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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

The Best Snow Cone Machine for Your Home



hand holding purple cup with blue and red snow cone and plastic spoon
Make shaved ice or a snow cone in your own home with one of these awesome machines.

On a hot summer’s day, there’s no better way to cool down than by enjoying a delicious frozen treat. While some may head to the ice cream shop or chase down the neighborhood ice cream truck, there’s a new treat in town that’s perfect for those sunny summer days: the best snow cone.

There is no need to worry about not having your favorite frozen treats on hand in the freezer, because having the best snow cone machine in the comfort of your own home lets you create every snow cone flavor you desire —at your own convenience. Isn’t that amazing?

We discuss the pros and cons of the best snow cone machines for home use on the market so you can find the best snow cone machine for your family.

In a hurry? Find our favorite snow cone machine at Amazon.

Best Snow Cone Machine for Home UseWhy We Like It
1. Nostalgia Electrics’ Vintage Collection Snow Cone Maker good for a budget and is well-made and durable
2. VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver Snow Cone Maker includes automatic shut-off feature and is rust-proof and easy to use
3. ZENY Ice Crushers Machine Electric Snow Cone Maker fast and efficient (grinds up to143 pounds of ice an hour)
4. MANBA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine has five-star ratings for customer service and snow cone production
5. Great Northern’s Premium Quality Ice Cub Shaved Ice Machine Commercial Ice Shaver commercial grade machine grinds up to 6 pounds of ice per minute
6. Hawaiian Shaved Ice Electric Shaved Ice Machine excellent machine with a price point that won’t break the bank
7. Little Snowie Max Snow Cone Machine – Premium Shaved Ice Maker incredibly quick snow-cone maker comes with six flavor powder sticks, two mixing bottles, and eight reusable snow cone shovel spoons
8. Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker quick machine also makes slushies and other frozen drinks

A Perfect Alternative

The snow cone is a delicious, dairy-free alternative to the traditional ice cream cone. They’re perfect for vegans, people with lactose intolerance, or anyone else simply in search of a refreshing frozen treat.

Snow cones (and shaved ice) are also good for those of us watching our weight. In comparison to ice cream, a snow cone contains 90 calories per ounce of regular syrup and just 3.5 calories per ounce of sugar-free syrup. Meanwhile, just a half cup of vanilla ice cream contains an average of 145 calories.

Can’t do dairy but still love to bake? Did you know you can make vegan buttermilk with almond milk?

Snow cones are a perfect make-at-home treat. Even better, they are one of the cheapest treats to make. In the retail market, an 8-oz snow cone sells for about $1.50. The seller makes about $1.35. That’s a profit margin of about 90%.

Making your own snow cones at home with the best snow cone machine can be a fun, easy, and budget-friendly activity for the whole family to enjoy. Of course, you first need the perfect snow cone machine to get started.

The best snow cone machines are especially great to have during the hot summertime. The biggest advantage about owning your own snow cone machine is that you do not need to drive around town or wait in line to find a snow cone shack, because you’ll be able to make your own any time you like. Your kids will love you–their friends will love you–and even your adult friends will love you!

The history of the snow cone

The first snow cones date back to 1919 when Samuel Bert debuted his ice-crushing machine at the Texas State Fair. By the early 1950s, King Sammie’s state fair booth was making almost 1 million cones yearly.

However, his frozen empire may have never fully developed if it were not for the American Industrial Revolution in the 1850s. During this time, ice was finally made available for commercial purposes. This helped ice houses in New York to transport ice to the different states in the United States. Through this, resourceful moms were able to figure out how to put flavor on shaved ice to help their kids beat the heat.

From that point forward, Bert continued selling his snow cone machine and his ice-crushing machine all over the world. Over the years, innovative individuals expanded the technology over the years. Eventually, we ended up with the syrup-drenched snow cones and shaved ice we know and love today.

Snow cones versus shaved ice

Sweet Homemade Shaved Rainbow Hawaiian Ice in a Bowl
Mix up frozen treats like snow cones or shaved ice with different delicious flavors.

So, what’s the difference between a snow cone and a shaved ice?

The biggest difference between the two is the ice’s texture. In a snow cone, the ice is ground into a chunkier consistency. When you pour flavored syrup on top, the flavor slowly drips to the bottom. Shaved ice, on the other hand, is ground to be much lighter. The snow-like consistency is so fine that the syrup sticks to the flakes.

Another difference between the two is that snow cones are placed in paper cones, while shaved ice is served in cups. Lastly, the syrup is added to the ice differently. The syrup is drizzled on snow cones, while with shaved ice, the syrup is directly poured on the top.

Hawaiian Shaved Ice Syrup 10 Pack, Pints

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Check out Hawaiian Shaved Ice 10 Flavor Pack of Snow Cone Syrup at Amazon

When it comes to snow cones versus shaved ice, the choice is simply a matter of personal preference. There are plenty of at-home machines that can make both.

Choosing the Right Snow Cone Machine

The first step in choosing the right snow cone machine for you is to address the questions of personal preference. Do you prefer small chunks of ice? Or do you like a more uniform and soft consistency? If you prefer your treats soft and snowy, a shaved ice maker is for you. A more traditional snow cone machine might be better for those who prefer a coarser texture of their ice.

Another relevant factor to check before buying is the brand of the snow cone machine. It’s best to check the pros and cons of each brand to discover which one snow cone machine is the most durable and can last a long time.

If at some point you may be considering starting up your own snow cone business, it would be wiser to choose the snow cone machine that can handle the large supplies of ice you’ll need for that kind of venture.

Either way, the good news is that finding an efficient, reliable, and reasonably priced snow cone machine for home use is a fairly simple task. Of course, keep in mind that the quality of your snow cone will also be affected by the quality of ice that you put in your snow cone maker.

Need ice for your alcoholic drinks? See my review of the best ice maker for a home bar.

For the Traditional Snow Cone Lover

Nostalgia Electrics’ Vintage Collection Snow Cone Maker

Nostalgia SCM502 Vintage Snow Cone Maker

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If you’ve decided the chunkier, more coarsely-shaved ice suits your needs, the Nostalgia Electrics’ snow cone machine is an excellent option.

Its stainless steel blades grind the ice finely, while still maintaining a thicker (but not overly chunky) consistency. As this vintage snow cone maker is capable of storing shaved ice for twenty 8-oz snow cones, it’s ideal for parties and entertaining.

This snow cone machine can be loaded with regular ice cubes straight from your freezer, saving you the time and space associated with freezing an additional tray. Quick and easy! Best of all, the vintage snow cone maker is extremely durable and is sure to last through many snow cone-making years.

With a reasonable price tag, this vintage snow cone maker is hard to beat.

VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver Snow Cone Maker

VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver Snow Cone Maker Machine Silver 143lbs/hr for Home and Commercial Use

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We recommend VivoHome’s snow cone machine for its rapid ice-production to meet both small or large demands efficiently.

This model is rust-proof, easy-to-use, and easy to clean. In case you are in a hurry or otherwise occupied, don’t worry–this baby comes with an automatic power shut-off feature. This snow cone maker is a great deal for its price, as it is extremely heavy-duty. Many happy customers can attest to that.

ZENY Ice Crushers Machine Electric Snow Cone Maker

ZENY Ice Crushers Machine Electric Snow Cone Maker Stainless Steel Shaved Ice Machine 145lbs Per Hour (Orange)

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This industrial stainless steel snow cone machine can make lots of wonders, including snow cones, margaritas, slushies, and other drinks for the crowd.

The Zeny is fast and efficient and can produce up to 143 pounds of shaved ice in an hour. It may be best for commercial use, yet this snow cone maker can serve its purpose for in-home use as well. Reviews highlight this snow cone maker’s durability, speed, and safety settings, but, on the down side, its bowl’s small size is noted to cause an overflow at times.

MANBA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine

MANBA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine - Premium Portable Ice Crusher and Shaved Ice Machine with Free Ice Cube Trays - BPA Free

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If you are looking for an affordable snow cone machine, the Manba is the best bet for you.

This snow cone machine is easy-to-use. Simply add ice to the top and twist the lid. You can make flavorful snow cones in no time by adding your favorite flavored syrup.

This snow cone maker makes it easier for you to achieve mouth-watering snow cones that will make you crave more and more of these frozen treats. This product has received the most five-star ratings for both its superb customer service and one-of-a-kind snow cone results.

For The Shaved Ice Lover

Strawberry and champaigne granita or shaved ice dessert with mint in champaigne glasses, white background, copy space, square crop.
Shaved ice can be as simple or as fancy a treat as you make it.

Great Northern’s Premium Quality Ice Cub Shaved Ice Machine Commercial Ice Shaver

Great Northern Premium Quality Ice Cub Shaved Ice Machine Commercial Ice Shaver

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For those of you partial to the smoother texture of shaved ice, this machine is a clear front runner for at-home use.

It’s an extremely high-quality and durable device, featuring stainless steel blades, a heavy duty motor, and a sleek stainless steel body. This machine can shave 6 pounds of ice per minute, meaning you won’t have to wait very long to enjoy your snow cones.

Plus, it is easy-to-use. Great Northern’s machine grinds ice to the desired airy texture, perfect for dousing with your choice of syrup.

However, this is a commercial grade machine, which means it is on the more expensive end of the spectrum. This model can run a little high, price-wise. Despite the price tag, the Great Northern machine receives the highest praise, is efficient and compact, and comes with a one year warranty.

Hawaiian Shaved Ice Electric Shaved Ice Machine

Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Shaved Ice and Snow Cone Machine, 120V, White

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If you aren’t looking to spend quite so much on your shaved ice machine, check out the Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A shaved ice maker. It’s an excellent alternative with a price point that won’t break the bank.

This model is small, high-powered and, most importantly, easy-to-use. Create your own snow cone at home with just the push of a button! It is powerful enough to grind ice into a perfect, smooth consistency while still operating quickly, taking about 30 seconds per cone.

One downside is that the Hawaiian shaved ice S900A does require specially-shaped ice. You’ll need to freeze an additional ice cube tray to supply the machine. However, the pros definitely outweigh the cons with this budget-friendly device.

Little Snowie Max Snow Cone Machine – Premium Shaved Ice Maker

Little Snowie Max Snow Cone Machine - Premium Shaved Ice Maker, With Powder Sticks Syrup Mix, 6-Stick Kit

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The Little Snowie Max snow cone machine is noted to be the fastest ice shaver at the comfort of your home. It makes the well-loved, fluffy snow cone in 3 seconds!

It is also easy-to-use, as you can directly place ice cubes from the freezer–or any other shaped ice from the grocery stores–into the machine.

The best part about this snow cone maker is that it comes with six flavor powder sticks, two mixing bottles, and eight reusable snow cone shovel spoons. Although the price may be a bit more than you wanted to spend, with the convenience this snow cone maker provides, it is totally worth it.

Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker

Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker, One Size, Red

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Don’t let the name of this machine fool you–it provides shaved ices, as well!

Cuisinart’s snow cone machine is also good for creating not only snow cones and shaved ice, but also slushies and frozen drinks.

It is easy-to-use, and it only needs regular ice cubes to process your frozen treat. There are recipes included with this model, in case you need a bit of guidance in creating your own snow cone. The greatest advantage of this snow cone maker, though, is its fast production: it can make 4 to 5 snow cones in a minute. It is best to handle each part of this snow cone machine during use with care to maximize its lifespan.

You’re a smooth operator!

Spare your wallet and your waistline! Making snow cones at home is a simple and tasty activity that the whole family can enjoy with the best snow cone machine for home use.

A snow cone is a perfect treat for parties, BBQs, and family nights. Check out the best snow cone machines on this list to make your own refreshing and customizable desserts all summer long.

Choosing a snow cone machine is not necessarily difficult if you know what you want and need. Aside from the price, the rate of ice production and its durability are some of the factors that matter most.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of ice do you use for a snow cone machine?

Snow cones can never be made without ice. The most common question people ask is what kind of ice works best with snow cone machines. It’s essential to use the right kind of ice as the wrong type can damage your home snow cone machine.
Homemade ice cubes or bagged ice cubes are perfect examples of ice types that are good to use in a snow cone machine. If you think the ice is still too hard, you can leave it to thaw for a few minutes before placing it inside the snow cone machine.

How much money is a snow cone machine?

There are several kinds of snow cone machines to choose from. You can find the ones that fit your budget that still have the features that you love and adore.
Generally, a snow cone maker costs between $20 to $300 for a small and simple snow cone machine for home use. However, commercial snow cone machines cost from around $300 up to $2,000 for heavy-duty machines.

What’s the difference between shaved ice and snow cone?

There are three significant differences between shaved ice and snow cones.
First, they differ in the ice’s texture. Snow cones have a much crunchier consistency, while shaved ice has a lighter one.

Second, they differ on how they are served. Snow cones come in paper cones, while shaved ice come in cups.

Lastly, the two differ on the syrup’s placement. Snow cones’ syrup is drizzled, while shaved ice’s syrup is poured straight on the top.

How do you make homemade snow cones?

To make homemade snow cones, follow these easy steps:


  • 1 envelope unsweetened drink mix (flavor of your choice)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 8 cups crushed ice


  • Mix the drink mix and the sugar in a small bowl.
  • Add the cold water until the drink mix with sugar are dissolved.
  • For every 1/2 cup of ice, add 1 tbsp of the drink mixture.

Is shaved ice healthy?

The calorie count of snow cones and shaved ice is around 70 to 90 calories per single serving.
However, shaved ice can be created using natural fruit juices. It may not be free from calories, but it is considered to be a healthier and flavorful option.
Therefore, if you want healthy shaved ice, look for a healthy fruit juice to blend with it.

Can you freeze a snow cone?

Yes, actually. You can. The only thing you need to do is put the snow cone in the freezer for a long period, and it will eventually turn into solid ice. This process is called sintering. Sintering happens when there is a significant temperature difference between the ice and water. This is why we observe ice cubes in a glass sticking together after being placed in the freezer.

Keep it cold on the go. Here are the best insulated tumblers for cold drinks. And then check out the best carbonation machines for sparkling water.

Additional Resources

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Brock Yates

Because Brock is the tallest member of the team at 6 foot 5 inches, when he’s not thinking about food, he’s eating his favorites: pizza, burgers, tacos and burritos. He's always experimenting with the latest kitchen gadgets and exploring new techniques in the kitchen.

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