If you’ve never tried to buy a nugget ice maker, you may be surprised to know that to get that ice you love, you will need to pay a hefty price.  Not all ice makers can produce nugget ice and the reason is because it’s much easier and cheaper to produce other ice types like crescent for example.  A nugget ice maker produces Sonic-like ice that is crunchy and absorbs the flavor of drinks.

Nugget Ice Maker: FirstBuild Opal Intro ViewThe difference between a nugget ice maker and a traditional ice maker is in the freezing process.  Traditional ice makers freeze water into a hard ice cube.  A nugget ice machine scrapes ice flakes off the inside of a chilled stainless-steel cylinder, then extrudes them through a round hole compacting them into chewable nuggets like a snowball…nugget ice.  It’s no wonder a Sonic ice maker is so expensive.


Interested in learning about other popular ice makers?  Be sure to see our other articles about some of the best!


A nugget ice maker for commercial use can cost thousands of dollars and even some of the most basic models are still over $1000.  Fortunately, one company has taken pity on us nugget ice lovers and produced a nugget ice maker that makes lots of real nugget ice for home use at half the price.





Commercial nugget ice makers are also large and not portable.  For home use, you want a countertop ice maker which produces nugget ice and can also be used elsewhere like for parties, tailgating, or camping.

We searched refrigeration forums, manufacturer sites, consumer sites, customer review sites, social media, and retail sites to find the most popular and highly rated budget nugget ice maker.


Take a look at our choice and see if this is the best icemaker for your needs!


FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Machine

Nugget Ice Maker: FirstBuild Opal Main ViewMost people love nugget ice for its crunchability and flavor-saving ability, but when they go to buy an icemaker for home use, they get a rude awakening.  Nugget ice machines are expensive.  Most are much too expensive and unwieldy for home use.  Enter the FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Machine.  It makes lots of beautiful nugget ice at a price that’s less than half that of even the least expensive commercial nugget ice makers.  But, it’s not just about the price.  The Opal features an automatic fill level sensor that automatically turns the ice maker on and off, makes up to 24 lbs. of ice per day, stores 3 lbs. of ice in its large bin, is compact and portable for countertop use or can be taken to your next party, tailgate, or camping trip, and even has Bluetooth connectivity to schedule ice making for your convenience.  Fast and efficient, you’ll get your first nugget in only 15 minutes after which it will continue to produce ice as needed at a rate of 1 lb. per hour.  Get the budget home icemaker that makes chewable, crunchable, flavor-saving Opal nugget ice…the ice you love!


Nugget Ice Maker: Features

  • 24 lbs. per day, 3 lb. bin, countertop nugget ice maker makes chewable, crunchable, flavor-saving nugget ice
  • Makes ice by scraping ice flakes off the inside of a chilled stainless-steel cylinder and then extrudes the flakes through a round hole compacting it into chewable nuggets
  • Produces first nugget in 15 minutes and generates 1 lb. of ice as needed per hour
  • Portable, compact countertop design fits under most cabinets and plugs into any electrical outlet at home or wherever you need ice
  • 2.5-quart bin holds 3 lbs. of nugget ice
  • Bluetooth ice scheduling using FirstBuild app
  • Automated fill level sensor turns ice maker on and off to keep ice flowing
  • Dimensions are 10.5W x 15.5D x 17.25H inches and it weighs 44 lbs.
  • Nugget Ice Maker: FirstBuild Opal Serving View1-Year limited warranty


Customer Reviews

See FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Machine Customer Reviews >>>



  • Perfect nugget ice quickly, quietly, and consistently
  • Easy to use
  • Compact and portable
  • Budget price for true nugget ice







  • None noted







FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice Machine Use and Care Guide >>>






Nugget Ice Maker




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Nugget ice is highly desirable for its chewability and ability to absorb flavor.  Not every ice maker can make nugget ice so you have to know what you’re buying.  We sincerely hope that this article has provided you with valuable information that helps you choose the best nugget ice maker for your needs!