13 Best Ice Shavers For Uniquely Cold Drinks and Treats in 2023: Reviews & Buying Guide
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Ice is an important component in a drink, and one of its most interesting forms is shaved. Shaved ice can be made using a food processor or blender, but an ice shaver does a better job of creating a finer, fluffy, and smooth texture.
Shaved ice is an excellent way to revamp cocktail presentations and chill drinks. It is usually placed directly in a glass, and then the other ingredients are poured on top of it, giving the drink an instant dilution and a slushie-like consistency.
But if you use a lot more shaved ice and pour cocktail mixes or liqueurs on it, you’d get a delicious boozy snow cone! If you want to give new meaning to refreshing cocktails, check out the best ice shavers now!
Best Overall: SUPER DEAL Upgraded 300W Electric Ice Shaver
Runner-Up: Cuisinart SCM-10P1 Snow Cone Maker
Best Value: MANBA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine
Best Construction: VIVOHOME VH482-SL Ice Crusher Shaver
Best Compact: Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Shaved Ice and Snow Cone Machine
Best Commercial-Grade: Great Northern Popcorn Company Commercial Ice Shaver
Best Set: Little Snowie Max Premium Shaved Ice Maker
Best Look: Nostalgia Snow Cone Cart
Best Features: VIVOHOME VH 437 Electric Ice Shaver
Best Sleek: ZENY Ice Shaver Machine
Best Manual: Time for Treats VKP1101 SnowFlake Snow Cone Maker
Best Capacity: Paragon Simply-A-Blast Snow Cone Machine
Best Retro Design: Nostalgia Retro Table-Top Snow Cone Maker
“This ice shaver works quickly, and we appreciate that it’s simple to operate. Simply fill the snow cone machine with regular ice cubes, press the power button, and then push the handle. With just a little prodding, you're good to go!
It also includes a stainless steel basin for catching your shaved ice. However, due to the speed of the dispensing of ice, some may spill outside the bowl. Furthermore, its body is made of solid plastic and metal, which feels sturdy and durable. It's definitely worth buying!”
Material: Plastic and stainless steel | Capacity: 143 lbs/hr | What’s Included: Bowl
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“We adore how this machine looks sleek, modern, and elegant. Apart from appearance, it also excels in functionality. We like the safety mechanism that disables the device if the lever is raised too high. The ice drawer also removes easily and smoothly, making it easy to clean.
The majority of this shaved ice machine is made of plastic, making it easier to transport. Since the handle is crucial in crushing the ice, we recommend handling it with care to ensure longevity. The scoop is also convenient in making round shapes, perfect for cones!”
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 4-5 snow cones/minute | Manufactured: China | What’s Included: Disposable and reusable cones, scoop, recipes,
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“We needed a nice, functional ice shaver we could bring during our travel, and this works best for us as it’s compact and light. The manual hand crank is easy to operate and functions well; however, we admit it sometimes gets tiring.
This snow cone machine features three stainless steel blades, which explains how well and quickly it shaves ice! This shaver also comes with a free ice mold to be used for making ice that will go into the shaver.”
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 1 liter | Manufactured: China | What’s Included: Ice tray
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“If you need high crushing ability from your ice shaver, we highly recommend this model. With a maximum crushing capacity of 143 pounds per hour, this shaver is ideal for frequent use in large gatherings.
It is constructed from rust-proof, food-grade stainless steel, so it will withstand years of service. Because of its powerful blades and motor, it's ideal if you want light, snow-like ice. We also appreciate its safety feature, allowing you to use it without worrying about severing a fingertip.”
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 143 lbs/hr | What’s Included: Bowl and ice pick
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“We are impressed that this snow cone maker produces crunchy or fluffy ice. Although, mastering the ideal texture requires some practice. We recommend letting the ice sit out for about 5 minutes so it’ll be smoother to shave and the blades will have an easier job.
The mechanism is also easy to understand. Water is frozen in the mold to make ice discs, which are then placed inside. Then, press the grey section at the top of the shaved ice machine to shave it. Medium pressure will make fine ice while more pressure makes crunchy bits.”
Material: Plastic | Manufactured: China | What’s Included: 2 ice molds, and a non-slip mat
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“We were initially impressed by how much bigger and heavier it actually was than our expectations. The majority of the machine was pre-put-together, but the feet and handle had to be attached. It's very versatile, offering anything from soft, gelato-like ice to a sharper, faster cut.
We also like how it is a breeze to use. Just simply insert an ice block, attach the shield, then flip the switch. The ice rushes out in no time! We also didn't fret over cleanup because it only required a damp towel.”
Material: Brass, stainless steel, and plastic | Capacity: 350 lbs/hr | Manufactured: China | What’s Included: Safety shield, and tray
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“If you’re looking for a functional and portable shaver, this one’s for you! Its size and weight are perfect for home bars because it saves space and is easy to carry around. With this shaved ice and snow maker, you’re not only getting the shaved ice machine but also some fun accessories!
It is also a very straightforward machine, requiring no more than closing and pushing down the lid. We also like how the dome shaper makes perfectly shaped snow cones and prevents the ice from splattering too much.”
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 64 oz. | Manufactured: China | What’s Included: 6 flavors, 2 mixing bottles, 2 pour spouts, and 8 mini shovels
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“We bought the Nostalgia snow cone maker and ice shaver because of how amazing it looks, but now that we have used it, we are much more impressed with its functionality. Using the provided screwdriver and other equipment, assembly took only 20 minutes.
The design is also much more stunning in person; it’s like having an ice cream truck! Although it's not a commercial-grade machine, this device is great for making shaved ice at home for parties and is more than adequate for snow cones and any shaved ice dessert and drinks.”
Material: Metal and glass | Capacity: ≈ 576 oz. | Manufactured: China | What’s Included: 1 ice scoop, 2 bottles, 100 paper cups, 100 straws
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“This ice crusher is incredibly user-friendly, substantial, and attractive that it has become very popular in our house. It’s also very easy to tidy up since we’ll just allow the water to run out through a drain hole, and then we wipe the interior with a paper towel to avoid rust.
It's nice that we can customize the ice's thickness and fineness to suit the beverage or food you're preparing. And we appreciate how there is a reverse button for jammed ice, and they are powerful enough to cut apart even larger chunks.”
Material: ABS plastic and aluminum | Capacity: 260 lbs/hr | Manufactured: | What’s Included: Drip tray
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“We didn't anticipate how quickly it would shave or how little ice it would need to fill two huge cups. The motor turns off as soon as you pull the lever to add ice, so even the inexperienced can use this without worrying about their fingers getting sliced.
The shaved ice machine was also a breeze to clean; we simply unplugged it and wiped it down, being cautious not to let any water or cleaning solution near the blades. The bowl is a little too far forward, in my opinion. Therefore it doesn't collect all of the ice, but we can still work with it.”
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 143 lbs/hr | Manufactured: China | What’s Included: Bowl
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“Although it’s not made from the strongest material, this snow cone maker works well! The blade can be adjusted to your desired degree of ice thickness, and three servings can be made from a single block of ice.
Sometimes, the blades are loosely positioned, resulting in larger ice cubes. So for smoother results, tighten the blades. We appreciate that it includes three containers with covers, making them ideal for stacking in the freezer.”
Material: Plastic | Manufactured: Taiwan | What’s Included: 3 ice molds with lids
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“The use of see-through materials in the design is something we appreciate. All the walls are made of glass, while the door is made of plexiglass, which is a great way to see when we need to refill. And despite its big size, it is quite easy to set up due to the clear instructions.
Furthermore, we are pleased that this snow cone machine is not as loud as other brands or models. Best of all, we are impressed by how much ice it can make in a short time, allowing you to accommodate as many people in your bar or at events.
Material: Cast aluminum, stainless steel, and tempered glass | Capacity: 500 lbs/hr | Manufactured: USA | What’s Included: Drain deck, drain tube, and ice scoop
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“One of the best features of this ice shaver is that it works with regular ice cubes, so you don’t need to make big blocks or discs. It also sports a stylish red retro design which is truly eye-catching. It looks like a nice piece in your bar even when you're not using this!
Additionally, this snow cone machine works amazingly fast, thanks to the sharp and durable stainless steel blades. It is also equipped with a side shelf that holds the reusable snow cones it comes with, and you can easily scoop out the shaved ice with the scoop.”
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 160 oz. | Manufactured: China | What’s Included: 2 reusable cones, and an ice scoop
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Shaved ice is usually used for icy desserts, but it is also surprisingly good in cocktails. Investing in a quality shaved ice machine is a great way of making snow cones and other refreshing treats!
For starters, check out our top pick, the SUPER DEAL Upgraded 300W Electric Ice Shaver, a classic and reliable model that works efficiently and is easy to operate.
So what are you waiting for? Get shopping for your very own snow cone or shaved ice machine today!
Ice shavers and snow cone machines come in many forms, so we advise you to keep these considerations keep in mind when choosing one.
It is important to look at what kind of material the shaver frame is and its blades since this will determine the durability, portability, price, etc. Ice shavers are often made out of plastic and stainless steel, and sometimes, glass is incorporated.
Plastic is lightweight and portable; however, it isn't as sturdy and long-lasting as a stainless-steel shaver. The downside of stainless-steel ones, on the other hand, is they can be heavy and expensive.
Plastic shavers are ideal for home use, but they won't be able to suffice in a commercial establishment. Meanwhile, businesses often use stainless steel as they can make more shaved ice cones per hour.
As to the blades, make sure they are corrosion-resistant, durable, sharp, and have easy-to-find replacements.
Some of the most common types of ice shaver and snow cone maker include the following:
Manual Ice Shavers
Manual ice shavers are the most affordable type but they rely on your elbow grease to crank through the ice, taking some time and effort. However, they're reliable and easy to use.
Electric Ice Shavers
An electric snow cone machine uses an electrical motor to shave the ice, which is generally faster and easier than a manual crank. However, they can be more expensive and may require more maintenance.
Commercial Ice Shavers
A commercial shaved ice machine is designed with high-volume uses in mind, so they are usually electrical. These snow cone machines are much larger and can be pretty expensive. They can also be large, requiring sufficient space.
Portable Ice Shavers
Portable ice shavers are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer the convenience of being able to take them with you wherever you go. These devices are often smaller and can either be manual or electrical.
But since they have less strong motors, they tend to shave slower than commercial ones.
People will aim for something that works simply and doesn't have complicated buttons. Fortunately, most ice shavers are one-button.
They only differ in their ice compartments. Some ice compartments need to be pushed for the ice to start shaving. Meanwhile, some don't need any force. You just need to fill the compartment with ice and turn the machine on.
Additionally, Luke Slater from TheCaskConnoisseur says, “Look for an ice shaver that has a powerful motor to ensure that it can handle the toughest ice cubes.”
The general rule is that bigger watts have more power, meaning an ice shaver is quicker and can shave through big ice blocks. However, they consume more electricity, which can increase your bills, especially if you’re continuously using the machine.
It's also important to consider how much ice your shaver can produce, how easily it can be cleaned, and how portable it is before buying one.
A smaller model may be adequate for home use, which can produce four to eight portions at a time. Due to their compact size, they are also easy to clean.
On the other hand, you can get large ones that produce 140+ pounds of ice shavings each hour, so you don’t need to constantly shave to have a sufficient supply. But because they are larger, they can impose difficulty in cleaning.
Some people are content with merely having a simple-looking but high-performing shaver, while others desire one that is both attractive and efficient. The latter wants to show off something flashy that'll make a statement in their bar.
With fashionable ice shavers, shaved ice for frozen cocktails has never been more exciting and fun. These shavers are guaranteed to be conversation starters wherever you set them up.
And in terms of features, there are ice shavers that prioritize the user's comfortability, so they may be designed with ergonomic handles, shields, and sturdy bases.
Additionally, look for ice shavers with safety features like water-proof switches, lids, drain plugs, etc. There are also ice shavers that come with free accessories, shelves and extra storage, and more!
Ice shavers can be bought at varying price points depending on the type. Manual and a few electric options are often offered for $20 to $50. These types are perfect for you if you're willing to prepare a few cocktails occasionally.
Pricing for typical electric models is between $50 and $100, which s a good option if you have a bar at home. Meanwhile, choose ice shaver machines in the $100-$200 price range if you want high-tech, well-built products for commercial use.
To make your ice shaver last longer, you should always choose the right type of ice depending on the machine’s style and blade size.
Don’t use huge ice for smaller shavers, and don’t overfill the hopper even for bigger shavers to prevent jamming and dulling the blades quickly.
Also, clean the machine after each use, and store it in a cool, dry place. Avoid using soap when cleaning your shaved ice and snow maker, and never submerge it in water.
Simply wipe the shaving plate, ice chamber, and ice chute with a soft cloth to prevent rust. Don’t forget that the blades used to slice through the ice are incredibly sharp.
Although some people consider the two the same, the two frozen delicacies are quite different.
Snow cones are made with more significant bits of crunchy ice. The syrup drips to the bottom of the cup after a time, making it popular at carnivals and ballparks.
Shaved ice texture is more delicate and fluffier, like real snow. Since it is historically shaved off a block of ice, it is also known as SnowBalls, Shaver's, or Hawaiian Shaved Ice.
In a bar setting, both types of shaved ice are acceptable.
You can make drinks with shaved ice the same way you would make snow cones. Scoop a sufficient amount of shaved ice into a glass, then pour your favorite liqueurs or cocktail mixes on top.
If you don't want to use syrups, you can make your own mix from scratch. Combine your ingredients in a cocktail shaker without ice, and shake. Then pour the mixture into a glass filled with shaved ice. Try this method with Margaritas!
We believe that our readers should have access to unbiased, well-informed reviews when deciding which products to buy, and we work hard to provide that type of content. Our editorial team is experienced and passionate about mixology and bar equipment. In addition, we often consult with industry professionals when gathering information, which gives us an insider's perspective on the products we're reviewing.
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