The best ice makers for people who drink iced coffee year-round
Those of us without built-in ice makers in our fridges will know the struggle of balancing a full ice tray without spilling any water from the sink to the freezer. That is, if there’s even any room in the freezer.
While an ice machine might not be the first (or second, or third) appliance that comes to mind when furnishing a kitchen, one can be a handy addition to any countertop. No longer are the only options the massive industrial setups, or those constantly humming machines in hotel hallways. Consumer technology has given us compact ice dispensers suitable for the average kitchen.
So why would you want to buy an ice maker?
If you enjoy making cocktails at home, an ice machine is basically a necessity. As any mixologist will tell you, ice is an integral part of any drink. Clarity of the ice plays into the flavor of the cocktail — its gradual dilution as the ice melts means that water quality is extremely important (no tap water for those fancy bartenders!). In modern mixology, there are four basic types of ice: cube, cracked, shaved, and block, each with its own usage in different kinds of drinks.
Of course, not everyone will be so particular about their drinks, but it’s always nice to be able to impress your guests with a perfect frozen daiquiri blended with cracked ice (cubes can deliver inconsistent results in a blender).
Even for those of us who aren’t interested in the finer points of cocktail assembly, ice machines can be great for travel. There’s only so much coolers can do in the summer, particularly if you’re looking to go out on a lengthy outing (day on the boat, anyone?). Having a portable ice machine means not having to suffer through warm Coke ever again.
What you should consider before investing in an ice machine
Counter space: The models available range in size, largely dependent on the amount of ice that they can make at once. If you’re planning on not just breaking out the ice machine during parties but on having it as a staple on your kitchen counter, be sure to plan out a space for your new ice maker and shop accordingly.
Storage capacity: If you regularly hold large parties, you may find it worth it to spend a bit more on a bigger machine that can make more ice at once.
Ice-making abilities: These range from simple ice dispenser to multiple modes for different shapes and sizes of ice.
Sound level: Like other kitchen appliances, it’s important to consider how loud an ice maker can be. The convenience of ice on command at a party would be offset considerably if it were accompanied by a grating rattle loud enough to drown out all conversation.
With this in mind, check out our selections below: