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Welcome, dear readers, to yet another in-depth review post. This time, we're going to share with you our very own undercounter ice maker reviews. The ultimate goal we have set ourselves was to answer the question of what is the best undercounter ice maker you can get in 2020.
Ice makers are a great thing to have if you like hosting parties, large events, have an office or commercial space where you need plenty of ice, or just use a lot more ice than the refrigerator at home can provide, not to mention the good old ice trays.
It’s also a great way to make your own ice, which you can put into your cooler when going out, saving you the cost of buying ice at the store.
As many people opt for undercounter ice machines and look for information about them, we decided that we’ll not only point out the best under cabinet ice machine in the market but will also take you through the things you should know when buying one!
Ready? Let’s go!
Best Undercounter Ice Maker – Our Top Picks For Those in a Hurry
In case you don’t have time to go through the entire review (though we strongly recommend you do because you will learn a lot about how to pick the right ice maker in the process), here is our Top 3 list of best under counter ice makers based on our reviews below.
Our Top 3
- EdgeStar IB250 Series, with Ice Freezer
With its ample storage capacity, built-in freezer and reversible door (amongst other features), this is a great option for those who want great convenient features at a great convenient price.
- Hanover HIM60701 – 5SS – Stainless Steel Undercounter Ice Maker
This is a great ice maker if you’re looking for a sleek design with different ergonomic options that’s super easy to maintain.
- EdgeStar IB120SS Built-In Ice Maker
This is a great ice maker for kitchen use, with a nice sleek design and colors that would fit in just about any home. Plus, it also has a built-in freezer storage.
Best Undercounter Ice Machine Reviews
EdgeStar IB250 Series with Built-in Ice Freezer
- Ice Production: 25 lbs. per day
- Storage: 20 lbs. of ice
This EdgeStar has one main thing going for it, and that is the fact that it comes with an ice freezer.
With a production rate of about 25 pounds daily, so long as the environmental conditions are optimal, it certainly meets the needs of most average households.
The ice freezer, on the other hand, will store about 20 pounds of ice at a time, which should be good enough for a household.
It should also work well enough for an office environment. However, I wouldn’t say it’s ideal for very large parties. It also makes great crescent-shaped ice cubes, which are great for cocktails.
I love the reversible doors, which means you can mount it either left or right-oriented, making it a little more flexible with different installation spaces.
Other than that the ice scoop and removable ice storage bin and great plusses to have. It also comes in 3 colors: black, stainless steel, and white.
With its great reviews from actual users, several color options, the built-in freezer storage, and just enough ice production for a typical household, it's no brainer why this Edgestar is the best undercounter ice maker choice for so many home users.
Hanover HIM60701 – 5SS – Stainless Steel Home Under Cabinet Ice Maker
- Ice Production: 32 lbs. per day
- Storage: 25 lbs. of ice
Perhaps the greatest selling point for the Hanover HIM60701 – 5SS Ice Maker is that it has a great build. The stainless steel is smudge resistant, making it insanely easy to maintain.
It also comes with different handle options, including a pro-handle, round handle, square-edge handle, curved handle, and designer handle. They are all great for different ergonomics as well as aesthetic preferences.
As for the actual ice making, this appliance makes up to 32 pounds of ice per day, producing crystal-clear ice cubes in 3 sizes.
It's able to make plenty of ice in just 30-35 minutes and store it in the well-insulated bin so it doesn't melt right away (but note – this is not a freezer, so the ice is going to melt eventually).
The lack of freezer can be disappointing for some users, but it has one other advantage to make it up to you: it comes with a built-in drain pump, so the installation is super-easy.
What's more, you can choose between the pump-powered drainage system and the standard, gravity-based one, the latter of which makes the device's operation quieter.
Whynter UIM-502SS Undercounter Ice Machine for Home
- Ice Production: 50 lbs. per day
- Storage: 25 lbs. of ice
The good news about the air-cooled Whynter UIM-502SS is that it has a very high production rate, being capable of making 50 pounds of ice per day.
It puts out a sheet of small-sized cubes (about 1 inch per 1 inch) every 17-19 minutes.
Some users may dislike that the ice cubes come as a connected sheet, so then a spoon or a scoop will have to be used to help ice break up into individual cubes. Hmm, why is it so, you ask?
You see, most ice machines have heated cutters to cut the ice sheet into ice cubes in the final stage of the production, but in real-life that's often the weakest part of the entire system, as the cutters tend to break or need re-calibration after some time.
This Whynter is simplified in this aspect, with less moving parts to break. Yes, you'll need to use something to help those cubes break out of the ice sheet, but the unit will likely be more reliable than many drop/cut machines out there.
I think it's a good trade-off. After all, it's very easy to break up those ice sheets, and many customers confirm that in their own Amazon reviews.
What else? A few things. The Whynter's undercounter ice machine comes with a storage bin with 25-pound capacity and an auto shut-off feature, so that the ice maker stops making ice as soon as the storage bin is full.
The build quality is pretty good as well. It has stainless-steel housing, looks nice in a kitchen when built-in, but it can be used as a freestanding ice machine as well.
Lastly, it is Energy Star certified, so you can expect your utility bills to stay reasonable while you use it.
Scotsman SCN60PA-1SS Undercounter Ice Maker
- Ice Production: 80 lbs. per day
- Storage: 40 lbs. of ice
Scotsman, as a brand, needs no introduction. They have been the early pioneers of the US ice machine industry.
Their products are known to be of premium quality. The SCN60 series, which you can get here, is no exception.
First of all, it has a very high production rate! At 80 pounds of nugget-shaped ice a day, it’s pretty much a workhorse. And while we’re at it, perhaps its greatest selling point is that it produces nugget ice.
This fact alone is often the reason why this Scotsan is the best under cabinet ice maker choice for many of our readers. Nugget ice is soft, chewy, and absorbs the flavor of whatever drink you put it into very well.
The storage capacity, meanwhile, is about 40 pounds.
Another great quality of this ice maker is the self-closing door, which probably takes out half of the work you have to do when operating the door.
It also has an interior light, just like a normal fridge, so that’s a plus when you’re getting your ice out of the storage unit at night.
The greatest con for this ice maker is its high price, but if you've read our best nugget ice maker reviews article before, then you'll know it’s justified.
To put it simply, these sonic-style ice makers are way more expensive to build. They're simply more complex machines. Only the handful of top ice machine brands makes those, and Scotsman is one of them. Plus, this machine's high production rate comes with a price as well.
If you get the Scotsman, be ready to maintain it well and clean it at least twice annually and it won't disappoint for years to come – it's really durable.
U-Line UBI95B00A Hoe Undercounter Crescent Ice Machine With Freezer
- Ice Production: 23 lbs. per day
- Storage: 12 lbs. of ice
This ice maker by U-Line isn’t terribly big on the production rate at only 23 pounds a day.
What it does have, however, is a built-in freezer so the ice won't melt even when it stays in the bin for long. As long as the U-Line ice machine is plugged in, the ice is going to be ice cold.
Another benefit of having a built-in freezer is that no drain is required when using it. Plug it in, add water and voila, the magic starts to happen.
Although 23 pounds of ice per day may not be not enough for many users, it's worth highlighting that it is remarkably simple and efficient.
It only takes about 3 gallons of water to produce the 23 pounds of refreshing, crescent cube ice. Those moon-shaped cubes are about 2″ long and about 3/4″ thick.
The doors are easily reversible so it can fit any kitchen quite easily. The water line connection is only ¼ inch in diameter, accepting much smaller pipes than many other ice makers.
I also love how simple the design is. It is black in color, reliable, and quite durable. Moreover, it is very affordable.
If you want a no-nonsense undercounter ice maker without too many bells and whistles, and the one that is also going to be kind to your pocket while being high-quality, then this is the right choice to go for.
It is ideal for indoor home use but many customers reported using in commercial, office or public spaces as well (e.g. school).
And did I mention it is ADA compliant? Well, it is!
EdgeStar IB120SS Built-In Ice Maker for Home
- Ice Production: 12 lbs. per day
- Storage: 6 lbs. of ice
This air-cooled, front-venting ice maker has a production rate of 12 pounds of crescent-shaped ice per day and is able to store 6 lbs of ice.
If you’re purchasing something for regular home use, then this should work just fine for you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for an undercounter ice maker for commercial or even office use, then this might not be the right choice.
That said, it’s got a lot else going for it. The best thing about this ice machine is that it actually has a built-in freezer, so storage shouldn’t be a problem.
People have been using this one on a boat, or in an outdoor kitchen, so as long as it's stored in a non-wet environment and under counter, it should do work well when placed outdoor.
It’s very easy to install and includes a 25-foot ¼ inch diameter water line connection. The door is reversible, with both right and left-hand swing, and you get an ice cube.
The machine is very quiet, which I'm sure you're going to appreciate as well. It's also very easy to operate: there's no drain required (because of the built-in freezer), the bin has an auto shut-off when full, and an on/off switch is the only button you have to deal with.
The stainless steel door against a black cabinet ensures this ice maker will fit in with most decors.
Whynter UIM-155 Stainless Steel Residential Built-In Ice Maker
- Ice Production: 12 lbs. per day
- Storage: 6 lbs. of ice
This Whynter has almost the same specs as the EdgeStar IB120SS, It produces crescent-shaped ice at a rate of about 12 pounds a day and has a 6-pound storage bin.
It dumps about 20 crescents each time, so if you're not using much ice then it might be another machine to consider.
The only part where it falls short of the EdgeStar is that it doesn’t have freezer storage built-in, which means you’ll have to think about where to store all that ice when you make it.
On the plus side, it's cheaper than the above-mentioned EdgeStar, making it perhaps the best undercounter ice machine under $250.
It’s air-cooled, so energy and water consumption should be low. And since it is front ventilated, you can basically just fit it in a niche and get it up and running in a couple of minutes without having to worry about ventilation either.
The Whynter UIM-155 also comes with a ¼ inch diameter 25-foot long food grade water line connection included for easy setting up to feed the water to the evaporator.
With a low power consumption of 120 watts, you can be confident your utility bills won’t be devastated by this appliance.
SMETA Undercounter Automatic Ice Maker with Freezer
- Ice Production: 12 lbs. per day
- Storage: 6 lbs. of ice
Here is yet another simple ice maker for the house. This one also has a production rate of 12 pounds and a storage capacity of 6 pounds.
Similarly to the two above-mentioned ice makers, this one also makes the crescent-shaped ice.
Unlike the Whynter UIM-155, however, this one also operates as a freezer, so you have somewhere to store your ice when you make it.
It's very compact. You can use it as a built-in ice maker or a freestanding one, as it is air-cooled with front venting. It also has automatic shut-off to prevent overfilling of the ice bin.
Hoshizaki AM-50BAJ Air-Cooled with Built-In Storage Bin
- Ice Production: 51 lbs. per day
- Storage: 22 lbs. of ice
This is a great ice maker for commercial or office use. Made by Hoshizaki America, it has an insane production capacity at 51 pounds of ice per day. The built-in storage, meanwhile, can hold up to 22 pounds of ice.
Perhaps the greatest selling point for this ice maker is the fact that it produces top-hat ice cubes, which is great for those looking for large, uniquely shaped ice cubes. It’s also approved for both indoor and outdoor use, making it highly versatile.
This ice maker is air-cooled, with a front-vented design. It has an easy to disassemble water circuit so you can clean it easily and comes with a drain pump assembly included.
The major downside is that it’s pretty pricey, but hey, that's Hoshizaki! They're a premium brand, well known in the industry and their products are very high quality (e.g. they're covered with the high-quality stainless steel).
Plus, just like the Scotsman we've covered a bit earlier, and the Manitowoc below, this one is an American made ice machine.
Manitowoc SM-50A Undercounter Self Cleaning Ice Maker
- Ice Production: 53 lbs. per day
- Storage: 20 lbs. of ice
Another undercounter ice machine from a premium US brand, but this time it's Manitowoc.
This one comes with an in-built water filtration system that features an in-built scale inhibitor (so scale does not develop on the inner walls) and that is probably its greatest selling proposition right out the gate.
Another great thing about this Manitowoc is that makes individual cubes with unique octagon shape, which are quite large and look simply amazing (see image on the left).
This ice maker is also self-cleaning, with a patented cleaning and sanitizing system.
It's also air-cooled, which means far less water consumption and much better energy efficiency. If you get this one, make sure you use it in a place with a cooler ambient temperature for the best results.
While the storage bin isn’t a freezer bin, it's very well insulated and as a bonus, it comes with LED lighting for easy visibility when you’re reaching for the ice.
It has an incredibly high production rate at 53 pounds per day, and the storage bin can hold about 20 pounds of ice.
If have have a budget, looking for a convenience, and love those octagonal cubes, then this self-cleaning Manitowoc may be the best undercounter ice machine option for you.
Under Cabinet Ice Machines – Things to Know
How Does an Ice Machine Work?
Before we dive too deep into the things to look for when shopping for undercounter ice makers, let’s take some time to learn about how an ice maker works.
Of course, it goes without saying that all ice machines, whatever other aspects to their design, are built to do one major thing: make ice.
To do this they have to turn water into ice. It is the process of making water into ice where things start to get interesting. As they say, the devil is in the details.
Any ice machine you come across will have a compressor at its heart. This compressor is meant to push some kind of gas, known as a refrigerant, through tubes to another component known as a condenser.
The condenser will then cool the refrigerant into a liquid using either cold air or water (hence the air-cooled or water-cooled types, with the latter being more popular and less expensive cooling option for most undercounter ice makers).
Let’s get back to our refrigerant. It has gone through the condenser and been cooled down. After this, it goes on to yet another component of the ice maker known as the evaporator.
Here it takes in heat from the environment. That heat turns it back into a gas. That ‘environment’ is really water that’s being poured over the evaporator. The water loses its heat to the refrigerant, which is being turned into a gas. As the water loses its heat it turns into ice.
The ice will form as connected cubes, which are on a sheet. They are then pushed out onto a bin either by heating the sheet beneath them or through the movement of a piston. They are expected to break into individual ice cubes as they fall into the bin.
However, this doesn’t always happen, and sometimes you have to separate the ice into individual cubes yourself (that's the case in the Whynter UIM-502SS which we've covered earlier).
The evaporator is where a lot of customization happens, as it can be designed to produce ice in many different shapes, ranging from pebbles to bullets and everything in between.
In some kinds of ice makers, such as nugget ice machines, the process is different in some ways. The evaporator is shaped like a cylinder, with the water freezing on the inner walls. They are then scraped out by an auger and come out in the form of ice flakes, which are quite soft and chewable. We wrote about this in more detail in our commercial nugget ice machine reviews.
This is the general process, and the exact specifics will be slightly different from one ice maker to another.
Gourmet ice makers will have a lot more processes in-between to produce hard and crystal clear ice cubes. However, for the most part, when you push the button on your ice maker, the above is what happens.
If you're interested in clear ice machines then check out our other post covering the best clear ice makers.
What to Consider When Buying an Under Cabinet Ice Maker?
The type of ice
What kind of ice are you looking to get from the ice maker? Do you have a favourite?
There are ice machines that specialize in sonic ice, or nuggets, plain ice cubes, and a whole bunch of other types. Some people don’t care what type of ice the ice maker makes, as long as it makes ice.
However, if you have a preference, then go for an ice maker that meets that preference.
PRO TIP: Here is a list of all the ice and cubes types we know. If something is missing, let us know!
- Regular Cube
- Full Cube
- Half Cube
- Top-Hat ice
- Sonic/Pebble Ice
- Flake Ice
- Crescent Ice
- Gourmet Ice
At the very least, you’re probably picking an undercounter ice machine over a portable once because you want to put it in a spot where it fits and will leave it there permanently.
So before you browse for options, you should already know where you want to install your ice maker, and what size dimensions you’re working with.
This allows you to purchase an ice maker that is just the right size.
If you’re planning on keeping the undercounter ice maker outside, then be careful to buy a model that’s made for the outdoors.
These are far more durable and better in extreme weather than the indoor ones, so you shouldn’t skimp on price by buying an indoor one for outdoor use.
The size of the ice maker
This ties in directly to the point above, but for an even deeper reason. The capacity of an ice maker is strongly correlated with how big the ice maker is.
If you have a small place in which to fit the ice maker, then you will face a challenge when getting one that can fit in there and still produce plenty of ice.
To reiterate, measure the space in which you will install the ice maker so you’re sure you’ll get one that fits in perfectly and will be easy to install.
Conversely, consider getting an ice maker that will fit the size of the ice maker you truly want, or just buy an outdoor ice maker.
Undercounter ice makers have storage, either built-in freezer storage or an insulated bin, which will tell you how much ice the ice maker can hold after it’s done making it. This is where the bulk of the ice maker’s size comes from.
Capacity is related to another concept we’ll talk about in a few, which is production rate. If you use the ice produced by your ice maker very fast, then it’s more important to get a high production rate ice maker than one with a high capacity.
On the other hand, if your ice maker is only there to supplement whatever ice you already have for parties and other big events, then high capacity is of importance.
There are workarounds to this, especially if an ice maker with greater capacity turns out to require more space than you can afford.
For example, you can store the ice elsewhere in bags. However, you should know that this will involve a lot more work and should prepare for it accordingly. Other factors held constant, an ice maker with great capacity is quite an asset to have.
Production rate is arguably the most important piece of information to look for in an ice maker.
If the ice maker produces ice slower than you consume the ice, then you might still need to supplement the ice or operate at a shortage. This sort of defeats the purpose of having the ice maker in the first place.
Most manufacturers will provide information on the production rate of an ice maker in the specs, and it will usually be in the form of ice quantity per 24 hour period.
These numbers will be contingent upon you keeping the ice maker in the right environment, which means you should have installed it properly, ventilated it, and kept the ambient temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Anything hotter than that and the production rate will naturally fall.
You should also note that a high production capacity typically (but not always) means a noisier ice maker. If you’re buying it for home use, and want something quiet, then you might want to sacrifice some production capacity to avoid the noise.
Most manufacturers will indicate the noise level of the ice maker in decibels. Anything over 65 decibels is going to be noticeably noisy.
Should you go for an air-cooled or water-cooled ice maker?
Most undercounter ice makers are air-cooled. These use fans and vents to bring in air and remove it. On the whole, they use less energy and water than water cooled ice makers and are simple to operate.
Both, however, will require drainage arrangements to be made.
For the water-cooled ice maker, both the cooling water and water from the melted ice will need to be drained away. For the air-cooled ice maker, only the melted ice water will need to be drained away.
Whether the ice maker is water-cooled or air-cooled, unless it's capable of working as a freezer, it needs to be drained in some way. You have two main options: drain pumps and gravity pumps.
If you have a drain that is at most 2 feet away from the place where you install the ice maker, then you can use a gravity drain. This works best with pre-existing kitchen drains. Gravity will make sure the condensate finds its way to the drain port, from where it will leave the ice maker and go down your kitchen drain.
If gravity is not particularly viable where you’ve installed your ice machine, either because there is no natural drain around or you’re working against gravity (such as if the water has to flow upwards at any point), then get an ice maker with a built-in drain pump.
The pump will make sure the water finds its way to the final drain. Alternatively, you can buy an ice maker without a built-in drain pump and buy the drain pump separately.
Maintenance is yet another thing to consider. Ice makers need to be cleaned about every 6 months on average. Sometimes the cleaning work is hard enough that you may have to call a professional to do it, which will cost you money.
Some manufacturers make easy to maintain ice makers that you can clean yourself. Some of them even let you do it at the press of a button, with the machine basically cleaning itself, like the Manitowoc SM-50A.
If we’re being entirely honest, aesthetics isn’t often the number one consideration for manufacturers when they’re building ice makers.
That said, you still have plenty of choices when it comes to the looks on your appliance.
They come in a variety of finishes and colors. There are black ones, white ones, stainless steel ones, ones where the door finish matches wood, and so on.
The look you ultimately go for depends on what you like, as well as the décor you’re trying to match the ice maker to.
Most buyers like an ice maker that matches whatever other appliances they have in their kitchen, so they mostly go for stainless steel and black.
If you’re looking for a very unique color or finish, then be prepared to do a little more searching. The more unique the design you’re looking for, the harder it will be to find, especially when you consider other things it should have, such as storage capacity, production rate, and so on.
Ease of installation
Installing an undercounter ice maker isn’t awfully difficult, but it’s not insanely easy either.
If you love to do things yourself and have some experience with such things, then installing it should be a breeze. However, if you’re not experienced with it, it can quickly get frustrating.
Every ice maker comes with installation instructions, but it is still a good idea to think about and plan the installation process early. You need to think about electricity, water lines, drainage, ventilation, and space within which you will install it and have it fit in seamlessly.
For some buyers, it’s usually the best option to just hire a professional to do it for you.
However, if you would rather do it yourself, make sure to understand every aspect of the installation process before you do it. This will make things much easier.
This video will shows how the undercounter ice machine installation process typically looks like (note: it may vary for each product/manufacturer, so check the user manual first).
Energy efficiency is yet another thing you should consider. It takes a lot of energy to freeze water.
So if you’re concerned about the associated energy bill, or simply want to do your part in taking care of the environment, then you should probably go for an Energy Star certified ice maker, like the Whynter UIM-502SS is.
These ice makers are mostly commercial ones, which may not be right for you, but it’s still possible to find home ice makers with the certification if you search hard enough.
Another way you can conserve energy is by buying an ice maker with a capacity and production rate that is just right for you.
Don’t buy one that will make and store more ice than you really need. Not only will it cost you more to buy, but it will also be more expensive to maintain.
Price is yet another important factor that will have the final say in what ice maker you get eventually. Ice makers can cost anywhere from $200 to several thousand dollars.
Most of the upper-end ones have very high storage capacities and production rates, while the more budget-friendly ones have tamer capacities and production rates by comparison.
Other ice makers will cost more simply because they have a stronger brand reputation, or come with more bells and whistles than the average ice maker, such as making ice in a unique shape, having a water filter or a self-cleaning mode.
You should also consider more than just the purchase price of the ice maker. You may have to incur extra installation costs, for example, if it involves hiring someone or buying extra parts.
Also, consider the energy bill and the cost of the water that will make the ice, so factor your utility bills in too when considering which ice maker is best for you.
Many ice makers have a warranty. A warranty makes you more confident in the quality and durability of the product you’re buying. Whatever appliance you buy, ice maker or otherwise, a warranty should always be on your list of considerations. Remember to check the warranty details as some manufacturers have a different warranty for residential and commercial uses.
- Water filter
Some ice machines will have a built-in water filter. These will remove contaminants from the water before freezing it, making your ice cubes look better, taste better, and smell better while being healthier. If yours doesn’t come with a water filter, you can buy one and fix it in.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has design guidelines that make ice makers and other appliances easy to use for those with disabilities. If you’re buying an ice maker for commercial purposes or an office environment, or if you have someone with disabilities in the home, then go for an ADA compliant ice maker, such as the U-Line UBI95B00A.
Best Undercounter Ice Maker – Bottom Line
And with that, we come to the end of our best undercounter ice maker list. Of all the products we got to research and review, we loved the EdgeStar IB250 Series most.
All things considered, it has the best mix of performance, convenience, and price for the average household.
However, we made sure to review a diverse range of ice makers so anyone can find something that works for them.
We hope you enjoyed reading this undercounter ice machine reviews as much as we enjoyed writing it, and are looking forward to hearing your feedback.
Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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