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Top Rated Ice Cube Makers

NewAir AI-210 
Edgestar IP210 
NewAir AI-200 
NewAir AI-100 


Why buy a portable ice cube maker? That question comes to the forefront when you learn the average unit costs between $150-$250 while a bag of ice from the store is just a few dollars. It would take a lot of free ice cubes to make up that difference.

Yet, there's a lot more to the answer than just cost - and even that difference may not be so large as it first appears. A portable ice maker can travel anywhere there's a standard electrical outlet. That includes most camp grounds or wilderness areas, if you have an RV that will supply it.

They're lightweight and have a footprint about one square foot. They require only a gallon of water to make about 8 lbs of ice. That's roughly equal to a commercial bag's worth, or about 16 cycles from the ice maker.

These machines are fast, too. You can produce those 16 cycles worth in about 2 1/2 hours with most ice makers. They'll keep up that pace all day (provided you keep adding water of course) for a total of about 30-35 lbs per day. As most machines don't typically run 24 hours per day, take those numbers as just a rough approximation.

Beyond reliability and fast production, these appliances are simple to use. They're so simple a young child could make ice with ease and without spilling. With two or three buttons at most - for power on/off, ice cube size selection, and sometimes to initiate a self-cleaning cycle they require no more skill than the ability to pour water into a bin and tap "Start".

But, what about that big price difference? After all, you can buy a lot of bags of ice for $150. Maybe, maybe not.

Depending on where you operate the ice maker, the nearest store may be dozens or more miles away. Getting there takes gasoline. If you're on a vacation you likely won't want to make the trip. Even at home you probably have other things to do. There's a convenience factor that can add up pretty quickly.

Even if you're at home and pick up a few bags on a regular grocery run, there's the storage space consumed by those bags. If you're like me your freezer doesn't have a huge empty space available during the summer - the very season when you need the ice most.

That price difference - which shrinks every day you own your ice maker - begins to look smaller all the time. Considering a good one will last years, the difference becomes negligible at some point. For my money, and I'm pretty stingy, it's a great deal in the end.