You wouldn't put a slushy cube in a scotch, nor would you put a craft ice cube in your soda because you want to be able to chew it.
There is no perfect ice cube for every drink, so there can't be the best ice maker because they all make different cubes.
In this article, we will show you the seven best ice makers for 2023 and the best ice cube shapes for different kinds of beverages.
We'll also cover the two biggest problems you must avoid before buying an ice maker that NO ONE seems to be talking about.
Let's get started.
Best Ice Makers for 2023
The following ice makers will make various ice cube shapes, sizes, and clarities.
Best Freestanding Refrigerator for Ice: LG LRFDS3016S ($3,199) and LRFXC2416S ($2,999)
These LG models make crushed, crescent, and Craft Ice for your cocktails.
Crushed and crescent are the regular ice you get from any refrigerator's dispenser. It is cloudy and has some impurities.
This ice will cool your drink just fine. However, the ice will melt fairly quickly due to the oxygen bubbles and will eventually affect your beverage taste.
LG is the only refrigerator on the market to make Craft Ice or ice spheres in their ice maker.
An ice sphere is one of the best ice cubes for cocktails. It's larger, giving it more surface area, which means it melts slowly due to its size and shape.
It's a great shape but has impurities because the refrigerator is still producing it.
Best Ice Maker for Soft Drinks: Scotsman SCN60 - $5,029
Scotsman offers the famed chewable sonic or slushy ice. Slushy ice will cool drinks the fastest but also melt the fastest. It's great in sodas, lemonade, iced tea, or anything you want to cool and drink quickly.
The Scotsman ice maker can make about 30 pounds of slushy ice daily. You need to purchase an additional pump for this product, and you should.
We'll tell you why later in this article.
Runner Up: GE Profile Opal Ice Maker - $579
The GE Profile Opal ice maker makes good slushy cubes as well. It's just in a portable tabletop version.
This ice maker also makes 24 pounds of ice daily but can only hold up to 3 pounds at a time. It's showcased and working in all of our stores.
Best Ice Maker for Capacity: True TUI-15-L-SS-D - $5,499
True makes barrel or top hat ice. Barrel-shaped ice is also one of the best ice cubes for cocktails. It has the most surface area and melts the slowest after an ice sphere.
It's also clear so that it won't change the flavor of your drink with impurities from the water. Many ice makers will produce a clear ice cube.
True will produce 70 pounds of ice in 24 hours, more than any other on this list. Not to mention, True is so well-built that it's rated for indoor and outdoor use.
Best Ice Maker for Fine Cocktails: Sub-Zero UC-15IP -$4,500
No one does refrigeration quite like Sub-Zero, which includes their ice makers.
Sub-Zero also produces barrel ice, designed to melt slowly, so it doesn't water down your drinks.
Like True, it's also the clearest form of ice, so it doesn't change the taste of your beverage. It has a factory-installed pump and is available in panel-ready or stainless steel.
Runner Up: Yale YIM15-SS - $3,499 for stainless
Our Yale brand ice maker also produces clearer barrel ice for about $1,000 less than Sub-Zero and $2,000 less than True's ice maker.
Like Sub-Zero and True, the Yale ice maker is available with a pump only. We will explain why soon.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Ice Maker
Knowing what type of ice an ice maker produces and how it reacts in your drink should impact your decision of which one to buy.
The way ice will react in your drink depends on the following factors:
The shape and size of the ice are important because a larger ice cube will melt more slowly, so you taste more of your drink.
Clarity is defined as oxygen bubbles or impurities present in the ice. Oxygen bubbles and impurities melt faster and affect your drink's taste.
Clear ice makers produce ice at the unit's roof. Gravity pulls out the oxygen and impurities before forming the cube, making it clear.
In a standard ice machine, ice is formed and dropped into a bucket trapping the oxygen and impurities inside.
Now that you know what the best ice makers are and what factors to consider, let's talk about common ice maker problems.
Ice Maker Problems
Refrigerator Ice Maker
As awesome as it sounds to have an ice maker constantly producing the perfect kind of ice for your desired beverage, these machines require maintenance to avoid an expensive service call.
If you don't clean your ice maker at least once or twice a year, the scaling from the water will eventually seize the machine and cause an expensive service issue.
All the best ice makers are only available with a pump. Pumps allow for greater production of ice.
More importantly, it will pump the water out of the ice maker and automatically shut it off if it backs up.
A gravity-fed ice maker can freeze and leak. You also don't have to worry about clogged drains with a pump.
If you love soda, nugget ice is ideal, so look at a Scotsman ice maker or put the GE Profile Opal ice maker on your counter.
However, if you enjoy cocktails or a glass of whiskey, barrel-shaped or craft ice will be best for you. Look at a True or Sub-Zero ice maker for the best barrel or sphere-shaped ice cubes.
If you want to save money, go with the Yale ice maker, similar to True and Sub-Zero's.
Remember, whatever brand you buy, buy it with a pump and be prepared to clean your icemaker to save yourself from an expensive service call later.
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