- Ice cube trays are made of different materials and produce ice cubes of different sizes, shapes, and flavors.
- The best everyday ice cube tray for most people is the OXO Good Grips Ice Cube Tray.
Baby, it’s hot out there. But there’s a simple way to beat the heat this summer: Enjoy a cold drink over ice. While many of us have refrigerators with built-in ice makers, you may well choose to make additional ice cubes, too.
Americans have been making their own ice cubes since the advent of home refrigeration in the 1930s. Back then, aluminum trays were the norm. In the 1950s, stainless steel trays showed up on the scene, but they were mostly replaced by plastic in the 1960s. By the 1980s, ice cube trays with lids started appearing. In the early 2000s, silicone trays popped up. Their pliable nature meant you could pop out innovatively-shaped ice cubes with relative ease.
Today, there are hundreds of different styles of ice cube trays on the market that will transform water into ice of different sizes and shapes. Novelty or gimmick ice cube trays have become increasingly popular in recent years, likely because they are a relatively inexpensive way to add a blast of fun to a special occasion.
For the purpose of making “regular” ice cubes at home, there are several things to consider. Basically, you are looking for a tray that allows you to extract the ice easily and one that doesn’t impart distasteful odors – or freezer-burn – to the cubes. You’ll also want trays that let you pop out ice easily unlike those awful hard plastic ones from your youth.
These are the best ice cube trays you can buy to keep your drinks cold. We’ve included trays with lids, silicone ones, an old-fashioned metal option, and a cool ice ball mold.
Here are the best ice cube trays you can buy:
- Best ice cube tray overall: OXO Good Grips Ice Cube Tray
- Best ice cube tray with a lid: Peaks Ice Works Everyday Ice Tray
- Best silicone ice cube tray: Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Trays
- Best stainless steel ice cube tray: Onyx 18/8 Stainless Steel Slot Ice Cube Tray
- Best ice ball mold: Zoku Ice-Ball Ice Sphere Mold
Updated on 10/22/19 by Connie Chen: Updated prices and links.
The best ice tray overall
The OXO Good Grips Ice Cube Tray is affordable, easy to use, and produces attractive half-moon shaped ice cubes.
OXO was founded in New York City circa 1990. One of the company’s guiding philosophies is to use “universal design” to create products that are usable by as many people as possible. OXO has succeeded in spades with these easy-to-use ice trays.
The dishwasher-safe tray produces 14 attractive half-moon-shaped ice cubes that pop out of the mold easily. In fact, one of the main selling points is that you can release one of the ice cubes without impacting the other cubes. The unique, patented cover not only helps you easily stack the trays in your freezer, but it reduces odors, resulting in fresher cubes.
You can get one tray from Bed Bath & Beyond for about $10, or get a set of two from Amazon for less than $20. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. There are more than 700 user reviews on Amazon for these trays, and most of them are highly positive.
“These are the best Ice Cube trays that I have ever used. They fill easily enough and then are covered so that foreign things don’t end up in your ice and more importantly so that they can be stacked. However, my favorite feature is the ease at which all of the cubes just release from the ice tray … You can remove a few or all with a small twist of the tray ….no more banging or holding the tray under hot water,” said one verified purchaser in November 2016.
RJ, another verified buyer, echoed similar sentiments in October 2016: “Best ice tray I’ve used. Cubes slide out like butter. Cover prevents debris. Perfection.” Some Amazon users complain that the lids are difficult to manage, but most are okay with the design.
Pros: Elegantly-shaped cubes, easy extraction, sturdy plastic construction, lids make for easy stacking and fewer odors
Cons: Lids can be difficult to maneuver
The best tray with a lid
The Peak Ice Works Everyday Ice Tray is a stylish silicone tray with a convenient lid that lets you easily extract one ice cube at a time.
The Peak Ice Works Everyday Tray is our second favorite tray, and it’s almost as great as our top pick from OXO. Available in three colors – charcoal, peak blue, and white – this stylish ice cube tray makes 12 ice cubes and comes with a protective lid that keeps freezer burn out while allowing for easy stacking in your freezer.
It is simple to push individual ice cubes out of the flexible silicone tray while leaving the others intact. Peak also makes trays that produce oversized ice cubes, as well as trays for crushed ice. The price is fairly reasonable, too.
There are more than 30 customer reviews on Amazon, many of which are positive. Some reviewers can hardly contain their excitement, like Brendan G., who wrote: “THIS. PRODUCT. IS. AWESOME! I never believed in a better ice cube tray until I met the Peak tray. Removing individual cubes is so easy because of the material and how they’re individually slotted into the ice cube tray. The lid is great because you can put things on top of it while they freeze. It’s so sturdily built. I mean, really, I never thought I would be so excited to write a review about an ice cube tray.”
Pros: Stylish, convenient lid, easy to extract individual ice cube, sturdy silicone construction
Cons: Cubes are not perfectly formed, some users complain of a bad taste
The best silicone tray
The Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Tray produces oversized ice cubes that are perfect for cooling down drinks without diluting them too quickly.
The Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Trays come in nine bright colors, including fuschia, ice blue, and vivid violet. These fun BPA-free silicone trays produce 15 perfectly uniform one-inch ice cubes that can make your cocktail look like it was made by a professional mixologist. You can pop the ice cubes out easily. There is no twisting required: Simply push from behind with your finger. Each tray measures 7 x 4.5 x 1.5 inches.
Guides editor Malarie Gokey has two of these Tovolo ice cube trays in her freezer, and after about five years of use, they’re still going strong. After struggling with hard plastic ice cube trays for her entire life, using silicone trays was a game changer. It’s just so easy to get cubes out of the trays.
There are more than 2,200 user reviews on Amazon, and most of them are very positive. Buyers describe the trays as “fun” and they love the perfectly-sized ice cubes. Other positive remarks include how easy it is to extract the ice cubes and to clean the trays.
“I love the large ice cubes and how easily they come out,” wrote verified purchaser Faith Richardson on April 7, 2017.
“I remember having to use standard plastic ice cube trays growing up where I would either break the tray trying to remove cubes or have everything come fly out at me in one chunk. I can’t live without these trays anymore; the silicone makes removing the cubes so easy,” wrote another verified purchaser in February 2017.
That said, a fair number of Amazon users claim that they find it difficult to remove the ice cubes and others add that they experience a “rubbery taste” with their cubes. We’ve never had these problems with the trays.
Across the web, professional reviewers praise the Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Trays, including New York Magazine which deemed it the very best ice cube tray to buy. Reviewer Belle Cushing seemed quite enamored with the tray, writing that using it “brings me deep joy.”
Pros: Creates uniform ice cubes, easy to extract cubes, colorful and fun, easy to clean, ideal for freezing broth and baby food
Cons: Some claim the trays leave a rubbery taste in the cubes
The best stainless steel tray
- Onyx/Business Insider
The Onyx Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray has a fun vintage look and freezes water quickly.
If you are of a certain age, you may remember the old steel ice cube trays that showed up on the American scene in the 1950s. When you mention them to anyone, you’ll likely hear some variation of, “My grandmother had those!” The most distinguishing characteristic of these trays was the lever that you had to pull to crack the ice into cubes.
There are more than 550 Amazon user reviews, many of which are positive. “These are the best … well worth the cost …. A true champion in an arena filled with plastic and rubber imposters,” wrote one reviewer on May 19, 2017. Many reviewers say they are pleased to get away from aluminum and plastic trays, and also offer a tip to make the trays work easier: don’t overfill them!
Negative reviews note that it is difficult to remove the cubes without running the tray under warm water.
Across the web, professional reviewers, including those at Real Simple and Gizmodo tout the benefits of the Onyx 18/8 Stainless Steel # ICE001 18 Slot Ice Cube Tray. They both point out the retro appeal and the sturdy stainless steel construction.
Pros: Retro appeal, sturdy stainless-steel construction, freezes ice cubes quickly, no plastic or aluminum
Cons: Hard to extract ice, expensive
The best ice ball mold
- Zoku/Business Insider
The Zoku Ice Sphere Mold easily makes large ice balls to enhance your cocktails and keep them cold for hours.
If you want to take your cocktail party game to the next level, it may be time to invest in an ice ball mold. The appeal is obvious: The giant sphere in your glass in downright intriguing. But there’s more to it than that: Ice balls last longer and stay colder than regular ice cubes, so it helps cocktails stay cool – with less dilution – all night long.
The Zoku Ice Ball Mold comes with two units that create 2.5-inch balls. The silicon units are easy to use. To release the ice balls after freezing simply pull the halves apart, flip over the mold, and push on the bottom of it. The ice balls should snap right out. The units are designed to stack in your freezer, but the bright red design is attractive enough to display on your bar.
There are more than 200 user reviews on Amazon, most of which are very positive. “The product, and the concept, are absolutely fantastic … Product makes perfectly spherical shaped ice The ice is very dense and melts VERY slowly,” wrote one verified purchaser in August 2014.
“Best Ice Mold I have ever purchased, they are easy to fill only take 6 to 8 hours to freeze. The ice balls release with very little effort & last a very long time … They are Awesome!,” wrote another reviewer on February 4, 2017. Negative reviews include complaints that there is a “weird” taste and that the balls break in half.
Pros: Easy to use, stylish, inexpensive compared to other ice ball molds
Cons: Some users report a weird taste
Check out our other buying guides
High-quality drinking glasses can handle hot and cold liquids, are resistant to breaking when dropped, and don’t spill easily. The Libbey Polaris Drinking Glasses are our top pick because they are inexpensive, feature a weighted base, and have an attractive design.
Here are our picks for the best drinking glasses you can buy:
- Best drinking glasses overall: Libbey Polaris Drinking Glasses
- Best plastic drinking glasses: Tervis Tumblers
- Best colorful drinking glasses: Vibrant Splash Highball Glasses
- Best stackable drinking glasses: Bormioli Rocco Rock Bar Stackable Glasses
- Best drinking glass design: Duralex Picardie Clear Tumblers
When the summer weather heats things up, the best way to keep your cool is with ice-cold sweets. The Yonanas Classic Healthy Frozen Dessert Maker can produce delicious frozen treats using nothing more than fruit, but you can always add chocolate, sprinkles, rum, and all your other favorite ingredients, too.
Here are the best frozen dessert makers you can buy:
- Best overall: Yonanas Classic Healthy Frozen Dessert Maker
- Best ice cream machine: Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker
- Best shaved ice maker: Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900 Shaved Ice Machine
- Best frozen drink maker: Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker
- Best fun dessert maker: Yaylabs! SoftShell Ice Cream Ball
If you love ice cream so much that you want to make your own from scratch, you need a good ice cream maker. The Cuisinart ICE-30 Pure Indulgence is our top pick because it makes creating your own delicious ice cream at home a breeze.
So if you’re looking for a fun option to add to your dessert repertoire, check out these ice cream makers.
Here are the top ice cream makers:
- Best ice cream maker overall: Cuisinart ICE-30 Pure Indulgence
- Best fast ice cream maker: Chef’n Sweet Spot Instant Ice Cream Maker
- Best compression maker: Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream Maker
- Best for frozen desserts: Yonanas Frozen Dessert Maker
- Best affordable option: Hamilton Beach 4-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker