The Best Shaved Ice and Snow Cone Machines in 2023

Our top choice is the SNOWIE 2 Snow Cone Machine

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The Best Shaved Ice Machines

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Chloe Jeong / Retailers below

I don't know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to cool off on a hot day than with a refreshing, satisfying, and icy-cold shaved ice or snow cone. They remind me of being a kid when I'd visit the shaved ice stand after summer camp on days that felt special. I’d agonize over the dozens of flavor possibilities, never wanting to miss the very best one. There was no better ending to a day after running around in the sticky heat than with sweet, fluffy ice cone and a moment to bask in the summer weather.

You can recreate that feeling at home with your own snow cone machine. A high-quality machine, like the SNOWIE 2 Snow Cone Machine, should produce ice that is fine and fluffy. Here are the best snow cone and shaved ice machines to transport you to those quintessential summer days, wherever and whenever you happen to be.

Best Overall

SNOWIE Little Snowie Max Snow Cone Machine

Little Snowie Max Snow Cone Machine


What We Love: Precise stainless steel blade, attached dome shaper, fast and durable motor, easy to clean and store

What We Don't Love: Some reviewers think older models were better made, relatively expensive

Plenty of online customers sing the praises of the Little Snowie 2, modeled after the brand’s beloved commercial ice shavers. The Little Snowie 2 makes wonderfully soft and fluffy snow in just 3 seconds with its high-speed motor and stainless steel blade.

With all that power, it’s a pleasant surprise that it’s easy to carry, clean, and store. A bonus: snowballs made with the Little Snowie are so fine and powdery that flavors saturate the ice rather than pool into the bottom of the cup, so your summer treat is satisfying the whole way through.

Price at time of Publish: $209

Dimensions (LxWxH): 8 x 6 x 12 inches | Weight: 11 pounds | What’s Included: Six flavor powder sticks (makes 6 pints of liquid flavor syrup), two mixing bottles with pour spouts, eight Snowie reusable snow cone shovel spoons

Best Budget

Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Electric Shaved Ice Machine

Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Shaved Ice and Snow Cone Machine


What We Love: Easy to set up, store, and clean; simple to use; makes very fluffy ice

What We Don't Love: Can’t always keep up with big events, not as durable as pricier models

This is a wonderful snow cone machine for the price, with a three-piece design that is easy to assemble and then disassemble again for easy storage. Plus, it's compact enough to stash away. The precision-cut stainless steel blade combined with cylindrical ice blocks makes fine and fluffy snow, and it takes just minutes to put together multiple delicious cones. Level up your frosty treats with homemade syrups, like classic grenadine.

Two ice molds are included to freeze the ice blocks, as well as a non-skid mat to keep everything steady.

Price at time of Publish: $60

Dimensions (LxWxH): 8 x 6.5 x 14 inches | Weight: 3 pounds | What’s Included: Support base, two ice molds, non-slip mat

Best Manual

MANBA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine

MANBA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine


What We Love: Sharp and rust-resistant blades, easy to transport and store, affordable

What We Don't Love: Elbow grease required

For the price of just a few shaved ice cones at the fair, you can own your very own snow cone powerhouse. The manual crank makes it okay for kids to use, although it takes some strength to churn out shaved ice—not necessarily a bad thing if you're looking for fun summer food to make with your kids to keep them occupied. The sharp, high-quality blades make the work a bit easier, and it's constructed of BPA-free material so you can feel safe using it for the entire family.

This handy, compact machine is easy to operate, clean, transport (for shaved ice on the road!), and store. What's more, it comes with a simple-to-use flexible silicone mold that can accommodate 15 ice cubes, which produces quite a bit of shaved ice.

Price at time of Publish: $32

Dimensions (LxWxH): 7.3 x 5.1 x 7.9 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds | What’s Included: Ice crusher, ice cube mold

Related: The Best Ice Makers

Best for Parties

Great Northern Popcorn Company Ice Cub Shaved Ice Machine

Great Northern Premium Quality Shaved Ice


What We Love: Powerful, high-quality construction, makes incredibly fluffy shaved ice

What We Don't Love: Must use block ice (or freeze ice in a washed-out milk jug), not kid-friendly

If you are serious about churning out many delicious snow cones for a crowd, look no further. Great Northern is an industry leader in the concession market, and it has a reputation for quality. The brass and stainless steel construction and easy-on-the-eye finish make this a machine you’ll want to display at the center of your pool party, along with other colorful summer desserts like rainbow rice krispie treats.

And this machine isn't all looks—its high-powered motor operates at 1725 rpm and can plow through more than 350 pounds of ice an hour (so invite the whole neighborhood!). It comes with a one-year warranty, too. Just make sure to keep the kids away: The machine's blades are super sharp and produce occasional shards of ice.

Price at time of Publish: $500

Dimensions (LxWxH): 15 x 12 x 30.5 inches | Weight: 60 pounds | What’s Included: Machine with brass and stainless steel construction, heavy-duty motor, adjustable stainless steel blade

Best for Kids

Hawaiian Shaved Ice S700 Electric Snow Cone Machine

Hawaiian Shaved Ice Kid-Friendly Snow Cone Machine


What We Love: Kid-friendly, compact, includes one-year warranty

 What We Don't Love: Shaved ice not as fine and fluffy as some reviewers prefer, noisy

This kid-approved Hawaiian snow cone machine is fun and easy to use. Simply remove the lid and place ice into the hopper. Then, replace and turn the lid to engage the motor. An added safety feature prevents the machine from operating when the lid is off, making it safe for little hands (although adult supervision is always recommended).

The machine’s compact footprint makes storage easy, and adults can enjoy its treats, too—especially when they transform frozen watermelon rosé mimosa and turn it into a snow cone for grown-ups.

Price at time of Publish: $55

Dimensions (LxWxH): 10.5 x 6.5 x 11 inches | Weight: 3 pounds | What’s Included: Electric snow cone machine, one-year manufacturer's warranty, locking lid

Related: The Best Popcorn Makers

Best Retro

Nostalgia SCM525BL Vintage Countertop Snow Cone Maker

Nostalgia SCM525BL Vintage Countertop Snow Cone Maker


What We Love: Creates fluffy ice, side shelf holds two snow cones and syrups, joyful design

What We Don't Love: Loud, wheels can get stuck

Easy to use and assemble, the Nostalgia snow cone maker does a top-notch job at shaving ice to fine snow-cone consistency thanks to its precision-cut stainless-steel blades. True to its name, the fun design includes a chamber that's clear from all sides, so you can watch the shaved ice pile up as it’s shaved. (This is weirdly satisfying.)

There’s a safety switch, and it’s small enough to fit on a countertop and stash away when you’re not using it.

Price at time of Publish: $80

Dimensions (LxWxH): 12 x 11 x 15.3 inches | Weight: 5 pounds | What’s Included: Two 8-ounce reusable plastic snow cones, ice scoop

Related: The Best Coolers

What to Look for in a Snow Cone or Shaved Ice Machine

Manual vs. Electric

Manual models rely on your own elbow grease to crank through ice. So while these are relatively affordable and you won’t need an electric outlet, your frozen treat may require a bit of a workout. If you’re planning on snow cones for a crowd or you crave these delicacies often, investing in an electric machine makes sense. These vary in wattage, capacity, and speed; choose one that makes sense for your kitchen and needs.  


Avoid soap when taking care of your shaved ice maker, and never immerse it in water. The best way to clean your machine is with a vinegar and water solution. Mix the two in a spray bottle and spray down the shaving plate, ice chamber, and ice chute, then carefully wipe them out with a soft cloth. Be careful—the blades that cut through ice are incredibly sharp.


Without delicious sugars and syrups, you’d just have a cup of ice. Some models come with a variety pack of syrups to get you started, and you can also find them by the gallon. For the full snow cone experience, stock up on paper cones and colorful straws—especially the ones with a little spoon on one end.


What's the difference between shaved ice and snow cones?

Some use the terms interchangeably, but the two frozen treats are distinctive. Snow cones are made with larger pieces of crunchy ice. Often served at carnivals and ballparks, the syrup settles on the bottom of the snow cone cup after a few minutes in the heat. Shaved ice has a finer, fluffier texture (think real snow). Traditionally shaved from a block of ice, shaved ice is sometimes known as SnoBalls, Shavers, or Hawaiian Shaved Ice.

What kind of ice do you use in a shaved ice machine?

Commercial snow cone stands use solid blocks of ice for their treats, but for a home model, any type of ice cubes will do. You can buy a bag of ice at the grocery store, but shaved ice experts recommend freezing your own. That way, you have ultimate control over the quality (use filtered water or whatever water you prefer), and you’ll save money, too. You can also freeze beverages like horchata or chai latte into blocks to create specialty shaved ice desserts.

Why Trust Simply Recipes?

 Hannah Howard has been writing about food and beverages for over a decade, including the memoirs Feast and Plenty. Hannah is very sensitive to the heat and is always looking to cool down with the quintessential frozen treat; she's obsessed with iced lattes, ice cream, and shaved ice.

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