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These Nugget Ice Makers Are the Key to Having ‘Sonic Ice’ at Home

Bestproducts.com Logo By Brandon Carte of Bestproducts.com | Slide 1 of 7: One wouldn't expect so much hoopla around frozen water, but nugget ice — also known as pellet ice and Sonic ice — has a major fandom surrounding it. The craze over the porous and chewable tiny tater tot-shaped ice has die-hard fans tracking down commercial-grade ice makers to install at home. People are seriously hooked on it, with one New Yorker food writer claiming that “Good ice is pellet ice, and to know it is to need it.” Even Matthew McConaughey searched high and low for years so he could have the self-proclaimed “best damn ice in the world” 24/7. The hype around nugget ice is real — and with the help of this buying guide, you can enjoy some of this buzzworthy ice in your own home.The Best Nugget Ice Makers of 2022What to ConsiderIf you're ready to call quits on swinging by your nearest Sonic or Chick-fil-A to buy a 10-pound bag of nugget ice and would rather make your own ice at home, there are a few things to keep in mind before investing in a nugget ice maker. ➥ PriceBelieve it or not, you could drop more than $10k on a nugget ice maker. The most expensive models are commercial-grade machines from brands like Manitowoc, which typically sells machines to restaurants and bars. Fortunately, there are a handful of countertop nugget ice makers geared toward homeowners that won't break the bank.Typically priced between $400 and $700, these models are by no means cheap, but they are the easiest and most inexpensive path to getting that delicious chewable ice you crave. However, they don't produce as much ice as a portable ice maker does, which brings me to my next point: yield. ➥ YieldBefore purchasing a nugget ice maker, you should not only take into account how many people in your home will be chomping away on the ice but also how fast the ice can be produced (ounces per hour) and how large the maker’s ice bin is (also represented in ounces).➥ Ice Maker StyleMost of the recommended ice makers on this guide are countertop machines since they're the most inexpensive and easiest to buy. A handful of appliance manufacturers, including GE, have created built-in ice makers that are installed under your kitchen countertops. This type typically ranges between $3,000 and $5,500, but they produce and store larger quantities of ice and are a good choice for people who entertain often. Don't forget to measure to make sure you have the space for an ice maker before purchasing one! I've been covering appliances since 2014. At my previous job at Top Ten Reviews, my team reviewed one of the original home ice makers, the FirstBuild Opal, and I've tested a handful of ice makers since then from the likes of GE, Newair, and Frigidaire To separate the best from the rest, I timed out how long it takes the nugget ice makers to produce a full bin of ice to see if their claimed ice yields are true to what’s advertised. I’ve also read hundreds of customer reviews from nugget-ice fanatics who have shared their experiences — both good and bad — with nugget ice makers. I’m confident that the models below last the longest, are the easiest to maintain, and will bring your favorite chewable ice to your own kitchen.

One wouldn't expect so much hoopla around frozen water, but nugget ice — also known as pellet ice and Sonic ice — has a major fandom surrounding it. The craze over the porous and chewable tiny tater tot-shaped ice has die-hard fans tracking down commercial-grade ice makers to install at home.
People are seriously hooked on it, with one New Yorker food writer claiming that “Good ice is pellet ice, and to know it is to need it.” Even Matthew McConaughey searched high and low for years so he could have the self-proclaimed “best damn ice in the world” 24/7. The hype around nugget ice is real — and with the help of this buying guide, you can enjoy some of this buzzworthy ice in your own home.

The Best Nugget Ice Makers of 2022

What to Consider

If you're ready to call quits on swinging by your nearest Sonic or Chick-fil-A to buy a 10-pound bag of nugget ice and would rather make your own ice at home, there are a few things to keep in mind before investing in a nugget ice maker.

➥ Price

Believe it or not, you could drop more than $10k on a nugget ice maker. The most expensive models are commercial-grade machines from brands like Manitowoc, which typically sells machines to restaurants and bars. Fortunately, there are a handful of countertop nugget ice makers geared toward homeowners that won't break the bank.

Typically priced between $400 and $700, these models are by no means cheap, but they are the easiest and most inexpensive path to getting that delicious chewable ice you crave. However, they don't produce as much ice as a portable ice maker does, which brings me to my next point: yield.

➥ Yield

Before purchasing a nugget ice maker, you should not only take into account how many people in your home will be chomping away on the ice but also how fast the ice can be produced (ounces per hour) and how large the maker’s ice bin is (also represented in ounces).

➥ Ice Maker Style

Most of the recommended ice makers on this guide are countertop machines since they're the most inexpensive and easiest to buy. A handful of appliance manufacturers, including GE, have created built-in ice makers that are installed under your kitchen countertops. This type typically ranges between $3,000 and $5,500, but they produce and store larger quantities of ice and are a good choice for people who entertain often. Don't forget to measure to make sure you have the space for an ice maker before purchasing one!

I've been covering appliances since 2014. At my previous job at Top Ten Reviews, my team reviewed one of the original home ice makers, the FirstBuild Opal, and I've tested a handful of ice makers since then from the likes of GE, Newair, and Frigidaire

To separate the best from the rest, I timed out how long it takes the nugget ice makers to produce a full bin of ice to see if their claimed ice yields are true to what’s advertised. I’ve also read hundreds of customer reviews from nugget-ice fanatics who have shared their experiences — both good and bad — with nugget ice makers. I’m confident that the models below last the longest, are the easiest to maintain, and will bring your favorite chewable ice to your own kitchen.

© Best Products; Courtesy GE

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