So you want to make ice cream at home? We don’t blame you! There is nothing better than home made ice cream because you can experiment with flavors until your heart is content. There are a few factors to consider before you make your choice but the main one is do you want a machine that uses a compressor or one that requires you to pre-freeze a bowl. The compressor option is undoubtedly the best option but it does put the price up considerably. We will go over this in more detail later on but for now let’s get stuck into the best machines currently available.
First up we have a great little machine from Cuisinart. Cuisinart always provide great quality products and we are big fans of their stuff here at Cook Logic. We aren’t sponsored by them, we have just found that every time we review one of their products we end up loving it. We love the super modern design they have produced here and the machine itself couldn’t be simpler to use. You simply switch it on! Ok, so maybe there is a bit more to it than that but as far as options on the machine go that is it. It’s either on or off. Just get your ingredients in there and let it do it’s thing.
It comes in 3 different color options (white, red and pink), personally we like the white.
This machine has quite a large capacity at 1 and a half quarts. This means it can make a lot of ice cream but it also means the machine is fairly large. The cord retracts into the base of the machine for easier storage.
While this machine can make ice cream in only 20 minutes you need to be aware that you need to freeze the bowl in the freezer for 24 hours before use. You can’t just get this out and start using it on a whim. If you have a large enough freezer you can just keep the bowl in there permanently but this won’t be an option for everyone. This might be a deal breaker for some but this is standard practice on ice cream makers in this price range. The more expensive machines don’t require this pre-freezing.
That aside this does produce extremely delicious ice cream so if the pre-freezing requirement isn’t an issue for you then this is a great value machine from a trusted brand. It is the number 1 seller on Amazon.
This next option comes from Whynter. It’s a lot more expensive than the Cuisinart but this one requires no pre-freezing. It uses a compressor to do all the freezing itself, despite this it is still extremely quick at making ice cream. We made a gallon of ice cream in just over 30 minutes and were stunned to see the machine got the temperature down to -15 degrees in less than 3 minutes.
It has a capacity of 2.1 quarts so the machine itself is quite large but the upright design means it is not as big as others with a similar capacity.
Extremely simple to use, just add your ingredients and switch it on. If you aren’t around when the machine finishes then you don’t need to worry as it will keep the ice cream in perfect condition for around 2 hours.
One thing to note, this machine is loud when in use, really loud. This isn’t really unique to this machine as all ice cream makers are loud when in use but machines with a compressor are even louder. We aren’t marking it down because of this as the noise is just a by product of the process but you need to be prepared for it before you buy.
This machine will make superb ice cream and a lot of it. There is a lot to like about this machine, we love the fact you can use it on a whim and get great ice cream whenever the mood grabs you.
Before we mention anything else we need to talk about the cost of this one. It’s expensive, the most expensive on this list by far. Why is it so expensive? Well this arguably makes the best ice cream it is possible to make at home. If you want to get as close as possible to professional ice cream machines you would find in cafe’s etc then this is it. The main reason for this is the consistency and texture of ice cream this can produce. A lot of at home machines simply cannot reproduce the consistency of store bought ice cream as the compressors are just not up to the job and if you are using a pre-freeze device then you can forget it. Most ice cream made at home will be “soft serve”, this machine however is capable of producing a fantastic consistency that more closely resembles that produced by an industrial machine. This is mainly what the extra money will get you if you opt for this one.
You also get a extremely well made and robust machine that should last a long time even under heavy usage.
This is as simple to use as any of the other machines on this list. Add your ingredients and away you go. This machine has a timer on it meaning it is capable of making more than just ice cream, it can also make silky sorbets, Italian gelato, frozen yogurts, and refreshing frozen drinks.
If you make a lot of ice cream at home then you should give this one serious consideration. Yes it’s expensive but if you are going to be using it a lot then it’s probably worth the extra investment.
This one is a little bit different. It uses a different process to the other machines, with this one you need to add ice cubes to your mix before you start the machine. The good thing about this is that there is no bowl to pre-freeze and no noisy compressor but it does mean you need plenty of ice on hand. Also the ice cream this produces is going to be considerably softer than that produced by a compressor machine.
We are not huge fans of the “wooden bucket” design but it is good fun if you have kids. This is a 4 quart bucket meaning it is quite big, a lot bigger than it might appear in the picture.
It’s simple to use like the other. Add your ingredients, the ice and place the motorized paddles on top of the bucket then sit back and wait. It takes around 30 minutes to make ice cream.
This is a good option if you want something that can be used anytime you fancy but without the cost of a compressor machine. Just remember you need ice.
This is Cuisinart’s compressor ice cream maker. As mentioned the model at number 1 on the list does not have a compressor meaning you need to pre-freeze the bowl. That is why there is such a gulf in price between that one and this one.
This is a superb machine and comes really close to the Lello in terms of quality ice cream.
Again it is simple to use like all the others. This machine is pretty big though considering it is only a 1.5 quart machine. That is really the only negative of this one.
It takes around 30 minutes to make a batch which is consistent with the other machines on this list. This is great alternative to the Lello and can usually be had much cheaper than that product.
You can leave the ice cream in the bucket for 60 minutes after the process is complete however it is best to remove it straight away as it becomes increasingly difficult to scrape the ice cream out of the bowl if left.
It’s a little bit fiddly to clean this one but not to the point it’s a deal breaker. Bottom line is this makes superb ice cream for a machine at this price range. Definitely a worthy contender to the Lello for the best ice cream you can get at home.
The big difference between these machines comes down to how they work. You’ve basically got 3 options, a compressor, pre-freezing a bucket or using ice cubes. Which one you go for will affect the price, the quality of ice cream, how loud the machine is and how easy they are to clean.
- Makes the best ice cream, by far.
- Quick and easy.
- Can be used at anytime.
- Loud. Like, really loud!
- Harder to clean.
Pre-freeze/Ice Cubes Pro’s
- Machines are super low cost
- Quick and easy
- Makes decent ice cream
- Easier to clean
Pre-freeze/Ice Cubes Con’s
- More preparation required, can’t use on a whim. (need to freeze for 24 hours or have ice cubes)
- Ice cream isn’t as nice as compressor produced.
So of course the compressors are more expensive but in our opinion they are worth the investment if you want to make ice cream on a regular basis, just be prepared for the noise they make. The Lello machine produces the best ice cream but it is the most expensive by far. In our opinion the best compromise between price and quality was the Cuisinart ICE-100 which features at number 5 on the list. The Whynter is also an excellent compressor machine but if you are super serious about ice cream making go for the Lello, you won’t regret it.
Let us know in the comments which ice cream maker you have and what you think of it.