If you like your drinks on “the rocks”, chances are you have had pellet ice in your glass. Pellet ice differs from standard ice cubes in that it tends to come out softer and in clumps, rather than in discrete units. Today, ice lovers all over the world enjoy pellet ice to top off their drinks and to keep their food cold when they are away from refrigeration systems. Want to find out more about pellet ice, and how to find the best pellet ice maker on the market?
In this guide, I list the best pellet ice makers available to consumers. Whether it is for a backyard barbecue or an upscale office party, we guarantee that we can help you find the best pellet ice maker for your needs.
What is Pellet Ice?
Invented in 1981 by Scotsman Ice Systems, pellet ice became a smash hit at bars and restaurants all over the world. This is because pellet ice is small and compact, which makes it preferable for small drinks and other beverages that are over-encumbered by full-sized ice cubes. For example, a child’s drink can hardly accommodate even two or three full cubes.
With the advent and subsequent success of pellet ice, demand for pellet ice grew at exponential rates. By the late 1980s, ice makers the world over started being manufactured to produce pellet ice or nugget ice. One of the key attractions of pellet ice was the simple fact that it could be bitten into and chewed with considerable ease. Compare this to the teeth-wrecking consistency of regular ice cubes!
- Pellet ice
- Chewable ice
- Nugget ice
- Crunchy ice
- Pearl ice
- Chewy Ice
- Soft ice
- Pebble ice
- Gem ice
The Best Pellet Ice Maker
Like sonic ice and crescent ice, pellet ice is an excellent choice for those who want more from their ice maker than standard full-sized ice cubes. To help you make an informed decision about pellet ice makers, our team combined their judgment and experiences to put together this quick list of the best pellet ice makers on the market today.
Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
Opal Nugget Ice Maker produces 24 lbs of ice per day, and the bin holds 3 lbs at a time
Manufactured by renowned ice maker FirstBuild, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker is among the best in its class. With the unique ability to craft large batches of ice within its transparent all-glass chamber, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker is truly a one-of-a-kind ice maker. At a competitive price point, it can make huge quantities of pellet ice without any fuss or hassle.
The Opal Nugget Ice Maker is one of the best-reviewed ice makers in the world. On Amazon alone, it has garnered several hundred five-star reviews, and has accrued many more elsewhere. In our experience, we have found it to be a breeze to use and even easier to clean. It is intuitive, simple, and compact in design. With this pellet ice maker machine, it is hard to go wrong.
We put this ice maker to the test and found that a full batch could be made in as little time as an hour. This makes it super competitive in times of time and energy efficiency. Plus, its small and compact frame makes it delight to move around on the countertop and use when on the go. We have brought it to office parties and backyard get-togethers without any headaches involved.
Ice O Matic GEM Series
Air Condensing Unit Pearl Self-Contained Ice Machine
If you are in serious need of pellet ice, the Ice O Matic GEM Series Pearl Ice machine might be the solution for you. It is a tall and elegant machine that can produce enormous quantities of pellet ice in short periods of time. Plus, all Ice O Matic ice pellet machines come with an extended manufacturer’s warranty which makes it a great long-term investment.
The pellet ice dispensed by Ice O Matic GEM Series Pearl Ice makers are great for any occasion, whether it is in a soft drink, slushie, or cocktail. Unlike regular ice cubes, the ice produced by GEM Series machines are pearly and opaque and are generally longer lasting than most other ice varieties.
The Ice O Matic is a true innovator. With decades of industry experience, the experts at Ice O Matic have refined the professional ice maker to make the GEM Series Pearl. Although it uses less water than most other machines, it can pump out large volumes of ice that are chewable and softer to the touch.
Ice O Matic’s GEM Series is also among the eco-friendliest pellet ice makers on the market. This is because it requires minimal amounts of energy to freeze the water within it. As a result, Ice O Matic is world famous for its sustainable energy consumption and for regularly exceeding Energy Star criteria.
Della Portable Ice Maker
28 lb Daily with Timer – Countertop Compact Design – 3 Size Bullet Shaped Ice – LCD Display
On the opposite end of the ice maker spectrum is the Della Portable Ice Maker. The Della Portable Ice Maker is the all-around best choice for home users who want a reliable pellet ice maker without having to shell out more than they can afford. At the sub-$100 price point, you would be hard pressed to find an ice maker of better value.
The Della Portable Ice Maker is a budget-friendly solution that looks anything but. It features a stainless-steel finish that portrays an air of elegance and sophistication. In our assessment, the Della Portable Ice Maker could suit any kitchen countertop if placed in the right location. Plus, it is a dream to use as LED lights guide you every step of the way.
The Della Portable Ice Maker can produce 48 lbs. of ice within a one-day span of time. Although this pales in comparison to a commercial ice maker, this ranks among the best household pellet ice makers in terms of production value. In our opinion, this is a great choice for a budget-friendly ice maker to bring on the boat, to the cottage, or to keep around the house.
Scotsman Prodigy Plus Nugget-Style Ice Maker
nugget style, air-cooled, self-contained condenser, production capacity up to 643 lb./24 hours at 70°/50°, Auto-alert indicating lights, stainless steel finish, R-404A refrigerant, 115v/60/1-ph, 18. 3 amps, NSF, cULus
If you are going to purchase a pellet ice maker, you might as well trust the brand that started it all. Back in the 1980s, Scotsman crafted the various first pellet ice maker and they have sold in droves ever since. Today, the Scotsman Prodigy line of pellet ice makers are the hands-down most reputable line of pellet ice makers on the market today.
The Scotsman Prodigy ice makers are the best choice available if you want nugget ice that is smooth, chewable, and lighter than most others. The ice produced by Prodigy machines tend to come out a bit easier on the teeth than others, which is a nice added benefit to the Scotsman line. In terms of production, a Scotsman Prodigy ice maker can churn out 80 pounds of pellet ice over the course of a day.
These machines are operated via a simple five-button LED panel on the front of the unit. This makes operation relatively easy compared to some of the more commercial solutions on the market. Overall, we recommend the Scotsman Prodigy to homeowners with a serious drink bar, or medium-sized restaurants in need of something more heavy-duty than a countertop.
Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S Ice Maker
This powerful unit can product up to 26 lbs of pellet ice per day
When it comes down to getting the most out of your ice maker, the Avalon Bay AB-ICE26S might be the best in the business. This is because it is well-priced, fully portable, and can produce long-term value. To date, we have not heard of any Avalon Bay models ever breaking down or needing to be serviced. In short, these things are near-indestructible.
If you need lots of delicious pellet ice in a short period of time, the Avalon Bay AB ICE26S is among the very best for household users. Within just 15 minutes, an Avalon Bay pellet ice maker can create a fresh batch of pellet ice. Plus, you can “set it and forget it” with ease, as its built-in timer system is designed to refresh its ice supply whenever you start getting low.
In sum, the Avalon Bay AB ICE26S is one of the best pellet ice maker for household use. Although its relatively low storage capacity and volume production holds it back from restaurant use, it is still an excellent choice for small-scale eateries and cafeterias that have no need for large commercial ice makers.
Choosing The Best Pellet Ice Maker – The Buying Guide
After reading our recommendation of the best pellet ice maker products, you might have noticed that there are many great choice of ice makers on the market today. To find the best for you really need, it might be tricky, but we used these handy features to ensure the ice makers we have selected are the best. Here are a couple of features you need to consider before choosing an ice maker.
Production & Storage Capacity
The production and storage capacity of pellet ice maker varies according to their size and the type of machine you decide to buy.
If you just want pellet ice maker for your home, then smaller ice makers with a production capacity of 26 lbs per day will be enough for you and your family’s needs. However, businesses require a higher production capacity for their ice makers.
Easy To Use And Clean
Another factor to consider is how easy to use the machine and how to clean the machine it selfl. If it has a built-in water recycling system, you will find it easier to drain and clean the machine regularly. You don’t want to buy an ice machine that you will have a hard time figuring out how to clean.
Value for money
Finally, the next things to consider before buying the best nugget ice maker is how much value for money an ice maker provides. Some of the products above may be pricey but you get full worth for your money for years to come. We wouldn’t recommend a cheap ice maker that turns to easily broken and a waste of money.
There we have it-you are now an expert in all things related to pellet ice maker. With this knowledge in hand, deciding on which pellet ice makers to buy should come more naturally to you. And if you are still undecided, you can safely purchase any of the above units without worrying about whether you might have bought a dud. In truth, each of them exceeded our (rather high) expectations.
When it comes time to making your decision, be sure to keep in mind the three major considerations that go into purchasing a nugget ice maker: sizing and portability, appearance and noise, and production volume. Once you have those preferences sorted out, the decision should be simple.