Making your own nugget ice at home has been an unattainable dream for many. Sure, nugget ice tastes amazing, but who can afford nugget ice makers that cost thousands of dollars? Barely anyone and certainly not me. However things have changed. Meet GE Profile Opal Nugget ice maker – first (somewhat) affordable nugget ice maker in the world!
What is nugget ice?
If you have come across this review of GE Profile Opal countertop nugget ice maker review chances are you probably already know what nugget ice is. However if you don’t by any chance then
it must be explained as it’s very special.
Nugget ice is flaked ice that’s compressed into small “nuggets”. So what’s special about that? Well due to this it has air pockets which fill up with liquid when you put ice in your drink – resulting in increased surface area between liquid and ice which improves cooling and also makes nugget ice to absorb the flavor of the drink.
But that’s not what makes it truly special. Nugget ice is incredibly satisfying to chew on. Air pockets give it soft, airy and crunchy texture. Chewing nugget ice feels like chewing on a heavenly cloud and it doesn’t cause tooth pain if you have sensitive teeth unlike regular ice cubes. It’s hard to explain but if you have tried nugget ice you know how pleasurable it’s!
Nugget ice is also called:
- Pellet ice
- Pebble ice
- Chewable ice
- sonic ice
GE Opal Nugget ice VS Sonic Ice
Your first introduction with nugget ice was probably at Sonic fast-food restaurant. They are the main cause that started this cult like following for nugget ice so it only feels appropriate to compare nugget ice made with GE Profile Opal machine to the one you can find at Sonic’s.
I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Bad news are that GE Opal nugget ice isn’t quite as good as Sonic ice. Sonic ice seems to have richer and more complicated texture which makes it more crunchy. Sonic ice also seems to absorb drink better as it absorbs color of the drink better.
Good news are that GE Profile Opal nugget ice is still pretty amazing. It’s not as great as Sonic but it’s not that far off, it’s amazing to chew on and tastes great. It’s by far the cheapest option to make proper nugget ice at your home.
Nugget ice production
GE Opal makes around 24 lbs of nugget ice in 24 hours – so 1 pound in an hour, however actual ice output depends on environmental conditions like ambient and water temperatures. It’s recommended to use Opal in ambient temperature range of 55°F to 90°F (12°C to 35°C).
You have to use potable (safe to drink) water with mineral hardness under 12 grains per gallon. You can also purchase Opal water filter that’s specifically designed to fit this ice maker.
GE Profile Opal nugget ice maker has only 1 button with light ring that can indicate different things:
- Falling white: Opal is making ice
- Solid white: Ice bin is full and Opal has stopped making ice
- Swishing blue: You need to add water
- Pulsing yellow: Opal is in cleaning mode awaiting drain and refill confirmation
- Rotating yellow: Opal is rinsing (cleaning mode)
- Slowly falling white: Opal is defrosting which takes 30 minutes to complete. During defrosting you shouldn’t turn Opal ice machine off (or unplug)
To turn on (or off) GE Opal nugget ice machine you have to simply touch the button once. If you touch and hold it for about 3 seconds it will dim interior light.
Dimensions, weight and design
GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker is 10.5 inches wide, 14 inches deep and 17 inches tall. It also requires 3 inches of installation clearance on both sides and back. GE Profile Opal pebble ice machine weighs 44 lbs.
It’s made of stainless steel – it feels sturdy and well made. Design is sleek and aesthetic – GE Opal looks great!
It’s not too loud but you might notice some noises:
- When you first turn on GE Opal you might notice whir sound caused by condenser fan spinning
- When the water pump first turns on it might buzz due to being dry. Once it feels with water it becomes much more quiet.
- Flow of the refrigerant might cause some rattling noises which should reduce significantly once the refrigerant system has stabilized.
- When refrigerant systems shuts off you might hear short-lasting gurgling noise caused by refrigerant stop flowing.
- Compressor might cause low toned humming
- You might hear nugget ice being dropped into ice drawer once it’s made. As the ice bin fills up each following batch will make less noise.
- As ice starts to build around the mechanisms of Opal it might make squeaking noises. This means Opal needs to defrost which it will start automatically. Defrosting cycle lasts 30-45 minutes and during it the front button won’t respond. It’s important you don’t turn off or unplug Opal pellet ice machine during defrosting cycle.
GE Opal pebble ice maker can hold 3 pounds of nugget ice in its ice bin.
You can use FirstBuild app to schedule ice making start and stop times and to see if Opal needs more water added into reservoir. App can be installed on Android, iPhone 4s (or newer), iPad 3 (or newer), iPad Mini, iPod Touch 5th generation (or newer) devices.
It has self-clean feature. On the back of the GE Opal you will find switch that toggles between “cleaning” and “ice making” modes. To clean your GE Profile Opal portable pellet ice machine wait at least 1 hour after last use and follow these steps:
- Unplug Opal and remove drip tray. If you have installed Opal filter replace it with water reservoir’s intake cap
- Plug in the Opal and switch the toggle on “clean” position – the ring light should be pulsing in yellow light
- Create a mixture of 5 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of household bleach, mix it and pour it into water reservoir
- Press the button to start the cleaning process. Yellow light should start to spin and you should hear water circulating – it will keep doing that for about 3 minutes until the yellow light starts pulsing again.
- When the yellow light starts to pulse again you have to drain GE Opal Nugget Machine.
- Unhook the top of the drain hoses (they are located at the back of the machine). Lay them down to drain Opal (into sink or wherever you want to drain he mixture). Once it has been drained re-insert drain plugs.
- Repeat steps 4-6 three more time until you have rinsed Opal with water for total of 4 times (each time with fresh water). If you feel like rinsing 4 times is not enough you can do it more.
- When you have finished cleaning your Opal switch the toggle back to “Ice”.
To clean ice bin remove it and clean with soft cloth soaked with soapy water. Afterwards rinse it thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth. It’s important you don’t use any solvents or chemicals.
To clean dip tray follow the same steps but wide it dry beforehand and use mild soapy water.
Although GE Opal is somewhat affordable and by far the cheapest way to make proper nugget ice at home it’s still a bit expensive. Is it worth the money? It depends. If you love nugget ice – then yes, it’s worth the money and you absolutely need one. However if you don’t see yourself using this machine often then it probably doesn’t justify the price tag.
GE Profile Opal 24-lb. countertop nugget ice machine details:
- Nugget ice output: ~24 lbs per 24 hours
- Weight: 44 pounds (~20 kg)
- Ice bucket capacity: 3 lbs
- Water reservoir capacity: 2.2 liters (~74 oz)
- Dimensions: 10.5″ x 14″ x 17″ (Width x Depth x Height)
- Package contents:
- 1 x Opal ice maker
- 1 x Ice scoop
- 1 x Drip tray
- 1 x Ice bin
- 1 x Quick start guide