Which is the best crushed ice maker?

Whether you’re making snow cones for the kids or frozen margaritas for the adults, getting the right texture for your ice is crucial. A crushed ice maker is an ideal tool for the job. 

An ice crusher uses blades to crush solid ice cubes into smaller, finer pieces. Manual crushers work well, but they require more elbow grease to operate than electric ones that can crush ice with the press of a button. If you’re looking for a powerful, large-capacity ice crusher, the Vivohome Electric Ice Crusher can’t be topped. 

What to know before you buy a crushed ice maker

Manual vs. electric crushers

Manual and electric ice crushers can effectively produce fluffy, snow-like ice and coarser pieces, but they differ in the effort they require, their capacity and their price.

  • Manual crushed ice makers usually have a hand crank you turn to spin the blades and shave or crush the ice. Because you have to turn the crank by hand, it takes longer to crush the ice. Manual crushers work best for small batches, so they’re not ideal for large families or parties. They often require the ice to be in specific shapes too, so you can’t just throw any ice in. Manual crushers are more affordable than electric ones, though.
  • Electric crushed ice makers have a motor and large blades that move when you turn on the appliance. They can crush ice more quickly than manual models, so they produce crushed ice in greater quantities. They can typically crush any size or shape of ice too. They are more expensive than manual ones, though, and can take up considerable space on your countertop. 

Capacity

It’s important to consider how much crushed ice you usually need at one time when choosing an ice crusher. Manual crushers generally produce enough crushed ice for a few drinks or snow cones, but you’ll have to work hard. On the other hand, if you want enough crushed ice for a large group or party — or if you crush ice regularly — it may be worth paying more for an electric crusher. 

Consistency

While all ice crushers crush ice, there’s variation in the consistency of the crushed ice. Some produce coarser crushed ice that works well for frozen margaritas, daiquiris and other mixed cocktails. Others shave the ice, so it has a consistency similar to snow, which is what you want for snow cones. You can also find some that provide both textures for the most versatility. 

What to look for in a quality crushed ice maker

Strong materials

Nearly all ice crushers have stainless steel blades, which are durable and sharp enough to crush ice evenly. Some manual ones also use stainless steel for their other components, such as the crank and base, but many have plastic components. Electric ice crushers often have a plastic body, though their interior components are often stainless steel or another metal. 

Safety features

With their sharp blades, crushed ice makers can be dangerous to operate. Fortunately, most have safety features that help prevent injury. For example, electric crushers often have a safety lid, so they won’t run if the lid isn’t properly closed. Some manual models won’t operate if they aren’t fully assembled either. Many ice crushers also have rubberized feet or suction cups on their base to keep them stable on your countertop or table. 

Portability

Since snow cones and frozen cocktails are usually hot-weather treats, there’s a good chance you’ll be making them primarily for barbecues, picnics and other outdoor parties. That’s why it helps to choose an ice crusher that’s easy to take on the go. Manual crushers typically fit the bill because they’re lightweight and easy to carry. 

How much you can expect to spend on a crushed ice maker

They generally cost $20-$200. Manual crushers are the most affordable, costing $20-$50. Smaller electric models usually cost $50-$100, but you can pay as much as $200 for commercial-grade electric models. 

Crushed ice maker FAQ

What type of ice cubes can I put in an ice crusher?

A. It varies from model to model, so always check the owner’s manual to see if there are size or shape specifications. In general, most crushers can handle normal-size and small ice cubes, but extra-large or thick cubes may be an issue. 

Can I crush frozen fruit for smoothies in an ice crusher? 

A. No, you should never put frozen fruit in your crusher, or you may risk damaging it. Fruit can also leave behind residue that’s difficult to clean from the inner components. 

What’s the best crushed ice maker to buy?

Top crushed ice maker

Vivohome Electric Ice Crusher

Vivohome Electric Ice Crusher

What you need to know: This commercial-grade ice crusher is powerful enough to work for large groups, and it won’t take up too much space on your countertop.

What you’ll love: It can shave more than 250 pounds per hour and has durable stainless steel blades. Its texture is adjustable, so it can make coarse crushed ice for drinks and shaved ice for snow cones. It doesn’t vibrate when in use. 

What you should consider: The texture of its shaved ice isn’t quite as smooth as that of some other models. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top crushed ice maker for the money

Manba Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine

Manba Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine

What you need to know: This small manual ice crusher is an excellent portable model and makes smooth, snow-like shaved ice. 

What you’ll love: The Manba boasts durable stainless steel blades and a plastic housing free of potentially harmful bisphenol A. It disassembles easily for cleaning and comes with a silicone ice tray. It works well for camping trips, tailgating and other outdoor uses. 

What you should consider: The plastic base isn’t quite as durable as some buyers would like. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

OKF Ice Shaver

OKF Ice Shaver

What you need to know: This powerful electric ice crusher shaves ice perfectly and can handle the demand of large groups.

What you’ll love: It produces consistent, even crushed ice — up to 220 pounds per hour. It works extremely well for snow cones and has a nonslip handle that’s comfortable to hold. 

What you should consider: It doesn’t let you adjust the size or texture of the crushed ice.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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