Jul 25, 2023

Igloo Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker Review 2023

The Igloo Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker was the best value of my larger countertop ice machine review. Ahead, learn more about the small but mighty machine.

After extensively testing six ice makers over the course of 4 weeks, I found that the Igloo Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker was the best value of the products I tested, and the best option for anyone who just wants a machine that makes ice reliably and quickly. Bullet-shaped cubes are the fastest to make; freezing-cold metal prongs in the machine essentially freeze water around themselves, leaving behind a hole. These ice cubes are best for everyday use—chilling down sodas, iced tea and the occasional rum and Coke.

The Igloo won best value in my countertop ice maker review.

The Igloo isn’t the flashiest machine I tried while testing the best countertop ice makers. But it’s ideal for anyone on a budget and anyone tight on kitchen space. It also has the most useful feature on any ice maker—a self-cleaning function—which no other comparably priced machine did. For ease of use and cleaning, speed of setup, fast output and a reasonable price point, it’s an excellent pick. For the majority of home uses, these bullet cubes will do you just fine.


Cube shape: Bullet | Dimensions: 13.9 x 10.5 x 15.3 inches | Advertised output: 26 pounds of ice per day | Cleaning function: Yes | Additional features: Multiple colors

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Within an hour of unboxing the Igloo Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker I had set it up, cleaned it thoroughly and had enough ice to chill a few sodas. I found the self-cleaning function of the Igloo essential—other machines at a comparable price point don’t have this feature. Much of the tubes and machinery of an ice maker are hidden behind the water tank; the machine is a big black box. Comparable machines instruct you to “clean surfaces as needed,” but there’s not an obvious way to get into the guts, as it were. It was simple, however, to fill the Igloo’s water tank with a vinegar-water solution and press a button to have it cycle through the entire system five times.

The Igloo can crank out about 1.5 pounds of bullet ice cubes in 30 minutes.

Once the machine is clean, all you need to do is pour in water and press a button. The first cubes appear within eight minutes, enough to fill a rocks glass (if not a big soda cup). Within half an hour, you have enough ice for several large cups, and within 2 hours, nearly 1.5 pounds.

The ironic issue with a countertop machine? It takes up space on your countertop. At 13.9 x 10.5 x 15.3 inches, the Igloo has a reasonably slim profile and should slide under most kitchen cabinets. (The Frigidaire Compact Countertop Ice Maker is smaller still, though very comparable, at 13.5 x 10 x 14 inches.) The Igloo weighs about 20 pounds, so calling it portable might be a bit of a stretch, but its handle does make it easier to tote around than, say, the Frigidaire, which doesn’t have this feature (the handle comes in only some of the available colors).

The Igloo has a sleek retro look, doesn't take up as much space on the counter as other machines I ... [+] tested.

It’s also a bit more aesthetically pleasing than other models, some of which have all the boxy charm of a bread maker. Its curves and multiple color choices (white, stainless steel, black, red, pink, aqua) give it a retro appeal.

The obvious trade-off of a smaller machine is that it has a smaller ice bucket and holds less ice at full capacity. But if you simply dump the cubes into a bag or bin in your own freezer, the ice maker will keep churning out nearly a pound per hour.

The Igloo is listed at $160, though in the course of researching this piece, I’ve seen it marked down significantly on Amazon, Overstock and other sites, sometimes as low as $100. Even at full price, it’s a fraction of the cost of the best overall pick, the GE Profile Opal 2.0, and less than half the cost of the “clear cube” ice makers I didn’t think lived up to their name.

The Igloo doesn’t make perfectly clear cubes, or the oh-so-appealing nugget ice of the GE Profile Opal 2.0. It does, however, freeze water fast. You might not use the Igloo’s bullet ice for your most Instagrammable cocktails or for chilling down a fine whiskey. But for the vast majority of everyday ice needs, it does the job.

Virtually everything I liked about the Igloo—its compact size, quick ice-making and comparative value—also applies to the Frigidaire Compact Countertop Ice Maker, a very close runner-up. The Igloo’s self-cleaning function, marginally faster rate of ice-making and color options were enough to nudge it ahead in my rankings. But the Frigidaire earned my enthusiastic recommendation as well, plus it has the smallest profile if you’re really limited on space. For more information on these machines, read my in-depth countertop ice makers review.

What do you want from an ice maker? Ice, as soon as possible. So I paid particular attention to each machine’s output.

Before testing, I set up each machine according to manufacturer instructions (including letting it rest on the counter undisturbed for several hours before use, in case it was inverted or jostled during shipping). I then cleaned the machine, either trying out the self-cleaning cycle, as in the case of the Igloo, or cleaning according to manufacturer instructions (and in the absence of that, my best judgment).

Since many online reviews mentioned that a machine’s first cubes weren’t its best, I didn’t evaluate the ice makers’ first pass. Instead, I put each maker through two test runs. On the third run, I filled each ice maker’s water tank to capacity and timed how long it took to create its first cubes, how much ice it had made after an hour and how long it took to fill its ice bin.

While testing, I checked cubes from the Igloo for uniformity, size and clarity.

I also evaluated the cubes (or bullet cubes, in this case) for size, uniformity and clarity. I kept as many factors as constant as possible, using only filtered water and keeping the room temperature between 68 and 70 degrees.

Finally, I continued to use each ice maker over the course of several weeks—sometimes just to make iced coffees for myself and my husband; other times, for testing cocktails or serving drinks to friends. With the Igloo, I used the self-cleaning function multiple times and observed whether it was consistent in making a handful of ice cubes within 10 minutes of turning on (it was).

As a food and drink writer for more than 15 years, I know my way around product testing—and I have a lot of opinions on ice. I’m the author of several cocktail books, including Be Your Own Bartender: A Surefire Guide to Finding (and Making) Your Perfect Cocktail, which I wrote with my husband, John McCarthy. I’ve depended on a countertop machine for parties and events for years, since I’ve yet to have a great ice-making freezer.

Cube shape: | Dimensions: | Advertised output: |Cleaning function: |Additional features: Best for:Skip if:Igloo Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker My Expertise