When you’re making shaved ice, the most important ingredient is of course—ice! If you’re a first-time shaved ice machine user, not only will you have to get your flavored syrups in order, you’ll definitely need to have an idea of what type of ice to use.

There are two different types of ice—cube ice and block ice, and consequently two different types of ice shavers—cube shaved ice machines and block shaved ice machines.

What are the primary differences between the two and which one is right for you? These are the questions that we’d like to answer with today’s handy guide to cube and block ice.

Cubed Ice
Cubed ice is generally readily available in your local convenience or grocery store. The cost of bagged or cubed ice is generally pretty cheap and this may vary based on your location and the size of the bags.

Shaved ice machines that use cubed ice are very easy to maintain and they shave ice fairly quickly. The type of shaved ice produced using these machines tends to be fine and fluffy in consistency and texture.

If you’re running a shaved ice business, the ease of use means employees require minimal training to properly operate the machine.

Block Ice
Block ice, on the other hand is not as easily available as regular cubed or bagged ice. You may be able to purchase it from an ice wholesaler, which can be expensive or you can make it on your own using ice molds for free.

Block ice comes in two different forms—compressed block ice and solid block ice. You should NEVER used compressed block ice with shaved ice machines, as it does not provide a smooth shaving surface for your block shaver and in turn will not produce a smooth, solid snow that solid block ice would.

Solid block ice is the preferred form of block ice used in the shaved ice industry. Shaved ice machines that use block ice are easy to operate, but it may take a little bit of time to train users. Like cube ice shavers, block ice shavers produce ice quickly but production really depends on the experience of the operator.

Block ice shavers make the softest ice possible, that’s truly snow-like in texture. For your shaved ice business we suggest purchasing 12-pound blocks for easy storage.

If you’re having trouble finding block ice in your area, then as we said, you can make your own ice using a block ice maker. Alternately, you can purchase a block ice mold, fill it with water, and place it in a deep freezer for 2 to 3 days. Ideally, you should set your freezer temperature to roughly 10° Fahrenheit, which will allow the ice to freeze slower, and produce a better block of ice that won’t crack when shaved.

We do hope this handy ice guide will make your shaved ice experience a little easier, and you can shop smarter. If you have any questions about proper shaving techniques or any of our products, please contact us at customercare@hawaiianshavedice.com, and for all of your shaved ice business needs, be sure to visit our commercial site at 1-800-Shaved-Ice.com.