I got this after having returned a Sunbeam igloo-shaped snow cone maker from another store that was a piece of junk. This one was only $5 more than the other, was much nicer looking, and works much better. It is loud, but I expected it to be. It makes one snow cone in about 20 seconds. I've made 6 in a row and the motor did not smell like it was getting hot. (I'm pretty sure you could make at least 10 at one time without a problem.) I've used it with slightly melted ice cubes, and it worked a bit faster, but ice cubes straight from the freezer worked fine, too. One review I read said that it makes fluffy ice, similar to shaved ice. It does not; it's more snow cone like, crunchy ice. Not bad, but I know the hand crank kind with the disc to freeze the water in work much better for making shaved ice. (Just a bit more work.) This one is easier and quicker, though. I am glad I bought this one. My kids both love it, and my 8 year-old can use it himself.
I only gave it 3 stars for durability because of some minor issues. First, one of the suction cup feet came off the first time we tried to pull it off the counter. It took a lot of work to get it back in, and I damaged the foot doing it. I'm sure the feet are crucial to it's performance, as it would likely scoot loudly around the counter top without them. Also, the plastic cone holder is rather flimsy and doesn't hold full cones well. We took ours off.
If you think you would use this on a regular basis, think about how much sugar and food coloring you or your kids will be consuming. We are experimenting with healthier options for flavoring, like juice concentrate. I highly recommend Torani, DaVinci, Monin, or similar coffee syrup type flavorings from a restaurant supply store. In the end, they taste better, can be a bit cheaper per oz., they use cane syrup instead of high fructose corn syrup, and generally have less food coloring than the snow cone flavorings I've found.
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