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Shopping for the best-frozen drink and slushie machine?
You’ve come the right place.
There are a ton of frozen drink-making options available today, from blenders to margarita machines to dedicated slushie machines.
With so many ways to make a frozen drink, it can be difficult to know when you really need a dedicated slushie / frozen drink machine or not.
To help you sort this out, this buying guide reviews our top pics for the best-frozen drink and slushie machines on the market. In it, we explain when you should buy one of these specialty appliances or not.
Why Buy a Frozen Drink Machine?
Nothing beats a frosty cold drink on a sunny warm day.
With summer fast approaching, it may be a good idea to invest in a dedicated frozen drink / slushie machine if you or your children love Icees, slushies and snowballs (like mine do).
You might be wondering if you should perhaps use a blender in place of a frozen drink machine. While these appliances appear similar, they differ in one key way that makes a huge difference in the quality of drink they produce.
Frozen ice machines do not crush ice like a blender does; instead, they very slowly and carefully freeze a mixed drink solution all at once, while constantly mixing the solution to make a consistent batch. This method gives a slushie the consistency you want while keeping it completely free of watery nuggets of ice.
Blenders will almost always produce a less than desirable slushie for this reason.
What’s In This Buying Guide
In this article, we will introduce you to my favorite slushie and frozen drink machines sold today. Most can be found on Amazon and similar retail sites.
Following my top picks, we will look at how frozen drink machines function and the factors that affect the quality of the drinks they make.
Then, we will go through the key features that you consider to select the most suitable machine for your needs.
Lastly, we discuss the pros and cons of this appliance, its maintenance, and answer some of the most frequently-asked questions related to frozen drink / slushie machines.
So lets dive in…
Best Frozen Drink Machines
- Best for Small Families: Wanderlust X Frose Frozen Rose Drink Maker
- Best for Small Kitchens: Nostalgia MSB64 64-Ounce Margarita & Slush Make
- Best Portable Design: Nostalgia Margarita & Slush Machine
- Best for Large Gatherings and Parties: Margaritaville Tahiti Frozen Concoction Maker
- Best for Commercial Use: Maccol 110V 300W Slushie Machine
Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com
|Frozen Drink Machines||Best For||Dimensions||Weight||Capacity|
|Wanderlust X Frose ||Best for small households||17.9 x 9.5 x 9.1 inches||5.34 pounds||32 fl. Oz.|
|Nostalgia MSB64 ||Best for small kitchens||7.8 x 17.6 x 8.1 inches||7 pounds||64 fl. Oz.|
|Nostalgia Margarita ||Best portable design||10 x 12 x 19.25 inches||10.65 pounds||1 gallon|
|Margaritaville Tahiti ||Best for large gatherings and parties||20 x 20.1 x 20.1 inches||29.8 pounds||72 fl. Oz.|
|Maccol 110V ||Best for commercial use||22.1 x 19.4 x 18.9 inches||55.7 pounds||5 litres|
1. Best for Small Families: Wanderlust X Frose Frozen Rose Drink Maker
Couples or roommates living together do not need a large frozen drink machine. A small-sized good frozen drink or slush machine is far better.
The Wanderlust X Frose Frozen Drink Maker is the perfect option for smaller households.
With a capacity of 32 oz, this appliance can fill up to four glasses.
You can make a variety of drinks, from cocktails and margaritas to sugar-free drinks. You can also use it to make slushies for kids.
If you enjoy a healthy drink after a workout, you’ll also find this model useful as it can make smoothies.
The Frose is a very simple and easy to use appliance.
Drinks poured into your glass via an attached nozzle rather than having to pour from the jar.
Cleaning the appliance is also easy, and it comes with a cup holding tray that also serves as a drip tray.
Your drinks will not spill on the counter or table-top; rather, they go into the drip tray to be discarded later.
There is an easily readable mark indicating the maximum fill level on the jug and acts as a reminder to prevent overfilling.
All in all, this frozen drink and slushie machine by Wanderlust is very economical. It is convenient to use and would serve as an amazing housewarming or wedding gift for friends.
2. Best for Small Kitchens: Nostalgia MSB64 64-Ounce Margarita & Slush Maker
With a stylish design, our next pick is the proven Nostalgia 64-Ounce Margarita & Slush Maker.
It has a sleek design and a red-colored body that stands out and adds character to your kitchen.
Because of its small layout, it does not take much space on countertops. So it is ideal for those with limited kitchen space.
The 64-ounce frozen drink machine packs a robust motor into a simple design. Running on 200 Watts, the Nostalgia MSB64 is capable of making frozen drinks for hours on end.
This Nostalgia slushie machine use a dual-swivel system to shave ice and pulverizes the drink, forming a consistent mixture. Drinks are poured from an easy flow spout.
The appliance will not stall or slow down, so you can use it to make drinks at a consistently fast pace.
When it comes to cleaning, the Nostalgia frozen drink maker is super convenient. The blending jar is detachable at the base for easy washing, while a cup rest also serves as the drip tray.
To empty the drip tray, all you have to do is push it upwards, pour out the liquid, and put it back in place.
Simple, stylish, and powerful – what more could we ask for in a frozen drink maker?
This appliance has hundreds of 5-star reviews from kids and adults alike. Can’t go wrong with it.
3. Best Portable Design: Nostalgia Margarita & Slush Machine
Would you like to enjoy frozen drinks on a trip to the beach, on your boat or on your next camping trip?
Then check out this portable frozen drink maker and slush machine from Nostalgia.
It has a capacity of one gallon, which makes it a great option for large outdoor gatherings or parties.
To shave the ice properly, a stainless steel blending cage is used.
To add ice to the machine, you remove the top lid, put the ice in, and close it back. You can use most forms of ice chest ice, although we recommend using nugget ice or smaller cubes.
This frozen drink machine turns drinks of almost any kind into a delicious slurry of just the right consistency and texture.
A lever-style spout makes it easy to pour the drinks into cups and glasses.
The carry handle is designed to lock when the machine is lifted, making it easy and secure to carry the appliance around.
But that’s not all.
Outside, you need a way to keep your drinks cold. In order to do that, the machine uses a double-wall insulation that keeps drinks in the blending jar cold for hours.
The charging cord stows away in the base of the appliance, too – which makes carrying and storage quite easy.
With a large capacity, portability and insulated jar, this Nostalgia portable frozen drink and slush machine is the perfect option for anyone who loves the outdoors.
4. Best for Large Gatherings and Parties: Margaritaville Tahiti Frozen Concoction Maker
At parties, one type of drink is often not enough. Different people have varying preferences. To entertain everybody’s likeness, you will need more than one frozen drink machine to pump out drinks. But that is not economically viable.
This is where frozen drink and slush machine models like Margaritaville Tahiti Frozen Concoction Maker come in.
This appliance has three blending chambers, which means that you can make three different types of drinks simultaneously.
Each chamber or jar has a capacity of 24oz., which makes a collective capacity of 72oz. You can make more than six types of drinks using this appliance, including Coladas and smoothies.
The Ivory-colored body is made of premium bamboo wood and a brushed aluminum finish. The die-cast components and the polished accents make for a very characteristic and modish look.
Supported by a limited one-year warranty, the overall deal provided by this package is quite appreciable.
Party throwers and large households will find this frozen drink maker by Margaritaville very useful. It has a large capacity and can make different types of drinks at the same time. Furthermore, it has a sturdy construction that would last long.
5. Best for Commercial Use: Maccol 110V 300W Slushie Machine
Our final pick is a commercial-grade frozen drink and slushie machine. It is capable of producing drinks of varying temperatures. The temperature ranges from -10°C to 10°C.
Switching between temperatures is easy, and you can do so by pressing the Freeze key for five seconds until the desired temperature shows on the display. The rest of the display is equipped with easy-to-comprehend buttons.
This machine is made out of sturdy plastic and durable stainless steel. It features a robust compressor and a powerful motor.
The plastic used is of food-grade quality and safe for use to keep things according to health standards.
The overall structure is quite dependable and easy to clean. There are two types of stirrer used in each of the two tanks.
The center-oriented stirrer moves the freezing drinks fast to obtain the perfect consistency. Meanwhile, the side stirrer reduces sediment formation by rotating the drinks 360°.
Two tanks of 2.5L capacity each give users the convenience to make drinks of two different kinds together.
This way, you can use one of the tanks to make delicious slushies for kids while the other stirs about chilled drinks for adults.
The build of this machine is considerably compact for a commercial-grade appliance, which is why you can set it up anywhere. It does not make a lot of operational noise either.
For best operation, there should be at least 13% sugar in the mixture for the machine to form slushes and frozen drinks.
Moreover, users need to clean the machine regularly to prevent remains from sticking to the tanks and posing a health risk for customers.
Your intended use, energy consumption, and preference of beverage are some factors that you should consider before buying a frozen drink and slushie machine.
A careful observation of these factors will help you land the best deal for your needs.
Intended Set Up of Use:
There are plenty of setups where a frozen drink machine is needed.
For commercial purposes, you would need a large machine with multiple chambers and a sturdy design. This is because, under these settings, demand is huge and operational abuse is inevitable.
Meanwhile, for household use, a smaller machine would suffice. You don’t need to look for heavy-duty construction for house use either.
These machines could be used when hosting parties depending upon their capacity.
However, if you travel frequently and want the machine to accompany you, it is best to buy lightweight and easily portable machines. These models will also have lesser capacity.
This is another important consideration that is often overlooked. Frozen drink machines have varying power requirements ranging from 200-700 watts on average.
People who want energy-saving options should look for machines with a single blending jug and smaller size.
Meanwhile, those not concerned with power consumption can look for machines with multiple chambers and large capacities.
Preference of Beverage:
As apparent by now, a frozen drink machine can make a variety of drinks depending upon the model.
Some models are limited to alcoholic drinks, while others are capable of spinning up a delicious non-alcoholic drink as well.
If you have kids, you should look for models that can make slushies and combine sugary drinks as well.
What is a Frozen Drink Machine, and How Does it Work?
A frozen drink machine, also known as a slush machine, is a kitchen appliance that can make chilled icy beverages of many kinds. These machines work differently from blenders.
You don’t need extra ice for this machine. All you have to do is make your drink concoction or mixture and add it to the jug or blending chamber.
Unlike a blender, a frozen drink machine does not crush ice; rather, it slowly freezes the drink until it forms an icy consistency.
This is achieved via the functioning of a refrigeration system. This way, the drink is homogenous and has a uniform size of ice crystals.
Not only that, but since additional ice is not added, you don’t have to worry about ice melting to water and diluting your drink.
For large commercial-sized machines, paddles within the blending chambers keep mixing the slushy liquid together to prevent the formation of hard solid ice.
The time that a frozen drink machine takes to freeze the drink is mentioned in the product details. Make sure that it is suitable enough for your needs.
Larger machines take longer to freeze the drink than smaller machines. Once the drink is ready, you can pour it via the spout into glasses and cups as preferred.
Why Buy a Frozen Drink Machine
Blenders are popularly used to give drinks slush-like consistency. You can put the ice in a blender and crush it into small crystals, then pour the drink of your choice over the shaved ice to create a chilled drink.
Other than that, ice cubes are used to chill the drinks if you don’t want the slush-like consistency. While these methods might seem sufficient, they are not good enough to completely mimic the magic of a frozen drink machine.
Even though the use of ice cubes or blenders can chill your drinks, there are certain limitations associated with these that can’t be overlooked if you want the right consistency for your drinks.
Blenders use ice cubes that are crushed and shaved down by the action of their blades. When breaking down, these ice crystals can melt and turn into water.
A similar problem occurs when the drink is ready to be served. When the ice water crystals melt, they turn into liquid water. This liquid water dilutes your drink and messes up the taste and consistency.
Meanwhile, there are no such problems with a frozen drink machine. This is because instead of using shaved ice in drinks, this appliance slowly freezes the drink present inside its blending chamber via the use of refrigeration gases.
Rather than having ice water crystals, the ice in your drink is entirely made up of the drink itself. Hence, even if some crystals melt, they do not change the taste of the drink.
Furthermore, frozen drink machines are designed to be highly insulated. They have thick walls that do not let the heat from the surrounding inside.
The walls of a blender are much thinner and incapable of maintaining the slushy consistency of a frozen drink for long.
The blending action of a frozen drink machine while the drink is chilled ensures proper mixing of all ingredients and a homogenous texture at the end.
What to Look for in a Frozen Drink Machine
Just like there are certain factors that you need to consider regarding your personal setup and preferences before purchasing the right frozen drink machine, there are certain factors that you need to consider related to the machine itself.
Below we have discussed the main factors that should govern your choice of model.
The dimensions of the appliance matter a great deal. They determine whether or not you have the space to place and operate the appliance.
Commercial-sized appliances are huge with multiple chambers, which makes them unsuitable for use in a small home kitchen setup.
Similarly, setting up a large and wide appliance would be a huge problem if you have limited countertop space. Therefore, make sure that the size of the appliance matches your setup for maximum usability.
Measured in fluid ounces, the capacity of the frozen drink machine is another very important factor.
If the capacity of the appliance is too small for your needs, you will have to run it multiple times. This would not only be inconvenient and time-consuming but would also consume a lot of energy.
Meanwhile, if the capacity is too big, the potential of the appliance is going to waste, and you will be using too much power to produce a small batch of drinks.
Therefore, it is paramount that the capacity of your appliance matches your needs as closely as possible.
Couples or roommates who only intend to run the appliance for personal use will find 32oz. capacity machines quite enough. Larger households might prefer 64 fl. oz.
Meanwhile, for parties, it is best to get an appliance with a capacity of approximately 72 oz. Commercial setups should get larger sizes that measure up to several gallons.
Plenty of people want to take their frozen drink machines along with them on road trips or staycations. Other than them, caterers also value portability in their appliances. This is why there are many options in frozen drink machines that can be carried along.
These models vary in size from several gallons to a few ounces. You can easily find a portable frozen drink machine that matches your requirements.
However, there are a few basic things that should be present in portable models. These include a top handle for easy carrying, a drip tray to avoid mess, and a cord storage niche at the bottom of the machine to prevent the cord from entangling with other items.
Frozen drink machines vary in terms of the freezing time required to chill the drinks or turn them into a slush.
The freezing time usually depends upon the cooling mechanism used and the capacity of the machine. Smaller machines tend to prepare drinks quicker than larger ones.
However, if you want a quicker machine with a large capacity, you should look for a robust cooling system such as the one used in commercial-grade frozen drink machines.
Faster machines are also a little pricier. The average freezing time lies between 15 and 35 minutes.
With the onset of a warmer climate, the use of a frozen drink machine becomes more and more frequent. Children and adults alike enjoy the freshness of a chilled drink on a sunny afternoon.
So, to ensure that your frozen drink machine lasts for several seasons without facing any technical problems or breakage, you need to focus on the build of the machine as well.
This is especially true if you have a large household with kids because many people are operating the machine in such settings, and some of them may do so harshly.
Good-quality plastic is popularly used because it is sturdy and transparent. Thick-walled blending chambers are made with plastic to ensure the longevity of the model.
Similarly, for other parts like spout and drip tray, aluminum or die-cast stainless steel are good options.
Pros and Cons
There is no doubt about the value that a frozen drink machine would add to any kitchen. Owing to its numerous pros, it would be a useful appliance for everyone.
However, accompanying these pros are some cons as well. Below we take a look at both.
- The machine is capable of preparing restaurant-quality drinks with minimal effort. You do not have to put in shaved ice or specific ingredients. All you have to do is prepare your drink concoction, pour it into the blending chamber, and wait.
- Unlike other ways of preparing a chilled drink, the mess produced when using a frozen drink machine is almost negligible. Cleaning up is extremely easy because there are no ice blocks lying on the countertop melting and creating a mess. There are also no separate jugs used for serving the drinks. You can pour the drinks directly from the appliance.
- The portability of this machine is another great factor that you should not overlook. The ability to carry the machine around makes it more useful. You can also use the machine to store chilled drinks thanks to its well-insulated thick walls.
- If not placed in the right spot, a frozen drink machine can overheat. This affects the functioning of the machine and disrupts slush formation. To prevent this, you must place the machine in a well-ventilated space.
- Some frozen drinks and slush machines do not work with non-sugary drinks. If you place sugar-free drinks in them for chilling, the machine will not turn them into slush. Therefore, make sure that you buy the right model if you want to use sugar-free drinks.
- The energy consumption of large frozen drink machines is quite high. It can measure up to 700 watts as well, and continuous use might cause a spike in the electric bill.
Cleaning and Maintenance
For good hygiene, you should clean the frozen drink or slushie machine every two weeks. Before cleaning, turn the machine off and drain any liquids present inside it.
Once emptied, fill the tanks or blending chambers with mildly luke-warm water and a soft detergent. Leave it for a few minutes. After 15 minutes, discard the water. Remove the slush tanks gently.
Use a mild detergent and warm water to wipe the rest of the machine, including the spindle present in commercial-grade machines.
Do not immerse the lid in water. Instead, clean it with detergent and warm water by wiping it as well. Remove the dispensing spout if it’s detachable and wash it with mild detergent. Drain the drip tray and rinse it as well.
Let the machine dry before reassembling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Better to Buy or Rent a Frozen Drink Machine?
The decision to buy or rent a frozen drink machine depends entirely on your preference and frequency of use. If you plan on using the machine often, i.e., more than seven to eight times a week, it is better you buy one.
However, if you want a machine only for an event or a few days, there’s no point in spending a lot of money in buying a machine that you would not use in the future. Therefore, under such circumstances, it is better to rent a machine.
What is the Best Spot to Install a Frozen Drink Machine?
It is best to place the slush machine in a well-ventilated area. You should install the machine away from the stove, grill, and oven.
Since the machine uses refrigeration systems, you must leave at least 15 to 20 cm air gaps on all sides. The areas around the refrigeration system and the base should not be obstructed or congested.
How Many Hoppers Would I Require?
If you aim to make multiple types of frozen drinks simultaneously, you will need more than one hopper, tank, or blending chamber.
However, if you can make different types of drinks turn by turn, there is no need to invest in multiple hoppers.
For large gatherings and parties, more than one hopper is preferred. The ideal number of hoppers for a large number of people is 3.
Final Verdict: Which is the best Frozen Drink Machine and Why?
We believe that the Nostalgia Margarita & Slush Machine is the best frozen drink and slush machine amongst our discussed options.
Several features make it stand out, including its large capacity, double insulation, and portability. You can use it at home or take it outdoors. Plus, it is suitable for small and large households alike.