If your household goes through a lot of ice, chances are your refrigerator’s ice maker can’t keep up with the demand. A built-in home ice maker produces a significant amount of ice on a daily basis, ensuring there are always cubes ready when you need a drink. A large ice capacity isn't the only benefit of a home ice maker, says Ben Neely, owner of Riverbend Homes in Texas. "The speed at which they make ice is a lot faster [than countertop models], and you have more options on the type of ice you can get—whether you want Sonic ice or other types." We researched the best at-home ice makers, taking note of installation requirements, ice production and style, storage capacity, and more.
Our top pick is the Whirlpool 15 in. 50 lb. Built-In Ice Maker, which can be built into cabinetry or left freestanding. It produces a whopping 50 pounds of ice per day.
Here are the best home ice makers to add to your kitchen, pantry, or man cave.
Whirlpool WUI95X15HZ 15-inch 50 lb. Built-In Ice Maker in Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel
Produces clear ice
Fast Ice option
Includes ice scoop
Filter sold separately
The Whirlpool 15-inch Built-In Ice Maker is our top pick thanks to its sleek design, versatility, and overall value. It can be installed underneath a standard counter or used freestanding thanks to its front ventilation system—the only real requirement is that it’s within 100 feet of a drain.
This 15-inch ice maker can produce up to 50 pounds of ice per day so whether you're hosting a Super Bowl party or filling up multiple coolers, you won't run out of ice. This model also features clear ice technology that removes air bubbles and impurities from the cubes. This keeps your drinks fresh and reduces foam in carbonated beverages. The ice maker has a reversible door that can open to the left or right, depending on your room setup, and it’s able to store up to 25 pounds of ice at a time.
It also has a smudge-resistant exterior that will match your other stainless steel appliances, and if you ever need ice ASAP, it has a special “Fast Ice” setting for speedy production. The control panel has an indicator light that lets you know when the unit needs to be descaled, and its water filter (sold separately) is easy to change thanks to its convenient location at the front of the appliance. The ice maker comes with both a drain pump and an ice scoop, but some people find that the drain can be a bit noisy during operation.
EdgeStar IB120SS 15-inch Built-In Ice Maker with 12 lbs. Daily Ice Production
Ice scoop included
No drain line required
Most built-in ice makers cost well over $1,000, and if you’re shopping on a budget, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value than this compact ice maker from EdgeStar. It’s smaller than other ice makers at just over 25 inches tall, but this actually makes the unit ADA compliant. This ice maker can produce up to 12 pounds of ice per day and store 6 pounds at a time, and it has a refrigerated compartment, which eliminates the need for a drain line—so you can install it just about anywhere.
This budget-friendly ice maker has a black body with a stainless steel door that can be installed to open in either direction. It comes with a 25-foot-long water line, as well as an ice scoop, and ice production automatically stops when the ice bin is full. Thanks to its front-venting design, you can install this ice maker under a cabinet in your kitchen or have it freestanding in a boat or RV, but keep in mind that it must be manually defrosted, meaning you have to open the door, unplug the unit, and wait for everything to melt.
Viking FGNI515 5 Series 15-inch Outdoor Built-In Ice Maker with 80 lbs. Daily Ice Production
Makes nugget ice
Can be used outside
Drain pump sold separately
If you want an ice maker that will blend in with your kitchen, the Viking 5 Series Built-In Ice Maker has a panel-ready design, meaning you can outfit it with a custom panel to match your existing cabinets. It will look just like any other under-counter cabinet, and no one will ever guess there’s an appliance hiding behind it. Additionally, this ice maker is popular because it makes “nugget ice,” the style of soft, chewable cubes made popular by restaurants like Sonic. It can produce up to 80 pounds of ice per day, making it ideal for entertaining, and it can store up to 26 pounds of ice at a time.
This sleek ice maker is approved for both indoor and outdoor use, and it has a “Tru-Flush” design that allows flush-to-cabinet installation. Its electronic control panel displays the appliance’s production status, as well as any maintenance needs, and an LED light illuminates the interior for improved visibility. The ice maker has a self-closing door and uses 40 percent less energy than comparable models. But keep in mind that a drain pump for the ice maker is sold separately and will add extra cost to the already-pricey appliance.
Best Reversible Door
Thor Kitchen TIM1501 15-inch 50 lbs. Built-In Ice Maker in Stainless Steel
Multiple cube sizes
Ice scoop included
Energy Star certified
Exterior can smudge
The Thor Kitchen Built-In Ice Maker has a reversible door—meaning it can be installed to open to the left or right—making it a top choice for tight spaces. This 15-inch ice maker can be built into cabinets or used freestanding thanks to its front-venting design, and despite being made by a luxury appliance brand, it costs significantly less than many comparable units. The ice maker offers both large and small cube sizes, and it can produce up to 50 pounds of ice per day, storing up to 25 pounds at a time.
This ice maker has a built-in pump for easy installation—a feature that some more expensive units lack—as well as an automatic defrost feature that makes it mess-free to shut down. It has an LED interior light so it's easy to use at night, and it even comes with an ice scoop. The only downside of this versatile ice maker is that the stainless steel exterior isn’t smudge-proof, so it will likely need to be cleaned regularly to maintain its pristine appearance.
Best Drop-Down Door
KitchenAid KUID508HPS 18-inch 35 lb. Built-In Ice Maker in PrintShield Stainless Steel
Makes clear ice
Fully flush installation
Factory-installed drain pump
Low production speed
Filter not included
Most under-counter ice makers have doors that open to the left or right, but this KitchenAid Built-In Ice Maker has a unique drop-down door that allows for more flexible installation. The door opens in a similar fashion to a dishwasher, which allows the appliance to be fully flush with your cabinets for a more seamless look. This ice maker is also larger than average at 18 inches wide, and it features front ventilation and a fingerprint-resistant stainless steel exterior.
Despite its generous size, this ice maker actually works more slowly than most. It only produces up to 29 pounds of ice per day. (However, for those times you need ice ASAP, it does have a “Max” mode that produces ice 56 percent faster.) It can store up to 35 pounds of ice at a time, and it uses clear ice technology to reduce the number of air bubbles in its cubes. The KitchenAid Ice Maker has a factory-installed drain pump, which makes it easier to set up, and its self-cleaning cycle ensures your ice is always fresh. There’s also a spot on the control panel where you can install a filter for the machine’s water, but keep in mind that the filter itself isn’t included with your purchase.
Best for Features
Scotsman Brilliance Series SCN60GA1SS 15-inch Undercounter Ice Maker
Makes nugget ice
Can be used outdoors
Optional panel kit
The Scotsman Brilliance Series Undercounter Ice Maker is packed with high-end features that make it convenient and enjoyable to use. One of its biggest selling points is that it creates soft nugget ice—a favorite for those who like to chew on their cubes—and it can produce up to 80 pounds per day, storing 26 pounds at a time. The sleek stainless steel design is front-venting and can be installed both inside or outside, and its user-friendly control panel will let you know if the appliance needs cleaning or has an issue with its water supply.
While it’s not Energy Star certified, this ice maker is more energy-efficient than most, using 40 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than other ice makers. It also features a self-closing door that ensures it never gets left open, as well as a lighted interior for visibility at night. The appliance is also available in a panel-ready option, which is ideal if you want the unit to blend in with your existing cabinetry. All of these features come at a cost because this ice maker is not cheap.
Perlick H50IMWAD 15-inch ADA Compliant Series Undercounter Ice Maker with Custom Panel Solid Door
“Top hat” ice melts slower
UL approved for outdoor use
Drain pump sold separately
You can upgrade your outdoor kitchen with this under-counter ice maker from Perlick, which is UL-rated for outdoor use and also ADA compliant. The appliance uses a front-vented forced-air refrigeration system to stay cool, and it runs on an eco-friendly refrigerant. It can make up to 55 pounds of ice per day, storing 22 pounds at a time in its sleek interior. Plus, its panel-ready design allows you to select any exterior you want, ensuring it matches perfectly with your decor.
Unlike many other ice makers, which simply form regular cubes, this outdoor unit creates “top hat” ice cubes, which are round with a hollow interior. This unique cube shape helps to prevent clumping inside the machine, and it actually melts slower than conventional ice, as well. The ice maker comes with an ice scoop for easy serving, but despite its high price, it doesn’t include a drain pump.
Best with Wi-Fi
GE Profile UNC15NPRII 15-inch 26 lb. Freestanding Ice Maker
Makes nugget ice
Integrated water filter
Drain pump sold separately
Custom panel required
You can start ice production from virtually anywhere with the GE Profile Freestanding Ice Maker since this appliance has built-in Wi-Fi that allows you to control it from your phone. Using the brand’s SmartHQ app, you’ll be able to remotely adjust the interior lighting, receive filter/cleaning alerts, and even schedule ice production so the bin is full when you get home. Plus, this high-end unit creates soft, crunchy nugget ice that’s sure to be a hit with your guests.
The GE Ice Maker can churn out up to 60 pounds of ice per day, and it can store 26 pounds at a time. You can easily see how much is in there thanks to the clear storage bin, as well. This ice maker has a built-in filtration system that removes impurities from your water, and it comes with an LED interior light and soft-touch ice scoop. However, it’s worth noting that this ice maker requires a custom panel—meaning it won’t have an exterior door or handle as is—and it also doesn’t include a drain pump, which is key for automatic drainage.
The Whirlpool 15 in. 50 lb. Built-In Ice Maker is an unbeatable choice for your ice-making needs. It can produce up to 50 pounds of ice per day, store 25 pounds at a time, and it even has a Fast Ice option for when you’re running low during a party. For something more compact and budget-friendly, the EdgeStar IB120SS Built-in Ice Maker can make 12 pounds of ice per day, and it doesn’t require a drain line, so it can be installed virtually anywhere.
What to Look for in a Home Ice Maker
Ice Storage Capacity and Production
As you look at different ice makers, you’ll see two different numbers listed: ice production and ice capacity. Ice production indicates how much ice the machine could create if it ran continuously all day, and for built-in ice makers, this number is usually between 20 and 80 pounds. However, ice capacity measures how many pounds of ice can be stored inside the unit. Most ice makers automatically stop production when their storage bins are full, and they only resume production when ice is removed from the bin.
There are a surprisingly large number of ice cube styles available today, and some of the most common options made by ice makers include standard square cubes, smaller half-cubes, crescent ice, nugget or pebble ice, and top hat or gourmet ice. Nugget ice is also called "Sonic ice" and is popular thanks to its soft, chewable texture. You may also see ice makers that make "clear ice." This means the machine removes air bubbles from the ice to help keep drinks fresh and reduce foaming in carbonated drinks.
Installation and Door Type
Many home ice makers can either be freestanding or built into your cabinetry. Freestanding units can be moved around your home as needed, while built-in units are permanently installed and sit flush under your counter. For a built-in unit, you’ll likely need a drain pump for installation, which may or may not be included with the appliance. A drain pump removes excess liquid from the storage bin as the ice melts and must be connected to your kitchen’s plumbing.
When thinking about installation, you’ll also want to consider the style of door that works best for your space. Reversible doors, which swing open to the left or right, are the most popular for built-in ice makers, but you can also find units with drop-down doors, which can be a space-saving option in small kitchens.
Like any kitchen appliance, home ice makers have certain maintenance requirements that need to be done on a regular basis to keep the unit in good working condition. Some units have filters that need to be changed periodically, and others have self-cleaning cycles that help remove impurities from their inner workings. Many models with these features also have indicator lights that tell you when maintenance needs to be done.
You’ll also want to look at how the appliance is defrosted in case you ever need to shut it down. Models with a drain pump often feature automatic defrosting, but some may require manual defrosting, which can be a bit messy.
Depending on how fancy you want your ice maker to be, you may want to look for a model with advanced features. Some high-end models have self-closing doors or fast ice modes that produce cubes more quickly. There are even some Wi-Fi connected appliances that can be controlled right from your phone.
While it may seem like a small thing, don’t underestimate the convenience of having an ice scoop for your ice maker. It will make serving ice quicker, easier, and more sanitary (especially if the alternative is using your hands). Some appliances even have a space to store the scoop within the interior.
Factory-Installed Drain Pump
A drain pump allows your ice maker to remove excess water from the storage bin, but not all appliances come with one. Some drain pumps must be purchased and installed separately, which can make the installation process more complex. Models with a factory-installed drain pump are often easier to install in your home, and you don’t have to worry about purchasing a compatible part.
Energy Star Certification
There aren’t many home ice makers that are Energy Star certified—unfortunately, these appliances do use quite a bit of electricity to produce and store ice. However, models that do achieve this certification use less water and energy so you can save money on your utility bills.
How long do ice makers last?
If cared for properly, a home ice maker can last anywhere from three to ten years. The appliance’s lifespan will depend on factors such as how often it’s used, whether you keep up with recommended maintenance, and the overall quality of the appliance.
Do all ice makers require a drain and water line?
Built-in ice makers almost always require a water line—after all, they need access to water in order to make ice. However, not all units require a drain line. Units that don’t require a drain line can usually be manually drained, allowing you to pour out any water from melted ice.
How often should you clean an ice maker?
To keep your ice maker in peak working condition, it’s important to clean it at least once every six months. You’ll want to empty and clean out the ice bin, as well as run the unit’s self-cleaning cycle (if it has one). For units without a self-cleaning option, consult the user’s manual for instructions on how to flush out the unit’s inner components.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. While researching ice makers for this article, she spoke with Ladi Goldwire, CEO of BrinMar Construction & Development Group, for insights on what to look for when purchasing one of these appliances. Using these expert tips, she evaluated products based on their ice production, storage capacity, maintenance requirements, and features. She prioritized ice makers with a good production-to-storage ratio and useful features.