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Shopping for a Crushed Ice Maker for Your Home?
You’ve come to the right place.
A crushed ice maker is a must-have for your kitchen if you often make slushies, margaritas, and other cold or frozen treats.
These machines take ice cubes and transform them into finely crushed ice in just a few seconds.
Using one of these crushed ice makers is much easier than crushing ice with a mallet. It also produces better quality crushed ice.
Do you need a Crushed Ice Maker or a Blender?
Blenders are pretty good at making crushed or shaved ice.
The trick is to make sure your blender is powerful enough to handle ice and frozen fruits. Otherwise, you could damage it and it also won’t properly crush ice.
We recommend getting a blender with a wattage of at least 1,000 watts. Powerful blenders like that, however, are pricey compared to a standard blender.
You can get a good crushed ice maker for a lot less money.
If not, we recommend buying a crushed ice maker. It’ll cost you less.
Something else to consider is how much-crushed ice you need.
If you have a big family or want crushed ice for a party, then a dedicated crushed ice maker is the best option. It can make a lot of crushed ice in a short time.
What’s in This Buying Guide?
In this buying guide, we review the best-crushed ice makers.
Our top picks include some snow cone makers because these also crush/shave ice. We also include a blender for those who want a versatile kitchen appliance.
After our reviews, we help you choose the best-crushed ice maker by explaining what to look for when comparing different models.
If you are looking for an ice shaver, see our list of the best shaved ice machines.
Best Crushed Ice Makers
- Our Top Pick: VIVOHOME Electric Dual Blades Ice Crusher
- Best Crushed Ice Maker for Snow Cones: Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker
- Best Budget Snow Cone Maker: Nostalgia SCM525BL Vintage Countertop Snow Cone Maker
- Best Nugget Crushed Ice Maker: GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
- Best Portable Ice Crusher: MANBA Portable Ice Crusher
- Best Manual Ice Crusher: Nuvantee Manual Ice Crusher
- Best Commercial Ice Crusher: VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Crusher
- Best Blender for Crushing Ice: Ninja BL660 Countertop Blender
Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com
|Crushed Ice Makers
|Our top pick
|14 x 6 x 7 in
|6 month warranty
|Best for snow cones
|9 x 9.2 x 12 in
|Best budget for snow cones
|12 x 11 x 15.2 in
|GE Profile Opal
|Best for nuggets crushed ice
|17.5 x 13.4 x 16.5 in
|7.2 x 5.1 in
|16 x 6.8 x 6.7 in
|18.5 x 14.2 x 33.5 in
|18.5 x 14.2 x 33.5 in
1. Our Top Pick: VIVOHOME Electric Dual Blades Ice Crusher
If you are looking for a reliable and well-made ice crusher that produces lots of crushed ice, we recommend the VIVOHOME dual blades ice crusher.
With a capacity of producing 143lbs of crushed ice per hour, it’s perfect for daily home use as well as home parties.
- High capacity – perfect for large families and home gatherings.
- A heavy sturdy base reduces vibrations.
- Double blades produce finely crushed ice.
- Comes with a metal ice bowl.
- Not all-metal.
- Some leaking.
The VIVOHOME ice crusher uses a pair of stainless-steel blades to pulverize ice cubes into finely crushed ice that’s perfect for margaritas, cocktails, and other drinks. You can also just chew on the ice.
While the manufacturer describes this as also being an ice shaver, it does not produce the fluffy snow-like shaved ice that proper ice shavers do. If you want to get something close to shaved ice, customers recommend using an ice block rather than ice cubes.
But for finely crushed ice, the VIVOHOME ice crusher does an excellent job.
It can produce up to 143lbs of crushed ice an hour. It’s perfect for large families, home events, and even small bars and restaurants.
The VIVOHOME ice crusher’s build quality is average. But considering the price, no surprises there.
It uses a combination of metal and plastic. All the important parts, including the blades, ice hopper, lid, and handle are stainless steel.
The base is plastic, but heavy-duty plastic. It’s sturdy and reduces vibrations from the spinning blades.
You also get a metal ice bowl that you collect the crushed ice in. However, you can use whichever collection container is most convenient for you.
Issues & Limitations
One of the issues customers face is that the VIVOHOME ice crusher sprays crushed ice all over, making a mess on the counter. You have to use a wide bowl or tray to prevent the ice from falling everywhere. A directed spout would be much better.
Another issue is that the ice crusher leaks melted water from near the base. It’s not a lot, but you’ll want to place the machine on a towel especially if you are crushing lots of ice.
We also would prefer a longer warranty than the six months the manufacturer provides. That said, we haven’t seen customers complaining about the ice crusher breaking too soon.
The VIVOHOME ice crusher is a great choice for anyone looking for a fast, high capacity, and affordable electric ice crusher.
2. Best Crushed Ice Maker for Snow Cones: Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker
Looking for an ice crusher that doubles up as a snow cone maker? We recommend the Cuisinart snow cone maker.
It produces the kind of crushed/shaved ice that makes for perfect snow cones. You can also use the crushed ice for whichever other treats you want to make, including adult drinks.
- Produces finely crushed ice.
- Large capacity and fast operation – great for big families and events.
- Comes with snow cones and a pop-out tray.
- Removable ice bin for easy cleaning.
- Lightweight and compact.
- It’s mostly plastic – not sure about longevity.
Snow cones need superfine crushed ice. So, you need a powerful ice crusher with the right blades.
The Cuisinart snow maker is designed to produce this kind of crushed ice; it’s almost like snow. It packs really well in snow cones and mixes great with syrups.
If you have kids at home, the Cuisinart snow cone maker is a great buy. It comes complete with a dozen paper cones and 4 reusable plastic cones. A pop-out tray on the machine provides a convenient holder for two cones.
The Cuisinart snow cone maker crushes ice really fast. It makes enough crushed ice for 4-5 cones in just a minute.
The plastic ice bin holds enough crushed ice for even more cones. So, you can crush several batches of ice cubes then get to work making snow cones or whatever else you want to enjoy.
If you have a large family or are holding a party at home, the Cuisinart snow cone maker will easily meet the high demand for frozen treats.
This is a Cuisinart appliance, so you know it’s well made and will last a long time. Some customers don’t like the mostly plastic construction (only the blades are metal), but it’s surprisingly sturdy and we haven’t seen any reports of the machine breaking even after several years of use.
The plastic construction has an upside; it makes the snow cone maker lightweight. You can easily move it around from the kitchen to the patio or outdoors.
Issues & Limitations
The only issue we have is the plastic construction. We are especially worried about the plastic handle. Be careful with it and don’t apply too much force. Let the blade do the work and add only 5-8 ice cubes at a time depending on their size.
While the Cuisinart snow cone maker seems to hold up well after 2-3 years, we are not sure how long it’ll last beyond this period.
But even if yours gives up the ghost after three years, the price is well worth it. That said, we recommend using the Cuisinart snow cone maker/ice crusher at home only. Heavy use in a commercial setting may reduce its lifespan.
If you are looking for an ice crusher that makes perfect crushed ice for snow cones and other kiddie treats, the Cuisinart snow cone maker is a great choice.
3. Best Budget Snow Cone Maker: Nostalgia SCM525BL Vintage Countertop Snow Cone Maker
If the Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker is a bit out of your budget, the Nostalgia SCM525BL Vintage is an excellent alternative that’s almost half the price.
We love the vintage design that will take you back to your favorite county fairs. The crushed ice it makes is also just as delicious as the one from the snow cone stand at the fair.
- Beautiful vintage design.
- Crushes ice fast.
- Large capacity bin.
- Includes scoop and snow cones.
- Build quality not as good as Cuisinart.
The quality of crushed ice from the Nostalgia Vintage is just as good as the one from Cuisinart. It’s finely crushed ice that’s great for snow cones, slushies, and other treats.
The stainless-steel blades work blazingly fast and the crushed ice falls into a clear bin.
In addition to the ice crusher, you’ll receive an ice scoop that’s perfectly small for packing the ice into cones, plus two reusable ice cones.
The Nostalgia Vintage also includes a side shelf with two holders for the cones. The only thing you’ll need to buy is syrup.
The ice bin is big enough to hold enough ice to make 20 8-oz ice cones. And because it crushes ice fast, you’ll fill the bin in no time. Just make sure you don’t overfill the top with ice cubes. Add a few cubes at a time.
The large capacity is handy for birthday parties and large families. As long as you have enough ice cubes, you can keep cranking out snow cones and other frozen treats.
Build quality is why the Nostalgia Vintage costs less than the Cuisinart snow cone maker. It’s not terrible, but it’s not excellent either.
Some parts like the small door you open to scoop out the ice feel flimsy.
Overall, however, the quality of the Nostalgia Vintage snow cone maker is acceptable for the price. Just handle it with care.
Issues & Limitations
If you want a snow cone maker that will last for years, the Nostalgia Vintage is probably not it. In fact, it doesn’t seem to come with a warranty, whereas the Cuisinart model has a 3-year warranty.
While build quality could be better, the Nostalgia Vintage is the best snow cone maker if you are shopping on a budget. As long as you handle it carefully and don’t overwork it, ice quality is as good as that of a pricier machine.
4. Best Nugget Crushed Ice Maker: GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
The GE Profile Opal ice maker is strictly not an ice crusher. However, it produces delicious, crunchy, and chewy nugget ice that is similar to crushed ice.
We recommend the Opal specifically for folks that love Sonic-style crushed ice. It particularly great for cocktails, margaritas, and other beverages.
- Makes great nugget crushed ice.
- Perfect for beverages.
- Portable and easy to set up – no water hookup necessary.
- Easy scheduling and monitoring via an app.
- Comes with a scoop.
- Doesn’t make as much crushed ice as other crushed ice makers.
- Not suitable for snow cones.
If you’ve ever tasted Sonic ice, famous for its crunchy, soft, and chewy texture; the GE Profile Opal’s nugget ice is very close to it.
The nugget ice is not as fine as the crushed ice from dedicated ice crushers, but it’s just as crunchy.
Important to note is that the Opal doesn’t crush ice. Rather, it compacts flaked ice into airy nuggets. So, it’s way quieter than other ice crushers.
The nugget ice is perfect for beverages such as cocktails, margaritas, and soft drinks. The airy nature of the nuggets allows liquids to infuse into it. You can also just chew the nuggets on their own.
Unlike most ice makers, the GE Profile Opal doesn’t need a water hookup. It comes with a side tank where you add water.
Any melted water from uncollected ice flows back into the tank for re-use.
This not only makes the Opal easy to set up, but it also makes it portable. You can set it up anywhere there’s an outlet, though you’ll need help carrying it as it’s heavy.
Another unique feature of the Opal is Bluetooth connectivity. Once you link your phone and download the app, you can monitor the status of the icemaker, schedule when it makes ice, and order accessories.
One downside of choosing Opal over a traditional ice crusher is that you won’t get as much crushed ice. The Opal ice maker produces up to 24lbs of ice per day, and the bin holds 3lbs of nugget ice at a time.
But since you’ll be using the ice just for drinks, that should be enough for most people.
The build quality of the GE Profile Opal is excellent. It’s made with plastic and stainless steel. It feels sturdy and we think it’s going to last a long time especially since it doesn’t have to pulverize rocks of ice with fast-spinning blades.
Issues & Limitations
The GE Opal nugget ice maker is expensive. If you are looking for ordinary crushed ice, get one of our other picks or a powerful blender.
The nugget ice from the Opal is great, but only for beverages. If you want to make snow cones for your kids, get a traditional crushed ice maker.
Can’t get enough of crushed Sonic ice? With the GE Profile Opal, you can enjoy chewy and crunchy Sonic-like crushed ice at home.
5. Best Portable Ice Crusher: MANBA Portable Ice Crusher
Want crushed ice on the go? The best portable ice crusher is this MANBA ice crusher that doubles up as an ice shaver and snow cone machine.
It’s a manual ice crusher. You operate a hand crank to crush ice. The crank is surprisingly easy to turn, even for kids.
The MANBA ice crusher is perfect for use at home, in the backyard, in picnics, and when camping. It’s also a great choice if you are shopping on a budget.
- Portable – perfect for picnics, camping, and outdoors.
- Easy to operate.
- Can produce crushed or shaved ice.
- No need to plug it in or use batteries.
- You can adjust crushed ice texture.
- Comes with a flexible ice tray.
- Not as fast as an electric ice crusher.
- Not suitable for some users such as those with a disability or arthritis.
An electric ice crusher is the best choice for crushing ice for snow cones and beverages. But it has its limitations. Since most are plug-in, you cannot use them outdoors for things like picnics or barbecues. Most are also a bit heavy.
The MANBA ice crusher is much smaller and doesn’t run on electricity. So, you can use it anywhere as long as you have ice cubes.
The top section fits a number of ice cubes. You can get a full bowl of crushed ice in one go. The hand crank is surprisingly easy to operate. Many users say their kids were able to turn it.
One thing we love about the MANBA ice crusher is that you can adjust the coarseness of the crushed ice by adjusting the pressure on the lid. More pressure produces finer ice.
Another trick customers recommend is to use larger blocks of ice with the flat side against the blades. This produces shaved ice that’s perfect for snow cones. Using smaller ice cubes produces crushed ice that’s great for beverages.
The clear jar holds enough crushed ice to make 2-4 snow cones at a time. This makes the MANBA ice crusher suitable for small families and individuals.
The top part with the blades holds about 4-6 small ice cubes.
MANBA’s Build quality is really good. The body of the ice crusher is made from good quality plastic and the handle also feels strong. The blades are stainless steel.
We also love the included 15-cube ice tray. It’s made from flexible silicon, which makes it easy to pry frozen ice cubes out of it.
Issues & Limitations
Being a manual ice crusher, MANBA is not suitable for everyone. If you have a hand disability or arthritic fingers, you may not be able to operate the ice crusher.
MANBA is also not the best choice for birthday parties and other large home gatherings. While it does a fine job crushing ice, it’s too slow and tiring to crush lots of it.
If you are looking for a cheap ice crusher you can travel with, the MANBA ice crusher and shaver is a great choice, as long as you don’t mind doing a bit of work to get your crushed ice.
6. Best Manual Ice Crusher: Nuvantee Manual Ice Crusher
Nuvantee is another good choice if you are looking for an affordable manual ice crusher. This one only makes crushed ice, not shaved ice.
Though not as effortless to use as an electric ice crusher, most users are able to operate the hand crank with ease.
- Low price.
- Fairly easy to operate.
- Solid build quality.
- Not suitable for some users.
- Not suitable for large gatherings.
- Rusting on some parts.
A key difference between Nuvantee and MANBA manual ice crushers is that the former produces only crushed ice.
With MANBA, you can go from finely crushed ice to shaved ice by pressing the lid harder and using different sizes of ice.
The Nuvantee ice crusher only makes crushed ice. But it’s good quality crushed ice. It has a fine texture that’s great for chilling beverages or chewing for those who love the crunchiness.
Similar to MANBA, the Nuvantee is surprisingly easy to operate. The crank can sometimes get stuck especially if you put in too many ice cubes, but a couple of reverse turns and a jiggle gets it turning smoothly again.
The Nuvantee ice crusher is nowhere near electric crushers when it comes to capacity. If you are looking for an ice crusher you can use at a home party, this is not it.
But it’s perfect for most families and individuals. The hopper on top holds a fair amount of small ice cubes and you can refill it twice before the crushed ice bin fills up.
If you are looking for a portable ice crusher you can use in your backyard, at picnics or when tailgating, the Nuvantee ice crusher is perfect.
It’s compact and lightweight. Since it’s manual, you don’t need to worry about finding a place to plug it in.
Build quality is pretty good. The body is a mixture of hard plastic and rust-proof zinc alloy metal. The crank feels sturdy and the blades are stainless steel.
Issues & Limitations
The Nuvantee ice crusher has the same limitations as other manual crushers – it’s slow, can’t handle a large party, and some users such as those with arthritis may have trouble operating it.
One complaint unique to the Nuvantee ice crusher is that certain parts of the blade mechanism tend to rust. Users recommend leaving the top open when you finish crushing ice to allow the inside to dry. This will prevent rust.
It does require some elbow grease, but the Nuvantee ice crusher is a cheaper and more portable alternative to electric ice crushers.
7. Best Commercial Ice Crusher: VEVOR 110V Commercial Ice Crusher
With a capacity of 440lbs per hour, the VEVOR commercial ice crusher and snow cone machine is perfect for a snow cone street stand, a small restaurant, or a bar.
It’s also a great choice if you often hold large parties at home.
- Extra-large ice bin.
- Crushed ice fast.
- Produces finely crushed ice that’s perfect for snow cones and beverages.
- Durable build quality.
- Includes drain hose, ice scoop, and spare blades.
- Large and cumbersome.
The VEVOR ice crusher uses double stainless-steel blades to pulverize ice cubes into finely crushed ice. It produces the kind of fluffy crushed ice used to make snow cones.
You can also use crushed ice to chill beverages and make different kinds of treats.
Note that you can adjust the texture and fineness of the crushed ice by applying more pressure on the handle. This will increase blade speed and produce finer and fluffier ice.
VEVOR is one of the fastest electric ice crushers. The double stainless-steel blades spinning at 1450 revolutions a minute allow the machine to crush up to 440 lbs. of ice in an hour.
It easily keeps up with demand in a bar, restaurant, canteen, or snack stand. It’s also great for large home parties and gatherings.
To match the high crushing speed, the crushed ice bin is extra-large. It holds 9 gallons of shaved ice. Fill it up once and you can make dozens of snow cones or chilled drinks.
The bin is designed to keep the crushed ice cool and prevent it from melting too quickly. If it melts, there’s a drain hole at the bottom for easy draining. Simply connect the included drain hose.
The VEVOR ice crusher is well built and feels durable. The ice hopper, handle and blades are stainless steel while the other parts are made from thick plastic.
The ice bin includes a large hinged door to make it easy to scoop crushed ice. An ice scoop and spare blades are included as well.
Similar to other electric ice crushers, VEVOR has an auto-on/off safety switch that only engages when you push or release the handle.
Issues & Limitations
This is not unexpected for a commercial machine, but the VEVOR ice crusher is heavy, huge, and cumbersome. If you want an ice crusher you can fit on a small countertop or move about easily, this is not it.
The VEVOR commercial ice crusher is a great choice for bar and restaurant owners, street stands, food trucks, and anyone who needs lots of crushed ice for their customers or guests.
8. Best Blender for Crushing Ice: Ninja BL660 Countertop Blender
Prefer the versatility of a powerful blender? We recommend the Ninja BL660 countertop blender. It’s one of the most affordable blenders you’ll find that crushes ice just as well as an ice crusher.
- More versatile than a dedicated ice crusher.
- Produces crushed ice in seconds.
- Large capacity – perfect for most families.
- Comes with two to-go cups.
- Costs more than a crushed ice maker.
- Not suitable for large gatherings.
The kind of crushed ice you get from the Ninja BL660 is pretty similar to what ice crushers produce. It’s not quite as fluffy as shaved ice, but has a super-fine texture that’s great for drinks, slushies, and even snow cones.
You can adjust how finely the Ninja BL660 blender crushes ice by adjusting the speed and how long you crush the ice.
The 72 oz pitcher holds enough ice cubes to make crushed ice for several snow cones or drinks. It’s adequate for most families.
And if you are making a chilled drink for yourself, you can use one of the lidded to-go cups and the single serve option to crush just the amount of ice you need.
Don’t worry about damaging the blender or pitcher when crushing ice. The Ninja BL660 is designed specifically to handle ice as well as frozen fruits.
The 1,100-watt motor will not burn out and the six stainless steel blades can handle just about anything you throw at them.
Issues & Limitations
If you are shopping on a budget, you should know that the Ninja BL660 is pricier than most crushed ice makers. If you just need crushed ice, a dedicated ice crusher is a cheaper option.
The Ninja BL660 is also not suitable if you often entertain lots of guests. It may not keep up with the demand for crushed ice. We recommend an electric ice crusher instead. It can make lots of crushed ice, fast.
The Ninja BL660 blender is a great choice if you are looking for a powerful, but affordable, blender that can crush ice and frozen fruits.
Crushed Ice Maker Buying Guide
What are Crushed Ice Makers, and How Do They Work?
Crushed ice makers, also called ice crushers, are appliances that crush frozen ice into finely crushed ice. They can be electric or manual.
Crushed ice makers replace the old mallet and bag method of crushing ice.
Ice crushers use sharp stainless-steel blades that spin to pulverize ice cubes into tiny pieces. Even manual ice crushers with a hand-operated crank use blades to crush ice.
What’s the Difference Between Crushed and Shaved Ice
Crushed ice is coarse and extra crunchy. It’s great for chilling drinks, making smoothies, and preserving food.
Extra-fine crushed ice, such as the one produced by snow cone makers, is great for making snow cones, slushies and other kids treats. This type of ice is also sometimes referred to as shaved ice.
Shaved ice tends to be fluffier and melts quickly in your mouth. It’s almost like snow. Shaved ice is the best choice for making desserts and treats such as Bingsu, Piragua, and snow cones.
Some ice crushers that make crushed ice can also make fluffy shaved ice. You may need to make a few adjustments such as increasing blade speed and using bigger ice blocks to get perfect shaved ice.
Why Buy a Crushed Ice Maker?
If you drink lots of chilled beverages like cocktails, margaritas, and smoothies, crushed ice is much better than ice cubes. It mixes better with the drink and has a delicious crunchy texture. Instead of leaving cubes of ice at the bottom of your drink, you enjoy both the drink and the crushed ice.
Another advantage of crushed ice is that it chills drinks faster because of its larger surface area. If you live in a hot climate, a crushed ice maker will make your afternoons more bearable.
Another reason to buy an ice crusher is if you have kids around. Crushed ice is the foundation of so many kids’ treats. Get a few bottles of syrup or make your own and you have an easy way to keep your kids entertained at home.
Features to Consider
- Quality of Crushed Ice: Check customer reviews to see what kind of ice it makes. Some ice crushers produce finely crushed ice that’s great for snow cones while others produce coarse crushed ice that’s better for drinks.
- Capacity: Make sure the crushed ice maker can meet the demand for crushed ice. If it’s just your family, even a small manual ice crusher will do. For parties and large gatherings, get an electronic ice crusher that spins fast and has a large bin to hold crushed ice.
- Build Quality: Don’t buy something that will fall apart in a few months. Check warranty and customer reviews to get an idea of how well made and durable the appliance is. Generally, ice crushers with stainless steel blades and hopper are the best. If it’s a manual crusher, make sure the handle is sturdy and the base has anti-slip legs.
- Manual vs. Electric: An electric ice crusher is pricier but it doesn’t require much effort and can produce a lot of crushed ice in a short time. But if you are shopping on a budget, don’t need lots of crushed ice, and can turn a hand crank, try a manual ice crusher.
Pros and Cons
- Crushed ice in seconds.
- Much better than crushing ice by hand.
- Great for chilled drinks and frozen treats.
- Most ice crushers are reasonably priced.
- Easy to operate – most have a single off/on switch.
The Not so Good
- Ice crushers do just one thing – not as versatile as a blender.
- They are noisy.
Cleaning and Maintainance
The only part you’ll need to clean regularly is the bin that holds crushed ice. Remove it from the appliance and wash it by hand or in a dishwasher (check if it’s dishwasher safe).
Wipe the outside and inside regularly, but be careful not to touch the sharp blades with your bare hands, and remember to unplug the ice crusher.
It’s also a good idea to air the inside of the ice crusher to prevent mold growth and rusting due to trapped moisture. After crushing ice, remove the bin and leave the hopper open.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Hawaiian-style shaved ice, and what does it taste like?
Hawaiian shaved ice is extra-light and fluffy. It doesn’t have the crunch of crushed snow cone ice and melts easily in your mouth.
Hawaii shaved ice can be flavored with different kinds of syrups such as pineapple, guava, or coconut.
What is snow cone ice and is it the same as crushed ice?
Snow cones are types of treats made from finely crushed ice. The crushed is piled into a cone or cup, and flavored with syrup.
Is there an ice maker that makes crushed ice?
The GE Profile Opal is one of the few ice makers that produce crushed ice, instead of cubed or bullet ice. Note, however, that it does not actually crush ice. It just produces Sonic-style ice with the texture and crunch of crushed ice.
Final Verdict: What is the Best Crushed Ice Maker?
In our opinion, the VIVOHOME Electric Dual Blades Ice Crusher is the best-crushed ice maker. It can handle home parties and events are easy to use and produce finely crushed ice that you can use in any drink or frozen treat.