When you’re shopping around for a shaved ice machine, the most important thing you want to consider is what kind of cold treats or drinks you’d like to make. Some devices make treats with a thicker ice consistency, like snow cones, while others churn out a fluffier product like Hawaiian ice. Some even let you adjust to suit your tastes. There are also machines that allow you to make frozen slush drinks, which require you be able to freeze juice or water with flavor syrups, and not just chop up ice.
If you'd like an option that doesn't require you to buy a lot of additional accessories (like syrups and cups) before you start making ice, look for a shaved ice machine that comes with syrup packets, cups, and straws. While you lose some options like choosing your own flavor, you might also save some time and effort.
To help you pick the perfect one for you, here’s my roundup of the best shaved ice machines. All of these machines will let you easily make your favorite cold drinks and iced treats in the comfort of your own home — and all are less than $50, too!
The Nostalgia Vintage Snow Cone Maker is a top pick designed with stainless steel cutting blades and an impressive 360-degree viewing chamber so you can see all the magic. The main chamber can hold enough ice for 20 8-ounce snow cones at once, which is enough to serve most groups of friends or family. With a 4.3-star rating after nearly 2,000 reviews, it's an Amazon fan favorite.
There’s also a cute side shelf that can hold two snow cones while you add your syrup or flavoring. Meanwhile, the built-in safety switch helps prevent accidents around the shaving blade. This option also includes two reusable plastic snow cone cups and an ice scoop. However, you'll have to buy syrup separately (or make it yourself).
This is the improved version of the unit, but plenty of customers were happy with the original, too. With one writing: “This thing is super amazing!!! Lots of fluffy ice in no time at all!! Awesomeness!!! We've been using the syrups, but I bet this would be great with any liquid.”
When you want to start making shaved ice right out of the box, this Hawaiian Shaved Ice machine set is your best option. This set includes a ton of accessories to get you started including three tasty shaved ice flavors — cherry, blue raspberry, and grape — along with 25 snow cone cups and 25 spoon straws. There are even three handy bottle pourers for the syrups. The only thing you need to do before getting started is pour water into the included molds and freeze it.
The blades on this unit can also be adjusted depending on if you want fluffier Hawaiian ice-style treats or a crunchier snow cone, making it a truly versatile pick. The machine’s stainless steel blades cut ice easily and a non-skid mat tray helps it stay in place.
As one fan wrote: “The Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine works great - nice powdery ice just like in Haleiwa. It not only cooled me down, but it brought back many good memories. It was easy to set up and the ice "pucks" work perfectly in the machine.”
If frozen drinks are more your thing, the Nostalgia slush drink maker should be your go-to option. This beautiful red, vintage-style machine makes up to 32 ounces at a time, so you can easily make the same type of drink that you get at the corner store in the comfort of your home with enough to share.
It's also super simple to use. Just add ice and salt into the center chamber, and then add your favorite juices or water with syrup to the liquids holder and turn the machine on. About 15 minutes later, your drink is ready. This machine can even be used to make margaritas. When you're done, the tank is detachable for easy cleanup. Plus, it includes a removable cup rest and drip tray to prevent spills. “Does a great job of making slushies. I use it every day. Well worth the price,” a customer wrote.
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