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Most parties need drinks. Many, if not most, drinks need ice. If you host a lot of parties with drinks that need ice, you will more than appreciate having your own dedicated ice maker.
Whether you want to get an under counter ice maker or freestanding model (which those in this review actually are too), you have a vast array of choices of makes and models. This review will narrow those choice to the most popular, top selling models.
I’ll look at three similar ice makers from EdgeStar, U-Line, and Sunpentown (also advertised as SPT), and then I’ll compare the same SPT model with a larger one that is also very popular from the same manufacturer.
If you’re in a hurry and simply want to check the pricing and availability of these 4 machines at Amazon, you can click a link in the list below.
If you want to fast forward to a certain section of this review, you can click a link in the box below. Otherwise, you can just keep scrolling and reading as usual.
Comparison of the Smaller Ice Makers
Let’s first do a side by side comparison of the EdgeStar IB120, the U-Line BI95, and the Sunpentown IM-150US. Note that the longer model names in the list above still refer to the same machines as those in the table below. For the EdgeStar, the “SS” means “stainless steel”. For the U-Line, the “B-00” means it’s the black version.
The table just below gives you most of the pertinent comparison points among these 3 ice makers. Note especially that the cabinets are all of a similar size, the ice is crescent shaped, and the machine produces about the same amount of ice each day.
The same amount of ice each day? But the U-Line is double the production of the other two models!
That’s true, but compared to the larger IM-600US SPT ice maker, I’m still considering the BI95 to be in the same ballpark as the others. You’ll have to decide whether the cost of the U-Line, which is about 3 times that of the other two, is worth the difference in the amount of ice you can get.
|Cube Size (in.)||n/a*||½ x ¾ x 2 ¼||½ x ¾ x 2 ½|
|Production per Day (lbs.)||12||23||12|
|Installation Type||Built-in or Freestanding||Built-in or Freestanding||Built-in or Freestanding|
|Dimensions: H x W x D (in.)||25 ¼ x 15 x 18 ½||25 1/16 x 13 15/16 x 17||25 x 15 x 18|
|Warranty||1 yr. parts;
90 days labor
|1 yr. parts and labor||1 yr. parts and labor|
*About 1 inch long
Differences among the Smaller Ice Makers
The EdgeStar IB120 ice maker is actually a freezer as well. When the unit automatically shuts off, your ice won’t melt.
You can’t add a custom panel to the front of the EdgeStar, but you can insert one on the U-Line BI95. This makes matching your existing decor easier, if that’s something that really matters to you.
While having a plumber install the EdgeStar is highly recommended, it’s not required, as Sunpentown requires for their ice makers. I think the SPT warranty is voided unless you do use a licensed plumber for installation.
The U-Line comes in black or white versions. The other models here are stainless steel. Again, if matching existing decor matters, you’ll want to keep these color and texture differences in mind.
The SPT has a front exhaust fan, so leaving enough ventilation space around it is not such a big deal as it is with other models.
Sunpentown Ice Makers: Large Versus Small
The table below compares two popular SPT ice makers. The categories and specifications in the first two columns are the same as in the table above.
The larger SPT IM-600US produces about 4 times as much ice for about 3 times the cost of the smaller machine.
The ice “cubes” that you get from the IM-600US are clear and rectangular, instead of white and crescent shaped. As far as I can tell, that’s all they mean by “gourmet”.
This larger model also has a front exhaust fan, and installation by a licensed plumber is required. Considered that, if you want this unit to be under counter, it will take significantly more space than the smaller model(s), as it is almost 33 inches high.
Finally, note that the IM-600US is not a freezer. Your cubes may melt unless you do something with them before they get too warm.
|Cube Size (in.)||½ x ¾ x 2 ½||¾ x ¾ x 1|
|Production per Day (lbs.)||12||50|
|Installation Type||Built-in or Freestanding||Built-in or Freestanding|
|Dimensions H x W x D (in.)||25 x 15 x 18||32.8 x 14.6 x 25**|
|Warranty||1 yr. parts and labor||1 yr. parts and labor|
**Depth given above is with handle. Without handle: 23.6 inches. Without door: 21.5 inches.
Conclusions about These Top Selling Ice Makers
I think that the main differences you’ll notice among these 4 machines is the amount of ice they can produce and the cost. All of them are reliable, if you care for them properly. It depends on how much ice you need on a regular basis and how much you are willing to pay for the service.
I mentioned parties above, but you may have need for such a machine at your place of business or other location. Any of these can serve you well outside the home too.