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Outdoor Ice Maker Buying Guide

Outdoor Ice Maker Buying Guide

If you are an outdoor entertainment aficionado, you need an outdoor ice maker. Chances are you already have an amazing grill and comfortable seating arrangement. Why disrupt the flow of a party by dashing back inside so you can ice down a guest’s drink? Convenience is a good reason why an ice maker for your outdoor kitchen will up your game as host. Follow this 7 point outdoor ice maker buying guide to keep cocktails cool and icy desserts fresh.


  • For best performance, an outdoor ice maker and refrigerator needs to be placed out of direct sunlight. Observe your outdoor kitchen at various times of day so you have a clear picture of the path of travel of shade and sunlight. Keeping it in the shade will assure better energy efficiency.

Grills & Fire Pits

  • Any patio and outdoor kitchen appliance that produces fire or uses gas fuel should have a comfortable distance from an ice maker and refrigerator. Introducing a heat source will diminish the efficiency of your outdoor ice maker’s performance. Any appliance that overworks itself consistently is an appliance that will wear out sooner and likely have maintenance issues.


  • Outdoor fridges and freezers either vent from the front or vent from the back.  For optimum ventilation, allow 1/2 inch to 1 inch clearance around the entire unit. Once a location has been selected for installation, get accurate measurements while shopping for an ice maker. Choose a size that will fit in the space leaving a large enough gap for proper ventilation.

If installation is to be within an outdoor kitchen island, modifications may be necessary for a rear venting appliance. Island vent panels will improve airflow and provide the necessary ventilation to keep a rear venting appliance humming and happy as it merrily does its job.

    • No Drain: There are self-contained drainage systems. This makes it possible to have an outdoor ice maker anywhere that is most convenient. The drawback is that it will have to be emptied. These ice makers are not as convenient as some of the others, but are usually less money.
    • Pump: If drainage needs to be diverted, making gravity not an option, a drain pump will force the liquid in the direction you want it to go. It is important to know the path of travel for your outdoor ice maker’s drainage needs in order to get a drainage line that can manage the distance.
    • Gravity: A gravity drainage system uses the forces of nature to pull down liquids and move them out of the appliance. Attaching a drain line or installing the appliance directly above a drain keeps the party patio high and dry.
    • Maintenance: Routine maintenance is required for an outdoor ice maker. When selecting a location make sure that it will be easy and convenient to access the appliance in order to inspect and clean the coils and compressor fan.
    • Drainage:  It is important to opt for an ice maker that is equipped with a reliable drainage option. Generally there are three options: Self Contained (No Drain Pump), Gravity Pump, or Drain Pump
    • Production: Evaluate what sizes and shapes of ice cubes are produced. Consider how much can be produced and the storage capacity available. Compare this to your entertainment demands for ice. Select an outdoor ice maker that will be able to keep up with your party guests. Here’s what you need to know about ice cube details:
      • Capacity: Every 10 lbs. of storage capacity serves up about (20) 8 oz. iced drinks.
      • Shapes: Cube ice has more mass so chills drinks better. Crescent cubes are easier to produce which can increase production capacity. Nugget ice is softer, melts faster and is fun to munch. Gourmet cubes have distinct shapes, like a thimble, have greater mass than traditional cubes so cool more effectively and are crystal clear.

Don’t let your amazing outdoor kitchen and patio parties lag while you scamper about for ice. Entertain like a pro with ice readily available and perfectly shaped for the occasion. Get more enjoyment. To find out more about the choices that are perfectly suited for your entertaining style, just ask an outdoor appliance expert.