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This ice maker made by FirstBuild is different from the other models as it doesn’t crush ice but it actually makes it. And not traditional cubes but nugget ice that is softer and chewable. It can also cool drinks faster and absorb the drink’s flavor. The manufacturing company of this appliance is little known by customers but according to the website, it is committed to designing ingenious home appliance. More than that, it is backed by GE Appliances, a trusted kitchen appliance brand.
The Opal Nugget is not the most compact option you can get – it measures 10.5 x 15.5 x 17.25 inches – and for installing it, you also need to consider 3 extra inches for the sides and the back. You also have to keep in mind that it should be placed in a well-ventilated area and not near a heat source. When it comes to weight, things are not much better, as it is quite heavy – weighs 44 pounds. But besides this aspect, the machine features a simple and elegant design that matches any kitchen decor.
- We particularly like the light ring that keeps you informed about its status. There are 7 different combinations and each of them has the following meaning: flash green – the machine is on, falling white – the machine is making ice, solid white – the ice container is full and the machine has stopped, swishing blue – more water needed, pulsing yellow – the machine is in cleaning mode and it needs to be drained and then refilled (if you want to make ice), rotating yellow – the machine is rinsing, slowly falling white – the machine is in defrost mode for 30 minutes.
With a user-friendly operation and clear instructions, the appliance won’t pose any difficulties in using it. But one of its major drawbacks is the fact that you have to wait more time to enjoy the nugget ice it makes. From this point of view, it is the “laziest” machine selected by us as it only produces 1 pound of ice per hour. The advantage is that you can schedule it to start making the ice at a particular hour. This is possible with the FirstBuild app that turns this appliance into a smart one.
- There’s a switch on the back of the machine that allows you to set it in ice making mode or in cleaning mode.
- The ice maker works with potable water, so you can use tap water to make ice. However, the water hardness shouldn’t exceed 12 grains per gallon.
- It needs between 15 to 30 minutes to start making the ice and it stops automatically when the container is full or when the water runs out.
Compatible with Opal Water Filter
If you like, you can also use it with the Opal water filter that was specially made for this machine. The filter is easy to install – snaps into place – and it helps reduce chlorine in the water while eliminating bad tastes and odors. For best performance, the filter should be replaced every 3 months.
Waring Pro IC70 Ice Crusher
2. Waring Pro IC70 Ice Crusher
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With Pro IC70, you can only crush ice but if we compare it to the other ice crushers, the result is pretty close to nugget or sonic ice. Of course, the ice made by this machine is not as smooth and small as sonic ice but it is a great alternative. The machine is more generous when it comes to the quantity of ice it produces – as it only crushes it – and that is around 50 pounds of ice per hour. Another great aspect of this model is the fact that when the container is removed to take the ice cubes, it stops automatically. Once you place back the container, it continues its operation. Therefore, it features a safe and user-friendly operation. In terms of design, the machine is solid and easy to clean. It less bulky than other models but it still occupies some space on the countertop.
- Features an on/off toggle switch that allows you to turn it on and off very easily.
- The blade is very durable as it is made of stainless steel.
- Large ice chute – it can hold up to 12 cups of ice cubes.
Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Machine
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Our next recommendation is this model made by Hawaiian Shaved Ice. The compact design and the adjustable blade are among the traits that we like the most. It produces a very fine ice with a snow-cone consistency and this without hassle. For making a fluffy ice, the manufacturer recommends adding only the ice made in the provided ice molds. Anyway, you can also get good ice consistency if you add 5 standard ice cubes from the refrigerator. The easy operation of the machine makes it very popular among customers. Once you put the ice in, you just have to gently press the gray button on top until the entire ice has been shaved. For more versatility, the height of the blade can be adjusted with a screwdriver but you should perform this operation with great caution.
- Due to the fact that it is made of plastic, the machine is very lightweight – weighs only 3 pounds.
- Can be easily stored in the cabinet if you don’t have enough space on the counter.
VivoHome Electric Ice Crusher
4. VivoHome Electric Ice Crusher
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In case you want to crush a larger quantity of ice, then the VivoHome is exactly what you need. It features an impressive ice crushing rate that beats all the other crushers – up to 143 pounds in an hour. The less great part is the fact that you have to press the hopper handle to crush the ice and this may be considered a disadvantage by some people. Nevertheless, the hopper is made of stainless steel and it is very easy to fill with ice. The handle is very comfortable and the cover features a 3D lattice design to increase its performance.
- For preventing accidents, it features an on/off switch that is water resistant and it stops automatically when opening the hopper handle. Also, it is equipped with 4 rubber feet to make it more stable on the countertop.
- In order to crush the ice faster, it features a remarkable rotation speed – up to 2000 rotations per minute.
5. Costzon Electric Ice Crusher
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Having a design similar to Waring Pro IC70 but a more affordable price, this ice crusher is a really nice option to consider. It features an intuitive design and the ice chute promotes an easy operation. One little aspect that we don’t like, is the fact that it is bulky, so it occupies a lot of space on the counter. The machine can crush approximately 26 pounds of ice per hour and the ice container can hold up to 12 cups of crushed ice. A really nice safety feature is the fact that you can’t use the machine until you properly secure the ice container. This prevents any possible incidents and injuries.
- Comes with a pretty long power cord – 4.5 ft. This means you don’t necessarily have to use it near the power outlet.
- Features an on/off switch that makes it very user-friendly.
After reviewing the most popular and efficient machines that produce or crush ice, it’s time to find out more about how exactly to pick the right model for your needs. All of them perform well but there are some significant differences between them. Although the final choice is a matter of personal preference, these guidelines may really help in making an educated decision.
||Model to Go With
||The main purpose of modern kitchen appliances is to help us spend less time preparing our favorite meals and drinks. But, while all of them are really helpful, finding a place for each of them can be really challenging – even if you have a large kitchen. Most people avoid buying appliances simply because they don’t have any storage room left for them. Anyway, if you like to prepare drinks at home you are not to be blamed if you want an ice crusher or an ice maker machine. The texture of the ice used to make cocktails can really make a difference in taste, so your desire is not a whim. However, in case you are limited by the space, it’s best to consider buying a compact machine.
|| Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Machine, VivoHome Electric Ice Crusher – the most compact models
||When preparing drinks for one person or two, you obviously don’t need large amounts of crushed ice. Things may change a little when you’re throwing a party as the more drinks, the more ice required. Anyway, in either case, you don’t need a machine that can make more than 50 pounds of crushed ice. A machine that exceeds this rate can be categorized as an appliance for professional use. Therefore, the choice truly depends on your actual needs.
|| VivoHome Electric Ice Crusher – crushes 143 lbs. of ice per hour,
Waring Pro IC70 Ice Crusher – crushes 50 lbs. of ice per hour.
|Type of Machine
||Currently there are more types of machines you can opt for. There are ice makers that make regular ice cubes, nugget ice makers that make smaller cubes in different shapes, ice crushers that simply crush big ice cubes into small pieces of ice, ice shavers that crush the ice into fine particles, etc. The models selected by us deliver different types of ice, so it’s important to get the one that makes the ice as you like.
|| Opal Nugget Ice Maker – nugget ice, Waring Pro IC70 Ice Crusher , VivoHome Electric Ice Crusher , Costzon Electric Ice Crusher – crushed ice, Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Machine – shaved ice
||For improving the performance of the machine and the convenience of the users, the manufacturers add multiple features. But these features also make the machine more expensive. Some features are not really necessary but others can really make a difference in operating the machine safer and easier. So, make sure you don’t pay extra money on some features that you may never use.
||Opal Nugget Ice Maker – the most versatile model.
In case you are still wondering which machine to go with, take a look at our final conclusions. Maybe they will help you make up your mind and buy your first ice crusher or ice maker. Each of them has both advantages and disadvantages, so make sure you don’t skip them.
Opal Nugget Ice Maker: Best Overall
You will find the machine easy to operate and very well-made. But what it is more interesting, is the fact that it is capable of making the perfect nugget ice at home. For enjoying this type of ice at home, you don’t have many options available and none of them it is as affordable as this one. Even though the price tag is not the most attractive one, it is among the most affordable nugget ice makers.
makes nugget ice, smartphone compatible, solid construction
bulky and heavy design, noisy, expensive, doesn’t make a great quantity of ice
Waring Pro IC70 Ice Crusher: Best Ice Crusher
It is the perfect option if you’re looking for an ice crusher that can deliver a great amount of ice. The design is pretty compact and it includes a long warranty on the motor. It is less expensive than Opal Nugget but it is not the most affordable option you can get.
long warranty, can crush the ice into small pieces
pretty expensive, the ice cubes may occasionally get jammed
Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Machine: Best Ice Shaver
Go with this model if you want to make ice snow-like ice. It is ideal for small kitchens as it is the most compact and lightweight option. Therefore, not another bulky machine to occupy a lot of space in the kitchen. Additionally, it is more affordable than the previous models.
affordable, compact design, blade can be adjusted
plastic construction, loud, works very slow
Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Machine: Best for Large Amounts of Ice
We recommend this machine if you need large amounts of ice. It crushes the ice very fast but the bowl it comes with is rather small so you have to empty it pretty often. The machine is compact and comes in 3 color options. Also it is the most affordable option.