LG Craft Ice Refrigerator: A Real Review After Over A Year of Use


I didn’t intentionally plan for this post to follow my trends post about all things curved, but it seems very appropriate! Today, we’re going to talk about balls of ice—and the refrigerator we bought to make them for us: The LG Instaview with Craft Ice.

Chances are, you’ve seen the ads: the cast of characters all proudly declare that they’re “a baller.”

And, not to brag, but so am I.

Since this is a unique feature among refrigerators, I wanted to share a real, honest review of the fridge that makes ice balls. Is it worth it? Are ice balls really that big of a deal?

Today, I’m spilling all the non-sponsored (iced) tea.

(But, if you’re from LG, by all means get in touch—we’d love to review the Styler, too.)

Why do ice balls matter and how can you make them yourself? Today I'm answering those questions and sharing a real, honest, non-sponsored review of the LG Craft Ice fridge. Is it worth it? I'm spilling all the (iced) tea.

Why are Balls of Ice Better for Drinks?

To understand the value of the LG craft ice features, you have to know why balls of ice are so important.

Let’s start with whiskey, since that seems to be the drink most associated with balls of ice. Some people drink their whiskey neat (meaning plain), some like a little water in it, and some like it chilled and just slightly diluted with ice to enjoy the best flavor. The problem comes when you have regular ice melting quickly in your whiskey: you’re going to end up with watery whiskey really quickly.

Why do ice balls matter and how can you make them yourself? Today I'm answering those questions and sharing a real, honest, non-sponsored review of the LG Craft Ice fridge. Is it worth it? I'm spilling all the (iced) tea.

This is where ice balls come in. A sphere melts more slowly than a cube because less surface area is exposed for the same volume of ice. Basically, that means you can chill your drink without diluting it. #science

This is why fancy cocktail bars, especially those with a whiskey focus, use ice spheres. A large ball of ice chills the drink quickly while exposing it to the least surface area possible. That means your drink tastes better, longer, while still getting the chill you want.

Even if you don’t drink whiskey, ice balls are going to have the same effect on your cocktails, iced coffee, and even your wine if you’re so inclined: it chills with less dilution.

Why do ice balls matter and how can you make them yourself? Today I'm answering those questions and sharing a real, honest, non-sponsored review of the LG Craft Ice fridge. Is it worth it? I'm spilling all the (iced) tea.
Brewing my iced coffee over ice balls

To look really baller, you could make a pitcher cocktail with a whole bunch of ice spheres, serve iced coffee on a single “rock,” or even chill juices or iced tea with ice balls.

And the LG Instaview Refrigerator with Craft Ice makes ice balls for you—so you always have a steady stream of cocktail-perfect ice, you baller, you.

Is LG Craft Ice Worth It?

Let’s get this out of the way: the LG instaview refrigerator is a great fridge. It has two doors up top, with a drawer freezer. I love that the two doors make it easier to fit things like party platters in the refrigerator.

See how I organize my refrigerator here.

In addition to the craft ice, there is normal ice and water in the door. It’s a good fridge, but I know the real question isn’t about the rest of the fridge features, it’s about the LG craft ice.

So, is it worth it to upgrade to baller status? As always, it depends!

When you ask “Is X worth it?” it’s always dependent on your budget, what you are used to spending on things, and what your priorities are.

Is it worth it to get a whole new fridge just to have one that makes ice balls? Probably not. But if you’re going to get a new refrigerator anyway and you like the idea of having balls of ice, it’s worth considering.

For me, it’s been completely worth it. I really enjoy having the balls of ice available for my Maker’s Mark, or for parties.

(For reference, at least one of us is sipping whiskey at least once per week, but we also use it for certain cocktails, so the balls definitely get used.)

It only makes three ice balls per day, but it builds up a supply really quickly (unless, of course, you’re drinking three cocktails every day, but I’ll assume you aren’t).

So, soon enough, we had plenty of balls of ice to prepare for gatherings or just a few cocktails on a Friday night.

Why do ice balls matter and how can you make them yourself? Today I'm answering those questions and sharing a real, honest, non-sponsored review of the LG Craft Ice fridge. Is it worth it? I'm spilling all the (iced) tea.

The quantity isn’t a drawback for us. After all, if you’re using an ice mold, you’d only have a couple available at a time unless you remembered to manually pull the spheres out when they were frozen.

I will say, if you are an extreme purist when it comes to your ice balls, honestly, you probably won’t love the LG craft ice. The balls are smaller than what you normally get with a mold (or in a fancy cocktail lounge), and they don’t usually come out perfect—they’ll have a divot on one side. Both of these factors mean the balls melt more quickly than other ice balls or large cubes. (See the #science above.)

But, for me, sipping my weekly whiskey, it’s great and I love having the option to have an ice sphere whenever I want one!

How to Get Ice Spheres for Whiskey and Cocktails

Of course, having a fridge that makes ice balls isn’t the only way to get slow-melting ice for your cocktails and whiskey on the rocks. There are a lot of other methods that are going to be less expensive.

The main drawback that I see to most of these in comparison to the craft ice refrigerator is quantity. If you’re having a party, you’re going to have to spend a week making ice balls every day, whereas after a few days with our fridge, we were all set.

That said, in the interest of providing you with all of your options, here are some great options for ice spheres (and, yes, a few other slow-melting shapes).

Why are ice balls better and how can you make your own? Today I'm answering those questions and sharing a real, honest, non-sponsored review of the LG Craft Ice fridge. Is it worth it? I'm spilling all the (iced) tea.

Sources: LG Craft Ice Refrigerator | Classic Ice Mold | Ice Press | Disco Ball Ice Mold | Dog Shaped Ice Mold | Golf Ball Ice Mold | Wedge Ice Mold

Tools for Making Ice Balls

If you don’t want to get a whole new refrigerator like the LG craft ice, that’s okay—you can still make balls of ice for your cocktails. The easiest method is probably your classic ice mold—just fill it with water and give it time to freeze. I’d suggest coming back in a day or two to empty your molds and make more ice balls, just to be sure you have enough for party time.

Another fun option? This ice press. Using strong magnets to form a sphere out of a larger block of ice (don’t worry, it comes with those molds), this option basically provides entertainment along with your perfect ice ball in the end. Plus, this will form that truly perfect ice you’re used to having in fancy cocktail bars.

Fun Shapes for Ice Balls

Classic balls aren’t your only option for cocktail ice, though. If you want an ice ball with a little more personality, why not try a golf ball mold, or even a disco ball? All the chill with a lot more personality!

We have these dog ice molds (from our pre-craft ice days), and they’re so cute. Of course, remember the principles of ice balls: these have more surface area, so they may be prone to slightly faster melting.

And, if you’re not feeling like balls at all, there’s this wedge ice mold. According to the rules of surface area, this might be the slowest melter of all: just freeze some water in a glass with this nifty mold and you’re ready for the weekend.

Would you try any of these options? Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite and if you have any questions about making baller ice!

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  • Reply
    Greg Herman
    February 28, 2023 at 2:43 pm

    Here’s my review after have the refrigerator for 1 year 4 months. We are on craft ice maker number 4. After careful research, LG is in a class action lawsuit and the attorney general is looking into LG for selling defective refrigerators. The craft ice makers stop working after a short period of time and water runs down into the freezer cabinet. LG has no resolution and continues to sell faulty refrigerators. Other than that, the fridge is great. But honestly, the upper ice maker is too small for a family of 4 or more but barely works for a family of 2 or 3.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2023 at 7:44 pm

    We love the ice balls. I like them for my soda. (P.S. You can set the fridge to make 6 a day instead of 3.) Our real issue has been that, despite the high pricetag for the fridge, the craft ice maker keeps breaking. We had it less than 6 months when it first stopped making ice. After a LOT of frustrating calls, LG came and completely replaced the ice maker. It has mostly worked the past 5 months since the new one was installed. We have had to reset it a few times. But now, it is completely broken again. We had the technician check all our settings to be certain the issue wasn’t on our end. It no longer resets and will need to be replaced – again. But, this time, the 1 year warranty is past. So, buyer beware. You may prefer to make ice balls a different way!! It would certainly be cheaper.

    • Reply
      February 8, 2023 at 7:20 pm

      Great to know! We haven’t had any issues with ours (fingers crossed!).

  • Reply
    October 26, 2022 at 8:29 am

    I disagree with your review regarding the ice making capabilities of this refrigerator. First, the ice maker in the door holds a limited supply of ice as compared to unite with freezer based ice makers. We need to either store it in advance of a party or go out and buy a bag of ice. Second, the craft ice looks nothing like the ice displayed in the demo in stores. The ball has a large flat spot due to an air bubble which is expected based on my conversations with LG techs. Last, the craft ice maker is completely unreliable and will break. I am on my 3rd one. The first failed in 6 months or so and was replaced under warranty. The second lasted a bit longer. Something about the ice balls not getting released properly eventually leading to the thing to fail. It’s a big piece of plastic run by a small motor. Maybe LG will fix it but I have seen no evidence of them owning up to this defect.

    • Reply
      February 8, 2023 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    I make a large block of clear ice with a small coleman cooler and use a bread knife and hammer to break it up into cubes or smash it into the cocktail shaker. This makes a massive amount every 24 hours if you want. 12 large clear cubes per 24 hours. I like the natural edges that come out from hand carving . It’s like having real glaciers in your cocktail.

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