Whether for the boat, RV, cabin, or simply a home BBQ, having a separate, dedicated, ice maker in a small, portable, easy-to-use package can be a must-have item for those warm-weather outings. But with so many options available, how do you know what model is best for you and your family?
To help answer that question, we've decided to take a closer look at one of the most popular portable ice makers on the market today, the Emerson ice maker model ER104001, comparing it against some other well-regarded, top-selling models to see how it stacks up.
What Is An Emerson Ice Maker Model ER104001?
The Emerson ice maker model ER104001 is popular for obvious reasons. It features a no-frills, budget-friendly design capable of freezing up to 22 pounds of ice in 24 hours.
Despite being largely comparable to the other portable ice makers we looked at for this review, the specs on the Emerson ice maker do leave us wanting in a few different areas. For example, while the 22-pounds-per-24-hours output is likely to be adequate for most home users, other models in this review were capable of producing up to 28 pounds of ice per day at not much more cost.
Finally, we are at a loss as to the lack of capacity in the Emerson ice maker to store ice once it is made. With just 0.88 pounds of ice capacity, the Emerson ice maker essentially requires a separate cooler or freezer to store the ice once it has been made. By way of comparison, the Edgestar model has an ice capacity of 2 pounds, more than twice that of the Emerson ice maker.
Starting at around $120, the Emerson ice maker is among the cheapest models in our group but not dramatically so, coming in at about $30-50 cheaper than the more expensive models we looked at. One may want to shell out a little bit more money for increased ice production abilities and larger storage capacity in a similar sized package.
How It Compares
Of course, to really get a sense of how the Emerson ice maker measures up, we need to compare it to the competition. For this review, we've decided to compare the Emerson ice maker to the following popular models:
Emerson Ice Maker
This Emerson ice maker features a no-frills design intended to keep things simple and keep the price low. The maximum output of 22 pounds of ice per 24 hours is slightly less than some similar models we've seen but is still respectable for this price range.
However, the 0.88-pound capacity of the ice storage basket is the tiniest we've seen, even among small, portable ice makers.
The ice-basket capacity on this Emerson ice maker is a disappointing 0.88 pounds, meaning it is most likely that you'll need to store your ice elsewhere once it is made.
The look and feel of the Emerson ice maker give the sense that price was the biggest driving factor behind its design. Consequently, we have some questions about the quality and durability of this Emerson ice maker, particularly over the long haul.
The limited warranty on this Emerson ice maker comes with only a 90-day coverage period, far less than the one-year coverage that is fairly standard among portable ice makers.
Edgestar IP210SS1 Portable Ice Maker
- Easy to use electronic controls, Stores up to 2 pounds of ice at a time
- Stainless steel wrapped body with matching silver lid, 3 different ice cube sizes
- 1 gallon water reservoir; No drain required; Produces ice in under 10 minutes
The Edgestar IP210SS1 portable ice maker is available on Amazon starting at about $150 for a model with a black, plastic finish. A stainless steel model is available for around $180.
The features on the Edgestar ice maker are remarkably similar to those of the other ice makers in our group, despite the higher price.
We did, however, very much appreciate the Edgestar's 2-pound ice storage capacity, which is large for a portable ice maker of its size.
With a 2-pound storage capacity, the Edgestar more than doubles the paltry ice storage of the Emerson ice maker. Additionally, the Edgestar can crank out up to 28 pounds of ice in 24 hours, also better than the Emerson ice maker's 22 pounds per 24 hours.
The Edgestar also features a large 1-gallon water reservoir, meaning less frequent refills.
The quality of the plastic Edgestar models feels similar to the Emerson ice maker. However, while the stainless steel model of the Edgestar felt and looked to be a more durable design, Edgestar charges extra for this option.
Edgestar includes a 90-day warranty period on labor and a one-year warranty on parts. The industry standard on portable, consumer-level ice makers tends to be one-year coverage on labor and parts, putting this warranty below average for the industry.
Magic Chef MCIM22TW 27lb-Capacity Portable Mini Ice Maker
Starting at about $150, the Magic Chef is at the higher end of our price range, but it does include the best warranty of any model we looked at, which says something about Magic Chef's confidence in its product.
Like the other budget-friendly portable ice makers we looked at for this review, the Magic Chef is centered around doing one thing and doing it well.
With a 27-pound-per-24-hour maximum ice production, this Magic Chef ice maker does what it's supposed to do without a lot of other bells and whistles.
However, we do appreciate being able to choose among 3 different ice sizes (small, medium, and large) as well as the addition of both water-level and ice-level indicator lights, which let you know when it's time to empty the ice or refill the water reservoir.
The capacity on this Magic Chef ice maker is about par for the course when it comes to budget-friendly, portable ice makers of this size.
Capable of producing a respectable 27 pounds of ice in 24 hours, with 9 pieces of ice per cycle, this Magic Chef will fulfill the needs of most casual users and is perfect for a boat or RV.
While we prefer the look, feel, and durability of a stainless steel finish, the white plastic finish and other components on this Magic Chef ice maker are about average quality among portable ice makers in this price range.
Additionally, the strength of the Magic Chef warranty as compared to other manufacturers give us a sense that this ice maker is built for reliability.
This Magic Chef ice maker includes a one-year warranty covering parts and labor on the entire ice maker, as well as a five-year warranty on compressor parts (parts only, no labor).
This is the best warranty offered among models we looked at, which tells us something about the confidence Magic Chef has in its ice maker.
NewAir AI-100S 28-Pound Portable Ice Maker
- Convenient, compact design is ideal for use in small kitchens & other compact spaces like RVs, boats & more
- Produces 28 pounds of ice a day - never run to the store for a bag of ice again
- Offers an easy-to-use LED control panel that allows you to choose from three ice size settings
The NewAir AI-100S offers similar performance to the other models at a similar price.
The features on the NewAir portable ice maker are comparable to those on the other models we looked at. However, we always scoff when asked to pay extra for a stainless steel finish, as NewAir does.
The option of three different ice sizes is a nice feature though it is one we've come to expect on similar models. The removable ice tray makes for easier transport to another storage container, such as a cooler or freezer.
This NewAir portable ice maker makes 9 pieces of ice per batch, which is the same as some other models we looked at.
However, the NewAir can take 15 minutes per batch, while other models we've seen in this price range produce batches as frequently as every 6 minutes, with 10 minutes being about standard.
While the NewAir's 28-pounds-of-ice-per-24-hours production is as good as any in this group, when you're eagerly waiting on the next batch of ice in order to make the next round of drinks, 15 minutes can be a long time.
And other portable ice makers costing about the same could have produced 2.5 batches in that same amount of time!
Our personal preference tends away from plastic bodies in preference of a stainless steel finish, which we also find does a better job of matching our other kitchen appliances.
While we do not prefer the base-model NewAir's plain, white, plastic design, finding it to look somewhat cheap, we also recognize that this can be a matter of personal taste.
Still, for a portable model that is intended to be transported for use in an RV or boat, we think that stainless steel will hold up better than plastic over time.
NewAir provides the standard one-year warranty on this portable ice maker.
After comparing the Emerson ice maker to similar models, we are hard-pressed to find significant variation among the options.
All of the models we looked at were capable of producing between 22 pounds and 28 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period, which is likely to prove sufficient for the majority of home users under most circumstances.
The various models were also remarkably similar in price, starting at around $120-130 with an extra charge for more popular colors or a stainless steel finish.
However, one of the points that did distinguish the Emerson ice maker, and unfortunately in a negative way, is the surprisingly paltry size of its ice-storing capacity.
Able to store just 0.88 pounds of ice, the Emerson ice maker boasts less than half the ice-storing capacity of some other models we looked at. For example, the Edgestar can store up to 2 pounds of ice.
This means that to achieve maximum production capacity, the Emerson ice maker would have to be emptied rather regularly, which also means there is a need to have a separate freezer or cooler on hand to store that ice.
For these reasons, we've decided to give the Emerson ice maker an overall score of 2.5 stars. With all the models we looked at being highly similar in most ways, the lack of ice storage capacity on the Emerson puts it at a severe disadvantage vis-à-vis these competitors.