The summer is here and it’s getting hot out there. Sweltering even. The time has come to find ways to cool off. Just about any way will do. Ice cream, Italian ice, freezes, frozen yogurt, and cool beverages piled high with ice. We all love it. We all crave it. In the winter, ice is a painful and slippery distraction. But come summer time, it’s a close and comforting friend that gets us through the toughest and hottest days.
Of course, if you’re going to take the best possible advantages of the soothing powers of ice during the summer, it’ll take more than just your usual ice try. Ice cubes are nice, but limited in their application. You’re going to want to crush those cubes to take full advantage of your ice. While it’s theoretically possible to achieve that by smashing some ice cubes with a hammer, it’s more pleasant and consistent to go a more professional route and get yourself an ice crusher.
Common at bars, hotels, and banquet halls, ice crushers aren’t exactly the type of appliance that are standard in ever home kitchen. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t incredible useful and valuable appliance to have, especially if you have an active liquor cabinet or like to make frozen treats to beat the heat. A good ice crusher will quickly transform from a seemingly needless indulgence into your personal cool-down bestie.
The only question is which ice crusher is right for you and your needs. There are a surprising variety of these seemingly niche appliances on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. How could anyone possibly decide between such incredible ice-crushing options? Simple, by finishing the article that you are reading right now. Below you’ll find a list of our experts’ favorite ice machines that are currently available. Below that, you’ll find a definitive guide explaining everything that there is to know about ice crushers. In other words, by the end of this article you will be fully prepared to bring home the perfect ice machine for your kitchen and family. After that, all you need to do is chill.
Best Overall Ice Crusher — Waring Pro IC70 Professional Stainless Steel Large Capacity Ice Crusher
If you’re looking for a truly luxurious ice-crushing experience, then look no further than the Waring Pro IC70 Professional Stainless Steel Large Capacity Ice Crusher. That large title almost says it all. This is a professional grade ice crusher that is large and in charge with a beautiful stainless steel exterior. It looks stunning on any countertop and will handle just about any ice crushing task that you might need.
How impressive is this machine? Well, it can crush up to thirty pounds of ice per hour, and crush up to twelve cups of ice at a time. That’s a lot of ice-crushing in one seemingly simple countertop machine. Will you likely ever need to crush thirty pounds of ice in an hour? Well, no. But it’s nice to have the peace of mind and know that you can do that if necessary. The blades are also stainless steal, ensuring that this machine was built to last in addition to being powerful and beautiful. If you only ever intend to own one ice crushing machine in your life, it should probably be this one.
- Gorgeous brushed stainless steel exterior.
- Stainless steel blades and commercial quality mechanism
- Can crush up to 30 pounds of ice per hour
- Can crush up to 12 cups of Ice at a time
- Some users have expressed concerns about durability.
Best Manual Ice Crusher — Time For Treats Iceberg Ice Crusher
Not everyone needs to have a large, powerful, commercial quality electric ice crusher. Some people just need to have the ability to have some fresh crushed ice for the occasional cocktail and don’t need to go too crazy. Those people would likely prefer to go with the far more practical and affordable route and get themselves a manual ice crusher. If you fall into that category, then nothing will suit your needs quite as well as this little beauty from Time For Treats.
It’s got a perfectly pleasant, if basic exterior. But where this crusher shines is where it counts. The stainless steel blades can crush ice at two different textures to suit your needs, while the strong-grip suction base will keep your ice crusher in place no matter how hard you go to town on that crank. This machine even has a rather impressive capacity and can hold up to five cups at ice at once. So, if you merely need a quality machine for the occasional ice crushing party and don’t want to spend a fortune, this is the ice crusher for your kitchen (or even your backyard, since this unit can go anywhere and doesn’t need to be chained to an outlet).
- Strong stainless steel blades can crush ice into two different textures
- Strong-grip suction base will keep your impressive unit in place no matter how hard you work the crank.
- Holds up to five ups of ice at once.
- Portable and works anywhere.
- Requires manual labor.
- May not last as long as a professional grade ice crusher.
Best Ice Shaver — Zeny Electric Stainless Steel Ice Shaving Machine
If you’re in the market for shaved ice and snow cones rather than a more conventional crushed ice, then the Zeny Electric Stainless Steel Ice Shaving Machine should make all of your frozen dreams come true! This eye catching stainless steel beauty is designed to shave and crush ice for delicious frozen treats and has been built to last. Rust proof and shiny, this durable beast can produce up to 143 pounds of delicious shaved ice per an hour. So, if you ever need to feed icy treats to entire small community in a short period of time, you’re going to need a Zeny.
Despite the powerful core to the machine, this beast has been carefully calibrated to operate quietly and with energy efficiency. It may look like an intense ice shaver, but it does the job quietly and efficiently, designed to avoid spills and automatically turned off any time that it’s opened to avoid spills and finger shaving disaster. Admittedly, this machine is more for commercial settings and producing large quantities of shaved ice for a bar, banquet, or restaurant. It will be a bit overkill for most homes. However, if you truly want the best, this machine can’t be topped.
- Sleek stainless steel design.
- Powerful motor and blades can crush up to 143 pounds of ice in an hour.
- Carefully designed to be energy efficient and safe.
- Water resistant to avoid spills and easy to clean.
- Will take up a fair amount of counter space for such a specialized appliance.
- Might be overkill for most home bars and kitchens.
Cutest Ice Shaver — Disney’s Olaf Snow Cone Machine
Finally, this machine certainly isn’t the most efficient or versatile ice crusher on the market. However, it’s so adorable that we couldn’t resist adding it to the list for any parents out there looking to surprise their children with some frozen treats this summer. After all, what kid out there isn’t obsessed with Frozen these days? Who better to provide them with a tasty snow cone than their good friend Olaf?
This cutie-pie ice crusher is easy to use. Simply freeze some ice in one of the provided moulds (or use ice cubes if your want a coarser grind), plop it into Olaf’s head and press a single button to fill up a cone with frozen ice shavings. After that, all you need to do is add the colorful syrup of your choice and watch your kids lose their minds over this frozen treat. Obviously the crushed or shaved ice can be used in any recipe, making plenty of drinks and treats for mom and dad as well. Sure, it’s not the most versatile or professional ice crusher on the planet. But after you see your children’s faces light up as you take Olaf out of the box, you won’t care one bit.
- Adorable Olaf design.
- Custom made to produce perfect snow cones
- Offers two textures of crushed ice.
- Kid approved.
- Not nearly as versatile, efficient, or powerful as any of the other options on this list.
- A novelty item, not an adult appliance.
Things To Look Out For
Here are some things to consider when choosing which ice crusher is right for you.
Manual Or Electric
This is the biggest difference between ice crushers and it should be fairly clear what that difference is based on the category heading. Manual ice crushers obviously depend on you to operate them properly. While they are energy saving in terms of your utilities bill, you will have to expend a great deal of physical energy to crush that ice. These machines tend to be a cheaper option, but they also tend to be a little less consistent, far more time consuming, and will tucker you out. Electric ice crushers on the other hand are fast and efficient. Simply press a button and wait for your machine to shoot out perfectly crushed ice every time. Sure, they’ll cost you a little more in both the short and long run, however the sense of convenience will be more than worth it for many users.
An ice crusher should be an appliance that you only need to purchase once. So make sure to look for one from a reputable company that is built to last. Is it possible to get a very cheap manual ice crusher that seems like an extraordinary deal? Sure, but it will likely be very difficult to use and break down easily enough that it will practically feel like a disposable product. A series of cheap ice crushers that break down and demand to be replaced will cost you more in the long run that one good machine that is built to last. Keep this in mind.
The Volume Of Ice That You Need Crushed
This may sound a little obvious, but it’s actually a pretty important thing to keep in mind. Do you live alone and plan to use your ice crusher to make personal cocktails in the summer? Well, then you have different ice crushing needs than someone who plans to make mass quantities of frozen beverages to feed an entire family BBQ. There are ice crushers made to accommodate pretty much any ice crushing need. So keep this is mind as it will ultimately either save you some money or trouble depending on your ice crushing needs.
Ease And Convenience
Your ice crusher should be making the job of crushing ice for your tasty treats easier. It sounds obvious, but there are manual ice crushers out there that are rather time consuming and physically taxing. So make sure to do the research and ensure that you end up with the easy breezy ice crusher that you deserve.
This is something that is easy to forget about, yet should not be ignored. Unless you enjoy mould and mildew, you’ll need to clean your ice machine. Some ice crushing machines are designed to be easily cleaned and others are not. Since an ice crushing machine is supposed to be about convenience in the first place, then it’s worth taking the time to ensure that your ice crusher is easy to clean. Otherwise, the machine you purchased to make your life easier will become a pain in the neck and you certainly don’t want that.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the difference between crushed ice and shaved ice?
A lot of it comes down to form and texture. Shaved ice is merely thin shavings ripped off of a large block of ice. While useful for some recipes, shaved ice isn’t nearly as versatile. Specifically, crushed ice is ideal for frozen drinks and will provide the texture and body necessary for the perfect frozen beverage.
How do you use an ice crusher?
This depends entirely on the machine. It could be as simple as pouring ice into your machine and pressing a button. Or you might have to select certain settings to ensure that you get the style of crushed ice that you crave. Or you might have to operate a crank and continually check your ice to ensure that it is crushed to your specifications. Depending on how easy, customizable, or physical you want the experience to be, you’ll have to purchase the right ice crusher to meet your goals.
How much ice can be crushed at once?
This depends entirely on the machine. Some will crush enough ice for a single beverage, while others can crush mass quantities of ice at once. So it’s a wise idea to think about how much crushed ice that you plan to use before choosing your machine. Obviously a bigger machine can always crush a small amount of ice, but it will also take up extra counter space. So this all depends on your needs.
Can I control how finely my ice is crushed?
Yes. Most electric ice crushers have several present options that will allow you to control the density and texture of your crushed ice to suit your preference. While manual ice crushers won’t offer this option, you are entirely in control of the ice crushing process. So you can always open up the machine and check in on the nature of your crushed ice, adjusting your crushing time as needed to get the ice that you deserve.
What can I make with an ice crusher?
Again, that’s entirely up to you. It could be anything from frozen drinks to tasty treats. There are so many different recipes out there that require crushed ice. So, do some research and you might find yourself surprised by how many possibilities are open to you with an ice crusher in your life.
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