Though we may use the two terms interchangeably, an ice maker vs ice machine are two different things. An ice maker refers to the unit in most refrigerator freezers that produces small batches of ice through convection. After water is dispensed into molds, air removes the heat and the ice slowly freezes. Ice is retrieved via a door dispenser or directly from the freezer ice bin, accommodating most families' daily needs.
By contrast, ice machines are stand-alone devices that produce ice through conduction. Similar to the larger machines found in restaurants, home ice machines don't attach to refrigerator or freezer. Instead, they're inserted under the counter, while smaller, portable models can sit atop a surface. After water is dispensed into molds, cold metal prongs are automatically inserted, freezing water faster than ice makers. The larger amounts of ice produced make ice machines ideal for entertaining a crowd or for larger families that use more ice regularly.