Best Shaved Ice Machine Reviews 2018: Top 5+ Recommended

Summer is coming! And with it, the need for tasty, cold treats that will help you deal with the unrelenting heat.

But, of course, you shouldn’t overindulge since most of those treats aren’t exactly healthy. Sure, I do love some ice cream, and my boys do as well, but all is good in moderation.

However, when you just can’t get rid of that craving, there exists a good alternative – it’s shaved ice. It’s much cheaper and easier to make while also having fewer calories – but it’s still delicious on a hot summer day.

Today I’ll share with you some of my opinions concerning the best shaved ice machines out there, as well as some of my thoughts about shaved ice in general. 

What is Shaved Ice?

Well, the name is kind of self-explanatory, isn’t it? It’s ice without any hair on it!

I’m joking, of course, but the name does explain a bit about the basics of this tasty treat. It’s made out of fine ice shavings mixed with some sort of flavoring, usually fruit syrup. But, that’s just the basics – there’s much more to shaved ice than just that.

For starters, there are many different varieties of shaved ice, depending on the country of origin and the way it’s made. It has existed for over two thousand years already, so there are bound to be lots of variations on the core concept.

Here in the USA, what we refer to as snow cones is actually shaved ice, and there are quite a few local varieties. Some, like those from New Orleans, are flavored not only with fruit syrup but also whole fruits or fruit cream; others, further north, might include marshmallow cream toppings and so on.

In Hawaii, there’s a long tradition of making Hawaiian shave ice, as they call it. It usually includes condensed milk, for flavoring and there’s a layer of vanilla ice cream below the shaved ice.

In Japan and other Asian countries, shaved ice is a popular summer dessert, and it is usually served with other desserts and a wide variety of toppings. It even comes pre-packed like ice cream!

However, shaved ice is decidedly different from ice cream in more than a few ways, and I personally believe it’s also better than ice cream! No, I don’t hate ice cream, I still love it, but shaved ice has won me over. I’ll explain why in just a second.


How Shaved Ice is Better than Ice Cream?

I made a bold statement just now – shaved ice is better than ice cream.

You’re certainly wondering if I can back that up. Well, I will certainly give it my best shot, and you can tell me if I managed to convince you!

For starters, both ice cream and shaved ice are unhealthy sweets, which is quite sad for my family and me since we like eating both. However, shaved ice is a bit better in that regard than ice-cream – it has fewer calories since it’s mostly made out of water.

Another reason that shaved ice is better is that you can serve it to people who are lactose intolerant. Plenty of my relatives are lactose intolerant, so it’s nice that I can serve them such a treat without worries. It’s also great for birthdays and parties, where you don’t know which of the guests are or aren’t lactose intolerant.

Shaved ice also gives you more choice when it comes to different flavors. When you make a batch of vanilla ice cream, it stays vanilla no matter what. Once you make shaved ice, you can flavor it with different syrups, creams, fruit or whatever else you like since it’s nearly tasteless on its own.

These are just some of the things that make shaved ice far better than ice cream, as far as I’m concerned.

Now that I’ve hopefully convinced you, I’ll move on to telling you how to find a good shaved ice machine for use in your home.


What to Look For in a Shaved Ice Machine?

When looking for a machine like this, there are a few key things that you need to think about to buy the best product possible. Here are the most important ones.

1. The Capacity

  • One of the most important things is the capacity, the amount and size of the shaved ice cones that a machine can make. If you want to make shaved ice only for yourself or your family, you can buy a low-capacity machine – though you shouldn’t underestimate the cravings of your kids, let me tell you that.
  • However, if you want to make a lot of it for parties or use it for a small business, the matter is a bit different, and you need a high-capacity machine.
  • The capacity is most often expressed in the number of snow cones the machine can make, and the size of the snow cones in ounces. It’s simple and not confusing at all.

2. Durability

  • A lot of people are too concerned about the looks of these machines. While it’s nice to have a cute appliance in your kitchen that you can brag about, I put more stock in the usefulness of the machine I buy.
  • In that sense, the durability is far more important. The machine needs to be made from solid materials – look for metal ones and avoid those made mostly from flimsy plastic. 

3. Size

  • There’s never enough space in the kitchen, and it is often difficult for me to fit in a new appliance. Sometimes I feel like I’m playing a game of Jenga whenever I buy something new! So, the size of the product I’m buying is important to me, and I’m sure it’s something all of you have to consider as well.
  • Look at the dimensions of the machine before you get it and think about whether it will be able to fit into your kitchen setup. 

4. The Extras

  • A lot of these shaved ice machines come with some extras. These can range from cups to samples of syrup and more. These extras can help you try out the machine and its different uses as soon as you buy it. They also make the machine a better value proposition, for sure.
  • I like to consider what extras I get when looking at appliances like this and compare them to the price. Sometimes a machine might seem a tad bit overpriced but turns out to be worth it due to everything you get in the package

The Best Shaved Ice Machines Available Right Now - Barbara's Reviews 2018

Image Credit: Amazon.com

This is a machine with a good capacity, as far as I have noticed. It can shave a lot of ice in almost no time at all, and you’ll have a lot of perfectly-sized portions – eight ounces each.

Though it’s not quite consistent and the shavings can be a bit rough and large.

Another thing I liked about this machine is how it looks – it seems like it came straight out of a carnival. It’s quite cute, and it has a nice snow cone holder on the side.

Sadly, due to its size, it does take up a lot of space, and it was difficult to fit it in anywhere. I wish it had a less awkward shape as well.

This is also quite a cheap machine. Considering you also get a few extras with it, like the reusable cones and an ice scoop, it’s a bargain.

However, the old adage is true – cheap things break easily. This is no exception since it’s made from cheap plastic that will most likely break soon after you buy it. It’s quite a shame. 

Things I Liked

  • Has good capacity and great speed
  • The design looks quite nice
  • It doesn’t cost a lot of money

Things I Didn’t Like

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    The pieces are a bit too big so don’t expect smooth shaved ice
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    This machine is quite big and bulky 
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    Sadly it’s quite flimsy

Image Credit: Amazon.com

With this product you don’t just get a shaved ice machine – you get almost everything you need to make a ton of great shaved ice cones!

Three bottles of syrup are included, each with a different flavor – cherry, raspberry, and grape. You also get some cups, straws, bottle pourers and a mold for making ice blocks. Everything is in there.

Of course, the machine itself is also quite nice and can make fine shaved ice. You get a lot of small pieces, and there won’t be any large chunks included.

But, to achieve that, you need to put in a lot of effort. The motor of this machine is a bit underpowered. Because of that, you have to push the block of ice yourself to get the machine to shave it properly.

The durability is also questionable – even the metal parts are quite flimsy, and they bend or break easily. If you get this machine, don’t use too much force with it.

Luckily, this machine is rather compact so it doesn’t take up a lot of space, and it’s easy to fit it on the counter, something that’s quite important in my crowded kitchen

Things I Liked

  • It contains a ton of good extras
  • This machine can make incredibly fine shaved ice
  • It doesn’t take up a lot of space on the counter

Things I Didn’t Like

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    The machine requires a lot of effort to use
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    It’s made out of flimsy metal
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    You need to use a lot of effort to make the shaved ice

Image Credit: Amazon.com

This is quite an ugly machine, isn’t it? It looks like a huge blue mushroom, and I don’t like that.

The shape is also awkward so you might have problems fitting it into your lineup of kitchen appliances – I know I did!

One of the good things about it, though, is that it can use regular ice cubes instead of ice blocks like other machines. So, if you have an ice cube tray in your freezer, you’re ready to go and start making shaved ice.

It will take some time to make it, though, since this is quite a slow machine with a low capacity.

You will end up putting some ice cubes into it and waiting a minute or two until it’s all shaved. You also have to hold the top down, so you can’t just do something else while the machine works its magic.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s exceptionally loud?

Luckily, the shaved ice that comes out is exceptionally smooth. The machine is also quite durable and comes at a decent price, which is what makes it good. 

Things I Liked

  • It uses regular ice cubes
  • It shaves ice into a fine snow
  • The machine is durable and well-priced

Things I Didn’t Like

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    The shape of this machine is quite awkward
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    Not a fast machine by any means
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    It makes a lot of noise

Image Credit: Amazon.com

This is another machine that can use ice of any type, including regular ice cubes, making it quite versatile.

The machine is also rather fast and has a good capacity. You can make enough shaved ice for 3 or 4 cones in five minutes or less – that’s rather speedy.

The size of this machine is also quite good as is the shape. I can easily fit it almost anywhere which I appreciate greatly. Having some extra space in the kitchen is never a bad thing.

However, this machine has quite a few issues. One of the weirdest one is the warning about the plunger – if you don’t push it completely straight down, the blades might shave off some plastic into the ice. That sounds quite bad, to be honest.

The shavings that come out of this machine are also quite large, so you might not get the fine snow you would expect.

Things I Liked

  • It uses ice of any size
  • Speedy and has good capacity
  • The size is good, and it can easily fit anywhere

Things I Didn’t Like

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    Quite overpriced considering what it offers
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    Flimsy with a lot of issues
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    The shaved ice is quite chunky

Image Credit: Amazon.com

This machine is just incredible in almost every way. Its performance is simply off the charts in every way. It can make a lot of shaved ice in a short amount of time, and you don’t even have to hold down the ice – just turn it on, and it does the job for you.

It uses stainless steel blade, and the overall construction is quite durable even though it does contain a lot of plastic.

It’s perfectly sized as well and can fit almost anywhere in my kitchen without an issue.

The price might be a bit problematic – it’s quite high. However, considering the performance, I would say it’s more than worth it. The machine also comes with some good extras, including 8 spoons and 6 different syrup samples.

There are some other problems with it, including the loudness of the motor as well as some water dripping from leftover ice, but none of those are deal breakers. It’s still quite a good machine overall. 

Things I Liked

  • The speed and capacity are almost unmatched
  • The size is great, and it can fit anywhere
  • It can use any sort of ice and comes with great extras

Things I Didn’t Like

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    Far more expensive than most other models out there
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    Produces a lot of horrid noise
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    It leaks water sometimes

My Choice

Here, the decision was not hard.

The best shaved ice machine I could find was the Little Snowie 2. It greatly outclasses all other machines – it is functional, fast and fits well into my kitchen setup. 

What convinced me, though, was the fact that I don’t have to hold it down while it shaves the ice. I can just turn it on and do something else while it does its job. It’s perfect for me.

Of course, there are some problems with it, and if you can’t deal with them, some of the other machines here might fit you better – they’re all quite good.

Choose the best machine for you and enjoy your delicious shaved ice cones!

Barbara Whitney
 

For the last 20 years, I’ve been cooking, preparing, researching, and gathering recipes, tools, and knowledge about food and the way we prepare it. Raising two lively boys and spoiling one great husband later, it’s safe to say that I’ve optimized my kitchen to deliver the best possible meal, no matter the occasion.

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