For something so small and compact, there sure are a lot of things to consider when buying – and owning – a compact ice maker. It is hardly rocket science, but a lot of care and thought should still be put into it, from making the purchase all the way to its maintenance and upkeep. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions regarding portable icemakers.
Q. Is smaller always better?
A: Not necessarily. Although the primary reason people buy a portable icemaker is due to its compact or small size, being the smallest doesn’t automatically make it the best choice. You still have to take its features and capabilities into consideration.
Q. Where can you use a compact ice maker?
A: A compact ice maker is designed to be small and lightweight enough to be moved from one place to another. Therefore, it should look at home on the countertop or tabletop of any kitchen, at a wet bar in the living room, at the back of the car, an RV or even in boats. Some could even be placed under counters or other smaller nooks.
Q. What are the first things to look for in a compact-ice-maker?
A: Speed and capacity are the two most important factors that should be noted. How fast can it make ice and how much ice can it store? How much water can the water reservoir hold? Compare this with the actual amount of ice you expect to need or make use of to help you along in narrowing your choices.
Q: Do ice makers make the same types of ice?
A: The quality of ice (e.g. smell, taste) largely depends on the quality of the water used in making them. Thus, it wouldn’t be fair to rely entirely on these machines in producing the best ice. Some portable ice makers are also designed to produce various sizes of ice and in different shapes, too.
Q: How do you put water into the compact-ice-maker?
A: There are ice makers that are hooked up with a water line while others require manual pouring of water into the water reservoir. Some brands incorporate these two features into their ice maker, making the water line an optional feature.
Q: Does “self-cleaning” mean you no longer have to manually clean the unit?
A: The self-cleaning function is considered a rarity among portable icemakers. This means that when you fill the unit with water diluted with vinegar or lemon extract, the pipes and coils will clean themselves. This is a very useful feature. However, prudence would dictate that you should still regularly clean and maintain your ice maker in the event that self-cleaning will not be able to completely flush out all the bacteria and microbes that may have attached themselves to the unit.
Q: Is the compact ice maker a freezer?
A: A common misconception among users is that the ice makers are substitutes for freezers. Thus, they immediately complain when the ice in the storage compartments melt after a certain period of time. No, the ice maker is NOT a freezer. Therefore, the ice made by the compact-ice-maker should be taken out of the basket and used instead of being left there. Some units have storage with extended cooling features; still, that does not make them freezers.
At the end of the day, the users’ guide or instruction manual should be every owner’s bible when it comes to their portable icemakers. The manufacturer’s notes, combined with common sense will go a long way to ensure that you get your money’s worth – and more – in your compact ice maker.