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Shopping for a gourmet clear ice machine?
You’ve come to the right place!
We understand how important it is to use good-quality ice.
We also understand that it can be a bit overwhelming to choose one clear ice machine from the many options out there.
To help you make an informed decision, in this guide we recommend and review a few proven units and discuss the features that matter most when shopping for a gourmet clear ice machine for your home or wet bar.
Who Should Buy a Gourmet Ice Machine?
Ice can only be clear if it contains few impurities. So clear ice is clean ice.
Clear ice also melts slower than other kinds of ice like pellet/nugget ice and won’t dilute your drink as quickly, making it perfect for cocktails and premium liquor.
Most people who want a clear/gourmet ice machine want it to cool the finest spirits like whiskey, scotch and vodka.
But clear ice is also great choice for any kind of drink that you don’t want to dilute – from fruit punch, smoothies, iced coffee, margaritas, and mocktails.
What’s in This Buying Guide
- What’s in This Buying Guide
- Best Gourmet Clear Ice Machines
- 1. Editor’s Choice: NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker Machine
- 2. Best for Home Use: Luma Comfort Portable Clear Ice Maker
- 3. Best Portable: Frigidaire EFIC103 Ice Maker Machine
- 4. Best for Commercial Use: Linsion Commercial Ice Machine
- 5. Best Design: TRUSTECH Ice Maker Machine
- Gourmet Clear Ice Machine Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Verdict: What is the Best Gourmet Ice Machine – and Why?
This article is one-stop guide for anyone looking for a high-quality gourmet clear ice machine for their home, wet bar or small commercial establishment.
We cover all aspects to consider when buying a clear ice machine and recommend top picks for several common situations.
By the time you reach the end of this guide, you should know enough to select the right gourmet ice machine for your needs.
So let’s dive in!
Best Gourmet Clear Ice Machines
Disclaimer: most links below go to Amazon.com
- Editor’s Pick: NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker Machine
- Best for Home Use: Comfort Portable Clear Ice Maker
- Best Portable: Frigidaire EFIC103 Ice Maker Machine
- Best for Commercial Use: Linsion Commercial Ice Machine
- Best Design: TRUSTECH Ice Maker Machine
|Gourmet Clear Ice Machines||Best For||Dimensions||Production Capacity||Run time|
|NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker Machine||Best Overall||14.76 x 11.3 x 14.06 inches||40 lbs||15 minutes|
|Luma Comfort Portable Clear Ice Maker||Best for Home Use||11.3 x 14.8 x 14.1 inches||28 lbs||15 minutes|
|Frigidaire EFIC103 Ice Maker Machine||Best Portable||14 x 12 x 15 inches||26 lbs||6 minutes|
|Linsion Commercial Ice Machine||Best for Commercial Use||13.7 x 16.5 x 25.2 inches||88 lbs||12-18 minutes|
|TRUSTECH Ice Maker Machine||Best Style and Design||10.24 x 14.57 x 13.39 inches||26 lbs||6 minutes|
1. Editor’s Choice: NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker Machine
NewAir is a trusted brand in kitchen appliances.
The NewAir Clear ice 40 is an exceptional product built to last long and to perform as you need.
The exterior features the shiny, sleek look that accompanies other stainless-steel appliances in your kitchen.
Due to its insulation, this ice machine performs well in hot weather conditions and keeps the ice in the storage compartment from melting. Which means you can use it outside, too.
The NewAir makes 40 lbs. of ice in 24 hours.
It takes about 15 minutes to produce the first tray of cubes.
The new and improved freezing technology minimizes air trapped as bubbles, making clear ice every time.
You can use tap water in this machine, too, because it filters impurities & minerals before freezing. This is an unusual feature for an affordable portable unit like this.
Thanks to its small footprint, you can place the NewAir ice machine on kitchen countertops, coffee bars, kitchen islands, or small tables.
An auto shut-off sensor turns the machine off when the ice storage is full. This way, you don’t have to worry about checking up on the machine.
The NewAir gourmet ice maker is also extremely energy-efficient.
Finally, the product is supported by a one-year warranty.
The only downside is its small ice bin. Not the best choice for a restaurant or bar with a high traffic of whiskey lovers.
2. Best for Home Use: Luma Comfort Portable Clear Ice Maker
Who doesn’t love a delicious cold drink or cocktail on a hot day inside the comfort of their home?
This clear ice machine by Luma Comfort brings convenience to making gourmet iced drinks at home.
Operation is super-simple – there are only 2 buttons to worry about.
The LED display indicates when water in the machine is low or when the storage unit is filled with ice.
To start the machine, all you have to do is plug it in. No installation required.
This ice machine has a production capacity of 28 lbs per day, ideal for home use and the occasional party or get-together.
Ice production is fast, too, taking only ten minutes for the first tray of clear cubes to arrive.
The outside of this countertop machine is stainless steel.
On the inside, BPA-free, non-toxic insulation keeps your ice cold.
The clear ice produced by this Luma ice machine melts five times slower than regular cloudy ice.
As a result, your drinks remain chilled for a longer period of time and drink dilution takes much longer.
There is no odor in the clear ice produced. The next-generation freezing technology used by Luma ensures that no air gets trapped inside the ice cube during the freezing process. As a result, the ice is odor- and mineral-free.
However, you do need to clean the Luma ice machine regularly to prevent the accumulation of slime in the water hoses and pipes.
We recommend a deep clean once or twice a year for best results.
But a wipe down inside and outside the machine is recommended every time you stop using the machine.
3. Best Portable: Frigidaire EFIC103 Ice Maker Machine
Sometimes it makes sense to take a clear ice machine on road trips, picnics, or to the office. If you want to move your ice maker around, then this is the right pick for you.
This small Frigidaire EFIC103 Ice maker is a surprisingly well-made unit that is durable and portable.
A portable clear ice machine like this Frigidaire unit is also perfect for a food truck or stall, to make chilled drinks for customers without requiring a fridge replacement.
This Frigidaire portable ice maker weighs just 19 pounds, which is considerably lighter than other clear ice makers that weigh as much as 70 pounds.
An LED control panel is fitted into the sturdy stainless-steel exterior. The LED panel has two buttons for operating the machine and indicates low water levels or full storage capacity via the use of light spots.
The light blinkers make it easy for the user to spot machine status from afar and at night.
This Frigidaire portable ice machine can produce up to 26 lbs. of ice a day. It works very fast, pumping out a new tray of ice every six minutes.
Another useful feature about this machine is that it lets users select the size of the ice cube. You can select between small, medium, and large-sized cubes.
The main downside is the small ice bin – it holds just 2.2 lbs of ice, which is enough ice for 3-4 large drinks.
That said, it refills the bin very quickly, and the bin is well-insulated, which prevents the ice from melting too fast.
The unit features heat-dissipating fans on the left and the right, so make sure you point it away from your cold drinks to prevent the hot air from melting them.
4. Best for Commercial Use: Linsion Commercial Ice Machine
A commercial setting requires a high-production ice machine with a powerful compressor.
For long-lasting service, a commercial unit should be sturdy enough to withstand the abuse that results when multiple people use the machine in an urgent work setting.
The Linsion Commercial Ice Machine is designed for commercial settings. It comes with all the features you need – and more.
The Linsion ice machine features a large production capacity of 88 lbs per day. Its powerful compressor produces a large tray of 32 ice cubes every 12-18 minutes, enough for 5-6 large drinks.
This Linsion commercial ice maker has a storage capacity of 24 lbs., which is more than enough for a busy small bar if maintained properly.
The bin is insulated, too, and will keep the ice from melting for three to five hours even if the power runs out.
Like most other user-friendly ice makers, this unit also features an LCD display for showing machine status.
But there’s more.
You can adjust the size of cubes made using the plus and minus signs on the display. There are three cube sizes to choose from: small, medium, and large.
The Linsion ice maker can be used as a free-standing appliance or placed under a tall counter. It has adjustable feet to help with the positioning and to prevent the bottom from coming in contact with water.
The overall design is intelligent and user-friendly.
Instead of a side-opening door, the machine features a vertical sliding door that moves up and out of the way when in use.
The cabinet-like design is stylish and attractive and does not look out of place if the unit stands alone.
This clear ice machine uses energy-saving technology and produces very little noise.
One of the most convenient features of the Linsion gourmet ice make is its automatic cleaning function, which keeps your water clean and your ice clear.
This ice maker comes with a limited one-year warranty against original defects only.
The unit comes complete with a scoop, filter, drain pipe, and user manual.
A great, affordable commercial gourmet ice maker.
5. Best Design: TRUSTECH Ice Maker Machine
The compact, sleek black design and polished surface makes the TRUSTECH ice machine one of the most attractive countertop clear ice makers on the market.
It is compact and fits in a small counter space, making it an ideal choice for smaller kitchens and offices.
This small ice maker makes nine ice cubes every six to eight minutes, enough for 2 large drinks.
The unusual bullet-shaped ice cubes are attractive, too. Bullet ice tends to stick together and melt slower than regular cubes.
With a production output of 26.5 pounds per day, it can easily take care of demand in most homes and offices.
There are two ice sizes to choose from.
The two-button uncomplicated operation makes it quite convenient to use. One of the buttons is used to power the machine on and off, while the other is used to select ice size.
A translucent window at the top of the machine lets you check ice status without opening the bin.
But just in case, a light indicator shows when the storage is full and needs to be emptied.
Another blinker indicates low water level when lit.
The TRUETECH ice maker is all about user convenience. Like many clear ice machines, it features an automatic cleaning feature that you activate by holding down the power button for five seconds.
The ice maker does not require installation and is perfect for use in office kitchens, small apartments, emerging food businesses, and picnics and parties.
Gourmet Clear Ice Machine Buying Guide
Let’s see how you can evaluate your needs by considering the intended purpose and place of use for your clear ice machine.
Daily demand for clear ice differs greatly from place to place. In small households, you don’t need much ice unless there is a party.
However, in commercial settings like a bar, a food truck, or any food business the demand for ice at peak hour is far greater.
If you buy a commercial-grade machine for use in a small household, you will waste a lot of money – not only at the time of buying the machine but also while operating it.
In contrast, buying a small capacity clear ice machine for a busy bar would slow down production.
This is why it is of paramount importance that you buy the right-sized machine based on your peak daily and hourly ice use.
Another important consideration is the setting. A few smaller ice makers are almost silent, but most make a good deal of noise.
If you plan on using the ice machine in a busy place bustling with noise and chatter, you probably won’t hear the machine’s noise. However, a fine dining club with a quiet and calm ambience will require a quieter unit.
Gourmet clear ice machines tend to make the most sound during the cooling process. However, the noise level varies from model to model.
Generally, smaller models make less noise.
Additional features like auto-shutoff, defrost, and water filters can make a huge difference, especially for a place of business.
If you run a busy hotel, restaurant, or a drink shop, it is worthwhile to invest in features that speed and simplify service.
An auto-shutoff feature stops making ice once the storage unit is full.
Similarly, a defrost option makes cleaning the machine easy. The addition of a water filter removes impurities from the water, ensuring your ice remains clear for long periods of time.
Combining all of these features is very useful when running a busy kitchen.
What is a Gourmet Clear Ice Machine – and How Does it Work?
A gourmet clear ice machine is an appliance that makes clear ice. It uses refrigeration technology to freeze water from the inside out.
Refrigerators freeze water from the outside-in. As a result, in a fridge the outside purer water freezes first pushing impurities and minerals towards the center of the ice cube.
As the center freezes, the higher concentration of impurities and minerals make it cloudy.
Regular ice is also less dense than clear ice, which is why it melts so quickly. The quick melting causes dilution of drinks with the melted water, disrupting the taste.
A gourmet ice machine solves these problems by using a freezing grid or plate. Water is circulated over the pre-chilled grid where the water is frozen from the center-out towards the sides. The impurities and minerals are then pushed towards the outer edges of the ice cube, where they are cut off and removed.
This is how clear ice is made by a gourmet machine – and why the ice made is basically pure frozen water, free of any impurities and minerals.
Moreover, clear ice is frozen slowly, layer by layer, which makes it much denser than regular ice. Due to the increased density, gourmet ice melts much slower and slows the dilution of a cold drink.
Why Buy a Gourmet Ice Machine
A gourmet ice machine’s benefits are not just limited to the mature of ice produced. Dedicated ice machines also save time; energy, and money.
Ice cube trays are placed inside a refrigerator. Every time you need to put ice in a drink, you have to get it from the refrigerator.
After taking the tray out, you need to let it thaw for a while to allow smooth sliding of the frozen cubes. All this takes time and could hinder the progress of a busy kitchen.
On the other hand, an ice machine forms ice cubes and dispenses them in the built-in storage container without manual intervention.
When needed, all you have to do is scoop the cubes out of the container and no thawing period is required. This saves both time and energy.
Another way that ice machines save time is by producing slow-melting ice cubes. Clear ice melts slower than regular ice, which means that servers in a kitchen are not continuously busy with fetching more and more ice for the customers or clearing & refilling watered-down cups.
Slower melting also means less ice is needed per customer, which reduces the cost of water and production.
All in all, these features combined can aid in the smooth progress of a kitchen and ensure a steady flow out of the kitchen or drinks corner.
At homes, hosts can spend more time with guests and less time dealing with ice and watered-down drinks.
What to Look for in a Gourmet Ice Machine
Without a doubt, gourmet ice machines are an investment.
This is why it is wise to research products and features beforehand.
Here are some of the most important features you should look for in a gourmet ice machine to bag the best deal.
Production and Storage Capacity
Aside from the quality of ice, the most important thing about a gourmet ice machine is its production capacity.
The production capacity determines the settings under which a particular model would be most useful. The capacity varies greatly from small-sized machines that can produce anywhere between 12 and 65 lbs of clear ice per day to commercial-grade machines that can produce up to 1,000 lbs. of ice in a day.
Small-capacity machines are suitable for use in homes for personal use and small parties. Such models are usually designed with an under-counter layout for convenience.
Commercial-grade machines have a much larger capacity. Starting from a few hundred and going up to 1000 pounds, these gourmet ice machines are usable in small businesses such as food trucks and drink cafes to large hotels and restaurants.
Similar to production capacity, an ice machine’s storage capacity also varies from model to model.
However, the storage capacity is almost always smaller than the production capacity.
Therefore, if you are running the machine to its full production capacity, make sure to use the ice along the way or transfer it to an ice bag.
A gourmet ice machine needs proper water drainage to carry away the impurities removed from the water. The discarded water needs to leave the machine. Otherwise, it might give rise to problems like frosting and blockage.
There are two types of common drainage systems used in ice machines: a gravity drain or a drain pump.
If the area where the machine is set up has a drain hole right underneath the machine, a gravity drain will work wonderfully.
However, if the drain hole is situated farther away, a drain pump is required to expel the water out of the ice machine. Drain pumps are also sold separately.
All kitchen appliances need some level of maintenance. Those that have a larger capacity and consume more power require a little more maintenance than smaller units.
The same goes for gourmet ice machines.
Larger units have more area that needs to be cleaned and wiped. They are also difficult to move in case you need to access back vents.
But size is not the only thing that concerns maintenance when it comes to ice machines. The design and final layout matter a lot too.
To clean or repair an under-counter unit, users have to take the whole unit out. These units are heavy, so it might not be convenient if you need to take the unit out every time you have to clean it.
A few designs require dismantling the unit to deep clean them while others have access vents. Make sure to buy a unit that is easy to clean and maintain for you.
Pros and Cons
There is no doubt that gourmet ice machines bring convenience and functionality like no freezer. In many ways, the clear ice produced is better than regular white ice. The machines have plenty of plus points, but there are a few limiting factors associated with them as well. Let’s take a look at both.
Fresh Ice At the Ready
The most appealing factor about ice makers is that you get fresh ice within minutes. This means you don’t have to freeze water beforehand for use later.
Fresh and clear ice for every drink makes it taste a lot better and prevents any weird tastes from developing.
Moreover, in a commercial setting, this feature aids the smooth running of the kitchen and takes the task of putting multiple ice trays in the freezer off the hands of the staff.
When using refrigerators to freeze ice, the trays are placed among many other things, including meat; vegetables, stocks and much more. All these things exude some odor that might get trapped in the ice cube along with the air.
When these ice cubes are used in a drink, the drinker can smell all the unpleasant smells. Using an ice maker eliminates any chances of air trapped in the ice cube. As a result, fresh and clean ice is produced that does not contain any unpleasant smells.
The absence of air, impurities, and minerals makes the ice produced by ice makers quite dense. The improved density prevents the cube from melting faster.
The layer by layer freezing melts much slower and prevents dilution of the drinks in which it is used. So, you get chilled drinks and the perfect taste every time.
Fast Ice Making
As we have seen in the reviews above, the run time of these units is quite fast.
They usually take 15 minutes or less to make fresh ice available.
This freezing rate is much faster than refrigerators that can take up to hours to freeze one tray.
Ice makers can reach a capacity of 20+ lbs within an hour or two. An uninterrupted fast supply of clear ice brings convenience to kitchens.
Higher Upfront Cost
Gourmet clear ice makers are expensive to buy. Their price increases with production capacity and added features. You need to remain mindful of your budget and the price of the unit before making a purchase.
However, the functionality of the machine is worth the cost. It cuts down production cost and increases the quality of ice produced.
Regular Maintenance Required
Like all other appliances, a clear ice maker machine also requires cleaning and maintenance for optimal performance.
You need to make sure that the drainpipes are not clogged and that the production and storage compartments are clean all the time.
For the best results, you will have to wipe the machine after every use and clean out the hoses twice every year.
Cleaning and Maintenance
We’ve mentioned the cleaning and maintenance of gourmet ice machines several times in this guide.
It is only fair if we give you a feel for what it takes to keep a clear ice machine clean.
The following instructions generally apply to most units.
However, you must consult the user guide that comes with your package for detailed and specific instructions.
- Use a clean water supply for your ice machine. Many machines are usable with tap water but you need to make sure that the supply line provides clean and clear water that does not contain large amounts of debris. For best and safe practice, distilled water is the ideal choice.
- Clean as many components of your machine as possible. This goes for both daily cleaning and deep cleaning. For daily cleaning, use a clean damp cloth and wipe down all surfaces of the machine. Make sure that you remove excess moisture from components after use.
There should be no mold growth or any debris present in the chamber before and after use.
For deep cleaning, if the parts of the machine are water-safe, detach as many of them as possible.
Afterwards, soak them in water and hand-clean later. You must clean the underside of the ice machine along with the drain pipes as well.
3. If you are using cleaning chemicals for your machine, make sure they are safe and approved for use on appliances.
If your machine shows any problems on the display or with blinker lights, make sure you get it fixed.
Maintenance of the machine along the way will elongate its working life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What shapes can an ice maker make?
The shape of the ice varies from model to model.
Generally, clear ice machines make small cube-shaped ice. However, some models make bullet-shaped or round-shaped ice.
Is gourmet ice’s clarity impacted by any external factors?
No, external factors do not have an impact on the clarity of the ice.
This is one of the greatest and most defining features of a gourmet ice maker. The ice is produced by freezing pure water first in an inward to outward direction.
This method pushes impurities and air to the edges rather than freezing them inside. So even if the water contains trace minerals and impurities, the ice produced by a gourmet ice maker will still be clear.
Final Verdict: What is the Best Gourmet Ice Machine – and Why?
We believe the NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker Machine is the best ice machine for most residential and small commercial settings today.
It produces a large 40 lbs of ice per day and has a production time of just 15 minutes between each tray. The countertop design makes it easy to use anywhere.