Best Ice Bucket for Your Bar Cart

If you’re on the hunt for the best ice bucket for your bar cart or home bar, the first things to look into are construction, material, and size. To help you shop, I’ve compiled a selection of the top ice buckets available, as rated by bar owners and wine lovers. ll would be great additions to your bar cart for serving up creative mocktails at home. 

If you need to look further for ice buckets, I’ve also included a handy buying guide to help you narrow down your options. My goal is to ensure that the ice bucket you pick will keep your ice from turning into water..

full ice bucket with a cocktail and drink garnish on a cutting board
Photo credit: OXO

Ice buckets are among the most overlooked home bar supplies, yet they have been around since refrigeration was developed. Ice buckets are essential bar accessories since they upgrade the service experience when you’re hosting, especially if drinks are self-serve.

Need ice for a party or a casual get-together with friends? How about easy ice access to serve ice-cold beverages to your guests in the sweltering summer heat? A good ice bucket that is durable with good insulation will come in handy. 

Ice buckets come in a range of timeless styles. But I’ve got to tell you, there is more to a simple ice bucket.

In this article, I’ll talk you through the most important features of this handy vessel to maximize the lifespan of your ice. And to begin, let’s have a quick look at my top picks!

My Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT
  • Construction: Double wall (plastic, aluminum)
  • Capacity: 3.1L
  • Brand: OXO
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  • Construction: Double wall (stainless steel)
  • Capacity: 3L
  • Brand: Bellemain
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  • Construction: Single wall (stainless steel)
  • Capacity: 3.78L
  • Brand: Winco
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  • Construction: Double wall (stainless steel)
  • Capacity: 3L
  • Brand: malmo
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  • Construction: Double wall (stainless steel)
  • Capacity: 3L
  • Brand: WENEGG
View On Amazon →Read Our Review

OXO Good Grips Ice Bucket

plastic and aluminum double walled ice bucket oxo good grips

From one of the leading brands of high quality bar essentials, the OXO Good Grips Ice Bucket is a great option if you’re looking for a functional ice bucket. The first thing that drew me to this insulated ice bucket is its unique square shape, which sets it apart from the other ice buckets I’ve seen.

It features a 3.1L capacity and double-wall insulation in a mix of plastic and aluminum, which makes it a unique option in the top picks. This ice bucket also features a removable garnish tray that sits inside, as well as a handy carrying handle that folds out of the way when you’re not using it. 

The nylon tongs that come with it have sharp teeth, which are ideal for scooping and grabbing ice. You can even hang them from either side of the bucket for easy storage.

The hinged top remains connected to the bucket – I love how it is transparent, allowing you to check how much ice you have left without opening it. While it looks unique, I don’t think you’ll find it attractive either. But it’s overall a great ice bucket that’s very functional for your bar cart. 

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Double-walled insulation
  • Unique, square design
  • Transparent lid allows for easily checking ice
  • Comes with handy accessories

Cons:

  • Smaller capacity than others
  • Lid is not airtight

Bellemain Insulated Ice Bucket

stainless steel ice bucket with drain tray

The Bellemain Insulated Ice Bucket is yet another great ice bucket complete with accessories. I think it’s too pretty to not secure a spot on your home bar. This ice double-wall insulated bucket is designed to be beautiful enough to stand on any table – it is shaped for utility and crafted of durable stainless steel to avoid corrosion.

And don’t you just hate the sweaty mess that certain buckets create? Moisture rings on the bucket’s bottom have the potential to harm tables. That’s where the Bellemain ice bucket comes in.. It’s built with high-quality engineering that avoids condensation on the outside. This way, you can sit the bucket everywhere.

It has a capacity of 3 liters, which should be enough to contain ice for a party or a bottle of non-alcoholic wine. The ice bucket also comes with elegant, classically crafted stainless steel ice tongs.

Pros:

  • Durable and sleek design
  • Complete with accessories
  • Double-wall insulation

Cons:

  • Wobbly bottom plate
  • Lid doesn’t always fit properly

Winco WB-4 Wine Bucket

stainless steel ice bucket with lid

Many restaurants prefer a wine bucket like the Winco WB-4 Wine Bucket because it’s sleek, dependable, and functional. And best of all, it’s inexpensive, which is important because you’ll use it regularly and buckets can be prone to wear and tear.

It’s made of durable single wall stainless steel which is a good insulator. It doesn’t come with extra accessories like a strainer, ice tong, lid, and scoop, but this 4-quart stainless steel bucket will add a timeless piece to your bar cart at a fairly low price.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Sleek and functional

Cons:

  • Thin construction
  • Doesn’t come with accessories

malmo Double-Wall Ice Bucket

best ice bucket copper design with storable tongs

If you already have a beautiful barware collection, you should add the malmo Double-Wall Ice Bucket to it. This double-walled ice bucket has a two-tone design. It features a brushed stainless steel interior that keeps ice well-insulated. On the exterior is a stunning copper finish. 

This malmo ice bucket also comes with a sleek lid with a slot in it -that’s where you can hang the stainless steel tongs.

With such a gorgeous copper finish and durability, this 3-liter ice bucket is serving looks and refreshing drinks at the same time.

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Double-walled insulation
  • Stunning copper finish
  • Comes with lid slot

Cons:

  • Handle isn’t very sturdy

WENEGG Ice Bucket

stainless steel ice bucket with lid tongs and drain tray for water

Many bartenders vouch for the WENEGG Ice Bucket. With a tong, a scoop, a strainer, and a lid included, you can effortlessly serve your friends and guests fresh ice for their favorite drinks.

Just like any good ice bucket, this ice 3-liter ice bucket features a double wall and a secure lid for enhanced insulation. The strainer that comes with it separates ice cubes from melted water, allowing the ice to stay colder for longer.

I like the polished quality stainless steel, which makes cleanup a breeze, and it should not rust at all.

Pros:

  • Durable and sleek design
  • Double-wall insulation
  • Complete with handy accessories
  • BPA-free

Cons:

  • Some users find it too small
  • Lid doesn’t fit well

Guide: Finding the Best Ice Bucket for Preserving Ice Cubes

When shopping for an ice bucket, there are a few factors you need to consider before clicking that check out button. You’ll want a durable vessel that can withstand everyday use, so you need to look into the bucket’s construction and material.

Below is a useful checklist of points to help you find the best ice bucket for your bar.

Construction

The most essential function of an ice bucket is to preserve your ice cubes, keeping them fresh and frozen for as long as possible. Double-wall insulation is a great element in the construction of an ice bucket. But it shouldn’t be too large or bulky that it impedes you from accessing the ice.

For ice buckets that are mainly made of metals, enclosing the ice with a vacuum-sealed, double-wall of steel is an effective way to keep ice frozen. It’s also a space-saving technique.

Material

Ice buckets are often composed of a mix of plastic, stainless steel, and, in some cases, glass. Certain ice buckets, on the other hand, are made entirely of a single material.

I recommend getting a stainless steel ice bucket. It slows the melting of ice cubes, especially if the ice bucket is sealed. Stainless steel is also a food-grade material and food safety is always important.

And if the stainless steel ice bucket is well-made, it can keep your ice cubes solid for several hours. Also, stainless steel is always in style thanks to its elegant and polished look.

Plastic ice buckets, on the other hand, are transparent. They offer a clear viewing window so you can choose when to refill the bucket. These ice buckets are also sturdy, lightweight, and much more handy for outdoor and rough party settings.

Whichever material you pick, make sure to provide regular care and maintenance.

Size

The best ice bucket should have the capacity to contain as much ice as possible, while still fitting on the counter or bar cart. This way, you can save time and energy running to the kitchen and back to refill the bucket. You’ll want to look for an ice bucket that is the perfect size for serving as many guests as feasible.

Keep in mind though, that choosing the size or capacity depends on how you’re going to use the bucket. The buckets on this list are intended to preserve ice or keep one or two beverages cold. You may choose a bigger bucket if you intend to put a lot of cans or bottles in it. But you’re only going to use it for wine bottles, you can go with a standard size.

Convenience

Ice buckets can get heavy if they’re loaded with a lot of ice cubes. However, ice buckets are equipped with handles to make them easy for you to transport. Look for an ice bucket with two handles, and make sure they are ergonomically designed. Most come in a standard bucket handle, others have rings on the sides.

Accessories

Many ice buckets come with useful accessories to optimize use. Tongs are the most typical inclusion with most ice buckets as they give a sense of refinement by minimizing the need for your guests to use their hands to collect ice. 

Some ice buckets also have a grill or grate that goes into the bucket’s middle cylinder to keep cubes from water melt that leaks to the bottom.

A good but crucial element for keeping your ice insulated and avoiding impurities from reaching the bucket is a strong cover. When you’re not using the bucket, a flip-top type cover makes it simpler to shut the bucket. And to lock the lid in larger ice buckets, a solid latch or another efficient technique will also come in handy.

Price

When it comes to ice buckets, you’ll get a lot of amazing deals on the market. The price of an ice bucket is related to its quality, design, and the accessories that come with it. Make sure you choose one that is useful and worth its price.

Ice Bucket FAQs

What is an ice bucket called?

An ice bucket is also called a champagne bucket or an ice server.

Are ice buckets worth it?

Ice buckets are handy. With so many practical uses for these multi-purpose buckets, the investment is well worth it. Often made of stainless steel, this barware is durable and prevents ice condensation. The buckets are also great for keeping and serving ice to guests.

What is ice bucket in bartending?

An ice bucket is essentially a small bucket on a countertop. It’s where you store ice and prevent the ice from melting too quickly. They are commonly used in bars and pubs, restaurants, or kitchens to serve drinks.

These buckets are usually crafted from stainless steel, glass, plastic, or copper, and may be built of insulating materials.

How long does ice last in an ice bucket?

Depending on the type of bucket, ice could last several hours – if you keep the bucket sealed or covered and have a double-wall insulation.

Other factors like the size of the ice can also determine how long before they melt. Obviously, the greater their size, the slower they will melt.

Should you pour water into an ice bucket?

An ice bucket cools bottled drinks and it holds ice cubes.  If you’re chilling bottles of wine or beer, it’s fine to mix in some water with the ice cubes to create a cooler temperature for the beverages.

However, if you’re trying to preserve ice cubes, you don’t want to add water to the ice bucket. The strainer that comes with some ice buckets prevents the ice from soaking in the meltwater. The goal here is to keep the ice as frozen as possible until it’s ready to fill your glass.

Why do you put salt in ice buckets?

It depends on how you use the bucket. Adding salt disrupts the balance between the freezing temperature of the water and the melting temperature of ice.

When salt comes into touch with ice cubes, the freezing point drops from 0 degrees Celsius to around -21 degrees Celsius. As a result, the water molecules become unbalanced. And the heat from the surroundings is absorbed to combat the hydrogen that binds the molecules together.

Conclusion

My top pick for most functional ice bucket is the OXO Good Grips Ice Bucket because it’s durable and well-insulated. I like the transparent lid which allows you to easily check the ice. It also comes with removable parts and handy accessories to complete the package.

If aesthetics are more important, the malmo Double-Wall Ice Bucket is the top design. And the best part is that this ice bucket isn’t just for display; it’s also quite useful. It is durable and has double-wall insulation. The gorgeous copper finish simply adds to the thrill of using the ice bucket.

And there you have it – the best ice buckets for your bar cart!

I hope you found the ideal ice bucket from my recommendations. Whichever vessel you pick, make sure it meets the demands of your home bar and will last you for many years.Make sure to check out the latest prices and discounts on these options, and good luck!