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Throughout the summer, there’s one seasonal staple that’ll never go out of style: ice-cold, fluffy snow cones. If ice cream is too heavy for hot days, or you’re simply trying to cut your sugar or dairy intake, making your own shaved ice at home is a satisfying snack and dessert solution for all kinds of households. Unlike artificial options sold at amusement parks and local beach carts, going DIY with your own shaved ice machine allows you to completely control and customize the ingredients in mere seconds. You can also purchase pre-made syrup options to fill it with flavors like grape, cherry, and coconut.
Hand them out at kids’ birthday parties or BBQs. For a decadent, adult-friendly twist, after you add your flavoring, turn it into a boozy snow cone with the alcohol of your choice for a new take on cocktails. It can even be served plain in a bowl for overheated dogs and cats in warm weather. Pro tip: Before shaving, let your ice blocks thaw for a few minutes, which is known as tempering and promotes a better texture. When it starts to sweat, it’s ready.
There are lots of shaved ice machines available online to help you cool down. They’re sold in all kinds of sizes and capacities, for gatherings small or large. Some provide adjustable ice textures, while others focus on recreating a nostalgic childhood experience. From commercial-grade devices to manual ones you can bring camping, here are the best snow cone machines on the market.
1. Little Snowie Max Snow Cone Machine
This shaved ice machine is better for household usage than someone who regularly hosts parties and needs a serious amount of crushed ice. Even though it doesn’t have the same capacity as some commercial models, it’s ideal for those hot days when you need icy relief, and even comes with powdered flavor sticks. Little Snowie features a lightweight, user-friendly build, using regular cubes and distributing ice with a dome shaper. This lets you fill and shape professionally without any extra tools. It’s also the fastest shaver on the market, offering results in just three seconds.
2. Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine
BEST RUNNER UP
This snow cone machine by Hawaiian Shaved Ice is a breeze to assemble and comes with a year-long warranty. It’s compact, powerful, and uses cylindrical blocks, giving way to three to five dreamy snow cones per batch. It even comes with a non-skid tray so you don’t have to worry about accidental slips. This user-friendly product functions like a juicer — just toss in your cylindrical cubes, and push down on the top and you’re good to go!
3. WeChef 250W Electric Snow Cone Machine
BEST FOR LARGE GATHERINGS
Now that many cities have lifted their pandemic restrictions, people are gathering for larger BBQs, parties and backyard events. If you’ll be needing to churn out a serious amount of shaved ice, consider the WeChef electric, stainless steel snow cone machine. The power cuts off automatically if the machine is about to get overheat, making for better product longevity and zero party fouls. This is a professional-quality snow cone machine that’s well worth the splurge since it’s clearly built to last.
4. MANHA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine
BEST PORTABLE PICK
This manual, portable shaved ice machine ensures that you get snow cones on the go, no matter where you are. Just fill the canister with ice (the shaver comes with free ice cube trays holding up to 15 cubes) and get the slushies, shaved ice, or frozen margaritas of your dreams. With three precision cut stainless steel blades, ice is cut much more efficiently than single-blade portable models. Use the handle to crank away for fast results.
5. Great Northern Premium Quality Shaved Ice Machine
MOST DURABLE PICK
Even though it was originally created for commercial purposes, plenty of people are finding that Great Northern’s shaved ice machine offers exceptional durability. Featuring a heavy-duty motor, this model is made from stainless steel and brass — no cheap plastic parts here. Unlike machines that provide grainy ice, this model does a slow shave, giving way to soft and fluffy results. One buyer says, “Produces lots of very finely shaved ice just like the machines costing 5-10 times what this machine costs.”
6. Nostalgia Coca-Cola Countertop Snow Cone Maker
BEST RETRO PICK
It’s impossible not to get nostalgic just looking at this thing. Coca-Cola’s vintage-inspired shaved ice machine will take you back in time for an affordable price, making up to 20 icy treats per batch. Watch as normal ice cubs turn into fluffier-than-air snow just waiting to be drenched in a sugary syrup of your choice. There’s even a side shelf that can be used as a prepping station and can hold two snow cones at a time.
7. Dash Shaved Ice Maker + Slushie Machine
BEST VALUE PICK
For the low price of just over $30 bucks, you can get all the shaved iced, slushies, and frozen drinks you desire. Unlike some of the more professional models on this list, this model by popular kitchen accessory brand Dash has a small footprint on countertops, weighing less than a pound. One happy reviewer comments, “The DASH shaved ice maker is well designed and versatile. Easy to assemble, easy to use and makes great slushies!”
8. Koji Ice Shaver
EASIEST TO CLEAN
Shaved ice is undeniably delicious, but cleaning up after you enjoy your frozen delicacy can be a headache. To make that process as simple as possible, consider Koji’s device, which is easier to clean than similar machines on the market, with its open concept design. With its six-cup capacity, Koji’s machine provides the crushed-up ice you need, without the hassle of a time-consuming cleanup. A couple of buyers do note that if you like your ice shaved extremely fine, this may not be the right choice.
9. VEVOR 110V Electric Shaved Ice Crusher
Whereas some adjustable shaved ice machines have certain blades that you need to switch out for different ice textures, this one has an easy blade adjustment knob, allowing you to adjust that texture with more ease than ever before. The result is as crunchy or smooth as you desire, which is why it’s the most versatile option we could find. It’s not exactly small but does come with built-in handles for convenience. A built-in drip tray helps you avoid leaky messes, and acts as a space to set cups on.
10. Cuisinart Snow Cone Machine
If you have a large family or prefer a slightly larger capacity shaved ice machine, renowned appliance brand Cuisinart’s offering is a must. It’s one of the highest quality, and frankly, best-looking shaved ice makers out there which won’t make your kitchen look like a carnival. Though it was designed for domestic use, it can churn out up to five cones in under a minute, making it a must for kids’ birthday parties or a uniquely refreshing take on sweet cocktails.