning FunctionBest Overall

FRIGIDAIRE Nugget Ice Maker

Frigidaire EFIC235-AMZ Countertop Crunchy Chewable Nugget Ice Maker, 44lbs per day, Self Cleaning Function

  • It's Quick.

  • Makes The Best Ice.

  • Easy To Operate.

GE Profile Opal | Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with Side Tank | Portable Ice Machine with Bluetooth Connectivity | Smart Home Kitchen Essentials | Stainless Steel Finish | Up to 24 lbs. of Ice Per DayMost Popular

GE Profile Opal

GE Profile Opal | Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with Side Tank | Portable Ice Machine with Bluetooth Connectivity | Smart Home Kitchen Essentials | Stainless Steel Finish | Up to 24 lbs. of Ice Per Day

  • It Looks Nice.

  • Good Warranty.

  • Easy To Clean.

Snoworld Ice Maker Machine Countertop, with App Remote Control and Self-Cleaning Function, 9 Bullet Ice Cubes Ready in 8 Minutes, 26lbs Ice Cubes in 24H, Ice Maker for Kitchen/Home/Office/PartyBest Budget

Snoworld Ice Maker Machine

Snoworld Ice Maker Machine Countertop, with App Remote Control and Self-Cleaning Function, 9 Bullet Ice Cubes Ready in 8 Minutes, 26lbs Ice Cubes in 24H, Ice Maker for Kitchen/Home/Office/Party

  • Quiet.

  • Long Power Cord.

  • Outdour Use.

KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget Ice Maker, Crunchy Pebble Ice Maker, Sonic Ice Maker's Produces Max 30 lbs of Nugget Ice per Day, Stainless Steel Display PanelBest for Crunchy Ice

KBice Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget Ice Maker, Crunchy Pebble Ice Maker, Sonic Ice Maker's Produces Max 30 lbs of Nugget Ice per Day, Stainless Steel Display Panel

  • Perfect Crunchy Ice.

  • It’s Hygienic.

  • Durable.

Scotsman SCN60PA-1SS Brilliance Nugget Ice Machine Door Finish: Stainless Steel, Drain Type: PumpBest for Crunchy Ice

Scotsman Nugget Ice Machine

Scotsman SCN60PA-1SS Brilliance Nugget Ice Machine Door Finish: Stainless Steel, Drain Type: Pump

  • Easy To Install.

  • Handy Auto-Stop.

  • Easy To Maintain.

NewAir Nugget Ice Maker, Sonic Speed Countertop Crunchy Ice Pellet Machine 40 lbs. of Ice a Day in Stainless Steel, Self Cleaning Function and BPA-Free Parts - NIM040SS00Best CounterTop

NewAirNugget Ice Maker

NewAir Nugget Ice Maker, Sonic Speed Countertop Crunchy Ice Pellet Machine 40 lbs. of Ice a Day in Stainless Steel, Self Cleaning Function and BPA-Free Parts - NIM040SS00

  • No Drips.

  • Big Water Tank.

Scotsman UN1520A-1 20' Air-Cooled Nugget Undercounter Ice Maker Machine with 57 lb. Storage Capacity, 167 lbs/Day, 115v, NSFBest Commercial

Scotsman UN1520A Nugget Ice

Scotsman UN1520A-1 20' Air-Cooled Nugget Undercounter Ice Maker Machine with 57 lb. Storage Capacity, 167 lbs/Day, 115v, NSF

  • Works Efficiently.

  • Makes Great Ice.

What is Nugget Ice?

Nugget ice, also known as pellet, chewable, pebble, and Sonic ice, is ice made from layers of flaked ice that are compressed into a nugget.

Since there’s air between the layers, it’s soft, chewy to munch on, and much easier to eat than a regular ice cube. This is why it was first used in hospitals to help keep patients hydrated when they couldn’t swallow water.

But then Sonic, the fast-food chain, started using this ice in their “Slushes”(1). It became such a hit that now it’s commonly known as Sonic ice.

Nugget ice also has different other names depending on the brand of ice machine. Scotsman and Manitowoc machines call it nugget ice, but Ice-O-Matic refers to it as cube pearl ice.

How do Nugget Ice Makers Work?

Nugget ice makers work differently, depending on if it’s water-cooled or air-cooled.

Water-Cooled Machines

Water-cooled ice nugget machines use water to take the heat away from the condenser coils. The water absorbs the heat and then it drains out of the machine(2).

This is practical if you need to keep your ice maker in a warm room because it doesn’t rely on the ambient air temperature. But it will use a lot of water, around 5 times as much as an air-cooled machine.

Plus, you’ll need to carry out regular cleaning to stop scale building up and damaging your ice maker. So it’s recommended to use a technician for a specialized clean, too.

Air-Cooled Machines

Air-cooled ice nugget machines pull surrounding air into the machine and through internal fans and vents. When the air passes through the condenser coils it takes the heat away and pushes it out of the ice maker.

Air-cooled models are the most popular because they’re more energy-efficient. Many have the Energy Star seal of approval. They’re also cheaper to run.

But be aware that these machines will pull grease and contaminants through them in the air. And if the air is always warm it will make it harder for your machine to work properly and could reduce its lifespan.

They Don’t Act As Freezer

Nugget ice machines aren’t freezers. At least, we couldn’t find one. But they come with an insulated storage bin. So, nugget ice will melt if you don’t use it quickly enough.

We recommend you invest in nugget ice bags to store the ice in a freezer if you need to keep it frozen for long periods.

Different Types of Nugget Ice Maker

There are four types of nugget ice maker: countertop, undercounter, modular and freestanding. We’ll talk you through what they’re for, pros and cons so you can decide which type is right for you.

Countertop Nugget Ice Machine

Northair Portable Ice Maker - 26 lbs Daily Capacity - Self Cleaning - Includes Ice Scoop and Basket - Small and Large Bullet Shaped Ice - Gray

Countertop nugget ice machines are portable machines made to be carried around. Plus, they have a compact design to fit on the countertop.

They don’t need a water line so you’ll have to top-up the water yourself. This also means that as the ice melts it will use this water to make more ice. But if you want to, some models have the option to add a water line.

Here’s an example of an Oversize ice machine with this option.

They can produce around 10 ice cubes every 15 minutes. Due to their size, they don’t come with a storage bin but a bucket.

If you like cocktail parties, have a guest room, pool area, or wet bar, you should consider a countertop nugget ice machine.

Here’s an example of a Northair countertop nugget ice maker.


  • Great for small spaces

  • Easy to install


  • Doesn’t make a lot of ice

  • Need topping up with water

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Undercounter Nugget Ice Machine

Hoshizaki C-80BAJ 14 7/8' Air-Cooled Undercounter Cubelet Ice Machine Maker with 22 lb. Storage Capacity, 80 lbs/Day, Stainless Steel, 115v

Undercounter nugget ice makers are specifically designed to fit underneath kitchen counters. These ice machines are much bigger than portable and will need to be installed by a pro. Once it’s in, it’s in. You can’t move it around like a countertop nugget ice maker.

They’re ideal for bars, restaurants, cafés, or even break rooms. And they can produce up to 350lbs of ice per day.

They’re connected to a water line so you don’t need to worry about keeping water topped up. You can just leave it to do its thing and you’ll have fresh nugget ice all day long.

Finally, they’re self-contained machines, meaning that there’s a built-in ice bin. This bin is only insulated and keeps the ice cubes cool, but not frozen.

Here’s an example of the Hoshizaki under-counter ice maker.


  • Large capacity

  • Don’t need to top-up water

  • Built-in ice storage


  • They take up space

  • Hard to move around

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Modular Nugget Ice Machine

Scotsman N0422W Prodigy Plus Modular Nugget Ice Machine, Water Condenser, 455 lb. Production

Modular nugget ice machine, also known as ‘ice machine cuber head’ is a mix ‘n’ match model of the ice world. Rather than coming as a self-contained unit, this is just the ice machine head.

Modular machines give more flexibility in how to dispense the nugget ice. They can be hooked up to an ice bin (sold separately) or attached to a dispenser such as a soda machine(3).

The bin or dispenser should have the same standard widths to fit in. But you can also mount smaller modular machines on larger bins. In this case, you’ll need a bin adapter kit (which you can buy with it).

Of course, you’ll need a water line. So the set-up is trickier than a countertop unit. But you’ll have more ice, knowing that this type of ice maker can produce up to 1,400lbs of ice per day.

Here’s an example of a Scotsman modular ice machine.


  • Large capacity for ice making

  • Can choose storage bin type


  • Need to buy parts separately

  • Harder to install

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Freestanding Nugget Ice Machine

EUHOMY Commercial Ice Maker Machine, 100lbs/24H Stainless Steel Under Counter ice Machine with 33lbs Ice Storage Capacity, Freestanding Ice Maker.

A freestanding nugget ice maker is a self-contained unit that can be installed into any space.

Because they have front ventilation they can go under a counter or into cabinets of any kitchen. They will need a water line so factor this in before you decide where to put it.

With a built-in ice bin, they make around 100lbs of ice per day. So they’re great for a smaller bar or cafe, or for personal use at home.

To help your nugget ice maker last longer, you should clean it regularly. This type generally has a cleaning cycle function so you can easily look after your machine.

Here’s an example of a Euhomy freestanding ice maker.


  • Can fit under a counter

  • Great for home or commercial


  • More expensive than other home options

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Why Should You Buy a Nugget Ice Machine?

You may be asking yourself, is a nugget ice maker really necessary? Let’s take a look at the benefits of buying one.

ice icon

It Makes Chewable Ice

A nugget ice maker makes chewable ice because nugget ice has a high water-to-ice ratio. So, unlike regular ice cubes, it never freezes solid.

And if you think nugget ice has been created for sonic ice slushes, think again. Chewable ice was first used in hospitals(4). Some patients had a hard time drinking liquid, so medical staff used nugget ice to keep them hydrated.

Another benefit is that chewable ice won’t damage the blades or your blender or your teeth (or your children’s teeth) the same way solid ice cubes can.

cooling icon

It Has Rapid Cooling Qualities

Nugget ice cools off quickly whatever it comes into contact with. Whether you want to treat an injury or enjoy a cocktail, the large surface area of nugget ice will cool it down quickly.

That’s why physical therapists use a nugget ice maker instead of large cubes. Its ice flakes shape can mold to the contour of the body and maximizes the surface it touches (5). When it comes to drinks, nugget ice cools any liquid instantly due to its large area and high water-to-ice ratio.

fast icon

It Produces Ice Fast

A nugget ice machine can produce ice very quickly. For instance, this GE model makes nugget ice in 20 minutes. If you make ice with your normal freezer, it will take around 3-4 hours(6).
flavor sour icon

It Retains the Flavor of the Drink

Nugget ice has the reputation of retaining your drinks’ flavor long after you finish. Because it’s made from flakes, this porous texture will absorb the flavor. So not only will it keep your drink tasting fresh, but then all the ice at the end will taste delicious, too.
salad icon

It Keeps Salad Bars Cool

Nugget ice is preferred to keep salad bars cool. That’s because the bowls fit right into the bed of ice. So it keeps the food at the right temperature for serving. Plus, when properly cooled, vegetables stay crisp for long periods of time.

What to Look For When Purchasing a Nugget Ice Maker?

If you’re considering a nugget ice maker, there are a few things to look for. This will help you to find the best unit for your needs.

production robotic icon

Ice Production

First, you should consider two important factors regarding ice production: the production capacity and speed of the machine.

Production Capacity

If you want a home ice maker for your favorite beverage then you can get away with a nugget ice maker with a smaller production capacity. But if you need it for your hospital patients or a bar, you might want one which produces more.

For example, this Manitowoc ice maker produces around 315lb per day. It’s perfect if you run a business. The KBice produces fewer quantities, around 30lb per day, making it perfect for home-usage.


Production speed is one of the most important things to look at.

How fast you need ice depends on your usage. Do you own a restaurant? Or simply enjoy drinking cocktails at home? Either way, you’ll want ice quickly.

For instance, if you organize parties regularly, you can choose this Snoworld ice maker that makes fresh ice ready in 8 minutes.

Check the time in the manual to make sure it suits your needs.

ice maker icon

Storage Capacity

Do you need lots of ice at the ready all the time? If so, you may want to look for an ice maker with a larger storage capacity.

This Scotsman ice machine has a big storage bin that can hold up to 36lb of ice. It’s perfect for a bar that gets through ice quickly.

If you need less ice storage, you can get nugget ice machines with a smaller bin. Ice will stay cool in there but not completely frozen, so make sure you choose the right size for your needs.

noise icon


In a busy restaurant, you probably won’t notice the sound from your nugget ice maker. They can make buzzing, gurgling, or clicking sounds(7). This is a normal part of the ice-making process.

But if you’re sensitive to loud noises you might want to check the decibel(DB) level of your ice machine.

To put it into perspective, a refrigerator hum is around 40db(8). You can expect a nugget ice maker to be around 50db.

For example, this GE ice machine is 53db when making ice.

high tech icon

Additional Features

Some ice makers have handy extra features to make your life easier.

Wifi compatibility or Bluetooth

Thanks to Wifi compatibility or Bluetooth, you can control your ice maker from your phone. If you like your gadgets like us, then this is a handy feature.

Or did you forget to turn it off after leaving a busy shift? No worries, you can still do it from home. Or better yet, set up an ice-making schedule.This Snoworld ice maker is an example of one with wifi.


A self-cleaning feature allows for automatic cleaning. You simply set up the clean you want, and the machine will do it all for you. Here’s an example of a Snoworld ice maker with a self-cleaning system.

Control Panel

Some of the nugget ice makers will have digital touch buttons. Others will have standard buttons. For that modern streamlined look, opt for a control panel with a sleek design. This Frigidaire model is an example of one with a digital panel.

Bin Detection

Certain machines will keep on making ice until the bin is full. With bin detection, it knows when the ice bin is full and stops automatically. For a busy bar, this is a great feature. You will always have plenty of pellet ice at the ready without having to keep an eye on it overflowing.

Adjustable Legs

If you’re tight on space but want an under-counter ice maker, then adjustable legs will be your saving grace. You can find some with legs in different heights or ones that can be taken off altogether. You really can have high-quality nugget ice regardless of what space you’ve got.

Here’s an example of a Scotsman countertop ice maker with adjustable legs.

LED Lamp

Just like a fridge, you can get an ice maker with a door-activated light. Even in a dark bar or a party at night, you’ll easily be able to see how much ice is left in the bin.

This Snooker freestanding ice maker has an LED lamp.


A timer will set up your nugget ice maker to turn on and off when you choose it to. So if you like an iced beverage with breakfast, you can set it to turn on before you wake up. This handy feature means you can have good ice anytime you want it. You don’t have to remember to turn it off at the end of the day either!

This Snoworld machine has a timer function.

water filter icon

Water Filters

Some ice makers will have a built-in water filter to clean the water used to make your ice. This means there won’t be a weird flavor to the nugget ice, which could affect the taste of your drink.

If you’re going to be using your sonic ice maker for cocktails or slushes, it’s a good idea to have filtered water.

But if you’ve found the perfect machine and it doesn’t have a water filter then you can buy one separately.

This GE PROFILE water filter is compatible with Opal nugget ice makers.

water resistance icon

Water Line

A water line can be hooked up to your nugget ice maker, so you don’t have to manually fill it. It provides a constant water supply, making it more convenient. However, you will need a plumber to install this with your ice maker.

A countertop nugget ice maker doesn’t generally need a water line. If you want to add one some models have an option for it, like this Whynter ice maker.

Most under-counter, freestanding or modular machines will need a water line. But if you need the size of an undercounter sonic ice maker without the plumbing, you can find a few models. Here’s an example of a U-Line ice machine.

drain water icon

Drain Type

Any nugget ice maker connected to a water line will need a drain. There are 2 types available.


A drain pump pushes water away from your machine and into the drain. Some are internal and inside your machine, but you can get external pumps, too.

If your ice maker has an external pump you’ll need a line going from the machine to the pump, and another one going from the pump to the drain. These are a better option if the drain is higher than your nugget ice maker, or if it’s more than 2 feet away.

Gravity Drain

This type uses gravity to drain the system. It’s an easy method but the drain will need to be less than 2 feet away from your nugget ice maker. And the drain needs to be lower than your ice machine.

energy efficiency icon

Energy Efficiency

Check if the nugget ice machine is certified “Energy Star”. The “Energy Star” certification means the machine uses less energy than other comparable models.

How you cool your sonic ice maker machine will have the most impact on this. And air-cooled ones use less energy than water-cooled versions.

warranty icon


A warranty will give you peace of mind knowing there’s help available if your product has a defect.

Different brands will offer different warranties. You should check the manufacturer’s terms so you know exactly what is included with your nugget ice maker.

For example, NewAir products come with a 1-year warranty. And Ice-O-Matic has various options depending on the model you buy.

cost expense icon


Finally, consider your budget.

Whether you want a small nugget ice maker for home parties or a large commercial version, there’s something for every budget.

There’s a wide range of prices to suit your needs, so you can always have chewable ice to hand.

A portable countertop nugget ice maker is generally less costly than a freestanding or under-counter model.

The Best Nugget Ice Makers Of 2023

We’ve thoroughly researched real user reviews, expert opinions, and product descriptions to bring you the top options. Let’s take a look at the best 7 nugget ice makers we’ve found.

1. Frigidaire EFIC235-AMZ Chewable Nugget Ice Maker

As far as sonic ice makers go, we consider this Frigidaire as of the best. For that real chewable ice at home, this one will make plenty with a 44lb per day production capacity.

It’s a countertop nugget ice maker, so it’s portable and won’t take up much space. The handy automatic system means you won’t have to remember to keep hitting the on button. Simply keep the reservoir filled with water.

We love its sleek appearance that will make your home look great.

So, if you want to host a cocktail party, then this nugget ice maker is a great purchase.

What We Like

It’s Quick

With only a 15 minute turnaround time, users love how quickly this sonic ice machine makes ice. You won’t run out in a hurry!

And even if you forget to switch it on, it won’t be long before you’re got plenty more ice ready to go.

Makes The Best Ice

If you love sonic ice, then this ice maker is for you. Real users say it’s as close to sonic ice as you can get with a home countertop nugget ice maker.

It will save you loads of money and time not having to go to Sonic for your slushy fix.

Easy to Operate

Without needing a water line or complicated installation, this ice maker is easy to use. As long as you keep the water topped up, it will keep making ice with minimal input from you.

What We Don’t Like

It’s Noisy

A few users have been surprised by how noisy this nugget ice maker is. The motor runs continuously, and the water is quite loud when it fills up, too.

Additional Specs

Installation Water Line: No, Reservoir: Yes
Type Countertop
Materials Plastic
Noise N/A
Drain N/A
Energy Star No
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2. GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker

This GE Profile Opal is very popular with more than 9000 reviews on Amazon.

It has an opal side tank, so it makes 3x more ice. The tank attaches easily, and it’s quick at making nugget ice, with only 20 minutes to wait. It will produce around 24lb per day, which is plenty for a home ice maker.

There’s Bluetooth connectivity, so you can set it up on your phone and check on the status of your opal ice maker.

This will deliver delicious opal nugget ice all day, every day. And it will be quick and easy!

What We Like

It Looks Nice

People love how this looks in their home, with a stainless steel wrap and some cool LED lighting. And this is really important for countertop models that are on display all the time.

It Has a Warranty

If you register your Opal nugget ice maker with GE, you’ll get a 1-year warranty. So if your machine has a defect, your warranty will protect you.

Easy to Clean

This GE Profile Opal has a built-in cleaning function for your convenience. Routine opal maintenance suggests running this once a week to keep it in good working order and stop any mold from building up.

What We Don’t Like

It Breaks Down

A few users have had issues with their opal nugget ice maker breaking down. Even after following instructions, their machines are still flashing up warning lights. If this happens, contact the manufacturer for support.

Additional Specs

Installation Water Line: No, Reservoir: Yes
Type Countertop
Materials Stainless steel with LED lamp
Noise 53db
Drain N/A
Energy Star No
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3. Snoworld Portable Ice Maker Machine

You don’t need to spend a fortune to get nugget ice. This Snoworld nugget ice maker is packed with handy features but still has a reasonable price tag.

The compact design means it will fit on any countertop, but it will still make plenty of ice. 26lbs in 24 hours to be specific.

It doesn’t need a water hookup, and you can use it with a portable charger, so you really can take it anywhere.

You can even connect it to your wifi and control it from your smartphone. This bargain buy will bring you the joy of sonic ice at a great price.

What We Like


People are pleased with how quiet this unit is. It seems you can only really hear it when the ice drops into the storage bin. Perfect if you need to keep it running all the time.

Long Power Cord

If you haven’t got an electrical outlet where you want to put your ice maker, the long power cord is a lifesaver. You can place your machine just about anywhere on the counter and will still be able to plug it in.

You Can Take it Outside

If you’re hosting a BBQ, you can take this ice maker outside and have fresh nugget ice all day. Whether you need it for the cooler or in drinks, there’ll be plenty on tap.

What We Don’t Like

Not Much Ice Storage

There’s not a lot of space to store the pebble ice when it’s made. The ice maker will switch off when the bin is full. So if you want lots of ice you’ll have to keep emptying it into another container and letting the machine run.

Additional Specs

Installation Water Line: No, Reservoir: Yes
Type Countertop
Materials Plastic
Noise N/A
Drain N/A
Energy Star No
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4. KBice Self Dispensing Crunchy Pebble Ice Maker

You don’t have to wait to go to the restaurant to enjoy crunchy ice. You can now have it at home.

This KBice self-dispensing ice maker is made with BPA free parts, so it’s good for the environment, as well as your icy needs. The stainless steel effect front will also look great on your counter.

And unlike the other sonic ice makers, this one doesn’t need a scoop. Simply place your glass under the dispenser, and it will release the pellet ice.

With a quick 30 minute turnaround time for making that delicious Sonic-style good ice, you’ll never be short of a chilled beverage.

What We Like

Perfect Crunchy Ice

This chewable ice maker really does make great ice for munching on. Users have taken it to a care home or hospice to help relatives who like to chew their ice. The pebble ice is much softer than regular ice.

It’s Hygienic

If you live in a house with other people, it’s far more hygienic to not have a shared scoop. People love the cleanliness benefits of a dispenser.

A Well-Made Ice Maker

It seems this nugget ice maker is sturdy and well-built compared to other ones you can buy. With the metallic panel on the front, it looks great on the counter too.

What We Don’t Like

Ice Randomly Drops

Ice can occasionally drop out of the machine unexpectedly and onto the counter or floor. There is a drip tray, but the ice bounces right off this, so it makes a mess.

Additional Specs

Installation Water Line: No, Reservoir: Yes
Type Countertop
Materials Plastic with metallic front
Noise 52db
Drain N/A
Energy Star No
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5. Scotsman SCN60PA-1SS Nugget Ice Machine

If a smaller portable nugget ice maker isn’t enough for you, this under-counter model will keep your ice tray filled.

It can make around 80lbs of nugget ice per day and holds up to 26lbs at a time. The storage bin is so well insulated that you can keep your ice frozen for as long as a week!

You won’t have to keep your machine running, so it’s energy-efficient too.

The self-closing door means you can tuck this ice maker under the counter, and it won’t get in your way. And it has a water hookup, so you won’t have to remember to keep it topped up, either.

What We Like

Easy to Install

Even though this nugget ice maker has a water line, users have found it very easy to install. Some have been able to do it themselves without needing help from a plumber.

Handy Auto-Stop

The machine turns off when the storage bin is full, so it won’t waste your water or electricity. You don’t need to worry about setting up an ice-making schedule because this ice maker will turn on and off as required.

Easy to Maintain

To keep your ice maker running well, you’ll need to clean it to remove internal and external scale that build up. Thankfully, this machine is quick and easy to maintain, so it won’t be any hassle.

What We Don’t Like

Drain Pump Runs Often

There are two models of this, one with a pump and one with a gravity drain. If you opt for the pump version, then be aware that it runs pretty frequently when the ice melts. It’s noisy when it’s draining, so you might want to think about where to install it.

Additional Specs

Installation Water Line: Yes, Reservoir: No
Type Undercounter, freestanding
Materials Stainless steel
Noise N/A
Drain Type: Pump or Gravity, Required: Yes
Energy Star No
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6. NewAir Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

If your nugget ice maker is going to sit on your countertop, you want it to look good. This compact machine is made from stainless steel, so it looks elegant.

The storage bin is ultra-insulated, so it will keep your ice cooler for longer. And even when the flaked ice melts, the water is recycled back into the machine for more ice.

You can keep an eye on your ice through a handy viewing window. And it has an automatic cleaning cycle to keep any mold and odors at bay.

You’ll have tasty nugget ice in a flash with this efficient machine.

What We Like

Makes More Ice Than an Opal Ice Maker

The NewAir isn’t just quick at making ice, but it makes a lot. Compared to an Opal ice maker, this machine makes more ice in a shorter time.

No Drips

Because you scoop the nugget ice from the top of this machine, there aren’t any drips. Unlike other models with a drawer at the bottom, you won’t have to worry about the water messing up your countertop.

Big Water Tank

Once you’ve filled the tank with water, it will run for several cycles of ice. So you won’t have to keep filling it up as regularly as other nugget ice makers.

What We Don’t Like

Can’t Use Distilled Water

You have to use tap water for your NewAir nugget ice machine. Other machines use distilled water because it will help to keep your ice maker running well for longer. But this one will only work with tap water.

Additional Specs

Installation Water Line: No, Reservoir: Yes
Type Countertop
Materials Stainless steel
Noise N/A
Drain N/A
Energy Star No
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7. Scotsman Undercounter Nugget Ice Maker Machine

Scotsman is a well-known brand in the ice-making world and they’re offering this commercial-grade ice machine especially for nugget ice.

It’s the perfect ice maker for commercial use but for home use too. It’s made from aluminum, so it won’t rust easily and should last you a long time.

It comes with adjustable legs, so you can fit it into any space you want. Because the airflow goes through the front, you don’t even need to leave any extra room around the sides. Just a bit of installation clearance.

This machine is made from BPA-free parts, so it’s great for the environment and won’t leak any chemicals into your ice.

It will make and store plenty of nugget ice (respectively 167 lb and 57lb per day) for you wherever you decide to have it.

What We Like

Works Efficiently

As an “Energy Star” rated product, you’d expect this nugget ice maker to be energy efficient. And it doesn’t disappoint! Users are happy with how efficiently this machine runs.

Comes With a Warranty

The manufacturer provides a warranty with this nugget ice maker. But double-check the info on this because commercial and home use have different warranty timeframes.

Makes Great Ice

If you want to save yourself trips to Sonic to curb your cravings for nugget ice, then this is one to consider. It really does make those delicious flaked ice for your favorite beverage.

What We Don’t Like


This nugget ice maker is one of the more expensive ones on the list. It’s great for diehard chewable ice fans or if you’ll need a lot of ice regularly.

Additional Specs

Installation Water Line: Yes, at the back, Reservoir: Yes
Type Undercounter
Materials Aluminum
Noise N/A
Drain Type: Gravity, Required: Yes
Energy Star No
Show More

Detailed Comparison Chart

ProductInstallationTypeMaterialsNoiseDrainEnergy Star
FRIGIDAIRE Nugget Ice MakerWater Line: No,
Reservoir: Yes
GE Profile OpalWater Line: No,
Reservoir: Yes
CountertopStainless steel with LED lamp
Snoworld Ice Maker MachineWater Line: No,
Reservoir: Yes
KBice Pebble Ice MakerWater Line: No,
Reservoir: Yes
CountertopPlastic with metallic front
Scotsman SCN60PAWater Line: Yes,
Reservoir: No
Undercounter, freestanding
Stainless steel
Type: Pump or gravity,
Required: Yes
NewAir Nugget Ice MakerWater Line: No,
Reservoir: Yes
CountertopStainless steel
Scotsman UN1520A-1Nugget Ice Machine Water Line: Yes, at the back,
Reservoir: Yes
Type: Gravity,
Required: Yes

Jump to the Full Nugget Ice Makers Reviews

Why Are Nugget Ice Makers so Expensive?

Nugget ice machines are expensive because they’re complicated machines to run(9).

They have the same components as a fridge freezer (air-cooled condenser, compressor, capillary tube, and evaporator), plus specific components such as:

  • Control system, including ice level sensor, water sensor, auger motor sensor, controller, control pad, and transformer.
  • Augers including auger motor, gear reducer, and auger.
  • Auger support system, including top bearing and water seal.
  • The water system, including the float and reservoir.
  • Storage system, including ice storage bin, drain, and door(10).

Your ice maker will be running a lot of these parts at the same time to get a quick turnaround of nugget ice. So when you factor all this in together, you’re getting a lot of parts for your money.

Of course, the list of components will depend on the machine. We’ve just listed here the most standard ones.

The other reason why nugget ice makers are expensive is because of the performance and turnaround of this kind of machine. An ice maker fridge may make about 20-25lbs in 24 hours. A Scotsman will make around 340lbs in 24 hours, that’s 34 of 10lb bags of ice in 24 hours compared to 2-3 bags from a fridge ice maker in 24 hours.

The cheapest expensive model we could find is this Snoworld. But as a rule of thumb, a nugget ice machine is expensive. After looking at 7 different ice makers with a price range from $160 – $1915, you’re looking at an average of $841 for your ice machine.


Helping with those questions you may have about good ice makers.

Can I Make Sweetened Ice Nuggets in the Machine?

No you can’t.

You should only put potable water (aka drinking water) into your machine. If you add anything else to it, you could end up breaking it. And if you add anything other than what’s advised in the manual, it could void your warranty. So it’s probably best to stick with water and add it to a flavored drink afterward.

In any case, always give the instruction manual a read before using your ice maker.

How do I Clean My Nugget Ice Machine?

  1. Unplug your ice maker.
  2. Remove the water filter and replace it with the reservoir screening cap (if applicable).
  3. Drain your ice maker.
  4. Make up a solution of 5 cups of water to 1 teaspoon of household bleach, and pour to the fill line on the reservoir.
  5. Plug your nugget ice maker back in and press the clean button to run the cycle.
  6. Once the cycle has run and the light’s turned off, drain the machine again.
  7. Unhook the drain hoses at the back of the machine, and lay them into a bucket (it needs to be lower than your ice maker), so they can drain out.
  8. Remove the plugs and allow the machine to completely drain of water. When it’s done, put the plugs back in.
  9. Rinse your machine by adding 5 cups of water back into the reservoir and running the cleaning cycle again.
  10. Repeat steps 6-9 at least twice again, but you can do it more if you wish.
  11. Replace the drain tubes at this stage.
  12. Turn your ice machine back on and get ready to enjoy delicious nugget ice!

Once you’ve looked after the inside, make sure you clean the outside. To do so, simply turn the ice maker off and clean with a cloth and soapy water, or stainless steel cleaner.

Finally, remove the ice bin and drip tray so you can rinse these out with warm soapy water, too.

We recommend cleaning your machine at least once a week to keep it running smoothly.

However, since each brand has different ways to clean the ice maker, always read the user guide.

Have An Ice Day

If you don’t like the regular chunky ice cubes, a nugget ice maker is a must-have.

With your very own machine, you’ll be able to get ice like your favorite restaurant makes, anytime you want it. With super-cooling properties, a nugget ice maker will cool you down in any situation.

Make sure you check the brand, turnaround time, and price range before you buy. You want to get the best machine for your needs after all.

If you found this article helpful, tell your friends and let us know in the comments below.

Heloise Blause

About the Author

Heloise Blause

Since always, I am passionate about food; I enjoy writing and want to share my passion and offer quality articles to my readers. On Homekitchenland, I like to research, review, and compare kitchen appliances, write product reviews, and develop recipes.

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