TaoTronics nugget ice maker review

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REVIEW – Summer is coming and that means icy cold beverages. Of course, if you live in Florida, like me, that’s pretty much true year-round. Many of us have ice makers built into our refrigerators. But those are designed to make enough ice for a small family.  What happens when you have a party and need to have ice for the multitudes? Of course, I mean when we can again have parties.  You can bag your ice for days and keep it all in the freezer, or make the run to the gas station or convenience store and get one of those giant bags. But you always have to throw those on the ground to break them up, and half the time they explode all over the ground.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a bunch of ice quickly with a countertop device?  And, what if it didn’t make regular old really hard ice, but rather that nice, soft nugget ice you get during those unfortunate hospital stays, or in your soft drink at Chick-fil-A?

TaoTronics promises just that with their new countertop nugget ice maker. Let’s see if this device provides the chill or is just all wet.

What is it?

This is an ice maker, specifically a nugget ice maker. It is designed to be either manually filled or be connected more permanently to a water line.

What’s in the box?

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  • The icemaker
  • Ice catching bin
  • Ice scoop
  • Water hose for permanent installation
  • Warranty card
  • User manual (not shown)

Hardware specs

  • Model: TT-IC001US
  • Dimensions: 10 w x 16 d x 17 h inches
  • Weight: 40 lbs as stated, 35 lbs on my scale
  • Water capacity: 2.7 liters
  • Ice making rate: 26 lbs per day
  • Ice bin storage capacity: 3.3 lbs as stated, 4 lbs in my testing
  • Water supply: manual fill or water supply line
  • Power: 120vAC
  • Ice making speed: first ice in 15-20 minutes, a little over 1 lb per hour in my testing
  • Ambient temperature operating range: 50F – 90F
  • Input water temperature range: 40F – 82F

Design and features

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Let’s get this out there right off the bat – this thing is big and heavy!  All that refrigeration power and insulation adds up.  It looks very nice, all covered in stainless steel.

The lid has a nice viewing window so you can see how much ice you have in the bin.

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Speaking of the bin, it will hold all the ice a full reservoir can produce.

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The bin is slotted so that as ice melts, the water drains back into the reservoir and can be used to produce replacement ice.  The handles on each side make for easy removal.

The included ice scoop is small enough to easily pour ice into a glass as well as fit neatly in the bin.

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The control panel sits on top, above the door.

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The two outside items are indicator lights for a full ice bin on the left and an empty water reservoir on the right.  The middle two are buttons for turning the unit on/off on the left and starting the cleaning cycle on the right.

The buttons and indicators light up and/or flash as needed.

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The unit uses an infrared emitter and sensor pair to determine if the ice bin is full.

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That’s the emitter on the left and the sensor on the right.  It is basically the same as the safety interruption sensor at the base of your garage door.  When ice can no longer fit in the bin and blocks the sensor, the indicator light turns on and the system stops.

Removing the ice bin provides access to the water reservoir. You can see the nice sensor on the left and right, near the top of the photo below.

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You can see the water drain and inlet on the left and right as well as the rests in the corners for the ice bin. You can also see the MAX line that shows the maximum water fill level.

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On the back of the machine, we see the drain hoses with their plugs installed, in their storage position.  You can also see the fan inlet for the cooling system, power cord, and on the lower left, optional water line input.

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To use the optional water supply line, you insert it into the inlet on the lower left and then connect it to a permanent water supply line.

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I don’t have any plan to permanently install this, so I didn’t turn this into a plumbing project.

Setup

The only setup required is plugging the unit in and filling it with water.  Then, turn it on and wait for ice. The manual does suggest letting the unit sit upright for 24 hours if it has been tipped.

Performance

To test its ice-making chops, I filled it up with about 3/4 of a gallon of tap water and fired it up at 6:00 pm.  It started whirring.  It is not loud, but it certainly isn’t quiet either.  In a party situation, it would be fine, but in an otherwise quiet room, it is quite noticeable. Water started flowing out of the chute.  I thought this was odd, but I just let it go.

After a few minutes, the stream of water stopped. It took just under ten minutes to get the first results – slush.

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I was a little disappointed.  That’s it?  That’s not really ice.  Wow.  But, then, just a few minutes later, ice!  Just a few nugget-style cubes, but still, actual ice.

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They were a little wet but much more formed.  It looks like it takes the machine 10-15 minutes to warm-up…err…cool down and start making ice in earnest. From this point on, ice fell more-or-less continuously.

After an hour, there was enough ice to actually scoop.

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After two hours, the ice was really starting to pile up.

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If you look at the last two photos above, you can see that one row of drain holes on the side of the container went from uncovered to fully covered.

After three hours, we had a pretty good pile of nugget ice.

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Then, just shy of four hours, the machine turned off.  I assumed we had run out of water, but no – it showed that the ice bin was full. I moved the nuggets away from the infrared sensor and it started right back up.

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Then, about a minute later, it turned off with the Add Water light illuminated.  One fill of water produces a full ice bin in just under four hours.  The specs on Amazon’s page list the water capacity as 2.7 liters and that equates to just under 3/4 of a half-gallon. The specs also say it can produce 26 pounds of ice per day.  Let’s do a little math.

Water weighs 1kg per liter or about 2.2 pounds per liter.  I put 2.7l of water in the machine.  All that water should be turned into ice nuggets.  Therefore, in four hours, I should get 5.94 pounds of ice – let’s call it 6 pounds.  Assuming that I dump the ice into another container, and keep the reservoir full of water, either manually or with the permanent water line, I should continue getting 6 pounds of ice every four hours.  Since there are six, four-hour periods in each 24-hour day, that means that this machine should produce 36 pounds of ice daily – 38% more than what the specs claim.

When I weighed the bin of ice, it came out to about 73 ounces.  I weighed the bin alone and it weighed 9 ounces.  So that means I got 64 ounces or 4 pounds of ice.  Where did the other two pounds of water go?

I put a measuring cup in the sink and then opened the drain tubes and let them drain.  To my surprise, the “empty” machine dumped five cups (40 ounces) of water into the measuring cup.  So, beyond the little bit of water in the reservoir, there is a substantial amount of water that resides in the internal mechanism of the ice maker itself.  Those 40 ounces of water weigh in at about 2.5 lbs, so with rounding errors in my less-than-scientific measurements, that accounts for the missing weight.

What this also means is that while I got less than expected in the first four hours, with water already chilling in the machine, the second batch should be a little speedier.  Assuming I am right on the ball, adding water and emptying the bin as soon as required, 26 pounds of ice in a day is quite plausible.

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At 10:00 pm, I shut off the machine.  Let’s be clear, this is not a freezer.  Nothing in this is designed to keep ice long-term.  It is designed to produce ice in a high-usage environment or to be emptied into other storage containers and kept in a freezer.  I decided to see how it would do overnight. I left it closed up and went to bed.

When I got up the next morning a little after 8:00 am, I was pleasantly surprised.

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More than half the ice was still there.  The unit may not chill the bin area, but it is really well insulated and keeps the ice as well as any ice bucket.  If you leave the unit on, as the ice melts, it melts into the reservoir.  As more room becomes available in the bin, the ice maker will refreeze the water from the melted ice and produce fresh ice.

My wife and I used a couple of scoops of the ice and then left the machine there, turned off. At about 2:00 pm, or 16 hours after the last ice was made, here is what was still left.

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Again, that’s even after using some of the ice. I found that pretty impressive.

I tested the automated cleaning cycle.  You fill the reservoir with fresh water and hold the clean button for three seconds.  It pumps clean water through the system to flush out any residue.  Once the cycle ends, you lower the two drain tubes on the back into a sink, remove the stopper, and let it drain the water out.

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What I like

  • Fast ice production
  • Large ice capacity
  • Nicely textured nugget ice is great for rapidly cooling drinks as well as for munching
  • Well insulated so ice will last when using this for a group
  • The option for a full-time water feed via the optional water hose

What I’d change

  • It’s pretty heavy so portability is an issue
  • It is expensive
  • Adding the water supply line for a permanent installation will require some plumbing – there are no options for attaching to a faucet directly

Final thoughts

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This is a great, albeit pricey machine. At about $500, there are many choices available at a lower price point, like this other TaoTronics ice maker that makes bullet-style cubes rather than nuggets.  Based on the competitor’s pricing on Amazon, it looks like the mechanism to make nugget-style ice must be more expensive than making regular old cubes or bullet-style cubes. 

What this ice maker brings to the table for that price is the option for a more permanent installation. If you need a lot of ice for a gathering, this is a terrific option.

I’m looking forward to when we can host another party and having this on the counter, happily whirring away so our guests can cool their beverages.  The fact that as the ice melts, it just gets reused to make more ice is just a nice design feature. Add to that the fact that it makes that wonderful crunchy nugget ice and this is a great party machine.

Update 3/28/23

For some reason (COVID), we haven’t done much entertaining in the last three years. Therefore, the Taotronics nugget ice maker has rested idle, on its side under the bed in the guest room. We were going to host a party, and I thought, “nugget ice!’ I dug it out and let it sit upright for a bit. I filled it up, plugged it in, and expected scads of nugget ice for our party. I came away disappointed. If you read the reader comments on this review, many folks that bought it had this unit fail pretty quickly. I expected that I was going to be a victim of that as well as the ice maker didn’t do anything other than tell me to add water, even though it was full.

I contacted Taotronics support and they were surprisingly responsive. Over the next several weeks, we went back and forth, trying things, all to no avail. Since this was out of warranty, I expected that I now owned a very heavy and large paperweight. I put it in the garage and forgot about it.

The other day, I was looking at a similar unit online. It had a sentence in its write-up that stood out to me. It said that if the unit has been idle for an extended time, make sure it sits upright for at least two hours and then run a self-cleaning cycle prior to making ice. I had let it sit, but I never ran a cleaning cycle and TaoTronics never suggested that. I ran a cleaning cycle. Then, I drained and refilled the unit and fired it up. Much to my surprise, in a few minutes, ice nuggets began to fall! Woo!

I’m not saying this will fix issues with those units that failed, but I am pleased that this unit is still functioning well after I stumbled on that suggestion. I don’t know how long it will continue to run, but at least for now, I’m back in the ice.

Price: $499.99
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by TaoTronics.

25 thoughts on “TaoTronics nugget ice maker review”




  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Fantastic review, thank you! This product seems to be a better option than the GE Profile Opal (albeit not quite as pretty). I’m trying to decide between the units. From what I can tell, the GE unit has an onerous cleaning regimen, and even with that the innards get moldy and disgusting over time. Do you feel that the TaoTronics unit will be able to keep clean, inside and out, over time? Any foreseen issues with durability?

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Jonathan.

      The TaoTronics cleaning process flushes the system with clean, fresh water, and seems to do a pretty acceptable job of emptying the system. Of course, some residual moisture will remain, but leaving the lid open should allow it to dry out, eliminating the mold concern.

      As far as durability, to me, it seems well-made and I don’t have any durability concerns. Of course, things can happen, but it seems well-designed.

      Hope this helps.

  3. Hi. I see your initial review was from April 3. The problem I’m having with these machines, including an Opal that’s ready to be returned, is longevity. I would have given the Opal a raving review a week ago – 3 weeks of perfect performance … then it died. Have you been running this unit continually since April 3, and how is it doing now?

    1. LM:
      I am not using it continuously, so I address that issue. We plan to use it when we have a large gathering, and that hasn’t happened yet.

  4. I’ve had mine for 2 months and it’s already having problems producing ice. I get maybe a half hour of ice making and then it stops! It is so frustrating to have spend this much money on something that only lasted two months.

    1. I’m sorry you’ve had that experience, Ashley. Have you contacted the manufacturer? According to their website:
      ————
      We provide one-year warranty service. If there are any issues, please feel free to ask us for help.
      ———–
      Here is their contact information:
      For customer service please contact: [email protected] or call us on 1-888-456-8468

      It seems to me that the manufacturer would be the right place to raise issues.

      1. The manufacture does have a presence and will respond, but it’s a decoy. They refused to honor our warranty 6 months in because they choose to stop selling on Amazon. TaoTronics cannot be trusted, and a warranty is only as good as the company backing it. Save your money, these units fail at an unreasonably hight rate. You WILL need warranty service if you buy one.

  5. So many of these nugget machine die in a month or two, it’s really a shame you did not just leave the unit on line 99% of the buyers , so we could see if this think is going to last , btw this unit is $259 with discount code on there website now.

  6. I would like to chime in. I purchased this machine about 8 months ago through Amazon. until recently, the m home as been giving me problems. ranging from the sounds it !ake, how poor the ice it made etc. taotro jc is good at responding quick, but as of right now, bad at sending a working unit. in the past month, I’m in my third machine. 5 minutes prior to me typing on your site I had just sent them an email about this unit that I currently have. you can check it the video I had up!loaded for them. http://imgur.com/a/O9y5pKy

    I am not sure what they are going to do now, since this is the third machine I had received. it’s my fault that buying shipping materials isn’t cheap, since I throw the boxes away that instance it arrives. but at least they provide a return label. but still, I just want a working unit because the first one I received when I first purchased it, it was working very well, satisfactory, formabkut 8 months till now.

    1. Hey, I saw video and mine was doing that. I had to move my machine to a place where it could get plenty of air. My machine was not doing right simply because it wasn’t getting the ventilation it needed. And it was becoming super hot. My issue now is that it won’t turn on. The on off blinks and then it keeps going into cleaning.

  7. We just got a replacement unit after our first one started leaking from the bottom after 6+ months. The new one started leaking almost immediately. Anyone have a clue as to why that’s happening? We do leave it on most of the time since we use a lot of ice in our house.
    Thanks for any thoughts –
    Kelly

  8. Do not buy from TaoTronics… they refused to honor their warranty because they choose to leave Amazon. Now we have a $350 piece of junk.

    1. Same happened to us!
      Repair parts are not available. Ice makers’ auger, (that cuts the ice), broke after 7 months. Water supply lines were plugged with some white oil like substance, and water reservoir had mold after having just been cleaned!
      Supposed 12 month warranty, that none of the dozen or so Chinese companies that put their name on this Taotronics ice maker, will acknowledge or stand behind. No answer at the US phone number, customer service, no help from Amazon, not surprised, and can you guess how it went trying talk to someone in China?! Stick with BRAND NAME appliances!! Everything is junk anymore, but at least you can order parts from brand name (reputable manufacturers). Hard lesson learned, and at only $350 bucks!!

  9. This product and the company that sells it are committing fraud. My icemaker totally failed in one year of use. Compressor is either trash or the refrigerant has leaked out. Evident by the water circulating at room temperature instead of making ice. I received one caned response (check filter and water level sensor float) from the company and no responses to my follow-up e-mails.

  10. So disappointed. I got this ice maker as a birthday gift. And now We are 14 months into our 12 month warranty and my Taotronics machine is leaking everywhere. Since I knew I had no warranty options, I tried to fix it myself. Took the whole thing apart and saw where the leak was coming from, but I have not been able to fix it. All my efforts eventually ended in more leaks! I tried calling and emailing Taotronics, but they have seemingly disappeared.
    I tried YouTube, but nobody seems to know how to fix a leak. I would gladLy pay someone to fix it, because I love the ice it makes. But, I can’t find anyone who fixes small machines like this.
    So, I guess I’ve wasted $500.00.

  11. Maureen Larnard

    Ours crapped out after seven months. Water fill light keeps coming on. Water is in the unit. Contacted TaoTronics and did what they said to do. Nothing worked. They gave me $250 credit to spend on their website but they no longer have this ice maker. We got a mini fridge instead. They kept in contact with me every day until I picked something to replace it with. It took less than a week to get the fridge. We liked the ice maker and would have rather had it.

  12. We have had ours for almost two years now without any real problems. Ours runs 24/7 and we love the ice that it makes. I run a regular cleaning cycle on it and it seems to help. Yesterday it started making a knocking sound so I ran a cleaning cycle to see if they would help. It is still making ice but it is knocking. Not sure what the problem is or if it is getting ready to give out on us. I hope I can get the problem fixed because we really love this little machine.

  13. CLEANING LIGHT FLASHES CONTINUOUSLY
    I have cleaned it 3 times and still the clean light flashes. WHY? I’ve had it about a year and no problems until now.

  14. I bought this as a retirement gift for myself in September 2021. It was definitely a splurge but it was the one I wanted – and it was $399.99 at the time with free shipping through Amazon. It weighs A LOT so I was happy about the free shipping. The price went up significantly after that and enough that I wouldn’t have purchased it, but I absolutely love this machine. I’m a renter and my house came with a serviceable but no frills refrigerator that makes ice the old fashioned way. So I use it as my only ice maker. I use filtered water and clean it regularly. I agree with the author’s pros and cons but since it stays on my counter, portability isn’t a problem. 100% happy!

  15. I have the TaoTronics tt-coo1 ice maker and I ran it thru the clean cycle, then drained the water using the 2 tubes on the back. I noticed that water only was draining out of one tube, so I blew into the tube not draining water and I could hear air. I refilled the water and restarted rhe ice maker and after about 2 minutes the add water light flashes. I try to turn it back on and again it runs for a few minutes and shuts off with water light flashing. Do not buy this piece of junK.

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