When it’s hot out, snow cones are the ideal icy treat. They’re cold, colorful, sticky-sweet, and make us feel like a kid again. Eating a snow cone brings back childhood memories of amusement parks and ice cream trucks, and if you like the idea of being able to enjoy them on demand, it’s time to invest in a snow cone machine.
Are snow cone machines worth it?
It’s a personal decision, but our two cents? You only live once. They’re perfect for kids’ birthday parties and the kid at heart in all of us. Plus, you can even use them to make boozy slushies and pretend like you’re on vacation.
Here’s how they work: Snow cone machines grind up ice into fluffy magic, which is ideal for topping with flavored syrups or condensed milk and digging into with a spoon. But the ice they produce is generally coarser than that made by shaved ice machines, which scrape at ice with metal blades to produce fine, snow-like ice. Many of the gadgets on this list, though, can handle both preparations.
When shopping for a snow cone machine, pay attention to dimensions (to ensure you have sufficient counter and storage space) and capacity (can it handle making 30 snow cones in a row for your kids’ birthday parties?). Options range from cute to functional, and from manual to high-powered machines that can crank out hundreds of pounds of shaved ice in an hour. Whichever model you end up buying, make sure to pick up cones and flavored syrups so that you have everything you need.
Our top picks
How we picked these snow cone machines
All snow cone machines operate using very similar mechanisms—sharp metal blades that cut ice into fluffy flakes—but designs vary in size, shape, speed, and capacity. We chose a variety of options to serve a range of needs and budgets, from compact machines that need to be reloaded with ice for each new snow cone to commercial-grade machines that can process a lot of ice at a time.
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VIVOHOME Electric Dual Blades Silver Ice Crusher Snow Cone Machine
Whether you’re making snow cones for the kids or alcoholic slushies for the grown-ups, the VIVOHOME Electric Dual Blades Silver Ice Crusher Snow Cone Machine is at your service. It’s a plug-in countertop appliance that can shave up to 440 pounds of ice per hour—and that’s a lot of snow cones. All you have to do is plug it in, add ice cubes, and press the handle. Voila! You’ve got snow cones.
Best Budget, Electric
Nostalgia Electric Shave Ice & Snow Cone Maker
- One-button operation
- Snow cone holder
This budget-friendly pick is sure to be a hit at your next pool party. With just the push of a button, the Nostalgia Electric Shave Ice & Snow Cone Maker can shave ice directly into a wrapper using a convenient cup holder. Plus, you can use cubed ice from your freezer or use the included mold to make a shave-able ice disk. The mold also doubles as a serving bowl. A reviewer on the product page notes that it’s “easy to use” and shaves ice well.
Best Budget, Manual
MANBA Portable Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine
- No electricity needed
- Can get tiring after a while
This snow cone machine doesn’t need an electrical outlet to crush and shave ice—just crank away! It even comes with a BPA-free ice cube tray. With each turn of the crank, the MANBA Portable Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine creates dessert-ready ice using three sharp stainless steel blades. One reviewer notes that it’s a “great product” that “gets your arms moving.”
Dash Shaved Ice Maker
This adorable, aqua-hued snow cone machine is perfect for small kitchens. It weighs just one pound, doesn’t take up a lot of counter space, and even comes with a recipe book. To use, just plug it in, add some ice cubes, and shave away.
Best Stainless Steel
ZENY Stainless Steel Snow Cone Maker
- Sturdy stainless steel construction
- Shallow bowl for catching snow
Made of sturdy, rust-proof stainless steel, this sleek snow cone maker is said to be suitable for both home and commercial use.
The ZENY Stainless Steel Snow Cone Maker can make 143lbs of shaved ice per hour and pours it into a food grade stainless steel bowl. In addition, the water-resistant on/off switch and auto shut-off feature are key safety features.
A reviewer on the product page notes that it is a “well-built machine” that “makes fine snow cones out of regular ice.” They use a mixing bowl to catch the snow, as the included bowl isn’t very deep.
Hawaiian Shaved Ice Kid-Friendly Snow Cone Machine Package
- Includes flavorings, cups, and spoons
Featuring everything you need to make snow cones, the Hawaiian Shaved Ice Kid-Friendly Snow Cone Machine Package is a no-brainer. It comes with an electric ice shaver, 25 spoon straws, 25 snow cone cups, two pints of syrup (in both cherry and blue raspberry flavors), and two pourers.
One reviewer on the product page notes that they bought it for their five-year-old grandson and he loves it. “It is easy to use and makes shaved ice cones in beautiful colors and yummy flavors,” they wrote.
Nostalgia Vintage Countertop Snow Cone Maker
Best for Big Groups
Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker
The retro-chic Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker is a fast and furious machine, churning out enough ice for four to five snow cones in under a minute. It makes a lot of shaved ice, fast, which is ideal for parties with impatient children (and even adults). One reviewer on the product page notes that it is “easy to operate” and makes “consistent shaved ice.”
Best for Kakigori
Hawaiian HomePro Shave Ice and Snow Cone Machine
- Mold for ice pucks
Go beyond snow cones and make kakigōri (Japanese shaved ice), bingsu (Korean shaved ice), and even halo-halo (a Filipino dessert featuring crushed ice and evaporated milk) with the Hawaiian HomePro Shave Ice and Snow Cone Machine. It comes with molds to make ice pucks and has an adjustable blade to control the consistency of the shaved ice it makes. One reviewer was “really impressed” with this “great little machine,” though they wished the ice compartment was larger so that they didn’t have to refill it after every cup.
Best KitchenAid Attachment
KitchenAid Shave Ice Attachment
- Two different blade types
- Makes use of existing appliance
- Only compatible with KitchenAid stand mixer
Turn your trusty KitchenAid into a snow cone machine using this convenient attachment. It mounts directly onto the power hub of a KitchenAid stand mixer and comes with both a coarse blade and a fine blade for extra fluffy ice. On the product page, one reviewer notes that the KitchenAid Shave Ice Attachment is “super easy to use, easy to clean-up (just needs to dry!), and makes good ice.”
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