A Comprehensive Guide to Purchasing an Undercounter Ice Maker

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When entertaining guests, do you frequently run out of ice? It is a hassle to stock up on extra bagged ice, and those bags will quickly fill the available freezer space. Supplementing the amount of ice your freezer produces is inconvenient and costly. Purchasing a separate ice machine is worthwhile if you encounter this problem regularly. 

Undercounter ice machines, also known as built-in ice machines, are designed to fit without taking up any floor space in your kitchen. Like a dishwasher or range, these are installed directly into the cabinetry. 

These machines can be purchased and installed in the kitchen by ice-consuming households. Offices, churches, and other locations where many people are likely to congregate and require ice can also benefit from an ice maker. If the demand for ice is constant, such as in a restaurant or hotel, investing in a commercial ice machine with a high production capacity may be advantageous. 

If a built-in ice maker fits your lifestyle, you should know a few things before purchasing one. This guide will give you a better understanding of the best brands on the market and some of the most important considerations you should keep in mind while browsing your options. 

Considerations When Purchasing an Undercounter Ice Maker 

To ensure that you end up with the best under-counter ice maker that meets all your requirements, we recommend carefully considering each of the following factors. 


The primary reason to choose an under-counter ice maker over a portable model is so that it can be installed in a space-efficient location. Therefore, before exploring your options, you should have a location in mind for where you intend to install the device. Knowing exactly where it will be placed allows you to purchase an ice machine of the appropriate size for the available space and of the correct type. 

If you intend to keep your under-counter ice maker outside, you must be careful to select a model specifically designed for outdoor use. If you want an under-counter ice machine for your patio bar or an outdoor kitchen, you cannot skimp on the quality of the ice maker. Outdoor ice makers must be more durable and better at keeping ice cold regardless of the weather. 

Type of Ice 

Do you have a select variety of ice? Some built-in ice machines produce nugget ice (also known as Sonic ice), cube ice, crescent ice, and a few other types. For some, ice will suffice if it is cold and keeps drinks chilled. If you have a specific preference, you should look for an ice maker that produces the type of ice you prefer. 

Production Rate 

The production rate of an under-counter ice maker is essential information for selecting a model that meets your needs. If your ice maker produces ice more slowly than you consume, you will still need to supplement with bags of ice from the store or go without ice, which defeats the purpose of purchasing a second ice maker for your home or business. 

Manufacturers of built-in ice machines should provide production rate specifications for each model sold. This fee will be determined by the amount of ice the unit can produce in 24 hours. The production rate they provide will depend on whether your ice maker is kept in what they consider the optimal environment. It typically entails correctly installed, ventilated, and kept at a temperature of approximately 70°F. If your ice maker is in a hotter environment, you should anticipate a decrease in production. 


Undercounter ice makers include freezer storage space as a standard feature. In addition to the production rate, you must also consider the ice storage capacity of the machine. 

If your family or coworkers frequently consume large quantities of ice, the production rate is more important than storage capacity. A large capacity will be essential if you’re purchasing an under-counter ice machine to supplement the amount of ice you have for occasional large parties or events. 

If the ice machine you purchase does not offer much storage space, but you have additional storage space elsewhere that you can use to store the bags of ice the device produces, this may be a partial solution, but it will still require additional effort. You will be happier with an ice maker that stores as much ice as you are likely to require at any given time. 


The difficulty in determining the correct capacity is that the amount an under-counter ice maker can hold is directly proportional to its size. If you have limited space, finding a machine that can store a large quantity of ice and still fit in the available area may be difficult. 

Be sure to measure the area where you intend to install your built-in ice maker so that you can find one that will fit seamlessly into your kitchen and be simple to install. 


Undercounter ice makers are typically priced between $250 and $5,000. Most ice makers at the upper end of that price range have high production rates and large storage capacities, whereas those at the lower end have smaller production and storage capacities. 

Some built-in ice makers will cost more due to a strong brand reputation or extra features, such as a water filter or the ability to make nugget ice. Although size and capacity are two of the most important factors influencing the price, some ice makers will cost more due to a strong brand reputation or extra features, such as a water filter or the ability to make nugget ice. 

In addition to the sticker price, you should consider the additional costs associated with an ice maker. If desired, many under-counters ice makers can also be used as freestanding models. However, if you intend to install them under the counter, you may have to pay a little more for labor, parts, or both, during the installation process. Creating ice will also require additional water and energy. Even though it won’t be as much as a dishwasher or washing machine, installing an ice maker in your home or office will impact your monthly utility bills. 

Drain Options 

Every ice maker requires a drain. For an under-counter ice maker, you can choose between gravity drains and drain pumps. If there is a drain within two feet of where you intend to install your ice machine, then a gravity drain will work. Gravity will transport the condensate to the drain port, where it will drain out of the appliance and down the kitchen drain. 

Suppose the location of your under-counter ice machine does not allow for a gravity drain, either because there is no drain nearby or because the water would not be moving downwards the entire distance from the ice maker to the drain (a requirement for gravity to do its job). In that case, you should purchase an ice maker with a drain pump. This type of pump is responsible for transporting excess water from the machine to a nearby drain. 

Some models of under-counter ice machines include drain pumps, but this is not the case for all. Depending on the unit you acquire, you may be required to purchase the drain pump as a separate accessory. 


Installing a built-in ice maker is not difficult, but it is certainly not simple. Those who are adept at DIY can likely install it without difficulty. However, it can become complicated and frustrating for even the handiest homeowner. 

Even though every ice maker will come with detailed installation instructions, it is prudent to consider every aspect of the process. There are many factors to consider, such as the different types of drains, water lines, electrical demands, ventilation needs, and installation within a confined space, all while maintaining a seamless appearance within your cabinetry. It is not an easy task to complete. 

For many consumers, hiring a professional will be cost-effective. Before purchasing an under-counter ice maker, those with sufficient do-it-yourself experience should try to comprehend the installation process. This will make it easier for you to understand what you’re purchasing and, ultimately, make the best purchasing decision. 

Look & Style 

While most under-counter ice makers are not designed with aesthetics in mind, you have options for how your ice maker appears. Undercounter ice makers are available in a variety of colors and finishes. Most options are black, white, or stainless steel, but some models have doors designed to resemble wood. There are also a few available in vibrant hues. 

The overall appearance will depend on your taste and the existing decor of the area where you intend to install it. Most consumers prefer to purchase an under-counter ice maker in a color that complements their kitchen’s other appliances, typically black or stainless steel. If you fall into this category, you should have no trouble locating an ice maker that meets your requirements. 

However, if you desire a specific color or unique finish, you may need to devote more time and energy to finding the ideal ice maker for your kitchen. The more extraordinary something is, the fewer options you will have. This includes important factors such as size, production rate, and storage capacity, as well as available brands and models. 

Energy Efficiency 

If you’re concerned about the environment or don’t want to see a significant increase in your energy bills, you should seek an Energy Star-certified under-counter ice machine. 

Most Energy Star-rated ice machines will be used for commercial purposes, which is likely not your best option. However, reviewing the information Energy Star provided and beginning your search there is still worthwhile. Scotsman and Hoshizaki are two well-known manufacturers of Energy Star residential ice machines. 

You can also avoid wasting energy by choosing an ice machine with a production rate and storage capacity that closely matches your requirements. There is no point in purchasing an ice maker that will produce more ice than you will consume. This will not only be more expensive to acquire but also to maintain and utilize. 

Additional Features 

Water Filter 

Specific under-counter ice machines include water filters. Before the water freezes, these filtration systems will help remove sediment and other contaminants. Not only will this make your ice cubes healthier, but it will also likely improve their flavor and aroma. For models that do not include a water filter, you can frequently purchase one as an accessory. 

ADA Compliance 

For commercial applications or ice makers installed in an office setting, you should look for a built-in model that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act’s design guidelines.  


Many under-counter ice makers come with a warranty that assures that the appliance will last and that the manufacturer stands behind its durability claims. A warranty should always be considered regardless of the home appliance you intend to purchase. 

Famous Undercounter Ice Maker Manufacturers 

Undercounter ice makers must perform a great deal of labor. Machines that are not constructed exceptionally well will not last long. Before making a purchase, it’s a good idea to research the brand’s reputation. This will help you select a product that will serve you well and last many years. 

We analyzed customer reviews for some of the most popular under-counter ice maker brands to give an overview of how people feel about each one. That is what we discovered. 


EdgeStar manufactures a variety of under-counter ice makers that receive positive customer feedback. Most of their under-counter ice makers are praised for being simple to install, functional, and efficient at producing ice. Several reviewers mentioned that a few models make ice in sheets that must be broken apart, and one model was criticized for being too loud. However, the consensus among this brand’s purchasers is that their under-counter ice makers are an excellent buy at an affordable price. Unquestionably, this brand should be at the top of your list. 


Whenever you see repeat brand purchasers in the reviews, you know it’s reliable. Customers praise Hoshizaki’s under-counter ice makers for having longer lifespans than other brands they’ve purchased and performed well. Due to the number of worry-free years, they received from their previous Hoshizaki ice maker, several reviewers stated that they would immediately return to the brand when it was time to replace it. This is another dependable brand to consider if you’re looking for a long-lasting ice maker. 


Ice-o-under counter Matic’s ice machines have several satisfied customers. According to the reviews, the devices operate quickly and quietly, and there have been no problems with them. Some models produce nugget ice that customers adore. However, remember that many of Ice-O-under counter Matic’s ice makers are designed for commercial use. There is a possibility that the warranty will be voided if you install one of their commercial models in your home. This reputable brand should be considered, but it may be prudent to contact the manufacturer before making a purchase. 


While they are best known for their line of stand mixers, KitchenAid offers a few ice maker models that can be installed as built-in or freestanding units. Unlike most KitchenAid appliances, however, the reviews for this one are mixed. Those customers who are satisfied are ecstatic, whereas those who are dissatisfied claim they received defective products. According to the reviews, your satisfaction with a KitchenAid ice maker will depend entirely on whether you receive one of the lemons. KitchenAid would be near the top of our list in any other category, but when it comes to ice makers, you may want to steer clear. 


Koldfront’s built-in ice maker receives overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers, who say installation is straightforward and produces a large quantity of ice at a rapid rate. It works efficiently and effectively in general. Some reviewers praise how quietly it operates, while others criticize how loud it is; therefore, this aspect appears to depend on individual expectations and possibly the installation environment. The most frequent complaint from customers is that the ice is sometimes delivered in larger chunks that must be broken up. Aside from that, most customers are satisfied. Indeed, a solid brand to consider, but it lacks the variety of built-in options offered by other brands. 


Manitowoc provides several under-counter machines with high capacity that receive rave customer reviews. They claim that their units work well, produce a lot of ice quickly, and are simple to install. Some reviewers complain that their ice makers are noisy, while others praise their quiet operation. Again, it is dependent upon your personal preferences and the installation location. Manitowoc, like several other brands listed here, is best known for manufacturing commercial units. Nonetheless, this is a solid brand to consider for residential ice makers. 


Scotsman offers a variety of Energy Star-certified under-counter ice makers. Several reviewers have ice machines that last over thirty years before needing replacement (so naturally, they go straight back to Scotsman again). Even though these are most likely outliers, Scotsman has a truly stellar reputation with nearly universal 5-star ratings. It would be unwise to exclude this brand from your search. 


Summit manufactures a variety of under-counter ice makers that have received mixed but mostly positive reviews. Customers report that their ice machines produce ice efficiently and quickly. A few reviewers note that they are loud or that the ice must be broken up within the storage bin. Like KitchenAid, Summit offers many appliances with a proven track record of performance, but their ice makers may not yet be up to par. 


A few built-in ice machines sold by U-Line receive mixed customer reviews. The majority are pleased with their purchase, stating that the machines produce ice quickly, are simple to install, and are quiet. Others complain that the ice maker is noisy or difficult to operate. Again, this is most likely dependent on the device’s environment. The good news is that more positive reviews were left than negative ones. Reviews indicate that you will be pleased if you can tolerate a little noise and obtain a unit that functions properly. 


Undercounter ice makers are a super convenient tool for when you want to make a lot of ice in a short amount of time. Compared with portable ice makers, they have a stronger motor, larger capacity, and much more solid construction. They run more efficiently, but also take up more space, and are relatively more noisy.

Most undercounter ice makers do require a drain line, but there are exceptions, like the EdgeStar IB120SS, that do not. These models act as a freezer and keep the ice frozen, thus no need for a drain line. Other ice makers are not able to keep the ice frozen, and as the ice melts, it needs to drain.

A good rule of thumb is to select an ice maker that produces about 20% more ice than your daily needs. So if your operation needs 500 pounds of ice per day, purchase a 600 lb ice maker.

Factors such as how much it’s used and how well it’s maintained affect how long a machine lasts. Seldom, though, will an ice machine last longer than 10 years if it is used everyday. A safe estimate would be roughly 4 to 5 years, or within the warranty of the machine.

Floor drains are the preferred method for draining ice machines, as they are typically made to handle higher volumes of water. Floor drains consist of an opening, known as an access point, built directly into the floor.

With daily use, an ice maker will last about four or five years before it needs replaced. If you keep up with ice maker maintenance, such as changing the filters every six months, you may get up to 10 years of life out of your ice maker.

I would be careful to ensure that there are no large chunks of ice as it could possibly overload it. You could always do it the old fashioned way and just keep the bag in the freezer until your well is back in service.

Model 506 Undercounter Ice Maker uses up to 25 gallons of water per day and can produce up to 46 pounds of ice per day in 70°F ambient temperatures. Ice production will vary based on how much ice is used.

No. Portable ice makers do not require a water line. Instead, you only need to pour water into the unit’s reservoir and turn it on in order to start the ice production process.

A countertop ice maker will keep ice at the ready to serve, but the ice will slowly melt if it is not used or transferred to a freezer. With the right ice maker, the cold water left after melting will go back into the reservoir and be used to make more ice.


A cold drink with plenty of ice is one of life’s greatest pleasures on a hot day. Possibly because we are currently experiencing the height of summer, or perhaps it is because ice has become a necessity to which we have all grown accustomed. There are numerous advantages to purchasing an under-counter ice maker for your home or office. 

The time has come to abandon last-minute ice runs. Ensure that you never run out of ice when you need it so that you never have to go without an ice-cold beverage on a hot summer day. Undercounter ice machines are available in so many sizes and at so many different price points that, regardless of your needs, you should be able to find the right product with a little bit of searching. 

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