How Much Does The Opal Nugget Ice Maker Cost To Run?

Have you recently purchased an Opal Nugget Ice Maker? Or perhaps you are in the market for one and you're wondering about the operating costs after you purchase it?

The Opal Nugget Ice Maker is arguably the best nugget ice maker for your home. The Opal is certainly not cheap to buy. But after you initial investment…is it cheap to run?

Here we break down those annual operating costs so you have a clear picture how much that new Opal Nugget Ice Maker is really going to set you back. 

The Opal Nugget Ice Maker costs approximately $122.94-$197.88/year in operating costs to run. It costs around $40-$120 in electricity per year to run, $80 in replacement filters and $1/year in water and cleaning costs. If you used purchased distilled water only in your machine add around $150/year to this overall cost.

If you want the full cost breakdown per year and our top tips on how to reduce that figure then keep reading. 

Electricity (The Biggest Cost)

The largest cost that you need to consider when using your Opal Nugget Ice Maker, especially with ever increasing energy prices, is electricity. 

Portable ice makers are not known for being energy efficient, the Opal is no exception. It takes just 20 – 30 minutes for the Opal to start making ice.

However, it is unlikely that you would ever need to run your Opal all day long. Even if you were hosting one hell of a margarita night! 

The Opal holds 2.4L of water in its reservoir and once that runs out it will automatically turn itself off. 

The Opal makes approximately 1lb of ice per hour and the ice bin holds 3lbs of ice at a time. Once the ice bin is full, the Opal will stop making ice. 

This means the Opal won't be running 24 hours per day, which keeps power consumption lower than it otherwise would be.

So, unless you emptied the ice bucket and refilled the reservoir continuously throughout the day, the Opal will typically be functioning for approximately 2-4 hours at a time. 

The table below breaks down the average costs you will pay by Census Division (USA) based on the Opal Nugget running for 3 hours a day.

We have also included comparative figures if you chose to run your Opal for 24 hours a day. 

If you would like to know the exact cost in your state then find the price per kWh and add it to this calculator

Area Average Cost Per Day
Average Cost Per Day
Average Cost Per Month(3hrs) Average Cost Per Year (3hrs)
New England $1.71$0.21$6.52$78.26
Middle Atlantic $1.31$0.16$4.97$59.72
East North Central $1.11$0.13$4.22$50.72
West North Central $0.93$0.12$3.56$42.83
South Atlantic $0.97$0.12$3.70$44.44
East South Central $0.93$0.12$3.57$42.83
West South Central $0.92$0.11$3.52$42.27
Mountain $0.92$0.11$3.49$41.94
Pacific Contiguous$1.45$0.18$5.52$66.30
Pacific Non-Contiguous $2.55$0.32$9.73$116.82

*based on 300W 

See the latest price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Amazon
(or compare to the price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Walmart)


It is not only electricity costs you need to consider. The Opal has filters that need to be replaced every three months.

The filters are approximately $20 on Amazon, that's an annual cost of $80.  

The figures are adding up… right!? 

See the latest price of Opal Nugget Ice Maker filters at Amazon

GE Profile Opal | Replacement Water Filter for Opal Nugget Ice Maker | Cleans and Filters Water for Fresh Ice | Replace Every 3 Months for Best Results | Easy Install | Pack of 1


Water costs will obviously vary depending on the water rates in your local area. Your usage will also be a factor. If you are charged a greater fee for higher usage in your area, consider whether using extra water for the Opal may take you over that higher threshold.

Purchasing filtered or distilled water is even more expensive again and will add to the cost of running your nugget ice maker. Distilled water is available from Walmart for $1/gallon and this will add a total annual cost of around $150/year.

However, we will assume most people will use tap water for their Opal or filter or distill it themselves.

Of course, it will also depend on how much ice you want to make each day. 

If we take the water rates in Denver as an example that are charged at $2.44-$5.86 per 1,000 gallons. 

The Opal lacks a way to connect to a water line – something many premium ice makers offer – this is just one of the problems with the Opal Nugget Ice Maker. So, let's assume you are filling your Opal to the reservoir limit of 2.4L each day, when it will automatically switch off until you refill it. 

That would be 151.4 gallons of water per year at a cost of approximately $0.33 – $0.88

That part sounds pretty reasonable at least! 


Manufacturers recommend cleaning the Opal weekly, unless you are only using distilled water inside, then you can switch to monthly cleaning. 

Not only is cleaning the Opal fiddly, it adds to the cost of maintaining your machine. 

Manufacturers guidelines state that the machine needs to be cleaned with 5 cups of water and a teaspoon of household bleach, then rinsed a minimum of THREE times with fresh water to remove the bleach residue. 

That's a minimum of 4.8 liters of water a week on cleaning alone. 

That's 249.6 liters of water per year just to clean the machine.

If we use our Denver water rates again as an example. 

Denver charge $2.44-$5.86 per 1,000 gallons
1 Gallon = 3.78 L
So 249. 6L is 65.9 Gallons per year.
That is $0.16 a year. 

So the water and cleaning side of things is hardly going to break the bank for anyone.

However, if you used only distilled water you can get away with cleaning the Opal monthly. But that comes with its own problems. 

Distilled water is available in Walmart for $1 a gallon. 

But that is going to cost you over $150 a year to fill the water tank alone. 


So surely that is it for spending? 

Unfortunately no.

The Opal also requires descaling at least every 6 months. 

However, if you use only distilled water, you will most likely not need to remove any mineral deposits from your machine. 

If you have used tap water then you will need to fill the reservoir with vinegar to the max fill line and run up to three cleaning cycles. After draining the vinegar you would need to run another three rinse cycles using fresh water for each rinse.

That's another 14.4 liters of water on descaling twice a year. But this will cost less than $0.10 a year thankfully.

Or you can purchase an Opal Cleaning Kit which will cost you $47.99 on Amazon. The kit includes two 2.5 oz bottles of cleaning solution, a cleaning cloth, a sponge and Q-tips. 

How to Reduce Costs

Here are some quick tips on how to reduce your annual spend on the Opal Nugget Ice Maker. 

  1. Use cold water – the cooler the water, the less power it will require to turn that water into ice.
  2. Keep the machine in a cool room – If the ice maker is stored in a room that exceeds 90°F it will reduce the machine's production capacity.
  3. Maintain the Opal correctly – If the Opal is maintained correctly it will perform at its best. If the machine needs cleaning, descaling or any other kind of maintenance it will reduce its output whilst still costing the same to run. 

You are probably wondering, is the Opal Ice Maker worth the money?

See the latest price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Amazon
(or compare to the price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Walmart)


The Opal Nugget Ice Maker can be very expensive to run, particularly if you live in an area with high electricity rates. This can cost you between $41.94 – $116.82 per year if you run it for 3 hours each day. 

Filters are also pretty expensive and will cost approximately $80 a year. 

Water costs are relatively low, as are cleaning and descaling costs. If you choose to fill your machine with distilled water this will mean less cleaning and descaling which will make maintenance a lot easier but will set you back another $150 per year. 

If you are still interested in the Opal, do you want to know how the Opal works?