Best Sonic Ice Machines & Nugget Ice Makers

Most people think of ice as simply just ice, regardless of its shape, structure, or size. After all, it’s just frozen water that keeps our drinks cold. Isn’t it?

While that is the extent of the importance of ice for most people, some of us do have an eye for the perfect ice melting rate and the taste buds to assess how it affects the flavor. With that being said, we want to steal this moment to appreciate the beauty of sonic ice. You may disagree but there’s something about the cold crunch that comes with chewing this timeless, state-of-the-art, nugget-shaped piece of ice. It completes your drink, it’s fulfilling, and it signifies a full stop for your appetite.

Sonic Drive-In was the first brand to manufacture this nugget-shaped, chewable ice and that’s exactly how the term ‘Sonic Ice’ was popularized. Due to its unique shape, texture, and chew, this nugget ice by Sonic became a phenomenon at once. People were lining up outside Sonic Drive-In just to get their hands on this product. Soon, because of the product’s popularity, the manufacturers started selling this ice in specially designed bags with the brand’s label.

In other words, sonic ice has been and still is every high-end bartender’s and flavor enthusiast’s go-to choice. Thankfully, only now, we don’t have to visit Sonic Drive-In outlets to purchase sonic ice and can simply have it in the luxury of our homes with the modern and innovative nugget ice makers. That’s what we are here to help you with today.

We have put together a number of best sonic ice machines and nugget ice makers in a list, coupled with a complete buying guide to help you choose a product that best suits your home or commercial needs, so you can have all the nugget ice you want at home.

General Information That Everyone Should Know About Sonic Ice Machines

Sonic ice hits differently than regular ice cubes. The sonic ice machines make chewable, small ice nuggets that are significantly out of the way as compared to traditional ice machines’ cubes. The size of sonic ice, however, is ideal for both home and commercial-use blenders. Whether your family owns a liquor business or you just tend to have a tongue for exquisite drinks, a functional nugget ice maker is guaranteed to enhance your grandeur.

Sure, it’s just ice. It’s only there to help you keep your drink cold. We know. But once you’ve had a taste of sonic ice, you will understand what the fuss is about. There’s something about the fulfilling drink, followed by its crunchy, chewy pellets of ice that put a full stop to your appetite. It leaves you wanting for more. It keeps you hanging on, makes you want to chew one more of those nuggets, and that my friends, is the beauty of sonic ice.

A sonic ice machine, on top of it, is the gist of it all. It enables you to get your hands on this ultra-modern work of art under just a few minutes, in your desired amount, with a mere push of a button. There are plenty of options available for you in the market to choose from. However, since multiple types of sonic ice machines are available in the market, we would suggest that you pen down your specifications, your ice requirements, whether you’d like to go with a portable or a fixed unit, etc. so you can ensure optimal output while abstaining from any potential buying ambiguity.

Types Of Sonic Ice Machines That You Can Buy

There are multiple types of Sonic Ice Machines available in the market, ranging from handy and portable designs to large, full-fledged, massive capacity ice makers. Question is, what type of nugget, pebble, or pellet ice maker you should be buying?

Small/Portable Ice Makers

A portable nugget ice maker makes it easy for you to have your hands on top-grade ice wherever you go. If you’re an owner of a small bar and you don’t have a very high frequency of customers, a portable ice maker could be just what you need. A portable ice maker is also a great thing to have if you travel a lot, if you live in an RV, or if you have a small family.

Counter-Top Designs

The counter-top ice machines are great for two reasons, they don’t take up much space and you can show them off on top of your kitchen counter. However, the manufacturers do suggest installing these ice machines with three inches clearance from the sides and back.
In other words, a counter-top sonic ice machine is a great thing to have because it doesn’t need much space to become the center of attention.

Large Nugget Ice Makers

If you are an owner of a hotel or a bar, have to deal with a higher demand for ice, and at times it becomes hard for you to keep up, then a large capacity sonic ice machine is just what you need. You could make a calculated guess, determine your requirement of ice in pounds, and choose a large ice maker that serves your needs.

Which Type of Sonic Ice Machine Is Best For You?

It’s simple, go for the most convenient and fulfilling option. If you are the kind of person who does not like to indulge much in moving, or if you do not have any remote needs for the ice, then perhaps you should skip on the portable ice makers and get a fixed unit for yourself.
For a fixed unit, if you have a higher requirement for ice, going for a larger ice maker with higher ice producing capability only makes more sense.
If you are the type of person who is always down for organized and sharp aesthetics, and you don’t have an extraordinary quantitative demand, then going for a counter-top design seems like the most feasible option since it’s not only space-friendly but will also add to the appealing look of your kitchen.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Sonic Ice Machine/Nugget Ice Maker

To help you make an informed, well sought-out decision and to reduce the chances of buying-level blunders, we have put together a couple of considerable factors that will help you throughout your buyer journey.

Choosing the Correct Type

Choosing the correct type of Sonic Ice Machine is the first and foremost thing you should be vigilant about. You do not want to buy a large-sized ice maker when you can actually satisfy your needs through a portable ice machine. Being keen-eyed in this regard will help you save thousands of bucks and prevent you from any potential regrets in the future.

Warranty & Cost

Many people forget to keep an eye out for a warranty while buying an ice machine, particularly due to lack of awareness and end up getting stressed-out later on.
Depending on what type you are going for, most of the sonic ice machines in the market cost anywhere between $150 – $3000. The smaller and portable units normally come with a 2-years warranty but you can always add in a few bucks and go for the extended warranty versions. On the other hand, when you spend thousands of dollars on a larger unit, your peace of mind calls for an assurance that your expensive gadget is backed up by some official support. Therefore, it’s always wise to seek out the paperwork and warranty cards before you finalize the purchase.

Versatility

While most of the portable ice makers produce the standard sonic ice, a few of the high-end ones have an option to produce larger nuggets as well. So, if you think you could use one or two of these extra features, make sure to scour your product of these features.

Size of Unit

Remember to examine the space where you plan on installing your ice machine. Find out the size that best suits your kitchen space, budget, and interest and then go for the purchase. Always remember to keep a 3-inches free space on the sides and back of your unit before installation.

Production Capacity

Each ice maker has its unique production capacity and it varies according to the size and type of machine. If you plan on buying an ice machine for your home, a sonic ice machine with a production capacity of 20 – 30 lbs should do the trick. However, the businesses may require ice makers having a production capacity of 80 lbs or more.

Storage/Drainage

It’s important to keep in mind that ice production stops once the storage capacity of an ice machine is full and most machines will recycle the same water for production once maximum storage is achieved. So, make sure to choose a machine that has a reasonable bin size.
The drainage process also has to be breezy in case of any potential electricity cut-offs. You don’t want your machine to recycle the same water again and again.

Best Sonic Ice Machines – Reviewed

• Dimensions: 9.5 x 12.9 x 14”
• Production Rate: 26 Lbs/Day
• Storage Capacity: 1.5 Lbs.
• Water Reservoir: 2.2 Liters
• Ice Quality: Very High
• Extra Features: Basket & Ice Scoop

This portable yet powerful nugget ice maker by HomeLabs only weighs 19 pounds and is the ideal choice for ice, anytime, anywhere. The HomeLabs ice maker features medium and small size options for ice, producing bullet-shaped pieces of perfection – all while operating at the speed of a bullet. The medium-sized ice nuggets are ideal for drinks and cocktails while the smaller bullet-shaped pieces are cylindrical, smooth, and conveniently fit in water bottle openings.

Overall, the icemaker creates chewable, delicious, and aesthetically appealing sonic ice, 1.5 Lbs in one shot, and up to 26 Lbs in one day. It has a 2.2 liters water reservoir that serves as an ideal feature for your home parties, serving as your go-to solution for ice after every few minutes. Moreover, as the water reservoir sits below the ice basket, it can also reuse the water from the melted ice to make even more and fresher ice. In addition to its automatic shut off function, the added warning feature is a blushing cherry on top, alerting you whenever the ice basket is full or if the water reservoir needs refilling.

Being highly energy efficient, this icemaker by HomeLabs is equipped with a compressor that operates on electrical circuits that require very low energy to cool. This device may be small and portable but it serves as a mighty addition to your kitchen, countertop, or bar. When it comes to the design, this product is well-structured, minimal, and smart. From the ice production operations to the water recycling process and drainage system, everything about this portable sonic ice machine is up to the mark.
It comes with a removable ice basket, a scoop, and an easy to use control panel. This ETL Certified electric ice maker does not require any installation and starts to form ice as soon as the reservoir is filled and the device is plugged in. It is hands down, one of the best sonic ice machines available in the market and we are vouching for it.

What’s To Like?

• Great for family use and home parties
• Energy-efficient, fast, and reliable
• Nugget size versatility

What’s Not To Like?

• May not always satisfy the needs for large-scale bars and hotels

• Dimensions: 15.5 x 10.5 x 17.2”
• Production Rate: 24 Lbs/Day
• Storage Capacity: 3 Lbs.
• Water Reservoir: 2.36 Liters
• Ice Quality: Very High
• Extra Features: Bluetooth Equipped

The FirstBuild’s Opal is a Sonic Ice Machine with a potential to wow your guests before they have even tried the delicious nugget it makes. That is because this nugget ice maker comes with a beautiful design with a glass front, displaying a live storage bin to everyone in the room, compelling the guests to have a taste of the delicious ice it makes at once. The opal ice maker weighs about 44 pounds and measures at an ideal width and height, becoming the perfect countertop ice machine for any home. However, its installation clearance is suggested to be 3 inches from the sides and back, so make sure to take care of that in advance.

The Opal is a very quick and powerful icemaker that enables you to get your hands crunchy, chewable, and soft ice – just like the one you get at your favorite bar – while sitting conveniently in your home. When you have FirstBuild’s Opal Nugget Ice Maker, each serving can contain up to 3 Lbs. and per day production may go as high as 24 Lbs. This countertop nugget ice maker is close to a portable ice maker, allowing you to have your hands on ice exactly 20 minutes after plugging it into a 120V electrical outlet and filling the water reservoir. The reservoir is smart and its capacity is around 2.3 liters, enabling the melted ice water to be recycled into more fresh ice.

However, the feature that truly makes this state-of-the-art ice machine stand out among its competitors is its Bluetooth-equipped feature. You can set up your ice making schedule on the FirstBuild’s application that is programmed to sense its ice bin, ultimately helping to prevent any overfills. The Opal by FirstBuild comes with a limited 1-year warranty. If 24 Lbs of ice per day does serve your requirement, we would suggest that you get this sonic ice machine without second thoughts.

What’s To Like?

• Exquisite and Compelling Design
• Bluetooth-Equipped smart machine
• Comes with a 1-year warranty
• Doesn’t require any batteries

What’s Not To Like?

• Not as fast as traditional portable ice machines
• Not ETL certified as of yet

• Dimensions: 16.25 x 24 x 35”
• Production Rate: 315 Lbs/Day
• Storage Capacity: 10 Lbs.
• Water Reservoir: Direct Connection
• Ice Quality: High
• Extra Features: Water Dispenser + DuraTech Front Panel

The CNF-0201A-L Ice Maker by Manitowoc is a large-sized, quantity as well as quality-centered, countertop Ice Maker but can be installed on any flat surface. This nugget-style ice maker by Manitowoc is a top-of-the-line device, an outstanding sonic ice machine, weighing 187 pounds and it stands out for its massive production rate, making an unmatchable 315 Lbs. of soft, chewable nugget ice per day. You can imagine the production power of this sonic ice machine with its suggested ideal clearances, 24 inches on top, 8 inches on sides, and 5 inches from behind.

The CNF-0201A-L by Manitowoc has a 10 Lbs. bin capacity, equipped with an air-cool system, designed to sustain the quality of your ice for longer periods. In addition to its smartly designed, DuraTech front panel that combines power and cleaning into one, it also has a blue LED light that illuminates the dispenser in dark environments.

The dispenser on this ice machine offers multiple combination settings of ice and water and comes with an activation lever, improving the usability of the dispenser. The large drain pan at the bottom of the machine contains ice spillage, melted, and spilled water space for a hassle-free and mess-free operation, so you can focus on enjoying your nugget ice and water.
When it comes to design, this big boy by Manitowoc has a neat, stainless steel exterior that does not only protect the machine from stains, scratches, and rust but also speaks volumes about the designer’s chic. If you can handle the production capacity of CNF-0201A-L and you are game about managing the expenses, feel free to order this Sonic Ice Machine right away!

What’s To Like?

• Ideal for businesses, hospitals, airports, etc.
• Massive ice production rate
• Makes that delicious glass of icy water

What’s Not To Like?

• It’s a very expensive machine
• Will require plumbing for water line

• Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.9 x 33.4”
• Production Rate: 85 Lbs/Day
• Storage Capacity: 22 Lbs.
• Water Reservoir: Direct Connection
• Ice Quality: High
• Extra Features: Self-Contained Condenser

The GEMU090 Ice Machine by Ice-O-Matic is one of the best sonic ice machines available in market. This Ice machine makes around 85 Lbs of ice per day and has a storage capacity of 22 Lbs. As you can see, the ice bin on this machine is huge and it takes up to 7 hours for a complete refill. Meanwhile, its automated detection system helps to prevent overfills and stops ice production once the storage bin reaches its maximum capacity. The inside of this ice machine is insulated and not refrigerated. This leads to increased mess and may require you to clean your ice machine more often. However, it shouldn’t be a problem if you’re using it in a contained setting.

One thing that makes GEMU090 stand out from all the other Ice machines is that it makes pure pearl ice. Pearl ice is a little different than nugget ice, it looks more like round pearls – closely resembling the original favorite by Sonic. The setup process can be tricky and requires plumbing assistance same as the previous ice machine. After you’re done setting it up, you will have your hands on clean and pure textured ice, backed up by Pure Ice Protection, a built-in antimicrobial system that prevents your machine’s inside from growing any funk.
When it comes to design, the Ice-O-Matic GEMU090 is relatively compact machine and has a sleek stainless steel design, allowing it to be easily placed under counters. This silver pearl ice maker is 33 inches tall and happens to be a perfect addition to any office or a small café.

What’s To Like?

• Smart Indicator Lights for refills and cleaning
• Pure Ice Protection
• Produces the perfect sonic ice

What’s Not To Like?

• Requires additional plumbing work for drainage and water source
• Expensive product

• Dimensions: 8.7 x 12.3 x 12.6”
• Production Rate: 26 Lbs/Day
• Storage Capacity: 1.5 Lbs.
• Water Reservoir: 2 Liters
• Ice Quality: Very High
• Extra Features: Ice Basket & Ice Scoop Included

Ranking fifth in our list, we have a portable nugget ice maker by IKICH. IKICH has designed this machine with the sole purpose to provide ease and automation to its users. This machine is an intelligent gadget, features a smart indicator, and allows you to select the size of ice through a minimalistic control panel. Just add the water, plug it in, select the size, sit back, and relax – the indicator will light up as soon as your ice gets ready. There’s also a large translucent window on top that allows you to observe each batch of ice before taking it out.

As far as the daily production rate is concerned, you should easily be able to produce up to 26 Lbs. of chewable, soft, and bullet-shaped ice nuggets. However, you must also note that this ice machine operates on similar electrical patterns as a freezer. So, the first and second batches after turning the machine on may have a weak texture. But, as soon as the temperature levels are under control, this ice machine will continue to make delicious and perfectly-textured ice pellets for as long as you desire.

It has a powerful compressor which makes it highly energy-efficient, requiring low energy consumption, producing a quicker cooling effect while making minimum noise. So, say goodbye to bulky and noisy ice machines and get yourself this versatile Icemaker by IKICH that allows you to have multiple sizes of nugget ice. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and the drainage system is state-of-the-art. If you want our opinion, we’ll tell you that the 2-year and 45 days return policy on this product should be enough to convince you to buy this product right away!

What’s To Like?

• User manual included
• Wonderful product for the money
• Easy to clean
• Great return policy
• Great quality ice

What’s Not To Like?

• You will have to babysit this icemaker if you want to produce absolute 26 Lbs. per day

• Dimensions: 9.5 x 14 x 13”
• Production Rate: 26.5 Lbs/Day
• Storage Capacity: 1.5 Lbs.
• Water Reservoir: 2.2 Liters
• Ice Quality: High
• Extra Features: Ice Making Indicators

This Portable and Countertop Ice Maker by COSTWAY has the potential to lead you towards a wonderful summer, allowing you to have access to premium quality bullet-shaped ice at all times. Whether you want to cool your drinks or you actually have a taste for deluxe quality sonic ice, COSTWAY Nugget Ice Maker should be your jam. This powerful countertop icemaker can help you produce up to 26.5 Lbs. of ice per day. This means that you don’t have to worry about running short of ice during house parties, trips, and other family events.

It has a see-through window on top that allows you to monitor live ice texture checking. All you have to do is add water into the bin, plug it in, and let this nugget ice maker do its magic. It’ll help you save both time and effort. Whether you’re a beer enthusiast, wine connoisseur, or a cocktail specialist, the bullet ice it produces shall have you coming for more. Moreover, this ice maker is environment friendly, both energy-efficiency and low noise are its unrivaled features.

As soon as the ice basket is full, the indicators will remind you to take out the ice. Whenever the water reservoir is empty, it’ll notify you so you can refill it again. In other words this ice maker is a smart and top-of-the-range machine that does not only produce bullet ice of great quality but is also very handy, easy to use, and hassle-free to clean.

What’s To Like?

• Easy to use and clean
• Great quality ice
• Ideal for motorhome residents and camping trips

What’s Not To Like?

• The first two batches within an hour of plugging in may be of substandard quality

How Is Sonic Ice Different From the Traditional Ice?

The main difference between Sonic Ice and Traditional Refrigerator ice is that sonic is soft and chewable. On the contrary, traditional ice is hard and non-chewable.

Is It Possible To Make Sonic Ice Without A Machine?

While you may opt for a DIY method (using carbonated water and freezing it), you will still not be able to have your hands on premium quality sonic ice without a machine. However, this method does allow you to have a porous texture on your ice, allowing you to make similar looking nugget ice.

Can You Make Sonic Ice In Refrigerators?

No, you cannot make Sonic Ice in your regular home refrigerators. Sonic Ice has a texture to it. It is soft and chewable. Sonic Ice Machines are insulated, not refrigerated. On the other hand, the ice obtained using refrigerators is barely chewable.

Why Do You Need A Sonic Ice Machine?

Sonic Ice is soft, delicious, and chewable and it can only be made using a Sonic Ice Machine. If you don’t have a Sonic Ice Machine, you will have to buy ready-made ice from third party outlets which is honestly not very convenient or pocket-friendly. So, it’s always useful if you have got one of them at home.