Important Considerations When Buying Ice Cream Freezers

Having an ice cream maker, also called ice cream freezers, at home is that you can make ice cream anytime the mood strikes you. However, ice cream makers come in different types so selecting what you need can be quit confusing. To make sure that you won’t be wasting your hard earned cash for something that you can’t use to its maximum capacity, here are some important things to consider before buying the best ice cream maker for your kitchen.

Capacity and Size

Ice cream freezers come in a variety of sizes and capacities. When choosing the right product for you, consider how much ice cream you are planning to make. Ask yourself this: are you regularly going to make ice cream for a handful of people, for more people, or are you going to use it for an ice cream business?

Built-in Freezer or Bowl

Ice Cream FreezerThe affordable types are those that come with removable pre-freezing bowls which have to be frozen ahead of time prior to using the machine. These types are perfect for those who don’t have a load of cash to spend. You can simply store the bowl in your freezer so that when you are ready to make ice cream, the bowl’s also ready to go. Read the product leaflets when picking among bowl-type ice cream machines since pre-freezing time varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and some may require wrapping the bowl in plastic or something similar.

On the other hand, if you don’t have the patience for pre-freezing bowls and you have a bigger budget, you can purchase them with built-in freezers instead. These are also ideal for those who will be making ice cream on a regular basis since the higher cost will be justified by how frequently you will be using the machine.


What exactly will you do with your ice cream machine? Note that there are models that exclusively make regular ice cream, while some are capable of making soft-serve, cocktails, and slushies.

Cycle Time

Majority of freezers are capable of churning or freezing ice cream in around 20-30 minutes. Check manufacturer information to get specifics.

Safety Features and Warranties

Read the manufacturer’s description carefully to see if the machine offers safety features like interlocking lids or non-slip feet. Likewise, check to see if a unit has a recognized safety mark indicating that the manufacturer complies with the proper safety measures. In addition, check the warranty coverage.


Considering that you won’t be using the ice cream maker for business purposes, check your kitchen for possible storage locations.

Reputable Reviews

Surf the Internet (especially forums and personal blogs) and read magazines to check the feedback on different ice cream freezers.

Extras and Spare Parts

Refer to descriptions of ice cream makers to check if they come with extra items. Extra items normally include recipe booklets, spatulas, and pouring jugs to name a few. Also check out Sweet Ice Cream Love for reviews. Recipe books will definitely come in very handy since the recipes included will provide you with a practical guide concerning ingredients, freezing times, etc. since the recipes are tailor-fitted and tested using the machine.

Some also come with LCD panels that can display the time it takes to finish the churning process so you know when to check. Some also come with bigger spouts to make it easier for you to add ingredients. In addition, confirm if the manufacturer also makes spare parts such as separate freezer bowls or paddles which may be useful as backups.

Ice Cream Maker: Manual and Electric Types

Chocolate and vanilla ice creamThose looking to invest in an ice cream machine, commonly called an ice cream maker, can choose from the manual or electric types. A manual ice cream maker is made up of an outer bigger bowl and an inner smaller bowl that makes use of a hand-cracked system for turning the paddle or dasher used for stirring the ice cream mixture. The outer bigger bowl on the other hand is filled with a mixture of ice and salt.

The combination of ice and salt will result in freezing point depression. This process occurs because of the heat of fusion resulting from the salt melting the ice, which in turn absorbs this heat from the mixture and freezes the ice cream. This kind of ice cream machine is very affordable but will suffice for those making ice cream at home. However, it can be sometimes messy since the salt and ice mixture generates extra salty water that should be properly cleaned up. Likewise, the mixture should always be replenished for each new batch of ice cream.

Other manual machine units can hold 500ml or a pint of ice cream mixture and have hollow walls that contain cooling element. Usually, the paddle is placed into a plastic top. The ice cream mixture will be placed in the frozen bowl and then put in the freezer. The paddles should be operated by hand every 10 minutes or more in the course of several hours until your reach the ideal flavor and consistency.

The electric ice cream maker comes in three types. All types use an electric motor for stirring the ice cream, but each has different cooling mechanisms. Freezer-unit, electric ice cream makers’ functions similar to food processors. The paddles automatically turn every several seconds when stirring the ice cream and will stop automatically once the ice cream is sufficiently frozen. Because the ice cream will be cooled via storing it in a freezer as opposed to the bowl having direct contact with a coolant, the ice cream tends to freeze slower than other types.

Two scoops of chocolate ice cream

Two scoops of chocolate ice cream

On the other hand, a countertop ice cream machine utilizes a two-walled bowl that holds a solution in the middle, usually made of urea and distilled water. This solution is capable of freezing well below the water’s freezing point. The unit must be frozen a solid day in advance in a freezer before using. The frozen bowl is then placed in the maker, filled with the ice cream mixture, and turned on. The mixture will slowly freeze because of contact with the bowl as the paddles continuously stirs. The cooling solution will thaw out in 20-30 minutes and you’ll see the finished ice cream product.

Ice cream makers that are bigger, sturdier, and more expensive make use of a built-in freezing system that doesn’t require pre-chilling bowls. Once you turn on the cooling mechanism, you can pour the ice cream mix in several minutes and activate the paddles. Depending on how much ice cream you are making, the freezing process can take around 20-30 minutes.

This type of ice cream maker is perfect for small-scale commercial ice cream production since you can use it on the fly and can accommodate countless ice cream batches without delays. However, some models can’t be moved around without a 12-hour waiting time prior to use since moving the machine around will negatively affect the coolant’s integrity. They are therefore not practical for home kitchens where appliances are more often than not re-positioned before and after use.