Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy and Home Depot stock countertop appliances for making Italian ice. Instead of a dedicated appliance, an ice cream maker is typically used for making homemade Italian ice, which consists of water mixed with a syrup-like blend of fruit juice and sugar.
Ice cream makers are available in manual and electric models, both of which consist of an ingredient container and a freezing element. Manual machines usually include a crank or another hand-powered mixing tool, and the user may need to place ice and rock salt into the machine for freezing. Electric machines typically contain a motor that keeps the mixture churning, but the freezing element may be ice or an electronic cooling system. The least expensive machines typically range from $15 to $40, while high-end digital systems can exceed $300.
While frozen desserts, such as snow cones, are made with flavored syrup poured over granular ice, Italian ice involves mixing all of the ingredients and freezing the resultant blend. Italian ice doesn't contain milk, but premixing the ingredients and including a large amount of sugar helps to produce a smoother texture than snow cones and a denser texture than sorbet. A major benefit of most ice cream makers is their ability to produce mixtures of varying consistencies, depending on the user's preferences.