We Tried the Viral GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker and Now We Understand the Hype

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Calling all ice aficionados! We tested the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker to see if it's worth the hype.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the closest Sonic Drive-In was about an hour away. In-N-Out Burger reigns in that part of the country, but my sister and I were always enticed by the mystique of Sonic—its rollerblading waiters, its buddy-comedy commercials and its seriously robust menu. (Check out these spot-on Sonic copycats.)

It wasn’t until I was attending college in the Midwest that I was finally able to try the fast-food phenom for the first time, and I was instantly hooked. (Here’s a list of all the best Midwestern chains.) Not for the reason you might expect, though. I came for the corn dogs and tater tots, but I stayed for the ice. Yes, the ice.

As any Sonic aficionado knows, the restaurant uses small, pellet-like ice in their drinks. It’s crunchy, cold-but-not-too-cold perfection. And for seemingly inexplicable reasons, it makes everything taste better. Psst! Find out why Americans love ice in their drinks.

So, you can only imagine my excitement when I heard about the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker, a state-of-the-art countertop ice maker that exclusively produces nugget ice or, as GE likes to call it, “the good ice.” I tried it for myself to see just how “good” this ice really is.

What Is the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker?

GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker filled with ice on a kitchen counterTMB studio

The GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker is just what it sounds like: an ice maker that creates nugget ice. Although it’s also available in black, we purchased one with a stainless-steel finish. It’s meant to fit on a kitchen countertop and is marketed as portable.

The sleek, modern-looking appliance, when purchased with an optional side tank, measures about 17 inches tall, 14 inches wide and 16 inches deep; it weighs just over 40 pounds. You’ll love these other aesthetic appliances you can get on Amazon, too.

Next, learn how to clean stainless steel.

How We Tested It

To test this appliance, we assembled it in our kitchen, a process that was surprisingly simple. As stated above, we splurged for the side tank, which makes the machine cost $100 more, but enables it to hold about three times as much water. This add-on isn’t essential, and a machine can be purchased without one.

Once we filled the side tank and connected it to the machine via rubber tube, the appliance was churning out ice in mere minutes. It takes between 30 and 45 minutes, however, for there to be enough ice for drinks. And we tested it (gladly, I might add) with just about every type of beverage, from lemonade to sparkling water to canned cocktails.

Consuming the ice—and the drinks that go along with it—is the fun part, but it’s not the only part. We also cleaned the machine weekly as part of the testing.

The first step isn’t in the manual, but you’ll be glad you did it: Save the ice! Dump it in a freezer-safe containerthen get to work.

For the cleaning process, you’ll need water, bleach and a little time. The instructions in the manual are thorough and easy to follow, which made us grateful—nobody wants grungy ice. It takes about three minutes to run the bleach cleaning cycle.

And nope, the ice doesn’t taste like bleach afterward because you run three water-only rinse cycles after cleaning (or more, if you’re nervous). But we found that three rinses do the trick. Discover more ways to use that bottle of bleach.

GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker Features

water reservoir on the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker on a kitchen counterTMB studio

There are a number of different components to the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker. Here’s what we learned about each feature:

Ice Maker

There’s not much to say about the easy-to-use ice maker itself except that it does its thing—and fast—behind the scenes, a testament to its design. It’s quiet and sightly with one understated LED power button in the center.

Although it’s on the large side, presumably due to all the necessary mechanisms that are being concealed behind the stainless-steel exterior, it’s not needlessly bulky. It would fit on most standard countertops.

And despite being intended for personal use, this machine cranks out ice at an impressive rate and has the ability to produce up to 24 pounds in a single day. Its ice bin can hold three pounds of ice at a time. And once that bin’s ice is mostly tapped, the machine knows to begin creating more.

Side Tank

The side tank, a slim rectangular accessory that sits snug against the ice maker, holds up to three times as much water as the ice maker alone, meaning the machine requires less refills with this handy attachment.

There is a removable cap on the bottom, allowing the tank to be filled with water. When I was testing, I saw no fill line, so I simply filled the plastic tank about 75% of the way, which seemed to work well. Within 5-7 minutes, ice was already being spat out.

Ice Bin

The ice bin is where the ice is deposited and remains until it is manually scooped up. This well-insulated component, which functions like a drawer, is made of clear plastic so the ice is visible to users. It holds up to three pounds of ice at a time. Plus, it’s easy to pull in and out, though it could stand to be a bit deeper. At no point did the ice begin to melt, clump together, etc. But here’s how to keep regular ice cubes from sticking together.

Ice Scoop

A small gray plastic scoop with a short handle, this accessory can be stored in the ice bin or on the drip tray. I found that I needed about two scoops of ice to fill a cup to my desired level of fullness.

This scoop is the only provided way in which to dispense the ice. There is no automated, hands-free mechanism.

Drip Tray

This tray, which juts out about three additional inches from the bottom of the ice maker, is made of the same gray plastic as the ice scoop. It has a slight lip to catch runoff and does a great job of keeping the surrounding surface clean and free of melted ice.

Pros

What we liked about the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker:

  • Novelty: Drive-in ice at home! What more could you want? The nuggets, about 3/4-in. long, are sure to level up any cocktail, iced tea or soda.
  • Speed: This thing is quick! You’ll only need about 30 minutes for a cupful of ice—way faster than traditional freezing methods.
  • Yield: 24 pounds of ice per day is a lot! And we’re not complaining. This machine is ideal for big families, avid entertainers, employers and so much more. (Discover 10 more must-have items for entertaining.)
  • Ice: If you’re a fan of pellet ice, this won’t disappoint. This ice is crunchy and airy with a perfectly imperceptible taste—it really is “the good ice.”
  • Appearance: The appliance itself is rather attractive. It would be a seamless addition to any modern kitchen.
  • Cleaning process: Cleaning these types of appliances oftentimes can be cumbersome, but this machine is far easier to clean than you’d expect. And it only takes a few minutes! (Read cleaning hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner.)

Cons

What to consider about the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker:

  • Size: It is a rather large appliance to introduce into your kitchen space. Those with apartments and tiny kitchens, proceed with caution. And although it’s marketed as portable, the machine is far too heavy to feasibly move with regularity.
  • Texture of ice: Now this is where things get subjective. Some of those who sampled the ice found its softness off-putting. Because pellet ice is made of compacted ice flakes, it’s not as dense as other types of ice, which is something to be aware of. (Sticking to traditional cubes? Check out these cool ice ideas.)
  • Price: Costing several hundred dollars, either with or without the side tank, this is a splurge for sure. But for ice enthusiasts, this maker is the absolute pinnacle and certainly worth the money.
  • Cleanliness: As concerns about cleanliness persist, the fact that the ice must be scooped out of the bin by hand, rather than dispensed through a touchless mechanism, is something to take into account. (Discover our kitchen safety dos and don’ts.)

FAQ

How long is the ice maker designed to run?

The ice maker is capable of running 24/7. If left on, the machine will run until the water reservoir is empty or the ice bin is full. That being said, we do recommend manually turning it off when it’s not in use.

How do you clean the ice maker?

Cleaning the ice maker is a very straightforward process with full instructions in the owner’s manual. You simply run diluted bleach through the cleaning cycle, then run three more water-only rinse cycles. It is recommended that this be done weekly.

Check out our hub for all things cleaning and organizing.

Is the ice maker noisy?

If running correctly, the ice maker should produce very little noise, especially when compared to other traditional ice makers. (Learn more ways to hack your ice tray.) Aside from when the ice pellets fall into the plastic ice bin, this machine is nearly silent.

Does the ice maker need to be connected to an external water source?

This ice maker does not need to be connected to a water line in order to create ice. Simply fill up the water reservoir or side tank with purified water (tap water works!), then let the ice maker take over.

What Other Reviews Had to Say

On Amazon, the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker has an impressive 4.3 stars and over 17,000 ratings. Here’s what a few smitten customers had to say.

“I had been eyeballing this Opal Ice Maker for several months,” 5-star reviewer, Fizerdeb, says.”I love my drinks ice cold…(like ice cream headache kind of cold.) So I have had this ice maker in my “save for later” cart over the course of several months, trying to convince myself I loved my super-cold drinks enough to justify the expense of the ice maker. I finally pulled the trigger on this thing when I saw it on sale during Amazon Prime Day. And let me tell you, I do not have 1 single regret. I am in love with my ice maker…It is incredible and does what it says it will do. Simple to use, simple to clean. I am more impressed with it every day—it is the perfect addition to any kitchen.”

I am very pleased with this ice maker,” 5-star reviewer, Terry in SA, writes.”It looks great on the counter. It makes perfect ice. The drawer is easy to pull out and empty or just pull out and scoop what you need. It’s expensive, though. If you aren’t a household that uses a lot of ice or enjoys chewing this special, soft, ice, I’m not sure it would be worth it.”

Another 5-star reviewer, EFS, explains, “Best thing about it is that I am drinking a lot more water these days because I like the ice a lot and it is so easy to scoop.” 

How the Ice Maker Stacks Up

glass of ice water with the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker in the backgroundTMB studio

It’s tricky to compare the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker to an item as simple as an ice tray because they’re so different. But in terms of speed, quantity and specialization, the ice maker is far superior. But, it’s also far pricier.

In terms of how it ranks among other countertop ice makers, that’s a little more straightforward. If you’re fine with standard cubes of ice, then you’ll discover there are some cheaper options out there, ranging from around $80 to $200. That being said, many of them still are not as efficient as the GE ice maker, and the pieces of ice themselves aren’t pellet-sized, if that’s what you’re seeking.

The most comparable item on the market—and one that’s available at a marginally lower price point—is the Insignia Portable Nugget Ice Maker, which costs $375. The two appliances function similarly, though the comments are conflicting. Some reviewers say it’s just as good as the GE ice maker, whereas others say it simply can’t compare and GE remains the premier machine. But one thing seems certain: The GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker is the closest you’ll come to Sonic ice at home.

Final Verdict

I personally love this product. It made all my Sonic-centric dreams come true. (Now I just need to figure out how to make the chain’s slushes at home. Hmm…) Not only is the nugget ice top-notch, but the machine itself is also notable. The speed with which it produces ice is incredible; it’s easy to clean; and it’s about as attractive as appliances come.

However, I do acknowledge that this purchase isn’t universally appealing. Whether it’s too expensive for your budget or too large for your space, this machine is an investment not everyone is willing or able to make. And I get it. Try one of these small appliances for less than $20 instead. What’s more, some people just don’t care about or even like ice. That I can’t relate to as much. But in that case, this ice maker definitely doesn’t belong in your cart.

I’d say this appliance is a great fit for large families, small offices, frequent hosts, or any old ice lover (I know I’m not the only one!).

Where to Buy the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker

Toh Ecomm Ge Ice Maker Machine Via Amazon.comvia merchant

The GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker is available at a number of in-person and online retailers, such as Amazon, Best Buy, The Home Depot and Crate & Barrel.

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Annamarie Higley
Annamarie Higley is an Associate Print Editor for Taste of Home magazine, as well as the brand's special issue publications. A midwestern transplant originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, trivia-ing, and—you guessed it!—all things cooking and baking.