What’s the Best Nugget Ice Maker?
Reviews, Ratings and Buying Guide
Nugget Ice Makers and Nugget ice a.k.a. sonic/ pellet ice has become one of the most popular types of ice in the last couple of years.
The reason for this spike in popularity is pretty obvious! They are super soft and chewy, all the while providing the same cooling qualities as cubed/solid ice.
Actually, my wife and I have become a bit obsessed with nugget ice and nugget ice makers ever since we received our first machine a few years back. That’s why we decided to share what we know with you guys.
So on this page and website, you will find everything you need to know about the nugget ice maker/sonic ice maker/pebble ice maker and help you decide on which one will be best suited for you.
This includes reviews, ratings, buying guides and all you need to know about these magnificent nugget ice machines!
So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Top Rated Nugget Ice Makers - Quick Overview of the best nugget ice machines
What is Nugget Ice (or Pebble Ice)?
What’s all the fuss about nugget/sonic/pellet ice? As you know, cold drinks almost always taste better than drinks at room temperature, especially on those hot summer days!
If you want to keep that smile of yours, it’s not recommended to chew on a solid ice cube.
As explained by Trace Dominguez in the video below, scientists have pointed out that chewing on solid ice cubes can actually damage your teeth over time.
Nugget ice (or pebble ice), on the other hand, turns soft and chewy in your mouth, which makes it the ideal type of ice to put in your drink or dessert.
What is a Nugget Ice Maker?
A nugget ice maker is a super practical ice machine that creates ice from normal or distilled water at the press of a button. It can be used for both commercial or private use. Typically made from stainless steel, these ice machines are graded food safe and safe for consumption.
Many established fast-food restaurants such as chick-fil-a and Sonic Drive-in are known for serving ice with their powerful commercial ice machines. In fact, the term actually originates from the fast-food chain Sonic Drive-in.
Opposing to what most blogs are writing, nugget, sonic, and pellet ice is exactly the same.
How Do Nugget Ice Makers/Nugget Ice Machines Work?
How do nugget ice/pebble ice makers work you might ask! If we look at it simplistically, the process actually consists of 3 steps.
- First, the water is poured into a cylinder either directly from the tap or through a water filter to within the nugget ice machine where the water will start to freeze. Slim sheets of ice will begin projecting from this cylinder.
- Then, the slim sheets of ice are drilled and shaven down to little ice flakes within the nugget ice machine.
- Ultimately, the flaked ice is compressed by the ice machine to create nugget-shaped cubes.
That’s the chewy ice that everyone loves!
What can you do with nugget ice?
1. Cocktails and other beverages
Margarita, Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, you name it! I can’t think of a single cocktail that isn’t best served cold. If you serve it in large quantities, nugget ice can retain its structure for a very long time, which enables you to enjoy an ice-cold cocktail with your friends the whole night long!
I don’t know if you like slushies as much as I do, but our family simply can’t get enough of them. With soft and chewy nugget ice, it’s super easy to make! The only thing you need is a nugget ice maker, some sugar, flavor extract, and some food coloring and you’re done!
List of The 9 Best Nugget Ice Makers - Reviews
The GE Profile Opal | Countertop Nugget Ice Maker is our top #1 pick and it’s – without a doubt – the best nugget ice maker out there. Its predecessor has over 11,000 reviews on Amazon with a 4.5-star rating and the next-gen 2.0 has over 340 overwhelmingly positive reviews! Check the full review by clicking the button below!
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, I’m going to address some frequently asked questions about pellet ice makers to make sure you know everything you need to know!
1. Where To Buy Nugget Ice?
There are a lot of stores and restaurants that sell nugget ice. If you’re looking to buy a nugget ice maker, Amazon has the largest variety of nugget ice makers in stock. You can find all kinds of different nugget ice makers such as a counter-top ice maker, freestanding ice maker or under-counter ice maker.
2. Which Refrigerators Come with Built-in Nugget Ice Makers
If you’re looking for a refrigerator with nugget ice maker, you’re in luck. Due to the rising popularity of “the good ice”, some manufacturers actually started to design refrigerators with pellet ice makers built inside.
Samsung just introduced a super fancy stainless steel fridge that makes nugget ice, called Bespoke 4-door flex.
Besides Samsung, there are a few other manufacturers entering the market for a refrigerator with nugget ice maker such as LG and KitchenAid.
Definitely something worth checking out!
Here’s a list of fridge that makes nugget ice:
- Samsung Bespoke 4-door flex
- LG Instaview Fridges
- Bosch 500 Series French-door refrigerator
Although advertised as producing nugget ice, these fridges do not technically produce “true nugget ice”.
For those of you who are excited to scoop up these delightful ice nuggets of pure crunchiness, I am sad to say that the technology for combining nugget ice maker with refrigerators aren’t really there yet.
But do watch this space! As soon as there’s a fridge with nugget ice maker, you know, the chewable pellets of sonic ice that we all are crazy for, I will definitely update you guys.
3. Should I Choose a Counter-top, Freestanding or Under-counter Machine?
Again, which type of nugget ice maker is best for you really depends on your wants and needs.
Let’s have a closer look at all of them:
The main advantage of the small (er) countertop models is that they are very easy to set up and install. Most of them have a water reservoir and are also the most flexible/portable. Most importantly, the countertop models are the cheapest of the 3 (prices range from approx. $300-$700) and you can even find some made entirely out of stainless steel at this budget!
Freestanding models can produce more and some of the best ice and crunchy ice you have ever tasted but most of them require a hook-up to a water supply. These standalone ice makers are definitely not cheap, but that price tag will get you anywhere between 50-300 Lbs of nugget ice a day.
These freestanding nugget ice makers are for commercial use.
Under-counter nugget ice makers are perfect for those who have a lot of space under the kitchen counter. With these models, you can choose between both built-in and “freestanding” options.
Simar to the freestanding nugget ice makers, the under-counter models do come with quite the price tag.
4. Is Nugget Ice Bad For Your Teeth?
No, nugget ice is not bad for your teeth. Due to its soft and chewy texture, it’s incapable of damaging your teeth.
Traditional ice cubes, on the other hand, can be damaging to your teeth. By chewing on solid ice cubes, you can wear down the protective layer around your teeth, exposing your nerves and ultimately causing your teeth to be sensitive.
5. What Is The Difference Between Flake Ice And Nugget Ice?
Many people can’t seem to tell the difference between flake ice and nugget ice.
While nugget ice has a more solid form that is about the size of a tater-tot, flake ice can vary from small pieces of ice that look like coarse snow, up to pieces that are 9 mm thick.
In my opinion, nugget ice is the best crunchy ice for consumption! What about you?
6. Is Eating Nugget Ice Good For Weight Loss?
Yes, nugget ice can help you lose weight. There is actually something called “the ice diet”.
When you eat large amounts of ice, your body needs to burn energy to melt it. So by this logic, eating ice would help you burn calories while also providing some level of satiety as it fills space in the stomach and mouth.
So, it’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking to shed some pounds, and getting a nugget ice maker to produce one of the best ice you have ever tried, whilst losing weight is probably one of the coolest idea we have came up with!
7. Are Nugget Ice Makers Really Worth It?
There is no universal answer to the question of whether or not a nugget ice maker is worth it, as it mostly depends on personal preference.
Though it is recommended to get one to enjoy the taste of “the best ice nugget” that you have ever tried.
Find out here in my “are nugget ice makers really worth it” article!
8. Why Are Nugget Ice Makers So Expensive?
You can spend anywhere from $350 up to $5000+ depending on which type of ice maker you choose. For the average person, this is actually quite a lot of money. Why are these nugget ice makers so expensive?
Well, it’s due to the fact that they are very sophisticated machines using complex technology and made mainly out of stainless steel. The technology that is used for nugget ice makers is quite a bit more sophisticated than traditional ice makers. You can read all about it by clicking here.
9. What Size is Nugget Ice?
Of course, there is no universal size for nugget ice, as the process of creating nugget ice is pretty complex and involves a lot of different steps.
However, generally speaking, most nugget ice makers will produce nugget ice in sizes ranging from 1/2 to 1 inches in width and length.
10. How Do I Clean My Nugget Ice Maker?
The cleaning procedure actually differs between each nugget ice maker, however, if you’re looking for a general guide you can find it by clicking here.
Two essential elements are some “ice machines cleaner & descaler” and a dish sponge.
If you already have both these things, you’re good to go. Follow the 20 steps in the article mentioned before and your nugget ice maker will be as clean as a whistle and you’ll be able to enjoy some fresh ice.
Also if you have a water filter hooked up to your nugget ice maker, be sure to clean it up regularly too!
11. Should I Go For A Nugget Ice Maker With A Water Tank or Water Line?
A benefit of a pellet machine with a water line or water hookup is there is no need to go through the hassle of regularly refilling your nugget ice maker. On the other hand, a great benefit of having one with a water tank is that you have more flexibility on the ice maker’s placement in your home. You can find both the pros and cons to each one in my Water line VS. Water tank article.
Pro Tip: It helps greatly in producing quality ice nuggets when you hook up your nugget ice maker with a water filter!
12. Does Eating Nugget Ice Hydrate You?
Yes, nugget ice is simply frozen water, which means the moment the ice melts (at the warm touch of your mouth) it’ll turn to water. You can find more information on how nugget ice hydrates you by clicking here.
13. What Are the Best Residential Nugget Ice Makers for Home?
If you’re not looking to produce massive amounts each day (as you can do with a commercial ice maker), it’s definitely better to go with residential nugget machines ice maker.
The best residential nugget ice makers are:
- The GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker
- The Frigidaire EFIC235-AMZ
- The KBice Self-Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker
- The Crownfull Nugget Ice Maker
14. What Are the Cheapest Countertop Nugget Ice Maker Options?
The Top 3 cheapest countertop nugget ice makers are:
- FRIGIDAIRE EFIC235-AMZ
- Northair Countertop Nugget Ice Machine Maker
- KBice Self Dispensing Countertop Nugget Ice Machine Maker
15. What Are the Best Self Dispenser Nugget Ice Makers?
The best self dispenser nugget ice makers are:
- KBice Self Dispensing Nugget Ice Maker
- Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L Nugget Ice Machine
- Scotsman HID525A-1 Nugget Ice Machine
There you have it! Everything you need to know about nugget/ sonic ice makers.
Check out the our Editor’s Pick of:
GE Profile Opal 2.0 | Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
I’ve had a blast putting together this information for you, in order for you to make an informed decision and to choose the best nugget ice maker for home.
I really hope it was of help to you. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!
Be amazed by the taste of your first batch of crunchy nugget ice produced by these Nugget Ice Makers today!
Have a good day!
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