These portable Ice Makers have been around awhile, and are typically offered in two different sizes; a 28lb and 26lb ice capacity. They all appear to be clones as they look identical other than the name plate. However, the Igloo ice maker I am reviewing has a slightly different front panel (perhaps it is a new or old model), but there are a few others having the same panel... and regardless, the switches and LEDs are the same for the two different front panels.
Since most of the ice makers appear to be clones, perhaps the one to chose is the least expensive one you can buy. I bought mine at Wal-Mart on-line for $119 + free shipping (the median price for the 28lb unit seems to be around $175).
It appears that it was the last one as I no longer see this model offered at the Wal-Mart web store. Further supporting the "last-one" thought is that the box arrived via UPS with a significant layer of dust on it - as if it had been sitting around for a long time.
The larger 28lb model has three sizes of ice to choose from; small, medium, and large, while the smaller 26lb unit has only small and large selections. The ice is bullet shaped, and the size difference of the ice is in the diameter or thickness of the ice... otherwise they are the same height and shape.
When I pulled the unit out of the box, a rusty screw fell out. I have not determine what it fell off yet, but the unit seems to work regardless, so perhaps it is not a concern. In addition, the top (black plastic) looked like it was scratched up, but perhaps it was due to rubbing against the box.
And there looked to be some water stain in the water reservoir, but I am not thinking this was a used unit as there was still strapping tape on the inside components. Rather, it might be residue from testing the unit using muddy China river water. At any rate, we cleaned the unit up sufficiently.
Another quirky item is the drain, located on the lower left side of the unit. I am not a betting man, but my bet is this thing is going to get busted off in no time. Why the engineers could not forsee this seems quite strange to me, and it would have been better had the drain been recessed into the side of the unit.
Other owners of clone units have indicated the ice chamber is not insulated, however, I found insulation in mine, so perhaps there is some difference between the clones afterall.
The unit is a bit on the heavy side at 26lbs (unit weight). The smaller unit weighs about 20lbs, so if weight is a concern, perhaps you may wish to go with the smaller unit.
The manufacturer claims the unit can make ice in 6 minutes for the small "cubes", and this is pretty close. I found that the small cubes were indeed around 6 minutes, 8 minutes for the medium cubes, and 10~12 minutes for the large ones.
The ice maker spits out 9 cubes at a time, which is sufficient for one large glass of liquid. So it runs pretty quickly, but plan ahead before that party if this is your only source of ice.
There are 9 rods that coolant flows through that are immersed into a tub of water. As these rods are below freezing, ice builds up around them, which is what gives the ice their distinctive shape. And when it is time for the ice to be discharged, the water tray drops down, and it appears a shot of heat is run into the rods as the ice falls right off the tubes - ultimately into the built in ice "bucket".
The 9 rods that ice forms around.
Large (28lb) Ice Makers
Small (26lb) Ice Makers.