Shopping for a Hawaiian shaved ice machine?
You’ve come to the right place.
You don’t have to go to a street stand or a fair anymore to give your kids a taste of real Hawaiian shaved ice. You can make your own fluffy shaved ice in the comfort of your own home using regular ice from your freezer.
All you need is an ice shaver, also called a shaved ice machine.
However, be careful not to confuse it with a snow cone or crushed ice machine. An ice shaver produces soft and fluffy snow-like ice, whereas snow cone makers produce crushed ice granules.
But, these days, certain Hawaiian shaved ice machines available in the market can also make snow cones.
What’s In This Buying Guide?
In this guide, we review and compare the best Hawaiian shaved ice machines for home use.
We also explain how shaved ice machines work and how to choose the best one for making kids treats at home.
Best Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine
Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com
- Our Top Pick: Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A
- Best Complete Kit: Little Snowie Max Summer Kit
- Best for Large Parties: Costzon Ice Shaver
- Best for Large Families: VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver
- Best Portable: MANBA Ice Shaver
- Best Manual: Victoria Shaved Granita Tinned Cast Iron Ice Shaver
1. Our Top Pick: Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A
The Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A is the best-shaved ice machine for most families. It’s affordable, super easy to operate, and it makes real Hawaiian shaved ice.
This kit includes the ice shaver plus three syrup flavors and various accessories, so you can start making treats right away.
- Comes with syrups and accessories.
- It comes as a ready-to-use kit.
- Comes with ice molds.
- It doesn’t work as well with regular ice cubes.
You could get the S900A on its own, but we think this kit is better value for money. Also, there’s no hassle of buying a bunch of different items separately.
Everything you need to make shaved ice treats is included in the kit.
- Ice shaving unit
- Blue raspberry, cherry, and grape flavors
- Bottle pourers
- 25 snow cone cups
- 25 spoon straws
The kit option is especially handy if you are planning a birthday party.
In addition to the accessories, the S900A also comes with round ice molds. Use these to freeze pucks of ice.
You then place each puck in the ice shaver and press the shave button. The resulting ice is soft and fluffy like snow.
You can certainly use regular ice cubes, but you’ll get more of a crunchy snow cone ice texture.
If you need to make lots of ice pucks for a party, you can repurpose other similar-sized containers to freeze ice in (8oz deli containers usually work great for these purposes).
The S900A ice shaver is not only incredibly easy to use but also very safe. The blades are hidden, and there’s no risk of kids hurting themselves. So you can have your kids help you shave the ice.
The only trick is to know how hard to press the top of the shaver. Too hard, and you get crushed ice, too light, and the ice puck just spins around. Applying medium pressure works best for producing fluffy snow-like ice.
The S900A ice shaver works fast. As long as you have plenty of ice pucks on hand, it easily keeps up with a big party.
Issues & Limitations
The main limitation of the S900A is that you have to use ice packs. But ice packs aren’t necessarily very convenient since they take much longer to freeze, and you can only freeze two at a time unless you buy additional molds or repurpose other containers as molds.
You can use regular ice cubes, but doing so will get you crushed ice and not shaved ice.
The Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A is best for: Families looking for an affordable and easy-to-use shaved ice machine with a ready-to-use kit.
Avoid if: You want a shaved ice machine that uses regular ice cubes.
2. Best Complete Kit: Little Snowie Max Summer Kit
The Little Snowie Max Summer Kit is another good choice if you want a ready-to-use shaved ice machine. You can start making treats right away.
Little Snowie Max has double the power of the S900A, so it shaves ice faster. The best part is that it works great with regular ice cubes.
- Complete party kit.
- Powerful ice shaver.
- Uses regular ice cubes.
- Includes handy dome shaper.
- A bit pricey.
Little Snowie Max is about twice as powerful as the S900A. It works faster than you expect. Once you fill the hopper with ice, it fills a cup or bowl with fluffy ice in just a few seconds.
This makes it an excellent choice for parties. You can make shaved ice as quickly as there’s demand for it.
It helps that you don’t have to freeze ice in special molds. Regular ice cubes from a freezer or ice maker will work fine.
Because of the way the blades of the Little Snowie Max are designed, they can shave ice cubes instead of crushing them.
Little Snowie Max comes with most of the stuff you need to start making shaved ice treats. These include:
- A powerful 110W shaved ice machine
- Six powder sticks, all different flavors
- Two cups
- Two mixing bottles and two pour spouts
- Eight spoons
- Drip pan
Each powder stick makes a pint of shaved ice flavor.
You can make shaved ice treats in snow cones (you’ll have to buy the snow cones separately), but most parents say cups or bowls work best. Use the attached dome shaper to give the shaved ice a nice domed topping.
With snow cones, the shaved ice flies everywhere as it comes out of the machine.
Though more powerful, Little Snowie Max is just as easy to use as the S900A ice shaver. It’s actually easier to use since you can use regular ice cubes.
The blades are hidden and only activate when you press down on the lid. So kids can help you shave ice.
Issues & Limitations
Little Snowie Max with the summer kit included is about three times the price of the S900A. If you are shopping for a budget-friendly shaved ice machine, you can find some cheaper options.
It’s also loud because it’s powerful. Luckily, it shaves ice really fast, so you only have to tolerate the noise for a few seconds.
Little Snowie Max Summer Kit is best for: Anyone looking for a powerful and easy-to-use shaved ice machine that comes as a complete kit.
Avoid if: You want a budget-friendly shaved ice machine.
3. Best for Large Parties: Costzon Ice Shaver
If you often hold parties and events with lots of kids, we recommend the Costzon Ice Shaver.
It makes 440 pounds of shaved ice per hour and even includes an acrylic container to store all that ice. Combined with the powerful 200W motor, it has no trouble keeping up with a big party.
- Large storage container.
- High production capacity.
- Works with regular ice cubes.
- It doesn’t come with accessories.
The Costzon Ice Shaver is actually designed for businesses such as schools, restaurants, and street stands. That should give you an idea of just how capable it is.
It cranks out 440lbs of shaved ice per hour, plenty enough for a large birthday party with dozens of kids.
The 200W motor and the dual blades shave ice quickly. The machine is mounted on an acrylic container, so shaved ice conveniently falls into the container.
You can then scoop ice from the container into snow cones or cups. Having the container allows you to shave lots of ice at once.
Moreover, the Costzon ice shaver works exceptionally well with regular ice cubes too. However, using regular ice cubes produces fluffy snow instead of shaved ice.
The Costzon ice shaver is easy to use but only for adults as it’s not as kid-friendly as other models.
Once you fill the hopper, you press down the lid to start shaving ice. There’s a safety on/off button on the side, which you can safely operate even with wet hands
Issues & Limitations
The Costzon ice shaver is loud, so you should carefully consider where you want to place the ice shaving station during the party.
It’s also expensive. If you are on a budget, the other less costly electric shaved ice machines are also great for parties, though smaller ones.
Don’t forget to budget for additional accessories. The Costzon ice shaver doesn’t come as a kit, so you’ll need to buy flavors, cups, or snow cones and spoons separately.
The Costzon ice shaver is best for: Anyone looking for a powerful shaved ice machine that is suitable for large parties.
Avoid if: You are looking for a shaved ice machine just for your family. The Costzon ice shaver is overkill and expensive.
4. Best for Large Families: VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver
If you have a large family but don’t need the 440lbs/hr capacity of the Costzon ice shaver, the VIVOHOME electric ice shaver is a good choice.
With a capacity of 143lbs/hr, it’s ideal for large households as well as occasional birthday parties.
- Large capacity.
- Great for parties.
- Auto on/off.
- Works with regular ice cubes.
- Not kid-friendly.
The VIVOHOME electric ice shaver has the same design as the Costzon ice shaver but comes without a storage container.
Instead, it comes with a stainless steel bowl that you place under the machine’s spout to collect shaved ice.
The VIVOHOME ice shaver boasts a 300W motor that powers the 143lbs/hr capacity of the machine. Whether you are making shaved ice for your large family or hosting a birthday party, the VIVOHOME ice shaver is up to the task.
It uses regular ice cubes, so no need to get special molds. Fill the hopper with ice cubes, then press the lid down lightly to get perfectly fluffy shaved ice.
If you prefer the crushed texture of snow cone ice, press the lid down firmer, which will cause the blades to crush the ice instead of shaving it.
For safety, the blade only turns on when you press the lid down and automatically stops when you lift the lid.
Note that the VIVOHOME ice shaver doesn’t come with any accessories to prepare treats. You have to buy those separately.
Issues & Limitations
While it does have several safety features, including an auto-on/off blade, we still don’t recommend letting your kids operate the VIVOHOME ice shaver.
If you want a kid-friendly shaved ice machine, get the S900A or Little Snowie Max.
The VIVOHOME ice crusher is best for: Large families looking for a powerful, high-capacity shaved ice machine that’s also affordable.
Avoid if: You want a shaved ice machine that your kids can safely operate.
5. Best Portable: MANBA Ice Shaver
Looking for a portable Hawaiian shaved ice machine that you can take with you on picnics, road trips, and camping adventures? We recommend you go for the MANBA ice shaver.
It’s a manual hand crank shaver, so you don’t need power. It’s also a great choice if you are shopping for a budget-friendly ice shaver.
- Low price.
- Doesn’t need power.
- Makes fluffy ice from regular ice cubes.
- Easy to use, even for kids.
- It takes time to make enough shaved ice.
The MANBA ice shaver is easier to use than you think. The sharp stainless steel blades make it easy to shave ice. Even kids can turn the hand crank without much effort.
You can use regular ice cubes. The ice shave even comes with a bonus silicone ice tray that makes 15 pieces of ice.
Once you pack the hopper, put on the lid and press it down. You can now start turning the handle.
Shaved ice collects in a plastic container under the blades.
The MANBA ice shaver makes shaved ice that’s just as fluffy and soft as that of expensive electric shaved ice machines.
Being non-electric, you can use the MANBA ice shaver wherever you want, whether it’s at home or outdoors.
It’s conveniently compact and lightweight, making it easy to travel with.
If you are planning a picnic, just pack some ice cubes in the cooler, and you can enjoy a shaved ice dessert.
Issues & Limitations
While the MANBA ice shaver is easy to use, it’s not so great if you need a lot of shaved ice, and that’s because it shaves ice quite slowly.
We don’t recommend it for large families or parties.
The MANBA ice shaver is best for: Small families and individuals looking for a cheap and portable shaved ice machine.
Avoid if: You prefer the convenience and speed of an electric ice shaver.
6. Best Manual: Victoria Shaved Granita Tinned Cast Iron Ice Shaver
This is another good choice if you are looking for a cheap manual ice shaver. The Victoria Granita is similar to the traditional ice shavers used in Mexico.
It looks like a hand planer, and you actually use it like one – by making long strokes on a thick block of ice. It takes some work and time to make shaved ice, but it produces real Hawaiian shaved ice.
- Low price.
- Durable cast iron construction.
- Makes fluffy shaved ice.
- It is coated with tin to reduce rusting.
- Quite fun to use.
- Some people find it tedious to use.
- Not ideal if you need lots of shaved ice.
- It needs proper maintenance to prevent rusting.
The Victoria Granita is an old-fashioned way of shaving ice. It’s commonly used in Mexico, but you’ll also find street vendors in the US using it to make Hawaiian shaved ice.
The shaver is heavy because it’s made from cast iron and then coated with tin for hygiene reasons and to reduce rusting.
The weight comes in handy when you are shaving ice. Unlike other ice shavers, ice cubes won’t work. Instead, you’ll have to freeze a long block of ice.
You then slide the Victoria Granita shaver over the block to shave ice. Because it’s heavy, you don’t have to apply downward force on the shaver. Just focus on moving it back and forth.
Shaved ice collects inside the shaver. After some time, open it up and pour the ice into a container.
The metal gets cold, so we recommend wearing a pair of gloves before shaving ice.
Issues & Limitations
Like other manual ice shavers, the Victoria Granita is slow and can be tedious to use. It’s probably not the best choice for large families or a party.
The other issue is maintenance. Cast iron rusts quite quickly and easily. Even with the tin coating, the Victoria Granita ice shaver can still rust if you don’t maintain it properly.
The most important thing is to keep it dry. Immediately after use, wipe it completely dry, and leave it to air dry further before storing it away.
The Victoria Granita ice shaver is best for: Anyone looking for a cheap manual ice shaver. Also great for those who fancy using a traditional Mexican ice shaver.
Avoid if: You prefer an electric shaved ice machine.
Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine Buying Guide
What’s a Shaved Ice Machine – And How Does It Work?
A shaved ice machine, or simply an ice shaver, is a machine that makes Hawaiian shaved ice. This is soft fluffy ice that looks and feels like snow.
Shaved ice machines work by using sharp blades to shave off fine bits of ice off the ice cubes.
A shaved ice machine is different from a crushed ice machine. Ice crushers crush ice instead of shaving it. It produces small granules of ice that are used to make snow cones.
Most shaved ice machines can also make crushed or snow cone ice by adjusting the blades or pressing firmer on the lid or handle.
What to Look For When Shopping for a Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine
1. Electric vs. Manual
An electric ice shaver is the best choice for most people. It requires no effort to operate, and it makes a lot of shaved ice quickly.
An electric shaver is especially important if you have a large family or often host parties since it can easily keep up with demand.
The main downside of electric shaved ice machines is the price. The cheapest ones start at about $40, with some costing as much as $200 or more.
Manual ice shavers are cheaper. These typically come in the form of hand crank units, but you can also get a Mexican Raspador ice shaver that you use by sliding it over an ice block.
Manual shavers are only suitable for small households, as it takes a lot of time and works to make a lot of shaved ice.
A manual ice shaver is also the best option if you want something portable that you can use during picnics, camping trips, and other outdoor adventures.
If you are buying an electric shaved ice machine, check its power rating, and it’ll tell you how capable the machine is.
More power is better if you want an ice shaver that can crank out a lot of shaved ice in a short period. This is important for a large family or a birthday party.
Electric ice shavers start at around 50W, and commercial-grade models can be as powerful as 300W.
3. Quality of Shaved Ice
Make sure the shaved ice machine you are about to buy makes true Hawaiian shaved ice. A lot of snow cone/crushed ice makers claim to produce shaved ice, but they don’t.
Shaved ice should be fluffy, like snow. If most customers say they get crushed ice, that’s not a shaved ice machine.
4. Ease of Use
Check how easy the machine is to operate. Electric ice machines are the easiest to use. All you need to do is press down lightly on the lid or handle.
Don’t forget to check what kind of ice the machine requires. The most convenient ice shavers use regular ice cubes.
If you want a manual ice shaver, look for one with sharp blades and an easy-to-turn handle. It should be so easy to use that a kid can operate it.
5. Safety Features
The most dangerous part of a shaved ice machine is the blade assembly. At no time should the spinning blades be exposed.
Safe shaved ice machines have an auto on/off feature, where the blade only turns on when you close the hopper and press down the lid or handle. When you open the hopper, the blade stops automatically.
6. Kind Friendly
Kids love helping out, especially when they know they’ll get to enjoy whatever they are making. If you want to involve yourself in making shaved ice, look for a safe, kid-friendly ice shaver.
Kid-friendly shaved ice machines have sharp blades hidden well out of reach. In addition, the blades only spin when the lid covers the hopper and immediately stop spinning when you lift the lid.
Kid-friendly ice shavers are also easy to use, with only light pressure needed to shave ice.
The best shaved ice machines for kids who want to make their own treats include the Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A, Little Snowie Max, and the MANBA ice shaver.
How to Make Fluffy Hawaiian Shaved Ice at Home
Having a Hawaiian shaved ice machine doesn’t guarantee that you’ll successfully make shaved ice. These machines require some skill to operate.
The first thing is to check the type of ice you need to use. Most ice shavers work fine with regular ice cubes. But others need a special ice mold to make shaved ice.
Before adding ice cubes to the shaver, leave them on the counter for a few minutes until they are wet on the outside. This makes for fluffier shaved ice.
Next, make sure you are applying the right amount of pressure on the handle or lid. On most models, light to medium pressure is ideal for producing finely shaved ice. Press too hard, and the blade will crush the ice instead of shaving it.
Unless you want to make snow cones, go easy on the handle.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much ice should I put in a shaved ice machine?
Most shaved ice machines will indicate in the hopper how high to fill it with ice. In others, you can fill it to the brim.
Check the usage instructions in the manual.
What type of ice should I use in a shaved ice machine?
Most shaved ice machines use regular ice cubes. But some need an ice puck or some other shape. Check the user manual for guidance.
What’s the difference between shaved ice and snow cones?
Shaved ice is soft and fluffy, while snow cones have a coarser texture. That’s because snow cones are made with crushed ice that consists of larger granules of ice.
Shaved ice, on the other hand, consists of very fine and light snow-like ice.
Can you make shaved ice in a blender?
Yes, you can use a blender to make shaved ice. But you’ll need a powerful blender that spins fast enough to pulverize ice cubes into very fine snow since a less powerful blender will only crush the ice into a coarse consistency.
Final Verdict: Which IsThe Best Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine Sold Today?
The Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A is easily the best Hawaiian shaved ice machine sold today. It’s affordable, easy to use, and makes some of the best-shaved ice. If you want one that makes more ice, get the VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver. If you are on a budget, get the manual MANBA ice shaver.