With the multitude of information floating around on the Internet, it’s often hard to find everything that you need to know about something all gathered into one place. This holds true for just about everything, ice cream makers included. If you were to Google “ice cream maker reviews,” a list of reviews a mile long would pop up leaving you inundated with a barrage of articles, 99% of them trying to sell you one thing or another.
What’s a person to do when they just want to find out what to look for when buying an ice cream maker, what brands are the best, what price ranges to expect and so on and so forth? Well, if you’re smart (and you are because you’re here), you’ll wind up here; and here you are! So, without any further ado, let’s jump into the thick of the shake, so to speak, and find out everything ice cream maker reviews are talking about on the Internet with none of the sales and none of the pitches: just the full flavor of the day!
Things To Consider When Choosing An Ice Cream Maker
Of course, getting an ice cream machine is not as simple as buying a blender or a waffle iron; when you purchase an ice cream maker, there are many factors that you’ll have to take into consideration before buying. This is something most reviews leave out so we want to touch on a few things first before we jump into the best ice cream maker brands and the cheapest ice cream maker prices.
The Three Different Types of Ice Cream Makers
In general, there are three different types of makers that you can choose from today. Keep in mind your levels of time, commitment and kitchen counter space when choosing between the following:
- Manual or Hand-Cranked Ice Cream Makers: This is the old-fashioned way that ice cream purists swear by. Consisting of an inner bowl which holds all of your ingredients and an outer bowl which holds your rock salt and ice for cooling, the maker runs by a hand-cranked paddle. Now, while you may get the most satisfaction out of this type of ice cream maker, you will also spend the most time and need the most patience for this one. Not only is it a bit time consuming (crank the paddle every ten minutes for two hours), there is more clean-up involved as well when compared to the newer models you may have seen in other ice cream maker reviews. Nevertheless, nothing beats an old-fashioned homemade ice cream so if you have the time, patience and love for authenticity, this is the model for you.
- Electric Cold-Accumulating Ice Cream Machines: Utilizing the modern design of a double-walled canister or bowl that has liquid refrigerant sealed into the walls, this electric form of ice cream making requires a pre-freeze of the canister prior to making the ice cream. Once at the right temperature, you simply add your ingredients into the bowl, pop on the electric paddle-mixer and in about half an hour, you’re ready to indulge yourself. This is by far one of the more popular choices in the modern household due to the lower costs, the faster processing and the quicker clean-up. The only drawbacks here is that the canister sizes only allow small batches of ice cream to be made and it takes between 8 to 24 hours of pre-freezing before you can start mixing your batch.
- Electric Self-Cooling Ice Cream Maker: Pretty self-explanatory here: the ice cream cools itself in the maker thanks to the inclusion of a small compressor that works very much like your freezer. There’s no clean-up of ice/salt rock mixtures, no cranking and no pre-freezing making this the most convenient model of the three. Throw in how fast they work and you can probably guess the drawback for these: they can get very pricey.
Choosing Between The Three
Now that you have a general idea of what each type of ice cream maker does, let’s figure out how you can figure out which is right for you.
- First, follow the rule of functionality and form: buy what you need. If you’re looking for a large ice cream maker that you can use as a family activity, go with the hand-crank/manual unit for the most authenticity. If you’re looking to test your culinary hand for romantic desserts of sorbet and frozen yogurt, pick the high end self-cooling units. If you’re looking for something in between the two, the pre-frozen canister models are the way to go.
- Next, think about your storage and usage spacial considerations. While the manual ice cream makers produce the most ice cream, they also take up the most space, especially when you have to store rock salt bags and extra ice. If you’re looking at the pre-frozen canister models, you’ll need the freezer space to freeze them. With the self-cooling units, you are dealing with a lot of extra weight from the compressor so these can be difficult to move in and out of storage (meaning if you’re going to use it a lot, keeping it on the counter would be best). Of course, don’t forget that if you’re not eating all your ice cream, that’ll need a place in the freezer as well!
- Additionally, think about the time you have to spend on each batch. Electric models come in single and multiple speeds so if you need your ice cream even faster for some reason, go with the multiple speed (multiple speeds also allow you to play with the consistency more).
- Also, be sure to get a model where the canister will produce the amount of ice cream you desire. Most electric mixers make about 1 to 2 quarts of ice cream per batch. Pay close attention to the canister size in any reviews you may read and keep in mind that the full capacity is not the yield. For instance, a 2 quart canister may only yield 1 quart of ice cream due to the space needed for mixing and air addition.
- Finally, pay close attention to the parts listed in the reviews. The brands you are looking at should not be using any cheap plastic parts, but instead using hard plastic or stainless steel. The last thing you want is to spend a lot of money on a machine based on deceptive reviews, only to have a piece snap off and possibly have a small child bite into it!
Top Brands Of Ice Cream Makers
Here are a few trusted brands to help get you started on your way to deliciousness:
- Aroma Housewares
- Buffalo Boots
- Hamilton Beach
- Nostalgia Electrics
- White Mountain
Finding Your Exact Price Range
Because there are so many variables to ice cream machines, it’s important that you go through quite a few reviews before making a final choice.