NewAir AI-210 Ice Maker Review by Irwin Mehserle
Design and Performance, Outstanding
The AI-210 is 17 inches high x 15 inches wide x 17 inches deep, one inch larger all around than the AI-200. The increased size doesn’t go into offering any larger capacity water reservoir, though. Like the smaller unit, it houses a 1-gallon water reservoir that will produce about 8 pounds of ice – that is approx. three dozen cubes. That works out nicely to roughly three loads of the maximum 2.5 lb of ice storage volume.
Adding the weight of that ice to the 46 pounds of the unit itself ensures you won’t want to carry this thing around much. Also, it requires a 110V outlet to supply power, limiting the portability to standard AC outlets. Still, even a good RV can generate that, when needed.
That somewhat hefty case can actually be an advantage since dumping over the ice cube maker by accident becomes a remote possibility. That said, the external volume of the AI-210 is still small enough to place on a good-sized shelf, a picnic table, on the garage bench, or half a dozen other locations you’re likely to use a portable unit.
The internal capacity is a welcome design feature, too. In many of those roving scenarios you simply won’t have enough ice. The cooler carried along on a picnic outing will hold about one 10 lb bag with room for drinks, which goes quickly when you’re supplying as few as four people.
By contrast, the AI-210 will generate a dozen cubes every 7-13 minutes (depending on size, initial water temperature, and other factors). And it will keep that up for hours, producing as much as 35 lbs of ice cubes per day.
Here is one place the NewAir AI-210 outshines its smaller cousin. It houses a timer that will allow you to start the unit making ice automatically anywhere from 1-18 hours before you want them. That provides a convenient way to start ‘production’ as you sleep and have your first full container when you wake up.
Drive the RV to Mexico or another area that gets an early head start on heat. Set the AI-210 to start churning before you get up. Now you no longer have to sweat for an hour before you get a big enough batch of ice cubes to supply the whole family.
Supreme Ease of Use
Making ice is supremely easy, too, thanks to the soft-touch controls and the clear indicators.
You can select S, M, or L to make small, medium, or large-sized ice cubes with the tap of a control on the panel. Medium is selected by default when you power up the ice maker. A clearly visible LED will light up to show your choice.
The first indicator on the panel shows when the Power is on. A second symbol will illuminate when the ice basket is full.
On that same panel there is a third LCD display symbol that shows when the water pump is working. That third indicator alternatively flashes when the water reservoir is empty.
A Warning symbol next to it indicates when there is an error. You’re unlikely ever to see this one; the AI-210 is highly reliable and very easy to use correctly. However, it may come on if the ice shovel can’t rotate or the “ice full” detection sensor has malfunctioned.
Finally, there is a display section for the Timer that shows the remaining time until the unit comes on automatically. When the unit comes on the timer will turn to OFF without any intervention.
Self-Cleaning Program For Added Ease of Use
The AI-210 has another very handy ability that adds another value beyond the already fine features of the AI-200: a Self-Clean program.
Simply remove the ice basket, then add water and vinegar or lemon juice (1:1 ratio). Press the CLEAN button for a few seconds and the program begins. After about five minutes the cycle completes and the unit will automatically power itself down. To flush, just open the drain cap on the side at the bottom of the housing.
During the cycle, on the display you’ll see a little fan symbol to indicate the fan is rotating. The process rinses the interior parts well, somewhat like the rinse cycle in a washing machine. The result is to remove any residue from ice made using less than pure water.
That cleaning mechanism also helps overcome some of the complaints you may find in some customer reviews about the AI-200: a foul taste in the ice cubes it makes.
In the case of the AI-200 that problem is easily solved. Like any new device made of plastic, outgassing can infuse water (and hence ice) with vapors from the material. Running the ice-making cycle a few times and discarding the cubes can usually solve that problem before it’s ever noticed.
The AI-210 takes the solution a step further by making it easy to clean the entire unit (blades and all). It should only need to be performed on initial setup and once a week or less (depending on use, water purity, and more). It’s also a good idea to do this if the unit has been sitting unused for a few weeks, especially if there was residual moisture inside and the lid was closed.
At the end of the first cycle you just add water and repeat the process to flush out any residual lemon juice or vinegar. In ten minutes total you’re good to go for new rounds of ice cubes.
Long Use Thanks to Good Materials
The AI-210 is made of sturdy stuff. The exterior is stainless steel for corrosion resistance and easy clean up; the frame is commercial-grade steel for ruggedness. The interior is break-resistant plastic for the same reasons.
The pump housing and compressor design (and materials) ensure this unit will last through thousands of ice making cycles. Many vacationers run it 24 hours a day for weeks without a hitch.
The NewAir AI-210 portable ice maker can really pump out the ice, and for as long as you want. Just follow the guidelines to make the first batches fresh and you’ll be supplied with as much as you need.