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Igloo vs IKICH Ice Maker (2021): Which Portable Ice Machine Is Better?

Freezers and ice trays can only produce so much if your family enjoys iced drinks a lot. That’s when portable ice makers come in handy; they can keep you well supplied with buckets of ice all day. The Igloo ICEB26 ice machines are among the most popular choices for this specialized appliance, but there are many contenders, like the IKICH Portable Ice Maker, fighting for this spot in the kitchen. See how these countertop ice machines compare in our detailed side-by-side review below.

Igloo vs IKICH Ice Maker Comparison Chart

ModelIgloo ICEB26IKICH CP173
Price
Dimensions9.6 x 14.7 x 12.4 inches8.7 x 12.3 x 12.6 inches
Weight21.5 pounds15.65 lb
Ice Basket Capacity2 pounds1.5 pounds
Water Tank Capacity2.8 liters2 liters
Freezing Speed9 ice cubes in 7 minutes
26 pounds in 24 hours
9 ice cubes in 6 minutes
26 pounds in 24 hours
Ice Cube Sizes22
LED DisplayYesYes
Ice ScoopIncludedIncluded
CleaningManualManual
ColorsAqua, Black, Red, Stainless Steel, WhiteSilver
Warranty1 year limited2 years

Design

The Igloo ICEB26 is available in more colors than the IKICH Ice Maker.

Here’s the Aqua colored Igloo Ice Machine (left) and the Silver IKICH portable ice maker (right).

The designs for these portable ice machines are quite distinctive. The Igloo ICEB26 rocks a retro vibe with its color choices, though its black, white and silver variants look a bit more modern. This is perhaps the biggest difference here between the two ice makers, since the IKICH is only available in silver. You get the opportunity to color-match the Igloo with your kitchen dΓ©cor and appliances more easily.

The Igloo ICEB26 features a softer shape with a transparent lid so you can take a peek at how much ice has been produced. The lid on the IKICH ice maker is flatter and slopes downward, affording a slightly easier view on your countertop. Both ice machines sport a control panel with LED indicators that should make operation intuitive even if you’ve never used one before.

Each ice maker includes an ice basket and ice scoop so you can either take out a batch or get just enough to fill your glass or pitcher. The machines are vented at the side to allow them to quickly freeze water into ice. The Igloo ICEB26 is heavier and bigger than the IKICH ice machine, but that also gives it more storage capacity for water and ice. This is essentially the biggest difference between these two, since having larger containers mean more ice available for a bit longer.

Features

The Igloo ICEB26 and IKICH Ice Maker have similar features.

You’ll find plenty of similarities between the Igloo (left) and IKICH (right) ice machines.

Outside of their physical appearance, these Igloo and IKICH ice machines are actually very similar. The soft touch control panel on both ice makers are the same, with indicators for ice sizes (S or L) and whether they’re running out of water (Add Water) or are their ice baskets are too full to continue producing more ice (Ice Full). The Power buttons will start both ice makers on while the Select button lets you choose between the ice cube sizes.

Having two selectable ice cube sizes makes these ice makers quite versatile for many uses. You can simply scoop ice cubes into glasses and pitchers to get cold beverages of any kind. The small ice cubes are preferable if you’re looking to make smoothies and slushies, or to use in cold compresses to relieve swelling and aches. Larger ice cubes are better to keep food fresh and for coolers, in case you’re going on a trip.

What makes the Igloo and IKICH portable ice makers really handy is their continuous operation, letting you have a full tray of ice ready to serve all day. Their interiors are actually not kept cold, so you’ll have to use the ice cubes or store them in the freezer; otherwise, the ice will melt over time, albeit slowly. However, even as the ice cubes start melting, the machines will start churning new cubes whenever it detects there’s space available in the baskets, so you’re never out of ice for long.

Performance

The Igloo ICEB26 and IKICH Ice Maker have similar performance.

Here’s what the ice ‘cubes’ look like from both ice machines.

Watching how these portable ice machines operate will show just how even more similar they are. Once you fill up the water reservoir, which is right below the ice tray by the way, and power on the machines, they’ll start producing 9 ice cubes from the evaporator columns below the control panel area. These cubes drop onto a dispenser platform which mechanically lifts and tilts the load onto the ice basket.

The IKICH Portable Ice Maker lists its freezing speed slightly faster, at 9 ice cubes produced in 6 minutes while the Igloo ice maker takes 7 minutes. However, in practice, these speeds are largely the same, since you’ll get pretty much the same amount in an hour or two. They can theoretically produce up to 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours, but you’ll be refillin

While working, the Igloo ICEB26 is a tad louder than the IKICH ice machine, though both are still acceptable in terms of noise levels. The ice pieces they produce are bullet-shaped with hollow middles, which are nicely smooth so you can put one in your mouth and won’t need to be careful with jagged or sharp edges like you would with typical ice cubes from the freezer. They’re wetter than normal ice cubes, too, and will melt faster, therefore cooling your drinks quicker, too.

With a bigger water reservoir, the Igloo ice maker can produce around 3-4 basketfuls before you’ll need to refill it with water. Ice left in the tray will melt over time, seeping back into the reservoir to be re-frozen if you simply leave the machines plugged in and turned on. When not in use, it’s recommended that you empty the ice makers using the drain holes at their bottom, and then wipe their insides dry.

Verdict

The IKICH Ice Maker offers better value than the Igloo ICEB26 ice machine.

With numerous similar capabilities, we can look at the price to see which ice machine gives you more bang for your buck. As it turns out, the IKICH Ice Maker costs a fair bit less than the Igloo, so you can get some savings while getting the same amount of ice every hour. It’s slightly more compact and weighs less, too, so you’re getting the more portable ice machine for your countertop.

However, if you want to refill water less often and have a bigger supply of ice on hand, the larger water and ice capacity of the Igloo ICEB26 Ice Maker makes it better. As such, it’s definitely the pick if you can find it with a good enough discount. Plus, you get to choose the best color to match it to your kitchen.

FAQs

πŸ“Œ Does the Igloo ice maker need to be hooked up to a water line?

No, you don’t need to connect the portable Igloo ICEB26 to a water line. You simply need to fill it up with water inside up to the marked line.

πŸ“Œ Who makes the IKICH ice maker?

The IKICH portable ice machines are made by IKICH, a company based in China.

πŸ“Œ Why is my ice maker so loud?

There are numerous reasons why your ice maker is louder than usual, and almost all of them points to a faulty component. The compressor, fan motor and drain pump can all cause a lot of noise if something is wrong with them.

πŸ“Œ Is Igloo a good brand?

Yes, Igloo is widely recognized as an excellent manufacturer of coolers, ice chests and insulated bags.

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.