Whether you’re perfecting your homemade margarita recipe, serving snow cones to the kid’s table (and adults — no judgment), or starting your morning with a nutritious smoothie, ice crushers are an affordable and small appliance that can make a big difference in your daily routine.
In addition to home use, ice crushers are also great for small businesses or sporting teams. If you work in a gym or you’re preparing to coach your kid’s basketball team, an ice crusher quickly and efficiently turns hard cubes into a comfortable collection of slush that is perfect for nursing a sore muscle or sprained ankle.
Before you choose an ice crusher, you’ll want to make sure you know what kind of ice you want. Some machines make small hard pieces of cracked ice — these are great for cocktails like mint juleps. Other machines make soft, snow-like ice that is great for snacks like shave ice.
Another consideration is how much of a workout you’re willing to get. You can get an electric machine, which will save you time and effort, but these tend to be larger and more expensive. If you’re short on counter space and you only plan on making one drink at a time, then a manual tool will be more practical. Whichever you prefer, we’ve got a few of the best ice crushers below.
1. ZENY Ice Shaver Machine
With an affordable price point that makes it ideal for home use and a powerful motor that makes it powerful enough to be used in a small business or restaurant, the ZENY Ice Shaver Machine is a great option for anyone who needs to shave a lot of ice fast. The ZENY is an electric ice shaver that can handle an incredible 143 pounds of ice per hour. The ZENYis built with a single blade (it’s also available with a double blade for larger jobs) that is stainless steel, corrosion-free, rust-proof and hygienic, with an easy to clean finish. We also like that the ZENYhas an automatic power shut-off that stops the blade from moving when the hopper is open, an important safety feature.
Pros: The ZENYis available in silver or orange, making it an attractive machine that can sit out on a counter or bar.
Cons: Somewhat bulky for a small kitchen.
2. Ninja 400-Watt Blender/Food Processor
Get three products in one with the Ninja 400-Watt Blender/Food Processor, which is both a blender, food processor and ice crusher. The Ninja can blend and chop food as well as crush ice, making it the ideal product for smoothies and frozen drinks. The powerful Ninja has a one-touch pulse that can mince, dice, chop, blend, puree and crush food and ice, with the anti-spill splash guard and two containers with lids perfect for blending a drink and taking it with you on the go. We like that the Ninja comes with a 48-ounce pitcher and 16-ounce chopper bowl to provide options when crushing ice.
Pros: The Ninja’s containers, splash guards, blades and storage lids are all top-rack dishwasher safe.
Cons: The Ninja has one of the smallest capacities on our list for crushing ice and isn’t ideal for use for more than two people at once.
3. IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop
No ice? No problem. With the IKICH Portable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop you can quickly make nine pieces of ice in just six minutes. The IKICH can produce 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours, making it a great option for parties or large events. The IKICH has a two-liter water reservoir and a clear control panel that allows users to select the amount of ice they want made. Easy to clean thanks to a convenient plug and drain on the bottom of the machine, the IKICH is a great alternative for kitchens that don’t have ice makers in their fridge. We also like that the IKICH comes with an ice bucket and a serving spoon for parties.
Pros: Thanks to foam insulation and a copper condenser, the power IKICH is quiet and only throws off 45dB of sound.
Cons: The IKICH has the biggest price tag on our list. At 17 pounds, it’s also the largest machine on our list and must be upright for four hours before first use.
4. MANBA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine
If you’re just making mint juleps and snow cones on the weekends, there’s no need to invest in an electric appliance that’s going to take up a bunch of space on your counter. Instead, look to this compact manual tool from Manba. It has a hand crank and clear plastic basin for collecting the shaved ice. The crusher uses durable stainless steel blades that resist rust and crush ice quickly. Plus, a mini ice tray is included with the grinder.
Pros: Compact and affordable option. Easy to use. Four blades for quicker shaving.
Cons: No customization, so you can’t choose between shaved or crushed.
5. Great Northern Premium Quality Ice Cub Shaved Ice Machine Commercial Ice Shaver
If you’re making snow cones (and a lot of them), consider this option from Great Northern Popcorn Company. As the company name suggests, they specialize in carnival food makers, and this heavy-duty ice shaver is great for getting fine ice. The 1/3 horsepower motor allows it to shave ice at six pounds a minute, and it produces true shave ice that’s softer and fluffier than typical snow cones. The exterior is made from plastic to cut down on weight, but the blades are sturdy stainless steel, which can be replaced as they wear down.
Pros: Makes soft and fluffy ice. Shaves ice very quickly, making it a good option for large kids’ parties.
Cons: Expensive. Requires blocks of ice, which can be tedious to get or make.
6. Waring Pro Ice Crusher
This option is powerful enough to quickly crush up to 30 pounds of ice per hour, but small enough to fit on most countertops. Plus, the stainless steel exterior and simple design means it won’t be an eyesore if you do leave it out on your counter. The tray holds up to 12 cups of crushed ice, meaning you won’t have to constantly pull the tray out and transfer it to a bowl. It makes hard crushed ice, not soft shave ice, making it a good option for cocktails.
Pros: Quickly crushes ice. Sleek and streamlined design. Good option for making drinks.
Cons: Cubes can occasionally get stuck.
7. Viski Professional Lewis Ice Bag and Mallet
Go back to basics and crush ice the old fashion way with a Viski Professional Lewis Ice Bag and Mallet. The 12-inch mallet is made with stained wood tapers and crafted into three razor-sharp metal points, with little force required to break and crush even large pieces of ice. The ice is securely contained in the heavy canvas bag that includes a flap for secure closure. The set comes together in an attractive package making it a great housewarming or birthday gift.
Pros: The Viski beechwood mallet is designed to be ergonomic and comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
Cons: The Viski is the most labor-intensive option on our list.