Are you feeling overwhelmed by the unbearable summer heat or you live in an area where the sun always shines bright? Maybe you’re the type of person who always likes to grab a cool snack? And iced tea or even watermelon juice are not enough to cool you down.
Regardless of which of these sentences describes you the best, shaved ice is a great solution for quick and efficient refreshment. However, we can’t claim that the old-fashioned way of shaving a large block of ice with a scraper or a knife is as quick as it gets.
There is a better way to prepare a delicious snow cone and enjoy its many flavors and coolness while the sun is beaming down on your back, and it is called a shaved ice machine. When you have your own shaved ice machine, the summer becomes less of a torment and more of a vacation, and you and your family can enjoy snow cones whenever you want.
If you are planning on treating your home with such a handy device, first you should be aware of all the factors that should impact your decision and go through many products to select the best shaved ice machine. Luckily, we have done all that for you.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Different Categories of Shaved Ice Machine
There are two basic types of shaved ice machines, and they differ by the type of ice they're using.
The block ice shavers operate with blocks of ice, which can come in two different forms: compressed and solid (much better choice than compressed). The cube ice shavers, on the other hand, work with standard cubed ice which is normally available at your local convenience or grocery store.
The main difference between the two is that cubed ice is much easier to acquire, while block ice can be very difficult to find, and expensive if you are buying it from a wholesaler.
The two machines also have their differences, with the cube ice shaver being much easier to maintain. It is also quicker in shaving the ice. The shaved ice that comes out of a cube ice shaver is fine and fluffy in consistency and texture. It is also very simple to master the use of this machine.
So, why would anyone want to buy the block ice shaver, you might ask? Well, this appliance also has its advantages, one of them beingproducing the softest ice possible with a texture that is as close to snow as it gets.
Differences between Blocked and Cubed Shavers in Detail
- The size of cubes used: Ice cubes shavers work with bagged ice, and block shavers work with blocked ice. The ice used in block ice shaver must temper to the adequate temperature.
- The size of shaved ice: The cube shaver provides beautiful and soft ice, while the final product of block shaver is ice that resembles snow.
- Availability of ice: As we've already mentioned, ice for cube shavers can be found in almost any store and ice houses. Ice for block shavers is not that easy to find, and it has tobe bought from wholesalers.
- Production time: The cube shaver shaves ice in a matter of minutes or even seconds, but block shavers don’t lag too much behind, so this is not a decisive factor when choosing between the two.
- Ice cost: Cubed ice for cube shavers is affordable because it is easy to acquire, but the price can vary depending on the store and the size of the ice bag. As for the block ice, the ice wholesaler can really ask for major investments. Since it is rare, block ice can be expensive. However, you can also freeze and then shave your own ice molds at home.
- Ease of use: Cube ice shavers are much easier to use.
- The USPs: Both of these categories of shavers have their own USPs and can be used by different individuals. The main feature of cube shavers is shaving the ice very quickly and minimal training needed for operating with it. The USPs for block ice is providing really smooth ice with snow-like texture.
Electric vs. Manual
At first ice, shaving was done with a knife or ice scraper, and therefore even manual shaved ice machines are a huge progress, while electric ones turn your task into a breeze. However, choosing between the two principles of using shaved ice machine comes down to personal preference and the amount of work you want to invest into the perfect shaved ice.
Manual shaved ice machines require you to place ice into the base of the device, then place the top or plunger on the ice cubes to press the ice down into the blades while you manually turn the crank that moves the blades over the ice. Although they are quite simple to use, manual ice shavers are not best suited for producing large quantities of shaved ice.
Electric shaved ice machines work very similarly as manual ones but without the manual labor. The base is filledwith ice, the ice is covered with a lid, and the switch is flipped. After that, the motor inside the machine does all the work for you.
What to Search for in Shaved Ice Machine?
Now that you know the fundamental differences between the types of ice machines, it is the perfect time to discover what to pay attention to when shopping for this handy device.
It is always better when the ice shaver has more than one function, instead of just making the shaved ice. There are models that are equipped with advanced options such as making flavored drinks. Because they come with various other tools, these sorts of machines are usually more expensive than regular ice shavers.
How much space can you allow the machine to occupy in your kitchen? If you are going to use it only in your household, a personal-sized machine is just about enough, and you still can make enough shaved ice for a medium-sized party.
This will depend on your personal needs and preferences. How much shaved ice are you planning to make at once? Some people are perfectly happy with one or two cups at a time, while others prefer to do the entire job in one procedure.
Considering the use and the user
Who is going to use the shaved ice machine? Is it something you would like for your kids to do? In that case, cube ice shavers are much simpler to use, and if you don't like your kids to tackle electrical appliances, it is best to go for the manual machine. If you are buying the machine for commercial use, you should also reconsider the size and capacity.
There are various additional features and equipment that can come in handy when it comes to shaved ice machines. You should look for a package that is equipped with snow cone cups, premium syrup flavors, spoon straws, bottle pourers and replacement blades.
The Best Shaved Ice Machine Available Today
Now let’s see do the following five products we have chosen for you live up to the high standards we have set.
- #1. Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Electric Shaved Ice Machine – A Powerful Achiever
- #2. Nostalgia SCM502 Snow Cone Maker – Charming Reminder of the Bygone Times
- #3. Time for Treats Avalanche Electric Ice Shaver – An Average Machine for Every Household
- #4. Time for Treats Manual Snow Cone Maker – The Old-fashioned Way
- #5. Cuisinart SCM-10 Snow Cone Maker – Beautiful on the Outside
#1. Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Electric Shaved Ice Machine – A Powerful Achiever
The first thing you will notice about this product is its sleek design. The S900A can sit on your countertop alongside your other appliances without standing out, but if you think that this machine is just a pretty face, you are wrong; it is much more than that.
The machine contains two ice molds which can be used to freeze ice in round blocks. The shaved snow is soft and fluffy. It works really great for making snow cones, slushies, margaritas and other fun summery drinks. Adjusting the blade height with a standard Phillips-head screwdriver will allow you to produce various textures of snow for different drinks.
If you are not planning on using it frequently or you don't have enough room on your countertop, you can easily disassemble the appliance and store it in one of your kitchen cabinets.
However, this machine is not very suitable for large gatherings, since it only produces three servings. Besides needing more time for supplying a larger party, the machine tends to overheat if you use it for a long time, and it works best in short bursts.
- Sleek design and easy storage
- The S900A can produce various textures of ice
- The stainless-steel blades are very enduring
- The ice molds come in handy
- It’s very versatile
- It produces only up to three servings
- It can overheat easily
- There is no switch, so you have to push down on the power button as you shave the ice
#2. Nostalgia SCM502 Snow Cone Maker – Charming Reminder of the Bygone Times
This little fella’ surely has a unique design. Depending on your preference, you might consider it either too kitschy or irresistibly adorable – you either love it or hate it.
But let’s look beyond its looks, even if it’s just for a second, and see how its functions would justify the purchase. Nostalgia SCM502is equipped with stainless steel blades that appear to be very durable. Its approximate capacity is twenty 8-ounce snow cones, which means that you would be able to use it at largepartis and for commercial purpose too.
Although it can produce that many cones, it only has two cone holders which are not very practical. This small flaw should be balanced by the facts that it uses any type of ice and that the ice can absorb the flavor of any flavored drink.
- The charming, nostalgic design
- The durable blades
- It shaves a lot of ice in short period
- It uses any type of ice
- It has a built-in safety switch
- The price is excellent for that capacity
- It has only two cone holders
- It is very large and not easy to fit into every kitchen
- Not easy to maintain, clean and store
- Most of the parts are made of plastic, so it doesn’t promise durability
#3. Time for Treats Avalanche Electric Ice Shaver – An Average Machine for Every Household
This weirdly-looking machine definitely deserves raising an eyebrow or two. At first glance, one would never think it is anything resembling a kitchen appliance, but give this product a benefit of doubt, you might be surprised.
One of the best things about its quirky design is the semi-transparent top, so the kids can enjoy watching the action. And the stainless steel blades are there to make it possible for the action to be quick and efficient. Since it uses regular ice cubes, there is no need for special molds.
It also features a safety switch which allows the motor to run only when the lid is closed. The Avalanche ice shaver is perfect for preparing Daiquiris, cocktails, slushies and other refreshing drinks.
Although this machine functions rather well, the parts are made mostly of plastic, so the build quality is questionable at the least. It is also very difficult to clean and maintain since it cannot be dissembled.
- Because of the safety switch, even kids can use it
- Sharp, durable blades
- Easy to use
- Shaves the ice fast
- It doesn’t occupy a lot of countertop space
- The parts are not removable, so it is difficult to clean
- It is not built with durability in mind
- Although it normally shaves the ice fast, it can be somewhat slow unless the bin is full with ice
- The units are pretty noisy
- Ice can find its way to the parts inaccessible for cleaning
#4. Time for Treats Manual Snow Cone Maker – The Old-fashioned Way
Coming from the same manufacturer as the previously reviewed product, this Time for Treats’ item is the first manual ice shaving machine on this list for those users who prefer the manual labor over using electricity.
As most of the manual snow cone makers, this one is characterized with one huge advantage over the electrical counterparts – it can be used anywhere. If you are, for example, heading for a family picnic or camping site on a place where there is no electrical network, you can take this little fella’ with you and enjoy the sweet refreshment.
It is equipped with an adjustable shaving blade so that you can produce differently textured ice shavings. The blade is reasonably sharp, but it could be better.
Although it can use regular store-bought ice cubes, this ice shaving machine works best with the ice frozen in the molds that come with it in the package. Also, it takes a bit of strength to be able to shave the ice (this would be a challenge for a young child, perhaps), but it is relatively simple to use. It shaves the ice rather well, but it spills a bit if you try and use a mug-sized cup to catch the ice.
Furthermore, the product is made of plastic, so it doesn’t seem like it is built to last.
- It’s completely portable
- It can be used anyplace, anytime
- It shaves the ice well
- It is very lightweight
- It seems very expendable
- The ice can spill
- It doesn’t work very well with regular ice cubes
- It requires a bit of grip to shave the ice
#5. Cuisinart SCM-10 Snow Cone Maker – Beautiful on the Outside
The first thing that we have to mention when it comes to this appliance is its impeccable design. The Cuisinart SCM-10 can easily serve as an exhibition piece in your kitchen and elevate its overall décor. Its shape is fairly simple, yet elegant, and the see-through ice container complemented with cone holders makes it look even better. However, it is a bit sturdy, so it is the best in more spacious kitchens.
Performance-wise, this product has much to brag about too. It is very easy to assemble and use. All you need to do is to turn on the switch and let the machine do all the job for you. The SCM-10 uses regular ice cubes and various syrups and juices. You even get some interesting recipes in the package.
It is a great appliance for parties and larger gatherings since it can produce about five snow cones n under a minute.
The biggest downside of this machine is the shaved ice texture, which is rather inconsistent – you have a snow-like part, chips part, and some even bigger pieces. Also, it can get a little messy with water dripping.
- Sophisticated design/
- Easy to assemble and use
- It uses store-bought ice cube, but it can also work with ice from the freezer
- The package includes recipes
- It has a great capacity
- It’s a bit sturdy for an average kitchen
- The shaved ice gets a bit chunky
- It can get really messy
- It is not for everyone’s pocket
After detailed analyses of these five units, we can conclude that they all have their advantages and flaws and they all can make your kitchen better, more efficient and more refreshing. However, the time has come to choose one winner that stands out among them with better performance, price and all the important features. This time, it’s a close call between Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A and Nostalgia SCM502. While the first one scores a point or two in durability and versatility aspects, the second one beats in capacity and charming design. It is up to you to decide which of these features is your priority.