Best Ice Cream Machine 2020; 11 Top Reviews
From low-cost hand-crank ice cream makers to easy, speedy compressor machines, here are the 11 absolute best ice cream machines to buy.
Here in this article we’ve rounded up 11 of the best ice cream machines of various types, specifications, and budget. Below, you’ll find in-depth reviews of each, as well as an elaborate buying guide for the best ice cream machines.
Table of Contents
Although there is no shortage of ice cream shops and a variety of ice creams available in the supermarket, making your own using one of the best ice cream machines at home and watching the raw materials transform into ice cream and sorbet is a magical experience.
A good ice cream machine at home gives you complete control on the quality and quantity of ingredients you want to add in order to churn up your favorite flavors and swirl in your choice of mix-ins without leaving your house.
These are surely called ice cream making machines but they are not just limited to ice creams.
Most of them can also make frozen yoghurt, sorbet using fruits and frozen cocktails, giving you a magical experience of making your own delicious frozen treats
There are a wide variety of ice cream machines available in the marketplace today. They can be electric, manual or traditional salt-and-ice models.
Our product testing team selected 21 ice cream machine models from various brands and after testing shortlisted 12 best ice cream machines, most of them are quite good at making gelato, sorbet and frozen yoghurt too. The below list includes ice cream machines hand-picked by our team. For our testing, we only selected the bestsellers in their category from trusted brands.
Best Ice Cream Machines 2020
Best Ice Cream Machine For Home
This Cuisinart model has a handsome appearance with its brushed stainless steel housing unit and a transparent lid.
It is designed to occupy the least amount of space on your countertop.
You first need to store the double-insulated freezer bowl in your freezer for a few hours. Once the bowl is properly frozen and ready, you can whip up treats in less than 30 minutes.
We found it very easy to operate – place the frozen bowl on the base, attach the dasher, pour in the chilled ingredients, and put the lid on.
The transparent top locks into place for safety and convenient monitoring. The automatic mixing arm gently folds in air and your fresh ingredients to ensure a smooth, creamy consistency.
The Cuisinart ICE-30 holds up to 2 quarts of prepared frozen dessert. The non-stick chamber and mixing arm are easy to clean. This model has a large spout in the center of the lid so that you can easily add any other treats.
You can do this without interrupting the freezing process or even opening the lid.
The Cuisinart ICE-30 is also one of the best ice cream machines for non-dairy or almond milk. It also makes perfect gelato, sorbet and frozen yoghurt.
The base has a small niche at the back to neatly store the cord when not in use, and with its compact construction and sleek lines, it’s right at home on the counter top.
The two components that come in contact with food are the mixer arm, or dasher, and the freezer bowl. The mixer arm is made of a rigid, BPA-free plastic and the bowl is aluminum coated with a nonstick surface.
The simple one-switch system couldn’t be easier to operate – place the frozen bowl on the base, attach the dasher, pour in the chilled ingredients, and put the lid on. Then sit back for 25 minutes while your own artisan ice cream comes to life. The result is smooth, luxurious frozen delight.
Cleaning is simple and straightforward, as all parts are easily removed.
The electrical base can be wiped clean with a damp cloth, while the lid, freezer bowl, and mixing arm are simple to lift out. These should be hand washed in warm, soapy water.
Best Ice Cream Machine With Compressor
It has a very attractive brushed stainless steel housing, that features ventilation vents on the front, sides and back and an embossed Breville logo in the front. The finish gives it a high quality, well made feel. It looks great and it is one of the best luxury ice cream machines available in the market today.
This model from Breville has a compressor that chills the ice cream base down. All that’s left for you to do is pour in your base and press a button. This Smart Scoop model comes with 12 hardness settings. Softer, spun sorbets to hard, scooped ice cream are some of the commonly used.
Breville BCI600XL is completely automatic and it stops churning once the blend has reached your selected texture. It has an option to play classic ice cream truck jingles once the ice cream is ready.
The Smart Scoop uses its own built in freezer, also known as a compressor to freeze the ice cream. This type of machine is the most convenient available.
You can hold the ice cream in it for up to 3 hours at its chosen texture.
This model doesn’t require you to pre-freeze the bowl, but if you choose the 10-minute “Precool” option to chill down the machine before adding the base, you can have the ice cream ready to serve in 25 minutes.
Best Hand Crank Ice Cream Machine
One of the toughest and most durable ice cream machines we have ever come across. It’s very well insulated and doesn’t let the cold temperature get away. It’s fun to hand crank it old style, smoothly as the gears don’t get stuck.
The triple-action solid stainless steel dasher creates a constant folding of the ice cream so that you get the best texture for every crank.
This hand-crank machine churns 4 times as much ice cream in less time than the electric ice cream machines. The resulting ice cream is soft-serve homemade consistency and can be transferred to an airtight container and placed in the freezer for scoopable firmness.
The 6 quarts tub model is the best vintage ice cream machine available today and it is made of a durable fiberglass blend that has been specially designed to provide an open air space between the layers of fiberglass. This gap is then filled with foam. Ice cream keeps up to three times longer than in traditional ice cream freezers.
The tub is coated with heavy duty stainless tub hardware from the outside. It’s a one-piece tub making it absolutely leak-proof.
This is also the best ice cream machine for camping and outdoor activities when electricity isn’t available.
Another advantage is that this ice cream machine is built for durability and long-lasting use. The ice cream freezer is made of quality parts and hardware to ensure that it lasts for generations.
Best Ice Cream Machine For Gelato
If you are looking for the best ice cream machine for gelato then we highly recommend Cuisinart ICE-100 1.5 Quart Ice Cream machine & Gelato maker. This ice cream machine not only makes great ice cream but looks pretty sleek as well.
Its space-efficient design will easily fit on any countertop so you don’t have to worry about your ice cream machine taking up too much room in your kitchen.
The stainless steel interior and LCD control panel look great on just about any countertop.
In addition, this ice cream machine is very easy to use and easy to clean. It is completely automatic and even has a protection function that will stop the motor from churning, which prevents over-heat damage to your motor.
That said, its best feature is that it comes with a built-in compressor freezer that enables you to keep using the ice cream machine without having to pre-freeze the mixing bowl every time.
This compressor model by Cuisinart is the best thing to have when you feel like making ice cream at home and you aren’t prepared with a pre- frozen bowl or salt and ice.
It has self-freezing capabilities which allows you to make ice cream without any planning. All you need are the ingredients and you are well on your way to making delicious frozen desserts, batch after batch without any loss in quality.
A batch of ice cream takes about 35 minutes on average to churn, and there is also a “Cool” function that will hold the ice cream for up to 10 minutes. This model is very easy to use and features a very simple and clean design.
The top interface has three buttons: one to turn the unit off and on, one to set the churning time, and another to start churning.
The timer has a default setting of 60 minutes, but it can be adjusted to your desired time, and churning can be stopped at any time.
It’s also compact, making it easier to store even in smaller kitchens.
Best For Keto
If you are looking for the best ice cream machine for your keto ice cream then we highly recommend Cuisinart ICE-21PK
Cuisinart ICE-21PK is one of the best affordable ice cream machines available in the marketplace today. It is also one of the bestselling Cuisinart ice Cream makers. This model uses a pre-frozen canister to chill down the ice cream base, eliminating the need for salt and ice or a compressor.
The ICE-21Pk is also the best ice cream machine for almond milk and non-dairy and it is one of those quiet ice cream machines.
When the canister is properly frozen, it can churn up tasty frozen desserts within 20 minutes. The manufacturers recommend freezing it for 12 hours for best results. This model is very easy to use and it’s lightweight too.
It has just one button to operate and a transparent lid. Cuisinart ICE-21PK has an amazing space saving design which makes it easier to store in smaller kitchens too. It has a wide opening on top for a full view of the churning action and so you can easily add goodies of any size.
The ICE-21PK is one of the best ice cream machines for sorbet, gelato or frozen yogurt. With the Cuisinart Frozen Dessert Machine, you can create up to 1 ½ quarts of fresh mixed frozen dessert with a quick flick of a switch.
The automatic machine is backed with a heavy duty motor along with a double insulated freezer bowl to eliminate any need for ice. Add whatever ingredients you desire with the easy lock lid and large spout without any messy hassle.
Invite your friends and family over for a fun ice cream social or make a refreshing fruit sorbet on hot summer days with your new Cuisinart Frozen Dessert Machine.
Best For Soft Serve
This is hands down one of the best models for soft serve ice cream machines for home.
The Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve is a fully-automatic sherbet, frozen yogurt, and soft-serve ice cream machine that makes about 6-8 generous servings of your choice of cold dessert.
Cuisinart ICE-45 produces 1-1/2 quarts of ice-cream in around 30 minutes and it is one of the best ice cream machine home use.
It has a 3 compartment dispenser for chocolate chips, sprinkles or other toppings. The opening of the dispenser is a bit small so you might have to use mini chocolate chips. It’s perfect for an ice cream get together at home, not messy at all and it holds cones conveniently on the side.
This is a fully automatic model and doesn’t require any salt or ice. The bowl though needs to be frozen before making ice cream. In case you want to make two flavour ice cream, you will need two separate frozen bowls.
Once the freezer bowl is cold, all that you need to do is put in all the ingredients and turn a dial. After twenty minutes, the ice cream will be ready to serve. You can reduce even more prep time by using ice cream mixes. and its parts are removable which makes it very easy to clean.
Best High End Option
The Lello 4080 Musso Lussino is truly the most luxurious home ice cream machine that we’ve come across.
Musso is an Italian company that sells home and commercial ice cream and gelato makers. The design of the Musso Lussino is sleek and simple with no bells and whistles, but we do have a few small gripes about its build.
This particular appliance really does a fantastic job of creating ice cream and other frozen concoctions. The Musso Lussino features a built-in chiller, which means you won’t need to pre-freeze a bowl prior to making a load of frozen treats.
It will easily produce consecutive batches, plus the additional freezing capability creates unbelievably fluffy ice cream.
Since this device is very easy to operate, it enables you to be imaginative in your recipe creation without worrying about the hassle associated with ice, rock salt, or freezing bowls well in advance, as is the case with the more common non-compressor driven examples.
It’s extremely easy to create a delightful frozen treat using the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino. Simply combine the ingredients (or activate the “churn” option, which enables the appliance to combine it for you) and fill the container. In 30 to 45 minutes you will have a frozen concoction suitable for satisfying even the most discerning of tastes.
The device includes a one-hour timer that provides an on and off function, as well as two control buttons. One of the buttons activates the churn features, while the second is the chill function.
Best 4 Quart
Reminiscent of the old fashion ice cream machines of the past, this unit is a fast and easy way to make 4-quarts of ice cream, frozen yogurt, or gelato. Simply place the aluminum canister filled with ingredients in the center of the bucket, layer the plastic easy-clean liner with ice and salt, and let the electric motor do the churning for you. In about 30 minutes, delicious ice cream is ready to serve
It features a locking motor mount, easy-to-clean bucket and a 4-quart aluminum canister.
The Nostalgia ICMP400WD Electrics 4-Quart Plastic Bucket Electric Ice Cream Maker provides a homemade ice cream experience with modern convenience.
With its real wood exterior it reminds you of the old fashioned hand-crank ice cream machines. Nostalgia ICMP400WD has an over-fill drip hole at the back of the bucket and a clear lid on the canister for easy viewing. It also comes complete with an easy grip handle.
Best Budget Pick
The budget-friendly Hamilton Beach 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker has a classic bucket design and a high-power motor instead of a hand crank. Its motor is powerful, which is great for churning ingredients.
It makes 4 quarts of ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet in approximately 50 minutes. All you have to do is – add ingredients, ice, and rock salt. It’s fully automatic operation does all the work and stops when the ice cream is ready. You don’t need to stir it in between the process.
The machine’s canister is surrounded by ice and rock salt, so it doesn’t require any pre-freezing like you do with some other ice cream machines. As such, you can start making ice cream as soon as you have all the ingredients you need. Once your ice cream is thick enough, the machine stops churning automatically, signaling that your dessert is ready.
It has a lot of surface area, but the flexible plastic and aluminum materials are relatively easy to clean – all you need is soap and warm water to hand wash everything.
It’s also perfect for making frozen cocktails. If you are someone who makes ice cream occasionally then this model is best suited to you as it’s also one of the best priced under $100.
Best For Frozen Yoghurt
The Whynter ICM-200ls is a home compressor ice cream maker. It has its own internal freezer which lets you add your ice cream mixture and it freezes and churns till the ice cream is made.
This ice cream maker has a removable bowl which makes it easy to clean up and it comes in a 2.1 quart size which is bigger than most other compressor ice cream makers.
The churning blade is easy to install when you want to make your ice cream and removable for easy cleaning when you’re ready to remove the ice cream from the bowl.
The lid is transparent with a small opening which you can use to add in any pieces of fruit or sweets into your ice cream while it’s churning.
With a 2.1 quart capacity you can make a good family size batch of ice cream. You can also make other frozen desserts like frozen yogurt or sorbets. Mix up a batch of ice cream mixture and add it to the bowl.
The controls on this Whynter ICM-200ls machine couldn’t be simpler, you have a power button so you can switch on, a menu button so you can choose from the 3 modes available, ice cream, cooling only and mixing only.
If you want to clean out the bowl and churning blade you can easily remove the bowl and wash it up in warm soapy water with the churning blade and the lid.
Best Large Ice Cream Machine
The White Mountain is a very powerful, old-fashioned, wooden bucket ice cream machine, and makes a LOT of ice cream in one batch.
It’s built from extremely durable materials and will last for years, probably much longer than most ice cream machines. Because of this, it has a higher price point and is ideal if you regularly make a lot of ice cream.
This electric ice cream machine can make up to 6 quarts of ice cream in 20 to 40 minutes. It has a powerful 12,000 rpm universal electric motor which does an excellent job at whipping out creamy, velvety ice cream without any stirring required. It comes with a beautiful handcrafted New England pine wood bucket and is bound by strong galvanized hoops.
The White Mountain’s canister sits inside the wooden bucket and freezes using ice and salt.
The stainless steel is pressed right up against the salt and ice and freezes fast and evenly, hence it is also one of the best ice cream machines with no pre-freezing required.
The heavy-duty stainless steel allows you to store it anywhere without fear of it getting banged up.
Best Ice Cream Ball
If you thought you had to stand next to your ice cream machine and watch it churn, then think again. This innovative ice cream machine is shaped like a ball and meant to be tossed around as part of the churning process! Challenge the kids to 25 minutes of playtime, and they’ll be rewarded with a pint of ice cream ready to eat when they’re done.
You can make delicious ice cream anywhere, anytime—great for parties, barbecues, picnics, camping trips, etc. Just add natural ingredients that are as simple as cream, sugar, and vanilla in one end then add ice and rock salt in the other end. The softshell exterior makes it fun to shake, roll, and play with it.
Ice Cream Machine Buying Guide
Things To Look For In An Ice Cream Machine
Many ice cream makers use a freezer bowl or insert that needs to be frozen for a period of time before the ice cream is churned. If you’re short on freezer space, this might not be convenient — plus, if you want to make a second batch, you’ll have to wait for the bowl to freeze again. Compressor models let you churn batch after batch but tend to be larger and more expensive. Cooling with ice and salt is the old-fashioned method, though it still works well.
Texture and Consistency
For some consumers, this will be the most important consideration on the list (although the hardest to test for before buying). The flavor of the ice cream you make will largely depend on the ingredients you use, but the texture will have a lot to do with how the ice cream maker works.
Some of the really high-end models sell for so much in part because they make especially smooth or creamy ice cream that simply can’t be beat. And compressor ice cream machiners are known, in general, for producing smoother ice cream than the other types.
Churning ice cream can take 20 minutes or more, so electric machines make the job easier. On the other end of the spectrum, hand-churning with a manual machine can be tiring, and the job becomes more difficult as the ice cream hardens. (However, since manual models don’t need electricity, you can bring yours to the family picnic and let everyone try churning for a minute.
How much ice cream do you want to make at once? If you have a big family or regularly make ice cream for parties, a larger-capacity unit makes sense. – especially if you go with one of the types of ice cream makers that require a long process. If you have to freeze your bowl a whole day early, you won’t be able to quickly whip up a second batch if you don’t have enough ice cream for everyone at a party.
If you’re eager to try new recipes as often as possible, a machine that makes smaller batches is just what you need.
Conveniently, some of the ice cream makers that are the slowest to use tend to offer a higher capacity. Ice and salt machines are more likely to come in sizes of 2, 3, or 4 quarts, while compressor models are often quite a bit smaller (but you can make a second batch same day).
Ease of use
One of the biggest differentiating factors between different types and models of ice cream makers is how easy they make the process of making homemade ice cream. There’s a good reason some people are willing to pay more than twice as much for compressor ice cream makers than other types – they do most of the work for you.
The main factor that determines ease of use for an ice cream maker is clearly whether or not it’s a compressor style machine, but there are a few things that can add to ease of use besides.
For electric frozen bowl models, a machine that comes with an extra bowl or one that freezes more quickly than others makes it easier to be prepared when you want to start making ice cream. For ice and salt ice cream makers, a motor makes a big difference in how much work making ice cream is.
If you want to find something under $100, you have plenty of options in the ice/salt and frozen bowl categories. If you’re prepared to pay more for faster, easier ice cream preparation, you can find compressor ice cream makers for closer to $200 than the hefty price tag of the high-end machines.
The main trade-offs for spending less are speed and convenience, but some people may find the consistency of the ice cream produced by compressor models superior as well.
In addition to considering the speed that the appliance will mix your ice cream at, you should also consider how long you’re typically willing to wait for something you’re working on to be ready. If you want to be able to have ice cream the same day you decide to make it, then you’ll need to go with a compressor ice cream maker.
All other ice cream makers require some lead time between deciding to make it and being able to eat your tasty concoction.
Ease of Cleaning
Every kitchen appliance you use to make food has to be cleaned after each use. And ice cream makers are, of course, no exception.
Compressor models that have a removable bowl will be easier to clean than those that have a permanently installed one, and smaller ice cream makers will often make the job easier than bigger ones .
Extra Features To Consider
- Extra Frozen Bowl — Some frozen bowl ice cream makers come with an extra frozen bowl or sell additional ones. This can make a big difference in how easy it is to start making ice cream each time you’re ready for a new batch.
- Ready Bell — A ready bell lets you know the moment your ice cream is done.
- Stay Cool Function — To save you the trouble of having to eat or transfer your ice cream right away when it’s done, a stay cool function gives you the leeway to take your time.
- Hardness Options — Different settings make it possible for you to choose your preferred thickness for the ice cream.
- Cool Down Function — Compressor models that have a cool down function allow you to get started making ice cream faster.
- Digital Display — A digital display makes choosing your settings and checking on the temperature easier.
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