Any comparison between the NewAir AI-200 and the NewAir AI-210 ice makers is really a little unfair to both. Both do a stellar job of producing ice from a semi-portable unit. Both offer good value. Both are well made, durable, and generate ice like crazy. Still, there are differences between the two models that make a side by side comparison worthwhile.
|Features||NewAir AI-200||NewAir AI-210|
|Water Tank Capacity||1 gallons||1 gallons|
|Operating Cycle||7- 13 minutes||7 - 13 minutes|
|Number of Ice Sizes||3||3|
|Capacity Per Cycle||12 pieces||12 pieces|
|Daily Capacity||35 lbs||35 lbs|
|Storage Capacity||2.5 lbs||2.5 lbs|
|Removable Ice Bin|
|Ice Scoop Included|
|Full Ice Basket Indicator|
|Add Water Indicator|
|Timer||1 - 18 hours|
|Size (H x W x D)||16″ x 14″ x 16″||17″ x 15″ x 17″|
|Weight||46 lbs||46 lbs|
|Review||NewAir AI-200||NewAir AI-210|
|Where to Buy?||Best Price||Best Price|
Similarities, Equally Impressive
First, the similarities. Both the AI-200 and the AI-210 have a 1-gallon water reservoir that creates a dozen cubes in about 7-13 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on initial water temperature, the size of cube selected, and some other factors.
Speaking of cube size, both ice makers let you select either S, M, or L (Small, Medium, or Large) from a simple-to-operate panel with Medium being the default when you power up the unit.
Those cubes are collected in the ice basket, which will hold about 2.5 lbs. Kept filled with water and running full tilt, either will create about 35 lbs of ice per day. Since each gallon of water weighs about 8 lbs, that’s roughly four re-fills per day, if you really need that much ice.
The panel on either device also features indicators to let you know when something goes wrong. Though, here, calling it “wrong” may be a bit misleading.
The device can experience a glitch, like anything. If the ice shovel stops rotating, a symbol will illuminate. That’s an actual error (albeit a rare one). Another actual failure, much less common but still covered by the panel’s symbols, will show up if the “ice full” detection sensor malfunctions.
At some point, you will run out of water (unless you just power off before then). The “Add Water” LED will then light up in green. Calling that a problem is a stretch. Ditto the “Ice Basket Full” indicator. That’s not a failure, just a normal part of everyday operation.
Differences, Even More Impressive
All that said, there are some interesting differences between the AI-200 and the AI-210, apart from the small $20 average difference in price.
The AI-210 is an inch larger in each direction at 17″ x 15″ x 17″. Why that’s so is a little mysterious given that the water and ice capacity is exactly the same in the two models. Possibly, the extra space was required for some of the features we’ll look at next.
AI-210 Add-On 1: Self-Cleaning Program
The NewAir AI-210 has a self-cleaning program that is a terrific add-on the AI-200 does not offer.
The program couldn’t be easier to use. You just fill the water reservoir with a 1:1 ratio mixture of water and vinegar or lemon juice. Hit go and, similar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine, the AI-210 will swirl it around for about five minutes. The indicator panel shows a little fan symbol while the self-cleaning operation is in progress.
At the end of the cycle you just drain the liquid out by opening the stopper at the bottom on the side. Then, to ensure that liquid is completely flushed, you can re-fill the tank with water and run the system again. In 10 minutes, you have a completely clean ice maker. That ensures no mildew build-up and removes other possible contaminants.
That’s a distinct prospect if you leave the interior moist and close the lid, then let the unit sit unopened for days on end. The clean cycle should also help remove the lingering plasticky odor that can infuse ice cubes with a foul taste in a new unit. Almost all such devices outgas a little bit for a little while.
AI-210 Add-On 2: 18-Hour Timer
The AI-210 also offers a timer that can be a big help on camping trips and elsewhere. The panel shows a little window with numbers ranging from 1 to 18, indicating one hour to 18 hours. You select how far in advance you want the ice maker to begin and when the time arrives it will automatically start producing ice.
You can see on the panel as the time counts down exactly how much time remains before it begins. It can be turned off, of course, to start immediately if you want. That’s very handy on trips because you can set it before you go to bed and wake up to 2.5 lbs of ice first thing in the morning. More than one hot vacation in Mexico would’ve been a lot more pleasant with this portable ice cube maker plugged into the RV.
Despite some minor size differences, and a couple of really great extra features contained in the AI-210, either ice maker will perform extremely well.
Both the AI-200 and the AI-210 are made from high-impact, crack-resistant plastic. That helps prevent accidents that would cause the interior to leak, as well as providing long life. The units come with a plastic ice shovel, but I prefer to use a metal one, making such accidents a little more likely with cheaper brands.
Both ice makers are also constructed from commercial-grade stainless steel. That provides a sturdy shell that’s also easy to clean. On the downside, it does make both units a bit hefty at 46 pounds. Still, since they both require a 110V AC source to operate, portability is already somewhat limited.
Whether you prefer the NewAir AI-200SS or the NewAir AI-210SS is, in the end, a personal choice. From this reviewer’s perspective, you can’t go wrong either way. As the price difference between the 2 units is about the same – currently – I would go for the newer AI-210 offering a timer and self-cleaning program as extras.