If creating snow cones or slushed drinks at home has sparked something inside you and you want to turn this passion into a business venture but you’re struggling to find the right machine for the job then keep on reading.
Regular shaved ice machines are great for infrequent use at home, but they only offer a small motor that cannot keep up with the demands of a business.
They also only offer small ice capacities, so you’d always have to refill with ice and have no time to keep on top of serving customers and keeping your venue tidy.
At-home shaved ice machines are also cheaply made and not made for the endurance of fast-paced businesses and will often break within only months of having it. You need something powerful, reliable, and consistent to help guide you into making your hobby a profitable business.
Well, to solve all these problems, you’ll need to upgrade and get your hands on a commercial shaved ice machine. These commercial-grade products are built to withstand heavy-duty use and will be able to produce high volumes of perfect fluffy ice ready for all your recipes.
Luckily for you, this area is our specialty and we’ve compiled a list of the best commercial shaved ice machines so you don’t have to waste your time searching through catalogs and websites.
OUR TOP PICK
The ZENY Ice shaver machine is our top pick for best commercial shaved ice machine and it’s so versatile that it can be used not only for commercial use but also will sit comfortably in any household that loves shaved ice.
This model offers an eye-catching all stainless steel waterproof construction that will withstand years of constant use and guard against rust. The design is unique and will be an attractive addition to any business.
The ZENY shaved ice machine has a highly efficient motor that can produce 143lbs of shaved ice per hour, enough to meet even the high demands of shaved ice businesses all within a relatively short time.
The functionality of the ZENY model may put people off as it doesn’t have a large storage capacity when the ice has been shaved.
However, this process of storing the ice can sometimes be unhygienic and often leads to inconsistent quality of ice as some can be melted and some areas can be more frozen.
The shaved ice is distributed into a stainless steel bowl, which is enough for one portion to be put into a cup so you can ensure high-quality fluffy shaved ice for every customer.
Some customers have said that because the storage is not enclosed, shavings of the ice can flick off into surrounding areas and can cause a mess.
The side of the ZENY shaved ice machine features a water-resistant on/off switch to easily control the functioning of the machine. The machine automatically cuts off when the hopper handle is opened which avoids any wounds or injuries.
The machine is powered via an electric cord and is simple to operate as you only need to turn the switch on when you’re ready to use and insert your ice cubes.
The stainless steel design is easy to clean after each use and will only take a couple of minutes to completely sanitize the whole thing at the end of every day.
- Easy to clean - Quick and efficient cleaning after a busy day
- Fast Speed - Can produce 143lbs on shaved ice per hour to meet customer demand
- Quality construction - Durable, prevents rusting, and will stay looking new for a long time
- Easy to operate - Doesn’t take long trying to work and easy to train employees to use
- Implemented safety features - Will avoid injury in the workplace
- Can get messy - Some customers have noted that the ice shavings jump out of the bowl
Cuisinart is one of the most renowned kitchen appliance brands on the market and is recognized all over the world, so it’s no surprise that their snow cone maker aka shaved ice machine managed to squeeze itself into second place.
The classic design from Cuisinart art creates real shaved ice for snow cones, slushies, and frozen drinks for all the family to enjoy. There is even a fold-out cup or cone holder implemented into the design which will make serving your products a lot easier.
The machine uses regular ice cubes to be shaved into fluffy snow, so you’ll be able to store large quantities of ice in your freezer in your business for more easy and convenient usage.
The Cuisinart snow cone maker is easy to assemble and use and only requires you to flip a switch to begin shaving the ice cubes. This makes setting up your business every day a simple and stress-free task.
The machine has a fast operation and can make enough fluffy ice for 4-5 positions in just under a minute, so even if you’ve got a queue out the door, you’ll be able to get everyone served with their delicious shaved ice in no time.
All the parts that come into contact with ice are BPA-free, so there’ll be no chance of your ingredients getting tainted with nasty chemicals.
The motor automatically shuts off when the pull-out tray to access the ice is removed, so there’ll be no chance of you cutting yourself.
Despite being such a popular brand, many customers have noted that they’ve had great difficulty getting in touch with customer support to resolve any damaged or defective goods.
- Popular and reliable brand - You know that it should be of a high-quality
- Uses regular ice cubes - Makes it extra convenient to use
- Fast operation - Can quickly make 4-5 portions in under a minute, ideal for demanding periods
- BPA-free parts - Completely safe to make food and drinks to serve
- Plastic is not the most durable - Plastic seems like it could break easily
The Nostalgia Vintage countertop shaved ice machine will certainly add a classy look to any business with the old-style white and gold design.
The capacity container can hold up to 20 servings at one time, so you can stay on top of your duties at work without having to constantly refill the machine with more ice.
The machine is equipped with stainless steel cutting blades which work quickly and efficiently to shave the ice cubes into delicious and snow-like ice within less than a minute, helping you to cut down waiting time for your customers.
The design allows you 360-degree viewing of the capacity chamber so you can keep an eye on how much fluffy ice you have ready for your next rush of customers.
There is also a built-in side shelf that acts as a prepping station allowing you to hold 2 containers to serve your fluffy ice with whatever syrups you like.
As with most shaved ice machines, the Nostalgia Vintage is assisted with a safety switch that is built into the shaving mechanism to keep hands safe.
You’ll even get some additional accessories with this shaved ice machine, including two reusable plastic snow cones and an ice scoop to easily serve your products.
- Large capacity - Can hold up to 20 positions at a time, ideal for busy periods
- Features stainless steel cutting blades - Efficiently shave cubes to become fluffy
- Compact size - Can easily fit on a countertop in a workplace
- 360-degree viewing - Can see when the machine needs topping up
- Noisy - Can get pretty loud when full
The 54-inch tall shaved ice machine features a capacity that is large enough for approximately 72 servings at once, so if your business is located near a busy park or city center then you’ll be able to cope with the demand.
Its efficient shaving system is assisted with stainless steel blades that can shave 2 pounds of ice in just 90 seconds allowing you to fill up the machine quickly ready for all your customers’ needs.
The machine is compatible with standard ice cubes and won’t require you to store massive blocks of ice in a bulky freezer. Using bags of ice is much more convenient as they are readily available in most grocery stores.
If you do want cones or cups to serve your fluffy ice in then you can store them in the dispenser which is located on the side of the machine which makes serving simple and allows you to keep everything organized, especially if you serve a multitude of products in your business.
There is also a shelf for you to store three servings of your ice, whilst you grab the required syrups or toppings for your customers. This makes serving quicker and easier for you and prevents you from getting any sticky ingredients on your hands.
The Nostalgia ice machine cart has an implemented drip tray that catches all of the unwanted melted ice allowing for a mess-free space and easy cleaning at the end of the day.
This Nostalgia model is one of the best shaved ice machines we’ve come across that comes on wheels.
It’s accompanied by 13-inch spoked wheels with rubber tires and a pull handle to help you pull the cart wherever you may need it. This machine is perfect for those who want to extend their business ventures outside of their permanent location.
However, you’re not just limited to using this ice machine attached to the cart because the top separates from the cart so it will fit on a kitchen countertop or a small side table as well.
The size of the countertop part alone is pretty large and can take up a lot of counter space, which can be very inconvenient if you’re limited with space at your venue.
- Easy mobility - Can be conveniently wheeled to where you want
- Includes a drip tray - Prevents the space from getting messy when in use
- Efficient shaving system - Can make 2lbs of ice in 90 seconds
- Large capacity - Ideal for busy and popular establishments
- Large size - May be harder to fit into a commercial environment
Last on our recommendations for the best commercial shaved ice machine is the Vevor Ice Shaver machine. The premium quality design has ETL certification and is approved for commercial use to guarantee efficiency.
It’s constructed with a stainless steel hopper, food-grade stainless steel blades for great durability regardless of how much use the machine will get. The design also features non-slip feet on the bottom of the machine to ensure great stability on countertops.
The product comes with a high-powered 300W copper motor to ensure consistent high rotational speed and great shaving capacity of nearly 400lbs per hour, providing you with large quantities for even the busiest of venues.
The shaved ice machine adopts a one-piece storage box that can store up to 9 gallons of frozen ice at just one time. The thickened material of the storage box will help retain the temperature of the ice and prevent it from melting.
In addition, the Vevor ice machine is equipped with a drainage hose, which will drain excess water and prevent water from leaking on surfaces.
It features an ergonomic handle for labor-saving operation and also a limit switch for safety. The on/off switch is also water-resistant so is safe to use with wet hands.
There is a 6-month warranty from the original purchase date which covers any manufacturing defects or damages in transport, this gives a good period to make full use of your new ice machine to make sure it works properly.
The Vevor ice machine is of premium quality and is more suited to those who are willing to stretch their budget. However, you can still get a quality machine like this at a much more budget-friendly price.
- Countertop design - Can easily be placed on a surface without being too large
- ETL certification - Been approved for commercial use
- Large Capacity - Can hold up to 10 portions at once
- Easy & Safe Design - No complex training needed to use it
- Not budget-friendly - There are cheaper alternatives available for the same quality
Best Commercial Shaved Ice Machine Buying Guide
The size will be one of the major factors you’ll want to consider before buying a commercial shaved ice machine, especially if your establishment is pretty small.
Commercial-sized shaved ice machines are a lot bigger than just generic ones that you can use at home.
There are many machines that are more compact and designed to sit on a countertop without taking up too much room, this allows room for our food and drink appliances to be on the same site.
There are also larger-sized shaved ice machines that feature wheels so you can transport it around wherever you need. These machines are often used in outside venues like fairs and parks.
If your shaved ice machine will have a permanent position in your commercial establishment then you won’t need to waste too much time on how much it weighs.
If you plan to transport your shaved ice machine around to different locations then you need to make sure it can be easily carried without the help of too many people.
Most commercial shaved ice machines can weigh between 20 and 60lbs, so consider whether you’re strong enough to carry one or if your surfaces or shelves in your venue are strong enough to hold the weight of one.
Another important factor you’ll need to consider is the capacity of your shaved ice machine.
Having a larger capacity will enable you to hold and store large volumes of ice so you’ll always have a sufficient amount on hand during busy periods.
Shaving capacity refers to how much shaved ice your machine can produce in a period of time.
If the business gets extremely busy then you’ll want to make sure your ice machine has a large shaving capacity to stay on top of the demand and to make sure service is as quick as it can be.
Installation & Setup
Shaved ice machines are pretty simple to install and set up, and most will be accompanied by detailed instructions to help you get things running smoothly.
Try to find out how long the machine takes to start and set up every time it gets used so you can plan your business hours around it.
You’ll always want to take note of how easy the machine is to operate day to day, especially if you’ll have employees who will need to be trained on how to use it.
Shaved ice machines tend to use a lot of power which will then cost more money, especially if you’re running it all day long.
If you’re trying to keep money tight for your business then try and find a machine that uses less energy.
If you’ll be powering your business by using a generator, then it’ll probably cost you even more to keep everything running.
A powerful motor will be able to consistently produce large volumes of shaved ice.
If you’ve got a high demand then make sure to go for a shaved ice machine with a powerful motor.
Cleaning & Maintenance
A wet icy environment like the inside of a shaved ice machine can become a breeding ground for bacteria and will need to be cleaned during quiet hours and at the end of every shift.
Try and find a machine that isn’t too complex to take apart and clean every time it needs doing otherwise it can take too much time.
Every electric shaved ice machine should feature a water-resistant on/off switch that can be handled with both dry and wet hands without endangering yourself.
Look for shaved ice machines that have the blades enclosed in the machine and are also fully covered to avoid leakages and spills on the floor when the machine is functioning.
If you’re going to be using a shaved ice machine for commercial purposes then you’ll want to make sure there is a solid warranty on the product.
If something is going to be used all day every day then you’ll want to ensure that you’re covered for any defects or damages that may occur during the first period of owning your shaved ice machine.
If a shaved ice machine is particularly expensive, make sure it’s got a good warranty on it, so you won’t end up being out of pocket if you run into any problems with it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best commercial shaved ice machine?
The best commercial shaved ice machines are ZENY Ice Shaver Machine, Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker, Nostalgia SCM525WH Snow Cone Maker, Nostalgia 54 inch Snow Cone Cart, and the Vevor Commercial Ice Crusher.
Why is it called shaved ice?
Japanese immigrants who went to Hawaii during the plantation period in the mid-1800s came up with the concept of ‘kakigori’ which literally translates as shaved ice.
The Japanese immigrants would use their work tools to shave off bits from a large chunk of ice and then coated with sugar or fruit syrups.
How do shaved ice machines work?
Shaved ice machines work by using blocks or cubes of regular ice. The ice will be broken down and fluffed up by the powerful blades built into the machine and then distributed into a holding box where it can be scooped out.
How do you clean a shaved ice machine?
Unless your shaved ice machine is operated manually and requires no electronic connectivity, then do not immerse it into water.
- Empty your shaved ice machine and unplug it
- Dilute white wine vinegar in warm water and place into a spray bottle
- Spray inside and outside of shaved ice machine to remove build-up of grime
- Wipe down your mixture with a clean cloth, focusing on the small crevices
- Leave the machine to air dry before you start using it again
What kind of ice do you use for shaved ice?
Most generic shaved ice machines will block ice cubes or bagged ice.
This makes it easier to handle when putting it into the machine but also makes storing your ice more convenient as it can stay in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
How much does it cost to start a shaved ice business?
There is no definite number of how much it costs to start a shaved ice business, however, to create a functional and profitable business, you should have at least $10,000 saved before starting your business.
Things to consider when starting up a shaved ice business:
- Business licensing
- Location of your business (permanent shop or van)
- Cleaning supplies
- Ice supplies, syrups, serving ware
- Labor of possible employees
- Rent and bills
Is a shaved ice business profitable?
If you have quality service, products and located in a busy area then you can reap great profits from a shaved ice business.
However, this will all depend on your overheads, wages, cost of supplies, competition in your area and the season.
Most shaved ice businesses will find that spring and summer are their most profitable months of the year.
Is shaved ice healthy?
Shaved ice with no syrups or additives is healthy, as it’s literally just frozen water.
Shaved ice with syrup contains lots of sugar and can be high in calories for such a small treat.
How do you make shaved ice without a shaved ice machine?
- One of the easiest ways to create shaved ice without a shaved ice machine would be to add a bag of ice to a ziplock bag, seal the bag, and then use a rolling pin or hard kitchen utensil to pound and crush the ice until it has the appearance of shaved ice.
- If you’ve got lots of time on your hands, you could try and cut ice that has slightly thawed with a knife. We recommend using gloves to stop ice burn on your fingers. This method would not be ideal for more commercial environments.
- If you’ve got a food processor or blender, then you can use that on a low setting to create shaved ice.
- If you’ve got big blocks of ice then you could use an ice chipper, to break up ice for snow cones or ice drinks.
What is the difference between shaved ice and snow cones?
Shaved ice traditionally looks finely shaved and snow-like in texture whereas snow cones look more just like crushed ice.
Snow cones are traditionally served in cones whereas shaved ice is served in foam cups.