Times have moved on from when a lot of muscle and spare time was needed to obtain a tiny snow cone from a Frosty or Snoopy machine, and of course, even the success of this depended on whether or not your kid brother had stuffed an action figure headfirst into it!Although these types of kid-friendly machines are still available, there is now a wider range of snow cone and shaved ice machines available for the home – most of which now require electricity and make it easy to tuck into an ice treat at any time of day or night. To help you to choose the best shaved ice machine or snow cone maker for your home, we offer the lowdown on some bestsellers as well as providing some advice to help you get the most from your machine.
Able to produce fluffy and finer ice with its replaceable blades, the Hawaiian shaved ice maker (S900A) is our top pick from the range of shaved ice machines.
Holding up to twenty 8 oz. snow cones in its bucket, the Nostalgia SCM502 vintage snow cone maker is our budget pick for easy shaved ice.
Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Shaved Ice Machines
[table id=61 /]
1. Hawaiian Shaved Ice Maker (S900A)
Easy to assemble and dissemble for cleaning, the white Hawaiian shaved ice maker (S900A) contains a precision cut stainless steel blade which uses molded ice to produce fluffy and fine ice. As well as using ice from the two molds supplied with the maker, you can use regular ice cubes, although these will produce coarser ice. The control button on this is manual, and you should only apply medium pressure as more pressure will produce crunchy ice rather than fluffy ice.This comes with a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer and you can buy accessories and replacement blades from the manufacturer. You are advised not to run this machine for longer than two consecutive minutes, so if you want to shave a larger quantity of ice you will need to pause frequently.
2. Nostalgia SCM502 Vintage Snow Cone Maker
Able to hold up to twenty 8 oz. snow cones at a time, the Nostalgia SCM502 vintage snow cone maker has precision cut stainless steel blades and a transparent ice chamber for easy monitoring. There is a lock on the shaving mechanism to keep your hands safe and it also has a side shelf that can hold two snow cones.
As a more compact countertop machine, it is able to work with regular ice cubes, although ice can stick at times when going through the blade, and some users have found stray bits of plastic coming through with the ice on first use. This maker comes with an ice scoop and two re-usable plastic snow cones. You can also buy various accessories from the manufacturer, included cone cups, straws and syrups. It comes with a one year limited warranty.
3. Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine Three Flavor Party Pack
Ideal as a gift, the Hawaiian shaved ice machine three flavor party pack includes a Hawaiian shaved ice machine, 25 leak-proof snow cone cups and spoon straws, three fruit syrup flavors and bottle pourers for easy syrup application. It is worth checking that the machine is free from damage and works on receipt, especially if you have bought it for a gift, as the returns window is quite short, and you will probably need to return the full party pack for an exchange or refund.Although some users have found that the syrups are too sweet for their tastes, they are free from soy, dairy and eggs. Because the machine produces finer ice when you use the ice molds, it means you may need to buy extra molds, or the family will have to wait until the two included molds are re-frozen.
4. Little Snowie 2 Ice Shaver
Suitable for using regular ice cubes, Little Snowie 2 ice shaver can produce ice in three seconds. It has a 301-grade hardened stainless steel blade and comes with a one year limited warranty. Some users report that that it is grated ice output and not as smooth as shaved ice.It may also be noisier than comparable machines and you will have to experiment with different cups to find one that fits the best on the tray and stops ice from falling onto the countertop. This machine comes with six sample size syrups and eight washable spoons.
5. Avalanche Electric Ice Shaver by VICTORIO VKP1100
Using regular ice cubes, the light blue Avalanche ice shaver contains an adjustable and replaceable stainless steel blade. It has a built in safety mechanism which stops the machine from running if the lid to the ice hopper is left open, which also means you have to keep your hand on the lid for ice to be shaved.Unfortunately, this machine cannot be fully dismantled for cleaning so there is a chance that debris can build up over time and even with a bowl on the tray, there can be a tendency for ice to overspill.
6. Cuisinart SCM-10 Red Snow Cone Maker
Able to make four to five snow cones in less than a minute, the Cuisinart SCM-10 red snow cone maker uses regular ice cubes and is compact enough to stay on the countertop, although some owners consider that this maker is slow compared with similar products.It has a pop out shelf that holds four cones, and this also comes with four re-useable cones, 12 paper cones and recipes. The cones and any plastics that come into contact with the ice are BPA-free. Some users report that the ice is more crunchy than shaved, and some of the pieces may be quite large.
7. Disney DFR-613 Olaf Snow Cone Maker
Featuring Olaf from Frozen, the Disney DFR-613 Olaf Snow Cone Maker uses regular ice cubes or pre-molded blocks. This is electric one touch operation and it comes with two ice molds and six paper snow cone cups. The ice from the molds seems to work better than regular in this machine, so there can be a break in use while waiting for the molds to re-freeze.Some buyers have experienced this arriving with a missing part that stops the maker from working. Some may also find that this maker is bigger than they expect.
8. Costzon Ice Crusher Machine
Able to shave just over 26 lbs. of ice per hour, the Costzon ice crusher machine is constructed of stainless steel for better rust resistance. The ice bucket is transparent and holds 12 cups of ice. As a safety mechanism, if the bucket is not in place, the machine will not work. This also comes with suction cups to hold the machine in place on the countertop.
There is some uncertainty as to whether this model comes with a warranty from the manufacturer. Although this may be advertised alongside shaved ice machines, it is a crusher and the pieces of crushed ice may be larger than expected. When adding ice to the hopper, you may need to add it slowly, and it may not always process odd sized or shaped cubes as well.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Shaved Ice Machine
Having your own shaved ice machine or snow cone machine saves you having to regularly stock up on frozen treats at the grocery store. It can also save you a lot of money if you go out for regular ice treats, and it offers convenience for regular parties. As well as snow cones, shaved ice is ideal for using in drinks, frozen yogurt or smoothies.
When looking to buy a shaved ice machine, you should consider its size, not just how much room it will take up on the countertop or in the cabinet, but also the size of the ice bucket and how fast or slow the machine will shave ice.
Premium ice shavers can produce 350 lb. or more of shaved ice per hour and snow cone machine capacity is often measured by how many cones it can make and what size (in ounces) they will be.
A stainless steel construction may give improved durability, but even with a plastic body, blades should always be stainless steel to ensure they will last. If the machine is plastic, you may also want to look at whether it is BPA-free or not.
The power switch usually has some form of waterproof cover to prevent any electric shocks and some may also come with an auto shut-off as an extra safety feature. If you are looking for a machine that younger members of the family can use, one that operates safely is vital. Many have a safety mechanism on the lid or hopper, which means that the machine will not operate until the lid is properly shut. This keeps fingers away from the blade when in use.
If you want to make snow cones, then other things that you will need to buy with a shaved ice machine includes cups, spoon straws, syrups and dispensing bottles for the syrups.
Treats made from shaved ice do not usually contain as many calories as ice cream thanks to their water base, but some commercial syrups can be high in sugar. If you want to make your own snow cones, you can also make low sugar syrups at home to make a snow cone a healthier treat for kids of all ages.
Shaved Ice Machine versus Snow Cone Machine
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, these are two different types of machine. The shaved ice machine is able to produce ice which is fluffy and soft and melts in your mouth. The manual version is operated by a hand crank, which makes it better for smaller quantities of ice and it can be more fun for kids to use this type of machine.
An electric ice shaver is able to produce shaved ice in a few minutes which makes it better for parties where you need a lot more ice. Many machines are suitable for homes, although you can buy commercial shaved ice machines which will produce a lot of ice but will also cost a lot more and take up room in your garage or cellar.
A snow cone machine usually uses ice cubes from a typical ice cube machine to make crunchy and coarse ice shavings which you can use for snow cones, slushies or even as an ice base when serving cold foods at a party.
Cleaning a Shaved Ice or Snow Cone Machine
Keeping the machine clean is essential. If your machine is not cleaned and dried thoroughly after use it is at more risk of rust on its metal components.
Once you have removed your machine from the power outlet, you can either wash removeable parts in mild soap and warm water, or you can mix your own spray sanitizer solution of 50% white vinegar and water to remove any syrup, dirt or dust from the machine. Once you have applied this and wiped it down with a cloth it can be left to dry.
The motor unit area can be carefully wiped with a damp cloth. The motor, other electronic or mechanical parts should never be immersed in water and always take extra care when wiping near the motor and cutting blades.
Make sure all parts are completely dry before re-assembling and using or putting away,
Types of Ice
As shaved ice has been used for a couple of millennia, there are bound to be some differences in what shaved ice means depending on where you come from.
New Orleans shaved ice is flavored with fruit syrups, fruit creams or whole fruit, whereas Hawaiian shaved ice usually includes a layer of vanilla ice cream topped with shaved ice which often includes condensed milk for flavor. Asian countries will serve shaved ice as a summer dessert alongside other desserts and you can often buy shaved ice in these countries ready-made in a tub.
It is usually best to use ice molds that come with the machine, as these will ensure that ice is shaven correctly. Household or bagged ice may also be suitable to use. It will not put as much strain on your machine if you take ice blocks out of the freezer five minutes before putting them through, or if you rinse them briefly under cool water.
When ice is cubed rather than in blocks it tends to be shaved faster, which means you can refill the machine faster. Some manufacturers may also recommend the use of frozen carbonated water as this shaves easier than normal water. If ice appears powdery from a snow cone maker, then the ice is probably too cold.
Tips for Serving Perfect Snow Cones
When you come to serve up snow cones, loosely add the ice to the snow cone cup and avoid pressing it down as this stops the ice absorbing flavor properly. You can then make a small pocket in the top of the snow cone and slowly pour syrup around the outside edges of the cone until you reach the top pocket where you can pour it straight down the middle.
You can buy ready made syrups or make your own. You may prefer to make your own low-sugar options, and you can use fruit juices (or even alcohol) as bases for snow cone flavors.
If you are using a frozen syrup or juice, then it may not be as sweet as freezing reduces sweetness, so always do a taste test before freezing and if it still a little tart after freezing you can add some more sweetener. If you think your syrup is too sweet, tray adding a dash of lemon juice to cut through some of the sweetness.
Making a snow cone, or indeed any other type of ice dessert, is now easier than ever with the variety of electric machines available. This review has looked at some of the best on the market, as well as what to consider when buying one, and perhaps most importantly, how to get the best from your machine (and your snow cones).The best shaved ice machine for your home will depend not only on what you want it for, but if younger members of the family will be using it, what safety features it has to keep fingers away from the blades. We trust that this review has been helpful to your decision-making and that you will soon be enjoying your homemade snow cones with minimal effort.