Best Sonic Nugget Ice Makers For Chewy Ice

Gary Johnson
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Sonic ice is some of the best ice you can buy if you want to make your drinks truly refreshing. Sonic ice is chewy and slow-melting, which makes it great for water and sodas, and it’s always a welcome treat when added to cocktails.

Can you make Sonic’s finest ice with your regular ice maker?

Not really.

If you really want Sonic ice at home, you’re going to have to make it yourself by chipping away at some of your favorite, machine-made ice.

Below are three of the best sonic ice makers on the market today.

Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L Ice Maker and Water DispenserBest OverallManitowoc CNF-0201A-L Ice Maker and Water Dispenser
Opal Countertop Nugget Ice MakerBudget PickOpal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
Scotsman CU50GA Undercounter Ice MakerUpgrade PickScotsman CU50GA Undercounter Ice Maker

1. Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L Ice Maker and Water Dispenser

Our rating: 9 / 10

Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L Ice Maker and Water Dispenser

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  • Nugget size ice
  • Low price with a great value
  • Reasonable energy consumption
  • Impressive water dispenser

If what you’re after is a high-quality ice maker for your restaurant, bar, or party that can produce large quantities of ice – specifically, nugget-size ice – then we’d suggest bringing one of these. The Manitowoc ice maker makes nugget-size ice cubes along with 7-pound to 10-pound cubes, which are ideal for bartops. While the large cubes will result in more waste, they will also consume more water than the small cubes.

The Manitowoc ice maker provides you with a water dispenser with trouble-free push button operation. This dispenser is mounted above the ice machine and is convenient in providing you with fresh cold water at any time – no matter if you’re in the kitchen or bathroom. It’s an excellent addition to any commercial kitchen or bar and is a great investment for any establishment.

2. Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Our rating: 8 / 10

Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

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  • Hassle Free
  • Lightweight and Compact
  • Can Fit Small Spaces

The Opal Nugget Ice Maker uses unique design elements to give you hassle free, chewable ice that melts slower than normal ice cubes so you can enjoy your favorite drinks for longer periods of time.

The unit itself is lightweight and compact, so it can easily fit into your kitchen countertop space – perfect for large gatherings. Not only that, but it can also fit smaller spaces if you have an apartment with limited kitchen storage options.

However, to get one of the more desirable features of this ice maker, you’ll have to consider some of the more negative characteristics – and noise is one of them. Turns out this device is quite noisy, compared to other ice machine models. However, if you don’t mind the noise, (or if you’re the only ones in your home), then this machine might work well for your entertaining and cooling needs.

3. Scotsman CU50GA Undercounter Ice Maker

Our rating: 7 / 10

Scotsman CU50GA Undercounter Ice Maker

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  • Good price
  • DURABILITY – the company offers 10-year warranty
  • Clean, crisp ice cubes with cooling water
  • Compact, well-designed
  • Small footprint
  • Runs quietly; excellent customer service


  • Ice doesn’t come out as fast as compact models
  • Tricky to install
  • Operating manual could be better

So you want to find the best sonic nugget ice makers to create chewy ice cubes. You’ll love this model, which is one of many awesome choices available for creating chewy ice.

This ice maker produces nine small, rounded ice cubes in every batch. It’s great for drinks that need a little more chew, such as a root beer float or a mint julep. It’s also a great choice for making ice for cocktails.

The bins are easy to clean and also allow you to gather up ice to use later. The unit has been designed to be far more durable and efficient than other mid-size ice makers. It features an electronic temperature self-regulating system that can make up to 28 pounds of ice each day.

4. Ice-O-Matic GEMU090 Pearl Self-Contained Ice Machine

Our rating: 7 / 10

Ice-O-Matic GEMU090 Pearl Self-Contained Ice Machine

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  • Easy to clean and install
  • Quieter than other models
  • Nice looking compact design
  • Durable
  • Cost effective


  • Not suitable for commercial use
  • Quality control issues
  • Noisy

A top-of-the-line nugget ice maker can enhance the overall dining experience at your home, and the Ice-O-Matic GEMU090 is the best in its category.

The GEMU090 has a compact design and the look is up to date, but it’s powerful enough to produce up to 360 pounds of nugget ice per day. It’s quiet, too, and there are only a few ice machines with similar specs that can match it in terms of noise.

The GEMU090 provides medium sized nugget ice, which is just right for a wide variety of uses like cocktails, smoothies, soft drinks, and so much more. This is the perfect upgrade if you’re looking for a machine that can stand the test of time and that’s capable of performing at all times.

5. Scotsman SCN60GA-1SS 15" Brilliance Outdoor Ice Machine

Our rating: 5 / 10

Scotsman SCN60GA-1SS 15" Brilliance Outdoor Ice Machine

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  • Makes nice large nuggets
  • Water fills into a bucket sitting on the floor.
  • Easy to clean
  • Blocks of ice are easily broken apart
  • Perfect for large parties and outdoor events
  • Durable and well-made
  • Extremely durable.
  • The cones are very durable.


  • Sometimes you don’t get the ice you want
  • Needs to be kept inside
  • Requires more maintenance
  • Water freezes pretty quick
  • Customer service is not very good

If you want to make large, chewy, nugget ice for the best shaved ice around, you might consider buying the Scotsman SCN60-1SS model. This ice maker is capable of producing up to 80 lbs of nugget ice per day. This is enough ice to quickly chill your drinks for a large number of people without having to constantly refill the machine.

This ice maker has controlled freezing that can help the freezing process proceed efficiently, which helps to ensure that you get the ice you want. The unit is also easy to clean, and was designed to make it easy for users to move it around. The compact dimensions of this ice maker make it easy to store in your garage or shed.

6. DELLA Portable Electric Ice Maker Machine Compact Kitchen Home High Capacity 26 Pounds per Day -2 Cube Sizes

Our rating: 5 / 10

DELLA Portable Electric Ice Maker Machine Compact Kitchen Home High Capacity 26 Pounds per Day -2 Cube Sizes

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  • Very speedy
  • Very easy to refill
  • Simple to clean
  • Efficient and durable
  • Good size
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Perfect for a small family
  • Makes reasonably good ice
  • Starts producing in 20 minutes
  • Makes 2 sizes of ice


  • Loud
  • Somewhat small bin
  • Turns off before you are done making ice
  • For being on the counter it is very hot
  • Only makes enough ice for 4 people

This is quick and easy to adjust and got so that I set a bowl out to catch the ice. It is small enough to set on the counter but I still had to clear some space for it. Love all the options not only for size but also for clear or with the filter. I love that it’s small enough to put in my RV or travel trailer. I have had other ice makers but nothing that was quiet like this one. This one is awesome. I’m thinking about getting another one. Makes the ice fast.

7. Frigidaire EFIC102 Counter Top Ice Maker

Our rating: 5 / 10

Frigidaire EFIC102 Counter Top Ice Maker

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  • Makes 60% larger nuggets
  • Makes a lot of ice
  • Ability to use commercially pure water
  • Easy to access basket for ice making
  • Top-of-the-line performance
  • Makes nuggets of different sizes


  • Too loud for offices
  • Only comes in silver
  • Not ideal for travel

Frigidaire is the manufacturer behind this top-of-the-line nugget ice maker in the Home Ice Makers category. It comes with a cube marker indicator to help you make your own ice cubes and nuggets. The machine also features a see-through window so you can see the progress of the ice making process.

The machine allows you to use both regular tap water and commercially pure water. It’s also capable of ice making for up to 70 lbs. per day. With that said, this machine is extremely fast, although it does tend to be rather loud as well.

The machine comes with a wide input spout and some say it’s very easy to get your ice cubes into your glass or blender. The ice cubes you get are nuggets rather than traditional cube shapes. This isn’t just a design quirk though, as it allows you to get more ice in your glass.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What ice machine makes Sonic ice?

If you look at the specification of a lot of popular ice makers, they will often advertise that they make "Sonic ice." The ice machines that make Sonic ice are generally some form of cube ice maker. If you've ever been to a Sonic Drive-In, you've seen that this type of ice is often served at restaurants.

The ice is slightly larger and noticeably more angular than standard crushed ice. The larger size means the ice is less likely to fall off a straw, and the corners help balance out the chewiness of the ice.

Do any refrigerators make nugget ice?

If you are looking for nugget ice at home, then you're better off purchasing a nugget ice maker, rather than trying to convince your refrigerator to make nugget ice.

Several kitchen refrigerators will "clear" the ice in the ice maker, but that doesn't mean it will make nugget ice. It just means that any sheet-shaped ice will be shredded into small pieces, rather than big ones. But you still won't get the delicate nugget ice you get with a nugget ice maker.

Why does my ice maker not make as much ice?

So it seems like your ice maker is pretty small now. When your ice production slows down it could be for one of several reasons. First, a build up of minerals in the water heater may slow down your ice production. You can flush the ice maker water system with bleach to remove these minerals. By putting the right amount of bleach in the water supply and running the entire cycle you will usually clean out the system.

Second, hard water can cause the ice maker to function less effectively. Water produced from a municipal source can contain significant amounts of minerals such as calcium, iron, or magnesium. With hard water, chunks of ice and small, useless ice crystals may result. You can avoid this by purchasing a water softener.

Is the OPAL ice maker worth it?

The OPAL is the Cadillac of all ice makers whether nugget or cube type. It excels at producing large volumes of ice in three sizes and is quirky fun to watch. It's also one of the most reliable and easy-to-use machines on the market.

If you're looking to buy an ice maker that makes nugget ice, we recommend getting the OPAL. If you want to make cubes, however, you're better off getting a different machine. The OPAL makes perfect ice nuggets, but the cubes melt a bit faster than some of the other cube machines.


Although the Sonic Nugget ice maker is unique because of its compact design and self-contained reservoir, it can be an expensive purchase if you don’t know what you’re doing. We hope that after reviewing our guide, you now understand which Sonic Nugget Ice Maker to choose. You won’t be paying too much for functionality and features you won’t use.

Our Recommendation

Manitowoc CNF-0201A-L Ice Maker and Water DispenserBest OverallManitowoc CNF-0201A-L Ice Maker and Water Dispenser
Opal Countertop Nugget Ice MakerBudget PickOpal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
Scotsman CU50GA Undercounter Ice MakerUpgrade PickScotsman CU50GA Undercounter Ice Maker