What are the best shaved ice machines in 2021?

As temperatures rise and you spend more time outside, you’ll likely want a fun way to keep cool. Shaved ice machines provide a delicious way to beat the heat, and you can even start your own small business with one.

Most shaved ice machines are portable, so you can take them with you camping, to a festival or even your kid’s birthday party. Although shaved ice machines are a ton of fun, picking the right one can be challenging. Take some time to review the features that various models offer and their limitations, and you’ll be on your way to choosing a suitable machine.

What to know before you buy a shaved ice machine

How to make shaved ice

You can make shaved ice with a shaved ice machine, food processor or blender. 

Start by placing ice cubes in your machine of choice and blending or processing them until they resemble snow. If you use a blender, make sure you don’t put too many ice cubes in at once.

Once you’ve got your ice to the right consistency, you’ll want to go ahead and add flavored syrup. You can freeze your shaved ice, but it will clump together if you do. It’s best to make your ice right before you plan to use it.

Shaved ice vs. snow cones

Shaved ice and snow cones are excellent treats for a hot day, but they aren’t the same. Snow cones are typically made with crushed ice, whereas shaved ice machines use steel blades to produce a snow-like texture. In general, snow cones are crunchier than shaved ice. Still, you can use the same flavored syrup for either type of treat.

How will you use your shaved ice machine?

Many shaved ice machines utilize plastic and feature fun colors and designs. These types of devices are great for limited use or birthday parties. However, if you plan on using your machine to start a business, you’ll likely want to opt for a heavy-duty machine.

Shaved ice machines like the VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver are made of stainless steel and hold large amounts of ice, so you don’t have to refill them continuously.

What to look for in a quality shaved ice machine

Durable blades

The blades in your shaved ice machine need to be able to hold up to cold temperatures and solid ice cubes. Purchasing a shaved ice machine with durable stainless-steel blades will ensure your device doesn’t break while in use. 

Additional equipment

Not all shaved ice machines come with syrup and cups, but finding a device that includes everything you need can save you time and money. Machines like the Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A have snow cone cups, spoons, syrup and round block ice molds.

Rotation speed

Shaved ice machines with powerful motors and high rotation speeds produce shaved ice faster than those with low rotation speeds. A machine with 2,000 RPM creates about 150 pounds of shaved ice in an hour, making it perfect for parties and events.

If you’re buying a shaved ice machine for use at your home, rotation speed will not likely be as much of a concern.

How much you can expect to spend on a shaved ice machine

If you’re purchasing a shaved ice machine for at-home use or small events, you can spend as little as $50-$100. If you need a heavy-duty machine that can shave hundreds of pounds of ice in an hour, you may spend between $100-$500.

Shaved ice machine FAQ

Can you make your own flavored syrup?

A. There are several great flavored syrup recipes available online. You can make your own syrup using Kool-Aid or even fresh fruit by blending your flavored ingredients with water, bringing them to a boil to let the sugars dissolve and then cooling the mixture in your refrigerator.

Do you need a shaved ice machine to make shaved ice?

A. You can technically make shaved ice using a blender, although a food processor will produce a more snow-like texture. Shaved ice machines’ design specifically creates that snowy texture, so they’re often a better choice than blenders or food processors.

Best shaved ice machine

Top shaved ice machine

Snowie Little Snowie 2 Shaved Ice Machine

Snowie Little Snowie 2 Shaved Ice Machine

What you need to know: This compact machine can make shaved ice, snow cones, slush drinks, daiquiris and more.

What you’ll love: The compact design is excellent if you plan on taking your machine to events or other people’s houses. It comes with three flavor powder sticks, two mixing bottles and eight spoons.

What you should consider: At a little over $200, this isn’t the most affordable machine out there.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

Top shaved ice machine for the money

Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Shaved Ice Machine with Syrup and Accessories

Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Shaved Ice Machine with Syrup and Accessories

What you need to know: This inexpensive shaved ice machine has everything you need for a fun birthday party or event.

What you’ll love: Includes snow cone cups, spoons, syrup and everything else you’ll need for a successful event. You can adjust the blade to make crunchier ice for snow cones. This lightweight machine is easy to take with you on the go.

What you should consider: The plastic design isn’t as durable as some other models. You have to use their cylindrical ice molds to get fluffy shaved ice.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver

VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver

What you need to know: An industrial-grade shaved ice machine that can shave up to 143 pounds of ice in an hour.

What you’ll love: This machine’s powerful motor and razor-sharp stainless-steel blades produce fluffy shaved ice in no time at all. The stainless-steel design looks sleek in your kitchen or outside. The machine shuts off automatically if the handle is open to prevent injury.

What you should consider: Although it is rare, some users reported seeing metal flakes in their shaved ice. It’s a good idea to clean your machine when you get it and do a test run before using it for an event.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot


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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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