Best Nugget Ice Maker

Which is the best nugget ice maker to buy?

In a hurry? Our top choice for the best nugget ice maker is the Newair Portable Nugget Ice Maker. Its durability, good looks, and delicious ice make it our top choice.

If you’re looking to recreate that chewable ice that you get from Chick Fil A or Sonic, then this is the article for you!

Soft nugget ice is a rare, delicious type of ice. It is commonly known as the “chewy ice at Sonic,” but you not only get it from the Sonic Ice Maker, you can also make it at home with a Nugget Ice Machine.

A Nugget Ice Machine or a Nugget Ice Maker can enhance your drinking experience in other ways too. Nugget ice can cool down your drink faster, reduce the amount of liquid in your drink, and give you a soothing feeling when you chew on it.

We’ll be looking at some of the best nugget ice makers and determining whether they live up to their promises.

What is a Nugget Ice Maker and what is Nugget Ice?

There are many small pleasures in life. One of these is chewing ice after a refreshing drink.

It’s like eating dessert after a great meal. The perfect ice must be small, crunchy, and easy to chew so you don’t hurt your teeth. This is where nuggets ice and a nugget ice maker come in.

Nugget ice is small and made from many flakes of ice. It looks like regular crushed ice, but it is soft and easy to chew. Sonic, an American fast-food chain, popularized it. The ice available at Sonic ice is also called Sonic ice.

Sonic is known for its soft and crunchy chewable nugget ice. Many customers stop by the store to buy cups or even bags of it. This is a long-standing tradition. However, they didn’t create nuggets of ice – even though they knew how to make a profit from it.

The first nugget ice maker was created by Scotsman Ice Systems, which was established in 1981. They provide a variety of ice-making choices, including sonic ice machines.

Although nugget ice is not very common in restaurants and homes, you might have seen it at other businesses.

Pellet Ice vs Sonic Ice vs Nugget Ice Makers

The same type of nugget ice can be found in Sonic can also be found in many convenience stores and is produced by Sonic ice makers.

The Sonic ice maker is also known as a nugget ice maker or nugget ice machine.

Because it can only produce one batch every 24 hours, the Sonic ice maker is more expensive than the other two.

Nugget ice makers create a wonderfully soft and fluffy type of ice that’s wonderful for flavored beverages like lemonade or iced tea, as well as alcoholic beverages like margaritas or daiquiris where you want to experience the taste without having to crunch through an inch of solid crystal.

The nuggets are snowflakes, with a smooth surface that makes it very easy to bite through. Nugget ice makers can range from inexpensive to VERY expensive depending on their ice making capacity and the quality of their ice flakes.

Ice made by a pellet or “Pearl” ice maker is softer and melts in the mouth, but has bigger beads than either the Sonic Ice Maker or the Nugget Ice Maker.

This is what people mean when they say their machine makes “crunchy” ice. This type of ice is often preferred for drinks that contain juice because it preserves the flavor better than other types of ice.

Pellet and Nugget ice makers can often be mounted on a wall, freeing up floor space. This is ideal for commercial purposes because it means the machine can be placed in a location where it is most convenient for people.

This lets the business keep more ice at hand when it is busy. This way, the business does not have to use space for other things (like storage).

The difference between Pellet and Nugget Ice Makers is that Pellet Ice Makers make a bigger batch all at once, while Nugget Ice Makers make smaller batches but more often.

Which is the best Nugget Ice Maker for your home?

Northair Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

LITBOOS Stainless Steel Pellet Ice Maker (Best Portable Pellet Ice Maker)

FRIGIDAIRE Nugget Ice Maker (Best Budget Nugget Ice Maker)

NewAir Nugget Ice Maker

IKER Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Frigidaire Crunchy Chewable Nugget Ice Maker

NewAir Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

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How do I choose the best Nugget Ice Machine for my needs? – Nugget Ice Maker Buying Guide

We’ve made it easier for you by providing a list of key features to search for and how to go about obtaining the best possible nugget ice machine.

The pointers in this section will guide you on what to look for.


One of the best things about nugget ice is that it can be used for a variety of purposes. You’ll want to find a nugget ice maker that can produce different sizes and shapes of nuggets, so you’re not limited in what you can do with the ice.

Some machines also have the ability to create crushed ice, which is great for cocktails and smoothies.


Nugget ice makers are rather costly appliances. Their pricing ranges from around $100 to well over $2,000. That’s not a small investment!

Some, however, are less expensive than others. Starting with countertop models is cheaper than under-counter and freestanding ones.

It’s also usually cheaper to get one with a lower ice-making capacity or smaller ice production.

The vast majority of the time, the more expensive a machine is, the better it’s quality. On the other hand, cheaper choices may very well provide less value: you get what you pay for.

When you’re spending more than $100 on anything, it’s important to know whether there’s a good value.


Take a close look at the warranties provided by these models to learn what they cover.

Some provide a limited guarantee on the compressor or another mechanism, but not on less essential components. While some other companies give you more money-back guarantees.

Easy to use and clean

Ice-making machines come with indicators lights, alarms, and other buttons that are simple to use. Others have more complicated methods of operation.

If you want an ice maker that you can operate yourself, you don’t need to be tech-savvy.

You just need to be sure that you choose one of the nugget ice makers that are simpler to use.

Storage Capacity

Ice-making capacities vary between ice makers. Some machines make more ice per day than others. If you enjoy hosting parties or entertaining a lot of people, you might consider a larger ice machine with a fast and large ice-making capability and a larger ice bin.

On the other hand, if you don’t entertain often or you have a small family, you might not need an excessively large ice machine.


This is purely a personal preference. Some people care about the way their appliances look in their home, while others couldn’t care less.

If style is important to you, make sure to pick an ice machine that will match the décor of your kitchen.

Ice quality & size

Nugget size varies among machines. Some produce small nuggets while others create larger ones.

Consider what you’ll be using the ice for and choose a machine that best suits your needs.

The best nugget ice makers also produce high-quality ice. This means that it won’t melt as quickly as other types of ice and it will taste great.


All appliances make some noise, but some are louder than others. If you’re particularly sensitive to sound or if you don’t want the machine to be a disturbance, consider the noise levels of potential ice machines.

The best nugget ice machines are relatively quiet, so this shouldn’t be too much of a concern.


As with any appliance, you’ll want to consider the durability of an ice maker before purchasing it. Some machines have a longer lifespan than others.

In general, the more expensive ice machines are more durable. They also tend to have more features, so if you’re looking for a long-term appliance, this is something to consider.

Size of unit

When choosing an ice maker, it is important to consider the weight and size. Some ice makers are heavier and larger than others.

A non-portable ice machine might be fine, but you’ll still need to move it around eventually.

So if it’s a big machine, make sure you have a dedicated space in your kitchen for it.

Special Features

It’s no surprise that consumers love goods with a few special features. But should you purchase one because it has added benefits?

That depends on your needs.

Some of these models use Bluetooth and/or WiFi technologies, self-timers, alarms, are stainless steel, have a special kind of finish, can make multiple sizes of ice cubes, and some even come with extra hardware. This allows them to have certain features that others may not have.

WiFi and other technologies can make your life easier. But are they worth the investment for you?

That’s something to think of before deciding on a high-quality nugget ice maker.

Installation & Setup – Freestanding, Under-counter, or countertop nugget ice maker?

There are three primary ways to install a nugget ice machine. We’ll start with the less complicated alternatives and proceed to the more difficult ones.

Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

The most hassle-free type is a countertop nugget ice maker. The majority of them don’t even need a water connection.

Just keep the water reservoir full, plug it in, and you’ll have nugget ice on hand for when you need it.

Countertop models are also the most portable and sell for a reasonable price, ranging from $200-$800.

Keep in mind that a countertop ice maker takes up space on your kitchen counter and they usually don’t make as much nugget ice as freestanding or under-counter ice makers do.

Most countertop nugget ice makers can make only 25-40 pounds of nuggets each day, which is still a lot of ice!

Freestanding Nugget Ice Maker 

A free-standing nugget ice maker will give you more nugget ice while remaining somewhat portable (you’ll need to be close enough to a water source).

They’re considerably more expensive, but they can make a lot of pellet ice.

I wouldn’t go so far as calling it a portable nugget ice maker since you still need to be connected to a water source.

But its ice production capacity is huge.

This is a popular choice for both home bars and commercial settings. Many people don’t like this design, but it can work well in the right setting.

Under-counter Ice Maker 

Under-counter pebble ice makers are ideal for those who have a lack of counter space or for those who are looking to integrate it fully within their kitchen.

There are two types of under-counter nugget ice machines: permanent (built-in) and portable. Both have benefits, but the built-in option usually looks better in the kitchen.

Wrapping up with the Best Nugget Ice Maker

Now that you know all about the best nugget ice makers, it’s time to make your purchase.

Consider all of the features listed above to find the perfect nugget ice maker for your home.

We recommend the Newair Portable Nugget Ice Maker. It has a combination of durability, good price, and function that makes our list as the top choice nugget ice maker.

Thanks for reading!

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