How does a portable ice maker work?

How does a portable ice maker work
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During those hot summer’s day, a cool glass of drink is what IS needed to keep you body temperature from the boiling point. The fridge freezer is a god sent, but it is always out of ice. I needed a solution and quickly. Without a second thought I decided to research an alternative. A portable ice machine was the ultimate choice for the home. You have ice is less than seven minutes but what is the magic behind these modern machines? How does a portable ice maker work?

How does a portable ice maker work? In easy steps.

A quick research on the topic would bring to light the fact that the process of making ice from water, using an ice maker is quite a simple process. No more waiting for ice in the ice tray, in a freezer to freeze. Instead you grab a portable countertop ice making machine and watch the magic happen. Below are the steps that educate you on exactly how an ice machine works.

#1 Fill reservoir with water

The working of the portable ice machine may seem like magic. You pour water in the reservoir by lifting the lid atop the unit. Water is to be poured until it reaches the fill line. As we are at the beginning stage, it would be nice if we could have the machine fill itself by using a mobile app. Maybe this feature could be included in the next iteration of the machine. At the moment, we have to do everything manually.

#2 Water automatically fill ice tray

The water poured into the unit’s reservoir is then pumped up into the ice tray, close to the top of the machine where the ice will be made. When the ice tray is filled with water, the water makes contact with a number of metal prongs protruding from the top part of the machine down into the tray with the water. 

#3 Ice begins to form around prongs

As the refrigeration process begins, the prongs get super cold really fast. Within minutes you can see ice form around the prongs. The longer the contact time between the prongs and the water the bigger the ice gets. Most portable ice machine allows you to choose between different sizes of ice – small, medium or large. Small ice takes about 6 minutes to fully form, while large ice can take up to twice as long. The longer the machine runs the freezing times may be shortened by a few minutes. the ambient temperature of the room could also impact the freezing times.

#4 Ice fall into tray

When the ice reaches the preset size, the machine empties the remaining water in the tray, back into the reservoir. The prongs with the ice attached are then flash heated and the ice slides off into the ice tray. 

#5 Ice lifted from tray and pushed into ice basket

A motorised arm then push the ice from the ice tray into the ice bin. The process continues until the ice bin, which is located just above the water reservoir, is completely full.

#6 Ice basket full sensor beeps

When the bin is full a sensor on the storage basket shut off the machine and give a warning beep to let you know that the ice machine’s storage basket is full. 

#7 Enjoy a glass of your favorite drink

Get a glass, put the ice in it, the ice from the storage bin. Add your favorite drink  and enjoy. 

Important tips to consider about a portable ice maker

As you are not enjoying your drink. Here are some important tips on how to use an ice maker that you may want to keep in mind:

A portable ice maker is not a fridge or a freezer. It will not keep your ice frozen forever. 

As the ice is made, the melting process begins. Therefore, either use the ice right away or place it in a freezer bag and store it in the freezer for later use. 

If you forget to take the ice from the ice basket it will start melting. The melted ice will drain back into the water reservoir for reuse. 


Now you know how does a portable ice maker work. You know also that it makes ice faster than your freezer can. Therefore if you need ice, for a big family, then an ice maker could be your best option. The reason for my purchase of an ice machine is because I have a big family and our ice demand is very high. Going to the store to buy ice is a massive inconvenience. With our freezer, someone always use the ice and always forget to refill the ice tray. Now with our trusty ice maker, we make ice on demand. 

The portable ice making machine is awesome but it works a little different from a commercial ice makers and therefore produce a different kind of ice. You can read the difference in our article, How do commercial ice maker work?. If you are searching for a portable ice making machine of your own to use at home, consider the magic chef portable ice maker we really love ours.