For making fluffy, creamy ice cream to snow cones, you need the best ice cream maker. After testing and studying consumer reports we have compiled a list of good ice cream making machines.
We have seen MasterChef contestants making ice cream from scratch and presenting in front of the esteemed judges the smooth, luscious scoop of joy. Secretly, we all have desired to churn ice cream ourselves to turn the simplest of ingredients into a creamy, frozen treat.
Churning your own scoop of homemade ice cream is not hard. In fact, it can brighten our mood and hot summer days altogether.
Whether you want to enjoy the traditional taste of ice cream or experiment with your own guilt-free ice cream with fresh ingredients, you can always churn the drool-worthy flavors with your own ice cream maker.
However, the ice cream makers can be ridiculously expensive with all the bells and whistles of commercial ice cream makers, which everyone can’t afford.
So, we have focused on the best ice cream makers under $100 and a few of them are consumer reports favorite. These are automatic and make luscious and smooth-textured ice cream.
Let’s dive into the details of our top picks, so you can find the perfect ice cream maker for you.
- Best Ice Cream Makers – Consumer Reports [October 2021] | Electric, Manual, Compressor
- 1. Cuisinart ICE30BC – Best Rated Ice Cream Maker
- 2. Cuisinart ICE21P1 – Best Under $100
- 3. Yonanas Classic – Best for Ice Cream and Dessert Maker
- 4. Nostalgia RSM602 – Best for Making Snow Con for Kids
- 5. Nostalgia WICM4L – Best Electric Powered
- 6. Maxi-Matic EIM-520 – Best for Homemade Ice Cream
- 7. Chef’n Sweet Spot – Best Scoop Maker
- 8. Maxi-Matic EIM-924L – Best for Large Batch Ice Cream
- 9. Hamilton Beach 68881Z – Best Under $50
- 10. Dash DIC700AQ – Best Ice Cream and Yogurt Maker
- 11. Classic Cuisine – Best Small Portable Ice Cream Maker
- How to Choose Ice Cream Maker – Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
- How to Use an Ice Cream Maker?
- Wrapping Up!
Best Ice Cream Makers – Consumer Reports [October 2021] | Electric, Manual, Compressor
Our Top Pick
1. Cuisinart ICE30BC
2. Cuisinart ICE21P1
3. Yonanas Classic
4. Nostalgia RSM602
5. Nostalgia WICM4L
6. Maxi-Matic EIM-520
7. Chef’n Sweet Spot
8. Maxi-Matic EIM-924L
9. Hamilton Beach 68881Z
10. Dash DIC700AQ
11. Classic Cuisine
1. Cuisinart ICE30BC – Best Rated Ice Cream Maker
It has a brushed stainless steel casing that is sturdy and looks professional.
It accompanies a double insulated frozen bowl insert that needs to be pre-freezing for 24 hours rather than the compressor models with a built-in freezer, which is more expensive.
The liquid gel inside the bowl freezes and later helps the ice cream to attain a smooth texture.
The Cuisinart ICE-30 BC freezer bowl has the capacity to hold 1.89 liters, surprisingly similar to their expensive ICE70 model.
Instead of the cheaper narrow spindle, it has a 12-tooth sprocket inside the bottom cavity, which fits with the shape of the removable bowl. The multi-teeth sprocket is responsible for even power distribution.
The machine rumbles and buzzes during the churning out of ice cream, but we found that it is still a lot quieter than the Cuisinart ICE-21 model.
For a rumbling machine, it is mandatory to have a sturdy base that doesn’t vibrate. Amazingly, the bottom has rubber-tipped feet, which help the machine hold the ground and don’t slip.
The machine churns out soft-serve creamy ice-creams with no ice crystals. You also get a free recipe book to try ice cream, sorbet, gelato, and frozen yogurt.
On the downside, the model doesn’t have an auto shut down option to stop the churning, nor the inside parts are dishwasher safe.
If you want to learn how to use cuisine art ice cream maker, check this guide.
2. Cuisinart ICE21P1 – Best Under $100
For some reason, if you can’t buy Cuisinart ICE-30BC, you can satiate your craving for homemade ice cream by utilizing its sibling from the same brand of model Cuisinart ICE – 21 P1. This model is more cost-effective than its upgraded version.
Despite being low-priced and low weight, the model has a premium feel with only minor differences from the high-end versions.
The frozen bowl has 1.5 quart capacity instead of 2 quarters. It eliminates the need for messy ice and salt usage to freeze the ice cream.
The components of the unit are also made of high-grade plastic and acrylic. The 12 tooth gear is smaller than the previous model but fits well according to the smaller-sized frozen bowl.
The ice cream machine hums and groans louder than Cuisinart ICE30BC. It churns at a consistent speed without straining the motor. You only need to be watchful of the correct proportion of heavy whipping cream and milk.
Despite being low priced, the power-packed ice cream maker for home churns the soft-serve, crystal-less, creamy ice cream, taking the same amount of time as the high-end models.
For enjoying a more frozen ice cream, you need to place it in the freezer for a few hours.
For making multiple batches of the ice cream, you can buy an extra freezing bowl and pre-freeze both bowls together.
3. Yonanas Classic – Best for Ice Cream and Dessert Maker
It’s a sleek, vertical-style ice cream maker that can turn frozen fruits into guilt-free soft serve ice creams. It’s a great substitute for those people who love to indulge in ice creams and desserts but have limited their dairy intake due to lactose intolerance.
“Yonanas” gives you complete control over the fruits and ingredients you use, whether you want sugar-free or dairy-free. It uses bananas as a creamy base in various ice-cream recipes and can blend the taste of other frozen fruits such as mangoes, strawberries, oranges, melon, or any fruit or cookies you like.
For making a delicious bowl of creamy fruit ice cream, you need to freeze your fruits for 24 hours and thaw them slightly before putting them in the chute. It pulverizes every frozen fruit you put into its chute. You simply push it down with the plunger, and the soft-serve ice cream comes out through the opening.
The machine is a bit loud. And to get the complete fruit ice cream out of the ice cream maker, you need to disassemble it and scoop out the remaining creamy ice cream from the chute and the head.
Cleaning the machine is a breeze as you can put all the components into the dishwasher.
4. Nostalgia RSM602 – Best for Making Snow Con for Kids
Fairs, carnivals, or summer gatherings are incomplete without snow cones. Nostalgia’s retro-style snow cone machine is a reminiscence of old cart-style vendors, but this compact snow cone machine can be placed on any kitchen countertop.
The electric machine shaves coarse-textured ice that you get from the ice cream truck.
You can feed regular ice cubes into the canister, but you need to refill it as it can’t hold much ice.
There is no on/off switch. As soon as the lid is closed, the machine starts shaving the ice and turns it into fluff. To stop the snow cone machine, you will have to open the lid. Or the machine stops itself once it completes shaving the ice cubes.
The shaved ice fluff is collected in an enclosed glass case, enough to make 20 cups at a time.
Access the glass case through an opening door and scoop out the fine-textured fluff to fill the cones.
Just like snow cone carts, it has a removable shelf that can hold two cones to prepare it with syrup. The safety switch built in the shaving mechanism makes it possible for the kids to have fun by shaving their own ice without cutting their hands.
Add your favorite syrups and make the rainbow-colored snow cone.
When you see the overjoyed faces of your kids enjoying snow cones, you will say, “Mission accomplished!”
5. Nostalgia WICM4L – Best Electric Powered
As the name implies, the Nostalgia ice cream machine gives nostalgic vibes with its old-fashioned use of ice and salt. The electric ice cream machine is designed with decorative wooden straps surrounding the plastic bucket and has an aluminum canister for freezing ice cream.
The narrow plastic spindle rotates at a constant speed to churn out the sweet scoops of ice creams.
The huge perk of these quaint ice cream makers is that you don’t have to pre-plan your ice cream night by freezing the bowl overnight.
Just take out ice cubes from the freezer, make an ice cream mixture and have your machine churn the deliciousness of ice cream.
Another bonus point is that it has double ice cream holding capacity of 4 quarts per batch as compared to the prestigious Cuisinart ICE-30BC. It makes so much ice cream in a single batch that you will have to be ready for leftovers. A recommended ice cream maker for a large family.
The robust motor can even handle the thick consistency of the ice cream without overloading the machine. Also, the machine runs quietly and whips up heavenly ice cream in about 45 minutes.
The machine doesn’t have any leaking issues, as witnessed in some cheaper models. It also flaunts a carry handle for easy portability.
6. Maxi-Matic EIM-520 – Best for Homemade Ice Cream
Maximatic is almost 30 dollars less than Cuisinart. If you are cash-strapped and still don’t want to miss out on an Ice-cream maker, then Maxi Matic is a decent choice.
It doesn’t offer the bells and whistles of high-end models but still gets the job done.
Available in vivid red and blue colors, the Maxi-Matic is made of a plastic exterior with Aluminum interior canister for holding and churning ice cream.
The double insulated Aluminum canister needs to be frozen for 16-24 hours, depending on your freezer temperature. But you can’t freeze the bowl for more than 48 hours, or else the Aluminum canister will crack.
This is a lightweight ice cream maker and you can make 1.5 quart ice cream in it.
The machine at the base rotates both the ice cream bowl and the pedal to incorporate air into the ice cream. You get soft-serve ice cream in just 20-30 minutes. To harden the soft scoops of ice cream, you will have to put it back in the freezer.
The machine is a bit noisier. The lid and the pedal rotate in the same direction, so the lid may unlock when ice cream begins to thicken.
7. Chef’n Sweet Spot – Best Scoop Maker
Chef’n Sweet Ice cream maker consists of just a double insulated tray with liquid inside and two spatulas to mix the ice cream. You need to pop the tray in the freezer overnight to make your frozen treat.
Unlike traditional ice cream makers, you can get your first batch ready in just a matter of a few minutes.
Just pour the ½ cup of mixture into the frozen tray, wait for 15 seconds, and then use spatulas to scoop and mix over and over again till you get the consistency of your liking. You can also experiment with your favorite toppings.
You can make several cups of ice cream before needing to refreeze the tray again. This ice cream maker is best recommended for those with small families and those who can’t afford to store any more appliances in the kitchen.
No-fuss in cleaning either; just hand wash the tray with warm water before refrigerating it in the freezer.
An affordable ice maker; buy two if you want to prepare more servings at a time. The ice cream maker comes with a recipe book for easy making recipes of roll-ice creams, frozen sorbets, yogurt, gelatos.
8. Maxi-Matic EIM-924L – Best for Large Batch Ice Cream
The most prominent feature is its handmade pinewood bucket which gives a lush look in the kitchen.
It has a heavy-duty aluminum freezing canister that can make 4 Quarts (EIM 506 can make 6 quarts) of fresh ice cream in 40 minutes.
The 90-rpm plus 6 fin motor makes it more efficient to work in the fastest way and makes the whole process of churning and moving the paddle smoothly.
Pinewood bucket easily holds ice and salt layers and the aluminum canister inside with optimal temperature around 9° F makes ice cream for the whole family.
The paddle moves fast at a consistent velocity and crushes all the ingredients finely, incorporating air in the mix, which gives the ice cream a creamy and soft texture without ice crystals.
Like the EIM 506 and West Bend model, Elite Gourmet-EIM 924L neither has an easy carry handle nor die-cast hand crank (to churn manually).
Due to the absence of a carry handle, you may find it difficult to carry it anywhere. All the components are easily removable, so clean-up is a breeze.
9. Hamilton Beach 68881Z – Best Under $50
Hamilton Beach ice-cream maker is available in two colors – red and white.
We loved Hamilton Beach for its simplicity and no-frills, no-fuss features and components. No exhaustive stirring is required in the automatic Hamilton Beach to aerate the mixture, nor do you need any ice and salt to freeze ice cream.
The freezing bowl’s capacity is comparatively small (1.5 quarts). So, it makes ice cream for only a limited number of people.
With all the freezing bowl machines by Hamilton Beach, you have to be very careful dealing with freezing bowls. (Freeze upside down).
You must freeze the Aluminum bowl for up to 20 hours. Otherwise, the inner liquid in a double insulated Aluminum canister will thaw before the ice cream even achieves its consistency.
Another trick is to cover the open spout so the hot air doesn’t thaw the canister’s inner liquid and you don’t end up with sloshy ice cream.
The ice cream maker’s base is wobble-free and sturdy when enclosed with its base as compared to another model of Hamilton Beach (68880). So it won’t slip and vibrates when the ice cream maker is churning your frozen treat.
We noticed loud rumbling and grinding sounds when the motor is rotating the bowl and the dasher.
10. Dash DIC700AQ – Best Ice Cream and Yogurt Maker
Whether you want the classical dairy ice creams or experiment with vegan variety, this machine can churn out your ice cream in as little as 30 minutes.
The red or aqua-colored compact ice cream maker includes a canister that needs to be frozen for churning ice cream.
The process of making ice cream is simple. Just assemble the machine, turn it on and put your ingredients through a large spout, and the spindle will turn at constant velocity to aerate the mixture and get you the smoothest ice cream with fewer crystals.
It’s a small-sized ice cream maker that can make only 1 quart of ice cream as compared to Cuisinart (1.5 Quarts) ice cream maker. But still, it is double the size of Dash’s My Pint ice cream machine.
The popsicle feature includes mold and reusable popsicle sticks and can make seven popsicles at a time – surely a treat for your kids. The machine is easier to clean. You can wash all non-electric parts in the dishwasher after making the ice cream.
11. Classic Cuisine – Best Small Portable Ice Cream Maker
Adapt, adjust and customize recipes according to the taste and flavor of your kids with this entry-level portable ice cream maker. Classic Cuisine ice cream maker features a frozen bowl instead of a hand crank and can make 1.5 quarts of ice cream.
With just 8.5 inches in height and 6.5 inches in diameter, this ice cream machine is an excellent option if you have many appliances already on your countertop.
Just like other comparative homemade ice cream makers, to churn the flavorful pot of ice cream, you need to freeze the bowl for 24 hours.
The white machine is sturdier, and the dasher turns smoothly till your ice cream freezes.
To get the most out of the Classic cuisine Ice cream maker, prepare your ice cream mix beforehand and chill it thoroughly before putting it into the freezing bowl.
The chilled mixture will help the ice cream texture to form faster before the frozen bowl thaws. It also has a spout to add fruit chunks or cookies into the mixture.
You can’t use metal spoons to scrape the ice cream from the sides in Classic cuisine ice cream makers.
Cleaning the appliance is extremely easy after making the ice cream. The mixing pedal is dishwasher safe but only on the top shelf, but the bowl needs to be hand washed.
How to Choose Ice Cream Maker – Buying Guide
Consider below factors while choosing an ice cream making machine:
Ice Maker Type
The first thing before you buy an ice cream maker is to decide the machine’s type. Usually, you can find three types of Ice cream makers.
- Freezer bowl that needs to be pre-chilled.
- Ice cream maker that utilizes ice and salt.
- Built-in freezing or compressor-based.
The removable bowl needs to occupy the space in your freezer and requires pre-planning as the canister needs to be frozen. Also, to make the second batch, you will have to freeze the bowl overnight again. So, if you can’t wait for this long, you can buy an ice and salt ice cream maker.
The compressor-based ice cream machines are expensive and take more space.
You can also buy a hand-crank machine that also utilizes an electric motor to churn the ice cream.
Source of Power
You can either buy a manual machine that only requires muscle work to move the hand crank continuously. These machines don’t require electric power.
You can also buy an electric ice cream maker that draws its power from an electric outlet to rotate the machine’s canister and spindle. It takes away all manual work to churn the ice cream.
Budget determination narrows down your choice of purchasing the ice cream maker. Ice makers’ prices vary from $25 to $1000. Depending on your budget, you can buy a decent electric ice cream maker under $100.
If your budget is higher than that, then you can buy a self-refrigerating ice cream machine for added convenience.
Amount of Ice Cream and Batches
Ice cream machines have a specific capacity of the canister. Most canisters that need to be pre-chilled can make 1 to 2 quarts of ice cream in a single batch. 1 or 1.5 quarts of ice cream is enough for a small family.
But if you want to feed more people, you should go for ice and salt or self-refrigerating ice cream makers. These machines can prepare large quantities without waiting to make multiple batches.
Unless you make ice cream every day, you should take into consideration its storage size too. Plan where you will store the ice cream maker before even buying the appliance, as most of us don’t permanently keep an ice cream maker on the kitchen counter.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
What are the best ice cream makers that provides good value for money?
- Cuisinart ICE30BC – Top-Rated Ice Cream Maker
- Cuisinart ICE21P1 – Best Under $100
- Yonanas Classic – Ice Cream and Dessert Maker
- Nostalgia RSM602 – For Making Snow Con for Kids
- Nostalgia WICM4L – Electric Powered
- Maxi-Matic EIM-520 – Best Value for the Money
- Chef’n Sweet Spot – Best Scoop Maker
- Maxi-Matic EIM-924L – For Making Large Batch Ice Cream
- Hamilton Beach 68881Z – Best Under $50
- Dash DIC700AQ – Best Ice Cream and Yogurt Maker
- Classic Cuisine – Small Portable Ice Cream Maker
Is the Pampered Chef ice cream maker worth it?
Pampered Chef ice cream maker uses the pre-chilled removable bowl style to churn the ice cream. It didn’t make it in our top 10 lists of ice cream makers. The reason is it is high-priced and can make only 1-quart ice cream per batch, whereas our top picks can make more quantity in a single batch and have an affordable price tag. The only difference is that it has a timer option to set the churning time from 5 to 40 minutes.
Is the KitchenAid ice cream maker worth it?
KitchenAid is a brand that is not new to kitchen appliances and produces some of the best kitchen equipment. However, KitchenAid doesn’t exactly have an all-standing ice cream maker. It makes an Ice-cream attachment bowl that needs to be chilled in the freezer. You can use it with your KitchenAid mixer. So, it is not a feasible option for many consumers who do not own a KitchenAid mixer. Additionally, at that price, you can buy other ice cream makers that don’t require a separate mixer or equipment.
What is the best inexpensive ice cream maker?
It depends on the ice-cream quantity and how many batches of ice cream you can make. Under $50, Nostalgia WICM4L is the best affordable ice cream maker that can make four quart ice creams at once without any need to pre-chill the bowl.
If you don’t want an ice and salt ice cream maker, then Hamilton Beach (68881Z) and Maxi Matic (EIM-1400R) are the better choices with only a few dollars difference. However, these can only make 1.5 quarts of ice cream in a single batch.
Are compressor ice cream makers better?
Compressor ice cream makers have a self-refrigeration mechanism and don’t require any pre-chilled bowl or the mess of salt and ice cubes. These can make large quantities and several batches of ice cream without waiting in between multiple batches. However, these conveniences come at a higher price tag.
If you want an ice cream maker for the home and to have some fun with custom ice cream recipes, you can easily have these at a lower price with a pre-frozen canister or ice and salt style ice cream maker.
How to Use an Ice Cream Maker?
Ice cream makers are fairly easy to use. By following these simple steps, you can get your ice maker to churn ice cream.
- If you own an ice cream maker with a removable canister, you will have to chill it in the freezer. The first step is to put it in the freezer. You can skip this step in the ice and salt ice cream maker.
- Then, prepare your ice cream mix and chill it in the fridge.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl, attach the spindle or mixing paddle.
- Close the lid and turn on the machine if you have a pre-chilled styled ice cream maker.
- For the ice & salt ice maker, you need to layer ice and salt to the given line before starting the machine.
How to Use a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker?
Using Cuisinart ice cream maker is extremely simple and can be used in four easy steps.
- Freeze the bowl in the refrigerator for 16-24 hours until the liquid inside the double layers freeze.
- Prepare your ice cream and mixture and chill it in the fridge for better results.
- Attach the mixing paddle to the Aluminum canister, close the lid and turn on the machine.
- Pour the mixture into the Aluminum canister via the spout on the lid, and in 35-30 minutes, your ice cream will be ready.
How to Use a KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker?
The kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment is straightforward to use.
- Freeze the bowl for about 15 hours in the freezer.
- Prepare your ice cream mix and also keep it in the fridge to chill it.
- At the time of making ice cream, first, attach the drive assembly to the head of the KitchenAid mixer.
- Take the bowl out of the freezer and attach it to the bottom of the mixer by turning it counterclockwise. If your model uses an adapter ring, it will be attached to the bottom of the bowl.
- Put the dasher in the bowl. Lock the lid and start the machine.
- Pour in the mixture in the bowl while the machine is on. Your ice cream will be ready in 25-30 minutes.
Nothing beats the summer heat more than a few scoops of chilled ice cream with the perfect texture and smoothness. Sure, you can buy store-bought ice cream, but there is no greater satisfaction than seeing your creamy ice cream get thickened and dense from the lid. You can customize your recipes and make frozen sorbet, gelato, and yogurt with ice cream makers. All our picks are affordable and under$100, and we have gathered consumer reports, researched, and tested the ice cream makers to pick these options. So you can purchase your ice cream maker with confidence, knowing that it got thumbs up from both our consumers and testers.