Anyone who's ever had to carry a bag (or three) of grocery store ice into their backyard has probably fantasized about having an ice maker of their own. Appliance manufacturers have taken notice of this trend, and so we've compiled a list of five of the best residential ice makers of 2021. All of these are approved for outdoor use, and all of them are 15 in. wide.
As an undercounter ice maker, the Marvel MA15CLS2RS is compact but powerful. It can produce up to 39 lbs. of crystal clear ice cubes in a day — that's nearly eight convenience store bags — and stores up to 35 lbs. of ice at any time. Its Multifunction Marvel Intuit™ controls adapt ice production to your needs, and its Eco Ice™ mode saves up to 25% on water and energy costs, so you don't need to worry about this ice maker using any more resources than it has to. Adding to your energy savings is a Close Door Assist System™ which automatically draws the door to a gentle close. It even has arctic white Illuminice™ lighting and a midnight black interior, to really make your ice stand out.
The Lynx LM15ICER is a durable, efficient ice machine with Energy Star™ certification that can create up to 39 lbs. of ice per day, and store up to 27 lbs. of ice. Not only does it withstand humidity, heat, and rain, it alerts you when the door has been left open (or when the ice maker needs cleaning). Its ice is pure and clear, and its stainless steel exterior lends elegance to your indoor or outdoor kitchen area. There are even small quality-of-life improvements that add up to make this ice maker a joy to use: for instance, the gentle-closing door assist system ensures that the machine's door always closes softly, no matter how hard you slam it (or how heavy the wind gets).
With 80 lbs. of ice creation capacity per day and 26 lbs. of storage, the Viking FGNI515 is by far the most productive ice maker on this list, and as part of their 5 Series, it's one of Viking's highest-end appliances. It produces restaurant-style "nugget" ice, which freezes more cleanly and quickly than regular cubes. Its Tru-Flush™ design is cabinet-friendly and sits flush in any 24-in. cutout. The interior LED light illuminates the entire bin, while the electronic control panel makes it super easy to adjust its settings. The panel even displays maintenance needs and production status, so you can tell at a glance when the machine needs attention.
The XO XOUIM1565SP produces up to 65 lbs. of gourmet ice per day and can store up to 27 lbs. at once. XO has devoted a lot of attention to quality of life with this machine: not only is the scoop a bright, easy-to-see blue, but the zero-clearance hinge is fully reversible. It installs flush with surrounding cabinets, either indoors or outdoors, and it makes some of the largest, slowest-melting cubes you'll find on this list — perfect for keeping drinks cold longer. Additionally, its low dBA operation will maintain the serenity of your kitchen.
The Summit BIM68OSGDR is the most budget-friendly ice maker on this list, but it maintains the same high-grade features as the others. It produces up to 62 lbs. of large, rounded ice cubes per day (that's 48 cubes per hour!) and can store up to 26 lbs. of ice in its professional-grade cabinet. The 304-grade stainless steel exterior is both elegant and weatherproof, and its CFC-free design means you can leave it running without worrying about the environment.
What is the life span of an ice maker?
Ice makers can last around five to six years. You can increase this life span by keeping the machine clean and well-maintained, and placing outdoor ice makers in an area that is protected from severe weather.
Do ice makers use a lot of electricity?
Ice makers use around 350 kWh of energy in a month, which is less than a comparably sized freezer.