Is It Cheaper To Make Ice Or Buy It?

There is nothing better than sipping on an ice cold beverage during a laid-back evening, or making the most of a chilled cocktail whilst you are hosting a party.

Ice makes a drink ten times better – fact.

A room temperature drink at the best of times will just not cut it, and this is where the ice cubes come in.

They make a drink extra refreshing, especially as temperatures start to rise (and even when they do not)!

One of the things we debate about most when it comes to ice, is whether to make our own or buy them from the store.

With this in mind, we shall take a look at whether it is worth restocking your refrigerator’s ice compartment with water ready in time for the party, buying it pre-made, or if it is worth investing in a specifically built ice maker.

There is a lot to think about, so we have narrowed the information down for you. Read on to find out what the best solution would be for you.

Why Put Ice In A Drink?

There is a multitude of reasons why we all love a drink full of ice. Think about when you go out for a drink with friends and you buy that iced latte.

One of the first things you will notice is the sound of ice crashing against each other as you pick it up off the countertop. It does not make your latte better, but it sure gives drinking it a different experience. 

Not just that, ice cubes fizzing away in a cold glass of something like Cola instantly tells us it is going to be one amazingly refreshing drink. 

Also, ice cubes keep a drink cold and that ultimately makes it feel and taste better.

Whereas there is absolutely nothing wrong with drinking a room temperature beverage, it just will not have that same refreshing feeling. 

Ice in a drink also cools the body, and when you are thirsty or extra warm, having a cool drink is a good option.

Think about it this way, you have had a long day at work and it has been unusually warm. That iced cold drink is going to be the perfect end to a working day.

Ice in a drink also makes it taste better. Whether this is right or wrong, ice does play with all the senses, therefore it creates this feeling on the taste buds that it will be a delicious drink.

Going The Homemade Route – Refrigerator

Ice made in the ice chest of a refrigerator is probably something you have done for years out of utter necessity, but that does not mean it is the best choice.

Let’s take a look at some reasons why you may rethink this option in the future.

How Much Ice?

The majority of us when we make ice from the ice maker in the refrigerator, it actually does not go that far.

It is not suitable for a party, that is for sure, but it is great if it is just for personal use, e.g. just yourself and the odd other person. 

When it comes to hosting, you will want to make sure you have enough ice to go around as room temperature drinks will want to be avoided.

The ice chest in the refrigerator may not be the best idea depending on how many people there are. If it is a party, it is probably best not to rely on your refrigerator!


There are a number of things that may affect the taste of an ice cube. We tend not to clean the ice cube trays because hey, it is just water in there, right?

Even so, if left, the water can go stale and old and need to be removed. It is also best to keep the trays clean so no odors or tastes are transferred onto the iced cubes and into your drink. 

If you have recently bought a new refrigerator, the plastic trays may give off an odor which will end up within the ice cubes.

Because the area of the trays are enclosed, it emits the plastic smell and it cannot escape.

Food can also play a big part in transferring flavor as well. Anything strong like onions or garlic may scent the water, so, keep that in mind when you have made yourself a glass of iced water!

Is It Cost Effective Overall?

Even though the cost of using the ice dispenser is the same cost as running your refrigerator generally, it may not be a practical solution due to how little ice it makes.

Also, it is easy to leave the ice cubes waiting around for weeks, meaning stale water and potentially extra flavor and odor.

Buying Pre-Packaged Ice Bags

The easier route when it comes to ice is just to buy it bagged, but the inconvenience is that it takes up a lot of space to store and how much is needed. 


The taste of a shop-bought ice cube is likely to be different from what is coming out of your faucet. It may taste ‘cleaner’ but neither should affect your overall drink, so long as none have been near strong food or have been left to sit in plastic. 


If you do not have space to store it, then you cannot store it. Because it is ice, it is not like you can just find anywhere for it to go – it needs to be kept frozen.

With this in mind, storage can play a huge part when it comes to buying a bag of ice cubes. 

Yes, you may have to refill ice trays and machines to create ice at home, but they do not take up valuable food storage space like ice cube bags do.


Buying a bag of ice or two can leave your party in a mess if you run out.

There is only a limited amount of ice, and nobody wants to be that person who misses out on an ice cold beverage at midnight when the party is still going strong.

It is not just parties either. Having limited ice cubes at home means if you run out of ice, it is a trip to the grocery store.

To not have to deal with that, it may just be easier to have a machine that makes ice for you.

Is It Cost Effective Overall?

Depending on the amount you need, it can become pricey. You may end up buying a few bags at a time, when really, you can just make ice yourself.

Investing In An Ice Maker

Because ice from the refrigerator is not necessarily the best way to go, the other option for homemade ice is via a portable or countertop ice maker. They are not only convenient, but perfect for when hosting.

Some ice makers even have the option of using the water again from melted ice cubes that were never removed. This is a fantastic way of not wasting water.

Scale Of Ice

It can be quite limitless with an ice maker, so long as you remember to refill it.

It can take a few minutes to create the ice cubes, but nowhere near as long as the refrigerator, and because you are able to make ice within a matter of minutes, it is also much more convenient than a bag of ice cubes.

Even though it does not take as long, there is a limit to how many it can make at a time.

This is something to keep in mind, although it may not be a problem due to the fact it only takes a few minutes per ‘batch’.

Limitation With Storing Ice

When the ice is created, after some time the ‘bucket’ it dispenses into will fill up and the ice will start to melt.

This is likely not to be a problem if the drinks are flowing and the ice cubes are getting scooped up just as fast. Most of the modern machines will have a warning light to tell you when it is full.


Like with anything you make ice in, it will need to be cleaned.

Unlike a bag of ice that is likely to be used in one go, an ice maker is there to be used when you need it. Most have easy cleaning instructions and will keep the ice it produces fresh and tasting good.

Is It Cost Effective?

It can be, depending on the model you have bought. Over time they have gotten even better, and are extra convenient if you are looking for something that produces ice quickly, whether that be for a particularly hot day or whilst hosting a party.

Compared to an ice bag, the ice maker may come off cheaper due to the amount of ice that there is.

When it comes to the inexpensive ice trays of a refrigerator, then it all comes down to quality and taste. An ice maker will produce ice at a faster rate and potentially taste better as a result.


When it comes to ice, it all depends what you are after. There is nothing more annoying than running out of ice when you need it most and quickly.

An ice maker is convenient for that reason, but ultimately it will come down to many of the points mentioned above.

Making ice at home may be cheaper if you are only using it a few times a month, but an ice maker will give you more ice a day, making it a good purchase for ice lovers!