Outdoor Kitchen Ice Maker 101: A Guide to Choosing the Right Ice Maker for Your Outdoor Space

April 28, 2023

Outdoor kitchens are becoming an increasingly common extension of homes. Homeowners have realized the benefits of having an outdoor kitchen, especially for entertaining guests. Outdoor kitchens provide an opportunity to cook in fresh air and beautiful surroundings. However, as the popularity of these outdoor spaces grows, so does the need for specific outdoor kitchen appliances. An ice maker is one of the essential appliances for any outdoor kitchen.

Types of Outdoor Ice Makers

There are different types of ice makers available in the market today. When choosing an outdoor ice maker, the first thing to consider is the type of ice that suits your preference. The most popular types are crushed ice, crescent-shaped, and clear ice.

Crushed Ice Makers

The crushed ice maker is ideal for making cocktails or cooling off on a hot day with a cold beverage. The ice is heavily crushed, which makes it easier to pack into your glassware or blender. It can produce up to 50 pounds of ice daily, but it's noisy and messy.

Crescent-Shaped Ice Makers

Crescent-shaped ice makers have a unique shape that fits well into most glassware. They are known for their slow melting time, which makes them ideal for cocktails and soft drinks. Unlike a crushed ice maker, the crescent-shaped ice maker is quiet and low-maintenance, producing up to 40 pounds of ice daily.

Clear Ice Makers

Clear ice makers are the most popular type of outdoor ice maker. They produce clear, solid ice cubes that don't melt quickly, making them ideal for drinks that need to be kept cool but not diluted. They are more expensive than the other types of ice makers but produce better quality ice, making them worth the cost.

Location and Size of the Ice Maker

The size and location of your ice maker are essential factors to consider when choosing an outdoor kitchen ice maker. You need to ensure that it fits comfortably in your outdoor kitchen and doesn't take up too much space. The location should be easily accessible, and it should also be positioned close to your seating area.

Cooling Options

Outdoor ice makers come in two cooling options – air-cooled and water-cooled. Air-cooled is the most common type of ice maker and uses surrounding air to cool down the unit. Water-cooled ice makers are more expensive and require a constant supply of water to function. The water-cooled option is efficient but can present an issue in areas where water is scarce.

Sizing and Capacity

The size and capacity of your outdoor ice maker are also important considerations. You need to take into account how much ice you need on a daily basis and how many people will be using the ice maker. A small family may not require a large ice maker, while larger families may want to invest in a machine with a higher capacity. Most outdoor ice makers have a storage bin, which holds the excess ice until it's needed. You should consider the size of the storage bin and ensure it's large enough to accommodate your needs.

Price and Budget

Like every other appliance, the price is a crucial factor when choosing an outdoor kitchen ice maker. Determine your budget before you start shopping and stick to it. Outdoor ice makers come in different price ranges, from budget-friendly to high-end. The price range determines the quality of the machine and the features it comes with.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Outdoor ice makers require regular maintenance and cleaning to function optimally. The type of ice maker you choose determines how often you need to clean and maintain it. Some ice makers require a lot of maintenance, while others require minimal upkeep. Ensure you choose an ice maker that is easy to clean and maintain to avoid costly repairs in the future.


In conclusion, an outdoor kitchen is not complete without an ice maker. Choosing the right outdoor ice maker depends on several factors, including the type of ice you prefer, location and size of the ice maker, cooling options, size and capacity, price and budget, and maintenance and cleaning. Having the right ice maker will ensure that you and your guests have a constant supply of ice, ideal for cooling off on a hot day or mixing that perfect cocktail.



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I enjoy designing and curating experiences both virtually and in 3-dimensional reality. I have a Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and currently practice professionally, but I also manage a few other ventures.
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