Did you know that playing cards were invented by the Chinese as long ago as 1000AD? Nor did we! We’re here today to talk not about cards, but about a very useful device that will add a touch professionalism to every game you host – the card shuffler. Whether you have a regular card night at your home or run card schools at a pub, club or other venue, one of these devices will make life a lot easier!
They work by randomly shuffling the cards – some can handle more than one pack of cards – so you have a neatly shuffled set every game. Usually powered by batteries, they are easy to use, convenient and not expensive. Does that sound like a good idea to you? Great, let’s have a look at the top 10 best card shuffler models that we have found.
The Top 10
1. Funtime Card Shuffler
Our first example is an ideal starting place as it is a very simple, basic and straightforward item. It’s also very cheap – we’ve found it for less than a tenner – so if you just want one of these for fun games at home or at parties this could be a good choice. It takes two decks of cards so is usable for most card games, takes just a few seconds to shuffle all the cards, and is powered by 4 x AA batteries, which as is often the case are not included in the price.
But, the big question, is it any good? What we will say is that a lot of people have bought this product – almost 600 from one retailer – but of those 600, a good 40% had a complaint. That complaint was generally that the device is of very poor quality, often does not work, the internals break easily and it is a cheap and shoddy product. As such, we can’t recommend this automatic card shuffler to you!
2. GreatGadgets 2128 Six Deck
This playing card shuffler can handle six decks of cards at once. We can’t think of a game that requires that many cards off hand, but there’s still the advantage of having six neatly and randomly shuffled decks ready to play. Like the above, this one looks to be made from cheap and flimsy plastic – we would guess at Chinese origins – but it’s a decent price for a fun item that will make your card games go more smoothly, and eliminate the possibility of sleight of hand!
It’s a one button machine and you can choose to stop the shuffle should you wish. It has a pull out tray into which the shuffled pack is deposited, and it’s very simple to use. You need to buy 4 x C batteries to get it to go. Many people have bought this one and around 40% give it very good reviews, but the rest are notably varied. Many say it simply doesn’t work, others that it broke very quickly, and more that it is cheap and too large to be portable.
3. Hawkin’s Bazaar Automatic Card Shuffler
When we investigate items such as these – that is novelty items designed for a specific purpose – we often find some that are clearly the same thing, or at least a copy of one another. This model, for example, appears identical to the first one electric card shuffler on the list: it’s a two-pack machine, has the similar central drawer, operates on 4 x AA batteries (not supplied) and is made from plastic that doesn’t look particularly strong or durable.
Interestingly, it also garners the same level and type of complaints as its identical twin, with almost 50% of buyers saying it is – variously – rubbish, not fit for the purpose, it breaks easily, doesn’t shuffle the pack, and is not worth the money. We can’t recommend this one, then, and we are beginning to wonder if there is a card shuffler out there that actually is worth the money.
4. Relaxdays Card Shuffler
This model actually looks like it might be worth the money, as it is finished in a wood-look veneer that at least looks better than the plastic that we have seen so far. It’s a two pack shuffling machine that does the usual thing – a pack either side shuffled into a central tray for collection – and is operated by a one-button system so is easy to use. It needs 4 x AA batteries – again, not included – and is a decent price in line with the others on the list so far.
Unfortunately, more than half of those who have bought this machine and commented gave it two stars or under, and we bet you can guess the reasons! Variously, it does not shuffle cards, breaks easily, doesn’t synchronise its shuffling, works sometimes and not others, and so on. It’s clearly cheaply made and while it at least looks better than those we’ve talked about above, it’s still not offering us enough to recommend it.
5. Gibsons Games Piatnik Card Shuffler
There is something of a retro design theme to this one that we think is meant to make us think of casinos – it’s in the curved styling of the top and the unusual leather-look finish. It’s a standard two-pack shuffling machine that takes a tray either side and deposits in a central pull-out drawer, and it operates by one button – so all as usual so far. It needs 4 x AA batteries that you have to buy, and it is claims to be very effective.
But customers disagree: more than 6/10 people ranked this 3 stars or lower, and many complain about the usual things – poor construction, not shuffling properly, and simply not being very good at all. In some cases one side does not work at all – ever – and in others only every now and then. We have come to believe that those we have looked at so far may use the same internals, which are cheap and do not work very well, so let’s hope we find something different before long!
6. Bicycle Card Shuffler
For those who are unaware Bicycle is a big name in the playing card world and manufactures millions of packs for sale across the world. We expected, then, a shuffler that was perhaps a cut above the rest, and in some ways it is. It’s a little bit better built than those we’ve seen so far – and branded too – and shuffles the usual two packs in the same way, and it is also a decent price among the others here so no points lost there. Plus, it comes with an English instruction manual!
Yet, half of those who have bought it and commented give it two stars or less, which is very much in line with some of the scores we’ve seen so far. It’s frustrating repeating the same complaints again, but here goes: it’s unreliable, breaks easily, one side fails to work and some were even found to be wired incorrectly! And you need to buy the batteries before it will even half work.
7. Piatnik 2802 2 in 1
This model operates in a different way to the others we have seen so far; whereas all of those listed have trays side by side, and a central tray in the middle, this compact and neat design takes two packs in one end, shuffles them, and spits them out the other end. You can also use it for dealing if you wish, as the cards slip out when flicked. It does need batteries supplied, and it is plastic and cheaply made, but does it work?
There are very few customer reports to go on with this one, but it’s interesting that 60% of those say it does a good job. A couple even compare it to the other design, and say this is superior. However, be aware that there are a few that also say it doesn’t work at all, breaks easily and is not reliable at shuffling properly, and notably it is also a little bit more expensive than some of its contemporaries.
8. DeLuxe Electrical Card Mixing Machine
This is another take on what we have come to see as the standard design – a tray either side and one in the middle that acts as a drawer for the shuffled (or not) cards to fall into – and its been given its own decorative look with pictures of playing cards and a vaguely fairground-type look. However, it still looks cheap and very much like a toy – as most of these do – which is not what we expected when we started to investigate what card shufflers are all about.
This one shuffles two packs, needs batteries and so on, but it does get some good reviews. Even one of the 5-star ones, however, says that it ‘jams occasionally’ but it’s notable that 60% of a fair number of buyers ranked it 4-star or more. The complaints are of the usual nature: cheaply made, doesn’t always work, broke easily, not worth the money and so on, so the choice is yours.
9. Dire Wolves Professional Shuffler and Dealer
This one may actually be the real deal! It’s what we know as a ‘shoe’ type of card shuffler, which shuffles and deals at the same time. A clever machine and one that comes finished in a leather look coating, to make you think you’re in the casino for real! It can be powered by 4 x AA batteries (not supplied) or you can plug it into the mains with the cable and plug provided. It handles one or two decks of cards and is suitable for all types of playing cards.
Many products include the word ‘professional’ to make you think they are quality when often they’re not. We believe that this one is a professional card shuffler of the sort that would be used by your casino dealer or croupier, and the price shows it: you have to pay somewhere close to £70 for this, which is perhaps why there are no reviews from buyers. However, a bit of digging around found some favourable comments about this one, so we recommend it if you want a proper casino card shuffler and dealing device.
10. Amigo 5000 Card Shuffler
Our final example of card shuffler is different again, being a manual card shuffler and not electric – so there’s no batteries to buy! It works by placing a pack in the centre then turning a handle which moves some form of inner contraption, which in turn shuffles the cards. Or that is the intention. It looks good, is available in a few colour and can be used for all card games but – as usual – the jury is split as to whether it does the job.
Of the few buyers who have bought one of these, the verdict is split between it being a five star or one star machine, with nothing in between! Those that like it say it’s good and worth the money, those that don’t say it’s rubbish and a waste of money. Without much else to go on, we won’t be recommending this one.
So, that’s our ten card shufflers, and to say we’re disappointed with the quality and the variety available is an understatement! Let’s have a look at what to remember when buying one of these.
Important Factors to Consider
Of all the items we have looked at for our buying guides, these card shuffler UK models are among the most consistently disappointing of all. Ten machines, most of which are simply another version of the same thing, and all of which have quite a few complaints of poor quality, except for one. We’ll come back to that, but first, a few things to consider:
Reliability – the whole purpose of an automatic card shuffler is that there can be no dispute as to the veracity of the deal. Unfortunately, a good few of these are reportedly very unreliable.
Number of Packs – two is ideal, but one of these handles six! We’re not sure why you would need more than two.
Electric of Manual – you have a choice of nine where you push a button, and one where you turn a handle, and that choice is yours!
Shuffle and Deal – two of those on this list shuffle and deal the cards, and that has been something of a deciding factor in our decision that follows.
Let’s not hang around, it’s time to wrap this one up!
There is absolutely no question that we recommend the Dire Wolves Professional Shuffler and Dealer as the best card shuffler machine on our list, as it is the only one that has been designed and built with any quality, and the only one we can see coming close to being used in a professional setting. However, it is very expensive, so if you want a cheaper version of the shuffle and deal machine, the Piatnik 2802 2 in 1 is similar and also of the ‘shoe’ design at a far lesser price, but does come with some poor comments. Of the rest, it’s safe to say we couldn’t recommend any of them!
That’s us done then, so get yourself the card shuffler of your choice, and have fun!