The Low-Down On The Best Nugget, Pearl, Pellet or Sonic Ice Makers On The Market

The most organized of us would always have ice in our freezer and the means to crush it when the occasion arises. However, in the real world, we are frantically trying to find ice for drinks or as a means to cool beverages and food during parties (when the fridge is over-following). This can often mean a last-minute dash to the store, only to find out that they are out of ice because every single person in the neighborhood also saw the sunshine and opted to chill their beverages. The struggle is real but, thankfully, manufacturers have our backs with a range of ice making machines that conveniently (and stylishly) fit on the kitchen counter-top. What’s more, the top of the range ice-makers can go from zero to hero in just 5 mins, meaning that you have an abundant supply of ice just 6 mins from turning the machine on – you will never drink warm champagne again. That’s where the best nugget, pearl, pellet, and sonic ice makers come in.

Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Portable Ice Maker
Igloo Counter Top Ice Maker
NewAir AI-100S 28-Pound Portable Ice Maker
Igloo ICE103 Counter Top Ice Maker with Over-Sized Ice Bucket
Ivation IVA-ICEM15SIL Portable Ice Maker with Easy-Touch Buttons for Digital Operation

What is a Nugget, Pearl, Pellet, or Sonic ice maker?

Ice makers do what the name suggests, they make ice. However, while it sounds simple – the actual process of making ice in 6 mins is pretty special. Not that you would know it, because it’s all taking place inside uber stylish machines that have special technology which knows when to stop and start making ice (depending on the fullness of the bucket) and also comes with ice cooling technology that keeps the ice at a temperature whereby it doesn’t melt too fast

So where do you get a Nugget, Pearl, Pellet or Sonic ice maker for your home? Well, we have sourced some of the best machines for you. Check out the top chewable ice making machines below:

  1. Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Portable Ice Maker

Obviously, function is of the most importance, but when an appliance is designed to sit on your kitchen counter you are going to want it to look good. This is why the Avalon Bay comes in three colors – silver, red and black so that you can choose one that best represents your own interior style. Of course, it’s not just designed for home interiors but trendy bars, nightclubs, pool sides, restaurants and even gyms.

Now, when it comes to function – the Avalon Bay makes a bucket of ice within 6-minutes, producing 9 ice cubes every 6-13 minutes and 26 pounds of ice every 24 hours. What’s more, you can choose from two ice sizes ensuring that you have just the right size of ice for every glass.

The Avalon is electrical powered and totally light-weight meaning you can move it to any location, from kitchen to barbecue patio. Once you’re done with it, simply switch off in the knowledge that the unused ice cubes are melting and being recycled into fresh water, ready to be used again to make ice.

Best for: The environment. Thanks to the clever water recycling system, the Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Portable Ice Maker gets a big gold star for being environmentally conscious.

  1.  Igloo Counter Top Ice Maker

The Igloo Counter Top Ice Maker has design at the forefront, available in not just one but five colors including silver, red, white, black and stainless steel. Even the display unit is uber sleek with Electronic LED Controls. What’s more, stainless steel doesn’t just look good, it’s resistant to marks and corrosions meaning you have an appliance that will look fabulous for years to come. It’s near enough silent when in operation, just quietly on your counter doing its thing to make sure you never run out of ice.

The Igloo Counter Top Ice Maker makes ice in 6 minutes, meaning you can top with water, press start and return to a batch ice quicker than you could pop ice out of an ice tray. Once the ice bucket is full, the ice maker automatically stops producing icing and goes into cooling function, whereby the ice is allowed to melt slowly. Ice cubes can be used immediately or can be stored in the freezer and used whenever they are needed.

Best for:  Igloo Counter Top Ice Maker is practically silent, making it the perfect option for you home, particularly if you have an open-plan setup and count on your kitchen appliances being quiet and unassuming.

  1. NewAir AI-100S 28-Pound Portable Ice Maker

The NewAir Al comes in five colors, but not just any 5 colors – these are colors are super funky and designed for the most modern day kitchens. Think of chic black, sexy red, understated gray, cool blue and a tangy orange for those who like to make a statement. The NewAir knows the importance of having appliances you are proud to have on your counter, because if you store them you tend to never use them. And why wouldn’t you be proud to have one of these machines on display, perfectly coordinating your kitchen colors.

Not only is design at the forefront, but also size since this is portable enough to pack up on holidays and take it with you wherever you go – it will even fit on the counter-top of your mobile home. In fact, if your RV is lacking in refrigeration space, this ice maker offers the perfect solution for keeping drinks and food chilled.

The NewAir gets to work in 15 mins, making enough ice for 9 glasses. Each day it can produce 28 pounds of ice.  The machine allows for 3 sizes of ice cubes so you can keep all your friends, family or colleagues totally happy.

Best for: Those with an eye for design, who don’t expect style to stop at the ice machine.

  1. Igloo ICE103 Counter Top Ice Maker with Over-Sized Ice Bucket

The Igloo ICE103 is the mother of all ice making machines, industrially sized with an over-sized bucket ensures that it holds up to 2.2lbs of ice. This means it’s perfect for all your party needs, be it corporate or domestic. What’s more, the Igloo is chic and stylish enough to be parked on any bar, counter or poolside. It’s also close to silent, sounding no louder than a refrigerator when producing ice.

This ice maker is not just for domestic use but perfect for those in the restaurant, bar, hotel or night club industry who have to keep up with the continually need for ice to either chill bottles or drinks.

The Igloo is intelligent enough to know when the ice needs replenished and does so accordingly, you can always keep it plugged in and when it’s done its job it simply goes to sleep until next time. Your only job is to keep the reservoir topped with water and clean when needed. Good news is, the cleaning process is made super easy.

Not only does the Igloo make ice within 6 minutes, it also has an inbuilt compressor which keeps ice cool in the bucket. It’s made from Stainless Steel, which ensures no marks and no corrosion – ensuring that the Igloo has plenty of parties in it for years to come.

Best for: Any occasion that requires a large quantity of ice, be it for a function or for a restaurant or bar.

  1. Ivation IVA-ICEM15SIL Portable Ice Maker with Easy-Touch Buttons for Digital Operation

Available in four colors, silver, red, white and black, the Ivation is made for the most stylish interiors. It has a chic digital design and a transparent window, which allows you to quickly check on machine’s progress. It’s this window which is a great added feature and allows you to see the ice making process as it happens. Not that you need to monitor the process, this machine is in-built with alerts to warn about low water levels and when maximum ice capacity is reached. There’s even a flashing snowflake icon to keep you informed when an ice-making session is on standby. And for your peace of mind and safety, the unit shuts off automatically when the ice bucket is full.

The Ivation machine is super easy and can be used by everyone in your family, simply pour water into the ‘drop in bucket’ and press a couple of buttons. It produces two sizes of ice, and you can have fun experimenting with tap water, filtered water or bottled water and seeing how it changes the taste of each perfect ice cube.

Best still, Ivation IVA-ICEM15SIL Portable Ice Maker is $50 cheaper than its competitors – offering all the function, for less the price.  Just because it’s cheaper, though, don’t think it’s less quality. Like its competitors this ice machine recycles unused ice into recycled water, and safely shuts off when the bucket is full.

Best for: Busy, go-getters who are always on the go and need some warnings to remember to top up. Or just those mildly curious about the process going on behind the ice making process.

With so much choice on the market, purchasing an ice-machine can seem a little daunting but don’t worry, we’ve broken down the top five on the market here is your must-have recap:

–    Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Portable Ice Maker gets a big gold star for being environmentally conscious.

–    Igloo Counter Top Ice Maker is practically silent so perfect for domestic use, especially those with open-plan living spaces who don’t expect to hear their appliances throughout their home.

–    NewAir AI-100S 28-Pound Portable Ice Maker comes in funky colourways that are appealing to those with an eye for design, who expect to proudly show off their appliances and not just hide them away.

–    Igloo ICE103 Counter Top Ice Maker with Over-Sized Ice Bucket yield massive ice loads, making it perfect for those who require a lot of ice, such as bars and restaurants.

–    Ivation IVA-ICEM15SIL Portable Ice Maker with Easy-Touch Buttons for Digital Operation is for those who like some alerts to remind you of the input required by the user. It’s also one of the only ice-makers on the market with a transparent window that allows you to watch the whole ice-making process.

So there you go, no excuse to not buy the perfect ice-maker for your home or business. Here is a little more

If your curious, here is more information regarding the need, types, functionality, and care of icemakers.

How do I choose the best ice maker for me?

First up, it’s best to think about your needs and what is most important to you. Is the machine for domestic use or for use in a business? By first identifying purpose, you will understand how much ice has to be produced and how big the bucket must be. It will also help determine which ice is best for you.

If, for home, do you have an open-plan home and need something that can be silent or are you more considered about style and how the machine looks in your home? Perhaps style is less important, but you need something that performs and delivers a lot of ice. Or maybe you are seeking a machine for your mobile home and size and compactness is super important. Whatever your demands, when it comes to ice, there is a machine looking to serve you and make your life so much easier.

Remember that if you use ice for medical purposes, it’s recommended to avoid any handling. This is why an ice maker is perfect as you can simply scoop from the bucket. Consider this function when shopping for your machine.

Some questions to ask:

–    How important is style to me?

–    How important is size (do I expect it to be portable)?

–    Do I need to make large bulks of ice, like in a bar or restaurant?

–    How quiet do I expect my machine to be?

–    How fast do I expect the machine?

–    Do I rely on appliance alert to tell me when the machine needs attention?

–    How important is it to be environmentally conscious?

What are the types of ice makers are there?

Modular Ice Machines

Modular ice machines produce ice but do not provide storage and so require additional purchase of a storage bin or dispenser. However, some are sold as “combination units” and have added storage. Modular ice machines are ideal for businesses that require a moderate to very high yield of ice, such as hotels, hospitals, or large night clubs.

Self-Contained Ice Machines

Self-contained ice machines are typically under counter or on counter units that produce and store ice. They are ideal if your home or business’s daily ice requirements are low or if you have space constraints. On top of this, self-contained Ice Machines are easy to install – once purchased, you usually only have to unbox, plug in and fill with water, making them the best option for ice-making novices. Self-contained ice machines are typically used domestically or by small to mid-sized restaurants and bars and cafes.

Types of Self-Contained Ice Machines

One type of self-contained ice machines includes counter-top ice machines which are specifically designed to sit on counter-tops. This means they are more compact, certainly more stylish and quieter than other ice-machines.

Types of counter-top ice makers include Sonic Ice Maker, Nugget Ice Maker, Pellet Ice Maker, Pearl Ice Maker, and Pebble Ice Maker.  However, they are all terms used to describe a product used to make chewable ice. The names nugget and pellet are given to describe the shape of the ice. Many ice makers will work to make at least one size of ice (many make up to three) and pellets and nuggets are just some way to describe the shape that is made.

What are the characteristics of nugget, pearl, pellet, and sonic ice?

–    Slow melting

–    Chewable

–    Great for smoothies, blended drinks, and cold beverages

Why is chewable ice superior?

Nugget, pearl, pellet, and sonic ice is far superior because it melts much slower, and does not dilute drinks too quickly. On top this, the ice is crisp and clear and looks good enough complement any smoothies, blended cocktails, and salad bar.

Why would I need an ice-maker?

Are you still stuck in a prehistoric age of making ice-cubes from a mold? Or do you dash to the store every time the occasion arises for chilled drinks? An ice-maker takes the pressure off you by having ice ready at your finger-tips, anytime you need it, within 6 minutes. Perfect occasions for an ice machine include chilling champagne bottles, cooling fruit juices, cocktails, and smoothies.  On top of this, ice provides the perfect solution for chilling drinks and food when your refrigerator is over-following (like during a party) or when your fridge is simply too small, like when touring in an RV.

However, it’s not just the food and beverage industry that uses ice, ice is widely used by the medical world, as a way slow down blood to an injury and reduce pain and swelling. Cold therapy slows circulation, reducing inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain.  When using ice for medical use, ice-makers should be your only go-to option because ice for medical purposes requires as little hand contact as possible (ruling out tray or bagged ice).

How does an ice-maker work?

Ice makers freeze water directly, meaning that the time to make ice is dramatically reduced. To start, you have to fill water to the fill line and switch on. Water can be from the tap, a bottle or jug but it’s highly recommended to use filtered water to prolong your icemaker’s life and maintain productivity. The machine works by lowering metal prongs into the water, and because the prongs get cold they freeze the water.

What types of ice are there?

Ice can be classified into three types of ice:

Cubed ice – the type widely available from stores and made via a freezer ice tray. It’s good for drinks but not always easy to scoop.

Flaked ice – flaked ice is used when there might be a choking risk associated with large ice cubes, like with children and it’s commonly used in ice drinks. It’s also used in display counters to chill food (like salad and seafood) because it’s soft and easy to pack. Flakes are good for immediate chilling but they tend to melt too quickly so are not used in drinks, unless as a water substitute (like in cocktails).

Nugget ice – (also known as pearl, pellet, or sonic ice) are small rounded cubes of ice that are easy to chew and multi-purpose, used in drinks and salad bars displays. Interesting fact for those in the beverage trade, Nugget ice displaces more liquid than cube or half-cube ice, so it provides, even more, beverage profitability. It is the type of ice most commonly used in fast-food restaurants. The process of making Nugget ice uses less water and less electricity than producing the same amount of cube ice, so it is less costly to make. Furthermore, in a taste test conducted by Scotsman Ice, 85% of participants preferred this soft, chewable ice to other types.

Now you understand the types of ice and have hopefully identified what bests suits your business, it’s time to pick the best ice machine.

How to care for an ice machine?

We know, the reservations around the purchase of any new appliance include having something else to clean, particularly something that produces product that is consumed. No one wants more cleaning responsibilities, which is why it’s important to pick an appliance that lends itself to easy cleaning – like a Nugget, Pearl, Pellet or Sonic ice maker.

Some tips:

–    If your ice machine is dirty, ice will take longer to be produced. Be sure to clean your condenser frequently with a sponge or brush, (making sure there is no ice in the bucket) paying attention to any rubber bits which are most susceptible to mold or mildew.

–    To prevent lime scale, use bottled or filtered water.

–    Follow the owner’s instruction manual for the cleaning of each machine.

Which are the best ice makers on the market and where can I buy them?