When the summer weather rolls around and temperatures rise, there’s nothing more refreshing than a cold, flavorful slushy. Investing in a slush machine can be a great way to make these tasty treats at home or boost your business’s appeal. But how much do slush machines cost?
Household slush machines can cost between $20 to $300. Commercial slush machines are pricier and can cost as much as $2,000 because they’re larger and capable of creating more servings. However, it’s possible to find quality home slush machines for around $100 or less.
To learn more about how much slush machines cost and some ways that you can save on those costs, keep reading.
Factors That Contribute to the Cost of Slush Machines
If you’ve had a quick look at slush machines online, you may have seen some that are particularly expensive and others that are much cheaper. There are a few factors that can increase the price of slush machines. Understanding these factors will help you determine what kind of machine you want, so you know what price ranges you should aim for.
Here are some of the factors that contribute to the cost of slush machines:
Home vs. Commercial Use
The use of the slush machine will determine its price. Often, home slush machines are much cheaper than commercial machines because they’re more compact and can only make small batches of slush, ideal for individuals and small groups.
As required, most home slush machines can be set up on kitchen counters and packed away in cabinets or pantries. They’re also readily available online and at homeware stores.
On the other hand, a commercial machine usually needs more surface space or is freestanding. It can’t easily be stored away when it’s not in use due to its bulky structure. Its containers also can store more product and make bigger batches of slush.
Commercial slush machines are frequently found in restaurants, convenience stores, gas stations, and theme parks to serve large crowds or the general public. Some commercial slush machines can be found online, and others may need to be purchased directly from a specialized vendor or restaurant supplies store.
A primary difference between home slush machines and commercial slush machines is the serving capacity. Since home slush machines have a smaller serving capacity, they tend to be cheaper than commercial machines. Household machines usually have a single bowl that can produce around three to four 8-ounce (236 mL) servings per batch.
Commercial machines are designed to mix more product, and many come with multiple bowls. Their size and storage capacity allows them to create several gallons of slushies, which can efficiently serve more than 50 people at a time without replenishing.
Since commercial machines can produce more servings, they’re helpful to establishments that sell slushies in various sizes. The machine’s larger capacity ensures that it won’t run out of product if some customers order bigger drink sizes than others.
Supplies and Operating Costs
The extra supplies needed to create slushies and run the machine can increase its overall cost. As home slush machines are used for smaller groups, many of the supplies needed can be purchased in smaller quantities. Sometimes, supplies come with the machine and are included in its price, and you probably won’t find yourself restocking them too often either.
The machine may only be used for a short time, which means the electricity costs of running it are lower too.
You will save on home slush machines costs if you use your own cups and ice without purchasing them separately. Not needing these extra items in large quantities cuts down on the overall cost of running the machine.
Commercial slush machines cost more to operate because they require more electricity and are usually run for longer. Places like restaurants, convenience stores, and gas stations that stay open late may continue to have their slush machines running, even if customers don’t purchase the beverages at all hours.
Furthermore, the extra supplies needed for commercial machines, such as disposable cups, lids, straws, and slush mix, must be purchased separately in bulk. Buying these items separately can increase operating costs, but some suppliers may offer them to buyers at a reduced price.
Maintenance and Labor
Lastly, the maintenance and extra labor required to keep the machines in working order can contribute to their overall costs. Home slush machines are often relatively easy to clean because they can swiftly be taken apart and wiped down, or washed in the sink. You usually don’t need more than one person to clean a home slush machine. It also doesn’t come with as many parts that need to be sanitized either.
Still, commercial machines can’t be cleaned as quickly because of their bulky size. They also require dismantling before you can efficiently clean their components, which can be a tedious process.
To get a better idea of how to disassemble and clean a commercial slush machine, check out this YouTube video from Chef’s Gear:
If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the machine yourself, you may have to enlist the help of employees, friends, or hire specialists that can professionally clean it.
However, slush machines don’t just require cleaning; some require extra labor too. Most home slush machines only need a simple set-up, which one person can perform.
But when you run a commercial machine, you may have to consider employee wages or installation fees, which can bump up the price of owning and operating a slush machine.
These extra costs are usually dependent on the type of machine you purchase:
- Pourover: This type of machine requires the user to pour the liquid mixture into the machine manually. It’s the most common machine for household use because it’s easy to operate and clean. It’s also the cheapest option for commercial use but will require an employee to monitor the bowl levels and refill it accordingly.
- Autofill with liquid: This type of machine can hold excess liquid that is gradually replenished whenever the machine’s bowl begins to run low. Users don’t have to monitor this machine as much, but it does require an external water pump to be installed, so the liquid content is consistent.
- Autofill with powder: Like the autofill with liquid machine, the autofill with powder machine maintains a consistent level of powder and liquid and automatically replenishes the mixture when the bowls’ levels decrease. An extra pump for water is also needed with this machine.
How To Choose Between a Home or Commercial Slush Machine
Choosing between a home or commercial slush machine can be tricky, especially if you’re eager to serve larger crowds or want to use the machine frequently. Some might think a home slush machine is too small for parties, or a commercial machine is too big of an investment for occasional gatherings.
Here’s how you can choose between a home or commercial slush machine:
- Estimate the Number of Servings You’ll Make
Whether you’re purchasing the machine for a kids’ birthday party or to make yourself a treat in the summer, you should estimate the average number of servings you want per batch. You can then base your average number of servings on the bowl size you’ll need. Remember, most household machines will have one bowl, while larger commercial ones will have multiple bowls.
A slush machine I can highly recommend, due to its serving capacity, is the Nostalgia Margarita and Slush Machine from Amazon.com. It comes with a carrying handle so moving it around is really easy, and it can hold up to a gallon of slush mix. It’s an efficient machine for people who need to accommodate small to medium-sized groups. It also has a fun and retro aesthetic, and will look nice on any countertop, especially if it becomes a regular fixture in your kitchen!
- Consider How Much Space You Have
Both homeowners and business owners should analyze how much extra space they have available and where they intend to put the machine. The machine should be easy to access at home and in commercial settings and shouldn’t obstruct other surroundings, including walkways, sinks, or doors.
A home slush machine will be more practical for those with less space, while businesses with commercial kitchens can likely accommodate a larger machine.
If you’re limited on space, I recommend the Zoku Slush and Shake Maker from Amazon.com. This slush maker is extremely compact and is similar in size to a travel mug. It can also make your favorite slushy drinks in minutes and comes with a handy slush spoon, so enjoying your beverage is more convenient.
- Set a Budget Range You’re Comfortable With
Although commercial slush machines are more expensive than home ones, household machines can still cost a pretty penny. When shopping around for your machine, consider the average price range and added costs previously mentioned so that you can set a final budget.
If looking for a home machine, compare machines that come with all the necessary supplies to those that don’t, so you’ll have a better understanding of what else to buy to make the perfect slush.
For a home machine that provides flavoring syrups to get you started, I recommend the Icee Slushie Making Machine from Amazon.com. This nostalgic machine comes with two of Icee’s signature flavoring syrups: blue raspberry and cherry. It’s practical for those that want to spend time testing out the machine and creating simple slushies, without spending a fortune.
If purchasing a commercial machine, plan out your anticipated labor costs and potential earnings before buying a more expensive machine.
5 Ways to Save on Slush Machine Costs
Now that you know how to narrow down your options and choose a suitable machine, you may be wondering if there are any ways you can reduce the overall cost of owning and operating the machine. Fortunately, making minor changes can save you quite a bit of money.
Here are some ways to save on slush machine costs:
- Rent the Machine
If you don’t necessarily need access to a machine all the time, but you want one for an upcoming event or party, consider renting the machine instead. Most restaurant supplies or party supplies shops will have machines that you can easily rent for the day or the duration of the event.
Renting a machine for a set period is often cheaper than dishing out a fortune for an industrial unit if you only plan to use it temporarily. Often, vendors may also include enough supplies to accommodate the rental period, so you don’t worry about purchasing anything extra while you have the machine.
And when you return it, you also won’t need to spend as much on maintenance costs, as the company you rented from will take care of that for you.
- Purchase a Machine Second Hand
Should you decide that it’s more beneficial to own a slush machine, consider buying one second hand to save on costs. You can find second hand slush machines from private sellers online, local restaurants that no longer need or want them, or at restaurant supplies stores.
When buying a machine second hand, be sure to test it out first and check that all of its parts are still intact. If it appears good to go, give it a thorough clean and purchase the right supplies.
- Opt for Reusable Cups
If you’re operating a slush machine for commercial purposes, one of the easiest ways to reduce your overall costs is to encourage your customers to use reusable cups. For home slush machines, simply use the cups you have in your kitchen instead of purchasing disposable ones.
Reusable cups can significantly cut supplies costs required to sell and serve your slushes. You can set a limit size per serving, charge a fair amount for your product, and your customers can enjoy their beverage from their own cup. Many reusable cups also come with fitted lids and straws, which could save you more money on supplies.
- Limit Your Menu
Having an extensive menu with various drinks can also bring up the costs of running your machine. For example, drinks with alcohol or dairy added to them are much more expensive than syrup-based drinks.
Adding these extra ingredients and items to your menu can increase the machine’s operating costs because you may need additional labor to mix the drinks, and the machine will require more frequent cleanings (especially if dairy is included in the mixtures).
If you intend to sell alcoholic drinks from your machine, you may also need a permit to do so, which can be another expense.
- Perfect the Mixture
To reduce customer dissatisfaction and product waste, you should spend considerable time perfecting drink ratios and tastes. This will reduce the number of customers (or household members) that aren’t satisfied with your drinks and subsequently ask for refunds or replacements.
It will also ensure you get the right consistency and flavor every time, so you aren’t throwing away unsellable product.