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Top Reasons to Buy
Why buy your favorite frozen treats while you can make them at home?
Well, if you’re a fan of ice cream and all the associated treats like gelato, sorbets and frozen yogurt, owning an ice cream machine will help you save some tidy bucks. Moreover, it will give you a chance to try out all the frozen recipes you’re interested in, and potentially discover delicious creamy flavors in the process.
Below, you’ll find detailed reviews of the 9 best ice cream makers in the market. Having tried them all, and also consulted with a number of professional ice cream makers, we consider the Cuisinart ICE-70 to be the best ice cream machine in 2020.
However, our parameters and preferences may not be the same as yours, and you may want to check the rest of the units and find one that works for you. But before that, there’s a couple of things you need to know.
Here are the best ice cream makers you can buy:
- Best overall - Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker
- Runner up - Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker
- Best High-End Ice Cream Machine - Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker
- Best Low Budget Buy - Nostalgia 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker
- Best Churning Time - Lello 4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker
- Best Manual Operation - Donvier 837450 Manual Ice Cream Maker
- Best Soft Serve Maker - Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve Maker
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
The 9 Best Ice Cream Machines Reviews
1. Best overall - Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker
Weight: 13.5 lbs
Capacity: 1.8 Liters (2 quarts)
Dimensions: 9.7 x 8.6 x 13.2 inches
The Cuisinart ICE-70 has everything you would want in an ice cream machine, and it is particularly efficient in churning out large volumes of ice cream.
The unit is self-contained – you only need to throw in your ingredients, and it will do everything for you in just 20 minutes. After churning, the freezer will keep the ice cream cool for about 10 minutes, which gives you enough time to prepare the storage equipment.
All the sides of this unit, except the bottom, are made of sleek, brushed chrome which gives the unit a pleasingly classic look. Notably, it’s not advisable to clean the metallic parts in a dishwasher. You can simply clean it manually using soapy water.
The machine also has some user-friendly controls, consisting of 4 settings. These include the START/STOP, ICE CREAM, GELATO, and SORBET buttons. The LCD display shows the remaining processing time and is linked to an automatic-shutoff feature that stops the process once the time elapses.
Yes, you read that right.
2. Runner up - Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker
Weight: 27 lbs
Power Consumption: 150W/2.4A
Temperature Range: -0.4°F to -31°F
If you are not fond of noisy machines, then look no further than the Whynter ICM-15LS!
This unit is also a compressor model, meaning that you don’t need to pre-freeze during preparation – just put in your ingredient mixture and collect your ice cream in 30 minutes.
Well, it’s as simple as that!
The Whynter ICM-15LS has an incredibly light but durable body, with the sides and top being made of stainless steel. The front and back are made of hard plastic to allow for the air vents, which keep the machine cool when it’s churning.
Another great feature is the functionally long (1.5m) power cord that makes it easy to move the machine around your kitchen. The Whynter ICM-15LS is also easy to use, as it only comes with 3 control buttons; Power, Start/Stop and Timer. These are coupled with a basic LCD display that shows how long the churning process will take.
3. Best High-End Ice Cream Machine - Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker
Weight: 30 lbs
Dimensions: 15.8 x 11 x 11 inches
This is hands-down the best high-end ice cream machine in the market. Among its array of cool features are twelve hardness settings, which allow you to customize the texture and consistency of your favorite icy treats, from yogurt to gelato and sorbets.
The unit features an exceptionally gorgeous stainless steel body, which despite being a bit on the heavy side, holds everything together so perfectly. It also contains a built-in compressor that simultaneously chills and churns your ice cream. This means you don’t need to keep freezing it in between.
This gorgeous baby has a decent bowl capacity – 1Liter – coupled with a Keep Cool setting that keeps your mixture chilled for up to 3 hours. The Smart Scoop Feature (which gives the machine its name) automatically senses and indicates the texture of your ice cream after it’s churned.
Notably, the BCI600XL has a quite sophisticated control system that may initially give you problems. It contains 9 buttons in total, each of them controlling an important aspect of the machine operation. These include:
- START/PAUSE button
- Two volume buttons
- A power button
- Softer to harder knob
- Two manual timer buttons
- Pre-cool option
- Keep-cool button.
If you could master the controls well, you will come to appreciate the power this machine gives you. For one, most domestic ice cream makers don’t come with a keep cool, or a mute volume button.
Moreover, the churning progress (i.e remaining time) is often displayed on a basic LCD monitor on the side. The monitor also shows the type of flavor under preparation, and whether the setting is on ‘softer’ or ‘harder’
4. Best Low Budget Buy - Nostalgia 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker
Weight: 6.4 lbs
Dimensions: 15 x 17 x 16 inches
If you’re working with a small budget but still want to make lots of delicious frozen flavors, consider getting the Nostalgia ICMP200.
Yes, it’s bucket-style shape and technology is a bit old-fashioned, but it has a very powerful motor that produces exceptionally smooth ice cream.
This machine is pleasantly quiet, especially when compared to other more expensive makers. It is also quite lightweight for its size, and won’t give you any problems when you need to move it around – even when it’s full of cream!
But wait – there is more
As mentioned earlier, the ICMP400 has an astonishingly large bowl capacity (3.8L/4 quart), which makes it very apt for commercial production. Moreover, you can churn multiple batches in quick succession, as long as you have enough ice and salt.
5. Best Churning Time - Lello 4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker
Dimensions: 17.72 x 11.81 x 10.63 inches
Capacity: 1.4L/1.5 quarts
Material: Stainless steel
Weight: 38 lbs
This Italian-made machine not only produces the smoothest and most consistent ice creams you’ll ever see, but it also does so within an impressively short time – about 17 minutes.
Being on the top end of ice cream makers, the Lello 4080 is compressor based and doesn’t require you to freeze your mixture beforehand. You can also eat your ice cream, or gelato immediately after churning as it will be already frozen.
As if that is not enough…..
While you would expect to find some fancy controls and displays on a seemingly premium machine, the unit has none of those. It only features 3 old-school controls; one of which is the power button and another controls the paddle’s rotation. The most conspicuous button, however, is a knob that you manually rotate to set the time you want the machine you want to run for.
6. Best Manual Operation - Donvier 837450 Manual Ice Cream Maker
Weight: 6.85 lbs
Dimensions: 9.2 x 8.8 x 9 inches
Material: Plastic, with an aluminum bowl
Capacity: 1 quart/0.95L
Are you looking for a simple ice cream machine that doesn’t consume much power? Well, we have good news for you!
As you would expect, the machine is quite basic – you only need a freezer bowl and paddle to work. With no built-in freezer or electric motor, you will obviously need to freeze your ingredient mixture for a few hours before processing, and the ice cream itself after processing.
Once you freeze your ingredients, throw them into the bowl, close the transparent lid and start moving the crank at the top. Your ice cream will be ready in 20-40 minutes, depending on how hard you rotate the crank.
Sounds good, right?
Apart from being lightweight, the Donvier 837450 is also highly portable, as it doesn’t come with a restrictive electrical cord.
7. Best Soft Serve Maker - Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve Maker
Weight: 13.8 lbs
Dimensions: 9.86 x 7.75 x 17.25 inches
Material: Plastic and aluminum
Most of the machines in this list can produce soft serves, but none of them can match the Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve Maker.
The unit is fully automatic and can churn out between 10 and 12 servings (1.5 quarts) of ice cream at a time.
Unfortunately, it is not a compressor type machine, and you will have to pre-freeze your ingredients before processing your soft serve. To perhaps make up for that, the Cuisinart ICE-40 comes with 3 hand-controlled condiment dispensers that collectively resemble the ones in ice cream parlors. Included in the dispenser suite is a cone holder that can hold both pointy sugar cones and flat-bottomed wafers during serving.
Notably, while it may appear bigger than most domestic ice cream machines, this machine is surprisingly light and portable. Its glossy white surface coupled with a shiny stainless steel and bottom gives it a sophisticated and classy look.
8. Best Energy Saver - Maxi-Matic EIM-700 Freezing Self-Refrigerating Ice Cream Maker
Weight: 5.62 lbs
Dimensions: 7.28 x 10.43 x 9.37 inches
This is the most energy-efficient machine on the list from Maxi-matic. It doesn’t use or require a compressor or a CFC Freon. It purely functions on thermoelectric cooling technology, which is very ideal for ordinary ice cream, yogurt, and sorbets.
The unit features both the soft and hard controls, which come in handy when you need to vary the smoothness and flavor of your ice cream. It also comes with a measuring spoon, silicon spatula, and a scooping spoon.
The machine’s basic control system consists of 3 buttons; Stop, Hard and Soft. There is no display monitor, but each of the 3 controls has a backlight that lights up whenever it’s pressed.
Now, here is the best part…
As the name suggests, the machine has its own freezer, which means you can make your ice cream desserts whenever you want, without much preparation. The self-refrigeration function also works to keep the ice cream cool for several hours.
In terms of appearance, the EIM-700 has a small, button-shaped body clad in shiny aluminum.
9. Best Quantity and Space Efficiency - Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker
Weight: 6.31 lbs
Dimensions: 15.3 x 12.5 x 11.1 inches
The fact that this machine can churn 4 quarts of delicious ice cream at once makes it a perfect choice for huge family gatherings or ice cream parties.
It has a remarkably basic design with no fancy buttons, controls or screens. All you need to do is prepare your ingredients, dip them in the freezer for a couple of hours then throw them into the machine!
But that’s not all…
The unit switches off automatically when the mixture gets too thick – a sign that the churning process is complete. It is thus advisable to stay close to the machine during churning, so you can transfer your ice cream to the freezer for hardening up immediately it’s churned.
Fortunately ( or unfortunately) this baby is quite noisy, and you will definitely know when it’s done even when you’re a mile away. Okay, not literally a MILE away, but you get the point. Right?
Another thing worth noting is that being a low budget machine, the unit does not have a built-in freezer and instead requires ice and salt.
As you can see, the above list is full of great machines and absolute bargains. Obviously, choosing which among them to buy will not be an easy task.
We recommend the Cuisinart ICE-70
This particular machine produces very low noise, has a relatively high capacity (2 quarts\1.9L) and gives you extra control with the 4 additional buttons. It also has an eye-catching look, an inbuilt freezer and churns out silky smooth ice cream.
Whether you want to make your own personal desserts, or an entire batch for your friends when they come over, the Cuisinart ICE-70 is your best bet. Nonetheless, the other 8 machines are not that far off and will also do a job for you.
Buy one today and let us know hows it goes….
How to Choose The Best Ice Cream Machine
Ice cream makers are not among the commonly used household items, which means you probably don’t know what to look for when shopping for one. It is, however, quite easy to navigate the markets and find the perfect machine if you know how different types of ice cream makers work. Below are the key things to consider when shopping for an ice cream machine.
Ice cream making is an extremely heat-sensitive endeavor. Thus, knowing the type of freezing technology a machine has will help you avoid disappointments in the future. In this regard, there are three types of technologies used; the traditional technology and the more modern Soft-Serve and Compressor models.
Models that use traditional technology are cheaper and easier to use, and can keep ice cream cold for 24 hours. The Soft-Serve models are typically used to produce ice cream treats that are served directly after churning, with no freezing required. Compressor models, on the other hand, are able to churn and freeze your ice cream faster without the need for adding salt and ice.
You will want a machine that fits your needs, based on whether you intend to make icy treats for your personal consumption, your family, or for sale. For lesser quantities, a small canister machine will work just fine. On the other hand, compressor-based ice cream makers will suit you well if you want to make large batches.
Turnaround Time and Efficiency
It is important to evaluate the time a particular machine takes to produce one piece of ice cream. You may also need to look at whether it can produce two batches simultaneously and how long each batch will take to prepare. Also, you will find that some machines require pre-freezing, which increases their turnaround times.
This is definitely the most important factor to consider. Notably, prices for the 9 ice cream makers featured below range from $30 to $200, and you will find that the more advanced and durable units are relatively expensive compared to simple and less powerful machines. Try to find a balance between not sticking to your budget, and buying a durable, high-quality machine that will serve you for years.