You have two options for filling your shave ice machine: cube ice and block ice. One type is not universally better than the other, so you should choose based on the machine you have and the type of dessert you want to create. This guide outlines what each type of ice offers and how you'll need to process it.

Cube Ice

What It Is

Cube ice is what likely comes to mind when you think of ice. They are the small blocks often used in drinks or sold at the store in a bag to take home. Cube ice isn’t limited to one shape since it comes in a variety of shapes such as bullets, half-cubes, and crescents. However, the cube is typically preferred for shave ice machines since it’s compact and easier to move from the freezer to the machine.

What to Expect for Shave Ice

shave iceThe machines that take this kind of ice are best for beginners. They are typically more affordable, and the ice needed to fill them is easy to find. The machines do not have any exposed blades, so they are easy and safe for someone new to use. They are also portable, which makes them a good option for families or shave ice trucks.

Block Ice

What It Is

Block ice comes in one large block, rather than many smaller cubes. The solid version is used for shave ice desserts, rather than a compressed block—the compressed ice has air pockets inside, which negatively affect the dessert’s texture. In a solid block, the water is poured into the mold and frozen for a smooth surface with no air pockets.

What to Expect for Shave Ice

The machines that carve ice from a block have exposed blades, so they take more care and training to use. However, the ice that's produced is consistently fluffy for unparalleled texture. This is because the shave ice is chipped and shaved from one large block, rather than multiple separate pieces.

The block ice can be purchased in bulk or even made yourself, which makes it more affordable in the long term. This is best for a serious business that wants to invest in the future and always provide the finest result for their customers.


Hawaiian Five-OH sells shave ice machines that take both block and cubed ice in West Chester, OH. Their state-of-the-art machines always produce the best fluffy texture with efficient production. They also offer everything else you need for your shave ice business, including more than 300 flavors of syrup, cups, and other supplies. Learn more on their website and call (513) 932-4686 with any questions.