In this review we take a look at the TaoTronics TT-IC002 ice maker and see exactly why this is great little portable/countertop ice maker which can solve any number of cold-drink related issues!
If you do not already have an ice maker in your refrigerator then this ice maker is the perfect solution. Many of us have also suffered the inconvenience of the refrigerator ice maker breaking once the refrigerator is out of warranty and unless it can be fixed easily (and cheaply) it’s often easier to leave the ice maker broken and wait until a new refrigerator is needed. This is perhaps not as much of a problem in winter, but by summertime, jeez, that ice maker is sorely missed!
The portable ice maker is also fantastic for parties, for taking with you when you go camping, RVing or even for hooking up to a generator at your next tailgate party.
If you only want ice cubes for jugs of iced tea or an occasional cocktail the flexibility of the TaoTronics ice maker means you do not even need to run it constantly. Just keep some space in the freezer, run the ice maker for a few hours each week and transfer the ice into ziplock bags and pop them in the freezer so you’ve always got ice to hand.
It is the way that the TaoTronics ice maker (and other portable ice makers) works which allows it to make ice faster than an inbuilt ice maker. When you pour water into the reservoir and turn the machine on, the water is pumped from the bottom of the reservoir through a filter and into the ice cube tray at the top of the unit.
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Start Time: 02/24/2021 12:01 AM PST
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The machine will then begin a cycle in which the prongs of the heat exchanger are lowered into the ice cube tray. Refrigerant (like in a refrigerator) is used to quickly cool the prongs and these then cause the ice cubes to form. For larger ice cubes, the prongs stay in longer. Once the cubes are the correct size any leftover water is fed back into the reservoir and the heat exchanger now heats up enough just to allow the ice cubes to slide off and into the ice basket.
Once the ice bucket is full and/or the water reservoir empty this triggers sensors which connect through to the control panel, turning on lights or even putting the ice maker into standby.
The speed of this process is exactly why portable ice makers churn out much more ice than the ice maker in your refrigerator – making them the must-have for keeping drinks topped up year round.
TaoTronics Ice Maker Features
Unlike some other types of ice maker, the TaoTronics ice maker does not need to be connected to a water hookup, just a wall plug. This is why the ice maker is so portable – if you can hook it up to an electric outlet safely outdoors, family members or guests can then help themselves to ice as and when they like. Just remember that if you do move it, allow time for the refrigerant to settle before you start using it.
What’s Actually in the Box?
As well as the TaoTronics (TT-IC002) ice maker, the box includes an ice basket and food grade plastic ice scoop. It also comes with a user manual and a one year warranty from the manufacturer.
The machine itself weighs around 20 lbs. in weight and measures 9.5 by 12.4 by 14.7 inches – not too big if you don’t have a huge amount of spare space on your countertop.
This is also a reasonably quiet ice maker; you tend to only hear it when the cubes clatter into the basket.
Ice Making Options
The water reservoir holds a fraction over 4 pints, and this will make up to 4.6 lbs. of ice. Once the ice basket is full the display will light up and likewise, if the reservoir is empty, the display will also tell you that you need to refill. If you are not going to use the ice immediately you may want to transfer it to the freezer for holding as it does not have a freezing function to keep the ice cubes frozen for any length of time.
You can program the machine to either make larger or small cubes depending on what type of drinks you want the cubes for. A large cube cycle runs for nine minutes while the cycle for small cubes takes seven minutes. Each cycle will make nine cubes which amounts to a healthy 26 lbs. in 24 hours if you keep on emptying the basket and refilling with water!
The display is a backlit display that allows you to select the ice making function, what size cubes you want, but it also alerts you to when the ice maker is full or if you need to add more water. The display will also show when it is undergoing its self-cleaning function.
Stainless Steel Construction
The outer shell of the ice maker is 304 stainless steel to not only minimize risk of rusting but to make sure it is easy to wipe clean after use.
The inner of the machine is made with food grade ABS materials and between the inner and outer layer there is insulation to keep your freshly made ice cold. The plastic lid is transparent so you can see how much ice is in the basket without needing to keep lifting the lid to check.
A self-cleaning function sounds a little strange when you do only use water in the machine, but like any appliance, minerals can build up, especially if you live in an area with higher mineral deposits in your water. You can also reduce severe mineral build up if you use chilled filtered water for the ice rather than water straight from the faucet.
To run the self-cleaning program on the TaoTronics ice maker, you just need to fill the reservoir up to the max line, press the clean button and then the start/stop button. Once the program has run, you just need to shuffle the maker over to the sink, unplug the small drain cap underneath the machine and allow the water to drain out before replacing the drain cap.
The Pros and Cons
The main advantage of this ice maker is that it does not need hooking up to a water line and as long as you allow the necessary amount of time for the refrigerant to settle, you can move it out to the yard or even take it camping with you for instant access to ice. The self-cleaning function is also a bonus – especially if you live in an area with high mineral content tap water.
Like the majority of counter top ice makers, this does not have a separate freezer function so you will need to move the ice to your freezer if you’re not going to use it all over the next few hours.