We've done our research and selected our 10 favorite shaved ice machines. Our number one recommendation is the Little Snowie Max Snow Cone Machine for its speed, compact size, convenience, and powdery snow. Keep reading for our buying guide, which will help you figure out which shaved ice machine is best for you.
We picked our 10 best shaved ice machines based on the following criteria:
For even more detailed information on choosing a shaved ice machine, check out our extensive Buying Guide below!
Hawaiian Shaved Ice
Great Northern Popcorn
Hawaiian Shaved Ice
Little Snowie Max Home Ice Shaver
Electric Ice Shaver
Countertop Snow Cone Maker
Snow Cone Maker
Ice Cub Shaved Ice Machine
Electric Ice Shaver
Polar Pal Block Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Maker
Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine
Electric Shaved Ice Machine
Fluffy Shaved Ice Machine
Overall Best Shaved Ice Machine for Home
Best Stainless Steel Shaved Ice Machine
Best Shaved Ice Machine Easy for Kids to Use
Best Shaved Ice Machine for Parties
Best Commercial-Grade Shaved Ice Machine
Best Shaved Ice Machine to Use With Your Kids
Best Lighter-Weight Commercial Shaved Ice Machine
Best Manual, Portable Shaved Ice Machine
Best Shaved Ice Machine With Every Accessory You Need
Best Japanese Shaved Ice Machine
|Ice type||Cubes||Cubes||Cubes||Cube||Block||Cubes||Block||Cube||Block or cubes||Block|
|Electronic||Yes; 1,000W||Yes; 300W||Yes; 35W||Yes; 90W||Yes; 400W||Yes; 55W||Yes; 400W||Manual||Yes||Yes; 18W|
|Weight||11 lbs.||11 lbs.||5 lbs.||8 lbs.||60 lbs.||3 lbs.||38 lbs.||1.6 lbs.||4 lbs.||3 lbs.|
|Dimensions||16 × 8 × 14 in.||5 x 14 x 6 in.||10.75 x 10.25 x 13.5 in.||9 x 9.25 x 12 in.||15 x 12 x 30.5 in.||10.5 x 6.5 x 10.5 in.||15 x 18 x 33 in.||8 x 5 x 5 in.||6.5 x 8 x 12 in.||9 x 7.5 x 15 in.|
|Material||Plastic, steel||Stainless steel, plastic||Plastic||Plastic||Plastic, brass, steel||BPA-free plastic, steel||Stainless steel||Plastic||Plastic||Plastic|
|Safety features||Safety lid||Water-resistant on/off switch, safety lid, anti-slip rings on the bottom, automatically stops when ice hopper is opened||Closed compartment, locking lid, safety switch||Will not start unless the snow bin is properly placed and ice press is closed, non-skid feet||Safety shield||Locking lid, safety switch, machine will not operate if lid is off||Safety shield, double safety switches||Closed compartment, non-slip base||Closed compartment, non-skid pad||Closed compartment|
|Extras||6 flavor powder sticks to make syrup with, 2 mixing bottles with pour spouts, 8 reusable spoons||-||2 reusable plastic snow cone cups, reusable ice scoop||4 BPA-free reusable plastic cones, 12 paper cones, ice scoop||-||-||-||Ice cube tray||3 syrup flavors, 25 paper snow cone cups, 25 spoon straws, 3 bottle pour toppers, ice block molds||2 ice block molds|
Here's a list of the 10 shaved ice machines we recommend. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available. Note that some of these products are called snow cone machines or ice crushers but actually shave, not crush, the ice, which is why they are included in this list.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Jim Quast.
|Dimensions||16 × 8 × 14 in.|
|Safety features||Safety lid|
|Extras||6 flavor powder sticks to make syrup with, 2 mixing bottles with pour spouts, 8 reusable spoons|
|Dimensions||5 x 14 x 6 in.|
|Material||Stainless steel, plastic|
|Safety features||Water-resistant on/off switch, safety lid, anti-slip rings on the bottom, automatically stops when ice hopper is opened|
|Dimensions||10.75 x 10.25 x 13.5 in.|
|Safety features||Closed compartment, locking lid, safety switch|
|Extras||2 reusable plastic snow cone cups, reusable ice scoop|
|Dimensions||9 x 9.25 x 12 in.|
|Safety features||Will not start unless the snow bin is properly placed and ice press is closed, non-skid feet|
|Extras||4 BPA-free reusable plastic cones, 12 paper cones, ice scoop|
|Dimensions||15 x 12 x 30.5 in.|
|Material||Plastic, brass, steel|
|Safety features||Safety shield|
|Dimensions||10.5 x 6.5 x 10.5 in.|
|Material||BPA-free plastic, steel|
|Safety features||Locking lid, safety switch, machine will not operate if lid is off|
|Dimensions||15 x 18 x 33 in.|
|Safety features||Safety shield, double safety switches|
|Dimensions||8 x 5 x 5 in.|
|Safety features||Closed compartment, non-slip base|
|Extras||Ice cube tray|
|Ice type||Block or cubes|
|Dimensions||6.5 x 8 x 12 in.|
|Safety features||Closed compartment, non-skid pad|
|Extras||3 syrup flavors, 25 paper snow cone cups, 25 spoon straws, 3 bottle pour toppers, ice block molds|
|Dimensions||9 x 7.5 x 15 in.|
|Safety features||Closed compartment|
|Extras||2 ice block molds|
Shaved ice machines run the spectrum from tiny plastic machines to gigantic metal machines that can shave hundreds of pounds of ice per hour. This guide will help you find the product that meets your needs.
Some shaved ice machines require a solid block of ice, while others can shave regular ice cubes. To decide which type of ice is best for you, think about ice accessibility, machine storage, and desired snow consistency.
Unfortunately, blocks of ice can be hard to find. See if there are any local wholesale ice suppliers and check with restaurant and party supply companies. You can make your own instead, but you'll need big ice molds, ample freezer space, and time. Additionally, these machines are larger and heavier and not as easy to operate.
The caveat is the consistency of the shaved ice. Most ice cubes are irregular in shape and don't have a perfectly smooth surface. This means that about five percent of the shaved ice will contain little pieces of ice, resulting in a bit of a crunchy texture.
Electronic shaved ice machines require power, but all you have to do is plug them in and you'll get a lot of snow in very little time.
Take a look at the energy consumption of your machine, for safety purposes and for electricity budgeting. Check the specifications for wattage to figure out the maximum amount of power the machine uses. Make sure your outlet can accommodate the shaved ice machine plus any other appliances, so you don't overload the outlet or cause the machine to overheat.
Manual machines require you to crank the ice yourself. These are slower relative to electronic machines, but shaving by hand can be a really fun and safe hands-on experience for kids of all ages!
Since you don't need a power source, you can easily take a manual shaved ice machine anywhere and enjoy shaved ice treats on the beach or at a picnic or barbecue, for example. Manual machines are also easier to store since they are smaller, lighter, and less bulky.
Most shaved ice machines have stainless steel blades, but the rest of the machine and its parts can be made of a variety of materials.
Stainless steel is a durable material that is naturally rust-resistant, so a stainless steel shaved ice machine should last a long time.
However, keep in mind that a stainless steel machine will be heavier and less convenient to store and transport. Another downside is that stainless steel shows dirt and smudges.
A shaved ice machine that is primarily plastic will be lighter, portable, and storable. If you're planning for kids to use the shaved ice machine, plastic is a safe and manageable option. Unfortunately, not all plastics are sturdy, so depending on the material, a plastic shaved ice machine may be less durable and flimsy parts could break more easily.
Additionally, there are health concerns about chemicals in plastic, so look for BPA-free plastic machines. At the very least, any machine parts that come in contact with the ice should be BPA-free.
Like any electrical appliance, shaved ice machines should be kept away from water hazards, but take extra caution to make sure a plastic shaved machine isn't exposed to heat sources.
For both plastic and stainless steel machines, see if the company sells replacement blades. Blades need to remain sharp to keep producing consistent shaved ice. Also check if your machine comes with a warranty.
Think about where you will use and store your shaved ice machine. You may want a machine on the smaller side, depending on the size of your kitchen and the amount of counter space. The smallest we've seen is only five inches wide and eight inches tall!
If you don't plan on leaving your shaved ice machine out on the counter when it's not in use, make sure you have a cabinet or other storage area that will accommodate this appliance.
Also, consider how much shaved ice you'll need at once. If you're only going to be making one or two shaved ice treats at a time, then a smaller machine might work perfectly for you. If you're going to be serving a lot of people, you'll want a bigger machine with a big chamber or bowl for collecting the ice.
If you plan on making a lot of shaved ice, plan ahead and have enough ice blocks or cubes frozen and ready to go. Single servings may only need about 15 standard ice cubes worth of ice, but commercial machines can utilize a six-inch ice block or larger!
Since shaved ice machines use sharp blades, it's important to make sure the product you choose has safety features, especially if kids will be using the machine.
Look for machines that protect hands from the blades, with features like safety lids and safety shields. Some machines have completely closed-off compartments that house the blades. Others are designed to turn on only if the lid is properly placed.
Also, look for machines that have an on/off switch, preferably one that's waterproof, and that don’t turn on immediately when plugged in.
Another consideration is the base of the machine. Non-skid feet or a non-slip base will help minimize vibration and keep the machine steady.
Don't forget accessories you'll need to flavor and serve your shaved ice treats. If you plan to make your own ice, you'll need ice molds for block ice or ice cube trays. For serving, there are different bowls, cones, cups, and other dishes, plus utensils such as spoons, straws, and spoon-straws.
For flavoring, you have two options: You can buy ready-to-use syrups or make your own. If you choose the DIY route, you'll need flavor concentrates, simple syrup, preservatives, and mixing bottles.
Syrup bottles may come with flip-top caps or pumps for easy pouring. If not, you can look for bottle pourers, which are plastic spouts that you can insert into the mouth of a bottle.
Buying the perfect shaved ice machine is the first step. To make perfect shaved ice, check out these tips:
Start with ice that’s been left out for a few minutes because it’ll shave better once it starts to “sweat.” If you're using a block of ice, make sure the surface is completely smooth. For sanitary reasons, consider using gloves or tongs to load the ice into the machine.
As the shaved ice comes out of the machine, gently guide it into the cup or cone with your hands as you slowly rotate the cup or cone, being very careful not to pack the ice down. If you have a machine that requires you to scoop the ice from a bowl or tray into a cup or cone, do so gently so it stays airy!
To get good flavor coverage, start by pouring around the edges and simultaneously rotate the cup, not the syrup bottle, then work your way to the top and middle. If you're feeling extra professional, try punching deep holes in the ice before you add the syrup so the flavoring will be thoroughly distributed.
We've tried to help you out by answering more common questions about shaved ice machines.
Maintain your shaved ice machine for cleanliness and longevity. Consult the manual for cleaning dos and don'ts for your specific machine. Before you use your machine for the first time, wipe down each part. Be careful of the blades. After each use, unplug the machine before cleaning. Get rid of any remaining water and ice. Then, make sure all parts are dried to prevent rust and bacteria build up.
Some manufactures say drying the machine off with a cloth is sufficient if you've used only ice made from water. For a more thorough cleaning, first use a cloth dampened with warm or hot water. Next, manufacturers recommend using a mild soap or detergent or spraying each part with a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar. Then wipe down again with a wet cloth.
Check out our buying guides below to help you stock up on all the supplies you need for a sunny and sweet summer, whether you're slurping up a slushie, biting into a juicy slice of watermelon, or indulging in homemade ice cream.
If you're looking for a little more inspiration to start your shopping experience, check out Amazon's list of best-selling shaved ice machines!
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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