Best Ice Cream Maker – Reviews & Top Picks 

Best Ice Cream Maker Reviews

Ice cream is one of the all-time favorite desserts of both kids and the adults, and as such it is definitely one of the most prepared sweets for parties and gatherings. While it’s very easy to go to your local store and buy a batch of ice-cream, there are those who prefer the homemade variety. The store bought variety is usually made in a professional ice cream maker, but there are plenty of ice cream makers intended for home use!

Homemade ice cream is tasty and delicious, and the added plus here is that you can decide on what ingredients to use! You can mix the craziest flavors to your own personal liking, and the upside is that you know what you put into the mixture. This is also a reason a lot of people prefer homemade ice cream to the store bought variety. It allows you to sleep soundly in the knowledge that you only used the healthiest ingredients for your child’s birthday party! And here is the other reason people tend to love making ice cream at home; it is a fun activity and the kids enjoy it!

There are different kinds of ice cream machines, from serve soft machines to those almost commercial-grade ice cream makers. Continue reading to find out how ice creams machines differ and which type would suit you best! Keep in mind that the best choice for you is the one that will suit your needs and preferences. After all, good ice cream is as good as the amount of love and kindness that was put in it. So, we suggest you sit down, grab a drink or a bowl of ice cream and start your journey of finding the best ice cream maker with us.

Quick Look: Top Ice Cream Makers On Our List

Types of Ice Cream Makers

As we already mentioned previously there are a lot of different types of ice cream makers out there on the market, and sometimes it is hard to come to a right purchasing decision. In the end it will all come down to how much you love ice cream and how often do you want to be able to prepare it!

Different sizes, different cooling methods, different cranking systems; all of these and more are available! There isn’t really a single, all-purpose ice cream maker out there on the market so you will have to give up something in order to have something else! Let us take a look at the five of the most common types of ice cream makers that were built for use at home! We will lay them out here and the categorization is two-fold; some types are singled out in respect to their cooling method, while others in respect to their cranking mechanics. As you can see, we did all our best to bring you the most important, most valuable and most relevant information just to save you a lot of time. Hopefully, this will be more than enough to get you started.

Manual Ice Cream Makers

Donvier 837409W 1-Quart Ice Cream Maker

These are ice cream makers that are predominately geared toward people who do not mind putting in some extra work to make their ice cream. They are hand operated, meaning that there is a crank that you have to jig around to chill the mixture and allow it to turn into ice-cream.

The cooling system is mostly based on pre-frozen inner bowls made of aluminum, but this is not written in stone; there are manual machines that depend on adding ice and salt inside a bigger outer casing. These are a bit antiquated so we definitely recommend going for the ones with a freezer bowl that you put inside the freezer for a night. As we already mentioned be prepared to sweat it out a bit when getting this one, though they can be an excellent, fun activity for you and your kids!

Donvier 837409W 1-Quart Ice Cream Maker Review

This Doniver ice cream machine might not appeal to everyone’s tastes simply because of the fact that is crank operated. That is right, if you want to get ice-cream from this baby you’re going to have to work for it! That is why it is not ideal for people who are not willing to put in the effort and manual labor making ice-cream this way entails. They are better off checking out our reviews of electrical ice cream makers.

The machine is less than 10 inches high, and weighs less than 7 pounds, making it extremely portable and easy to store! And the absence of an electrical cord allows you to walk about churning your ice cream! And there is no need to excessively crank that handle, either! Give it a few twirls every couple of minutes and after 20 minutes your ice cream will be all set to go!

Features of Donvier 837409W 1-Quart Ice Cream Maker

The machine comes in several parts. The first one is other casing, made from durable plastic and very sturdy, so it will no break or chip easily. Then you have the inner freezing bowl. This one is made of aluminum with a Chillfast cylinder, a doubly insulated wall features that keeps the bowl from heating up too fast. The last part is the crank set. It is made of three parts and includes a paddle that you mount at the inside of the cylinder!

The device is easy to assemble and to use, and more importantly it is easy to clean up after the fact! Simply give the outer casing a quick wipe and rinse the freezing bowl under some hot water and that’s it!

The Advantages of Donvier 837409W 1-Quart Ice Cream Maker

  • No electricity needed – The machine is hand operated so you do not have to worry about getting tangled in the wire and you can carry it with you wherever you want, churning away! It also has a very small eco-print, so it is very ecologically friendly.
  • Affordable – Considering that this machine beats even some of those that are electrically operated, it is surprisingly affordable! The machine is built to last so you can consider it a worthy investment.
  • ​Easy to clean – The machine is easy to use and easy to clean! Simply take out the aluminum bowl, disassemble the device and give it a good rinse under a stream of warm water and that is it!
  • Fun, fun, and more fun – Say what you will but this machine is fun to use! You get to toy around while making your own ice-cream! What kid would want more than that! Definitely worth trying out if you are on the market for a fun, useful activity for yourself or your kids!
Bottom Line

When all is said and done, this is a great fun way to make your own ice cream. And the added bonus here is the fact that it also makes great ice cream! Pick out Donvier 837409W 1-Quart Ice Cream Maker if you are ready to put in the effort in making your own ice cream solely with the power of your raw muscles!

Ice and Rock Salt Ice Cream Makers

Hamilton Beach 68330N 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker

These machines are a remnant of a time gone by, since they require you to fuss around them for a bit in order to churn out ice cream. They are also usually the machines with the largest volume so you might want to consider them for parties, and other occasions where you require large batches of ice-cream.

They work as any other electric appliance (yes, these are mostly electric) so you put in the mixture in an inner bowl, hook up the lid with the motor, and place it inside a larger outer container. Then you have to add in ice and rock salt in layers. Rock salt helps you achieve the desired temperature. While they are a bit more hands on these machines are mostly affordable and come in many different shapes, sizes and designs.

Hamilton Beach 68330N 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker Review

Here we have the Hamilton Beach 4-Quart model, an automatic ice cream machine that does require you to work a bit on your favorite desert but it is also very practical, as it can turn out numerous batches in succession, unlike the models for which you need to pre-freeze the bowl. However, this machine requires ice and rock salt to chill the container in order to produce ice cream.

It is a great machine for those who do not make a lot of ice cream, and do not make it often. Its output is around one gallon, perfectly sufficient to treat yourself and the family to a nice batch of homemade deliciousness. It weights around 7 pounds and is 11 inches high, so it is not difficult to transport or store, it will fit in to any kitchen cabinet.

Features of Hamilton Beach 68330N 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker

When buying this machine you will get an aluminum outer casing, the bucket you might call it. Be careful with it, it is rather thin and dents easily. Then you will get an inner bowl made of durable, heavy-duty plastic that can store a gallon of ingredients. The lid, the paddle and the motor are separate.

What you have to do is pack the bowl with ingredients, place it in the bucket, then firmly secure the lid on top. Easy locking function allows you to fasten the lid so there is no slippage of ice cream once the process of churning starts. Turn the machine on and start packing the outer casing in layer, first ice then rock salt. Two inches of ice and salt, and then repeat. Make sure that the machine is running at this time, so the process of chilling can start without delay.

The Advantages of Hamilton Beach 68330N 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker

  • Makes a batch in 20 minutes – The plus side of this machine is the fact that the ice cools it quite quickly so that a batch is ready in 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the consistency that you would like to achieve. This quick turn-around brings us to our other point.
  • Can make consecutive batches – Since the machine does not depend on pre-frozen bowls, you can make as many batches as you like, provided you have enough ice and the mixture. This makes it ideal for parties, as you can get have one batch mixing while you and your guests are enjoying the first one.
  • Warranty –The product comes with a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer. This means that you can rest assured in the knowledge that if anything goes wrong with the machine the manufacturer has your back!
Bottom Line

The Hamilton Beach 68330N is ideal for families that love to enjoy homemade ice cream once in a while, but do not feel comfortable given large amounts of money for more expensive models. This will fit their needs perfectly as it produces nice quality ice cream at the fraction of the price when you compare it to those expensive models with built-in compressors.

Pre-freeze Ice Cream Makers

Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker

These machines can be either electrically or manually operated and what sets them apart from the rest of the lot is the fact that they have an inner bowl filled with freezing liquid that you have to pre-freeze in the freezer for a day before you can start making ice-cream. They are great since they are affordable and practical, they don’t take up too much space, and they do not need ice or salt to work. Their only drawback is their limited volume (the inner bowls can only get so big before you cannot fit them in your freezer), and the fact that you have to decide 24 hours in advance whether you would like some ice cream tomorrow or not.

Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker Review

This Cuisinart ice cream maker has been building its stellar reputation for some time now, and buyers are extremely satisfied with its features and the ice cream it churns out! It’s the quarter of the sizes if those bulky ice cream machines that have a built-in compressor, so it will not take up much space on your counter top. This also makes it very easy to store as it will fit into any kitchen cabinet!

You can also make frozen yogurt, sorbet, and gelato with this machine, so you’re not only limited to ice cream. It whips a decent amount of air into the mixture, but not too much to make it too airy and fluffy. You still get that rich creamy texture. The consistency will of course depend on how long you run it but you can easy peer in through the opening for ingredients to ascertain to which point the cream is condensed. Also, that opening is large enough for you to conveniently add chocolate chip, dried fruits or nuts into the mix if you so desire.

Features of Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker

The stainless steel finish on this great machine makes it very attractive and durable to boot! There are no plastic parts on the outside casing which means that your machine will be serviceable for quite a long time! The motor revs and revs, and has enough strength to churn for years! Take note that the machine is built with North American standards in mind and will work only in US and Canada.

The freezer bowl is doubly insulated so it keeps your ice cream mixture cool for a long time, allowing it to achieve proper consistency. Make sure to properly chill the bowl, leaving it in the freezer for 24 hours before use. To check if it is properly chilled, shake it about. If there is no slushing then you’re ready to go.

The Advantages of Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker

  • Quiet operation – This is one of the quietest machines on the market. There will be no annoying churn-like noise in your kitchen, and you will be able to concentrate on other things without distractions.
  • Large volume – This machine has a bowl of perfect size for parties and large family gatherings! This is an improvement on those smaller size bowls as there is no need to have double bowls to make extra batches. One is plenty.
  • Durable – The machine is very durable, made from quality materials and with a strong motor that is sure to last a very long time, as some satisfied buyers testify that their machine is still going strong even after five years.
  • Easy to clean – The bowl itself is very easy to clean. Make sure to leave it out to heat up before rinsing it out in warm water and detergent. Do not place it in the dishwasher; the bowl might get distorted if you do that.
Bottom Line

Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker is an affordable alternative to those very expensive compressor machines and makes equally good ice cream. One of its largest selling points is the fact that it makes delicious ice cream time in and time out, doing it very quietly. Getting this machine is a great decision for families that will prepare ice cream often!

Compressor Ice Cream Makers

Gourmia GSI200 Stainless Steel 1.6 Qt SleekServe Automatic Ice Cream Maker

These are probably the most convenient ice cream makers in this merry bunch we have listed here. They have a built-in compressor so there is no pre-freezing or messing about with the ice required. They are also the most expensive type on the market, but you can find various brands, some of which have more than ok prices.

They usually come with couple of extra bells and whistles as well, so you will see types with a pre-freeze option that starts chilling the bowl before you add the mixture in. This helps greatly with the end result. And there are those that have a keep cool feature. This means that once the ice cream is ready you don’t have to stand there to scoop it out. The bowl will be kept optimally cool for several hours.

Gourmia GSI200 Stainless Steel 1.6 Qt SleekServe Automatic Ice Cream Maker Review

Gourmia ice cream maker makes it easy on you! There is no hassle with programs, pre-freezing the bowl, or ice and rock salt escapades. This sleek, elegant machine will make up to 1, 6 quarts of ice-cream with a simple touch of the button. That is enough ice-cream for even the most hardcore of ice-cream lovers but the good thing is that you can keep on churning for as long as you like thanks to its built-in compressor.

This machine has a powerful motor, so the churn action is consistent but slow, which is a good thing as it incorporates around 30% of air in the mixture, leaving the ice-cream rich, dense and tasty. If you do not want it very firm simply ignore the 50 minute timer and turn the machine off. This will leave you with a creamier consistency.

Features of Gourmia GSI200 Stainless Steel 1.6 Qt SleekServe Automatic Ice Cream Maker

This machine has a stainless steel finish, making it durable and visually attractive, so it will not stick out like a sore thumb in your kitchen! The machine is also rather compact and does not take much space, so storing it will not be an issue.

The inner freezer bowl is made from polished aluminum and can be taken out, so scooping out ice cream and cleaning the bowl after you are done is not a problem. The paddle is made from durable plastic and is also detachable. The outer casing is easily wipe down after you are finished using it, and all the detachable parts are dishwasher friendly so that us an added bonus.

The Advantages of Gourmia GSI200 Stainless Steel 1.6 Qt SleekServe Automatic Ice Cream Maker

  • Accessories included – You will get a scoop and a recipe book with this purchase! Make sure to give some of those recipes a try; the book includes ice-cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet recipes!
  • Continuous use – Since you do not need to pre-freeze the bowl or add ice or salt to run the machine, making batch after batch is easy. You will no longer have to plan a day ahead, and can have delicious ice-cream at a moment’s notice!
  • Warranty – It comes with a manufacturer’s warranty so you can sleep easy knowing that if anything should go wrong with the machine you can easily have it serviced, simply contact the manufacturer.
  • Keep cool feature – This machine has a keep cool feature that kicks in automatically once the timer disengages the motor. This means that your ice-cream will be kept at a stable temperature for up to an hour even if you are not there to scoop it out right away!
Bottom Line

This product is the golden middle between those high-end compressor machines, and labor intensive manual ones, at least when it comes to price! Gourmia GSI200 Stainless Steel 1.6 Qt SleekServe Automatic Ice Cream Maker churns out delicious ice-cream time after time, and leaves you wanting for more! The great thing is you can always have more as no pre-freezing or fiddling with ice is necessary!

Soft Serve Ice Cream Makers

Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker

If compressor machines are the most convenient machines, than soft serve are definitely the most fun! They are usually equipped with a pre-freeze bowl and can churn out only so much ice-cream but they are practical and fun to use! They have a dispenser on the top that allows you to pour ice-cream directly in to the cone, and several more sprinkler dispensers in which you can keep chocolate chip and other ice-cream add-ons! These are not overly expensive either, and will definitely be a hit on children’s parties!

Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker Review

The first thing we are going to say about this product is that is a ton of fun! You will definitely not regret buying it, especially if you have kids, who are guaranteed to enjoy it immensely! The first thing you will notice about it is that it is quite tall! This might make placement a bit trickier but if you only take it out when you use it, any kitchen surface will do. Afterwards, it disassembles easily and can be put in a kitchen cabinet.

It is tall because it has to be, however! It has a cool little dispenser that allows you to serve ice-cream straight from the machine, and a large base even allows you to place a bowl underneath for when you are making sundaes! You can order it in two colors, white and pink, so be sure to match to your kitchen décor!

Features of Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker

This machine is a bit trickier to assemble but if you follow the instructions you get with it you should be just fine! The outer casing is made from strong, durable plastic, and the inner bowl is a freezer bowl, meaning that there is no compressor in this one. You will have to pre-freeze the doubly insulated freezer bowl overnight. Make sure that you freezer is running below 0 degrees centigrade for optimal results.

This is a soft serve machine, meaning that the ice cream you get from it is a lot creamier than with regular ice cream makers and a lot softer too. This is because it needs to be able to come out of the dispenser spout! Another cook feature that this machine has is a handy storage space for your ice-cream cones!

The Advantages of Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker

  • Easy to use – It is very easy to use! You will not have to bother with ice or salt, and scooping up is no longer an issue as the ice-cream is served straight from the machine!
  • Dispenser of sprinklers – There are three separate dispensers on the machines where you can place sprinklers, chocolate chip or anything else you want, to have handy when you are making sundaes!
  • Warranty – This machine comes with a three year warranty from the manufacturer. The warranty includes labor and parts, so if anything should go amiss with the machine you can easily contact the manufacturer and have if serviced!
Bottom Line

An excellent, fun machine that kids will love! That is what you get if you decide to become a proud owner of Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker! While some buyers note that the machine might be a bit tricky to clean, others weigh in that the wonderful ice-cream you get to make with it is certainly worth a little cleaning hassle, and add that the machine is totally worth the price!

What To Look For In a Good Ice Cream Maker

Same as with everything else you buy these days, there are several things worth noting and paying attention to before you buy an ice-cream maker. Some of these things are minor, more a question of convenience than anything else really, but some of them can make a big difference in how your ice-cream turns out, so be careful that you don’t get a machine you’ll regret buying. Here are some of the things to consider:

  • Materials and durability – When buying an ice-cream maker one of the most important considerations you have to think about are materials used in manufacturing. Always try to opt for stainless steel machines, because they are the most durable, and easiest to clean! Also, try to avoid machines with too many plastic parts, as they tend to break easily.
  • Ease of cleaning – Consider how often you will use the machine. You don’t want to buy anything that makes the cleaning up process tiresome or complicated. For this reason, try getting machines that you have to assemble and disassemble easily, and avoid the ones that have too many parts for you to fidget around. Stainless steel models with large bowls are usually the easiest ones to deal with.
  • Volume – Try not to get a machine that only makes a quart per use, as you will get frustrated easily, believe us. You want machines that make at least two quarts, especially if you have a family of ice-cream lovers and plan to host parties and gathering where you will serve your own, homemade ice-cream.
  • Dashers – Dashers are an important part of every ice-cream machine! Try to get a machine with a dasher that clings perfectly to the sides of the freezing bowl. This will allow it to scoop everything from the bowl as it turn, preventing the sides to get coated with frozen mixture. If the mixture freezes too hard, the machine will stop, and you will end up with a very icy ice-cream.