We put 6 products to the test and determined that the HomeLabs Chill Pill Countertop Ice Maker Machine was the best portable ice maker for RV and camping.
At first, it didn’t occur to us that we might need a small ice maker for my RV. After all, the rig came with a nice refrigerator. However, if you want a plentiful supply of ice, the fridge in your RV might not cut it.
These portable ice makers, on the other hand, will ensure that you never run out of ways to keep your beverages cool. The best ones can provide up to 50 pounds of ice a day when running on full power. They might even end up saving the day if you have a power outage and need a quick storage solution for your frozen foods.
1. HomeLabs Chill Pill Countertop Ice Maker Machine -Best Overall
2. IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine -Best For Small Kitchens
3. Vremi Countertop Ice Maker -Best Design
4. Igloo Automatic Ice Maker Machine -Best Display
5. NewAir Portable Ice Maker -Best Volume
6. Frigidaire Compact Ice Maker -Best Value
The Chill Pill unit from HomeLabs can create 26 pounds of ice in a single day. That might be enough to earn it the number one berth on our list all by itself, but this unit has plenty more to offer.
For one thing, it can create nifty pill-shaped ice cubes in mere minutes, so there’s no need to wait for that frosty beverage. It’s also set at an affordable price, adding value to your camping experience without breaking the bank.
Let’s find out why the HomeLabs Chill Pill Countertop Ice Maker is our top pick.
Our Top Pick
Best Portable Ice Maker For RV And Camping -Reviews
1. HomeLabs Chill Pill Countertop Ice Maker Machine—Best Overall
It’s not at all complicated to use the Chill Pill ice maker, which is one of the most compact and stylish units we’ve found. The control panel is simple and straightforward, and the machine is easy to fill and drain. Best of all, it creates adorable little cylinder-shaped ice cubes in just 6 to 8 minutes.
The machine comes with an automatic shut-off feature that conserves energy when it’s already filled with ice. It can also store up to 1.5 pounds of cubes at a time. While it isn’t as quiet as some of the competition, we don’t think the sound is loud enough to disturb anyone.
This video tutorial will give you a glimpse of the HomeLabs portable ice maker in action.
2. IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine—Best For Small Kitchens
Because this model weighs in at just 17 pounds, it’s a great fit if you’re working with limited kitchen space. Its dimensions are 8.7 x 12.3 x 12.6 inches, so it can be tucked in alongside the other countertop appliances with ease.
As portable ice makers go, this one has a generous output of 26 pounds per 24 hours. This puts it on par with our number one pick, at least in this category. You can also choose between two different ice cube sizes with the IKICH. However, its water reservoir has a relatively limited capacity of 2 liters, so it might need to be refilled often.
3. Vremi Countertop Ice Maker—Best Design
The straight lines and classic profile of the Vremi allow it to blend right in with the other appliances in your RV while still enhancing the decor. In keeping with the product’s attention to detail, it produces bullet-shaped cubes that fit easily into a water or cocktail glass.
The machine is equipped with a removable basket above the water reservoir. When the bucket reaches the 1.5 pound capacity, the machine will automatically turn off until you’re ready to make more ice—a neat quality that it shares with the HomeLabs portable ice maker.
4. Igloo Automatic Ice Maker Machine—Best Display
The Igloo can churn out 33 pounds of ice every day, offering a choice between two cube styles. If you choose the cylinder shape, you can have a batch ready within 7 minutes. What’s more, the reservoir holds 2.5 liters of water, so you won’t have to refill it very often.
This is a quiet unit with a display that utilizes LED lighting to help you choose what size cube to make. As displays go, this is one of our favorites. It also indicates when the bin is full and when the water reservoir needs to be refilled.
The dimensions of the Igloo are a bit high for a small ice maker, measuring just over 14 by 9.7 by 11.5 inches. While this is still compact enough to fit on most RV countertops, it’s something to bear in mind when shopping.
5. NewAir Portable Ice Maker—Best Volume
The NewAir works in just 7 minutes and is capable of cranking out up to 50 pounds of ice per day. Like the Igloo offering, it’s bigger than some of the units listed here, but this output is generous enough to offset any inconvenience.
NewAir uses BPA-free products in the construction of this model, and it’s well-insulated, which helps keep the ice in prime condition. The single-button operation makes it exceptionally easy to use. An ice scoop and built-in bucket are included in the purchase price.
6. Frigidaire Compact Ice Maker—Best Value
Are you looking for a small ice maker, but don’t have a great deal of money to invest? Fear not—the Frigidaire Compact Ice Maker has you covered.
This model can make 26 pounds of ice per day, and the built-in LED screen lets you choose between two different cube sizes, as well as the ice level. It also offers a see-through window that allows you to watch the water as it’s transformed into ice cubes.
The Frigidaire comes with a high-capacity built-in ice basket that refills every 90 minutes. In terms of speed, it takes just 6 minutes to make quality ice cubes to freshen your drink.
Best Portable Ice Maker For RV And Camping: Buying Guide
Why They’re Useful
Do you really need a small ice maker for your RV? After all, you can usually buy ice along the way. You can even pack along a cooler filled with cubes made at home, depending on how long you’ll be camping. So why is it necessary?
First and foremost, it’s more convenient to be able to make your own ice on the road. With a portable ice maker, you can get fresh ice whenever you want it, often within minutes. There’s no need to make a separate trip to the store, or worry about whether they might have run out. That’s the best reason to consider the purchase right there.
Also, bear in mind that it gets expensive to buy ice at the store all the time. Given the amount of money you’ll save in the long run, a countertop ice maker can be considered a real bargain.
How They Work
For portable ice makers, the ice-making process is similar to the one employed by a freezer in that they both employ the refrigeration cycle. When you add clean water to the unit, it gets fed through a coolant that transforms the vapor into gas. After that, the gas gets condensed back into liquid with the aid of a condenser pipe.
During the next step, an expansion water valve quickly lowers the temperature of the refrigerant, which turns it back into gas. The evaporator is outfitted with prongs that cool the water to freezing temperature as soon as it touches them, thereby providing you with ice.
Since freezers utilize cold air instead of prongs to cool the water, they’re less energy efficient than portable ice makers. They also take much longer to do it, which is what makes ice makers such an appealing alternative.
Features and Benefits
The best portable ice maker for RV and camping use should measure roughly one cubic foot, sometimes less. This means that it will take up a minimal amount of space in your RV or travel trailer. If you’re worried about cluttering up your countertop, it should be easy to find a unit that’s small enough to suit your needs.
Also, bear in mind that smaller units can actually benefit your camping lifestyle in many ways. Not only do they create ice cubes faster and keep them frozen longer, they can be packed away easily when you’re not using them.
Take a look at the output capacity of the model. It should be able to produce at least 25 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period. Some may be able to crank out twice that many, though it may take a while for them to work to their fullest potential.
Speaking of which, most countertop ice makers will need to sit in an upright position for several hours before they can generate a good supply of ice. That’s because the coolant needs a chance to settle. Sometimes, this step can take as long as a full day. Take a look at the manufacturer’s instructions before you hit the road, and be sure to plan ahead.
Because these machines can achieve impressively low temperatures, they can produce ice in virtually no time. Even the lesser-rated models can produce ice within 10 minutes or so. The best ones, however, will need only 6 to 8 minutes to get going. This means that you can make the ice as you need it, rather than pouring water into ice cube trays and waiting all day for it to freeze.
Similarly, using a small ice maker will free up space in your RV’s freezer unit. This leaves you more room for food supplies, which gives you the freedom to extend your camping trips if desired.
The smaller the storage tank is, the more often you’ll have to fill it. While all of these models are on the small side, the best portable ice maker for RV use will have a reservoir that can hold at least 2 liters of water.
Also, take a look at the storage tank for the ice itself. Most machines will stop dispensing ice as soon as this bin is full, so you’ll have to keep emptying it if you want a fresh supply.
Is there any reason why you shouldn’t invest in an ice maker for your RV?
In our opinion, you should reconsider this purchase if you enjoy boondocking on a regular basis. Even the most efficient models eat up too much energy to make this worthwhile. If you decide to go for it, you’ll want to make sure you have a shore power connection every time you fire up the unit.
Remember, too, that these ice makers require a standard wall outlet. While that’s not a problem for most RVers, you’ll need to make sure that you have a suitable outlet with which to work.
The Bottom Line
The HomeLabs model might not crank out quite as much ice as the NewAir version, but we think it’s a fair trade-off.
It works quickly and efficiently, the cubes have a nifty little shape, and it turns off automatically when the machine is full. It’s also a highly attractive unit that won’t take up too much space.
Best of luck, and happy camping.
Check out our article on: Best 12-volt Portable Refrigerators For Camping