Snow Cone Machine Showdown

Snow cone machines (and the snow cones they make) are not created equal. From coarse, chunky pieces of ice to smooth and creamy shavings – the quality of the ice depends on the quality of the machine.

We tested four popular options, prices ranging from $16 – $1,780. And we found ourselves with four very different icy treats. Keep reading to learn more about these four machines.

Sno-Kones Machine

This iconic machine has been providing icy treats to fairs, carnivals, and festivals for decades! Built-to-last, the Sno-Kones Machine is heavy-duty and sturdy.

  • ICE USED: cubed ice
  • ICE QUALITY: coarse & crunchy
  • PRICE: $549.99
  • SIZE OF MACHINE: extra large (67 lbs)
  • EASY OF USE: easy, clean, mess contained
  • USE: commercial or home use

Hand-Powered Ice Shaver

For many years, this was the only option available for homemade icy treats. The tricky part of the Hand-Powered Ice Shaver is that you must use the prefrozen disks. Cubed ice will not work, limiting the amount of snow cones you can make. If you’re desperate for a snow cone, this works.

  • ICE USED: ice disks
  • ICE QUALITY: flakey and crunchy
  • PRICE: $16.99
  • SIZE OF MACHINE: extra small
  • EASY OF USE: requires two sets of hands, can only make small cups
  • USE: home use only

Snowie Max

Snowie has been in the commercial snow cone industry for 15 years. The Snowie Max is a newer offering – providing a commercial quality ice shaver for home use. Using cubed ice from your freezer or from the grocery store, you are not limited on the amount of snow cones you can make.

  • ICE USED: cubed ice
  • ICE QUALITY: soft & fluffy
  • PRICE: $199.99
  • USE: home use only

Snowie 1000

The Snowie 1000 is the smallest commercial unit from the Snowie brand of ice shavers. This is a good option for snow cone experts who are looking to up their game. This machine has a 1000 watt motor, meaning it can withstand a full day of use – whether at a large party or family reunion or even a large carnival or fair.

  • ICE USED: cubed ice
  • ICE QUALITY: fine & firm
  • PRICE: $1780.00
  • SIZE OF MACHINE: large
  • EASY OF USE: includes convenient foot pedal, drip spout, and protection shield
  • USE: commercial & home use


Our favorite snow cone was made with the Snowie Max machine. The texture was far superior, especially when syrup is added. The flavor is suspended in the ice, creating a soft and creamy texture. This is the perfect canvas for a wide variety of icy treats.

We also liked the texture of the Snowie 1000. The ice as a bit more firm then the Snowie Max, but not too noticeably. The price of this machine is warranted if you’re needing an option for commercial use. If operating at home, save your money and stick with Snowie Max.

The Sno-Kones machine is great for large crowds, as it produces the crushed ice very quickly. The coarse texture melts slowly, allowing the snow cones to be made in advance. For this reason, you’ll find this type of snow cone at sporting events and concerts. We prefer the softer texture from the Snowie Max, but most people won’t turn down this delicious treat.

The hand-powered ice shaver should be used as a last resort. It is fussy and harder to use. The ice texture is less desirable and the amount of cones you can make is limited by the amount of ice disks you have pre-frozen. If it’s the only option, this could work in a pinch. But, we recommend making a small investment in the Snowie Max machine.

SNO-KONEScoarse & crunchycubed ice$549.99
ICE SHAVERflakeyfrozen disk$16.99
SNOWIE MAXsoft & flufflycubed ice$199.99
SNOWIE 1000fine & firmcubed ice$1,780.00

*PRICING DISCLAIMER: prices determined (07/2020) from Subject to change without notification. Please visit links for current pricing.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply