When you need to keep the ice flowing, the best under counter ice maker will get the job done. Under counter ice makers are a better alternative than relying on your refrigerator ice maker or having to run to the gas station every time you run out of ice.
You'll save time and money, especially if you do a lot of home entertaining or need a convenient way to fill up your cooler for tailgating or a road trip.
Plus, under counter ice makers look cool. So, you'll be the life of the party in more ways than one.
However, deciding on the best under counter ice maker for your needs is a lot more challenging than just filling up fancy buckets with ice. There are many options to consider from design to ice production to even the style of ice you want.
So, how do you find the best under counter ice maker of your dreams? Let's start with the basics.
What Is an Under Counter Ice Maker?
An under counter ice maker, also known as a built-in ice maker, is an appliance that makes a large amount of ice in a short amount of time.
These ice makers are stylish additions to your current kitchen or home bar and are designed to fit under your counter, just like a dishwasher. You can be installed into or between your cabinetry and are easy to use.
They do need a water line and an electrical outlet to operate, and some also require a drain line.
However, if you plan correctly, under counter ice makers are a convenient way to have a steady supply of ice for all your needs.
Why Buy an Under Counter Ice Maker?
It's hard to believe, but most refrigerator ice makers only make enough ice to fill 6 to 8 average-sized glasses every 24 hours. Even worse, it takes almost 90 minutes for it to make another round of ice!
When you're entertaining a large crowd or even hosting a small dinner party that's not nearly enough ice to keep your guest's drinks cool. And if you think buying bags of ice and storing them in your freezer will solve your problem, have you ever seen what bagged ice looks like?
The best under counter ice maker makes your life easier because a large amount of ice will always be at the ready. If your under counter ice maker is running low, all you have to do is pull a lever or push a button, and you'll instantly have more ice.
It's also a better option than a portable ice maker because it's entirely automatic. What this means is you don't have to fill it with water every time you want to make ice.
So, if you're serious about ice, then you definitely want the best under counter ice maker in your kitchen or home bar.
Choosing the Best Under Counter Ice Maker
There are many things to keep in mind before purchasing the best under counter ice maker. And the more knowledge you have, the easier it will be to make the right choice.
Where will you put it?
The first thing you need to think about is where you're going to put the under counter ice maker. Under counter ice makers are permanent fixtures like any other large kitchen appliance. So, you'll need to make sure you pick a spot with enough space for it to fit.
You'll also want to choose a spot with a level surface since that will affect how the ice maker operates. If you put it in a spot that isn't level, it can cause problems with ice production.
Some under counter ice makers come with adjustable leveling legs, which makes it easy to get it set properly. But for those that don't, you can purchase separate leveling legs for installation.
In addition, the best under counter ice maker needs the proper connections to work, including a dedicated water line and an electrical outlet.
Plus, some under counter ice makers also need a drain line to get rid of excess water from melting ice. So, unless you're an expert do-it-yourselfer, hire a licensed plumber to hook everything up.
One more thing to consider is that even the best under counter ice maker needs to be in a room-temperature environment to function properly.
While it might seem like a cool idea to put your under counter ice maker in your garage or patio, you'll need to check whether the unit can be installed in areas prone to extreme hot or cold temperatures.
There are units specifically designed for outside use, so if that's what you want, you can choose one specifically made for that purpose.
Not all under counter ice makers require drainage since it all depends on the type of ice the unit makes.
Some under counter ice makers act like freezers and keep the ice frozen enough that a drain isn't required. These models usually make crescent-shaped ice.
Other models like those that make clear ice need to drain excess water because the ice has a faster melting rate.
Draining excess water can be done either with a gravity drain or a drain pump.
Gravity drains are like the drains you see on the floor near your water heater, air conditioning unit, or washing machine. The excess water from the under counter ice maker comes out through a hose to the drain.
On the other hand, drain pumps pump the water from the built-in ice maker into the sink drain through a hose or line. You'll probably use a drain pump unless you're installing the under counter ice maker where a gravity drain already exists.
Your specific model will indicate if a drain is required. Also, a drain pump will usually be included as part of your purchase. If not, you can buy one separately.
What's your ice (cube) style?
Different under counter ice makers make different types of ice. Typically, an under counter ice maker will either make clear ice or crescent ice. The difference between the two is how the ice maker produces the ice.
Ice makers that make crescent ice simply freezes tap water with all its bubbles and impurities. Even if you use a water filter with your under counter ice maker, you won't be able to make clear ice with this unit.
On the other hand, built-in ice makers that make clear ice have the capability of removing oxygen bubbles from the water as it freezes. Thus it produces crystal-clear ice.
In addition, some models allow you to choose different sizes and shapes of ice like a full cube or half cube. And there are even high-end models that produce gourmet ice.
So, what are some of these different styles of ice and their uses?
Shaking up the ice
Crescent ice is the typical ice you see from refrigerator ice makers. It's shaped like a half-moon and doesn't stick together, which makes it ideal for any drink. However, it tends to melt quickly and change the flavor of your drinks.
Cubed ice can come full-size or half-size. This ice melts slower and doesn't change the flavor of your drink. It also works perfectly for blended drinks.
Gourmet ice is also known as top hat ice. It sometimes comes with a hole in the middle and is crystal clear. This ice is the slowest melting and leaves no taste behind.
It's also elegant looking and will enhance any drink you make for you or your guests.
There is also a nugget or sonic ice shaped like a nugget. These are softer ice cubes and can be easily chewed. They also retain the flavor of the beverage with which they are mixed and work well with carbonated drinks.
So, whether you want basic ice or fancy ice, you can have your pick with the best under counter ice maker.
Ice production rate
Ice production rate is how much ice a unit produces in 24 hours. Most built-in ice makers can make anywhere from 12 pounds and up.
So, you'll want to choose an under counter ice maker that produces the right amount of ice for your needs.
In addition, a unit's ice-making ability also depends on whether it's performing in the optimal environment. If the environment is too hot, ice production rates may decrease.
Ice storage capacity
Hand in hand with ice production rate is ice storage capacity. What ice storage capacity means is how much ice your unit can hold at one time.
For example, if you buy a built-in ice maker that makes 12 pounds of ice, it should be able to store 6 pounds of it.
Also, the best under counter ice maker will stop making ice once that capacity threshold is reached. And it will resume making ice once some of it is removed.
Do you need a filter?
While there are many under counter ice makers that have a built-in water filter feature, many others do not. And while a water filter isn't a necessity for your built-in ice maker to function, most manufacturers highly recommend adding one to make the highest quality ice.
Plus, a water filter will extend the life of your under counter ice maker and even help it perform more efficiently.
Water filters remove all sorts of sediments and contaminants from your water so your ice will have a better taste and smell. In addition, water filters will help eliminate the build-up of lime, mold, and slime, which will affect the performance of your under counter ice maker.
If the under counter ice maker you choose doesn't have a built-in water filter, there are many affordable options available that are easy to install yourself. But since the licensed plumber will be there installing the ice maker for you anyway, they can install your new water filter, too.
Also, remember to change your water filter according to the filter manufacturer's specifications for the best results.
Design and style
The look and design of your under counter ice maker will depend on your preferences. There aren't many options as far as color is concerned since most under counter ice makers come in black, white, or stainless steel.
However, some under counter ice makers allow you to put a custom panel on the door, so it matches your current cabinetry and kitchen decor.
In addition, some under counter ice makers have reversible doors, which means you can switch the swing of the door according to your needs. This is a great option when you're limited on space or want to put your ice maker close to a wall.
The best under counter ice maker will have some sort of warranty on parts and labor. This protects your purchase if your unit malfunctions, and you can usually get it fixed quickly at no or limited cost to you.
How to Maintain Your Under Counter Ice Maker
If you want your built-in ice maker to last a long time, then regular maintenance is a necessity.
One of the best ways to maintain your ice maker is by using a water filter. Water filters help reduce limescale and mold, which may affect the performance of your ice maker.
In addition, you'll want to clean and sanitize your under counter ice maker approximately every six months. Your ice maker will come with instructions on cleaning recommendations for your particular model.
But one thing you'll want to keep in mind is to make sure you discard the first batch of ice you make after you clean your ice maker. The reason for this is so that if any cleaning residue is left behind, you won't be ingesting it with your ice.
How We Chose the Best Undercounter Ice Makers
We examined ice maker manufacturer websites and checked with appliance dealers to learn the ins and outs of under counter ice makers. Then we searched for highly-rated products and compared features before making our final selections.
Our top picks for best under counter ice maker were based on ice production capacity and storage, cost, and customer reviews.
Additionally, we included a list of the best inline water filters to assist you with your best under counter ice maker purchase.
The Best Under Counter Ice Maker: Our Top Picks
Now that you know why you need this appliance and what to look for when purchasing the best under counter ice maker let's take a look at our top picks.
Although we've numbered our selections, it does not signify a ranking.
- Front venting for built-in or freestanding installation; ADA Height...
- 25 foot long 1/4" water line connection included; Reversible door for...
- Easy, convenient, and inexpensive installation; On/off power switch;...
The EdgeStar IB120SS Built-In Ice Maker is a perfect option if you don't need a lot of ice production and are looking for something budget-friendly.
This built-in ice maker may not be the best looking unit on the market, but it does what it needs to do with a few extras, too. It makes up to 12 pounds of ice per day and has a storage capacity of up to 6 pounds. It also includes a removable ice bin which makes it easy to move the ice to the cooler in your car or anywhere else.
You can make more ice with a simple flip of the switch, and it will automatically shut off if it reaches full capacity. The ice is crescent-shaped, which means no drain is required to install this unit. That also means if you're looking for clear ice, you won't get it with this ice maker even when you add a water filter.
Even more features
In addition, the stainless steel door is reversible so you can place the unit wherever it's most convenient. It also has front venting, which gives it the flexibility to work as a built-in ice maker or a freestanding one.
However, only the door is stainless steel. The rest of the body is black, which won't make a difference when putting it between two cabinets but is something you should know.
You also can't add a custom panel to this ice maker so its design will need to fit in your decor as is.
One thing to keep in mind is that the handle is rather large and tends to stick out. But even so, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this machine.
The unit measures 25.25 inches high by 15 inches wide by 18.5 inches deep. An ice bin, ice scoop, and a water line are included. Plus, it has 1-year parts and 90-day labor warranty.
This built-in ice maker received a 4.0 out of 5.0-star rating from Amazon customers.
- Excellent customer service
- Quick ice production
- The unit may run loud
- The ice-making arm may jam
- 25 lbs. daily ice production; 20 lbs. ice storage capacity;...
- This unit also operates as a freezer and will keep your ice frozen; No...
- Reversible door can be mounted in a left hinge or right hinge opening...
If you're looking for a sleek and modern-looking ice maker in black, then the EdgeStar IB250BL Built-In Ice Maker is the one you want. Although this unit is black, you can purchase a stainless steel version for a few bucks more.
This ice maker produces 25 pounds of ice daily and offers 20 pounds of ice storage capacity. It makes crescent-shaped ice so you don't need a drain which means you can quickly get it up and running.
And the reversible door allows you to put it anywhere you want. It's also a freestanding unit with front venting which makes it even more versatile. However, you can't add a custom panel if you wanted it to match your cabinets.
Still, the design is stylish and will fit with any decor.
The unit measures 33.31 inches high by 14.9 inches wide by 20.06 inches deep. The manufacturer offers a 1-year labor and 1-year parts warranty, so if something goes wrong, you're covered. And based on the reviews, EdgeStar has outstanding customer service and will replace units if any problems arise.
This under counter ice maker also includes an ice scoop, water line, and removable ice bin with purchase.
Amazon customers gave this under counter ice maker 4.8 out of 5.0 stars.
- Sleek design
- Easy installation
- Good tasting ice
- Can't make clear ice
- Higher cost for stainless steel
The U-line U3018CLRS40B Built-In Clear Ice Machine is an impressive ice maker that will add a "wow factor" to any kitchen or home bar. This model is a replacement for the U-Line U3018CLRS40A model which is discontinued.
However, you get all the same great features from the previous model at a much more affordable price. This stylish under counter ice maker makes up to 60 pounds of ice daily with a 30-pound ice storage capacity.
The ice is crystal clear cubes which will look great in anyone's drink. And you can even adjust the fullness of the ice cubes to fit your needs.
Not only will your ice cubes make an impression, but you'll also be impressed with this ice maker's look. The exterior is made of stainless steel, but it's what's inside that blows us away.
The interior is black and illuminated with LED theater lighting which has three levels of adjustment. And it has a special place inside to store the included heavy-duty ice scoop.
Even more to love
The unit also features a digital control display that lets you know when the unit needs cleaning. And when you turn on the self-cleaning mode, it only takes 45 minutes to get the job done.
You can also turn on the "silent mode" to temporarily suspend ice making for three hours. It's a useful feature if you're trying to watch a movie or have a deep conversation with friends or family.
In addition, the doors are reversible, so you have flexibility with where you put it. However, it requires a drain for operation. If a gravity drain isn't available, you can get a drain pump free of charge.
You can also move the grille anywhere front or back as needed.
Another great feature is that you can order a custom panel so it can fit it in seamlessly with your decor.
This under counter ice maker measures 33.69 inches high by 17.62 inches wide by 24 inches deep.
Although this unit doesn't have any Amazon customer reviews yet, the discontinued model rated very high on both Amazon and AjMadison. Based on overall customer satisfaction, we included this brand new model for your consideration.
- Interior theater lighting
- Crystal clear ice
- Drain required
Recommended Under Counter Ice Maker Filters
Although you don't need to install a water filter with any under counter ice maker that doesn't already include one, manufacturers highly recommend that you do.
For this reason, we have included a selection of water filters to make purchasing your new ice maker easier.
- Great for Refrigerators, Ice-makers, RV, Campers, Boats, Water...
- USES KDF FOR FILTERATION: Uses Kinetic Degradation Fluxion - treatment...
- INLINE CARTRIDGE: comes with 10 inch KDF Inline Filter and 1/4 inch...
The Watts Inline Water Filter cleans up to 20,000 gallons of water, making it a great choice to help make your ice clean and odor-free. It reduces chlorine, sediments, and other particulates for better tasting and healthier ice.
This 10-inch filter works with all 1/4-inch water supply lines and is easy to install and maintain. You'll also get two 1/4-inch brass connectors with your purchase.
Amazon customers gave this inline water filter 4.3 out of 5.0 stars.
- Provides better tasting ice and water. Chlorine taste and odor...
- Includes: New PureWater Filter (with Quick-Connect Fittings), 15 feet...
- Direct inline filter kit works with most ice-makers
The PureWater Filters Inline Water Filter Kit for Ice Makers reduces chlorine and odors from your ice, making it taste and smell better.
This water filter works with most ice makers and filters 1,500 gallons of water before it needs to be changed.
The LASCO 37-1821 Ice Maker Inline Filter will clean up to 2,500 gallons of water before it needs replacement. It removes several contaminants including chlorine and sediment, to make your ice odor-free and better tasting.
The filter measures 2 by 10 inches and is compatible with most ice makers. It includes 1/4-inch compression settings and is easy to install and replace.
Amazon customers gave this water filter 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.
Keep the Ice Flowing with the Best Under Counter Ice Maker
The best under counter ice maker keeps the ice flowing and the good times going. You'll save money and time by avoiding trips to the gas station for bags of ice. Plus, under counter ice makers make a stylish addition to any kitchen decor or home bar.
So, stop stressing about not having enough ice and start enjoying all the fruits of your party planning labor.
Do you have an under counter ice maker? Tell us what you love best about it below!