Ice Machine Comparison – Portable vs. Undercounter Ice Maker

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Feb 23
portable-vs-undercounter-ice-maker

If you are looking to buy an icemaker, knowing the differences between small, portable icemakers and undercounter icemakers is crucial. They are very similar when it comes to sizes, but they are completely different. When you want to compare the two types of icemakers, you need to understand all of the features they have to offer to make a choice that suits your needs best.

Undercounter Icemakers


Whynter UIM-155 Ice Maker

Undercounter ice machines are the appliances that are usually installed in the kitchen. Once you put them into place, that's where they'll stay for a long time. It doesn't matter they are installed in a restaurant, office, or a home, these machines can produce lots of ice on a daily basis.

Benefits of Undercounter Icemakers

These are the main three benefits you get from undercounter ice machines:

  • They produce lots of ice, and they have increased storage space

Whether you got the machine for your home, or maybe your office, one thing is for sure - you'll have a steady supply of ice for a large crowd. You can always organize an office party or a family reunion without having to worry about ice. Undercover icemakers are reliable, and they can supply ice for an entire family or even an entire restaurant or cocktail bar.

  • You only need to install them once.

Icemakers like these need to be connected to a drain and a water source, which means that you'll only have to install them once. They do require some maintenance from time to time, but that's about it.

  • Undercounter icemakers can produce enough to meet all of your needs.

Most undercounter ice machines are fully automated which means that they produce ice until the storage bin is full. Some models have a lever or a button that allow you to get instant ice production. Either way, you won't run out of it.

Cons of Undercounter Ice Makers

Of course, there are some downsides to these machines that could ruin your plans. These are the important things to consider:

  • They are difficult to move

If you ever decide to move an undercounter icemaker, you will probably have a tough time doing it. These devices are robust and heavy, so you'll probably need a dolly to get them to another spot. If you want to take it to another location, you will need a truck and a couple of people to unload it once arrive at the new location.

  • The undercounter space is considered as prime real estate, and these appliances take a lot of it.

As the name suggest, these machines are typically installed under your counter which means that you'll use lots of storage place. Take this into consideration before making a purchase.

  • A constant supply of ice means you'll need a drain and a water line.

In order to install one of these machines, you will need professional assistance. Call a plumber, and he will hook up the drain and the water line correctly. Installing these devices can be expensive if you need new pipes and drains installed first.

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Portable Icemakers


If you don't want to sacrifice a lot of space for your icemaker, you should consider getting a portable one.

These appliances are compact, and you can install them on a countertop or a table.

portable-kitchen

Benefits of Portable Ice Makers

The drawbacks of undercounter ice machines are the benefits of portable machines. The biggest benefits of portable icemakers are the following:

  • No need for a drain or a water line

Portable icemakers produce ice from the water that's poured it, rather than using a water line. That means that you don't have to install new plumbing because there is no need for a water or a drain line.

  • They are easy to move

As their name suggest, these appliances are designed to be easy to move. All you have to do is unplug them and take them to another place. Some models include a car adapter, which means that you can take them anywhere you want and use them at all times.

Cons of Portable Icemakers

Portable icemakers are not ideal for everyone, and they too have drawbacks. These are the two biggest problems with portable icemakers:

  • You have to add water by hand to get some ice

Undercover icemakers are connected to a water line, and they produce ice automatically, while portable icemakers have to be filled by hand every time you want some ice.

  • They have a smaller capacity because they are portable

To make these machines portable, the designers had to sacrifice their capacity for producing and storing ice. Most of them produce around 30 pounds in a day, which is enough for a small family, but it's not sufficient for large parties.

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Which Ice Maker Should You Pick?


All ice machines produce and store ice which gives you more space in the kitchen. Portable machines are great because you can keep them on hand for your ice supply. Undercounter icemakers can fit in your kitchen nicely, and they will give you a steady supply at all times. Both types of machines can store ice, which leaves you more space in the freezer.

When you want to organize a serious party or a family reunion, bags of ice are not the best solution. You have to carry them around and break the ice while it's still in the bags, which can be a little awkward to do in front of guests. These appliances will produce perfect cubes, and they also look classy.

The best thing about these units is that you'll have ice at all times. That means that you won't have to plan on getting enough ice before a gathering. For example, if you are a restaurant owner and you run out of ice for cocktails, explaining that to the customers will be an embarrassment. Ice is something you can quickly forget about, and when you realize you don't have any, it's already too late.

If you own a business or if you need ice for an event, an icemaker is a great choice. Think about how much of it you need and how often you need it. That will help you choose between an undercounter and a portable icemaker.