Refrigerators

There’s a new kid on the block for at-home nugget ice

It's never been easier

The NewAir Nugget Ice Maker fits on most countertops Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

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It’s known as the “good ice”, chewable ice, and nugget ice. If none of those words makes you excited, this review isn’t for you. NewAir has come out with the NIM040SS00, a countertop nugget ice machine to fill that nugget-shaped hole in your heart. It makes the good ice by the bucket load and is a worthy competitor to the wildly popular Opal Nugget Ice Maker.

It’s more powerful than the Opal, but lacks its refinement and attention to detail.

What is nugget ice?

Nugget Ice Comparison
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Nugget ice has more surface area, meaning it can cool drinks faster.

The fast-food chain Sonic popularized nugget ice as a way to cool drinks without diluting them too much. Basically, it’s ice that gets crushed or flaked and then compressed into pellets or nuggets.

Nugget ice has two advantages over traditional ice cubes. First, it’s chewable. People like to munch on ice chips for a variety of reasons and nugget ice has a pleasant mouthfeel. Second, having a bunch of small nuggets cools a drink faster than big, clunky ice cubes.

About the NewAir Nugget Ice Maker

  • Dimensions: 16.50" x 10.60" x 16.30" (D x W x H)
  • Water tank capacity: 2 Liters
  • Ice capacity: 4.8 pounds
  • Ice per hour: 22 ounces

What we like

Fastest nugget ice maker we’ve tested

Nugget Ice Operation
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Push button, get ice.

From an engineering standpoint, making ice is difficult. So we were pleasantly surprised at how quickly the NewAir generated ice. The box promises ice within five minutes—and our testing showed you might get a nugget or two in that timeframe—but enough for one person won’t come out until about 20 minutes after activating the unit.

After an hour, we measured 22 ounces of ice, between three and six drinks worth of ice, depending on preference. With its tank full, you can make about 4.5 pounds of ice over the course of 3-4 hours.

That’s pretty fast for a countertop unit. The Opal Nugget Ice Maker made about 14 ounces an hour.

High-quality ice

Nugget Ice Quality
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

The NewAir made quality chewable ice.

The ice reminds us of biting into a snow cone and tasted crisp and clean. We should also point out that the NewAir is made from BPA-free plastic.

Simple setup

Nugget Ice Just Add Water
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

No need for a water line, just pour in water.

Just add water! It really is that simple. You don’t need to install plumbing, which means you can use it outdoors or away from the kitchen.

What we didn’t like

Does not continuously work

NewAir Nugget Ice Interior
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

It was full of ice when we left!

One thing that we really liked about the Opal was that as the ice melted, it recycled the water to make new ice. We left the NewAir running overnight as a test and we came back to find an empty ice maker. We perused the manual and found that the NewAir is designed to turn off when it fills up and apparently doesn’t turn on again.

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Should you buy the NewAir Nugget Ice Maker?

Yes, if you’re looking to satisfy your good ice desires, whether you want it for a home bar or just the kitchen counter. It’s slightly cheaper than the Opal and produces ice of similar quality. Ultimately, you’re trading the Opal’s smart features for the NewAir’s faster ice production.

Get the NewAir Nugget Ice Maker for $444.83

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