The Best Ice Cube Tray

The best everyday ice cube tray for most people is OXO’s Good Grips No Spill Ice Cube Tray. At $10 a tray, it’s certainly not the cheapest option out there, but seven hours of research and testing has proven that it’s the smartest pick for those making ice cubes for everyday home use. While our tests showed that the material at the heart of it all—the ice itself—is pretty much the same no matter which mold you use, it’s the experience of using the tray that makes it more satisfying than others.

With easy-to-remove cubes and a lid that allows you to store the filled tray at an angle, Good Grips No Spill Ice Cube Tray is the best pick for most people (who don’t want to think about having to lay the tray flat in the freezer).
Unlike most ice cube trays, OXO’s has a silicone lid that allows you to store the tray at an angle without spilling, a boon for overstuffed freezers. In our tests, we were able to make ice with the tray perpendicular to the bottom of the freezer—effectively on its side at an angle that normally wouldn’t be possible with other ice cube trays. The half-moon shape of the ice makes it particularly easy to release single cubes from the tray, and there isn’t significantly more melt when compared with the other trays we tested.

We’ve removed our previous recommendation for the Tovolo King Ice Cube Tray. While it has received all kinds of editorial support, customer raves, and bartender accolades, the silicone does retain a freezer burn taste that some people (including a few Sweethome folks) can taste. In short, we constructed an experiment freezing distilled and tap water in a months-old Tovolo tray against a standard plastic one, smelling and tasting the melted water from the cubes after a week and a half. Even after two vinegar-water soaks (per Tovolo’s instructions), melted ice from the silicone trays left us with the same gaggy freezer-burn taste. We debated internally, but ultimately decided that the freezer burn taste issue is a persistent dealbreaker. Those of you who insisted the ice tastes bad, you were right. (For more, see Why we’re no longer recommending Tovolo.

Also Great
Similar in many ways to its silicone-lidded sibling, this tray’s slide-on plastic lid is still helpful for blocking odors, but not as efficient at preventing spills. It’s also half the price.
OXO’s tray makes 14 20mL ice cubes at a time, which is average for the models we tested; some held 16, and others, 12. If you’re looking to spend a few bucks less, the Good Grips Ice Cube Tray—note the lack of “No Spill” in the name—is only $5 and an Amazon best seller. It has a plastic lid instead of a silicone one, but it is otherwise very similar to our top choice. The size of the cubes are the same, and they’re as easy to remove, but the tray can’t be positioned at angles because the lid isn’t airtight. This also means there’s more of a potential for freezer smells to leak in, although we weren’t able to prove this in our testing.

Also Great
For those who want to make dozens of cubes at once, and have the freezer space, this baby food freezer tray from Mumi&Bubi works very well.
If you’re interested in quantity as well as quality, and you’re willing to spend more money, Mumi&Bubi’s Solids Starter Kit is a smart pick. Even though it’s not designed as an ice cube tray, the $25 set of two 21-cube molds allows for easy removal and comes with lids for spill prevention and sanitary stacking. The high price and large footprint keep it from being our top pick, but it’s a good choice for those who want to make a lot of ice at once and have the room to spare. .

Table of Contents

Who’s this for?

Almost everyone has at least one ice cube tray hanging out in their freezer. Maybe it came with the fridge, or the last tenant left it behind. Regardless of how it got there, if you have an ice cube tray already, you probably don’t need to invest in any new ones unless they are frustrating you for one reason or another.

In our testing, we found there aren’t meaningful differences in how well a standard ice cube will cool down your drink, or how quickly it will melt, as long as you’re starting with the same mass of ice. If you’re especially unhappy with your current ice cube tray, or somehow don’t have any, this pick is for you. It’s an especially great choice if your freezer has gotten particularly full lately and need to squeeze ice cube trays in at an angle.

How we picked and tested

There are countless styles of ice cube trays out there, making water into every size and shape of ice imaginable. We decided to narrow our focus to non-silicone trays in traditional ice cube shapes. Why not silicone? After long-term testing with our previous pick, the Tovolo King Cube tray, we found that after a few months, silicone starts to retain freezer burn smells and impart that flavor into the ice. Since the smell problem appears to be related to the material, we decided not to include silicone trays this time around. (For the full story, read Why we’re no longer recommending the Tovolo.)

Freezing ice for testing.

Freezing ice for testing.

During our research, we found that almost every ice cube tray makes 12, 14, or 16 cubes; the trays with more cubes tend to take up a slightly longer footprint in the freezer than those with fewer cubes. Despite these differences in size and quantity, all of the trays make ice cubes that are about 20 grams each.

We set a price cap of $10 per tray. Anything more than that seemed too expensive for such a simple tool.

Lids can be great for keeping smells out, but some designs worked better than others. All prevented spilling when being moved from the sink to the freezer. However, one poorly designed lid turned the freezing water into a giant hunk of ice. The best lid not only stops spills, but also allows the tray to be stored at an angle and keeps smells out of the ice. When stacked, a tray with a good lid also keeps the tops of the ice clean, no matter what you stack on top of it.

Our ice cube melt test.

Our ice cube melt test.

We wanted to see if there were any major differences in cooling or melt rate based on shape (prisms vs. half moons) and surface area with the six trays we ultimately ended up testing.
One of the main reasons bartenders and other professionals recommend big ice cubes is because they melt more slowly, which means they’ll water down your drink more slowly. We wanted to see if there were any major differences in cooling or melt rate based on shape (prisms vs. half moons) and surface area with the six trays we ultimately ended up testing. To do this, we poured 20mL of water per mold in each tray, which turned out to fit perfectly in all six, and let the ice freeze overnight. The next day, we added four cubes of each to glasses containing 250mL of water; the total mass of the cubes was between 77 and 80g, with some water lost during the freezing process.

From cube to cube, the differences in cooling power and meltwater rise was negligible, though the one with extra-large cubes, the 25mL Mumi&Bubi, had the least drop in temperature.

Our results ultimately proved that the shape of the ice at this size doesn’t make a substantial difference. Among the six trays, we recorded average decreases in temperature ranging from 41.11% to 45.65%, and ice mass loss of between 91.57% and 94.87%, after 17 minutes, across three tests. Those differences are too small to declare one shape as better than any other among these models.

Our pick

With easy-to-remove cubes and a lid that allows you to store the filled tray at an angle, Good Grips No Spill Ice Cube Tray is the best pick for most people (who don’t want to think about having to lay the tray flat in the freezer).
After our research and extensive testing, it’s clear to us that the Good Grips No Spill Ice Cube Tray from OXO is the best ice cube tray one can buy. Measuring 13½ inches long by 6 inches wide, it has a larger footprint than the others we tested, but it also stands the shortest, measuring just about an inch tall. Smart design decisions elevate this tray over the competition.

Smart design decisions elevate this tray over the competition.
This is one of a handful of trays we tested that separates into two pieces. There’s the standard plastic segment, with room for 14 cubes (two fewer than other trays of comparable size). It’s properly flexible, twisting back and forth with ease; we never felt it might snap, crack, or otherwise break. Then there’s a removable silicone lid, which attaches to the plastic tray with two nubs along the back end that fit into matching holes. Both pieces of the tray are top-rack dishwasher-safe, according to Emily Forrest, assistant public relations manager at OXO.

OXO’s Good Grips No Spill Ice Cube Tray.

OXO’s Good Grips No Spill Ice Cube Tray.

Yes, we eliminated silicone trays for smell retention, but we actually found that the OXO tray’s silicone lid does a good job of keeping odors out. It touches only one side of the ice cube and helps prevent odors from permeating the ice by sealing off the freezing water. Many reviewers on Amazon praise the lid’s ability to keep ice free of freezer smells. In fact, of the 217 customer reviews on the site—averaging out to 4.6 stars, with only 22 reviews less than 4 stars—there’s only one that mentions odor issues.

The flexible lid is superior to the plastic lid because, as you can see in this video, the surface tension of the water against the lid creates a surprisingly stable, airtight seal. After you fill the mold, you simply press the floppy lid down, which forces any excess liquid into a pour-off channel running around the perimeter. Once the lid is in place, you can transport the tray to your freezer and even stuff it on the shelf at an angle if needed. We got up to a full 90 degrees safely, although the seal broke when we tried to freeze the tray upside down.

The other thing we love about this tray is the shape of the cubes. Rather than a rectangular or trapezoidal prism, the underside is a half-moon, allowing for the easiest removal of individual cubes. (The runner-up Good Grips Ice Cube Tray also features this rounded shape.) Once you’ve twisted the tray back and forth to loosen the ice, you can simply push down on either end of a cube, which raises the other end like a seesaw. Of course you can turn the whole tray over and bang out all of them at once, if you prefer. Other trays require using fingernails to lift out individual cubes, or holding back a barrage of ice to get just a piece.

In our tests, our pick averaged a cooling rate of 44.91 percent, compared with the most effective ice, from the Fox Run tray, at 45.65 percent. Over our 17 minute tests, we saw the mass of the ice decrease by an average of 94.83 percent, which was toward the high end, but is still comparable to the lowest rate of 91.57 percent. These are really small differences that most people would never notice when it comes to the actual taste of their beverage.

We’re not the only ones who love this ice cube tray. In May 2013, Cook’s Illustrated published its take on innovative ice cube trays (subscription required). Although it only tested three models, OXO’s came out as the winner, earning the highly recommended status. The authors found the shape of the molds to be beneficial as well, saying, “The ice cubes released effortlessly from its rounded indentations.”

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Good Grips No Spill Ice Cube Tray does have a pretty large footprint; while it’s the same length as a standard Rubbermaid tray, it’s about ¾ of an inch wider, and yet it makes fewer cubes. Also, if you don’t properly pour out the extra water from the perimeter runoff moat, you might make a mess in your freezer if placing the tray in at an angle. We also had some concern about runoff channels between the cubes, which means water can’t flow from one indent to the next.

Because the silicone used for the Tovolo ice cube tray retained freezer burn smells, we’re going to test the OXO long term to see if the silicone lid adds any off flavors over time.

Runner-up

Also Great
Similar in many ways to its silicone-lidded sibling, this tray’s slide-on plastic lid is still helpful for blocking odors, but not as efficient at preventing spills. It’s also half the price.
If the No Spill version of the tray isn’t available, or you’re looking to save some money, Good Grips Ice Cube Tray (with a plastic lid instead of silicone) is a good second choice. The ice cubes are the same size and shape as the silicone-lidded edition, meaning it uses the push-up half-moon design.

It also has a lid, perfect for stacking. Made of plastic, this lid slides on top of the tray, snapping into place once it’s centered. The lid’s wavelike edge allows you to turn over the tray to remove as few or as many cubes as you’d like at a time. We prefer the benefits of the silicone lid on our main pick—particularly the airtight seal that allows the tray to be positioned at angles and keeps out smells—but still find this one to be better than no lid at all.

OXO’s Good Grips Ice Cube Tray.

OXO’s Good Grips Ice Cube Tray.

Over at Gizmodo, Sam Biddle named this one the best ice cube tray of all time. “I liked the OXO because it was clever without feeling clever—an ice cube tray should just give you some damn ice when you want it, not feel like a gadget,” Biddle told us via email. “I didn’t like the trays that tried too hard.”

For more ice cubes

Also Great
For those who want to make dozens of cubes at once, and have the freezer space, this baby food freezer tray from Mumi&Bubi works very well.
In our hunt for the best possible ice cube trays, we expanded the scope of our search to include less traditional options, including baby food freezer trays. While most of them didn’t fit what we were looking for, due to their silicone bodies, high prices, or both, one stood out as a smart choice for those who want to make a large number of cubes at once.

At $25, Mumi&Bubi’s Solids Starter Kit is more than twice as expensive as our top pick, but it comes with two trays that make 21 extra-large cubes each. The BPA-free, dishwasher-safe plastic trays are square rather than rectangular, measuring just shy of 9 inches long and wide and standing 1½ inches tall with the included lid in place. Each indentation holds about 25mL of water, rather than the 20mL-capacity of the others we tested.

While they leave the least amount of meltwater to your drink, in our tests they also didn’t cool the drink quite as quickly as the smaller 20mL cubes, though the difference was pretty small. The shape of the cubes is very similar to that of OXO’s, with a half-moon design that makes removal of a single cube easy: push on the end and and grab the other as the ice pops up. It’s just as simple to knock out the entire tray into a bucket when you’re having a party.

Left to right: Mumi&Bubi’s ice, and OXO’s.

Left to right: Mumi&Bubi’s ice, and OXO’s.

The covers protect the ice from freezer burn and also allow you to stack anything on top of the trays. They also help prevent any spillage; even if the water sloshes around when you’re moving from the sink to the freezer, none of it will end up on the ground. The trays can’t be stored at angles like our top pick, though.

Because of the high price and large footprint, the Solid Starter Kit doesn’t quite compete as the “best” option, but it’s a smart choice for those who want to make a lot of ice at once. We’re actually a little surprised Mumi&Bubi doesn’t market the tray as an option for plain ol’ ice cubes, although based on the 4.4 star rating on Amazon, plenty of people love it for its intended purpose.

Editor’s note: Why we’re no longer recommending the Tovolo

6_tovoloWe loved the Tovolo King Ice Cube Tray overall. Bartending pros like Chad Solomon of Milk & Honey and Jim Meehan of PDT, Cook’s Illlustrated, and many others recommended them to us. The cubes are huge at 100 grams, and because of their reduced surface area, they melt slowly and dilute delicious libations less quickly. We proved this theory by having Matthew Nix, who has a PhD in biochemistry, and a cocktail writer, Kevin Liu, plot the dilution ratio of water and whiskey over time for cubes of various sizes. Large cubes cooled the slowest but diluted the least—so important for carefully crafted booze. (There’s a lengthy appendix section on the previous guide that discusses the science of ice melting and chilling cocktails that doesn’t directly apply to this guide, but you may want to check it out.)

At first, we loved this tray. Some of our staff found the large cubes difficult to release from the tray, but others had no problem.

But then two big problems unique to the Tovolo came up from readers. Google “Silicone ice cube tray” and you’ll find manysimilarcomplaints. Tovolo confirmed to us that they were aware of these problems.

The first problem was that the cubes left an off-putting, lacy white residue on the inside of the ice cube trays. Readers wondered what it was and whether it was safe. As Sweethome and Serious Eats contributor Kevin Liu explained, “Since the cubes in the Tovolo are larger, the water freezes more slowly and also circulates more within each cube before it freezes. This action deposits the minerals on the outside of each cube; with smaller cubes, the minerals get trapped inside the ice cube.”

Tovolo has tested the residue left in trays and found that they were elements from the water used to make ice. The residue is more prevalent the harder your water is; still, there’s nothing harmful about it.

The second problem was a smell that transferred into the flavor of the ice, often described as plasticky or chemically.
The second problem was a smell that transferred into the flavor of the ice, often described as plasticky or chemically. If you’ve ever had cubes from a built-in ice maker that have been sitting open in the freezer for a few weeks, you’ll recognize the taste as freezer burn. One commenter even suggests leaving the trays in kitty litter for three days to remove the smell, which we didn’t try because we don’t want to ingest kitty litter additives.1

We had a pretty rigorous debate about this issue among ourselves. Some Sweethome editors insisted that the freezer burn flavor of ice made in the Tovolo tray was a dealbreaker, while other Sweethome editors couldn’t taste anything off. Accusations about stinky freezers and dull palates flew.

Both the residue and the flavor problems may stem from the nature of silicone. While its flexibility lends itself well to releasing large-form cubes that might otherwise crack more brittle plastic, the material may also have a tendency to hold on to both the hard-water deposits and smells. Tovolo representative Kerry Niesen told us, “Silicone is a rubber material and at low temperatures can absorb odors from the freezer and refrigerator.”

Tovolo representative Kerry Niesen told us, “Silicone is a rubber material and at low temperatures…can absorb odors from the freezer and refrigerator.”
Leigh Krietsch Boerner, Sweethome science editor, explained, “Silicone is kinda sticky, at least for certain molecules. Solids may be more likely to adhere there, so minerals from the water itself or molecules from other food in your freezer are flying around and see that silicone ice cube tray as a great place to land. And once on, I’m willing to bet that it’s kind of hard to get off.” (If you’ve ever tried to clean oil from a silicone bowl, you’ll know what she means.)

The Sweethome office freezer we used for the experiment is mostly empty.

The Sweethome office freezer we used for the experiment is mostly empty.

Tovolo told us these problems could be fixed. “The best solution is to clean your Tovolo ice trays in a dilute solution of vinegar and water about once per month,” says Niesen, recommending a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water. “Sometimes it is necessary to soak the trays in the solution for up to an hour.”

She also recommended storing the trays outside the freezer when not in use. “Once the cubes are frozen, decant them into an airtight container so they stay fresh in the freezer,” she said.

But would this really solve both issues? We decided to conduct an experiment. We had an 8-month-old Tovolo tray that had been sitting in a mostly empty freezer and exhibited both the residue and stink issues. We cleaned the silicone tray in vinegar-water, as directed by Tovolo. After an hour in the bath, the trays still smelled of freezer burn, though the scent wasn’t as assertive as it had been before. We washed a plastic Rubbermaid tray in plain soap and water. Then we filled one side of each tray with distilled water and the other side with filtered Los Angeles tap water, which tends to be quite hard. We froze the trays for 1½ weeks, melted equal amounts of each of the four ice samples, and examined the meltwater for residue and taste. This experiment was repeated once for confirmation.

Top, filtered water. Bottom, distilled water.

Top, filtered water. Bottom, distilled water.

As expected, the distilled water left no residue from either the plastic or the silicone tray. The cubes started far more clear than the the filtered water cubes and melted clear.

With filtered water, Kevin’s theory proved true: the smaller cubes from both the plastic tray and large Tovolo cube contained equal amounts of mineral residue once melted. The silicone tray didn’t display the lacy white residue it had prior to the vinegar cleanse; the deposits likely build up over time and use. We suspect that all filtered water ice always has that residue, regardless of the ice cube tray; it’s just that the sticky silicone trays hold onto the residue that would otherwise be trapped in the ice.

…spoonfuls of both the distilled water and filtered water cubes from the Tovolo tasted distinctly of acrid freezer burn.
However, the taste test really separated the plastic tray cubes from the silicone tray cubes. Both the distilled water and filtered-water ice cubes from the plastic tray tasted as expected. But spoonfuls of both the distilled water and filtered-water cubes from the Tovolo tasted distinctly of acrid freezer burn. Even a second soak in vinegar water didn’t help the tray release the smell of freezer burn. We wouldn’t want this gaggy meltwater mixing with a tumbler full of expensive Scotch.

The list of caveats for using the silicone tray was getting too long to be practical—release cubes from tray as soon as they’re frozen, store ice in a covered container, store the tray outside the freezer when not in use, ignore the harmless white residue, clean regularly with vinegar-water (and still deal with the taste of freezer burn).

Because of the unfortunate taste issue, we can no longer recommend the Tovolo, or any silicone ice cube tray for that matter. We still think large cubes are great for cooling cocktails with less dilution, but we haven’t found a viable large cube alternative that isn’t silicone yet.

In TheBar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique, Portland-based Jeffrey Morgenthaler suggests, “Pick up a multi-compartment plastic storage box at a hardware store, the lidded type most often used for holding nails and screws. Simply discard the lid, fill with distilled water, and freeze. The model I have at home has 1¾-inch-cubed compartments. You can store your big, beautiful cubes in a lidded plastic container in the freezer; just reach in and grab to order. (If you’re making ice to use in a commercial setting, however, you should stick to food-grade materials.)” However, we can’t recommend this method as storage containers aren’t regulated for food contact by the FDA and could contain contaminants from recycled plastics, plasticizers such as BPA and phthalates, dyes, and other chemicals you probably don’t want in your cocktail.

If we find a food-grade large ice cube tray that works without cracking when releasing cubes, we’ll update this guide. – Editors

Competition

In addition to the two OXO models, we called in four other trays for testing. Some were plain old plastic trays, and others had innovative tricks, but none was strong enough to earn the title. Only Fox Run’s No Spill Ice Cube Tray showed any real issues when it came to the cubes themselves.

Joseph Joseph’s QuickSnap Ice Cube Tray.

Joseph Joseph’s QuickSnap Ice Cube Tray.

Joseph Joseph’s QuickSnap Ice Cube Tray ($8) offers a unique way to remove the cubes. Each of the twelve divisions has a silicone switch mechanism embedded in it. Water freezes into it, and then when it comes time to remove a cube, you move the rubber back and forth to loosen it. Most of the time, this causes the cube to pop right up at you. Cool idea, but it didn’t always work.

Both Sterilite’s Stacking Ice Cube Tray ($5) and Rubbermaid’s Easy Release Ice Cube Tray ($5) are pretty much quintessential ice cube trays. Coming in white plastic, each holds 16 cubes, and comes without a lid. They stack just fine and make perfectly acceptable ice. There’s nothing special about them though, and for the same money, we’d definitely take Good Grips Ice Cube Tray with its odor-fighting lid. You might find these bundled in multi-packs for a low price though, so they’re not a bad idea if you need a lot of ice at once.

Results of an overfilled Fox Run No Spill Ice Cube Tray.

Results of an overfilled Fox Run No Spill Ice Cube Tray.

We wanted to like the $8 No Spill Ice Cube Tray from Fox Run, but it turned out to be more problematic than expected. The 14-cube tray is the last of the models we tested to come with a lid. You’re supposed to snap the lid into place onto the empty tray, and then open up a cover in the center that reveals a 1½-inch hole underneath. Pour your water in through the hole to fill the tray; the lid is supposed prevent any water from spilling out. The problem is the design doesn’t prevent overfilling, and when you put too much water in, you end up with solid chunks of ice rather than individual cubes. As Cook’s Illustrated put its, “When the tray is overfilled, a solid sheet of ice atop the ice cubes made them hard to pry out, and after a few rounds of making ice, the lid stiffened and felt brittle.” Gizmodo’s Biddle echoes, “The Fox Run suffered the worst from overfill, leaving you with one enormous, malformed tectonic plate of ice, rather than neat cubes.”

Even when the tray was filled to a lower level, it was problematic. Almost every cube cracked when we removed them, leaving shards of ice behind.

Onyx’s Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray looks cool, but its $29 price tag kept it out of the running.

The same goes for Lekue’s $33 Ice Box, which at least has the benefit of coming with a storage container.

The Container Store’s Covered Ice Cube Tray makes 21 cubes, but because it is made of rigid plastic and has a middle row, it’s hard to remove individual cubes; it’s more of an all-or-nothing kind of deal.

Wrapping it up

When it comes time to buy a nice ice cube tray, we recommend you go with OXO’s Good Grips No Spill Ice Cube Tray. It combines the easiest to remove cubes with a great lid, resulting in a prime ice cube experience. But if you have a tray you’re happy with, don’t worry about upgrading. There’s no magic here, just smart design.

Footnotes:

1. The Sweethome does not recommend cleaning your ice cube tray with kitty litter. Kitty litter manufacturers are not required to tell you what ingredients are used, and while the main ingredients, such as silica gel or clay, in many brands are probably safe if you accidentally consume a trace amount after cleaning your tray thoroughly, other ingredients like unidentified fragrances may not be safe for consumption. However, if you absolutely must try that solution, we even went so far as to call poison control to ask about the safety of kitty litter and were told it’s generally nontoxic. “Oh yeah, kids eat it all the time,” said the California Poison Control hotline operator we spoke to. Jump back.

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  • Christian

    Many of the reviews of the Tovolo on Amazon mention some “white residue” issue. If you’re worried about this: I’ve had a pair of Tovolo Kings for a while, and I have no idea what any of those reviewers are talking about. I’ve never had a problem.

    Don’t second guess these based on flaky Amazon reviewers; just buy them and start making better drinks.

  • Kevin Liu

    @cshbell:disqus

    The reason some folks get a white residue with the 2″ trays is due to hard water. For example, my home tap water has a total dissolved solids level of over 300 ppm, which technically makes it a mineral water.

    Since the cubes in the Tovolo are larger, the water freezes more slowly and also circulates more within each cube before it freezes. This action deposits the minerals on the outside of each cube; with smaller cubes, the minerals get trapped inside the ice cube.

    To solve this problem, simply rinse the cubes off with a little ice water (room temp water will cause your ice to crack) before depositing into your favorite drink.

    • Chris Corwin

      I really like using distilled water to make cubes with in these trays.

      I have found that pouring boiling distilled water into them makes perfectly clear cubes, and doesn’t have any of the residue issues.

  • http://boingboing.net/ Rob Beschizza

    I have this one. Note that the cubes are beveled at the bottom. Otherwise great.

  • caseyljohnston

    Bought 2, thanks fellers!

  • sagehumphries

    I have these and they are great. No issues whatsoever!

  • http://www.fitfulmurmurs.com/ KyleDeas

    My girlfriend gave me two of the spherical molds for Christmas, and I really love them – I find that rinsing them under the warm water is usually unnecessary and they melt at exactly the right rate. I haven’t tried the King Cube trays but I definitely wouldn’t qualify the spherical molds as annoying in the slightest, and I think the fears about their fragility are unnecessary.

  • http://www.theuniversalsteve.com SSteve

    Maker’s Mark sent spherical ice trays to its “ambassadors” as a Christmas gift in 2010 (http://www.bourbonblog.com/blog/2010/12/22/makers-mark-ice-ball-maker-mold-bourbon-balls-gift/). I love the ice spheres, but they are a little hard to get out of the mold. I usually have to run warm water over the mold to get them loose. I put the warmed, extracted spheres in a container in the freezer so I have cold ones ready to use. MoMA sells a similar mold that makes two spheres instead of four.

  • bregalad

    How can anyone recommend an ice cube tray without a lid? I don’t care how many packages of baking soda you put in your freezer, open trays produce foul tasting cubes. I see the trays don’t even stack either so you have to devote 3 times as much shelf space to ice cubes.

    • tfd2

      they actually stack pretty well. you just put one on top of the other. and if your freezer is that nasty, maybe you should toss the 3 year old corn dogs finally.

  • ryan harvey

    I noticed that nothing in the review noticed the smell of the tray after prolonged use. These trays make beautiful ice cubes, but beware that if you leave them in your freezer for a while, they really begin to stink! I pulled a tray out of my freezer after it had been sitting in there for a few months, and both the ice cubes and the tray smelled really bad with “freezer smell.” I washed the tray using several methods and nothing would remove the smell.

  • Daniel Harlow

    How about a picture of the ice cubes next time?

  • sockatume

    There’s a lot I could write here, but suffice to say I’m sceptical that your methodology for measuring cooling and dilution is sufficiently rigorous to measure the small variations you’re describing. The change is on the same order as the precision of your measurements.

    Blinding is also a concern.

  • Wiseguy

    They are two-inch wide cubes, right? “Size: 2-cubic inches” doesn’t sound very big. That’s 1.25″ x 1.25″ x 1.25″. Are we sure that isn’t two inches cubed (2″ x 2″ x 2″), which would be eight cubic inches?

    • Nick Guy

      Thanks! I’ve fixed that.

  • http://geek.com/ sal cangeloso

    Sounds like you (and Cooks Illustrated, etc) did your homework, but I had a set of silicone icecube trays in the past and they made my ice taste plastic-y. Maybe it’s not an issue with Tovolo, as I probably had an offbrand set.

    +1 on their Spherical Ice mold though. It’s an excellent product and very impressive to pull out if you are entertaining.

  • bibulo.us(Dinah&Joe)

    Unorthodox, but we’ve found over the past 4+ years that the best combination of cube size (~2oz) and flavor control is the Beaba lidded tray. They think it’s for baby food, but we cocktail geeks know better. ;)

  • Glico Morinaga

    Bought one. Froze some water in it. Noticed absolutely no difference in ease-of-ejection from any other silicone tray I’ve had. These are every bit as annoying as all the others and the cubes don’t fit in most glasses. Whoopty doo.

  • Power My Life

    Not only are these ice cube trays great for not diluting your beverage, but they also help save on energy costs.

    http://powermylifetx.com/

  • woberman

    I also had the “white residue” (which is much more disgusting that that phrase indicates…. for me, it looked similar to dissolved toilet paper you might see floating in a poorly maintained public restroom bowl). Rinsing the ice melt help, but my workaround was to throw away the Tovolo and buy a different ice cube tray.

    The white residue issue sounds rare, so you might ignore this issue safely. But I have other annoyances too: old school hard trays you can just bang against the ice bucket to cause 100% of the ice to fall out easily, but getting the ice out of the Tovolo was a one at a time & manual effort. Also, when filling a floppy silicone tray, it’s hard not to spill a lot of water in the process (filling, transporting to freezer, setting it down, etc…).

    I’m know I’m making a big deal out of minor complaints. But, I feel things that I interact with frequently should be simple and well designed. If the point is a special occasion large cube for drinks (which is what the review’s key issue), maybe the extra effort is worth it. For a day-to-day ice cube tray, I’d avoid this recommendation.

  • franckhertz

    I’m afraid I have both the smell issue that Ryan describes, and the white residue (presumably from hard water) that others describe. Washing them has proved hard to get rid of either the residue (left behind in the tray and is harder to get out than I would have thought). But the smell really lingers and is problematic. Once I tried drinking the melted water from them and the smell became a poor taste. :-/

  • Sigivald

    … plainly the ideal solution is to use a reverse griddle/peltier cooler for temperature, and add pure water for dilution.

  • Mike Riley

    I bought two of the Tovolo King cube trays based on this review and would discourage anyone else from making the same mistake. Within days they acquired a nasty smell that also translated into funky tasting ice and funky tasting drinks (which I unwittingly served to some guests… embarrassing).

    I tried cleaning the trays as described, but the smell/taste quickly came back. I’ve switched back to standard hard plastic trays, and while they’re not as easy to pop the cubes out of, they taste fine and don’t ruin the drink I’m trying to cool.

    Sweethome, I generally find your advice to be spot on, but foul tasting ice cubes that ruin a drink are a definite dealbreaker of a flaw… I think you should reconsider recommending this product.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      I’ll forward this along to our editors. Thanks for the feedback!

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Just got word back. We’ll be updating soon with non-silicone picks!

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      And we’re live!

  • randomthoughts

    Yup, I’d say if you can’t taste the freezer burn on the silicone ice trays, you’ve got a dull palate. I bought them on recommendation here, but … I drink mostly water, and I can taste the freezer burn even through chlorinated tap water (ie. when I run out of filtered or refigerated filtered water).

    I wouldn’t have cared about the residue, particularly… but the taste is a deal breaker.

    Bought the new recommendation with some hesitation due to the silicone top, but this is probably the one instance where Sweethome steered me wrong.