3 Best Shaved Ice Machines ~ 2023

History of Hawaiian "shave ice", and a review of shaved ice machines with our picks for the top 3 for home use.

3 Best Shaved Ice Machines ~ 2023
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Shaved ice is a delicious treat enjoyed by many all around the world.  As a kid, my friends and I would gravitate toward the snow cone maker at any fair or town festival.

Cherry? Grape? No, we always went for the RAINBOW snow cones, mixing all the flavors together.  We didn't care that the paper cones dripped sticky juice out of the bottom, or that the ice gave us a brain freeze.  My Dad would scoff that it was just ice and sugar water, but I didn't care.

Recently, I was fortunate to attend a wedding in Hawaii, the birthplace of the original "shave ice", called kakigori. Japanese immigrant workers introduced kakigori in the mid-1800's.  They shaved off flakes of ice and coated it in fruit juice for a cool treat.

The treat remained popular, and one of the most famous Hawaiian shave ice purveyors, Matsumoto's, started selling the treat in the early 1950's. Hawaiian shave ice remains a regional staple, and Motsumoto's is still in business today.

Hawaiian shave ice is the real shaved ice, the gold standard, and much more than a simple shaved ice snow cone like the ones I enjoyed growing up.  The Hawaiian version is not simply crushed ice but perfectly shaved, fluffy snow-like ice, off an ice block, and meant to be soft and flaky like snow, almost like a sorbet.

Rather than the tiny ice nuggets and high-fructose corn syrup and bold artificial reds and blues we in the US have come to associate with snow cones, shave ice is almost creamy in it's smoothness and is often saturated in natural fruit juices, and elevated toppings such as fresh fruit, chocolate, tea, and cream or condensed milk.

Although it was on my wish list for Santa for a few years during my childhood, I was never lucky enough to have a little cartoon character snow cone machine of my own. If you remember them, prepare to be amazed at the type of snow cone maker available now!  You will be making delicious snow cones with reckless abandon.

That's why we've taken the time to review some of the best shaved ice machines out there for you and your family. We'll talk about what makes each one special, so you can make sure you get the right machine for your needs. Grab your bowl and let's go!

Our Picks for the Best Shaved Ice Machine for Your Home

If you are nostalgic like me, and love snow cones, or fondly remember tasting Hawaiian shaved ice, having a shaved ice machine is a fun addition to any kitchen. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to choose the right one. Don't fret! We have done the heavy lifting for you and compared factors such as size, ease of use, best results, and cost to bring you our favorite snow cone machines / Hawaiian shaved ice makers.

Whether you're looking for a portable option to take on-the-go or a larger machine to serve a crowd, electric or manual, there's a shaved ice machine out there for you.

Let's get started on finding the right fit for your own tropical paradise!

Happy shopping!

Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Snow Cone and Shaved Ice Machine


Hawaiian Shaved Ice

Check Current Price on AMAZON
  • 1 year manufacturer warranty
  • Includes 2 reusable plastic cups
  • Space-saving size 5.5" x 8" x 12" to fit perfectly under your cupboards
  • Stainless steel blades
  • Can use any regular ice cubes, but for best results, freeze ice blocks (pucks) using the included ice molds
  • Many accessories and flavor syrups available

The Downside

  • Users say the machine is very loud

SNOWIE - Little Snowie Max Snow Cone Machine


Little Snowie Max Snow Cone Machine

Check Current Price on AMAZON
  • Small-business owned
  • Can use any standard ice cubes
  • Stainless steel blades
  • Very fast for making many snow cone ice treats
  • Accessories, flavor powders and syrups available

The Downside

  • Cost is higher than some others, but often a sale price will bring the cost down. You might find another model by the same brand to be more in your budget and of similar quality!

MANBA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine


MANBA Ice Shaver

Check Current Price on AMAZON
  • Simple, safe, quiet operation
  • Side-positioned hand crank is more ergonomic
  • Gear ratio makes cranking more effective
  • Stainless steel cutting blades
  • Easy-to-clean, dishwasher-safe parts
  • BPA-free

The Downside

  • Some users say it takes too long to make treats
  • Caution-has very sharp blades so teach children to be careful and supervise them during use.

Helpful Tips for Crafting Delicious Treats with Your New Shaved Ice Machine

Are you ready to cool down this summer with some refreshing shaved ice? With your new shaved ice machine, you can create a variety of delicious fluffy snow cones and frozen cocktails that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Here are a few tips for the best results!

  • Use cylinder-shaped containers (often provided) to freeze "pucks" of ice.  These ice pucks tend to work better to achieve a fluffy snow like ice consistency.
  • Freeze ice puck very hard. You will get a better snowy fluffy shaved ice result than if you use melty ice cubes
  • Thoroughly rinse and dry your shaved ice maker after each use. Not only is it possible for mold to grow in a wet machine, but also, the blades may get rusty.
  • The stainless steel cutting blades are sharp! Always use caution and supervise children when using a shaved ice maker.
  • Experiment with flavors and toppings. Think of shaved ice like a sundae, the sky is the limit, so use your creativity.
  • Look for replacement parts like fine and coarse blades, and accessories such as reusable plastic cones and spoon straws for your shaved ice machine. There are many additional items available to enhance your enjoyment and make you look like a pro when serving shaved ice treats.

With this guide, you are now armed with all the information necessary to make an educated decision about choosing the perfect shaved ice machine for your home.

Whether you want something that is budget-friendly and simple, or more of a luxury model with extra features, you are sure to find one that fits your needs.

Just click the button below each to take a closer look at the features and other options available!

Questions About Shaved Ice Machines (FAQs)

Q: Is there a difference between shave ice and shaved ice?

Absolutely! Although they sound similar, shave ice and shaved ice have subtle qualities that set them apart.

Shave ice is a traditional Hawaiian treat made from blocks of frozen water mixed with syrups to create sweet flavors. It is produced by slowly shaving off thin layers of the ice block until it resembles fluffy snow like ice.

This process allows for an extra fluffy ice texture and fine crystals in the ice which absorbs more flavor than shaved ice would.

Shaved Ice also involves taking chunks of frozen water but instead, it is put into a machine that quickly grinds down the blocks into crushed-like pieces.

This results in a more grainy texture as opposed to shave ice’s light smooth flakes and doesn't absorb nearly as much flavor (if any at all!).

The final product appears like little granulated bits of snow with bright colors where you can barely see individual slices or clumps amongst the particles, while shave ice creates soft fluffy ice slivers of condensed flavored snowflakes with each bite!

Q: Is it OK to eat shaved ice?

Yes, it is generally okay to eat Hawaiian shaved ice as part of a healthy diet. Unlike other types of sugary snacks or desserts, most Hawaiian shaved ice does not contain any fat or have many calories.

Furthermore, it can be quite refreshing and enjoyable in hot weather due to its smooth and light consistency.

From a nutritional viewpoint, depending on the topping flavoring used with shaved ice, it can even provide certain health benefits.

For instance, if you choose to flavor your shaved ice with fruit syrups like strawberry or mango then you are getting small amounts of vitamins and minerals naturally found in those fruits which are beneficial for your overall health.

Additionally, some flavored powdered toppings like green tea powder provide extra antioxidants while sweeteners such as honey offer sweetness without excess sugar or any artificial ingredients that can often be found in traditional desserts and candy products.

Q: What is the best water for shaved ice?

The best water for Hawaiian shaved ice is pure, filtered water. Filtering the water removes contaminants and minerals that could leave an unpleasant taste in your shaved ice.

Filtered waters also help keep any purification systems you may have on your machine running longer and more efficiently by minimizing the buildup of scale deposits within them.

When it comes to using tap water for making shaved ice, there are a few things to consider first. Usually, tap waters contain high levels of chlorine or chloramines which can give off an unpleasant chemical-like odor and flavor in your finished product.

Also, they will often contain dissolved solid particles which affect the texture and smoothness of your shaved ice as well as its shelf life.

For those who don't want to spend money on filtering their own supply of water, bottled spring or distilled water is a good alternative since these types contain very little particulate matter (if any) so they work great for making ice blocks, which are then used for making nice shaved ice frozen treats, refreshing snow cones and frozen drinks.

Q: How do you get perfect shaved ice?

Getting that perfect shaved ice fluffy texture isn't easy, but with the right technique, it's definitely achievable! Here are some tips to make sure you get a fluffy, soft-textured snow cone every time:

Start with a block of ice rather than pre-shaved cubes. A block of ice will give you more control over the texture and size of your shaved ice - plus there is less waste as any leftover pieces can be used later!

Make sure that your machine's stainless steel cutting blades are in good condition and sharp before using them to shave your block of ice. Dull blades will not yield good results and may even make it harder for you to achieve the desired fine ice consistency.

Shave at slow speeds until you get a fluffy, snowy texture - increasing speed may work faster but could result in too many big chunks instead!

For best results, try different settings on your machine until you find what works for you!

What are you waiting for? Bring out your inner child and get that snow cone maker you always wanted ;-)