Buying Guide

7 Best Nugget/Pellet/Sonic Ice Makers In 2022

It was another hot and steamy day! The client event was going great. They have been demanding cold drinks from the get-go! All was going well until it happened again. The ice ran out.

Whether or not you have experienced a scenario similar to the one above purchasing an ice-maker is not as simple as purchasing bags of ice from the store. Which one should you choose? What is nugget vs pellet vs sonic?

There are so many brands on the market, and you want to ensure that you purchase the best quality ice maker. This means your main concerns are affordability, quality and durability.

Have no fear we did the work for you. . After conducting extensive research and testing we narrowed it down to seven of the best Nugget/Sonic/Pellet ice makers. Four of these icemakers we actually tested and 3 were based on Amazon reviews. So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, relax and let us guide you on deciding which one is best.

Quick List of The 7 Best Nugget/Pellet/Sonic Ice Makers of 2022 Beyond.

As mentioned before, we conducted extensive research and testing on the Ice Makers currently on the market. The 7 machines that made the cut were   (Click on the arrow  if you would like to jump to section)  :

What you should look for on an Icemaker

There are several factors that you should consider before selecting your ideal icemaker. Firstly, determine if it is for domestic use or commercial use. The main use of the unit would help you narrow down which factors to focus on. For example, if you are shopping for commercial use some factors you need to consider are

  • Production capacityThis would depend on the number of customers you plan to served daily or in the case of domestic use how often family members use ice.
  • Power consumption This would impact energy billsand needs to be considered when making your purchase
  • Speed, Some ice makers for commercial use take up to twenty minutes to produce ice. Therefore, you need to assess you customer flow (Peak times and quantities) in deciding which speed would be best suited for you.
  • This would depend on where you intend to install the unit. If you only have a small space to install your ice maker and you have a fairly large volume of customers, you might have to make some adjustments so you can accommodate a larger icemaker. If you cannot make adjustments to your current space, you should consider purchasing a countertop version.

In the case of domestic use countertop versions are better suited.

Some other factors to consider whether or not you are using it domestically or commercially are

  • Adequate power supply, this is critical to the operation of your ice maker.
  • Compatible power connection Ensure that the type of ice maker you purchase is compatible with the power connection available. This would ensure that you  avoid any damage to your machine.

How we rated the products

According to oberlo.com, approximately 89 per cent of consumers check online reviews before making a purchase.

This statistic reiterates why it is important to ensure that the process we employed to review and rate products is objective and factual.

Average consumers do not purchase ice makers, so we sought out different groups, individuals, and entities to test the product. The ice makers were tested and rated on:

  • Turn around time for ice production
  • Size
  • Cleaning features
  • Insulation features
  • Portability
  • Option for manual water supply

Ice Maker Terminology

When researching ice makers you would come across the terms nugget or pellet or sonic.  So what exactly do these terms refer to. Let’s explore. When one thinks of nugget you think a chicken nugget or a nugget of gold. Whatever comes to your mind its something small.

So, what is nugget ice? As the name implies nugget ice are small nuggets of ice. At a first glance it may look like crushed ice however, it is far from. Nugget ice is actually made from flaked ice that has been compacted into small “nuggets” (or pellets, or pebbles or sonic…) The result is that the ice nuggets have quite a bit of air in them.

What does that mean? Well, these pockets of air make the ice crunchy and more chewable. It also allows the liquid in your drink to penetrate the cube.

Therefore, the terms nugget, pellet and sonic ice all refers to ice made in the manner described above.

7 Best Nugget/Sonic/Pellet Ice Makers Complete List

Best Overall: Scotsman UN0815A-1 Air-Cooled Nugget Undercounter Ice Maker

     Specifications

  • Brand: Scotsman
  • Capacity: 36 Pounds
  • Voltage: 115 Volts
  • Item Dimensions: LxWxH 15 x 24 x 38 inches

Check Price on Amazon

Scotsman is one of the well known brands in the ice maker business. They have over 50 years of experience, and their products are available in over 100 countries. They are known for producing products of the highest quality.

The Scotsman UN0815A-1 is only 15” wide and immediately solves the smallspace problem as it fits easily into small spaces.

It has a sizeable storage capacity of 36 lbs and produces 79 lbs per day. Therefore, based on your usage you can always have ice at the start of each day.

The Scotsman uses 115 volts of electricity. Other features include slide-back doors, power cord, ice scoop, and adjustable legs.

Pros

  • Three-year warranty
  • Stainless steel evaporator
  • Long-lasting performance
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons

  • Limited storage capacity
  • Only under-counter installation

What we liked:

  • Excellent choice if space is limited
  • QR code provides for easy access to service manuals and warranty history
  • The design includes the use of corrosion-resistant material

What we didn’t like:

  • The ice maker is noisy, so you will have to figure out the best place to install it to reduce noise interference.
  • More suited for commercial use. You would need a spacious under-the-counter area to install this machine.
  • The price of the unit is a bit on the high end and therefore may not be worthwhile for domestic use. However for commercial use it should be looked as an investment for the long term.

Best newest model: GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker

 

Specifications

  • Brand: GE
  • Capacity: 3 Pounds
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Item Dimensions: LxWxH 15.5 x 10.5 x 16.5 inches

Check Price on Amazon

General Electric is another trusted brand that consumers can depend on. The Opal Nugget Ice Maker is a compact stainless steel unit designed for the countertop. This ice maker produces soft, chewable ice nuggets. It also boasts of a side tank that produces extra ice.

The Opal produces 24 lbs of ice daily and holds up to three pounds.

Pros

  • Portable. Easily transported to different locations.
  • Does not require a connection to a water line. Water is poured in manually
  • Eliminates waste- Melted ice goes into the reservoir and continues to make ice
  • Smart machine- Uses Bluetooth connectivity to connect to an app on your phone which allows you to monitor the ice maker.

Cons

  • Ice Maker is noisy
  • Limited Warranty

What we liked:

  • GE Opal automatically replenishes ice.
  • Easy installation - Plug into the standard outlet.
  • It makes perfect nugget ice quickly.
  • It has a complete stainless steel finish which adds a modern finish to where ever it is installed.

What we didn’t like:

  • Very small ice bins
  • Manual water refill
  • Possible damage if moved too often
  • Sometimes the unit makes horrible noises due to the chilling surfaces getting iced over when it runs for long periods. However, you can use the app to program a defrost. Unfortunately, the unit does not have an automatic defrost mode into the control software.

Best versatile Icemaker: FRIGIDAIRE EFIC235-AMZ Crunchy Chewable Nugget Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Brand: FRIGIDAIRE
  • Model Name: EFIC235-AMZ
  • Capacity: 44 Pounds
  • Voltage: 120 Volts

Check Price on Amazon

What is special about the Frigidaire brand? Lets see. This beautifully designed brand can not only be used under the counter but it can fit easily on a countertop. It boasts of a large production capacity of 44 lbs.

Another outstanding feature of the Frigidaire brand is the UV- light sterilization feature which kills viruses and bacteria in the machine. This cool feature gives the machine an edge over other popular brands. The machine can be plugged into any outlet and is also handy for domestic purposes.

 Pros

  • Produces ice in 15 minutes
  • Automatic- Restocks when supply runs low
  • High Quality
  • Reasonably priced

Cons 

  • The machine is a bit noisy
  • Small storage capacity
  • Melted water does go back into the reservoir

What we liked:

  • The machine is flexible and suitable for use in business, homes, or long trips. The compact size allows for easy movement.
  • The water reservoir is on top so it takes up very little counter space.
  • Excellent features which make it a strong competitor against similar brands.
  • The price is competitive. You do not have to spend a lot of money to purchase this machine.

What we didn’t like:

  • Most ice machines collect water in the reservoir and reuse the water to continue making ice. The Frigidaire Nugget Icemaker does not have this feature. You will have to use a drain plug to remove the water.
  • The unit does not have an optional water supply connection therefore you would need to bag the ice for it to keep producing

Best in speed: NewAir NIM040SS00 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Brand NewAir
  • Model Name NIM040SS00
  • Capacity 40 Pounds
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH 16.5 x 10.5 x 16.3 inches

Check Price on Amazon

This is one amazing brand in the world of ice makers. This stunningly designed nugget ice maker is quite popular. Your ice craving will be satisfied in record time as this ice maker is rated as the fastest on the market.

This New Air brand is made from stainless steel and has a capacity of 40 lbs. Are you concerned about harmful chemicals getting into your ice? The NewAir NIM040SS00 is constructed from BPA-free plastic, so no problems there!

Pros

  • Speed- Produces ice in 12 minutes
  • High-Quality Product
  • Efficient- High Power cooling system
  • Self-cleaning

Cons

  • Does not produce ice continuously
  • Designed to turn off when ice bin is full

What we liked:

  • Ultra-insulated storage area keeps ice for longer periods
  • Value for money
  • Easy maintenance
  • It does exactly what it says and makes the tiny soft ice pellets that is popularly served at restaurants. So, if you want that restaurant feel without the restaurant price you can’t go wrong.

What we didn’t like:

  • The ice maker turns off when the ice bin is full.
  • If there is ice in the bucket and you need to make more ice you would manually have to flip up the flat piece where the ice falls from because the machine would read it as full.
  • It does not turn on automatically, so there is a possibility you could run out of ice.

Best for domestic purposes: TaoTronics Nugget Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Brand: TaoTronics
  • Colour: Silver
  • Voltage: 120V / 60Hz
  • Assembled Item Dimensions: (L x W x H)17.64 x 16.93 x 9.69 Inches

Check Price on Amazon

This nugget ice maker is another top brand that we recommend. This compact ice maker can fit into tight spaces. It produces crunchy nugget ice and does not eliminate flavour from your drink.  

This ice maker produces ice in just 18 minutes and produces 26 1bs daily. The bin capacity is 3.3 1bs. The Tao Tronics is suitable for home, office, or even in your small business venture.

Pros

  • Automatic water refill
  • Overflow protection
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Limited bin capacity

What we liked:

  • The option is available to connect the ice maker to your regular water supply, failing that you can always add water manually.
  • The ice maker stops producing ice when the bin is full, which prevents an overflow.
  • The clean button starts a cleaning cycle that flushes clean water with added detergent through the system.
  • It truly delivers on speed and makes crunchy nugget ice quickly

What we didn’t like:

  • Bin only holds just over 3 lbs of ice.
  • Unsuitable for large functions
  • Sometimes the machine says the basket is full and stops making ice. If you need more ice you have to open and close the lid multiple times to start making ice again.

Best economical Icemaker: Northair Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Brand: Northair
  • Capacity: 3 lbs
  • Voltage: 115 Volts
  • Item Dimensions: LxWxH 9.8 x 16.1 x 19 inches

Check Price on Amazon

Northair has been an established name in refrigeration circles for over 50 years and is well known for quality products. This Countertop Nugget Ice maker produced by this refrigeration industry giant is user friendly and compact. It produces 44 lbs of ice per day and takes about 15 minutes to produce a batch of ice.

This ice maker features a built-in fan that eliminates overheating. The machine is equipped with an LCD screen with lights that indicate when water is required or when the ice bucket needs emptying or cleaning.

Pros 

  • Does not require a connection to a water source
  • Reasonably priced
  • Auto self-cleaning

Cons

  • Limited warranty

What we liked:

  • The machine can be set to produce ice at specific times
  • Made from durable stainless-steel material
  • Uses water economically by using the water from the melted ice to make new batches of ice
  • The noise level is not high
  • It is very easy to clean

What we didn’t like:

  • Short warranty period- only 90 days
  • The water reservoir is prone to leakages 

Best in portability: LITBOOS Stainless Steel Pellet Ice Maker

Specifications

  • Brand: LITBOOS
  • Wattage: 150 watts
  • Voltage: 110 Volts (AC)
  • Item Dimensions: LxWxH 1 x 1 x 1 inches

Check Price on Amazon

Although the LITBOOS stainless steel pellet ice maker is the last on our list, this does not represent this icemaker’s value. This machine gets high marks for productivity. It can produce nine bullet-shaped ice cubes in ten minutes.

What are bullet-shaped ice cubes? As the name suggests it is ice shaped like a bullet. The shape is typically cylindrical with a rounded tip and hollow in the middle. Because of the shape this ice melts evenly and quickly chills drinks.

The LITBOOS stainless steel ice maker produces up to 26 lbs of ice per day. The machine is quite small, 9.5x13x14.1, so you can easily move it around.

The machine is very energy efficient and is made from stainless steel, which reflects its durability. The icemaker boasts of an insulated interior which prevents the ice from melting quickly

Pros

  • Compact size allows easy movement
  • Very quiet
  • Fast cooling

Cons

  • Limited storage

What we liked:

  • Very energy efficient as it runs on the only 150W
  • Super for domestic purposes- almost noiseless, so there is little disturbance if used at home.
  • Very affordable. You can afford to purchase this machine and enjoy the benefits and features of a top brand.
  • Additional features of indicator lights make it easy to use.
  • The ice maker opens from the top which would be ideal if you plan to keep the ice maker on a shelf

What we didn’t like:

  • The storage capacity is limited. This unit only stores 1.5 1bs of ice
  • Even though the unit makes the ice quickly sadly the ice melts relatively fast when compared to ice made in the freezer.
  • Also, the size of the ice cubes is inconsistent across batches. The first batch is usually the smallest and gets bigger in size with more batches.

Utilizing Research to make the Best Purchase

  • Make sure that you do a comprehensive research before purchasing your nugget ice maker. Visit different websites and compare the information to help you decide on the most suitable ice maker. The rating given by other consumers is invaluable.
  • They are using the product, so use their experiences to help you in your selection. 
  • Examine the product thoroughly to ensure that the features are in line with your needs.
  •  Don’t just accept the information supplied by the sales representative. Arm yourself with all the information you can get so that you can make valid queries.
  • You must pay attention to the terms and conditions of the warranty. Remember that it is unlikely that you will get any redress if the product develops any problems after the expiration of the warranty.
  • Read the information in the product manual. Many consumers pay little attention to this information. All the information on how to operate your ice maker is in this manual. 
  • After you have purchased your ice maker, ensure that persons who operate the ice maker are familiar with all the features.
  • Even if you purchase a portable ice maker, remember that the more often you move around the machine, the is more likely to sustain damage. So handle it with care.
  • The machines have self-cleaning features, but you still have to ensure that the area where the machine is installed is kept clean. You also need to pay attention to the outside surfaces. Do not use abrasive cleaning materials that will leave scratches on the outside of the machine.

From Research to Ownership

  • Our article provided you information on 7 of the best ice makers on the market. However, you are more than free to carry out your own comprehensive research before purchasing your nugget ice maker. We recommend you visit different websites and compare the information in order to to help you decide on the most suitable ice maker.  Don’t rely solely on manufacturers descriptions. The ratings given by other consumers are invaluable.
  • Examine the product features thoroughly to ensure that they  are in line with your needs.
  • Don’t just accept the information supplied by the sales representative. Arm yourself with all the information you can beforehand so that you can make valid queries.
  • You must pay attention to the terms and conditions of the warranty. Remember that it is unlikely that you will get any redress if the product develops any problems after the expiration of the warranty.
  • Read the information in the product manual. Many consumers pay little attention to this information. All the information on how to operate your ice maker is in this manual.
  • After you have purchased your ice maker, ensure that persons who operate the ice maker are familiar with all the features.
  • Even if you purchase a portable ice maker, remember that the more often you move around the machine, the more likely it is to sustain damage. So, handle it with care.
  • The machines have self-cleaning features, but you still have to ensure that the area where the machine is installed is kept clean. You also need to pay attention to the outside surfaces. Do not use abrasive cleaning materials that will leave scratches on the outside of the machine.

Conclusion

Now that you are armed with a wide range of information about some of the best sonic nugget ice makers on the market, you can make an informed purchasing decision.

You should compare the various brands, assess your current needs to help you decide which brand best suits them. Now you are aware that there are many highly-rated brands with outstanding features, you should now be able to decide which one you can best afford.

Take this step with confidence, born out of acquired knowledge. You will be able to boost your business production or improve the comforts of your home. No more running out of ice and impromptu trips to the store.

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