Having ice on-hand in your home can help you craft memorable creations, you can usually only find in restaurants and ice cream trucks. While cubes are most popular, other forms of ice are beneficial and a lot more fun. Flake ice is that exquisite ice used to make snow-cones, smoothies, and cool drinks on a hot summer day. It also can help keep produce crisp and freshly caught fish fresh.
You can even up your food display skills for that family get-together by creating shrimp cocktail glasses, a buffet with salads placed in flake ice to stay safe and cold, or even set up your own sushi bar. We took a look at the top flake ice machines that can make a great addition to your home.
Foter is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The days of larger capacity ice machines only being suitable for commercial use have passed. Today, you can easily add one to your home, based on the space you have available and how much ice is needed. Stainless steel blades and cabinets provide durability. Ice capacity varies widely, ranging from a single serving to enough for a large group or any special event.
The VBENLEM 110V Flake Ice Maker and the SZB-20 Automatic Flake Ice Makerare both made of the durable stainless steel design. They are countertop or freestanding capable, providing you with more options for placement. Both require connecting to an already existing water line, much like your refrigerator or freestanding freezer.
These 2 ice machines are perfect for medium to large families or those who like to entertain a slightly larger group. They provide a high volume of ice in 24 hours, just enough for your home party or special event.
For anyone who might be looking for high quality and consistent ice-making without much effort, the HTH Snowflake Crushed Ice Maker is in a class all its own. The ice-making process is automatic from start to finish and continuous. It even has an automatic stop if the ice bin is full or a water shortage occurs, making this the most reliable and easy to use ice machine available for your home.
Add the HTH unit to your home bar, and never worry whether flaked ice is available at a moment's notice or for an impromptu party. Use the ice for adult beverages or to set up a buffet, and you'll still always have enough for the children's snow cones.
Anyone looking for a more simple design that doesn't require its own water line connection, then the Great Northern Premium Quality Ice Machine, Dash DSIM100GBAQ02 Ice Machine, and Little Snowie Max are ideal choices. Simply add your own already-made ice to the top compartments, press, and create as much as you need.
All 3 of these ice machines are portable and provide enough flaked ice for small- or medium-sized groups. The only downside is they hold smaller capacities and require more time to produce additional flaked ice. However, they may be all you need for special events or one-on-one time with friends and loved ones.
Our top pick overall is the VBENLEM 110V Flake Ice Maker, a commercial-grade ice machine highly suitable for home use. This unit is impressive in capacity, energy efficiency, and ease of use. A fully lit-up LED control panel keeps you aware of the status of your ice and anything you need to do to keep it going. Slide one of these into your kitchen, pantry, or home bar for all the ice you need.
Choosing the Best Flake Machine for Your Home
Choosing the best flake ice machine for your home can be confusing at first. You don't want to buy one that provides more ice than you'll ever need or one that produces too little. Finding one that fits your needs involves knowing what it is you are trying to accomplish and how often you'll want to use it at full capacity.
To help, we've tried out several on the market today and determined what it is you need to determine before making a purchase. Here are several key features and functionalities to look for so you can make the best possible choice for your home needs.
● Space Availability: Although you may have a use in mind for your ice machine, the first thing to consider is what type ofspace is available for one. Fortunately, ice makers come in a variety of sizes and shapes. These can be countertop, undercounter, freestanding, or portable. Most ice machines require space near a water source and an electrical outlet, so consider these factors as you search for the perfect spot.
● Ice Maker Type: The type of ice maker you choose will depend on how you plan to use it. If you want to entertain often, add a freestanding or countertop model to your home bar or entertainment area. If you want to pull out your flake ice maker during children's parties or on scorching hot summer afternoons, you most likely only need a portable unit to which you add your own ice and have it crushed or flaked for use in snowcones or other treats.
● Ice Variety: Do you want a unit that makes only flake ice or offers you a choice of different ice types? Your type choices include nugget ice, cube ice, crescent ice, flake ice, and delicately shaved ice. While it is difficult to find a do-it-all ice maker, you do have some variety in the units available today.
● Amount of Ice Needed: If this is your first ice machine purchase, you may find it challenging to determine how much ice you need overall. Ask yourself how often you will need flake ice. Will it just be for special events for a small group? Or do you plan to install one near your home bar for entertaining regularly? There are ice machines that make up to 99 lbs. of ice in a 24-hour period and hold a capacity of 29 lb.s at any given time, which is great for entertaining larger groups.
● Drainage: Where there's ice, there's water. Proper drainage capabilities are essential. Most ice machines added to homes today, such as countertop or freestanding, usually allow for 1 of 2drain options: Gravity or drain pumps. The drainage you choose often depends on how close you will be setting up your ice maker to a working sink drain. If it is around 2' away, a gravity drain works well. The other option is a drain pump for those ice machines not placed near sinks or without a way to move downwards toward a drain.
Electrical Setup: The majority of ice makers require either a 115-volt or a 220-volt outlet. Standard wall outlets in your home usually are 115-volt receptacles. For the larger, commercial-style ice machines, the outlets look like your washer and dryer outlets.
● Design: Of course, you'll also want to consider your ice machine's look and overall design and how it fits in with your current home décor. Bulkier units may be an eyesore and end up detracting from your home bar or kitchen space. A few makes of ice machines can be built-in, with the ability to hide them behind cabinet doors. The more simple ice machines can be moved around and stored out of sight when not in use.
Below are commonly asked questions when it comes to choosing the right flake ice machine for the home.
Q. How is flake ice made?
A: Flake ice is similar to shaved ice in texture and shape. It is created when larger chunks of ice, such as cubes, are filtered through rotating stainless steel blades, making the thinner ice particles.
Q. How do I know what capacity to choose in a flake ice machine?
A: Each flake ice machine has its own capacity limits. For example, some ice holding bins have a capacity of 11 lbs. of flaked ice at any given time. This is plenty for a medium-size family or small group get-together where you are making snow cones and various frozen drinks. If you plan to use your flake ice machine to support special events where larger crowds are common, look for one that holds a larger capacity of ice at any given time.
A more casual user, such as a small family wishing to make snow cones occasionally, will do well with a smaller, portable ice machine. These models can be pulled out easily for use and don't hold much ice, but produce just what is needed.
Q: How difficult will it be to set up a flake ice maker in the home?
Any set-up and installation of an ice maker in your home depends on the type and size of the machine you purchase. The portable versions, where you add your ice, require no installation at all. You simply plug them in and add ice to the top compartment. Other portable versions require you to fill the reservoir with water and plug it in.
However, larger, commercial-grade units require connecting a water line to an already prepared water source, just like your refrigerator freezer ice maker requires. You also need to install a gravity drain, which usually comes with the ice maker, if setting up your unit close to a sink. If you plan to place your ice machine further away, a drain pump can easily be installed to lead water away from the unit to an accessible drain.
While there are definite factors to consider when adding an ice machine to your home, there are numerous options available with at least 1 or 2 matching your needs. To help get you started, we've provided our picks for the top 10 best flake ice makers for your home below.
Top 10 Flake Ice Maker Reviews
The VBENLEM 110V Flake Ice Maker is a freestanding, commercial-grade ice maker and is our top pick for home-usage. Made of durable stainless steel, place this ice maker on your countertop or anywhere else you have room. However, you'll need to connect the ice maker to a water source, much like a refrigerator.
You can expect up to 44 lbs. of flaked ice per 24 hours, an impressive amount for such a portable unit. It holds up to 11 lbs. of ice at a time. The inner container is ABX food-grade, so your ice is safe for whenever you're ready to use it.
In addition, VBENLEM consumes low amounts of energy, making it efficient and less costly than many of the various ice makers on the market today.
Another feature we love about this unit is its ease of use. A designated control area contains LED indicator lights, making it quick and easy to see the status. Every time you turn it on, an automatic flush of the inner ice bucket occurs for convenience and efficiency, lessening the steps you have to take to get started.
With its sleek and classic look, this best pick fits in with any kitchen or home bar décor. It also comes with an easily accessible lid and scoop for convenience. Just turn it on and let it purr softly as it makes your ice for you.
One of the only downsides we see is the lack of a warranty. Even with good quality ice makers, there is always a chance of a breakdown. This will need to be an individual decision on your part as to the importance of having a warranty.
While a little more expensive than our top pick, the SZB-20 tops our list for the best value for the money. This freestanding ice maker produces a higher capacity of up to 66 lbs. of flaked ice per day. Set it up in your kitchen, laundry room, or other space that has an accessible water line.
Encased in a stainless steel cabinet, this ice machine fits right in with your other appliances or as a standout feature in your home bar. It runs on 120 volts, so you should have no trouble finding a place to plug it in. It also comes with a gravity-based drain.
An operation board contains LED indicators for easy usage. It even has an auto-cleaning function, which switches on each time you turn the unit on, and only takes about a minute.
Additional features we like include an overheating protection auto shut-off, insulated ice storage section, and an internal water storage tank to preserve water.
Although this unit comes with a 1-year warranty, it is rather limited. You'll want to take good care of the overall ice machine, being sure the drain and water line is properly set up and continues to function well throughout usage.
Encased in a heavy-duty stainless steel cabinet, this ice maker is the king of durability and output. With its 88 lbs. capacity bin and the ability to produce over 300 lbs. of flake ice per day, you'll have a steady supply of flaked ice for your smoothies, cocktails, and any other treats without ever having to wait.
Equipped with a self-contained condenser, this air-cooled ice maker is the top choice for those looking for a heavy-duty flake ice maker. Place this marvel under a counter or leave it as a standalone. It has an easily accessible sliding door, which moves up and out of your way as you scoop out the ice you need.
To make its ice machine even more attractive to buyers, the Manitowoc comes with a standard 3-year parts and 2-year labor warranty. The compressor comes with a 5-year parts warranty, which shows you how serious this manufacturer is and how much it trusts its product's reliability.
While this ice maker is marketed as a commercial unit, don't let that scare you away. The hOmeLabs Freestanding Ice Maker Machine is ideal for home use, especially during special events. Whether you're joining in on neighborhood block parties, creating a holiday meal, or having a big family get-together, this is a top choice for all your ice making needs.
Capable of producing 99 lbs. of flaked ice within 24 hours, this is by far the most impressive ice maker for slightly higher capacity home needs. It can hold up to 29 lbs. of ice at a time and is freestanding or countertop compatible.
Place this sleek 17.6" x 15.7" x 31.4" ice maker anywhere you have room in a kitchen, pantry, or laundry room. Hook it to your water supply with the included 9' hose, then attach the 6.5' drain hose, and plug it in. The control panel is relatively easy to use as well and has LCD function indicators.
While the manufacturer approves the unit for indoor use only, customers often report keeping one on a covered patio for use outdoors. If you try this, just be aware that it may void the 1-year warranty that comes with the ice maker.
For those who enjoy selecting and using top quality products in their home bars that not only look luxurious but also deliver, the HTH Snowflake Crushed Ice Maker is a must. Invite your friends over and let them self-serve or do it for them with this hard-working ice maker.
The entire process is automatically controlled for continuous ice making so you can spend your time having fun rather than pressing buttons. The ice maker will also automatically stop if there is a water shortage or the ice cabinet is full.
Attractive, dependable, and efficient, you'll have no complaints from patrons of your home bar when it comes to the availability and convenience of flake ice.
Its powerful compressor produces up to 44 lbs. of ice per day, storing 11 lbs. at a time, just enough for you and all your friends. Place it on a countertop, leave it freestanding in a corner, or go all-in with its built-in capabilities. You'll definitely get your money's worth of use out of this ice machine.
While this flake ice maker doesn't turn your water into ice cubes, it does take the ice you already have in your freezer and turns it into flaked or shaved ice for the best snow cones for your next party.
We chose this ice maker as the best for snow cones for a variety of reasons. This unit comes with stainless steel, precision-cut blades that create fluffy-style ice that's perfectly suited for snow cones. It is also a high-capacity machine, holding up to 30 8 oz. snow cone servings.
Just add ice cubes to the top compartment, and voilà. You are on your way to great ice for snow cones kids, big or small, will love. You'll be able to serve more in a shorter amount of time, making this the ideal party station.
Cleaning up is a cinch as well. The drip tray catches melted ice, and the chamber can easily be removed for cleaning. This is a cost-effective solution, not requiring installation or major space.
Customers report, and we confirmed, that it's best to rinse ice with water before placing it in the Nostalgia's top compartment. This prevents the ice from sticking together and possibly slowing or breaking the machine. You can add on a 3-year or 4-year protection plan at the time of buying to ensure it keeps working long-term.
Looking for a compact, easy to use ice and slushie maker to add to your kitchen or home bar? Whether you enjoy great-tasting slushies or frozen cocktails, including margaritas, this machine is perfect for those looking for a lower volume flake ice machine.
The simplicity of this Dash ice maker and its ability to create the perfect flaked and shaved ice for favorite frozen drinks quickly impressed our team. Remove it from its package, plug it in, and load regular ice into the top. Watch as the ice comes out just to your liking, then add favorite juices or concoctions to create your preferred frozen drink.
This lightweight, compact ice machine fits easily in your cabinet or on a pantry shelf. Pull it out just for a single use or for the whole family. Even your children can operate this machine with ease and safety, and have fun with it also.
The Dash Ice Maker is powered by a limited 85-watt motor and often takes longer to create the flaked or shaved ice you need. Overall, it is a perfect choice for frozen drinks on a smaller scale.
While this is named more of a shaved ice machine, its results are so similar to the flake ice we've been reviewing that we had to include it on the list due to its high-quality design and output.
Our favorite design features on this ice machine are its adjustable stainless steel blade (fully replaceable) and highly rated commercial ⅓ HP motor. Reviews even claim this wonder can conquer 350 lbs. of ice in an hour. That's a lot of ice.
Of all the ice makers reviewed, this one delivers the softest, fluffiest ice we've found. With the adjustable blade feature, you can also control how fine or thick the results are.
With its high-impact construction and stainless steel blades, you can count on this ice maker lasting a long time. Further, as part of the Northern Popcorn line of products, it comes with a 1-year warranty.
The ice maker is not exactly super portable, weighing in at 57.5 lbs. It also is not recommended for children to use, especially if not supervised.
9. Best Flake Ice Machine for Portability: Little Snowie Max
We love the portability of this high-quality ice machine. Weighing only 3.52 oz., it is easy to move from room to room, take outside, or cart off to your office, church, or other location. We can't say enough fun and worthwhile things about this one. We think all kitchens should have one.
Portability doesn't mean skimping on capability when it comes to this Little Snowie Max. With its professional-grade stainless steel blade and high-speed motor, you'll be amazed this small machine does so much for being so small. It's fast and efficient, making perfectly flaked or shaved snow-like ice within seconds.
Just hold the lid down, and the machine gets to work. Using its durable blade, which has 10 edges, it quickly and precisely turns your regular cube ice into spectacular ice for snow cones, slushies, desserts, or frozen cocktails.
The one negative thing we did notice is that this ice machine is rather noisy but not much more than a typical blender. It also tends to be a bit messier, so you may want to place it on a wide cookie sheet or another easy to clean-up base.
10. Best Flake Ice Machine for Budget-Friendliness: Time for Treats Avalanche
If you're looking for a decent, budget-friendly option for your flake ice needs, the Time for Treats Avalanche Electric Ice Shaver Show Cone Maker VKP 1100 is your best choice. Simple to use, you'll want to use this machine all the time for making snow cones, frozen drinks, and even displaying your shrimp platters for guests.
Using a replaceable, adjustable stainless steel blade, you can customize the ice to fit your preferences. Drop ice cubes into the top, close the lid and press down to activate. It is child-friendly and fun to watch through the transparent top.
You will get hours and days of use out of the Time for Treats Avalanche. Although it provides smaller volumes at a time, use it 4 or 5 times in a row, and you'll have enough ice for a larger group. It may take a little longer but will be worth it once you see what it provides in terms of usable, snow-like ice.