Best Ice Crushers

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
109 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best ice crushers

Last Updated December 2019

Ice is the ultimate versatile ingredient for cooking, bartending, and everything in between. Depending on the recipe, we shape ice to suit our needs. Crushed ice is considered the form with the most fun, as it lends itself to delicious mixed drinks and sugary snow cones. You don’t have to go to a bar or restaurant to enjoy these treats anymore — all you need is your very own ice crusher to create them at home.

Ice crushers involve just a few simple steps. First, you feed the cubes or ice mold into a top compartment. Then, you initiate the crushing mechanism to make fluffy, shredded ice. There are manual models that operate via a crank and electric models that shred ice at the push of a button. One way or another, you can expect the joy of yielding crushed ice for a whole host of treats thanks to an ice crusher’s sharp, stainless steel blades uniquely positioned to shape it up.

If you’re ready to level your mixologist and dessert-making skills, feast your eyes on these ice crushers. We’re sure you’ll find the chillest model to invite into your home for parties, staycations, and relaxing afternoons.

If you’re hosting a child’s birthday party and are looking for ice cream alternatives, make snow cones instead. Simply set up a station where you serve the crushed snow and pour their favorite flavors.

Key considerations

What do you want to make with your ice crusher?

Ice crushers are known best for making mixed drinks and snow cones. Snow cones are pretty straightforward, and there are a host of flavored syrups available. When it comes to mixed drinks with characteristic crushed ice, you’re probably most familiar with Moscow mules, mint juleps, and rum swizzles. Frozen mixed drinks like piña coladas and margaritas can also be made with the help of an ice crusher.

Do you want a manual or electric ice crusher?

  • Manual ice crushers

If you’re interested in having an ice crusher to make a couple drinks or snow cones at a time, you can stick to a reasonable budget with manual models. They’re operated by a hand-crank mechanism, so they require a degree of effort and reasonable exertion. As a result, they tend to crush ice more slowly than their electric counterparts. Manual ice crushers occasionally require ice to be fed in specific shapes, so not all models can handle regular cubed ice.

  • Electric ice crushers

If you’re making drinks and snow cones on a regular basis or for large parties, it’s easier to meet those demands with an electric ice crusher. With powerful motors and larger stainless steel blades, they’re more efficient than manual ice crushers. It’s no surprise that they can take on crushing ice of almost any size, so feel free to use the ice cubes you already have. Another thing to keep in mind with electric models is that they take up a considerable amount of space, similar to that of other small kitchen appliances.

How much crushed ice do you want to make at a time?

In addition to frequency of use, think about your expectations when it comes to output volume. Manual models crush enough ice for a handful of drinks, and if you want more, it’s going to involve some elbow grease — which is the last thing you want if relaxation is your goal. If you expect to constantly churn out more ice, however, an electric model is a better investment. Certain electric models can even make enough crushed ice for up to 50 people in a day, which is why they tend to have bigger price tags. Some consumers say it’s well worth the investment, as you can accommodate everyone’s ice needs with minimal effort.

Grow your own garnish garden. An ice crusher will open up a world of new drink recipes, many of which require mint and basil. In fact, you could even get your own lemon tree for citrus garnishes and authentic lemon juice.

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BestReviews

Features

Materials

Ice crushers are made with a combination of stainless steel and plastic components. Stainless steel blades are a standard feature on all models. Some manual models also feature select stainless steel components — cranks, bases, knobs — but they’re generally made of high-quality plastic. Electric models could also have plastic components, though they tend to have more metal parts to support their motor and function.

Portability

When you’re considering buying an ice crusher, think of where you’ll use it the most. If you want to use it outside during barbeques or parties, a manual model could work best. Keep it on the table top, and guests can help themselves. On the other hand, if you expect to host larger parties, you’ll probably need an electric model. Portability and logistics are a modest challenge with these models, but it’s not impossible to work around them. As electric models require access to an outlet, you’ll need enough space to set yours up — and perhaps an extension cable. Another option is to keep it indoors and simply crush a large volume of ice to be kept in your freezer until the party.

Safety features

Because ice crushers are machines with sharp blades, they’re often equipped with a variety of safety features. Some models have a lid safety mechanism: the crusher only operates when it’s closed. These are especially common in electric models, though there are select manual models that cease to operate unless they’re completely assembled. Others have rubber or suction cup bases to prevent the crusher from traversing the table while operating. These are seen in both electric and manual models, though they’re more common in manual models, as they’re lighter and therefore more likely to move.

Ice crusher prices

Ice crushers cost between $20 and $200.

At the low end, for $20 to $50, you’ll find mostly manual crushers and the occasional electric model. These are geared toward occasional use for people who want to make just a handful of drinks or snow cones.

Mid-range models, between $50 and $100, include electric crushers that can handle a modest amount of use. These are ideal additions to home bars that cater to many parties.

At the top of the range, ice crushes between $100 and $200 are sophisticated and well-engineered machines that toe the line of genuine small appliances. They’re equipped with commercial-grade components and operate far more quickly than less-expensive models.

EXPERT TIP

Manual ice crushers can be rough on your hands. Wrap the knob in a potholder or dish towel for some padding to soften your contact with it. The grip will be more comfortable, and if you have silicone nubs on the potholder, you can enjoy slip-free cranking.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If you are purchasing an electric ice crusher for your home bar, you might not have an outlet within easy reach. Invest in a quality extension cord, and tuck it into a corner so you don’t trip over it.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Invest in bartending accessories. Straws, sword pics, olives, and stirrers are important to have in your home bar so you can make every drink down to the last detail.

  • Check out sugar-free drink mixes. If you’re trying to save a few calories in your mixed drinks, use sugar-free drink mixes. You’ll still get plenty of flavor with a fraction of the calories.

  • Download drink recipe apps. If you’re new to making mixed drinks with your ice crusher, download apps that can guide you through different recipes. Some apps provide a database of recipes; others include entire tutorials.

  • Buy coasters. If you’re drinking iced beverages of any kind, expect condensation rings. Protect your furniture and surfaces by using coasters.

  • Freeze bags of crushed ice. If your ice maker has a small output but you always want crushed ice available for drinks, crush in bulk. Simply save the ice in freezer bags, and you’ll always have it on hand.

  • Place appetizers on a sheet of crushed ice. Especially when you’re serving shrimp and other chilled finger foods, a sheet of crushed ice will keep things cool and add some flair to the dish.

Other products we considered

If you’re looking for a budget buy that can handle the occasional evening of mixed drinks or snow cones, the Victorio Time for Treats Manual Snow Cone Maker is a great choice. Simply use the ice molds to shape ice into puck-like discs which fit right into the device. Within a few clockwise cranks, you’ll have a fluffy bed of ice ready for a treat. While it’s not as fast as an electric model, this ice crusher is compact and easy to clean. It’s the perfect addition to any kitchen or home bar, and the kit even comes with samples of snow cone flavor syrup.

If you’re ready to take home entertaining to the next level, the Little Snowie Ice Shaver is a worthy investment. This quick-cycle model creates snow in seconds, and thanks to its professional-grade high-speed motor, you can keep making treats for extended periods of time. It even takes regular cubed ice, so you don’t have to wait to freeze water in dedicated molds. As powerful as this ice crusher is, you’ll be glad to know it’s equipped with a safety lid that must be properly closed for it to operate.

Experiment with new drink recipes. While you might love being able to make your favorite crushed iced drinks, try new liquors, mixes, and garnishes to get the most out of your ice crusher.

FAQ

Q. Should I get an ice crusher for my children to make snow cones?

A. It makes a great gift that is fun and provides instant gratification, but remember,an ice crusher is still a machine with blades. If you’re looking to purchase one for you and your children to use, invest in a model equipped with safety features, particularly those that isolate the blades and won’t operate without the safety switch turned on.

Q. I want to give an ice crusher as a housewarming gift, but I want to include other accessories so the recipient can use it right away. What should I buy?

A. In addition to drink mixes and snow cone flavor syrup, you could also purchase specialty cocktail glasses. Moscow mules are often served in copper mugs, or you could go the versatile route and choose fancy highball glasses. If you want to gift them with liquor, bottle of rum is always a good choice, as it’s present in many island drink recipes.

Q. Can I put flavored ice cubes through my ice crusher?

A. No. You should stick to plain water. Flavored ice cubes have far too many contaminants that could adhere to the inside of the ice crusher, which would be difficult to clean adequately without taking it apart. All your flavor, whether you use it for mixed drinks or snow cones, can be added separately and adjusted to your palate, so there’s really no need for flavored ice cubes.

The team that worked on this review
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