The best shaved ice machine
There are few things more refreshing on a sweltering day than an ice cold, sweetly-flavored mound of shaved ice. You can use a shaved ice machine to make delicious snow cones ("shave ice" for those of you in Hawai'i,) or even just to make thin ice shavings to cool your favorite drink or make frosé. If you want to make your summer just a little bit cooler, then you need a shaved ice machine.
To help you choose the right one, we've put together this helpful buying guide and a few reviews of our favorites. Check out our Best of the Best model, the ZENY Ice Shaver Machine, if you want top of the line shaved ice.
Considerations when choosing shaved ice machines
The size of a shaved ice machine impacts its ice capacity. If you get a larger machine, then you will have to refill the ice less often. Smaller machines are fine for making one or two servings at a time. If you plan to make shaved ice treats for friends and family, opt for a larger machine.
Higher wattage machines will generally have faster motors. Some of the less expensive models have as few as 30 watts, while more expensive ones can have as many as 300 watts. Smaller wattage is fine for home use, but if you need to run a machine for lots of pounds of ice, for long periods of time, then you're definitely going to need a high watt option.
There is an immeasurable amount of different ice textures that can be made with shaved ice machines. Most use either ice cubes or ice blocks, which is the first factor that determines the ice texture created by the machine. While some create powdery snow-like shavings, others create miniscule ice balls or chips. What you prefer is totally up to you, so there's no right or wrong texture.
Ease of use
This is an important factor in choosing your machine. Shaved ice machines that use ice blocks are slightly more labor-intensive than ones that use standard cubes. That's not to say that they're too difficult for the average person, but they require an extra step or two in preparing the ice. Also consider other people who may use the machine.
There are shaved ice machines that are made primarily of plastic and others that are made primarily from metal. Obviously, the metal models are more likely to last for longer periods of time than their plastic counterparts. Nevertheless, if you do choose a plastic shaved ice machine, you can certainly find one that is well-built and likely to last. We also recommend buying plastic that is BPA-free.
Some shaved ice machines come with a number of accessories, while others come with none. Some of the accessories available are ice molds, cups, straws, and syrups. Even if you get a machine without any added accessories, fret not. That just means that you can pick out your own and get exactly what you want.
Most shaved ice machines cost between $20 and $80, but commercial models or higher watt, large models can run well over $100.
Q. How much ice does a shaved ice machine require?
A. It requires approximately one pound of ice to create two cups of shaved ice from your machine. Using that formula, you can determine how much ice you will need based on your desired output.
Q. Do the blades in my shaved ice machine ever have to be replaced?
A. Yes. You'll notice the ice becoming crunchy as the blade begins to dull. That's when you're ready for a new blade. If you don't have stainless steel blades, they may rust as well, so keep your eye out for that.
Shaved ice machines we recommend
Best of the best: ZENY Ice Shaver Machine
Our take: Hands down the best looking and best functioning machine for home or commercial use.
What we like: Can produce up to 145 pounds of shaved ice in a single hour. Price is reasonable for such a great machine.
What we dislike: The machine is loud, but you won't be complaining when eating your delicious treat.
Best bang for your buck: Hawaiian Shaved Ice Snow Cone Machine Party Package.
Our take: A great "everything you need" model, that's ready to work right out of the box.
What we like: Includes multiple flavors, and makes real "shaved" ice, not chunky ice.
What we dislike: Regular cups don't really fit the dispenser, and machine takes some practice to get the consistency right.
Choice 3: Hamilton Beach Snowman Ice Shaver
Our take: Great starter kit for newbies.
What we like: Super-fine powdered ice is interesting. Quiet compared to other machines.
What we dislike: Plastic construction makes the machine less durable than metal counterparts.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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