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Have you herd the old joke; the one thing an RVer cannot pass by is a gas station? That is how it was for me and ice freezers at the grocery store.
I like my beverages cold, ice cold. And that means I use lots of ice over a day’s worth of refills.
When Fran and I moved in to our RV to become full time RVers the first thing I did was replace those tiny ice cube trays that came in the freezer compartment with six ‘real’ ice trays.
I was pretty good about emptying them in to the little ice box each morning, and refilling them. By late afternoon there would be a new batch of ice to replenish the ice box that was usually empty or near so. I’d use some ice during the evening but if things worked right I may have some left and start the next morning with a small surplus.
There were two problems with that system.
- Those six big ice cube trays took up a lot of space in our small freezer.
- The system only worked when the temperature was mild. As soon as it got hot it couldn’t keep up with my demand for ice. So, during the summer the ice cube trays were replaced by bags of ice purchased wherever ice was sold.
Eventually we abandoned the ice trays and buying ice became the norm and we did it for many years.
But buying Ice had it’s problems too.
- Even a small bag of ice is BIG in that small freezer. At times, like when we had just made a grocery run, a full bag of ice just would not fit so we would end up dumping ice until the bag would fit. Not only wasteful but expensive.
- I would need to buy ice about every two days which meant I was always looking for a place that sold it. It got to the point I could spot an ice box outside a convenience store several blocks away.
- Sometimes it wasn’t possible to find a convenient place to buy ice and we would run out.
If any of the above rings true for you I may have a solution to your problems … it was for me!
A Portable Ice Maker Frees Up the Freezer
About seven years ago I purchased a portable tabletop ice maker from an online RV accessories store. When I saw it offered I figured that if it works as advertised it would pay for itself in just a few months time. Just as important, no more trips out just to by ice. And we would have an endless supply … no more running out of ice on a hot day!
It has turned out to be one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It ranks up at the top with my first RV, my first Macintosh computer, and my Swiss Army knife.
We are actually on our third unit. They seem to last about two to three years operating 24/7. I suppose that’s reasonable considering the units are marketed as portable and intended for occasional use but of course it would be nice if their lifespan was longer.
The first one cost about $200 plus shipping. The second unit was found on Woot.com for $99. The one we have now was $150 at the local Target store.
Before you buy you should know that these ice makers are offered in two sizes. Our first maker was a larger one and significantly heavier, about 42 pounds, than our last two, about 28 pounds. The large one made a dozen cubes at a time and had a larger storage basket. The small ones make 10 cubes and have a smaller basket. Since we most always have plenty of ice from the small maker, I would recommend a small one.
The weight and higher cost make the the larger unit undesirable in my mind.
Even with the two year life our ice makers still pay for themselves and a little more considering that I had factored the cost of buying ice at about a dollar a day. At an average cost of $150 a unit, ice cost me 20 cents a day. The units are power efficient but I guess I have to add a few pennies a day for electricity. But more than the savings, it’s the convenience that really makes owning an ice maker worthwhile.