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Old 07-02-2013, 10:48 AM   #1
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Portable Ice Maker

We are considering a small portable ice maker. Seems I am always running out ice, right in the middle of cocktail hour.

Does anyone have any input?

Best brand?

Longevity?

Are they worth the effort haul around?


Thanks,

JD
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:12 AM   #2
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They work very well when they work. They make ice like crazy. I have one and use it occasionally without any problems. However, a friend who uses his almost constantly has gone through 3 of them in the past 4 years. They all seem to be out of the same mold (factory) in China, and have some reliability issues it seems. Parts seem to be impossible to come by, so when they fail, they are a throw away item.

BTW, there are two general sizes, big and small. The small one is better for toting around when camping.

For the $150 or so they cost (when you get them on sale) try one out and see what you think. If you are going to use it a lot, see if you can get one from a place which has an extended warrantee available for 2 or 3 years, the kind which is a simple exchange deal if there is any problem. Often that is cheap insurance as long as it does not cost too much.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:38 AM   #3
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We bought a small ice maker at a local supermarket that was discounted, because it was an "open box" item that was being discontinued, and it was the last one. We bought it for home use when the icemaker in our big refrigerator stopped working.

This small, table-top model made ice quickly, and it was interesting to watch all of the mechanical stuff going on inside. However, after letting it run overnight, I realized that it did not refrigerate the ice it was making. So, the new ice was constantly melting, and the melt-water was being recycled back into the top of the machine. Also, we were using bottled water, since it did not have a freshwater line to fill the reservoir; and it was going through a lot of bottles.

I can see where a small ice maker might be good for an occasional party, but it is inefficient and wasteful of both electricity and bottled water, unless you use the ice as fast as it is being made. Also, when you turn it off, all of the ice and electricity used making the last batch is completely wasted when you dump the remaining ice out; because you can't travel with all of that water sloshing around until you get to your next campsite. However, I guess you could put the ice in your freezer; but our freezer is full of food when we travel, and we don't have space to store five pounds of ice that's melting fast.

Luckily, the ice maker cleaned up easily since all it had in it was bottled water; so we boxed it up and took it back for a refund. The next week, we saw it back on the shelf where we found it; and a week after that it was gone again. Then, a few days later, it was back on the shelf, marked down a few more dollars. And, again; and again...

Just a suggestion: If you decide to try one, do it at home first; and make sure the store has a liberal return policy. However, depending on your application, a portable ice maker might work fine for you.

Good luck!
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:13 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=jdalrymple;1321340]We are considering a small portable ice maker. Seems I am always running out ice, right in the middle of cocktail hour.

Does anyone have any input?

Best brand?

Longevity?

Are they worth the effort haul around?


Thanks,

We bought a Magic Chef 2 years ago and use it only in the RV. No problems so for. Paid a little less than $150 for it. I agree with most every thing said above. It is somewhat noisey and gives off some heat while making ice. It also weighs about 20-22 pounds.

After the inside of the ice maker cools off ( takes about 25 min. ) it makes 10 small cubes of ice every 10 min. When the basket fills you have to be there to empty it or the ice will melt. We fill a gallon bag in about 2.5 to3 hours and put it in the RV freezer.

I don't find it too practical to use if we are traveling every day. I as soon buy a bag of ice and put it in an ice chest.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:08 PM   #5
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We just fill a tub of ice from our ice maker at home for trips and keep it in the freezer. When we're getting low (it has to be a longer trip for this to happen - probably five or six days into a trip), we start the ice cube trays.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:27 PM   #6
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Have one from Cabela's on the house boat and works great.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:38 PM   #7
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WE buy bag ice at the campsite or local C store for parties; make and zip-lock three trays every night for other times. Seems to work so far. One day we ran out and Linda got a big cup of ice from counter at the Flying J while I fueled.
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:19 PM   #8
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For ice, we put half-full water bottles on their sides in the freezer. This allows you to add your favorite beverage later. Also, in hot weather, we freeze full water bottles, then scatter them around in the lower refrigerator compartment to help with cooling. Then, when they thaw, we drink them as cold water and freeze more water bottles. A battery-powered circulating fan helps cool the lower compartment and even out the temperatures, too.
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:09 PM   #9
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I have an EdgeStar....less than $200. It fits perfectly under my queen size bed, and I really like it. When I leave home I have a gallon ziplock bag filled with ice. When it's empty, I make ice. It's fast and puts out plenty of ice. If I buy ice, there's way more than what I can fit into my Dometic freezer, where with this thing I make just the right amount. I'm not a fanatic about bottled water....I remember the days when we drank tap water. Can you imagine? So I just use what's either in the tank or the city supply.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:11 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input.

We deal with ice trays, and buying bags of ice. Seems we are always out.

Our ice use is mostly for cocktails, so freezing bottles is not a solution for my main concern.


Regards,

JD
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Old 07-03-2013, 07:45 PM   #11
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Tip for ice from water bottles: Freeze half-full water bottles. Then, use a plastic tent peg hammer or similar soft hammering device to crack the ice; and cut the top off the bottles. This produces convenient cracked/crushed ice without the mess of ice trays in a moving trailer. Thin plastic water bottles are surprisingly tough, provided you don't hammer on them with a sharp edged instrument.
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