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shaved ice machine

Best Shaved Ice Machine 2021: Reviews & Buying Guide

Shopping for a shaved ice machine?

You’ve come to the right place.

Why Buy A Shaved Ice Machine?

If you make lots of frozen kids treats at home like slushies and snow cones, making your own shaved ice at home is cheaper and more convenient than buying bags of Hawaiian or shaved ice at the store.  

Shaved ice is also great for adult drinks like margaritas and cocktails (however, if you want an ice machine only for beverages, we recommend a portable sonic ice maker instead. Sonic ice is better for drinks than shaved ice.

You can try making shaved ice using a blender or food processor too, but it’ll come out with more of a crushed ice consistency which doesn’t really work well for slushies and snow cones etc.

since crushed ice consists of small crystals or granules, while shaved ice is fluffy like snow.


What’s In This Buying Guide?

In this 15-minute in-depth guide, we review and compare the best shaved ice machines for home use.

We also explain how shaved ice machines work, how they are different from ice crushers, and how to choose the best shaved ice machine for your kitchen.

Note: If you are looking for other ways to stay cool in the summer, see our reviews of the best patio coolers.


Best Shaved Ice Machines

shaved ice machine
  • Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A

  • Best overall
  • Power:
    55W

  • Size:
    5.5W x 8D x 12H in

  • Weight:
    8lbs

  • Accessories:
    Ice molds

  • 1yr warranty

ice shaver machine
  • Little Snowie

  • Easiest to use
  • Power:
    110W

  • Size:
    8W x 16D x 14H in

  • Weight:
    11lbs

  • Accessories:
    Syrup powder, spoons, mixing bottles

  • 1yr warranty

best shaved ice machine
  • MANBA

  • Best portable
  • Power:
    Manual

  • Size:
    5.1W x 7.8H in

  • Weight:
    1.7lbs

  • Accessories:
    Ice cube tray

  • Warranty not specified

cheap snowcone machines
  • Nostalgia ISM1000

  • Best for snow cones
  • Power:
    80W

  • Size:
    6.8W x 6.3D x 13H in

  • Weight:
    3.3lbs

  • Accessories:
    Snow cone holder

  • Warranty not specified

cheap snow cone machine
  • Super Deal

  • Best for big families and parties
  • Power:
    80W

  • Size:
    7W x 17.5D x 11H in

  • Weight:
    12lbs

  • Accessories:
    None

  • Warranty not specified

cheap shaved ice machine
  • Victoria Granita

  • Best manual
  • Power:
    Manual

  • Size:
    6.5W x 2.5D x 2.5H in

  • Weight:
    1.5lbs

  • Accessories:
    None

  • Lifetime warranty


ice shaver machine

The Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A is the best ice shaver for most people and families. It’s affordable, makes real Hawaiian shave ice, and is easy to operate.

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • Makes real shaved ice - not crushed ice.
  • Compact, space-saving design.
  • Easy to use.
  • Includes ice molds. 

Cons

  • Doesn't work with regular ice cubes.

Our Review

One of the best things about the S900A is how compact it is. It fits easily in small spaces, and you can even take it with you outdoors (as long as you have somewhere to plug it in).

The S900A makes real Hawaiian shave ice - the fluffy stuff that feels like snow. It’s great for making slushies, snow cones, and flavored shaved ice.

However, it works only with ice molds, not regular ice cubes. It comes with two small containers that you freeze water in to make a mold.

You then fit the frozen puck into the machine and start shaving. Place a snow cone or bowl under the dispenser to catch the shaved ice.

We like that the chute dispenses snow neatly without spraying it everywhere, so you don't have to worry about cleaning up a mess every time you make a snow cone.

Another thing we like about the S900A is how kid-friendly it is. There are no exposed blades, so kids can safely operate the ice shaver (with adult supervision).

It’s also easy to use. You only need to apply a little pressure on the big button on top. Even the elderly and people with arthritis can operate the little ice shaver.

Issues & Limitations

The main drawback with the S900A ice shaver is that it doesn't work well with regular ice cubes. That’s why it comes with a couple of ice molds.

The problem with this is that it takes time to freeze ice. And even when the two ice molds are ready, they’ll probably not be enough to make enough treats for everyone.

The best way around this is to get additional similar-size containers and freeze several molds at once. But this works only if you have space to spare in your freezer.

Bottom Line

The Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A is best for: Anyone looking for an affordable and easy-to-use shaved ice machine.

Avoid if: You want an ice shaver that works with regular ice cubes.


cheap shaved ice machine

Though a bit pricey, the Little Snowie Max snow cone machine makes shaving ice a breeze.

From the fact that it works with regular ice cubes to the handy dome shaper, Little Snowie is the easiest shaved ice machine to use. It’s also a safe choice if you want your kids to help you shave ice.

Pros

  • 'Works with regular ice cubes.
  • Built-in dome shaper.
  • Safe and kid-friendly.
  • Comes as a complete kit.
  • Makes high-quality Hawaiian shave ice.
  • Powerful motor that makes lots of ice fast. 

Cons

  • Pricey.
  • Loud.

Our Review

Little Snowie is another great choice if you want a compact shaved ice machine that takes up minimal space on your counter and which you can carry with you wherever you go.

But don't be fooled by its size. Little Snowie packs a powerful motor that cranks out lots of snowy ice in a short time.

If you have a big family or often hold birthday and kids’ parties, Little Snowie can easily keep up with demand.

The best thing about it is how easy it is to operate. To start with, you don't need to waste freezer space freezing pucks of ice. Little Snowie works with regular ice cubes.

You can use ice from your freezer, from the store, or from an ice maker. The ice shaver has special multi-edge blades that work well with ice cubes. 

Another feature we love is the dome shaper built into the ice dispenser. It makes it easy to make perfect snow cones.

Little Snowie comes as a standard kit, so you can get started making treats right away. The kit includes 6 powder sticks that make six pints of syrup, eight reusable shovel spoons, and two mixing bottles.

Issues & Limitations

Because of the powerful motor, Little Snowie is noisy. But it’s only for a few seconds when shaving ice.

The other issue is price. If you are shopping for a budget-friendly shaved ice machine, Little Snowie is probably not what you are looking for.

However, do keep in mind that Little Snowie is more powerful than other brands, uses a special blade that can shave regular ice cubes, and comes as a complete kit. So, it’s worth the higher price.

Bottom Line

Little Snowie is best for: Families looking for a shaved ice machine kit that is easy to use and makes lots of shaved ice.

Avoid if: You are shopping for a budget ice shaver.


cheap snowcone machines

If you want an ice shaver you can take outdoors, we recommend the MANBA ice shaver and snow cone machine.

It’s manual, meaning you don't need to plug it in to make shaved ice. It’s great for camping, picnics, backyard barbeques, road trips, and home use as well.

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Portable.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Includes complimentary ice tray.
  • Works with regular ice cubes. 

Cons

  • It takes longer to make shaved ice.
  • Not suitable for large families and parties. 

Our Review

MANBA is a great ice shaver, especially for your pocket if you don't mind a little manual labor for your shaved ice. It’s cheaper than electric ice shavers.

It has blades just like an electric shaver. The only difference is that you are the one who moves the blades by turning a hand crank.

The blades are super sharp, so it’s not too much work turning the crank. Even kids can do it.

The MANBA shaved ice machine works with regular ice cubes. You can freeze ice in the included tray, which freezes 15 cubes at the same time.

The jar has a capacity of 1 liter, so it holds plenty of shaved ice. 

Issues & Limitations

Being a manual ice shaver, it takes time and some work to make enough shaved ice for everyone. MANBA is definitely not ideal for large households or big parties.

We also don't recommend it for the elderly and people with arthritis. Though the crank is relatively easy to turn, it still requires some effort. You also need to press down on the lid at the same time.

Bottom Line

MANBA is best for: Families looking for a shaved ice machine they can use at home and outdoors. Also great for anyone looking for a budget ice shaver and doesn't mind working a manual shaver.

Avoid if: You love the speed and convenience of a traditional shaved ice machine. Also, not suitable for seniors and people with arthritis.


4. Best for Snow Cones: Nostalgia ISM1000 Electric

cheap shaved ice machine

If the main reason you are getting a shaved ice machine is to make snow cones, get the Nostalgia ISM1000 shaved ice and snow cone maker. 

It’s explicitly designed to make lots of snow cones with ease. It shaves lots of ice quickly, works with regular ice cubes, and includes a handy snow cone holder.

Pros

  • Great for making snow cones.
  • Shaves ice quickly - great for large households.
  • Works with regular ice cubes.
  • Includes a snow cone holder. 

Cons

  • It takes some practice to get the right ice consistency.

Our Review

The Nostalgia ISM1000 is a little ice shaver with a powerful motor. Rated at 80W, it quickly shaves through the ice, producing snowy and fluffy ice.

You can put in regular ice cubes from your freezer, though it takes some practice to get proper shaved ice from ice cubes.

For best results, get the option that comes with molds for freezing ice pucks. It’s much easier to make shaved ice using pucks.

The snow cone holder is really handy when you have to make several snow cones.

Instead of holding the snow cone while also operating the machine, you place it in the holder and focus on shaving the right amount of ice.

If you want to collect shaved ice in a bowl, you can remove the snow cone holder and place a bowl underneath.

Since there are no exposed blades, the Nostalgia ISM1000 is safe and kid-friendly. You can have your kids help you make the snow cones.

Issues & Limitations

It takes some practice to reliably get shaved ice from the Nostalgia ISM1000.

The big button on top takes a bit of force to press down, and you need to apply enough force to get shaved ice. Otherwise, you’ll end up with crushed ice.

Several users also say the little machine makes a lot of noise and bounces around when shaving ice, requiring you to hold it down forcefully.

Another thing to note is that the Nostalgia ISM1000 is not ideal for parties.

While it shaves ice quickly, the motor needs a 10-minute rest after every few snow cones.

Bottom Line

The Nostalgia ISM1000 is best for: Families looking for an affordable ice shaver specifically for making snow cones.

Avoid if: You have arthritis or want an ice shaver that’s super easy to use.


5. Best for Parties and Big Families: SUPER DEAL Upgraded 300W

cheap snow cone maker

Electric Ice Shaver

If you want a shaved ice machine that effortlessly cranks out bowl after bowl of shaved ice, we recommend the Super Deal 300W ice shaver.

The bigger motor can handle hours of continuous use (up to 20 hours, to be specific), and the sturdy construction reduces noise and vibrations.  

Pros

  • Powerful motor - can handle a big party.
  • Sharp blades shave ice into a snow-like consistency.
  • Works with regular ice cubes.
  • Sturdy construction. 

Cons

  • Not kid-friendly.
  • Makes a mess. 

Our Review

The Super Deal 300W ice shaver is a commercial-grade machine. It’s designed to produce a lot of shaved ice in a short period.

Specifically, it can produce 143lbs of shaved ice per hour as long as you have enough ice to feed into it. This makes it a great choice for big families, parties and large gatherings.

You can add regular ice cubes into the hopper, but make sure you press down on the handle firmly enough to get shaved, not crushed, ice.

You can also freeze ice in a mold to get a puck that will fit in the machine’s mouth.

The Super Deal ice shaver is also designed to last a long time. Most of the components are metal, and the base is thick and sturdy to reduce vibrations.

Because the casing is aluminium, you can be sure it’ll never rust.

Issues & Limitations

The Super Deal 300W ice shaver makes a mess. Shaved ice comes out in a wide jet that sprays beyond the bowl.

Ice left in the shaver also melts, and puddles of water collect under the machine.

We recommend using an extra-wide bowl to catch all the ice. Also, place a towel under the machine to absorb water.

The other issue with the Super Deal ice shaver is safety. If you are looking for an ice shaver your kids can operate, this is not it.

The blades only spin when you press down the handle. However, when you open the hopper, the blades keep spinning a bit before they stop. This is dangerous for kids.

Bottom Line

The Super Deal 300W ice shaver is best for: Families looking for a powerful ice shaver that can make lots of shaved ice quickly.

It’s especially ideal for parties and large gatherings where shaved ice might be required in large quantities and a short span.

Avoid if: You are looking for a kid-friendly ice shaver.


snow cone shaver

Want to shave ice the old-fashioned way? Get the Victoria Granita cast iron ice shaver. It’s a manual ice shaver that works like a wood plane.

It’s tedious to use and takes a long time to make enough shaved ice, but it makes better quality shaved ice than some electric ice shavers.

The best part is that it’s cheap and doesn't use electricity.

Pros

  • Cheap.
  • Doesn't use electricity.
  • Portable - you can use it anywhere.
  • Durable construction.
  • Makes true shaved ice. 

Cons

  • Take effort and time to make shaved ice.
  • It gets cold - you need gloves.
  • Requires a long ice mold. 

Our Review

The main advantage of the Victoria Granita manual ice shaver is how cheap it is. It’s also free to operate since it doesn't run on electricity.

It also makes really good shaved ice that’s softer and fluffier than what many electric ice shavers produce.

The downside, of course, is that you have to work for it. But the Victoria ice shaver is not that hard to use.

What you need is a long block of ice. Use something like a baking pan to freeze water.

A long block allows you to run the shaver over the ice in long strokes, producing more shaved ice.

A word of advice: the metal shaver will get cold. Put on a pair of knit gloves, especially if you plan to harvest a lot of shaved ice.

Like old-fashionedhand-crank ice cream makers, the Victoria Granita requires some elbow grease, but it’ll serve you for a lifetime. It’s built to last.

The blade is stainless steel, and the body is cast iron with a double tin coat. It’s rust-resistant, but make sure you always wipe it dry after use.

Issues & Limitations

If you want lots of shaved ice, fast, the Victoria Granita ice shaver is not for you. Get an electric unit instead.

Another inconvenience is that the Victoria ice shaver needs a long mold. You have to find something appropriate to freeze water and enough freezer space for it.

If you just want to pop in ice cubes and get shaved ice, choose one from our electric ice machine picks.

Bottom Line

The Victoria Granita ice shaver is best for: Anyone looking for an old-fashioned manual ice shaver that’s cheap and long-lasting.

Avoid if: You prefer the effortlessness and speed of an electric ice shaver.


Shaved Ice machine Buying Guide

shaved ice snow cones

What is a Shaved Ice Machine - and How Does It Work?

A shaved ice machine is an appliance that turns hard ice into snowy shaved ice. Shaved ice machines, whether electric or manual, use sharp blades to shave ice.

The blades are attached to a head that spins rapidly using a motor or a hand crank.

The blades shave off small and thin slices of ice off the surface of the ice. When piled together, the shaved ice has the consistency of snow. It’s fine, soft, and fluffy.

Shaved Ice vs. Snow Cone Ice: Is There a Difference?

Snow cone ice is what’s also called crushed ice. Instead of being light and fluffy, crushed ice consists of small ice granules.

It’s called snow cone ice because it is the type of ice often used to make snow cones. But you can also make a shaved ice snow cone. 

What to Look For in a Shaved Ice Machine?

Type of Ice Shaver

Electric ice shavers are the best for most people. They are easy to use, and they make shaved ice fast. The only downside is that they cost more. They are also noisy and may not last as long as a manual ice shaver.

Manual ice shavers are cheaper, easily portable since they don't need electricity, and most last a long time. But you have to do a bit of work to make shaved ice, and you can’t make it as quickly as with an electric shaver.

Ice Quality

best shaved ice machine

Make sure the shaved ice machine you want to buy makes true shaved ice. It should be fluffy and light, like snow.

 If customers say the machine makes ice that feels like fine granules or crystals, that’s crushed

Power

When buying an electric ice shaver, check how powerful the motor is. This is usually expressed in the form of watts.

The smallest ice shavers are about 50W, while commercial-grade shavers are rated at 300W or more.

The more power an ice shaver has, the stronger the motor and the faster it spins the blades. This produces a lot of shaved ice in a short period.

If you have a big family or hold parties often, get a powerful ice shaver that can keep up with demand.

But if you only make a couple of snow cones a day, a less powerful ice shaver will do.

Ease of Use

cheap snow cone machine

If you want a shaved ice machine that’s a breeze to use, you definitely should get an electric one.

It’s not that manual ice shavers are difficult to use; the problem is that they take time and some elbow grease to get enough shaved ice.

But even some electric ice shavers can be troublesome to use. Watch out for units that require a lot of force on the handle or button to shave ice. These can be especially problematic for seniors and people with arthritis.

So, try to get an ice shaver that uses a sharp stainless steel blade. It makes a big difference in ease of use and the quality of ice. A poor-quality blade will crush the ice instead of shaving it.

Also, check what kind of ice the machine uses. Ice shavers that work with regular ice cubes are convenient.

You can get ice from your freezer and make shaved ice at any time.

Safety

Shaved ice machines have fast-spinning sharp blades that could easily cause injury.

Look for a model that activates only when the mouth is closed, meaning the spinning blades are never exposed.

Considering the safety aspect of shaved ice machines is especially important if you want your kids to be involved in shaving ice.

Size & Portability

Finally, check how big and heavy the ice shaver is.

Compact and portable shaved ice machines may have less power, but they are great for small kitchens and are easy to carry around.

Bigger and heavier ice shavers are less portable and take up more space, but the upside is that they often have more power.

A bigger machine is worth it if you want something that can make enough shaved ice for a party.

Accessories

Check what accessories the ice shaver comes with. Some ice shavers come as a complete kit that may include flavor syrups, spoons, snow cones, reusable cups, molds and so on.


Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

What kind of ice do you use for shaved ice?

It depends on the ice shaver you are using. Some ice shavers work fine with regular ice cubes from your freezer, while others require ice pucks (frozen in a mold) to make good quality shaved ice.

Old fashioned ice shavers work best with a long block of ice. 

What accessories do I need to make shaved ice and snow cones?

The most important accessories one needs to make shaved ice or snow cones are flavors that usually come in the form of syrups. A simple shaved ice treat consists of just the ice and flavoring.

You can also get some spoons, straws, snow cone cups, and bowls to add an aesthetic appeal to your snow treats.

You should also consider getting a couple of ice molds to make your snow treats look better.

Try looking for molds that are the same size as the mouth of the ice shaver.

And since many ice shavers produce the best shaved ice from ice blocks compared to ice cubes, try to use ice blocks instead of cubes when making snow cones and shaved ice.

Is shaved ice the same as Hawaiian ice?

Yes, shaved ice and Hawaiian ice are the same. In fact, it’s often called Hawaiian shaved ice.

Can you store shaved ice?

It’s best to use shaved ice immediately as it melts quickly. If you try to freeze it, it’ll clump together and harden. It’ll no longer be shaved ice.

If you have to store it, the trick is to keep it from hardening up in the freezer. Switch it regularly between the freezer and the fridge, and stir it often to break up any clumps.

But generally, it’s best to make it fresh and use it all immediately.

Final Verdict: What Is The Best Shaved Ice Maker Sold Today?

After reviewing numerous options, we have come to the conclusion that the Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A is the best shaved ice maker sold today. It’s easy to use, makes true shaved ice every time, and is very affordable.

About the Author Tom Hanson

I’ve worked as an HVAC tech in Phoenix, AZ for the past 10 years. I created CoolAndPortable.com to help home owners select the right portable air conditioner, cooler or air purifier for their needs & budget in just a few minutes.

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