Best Ice Cream Makers — Consumer Reports (2022)

Only a few things are more soothing than taking a scoop of ice cream on a sweltering summer day. But it can be even more fulfilling when the ice cream is homemade.

With an ice cream maker, you can make whatever kind of ice cream you want from the comfort of your home. That way, you have absolute control over the ingredients and flavorings.

In this piece, we’d be looking at some of the best ice cream makers on the market, according to consumer reports and expert reviews.

best ice cream makers consumer reports

Best Ice Cream Makers (Consumer Reports)

The market abounds with ice cream makers by dozens of different brands. This explains why making the right choice can be a huge challenge. Aside from a few personal details that you need to consider such as how much space you can allocate and the quality of ice cream you’re looking for, you also need to consider factors such as durability, features, and ease of use.

Our research team compared dozens of ice cream makers in terms of durability, quality, brand trust, features, and other important details. And after cutting out the unimpressive options from our initial long list, we were left with these top contenders that you shouldn’t go wrong with.

1. Ninja NC301 CREAMi Ice Cream Maker

 

When you want to make ice-cream from the comfort of your home, the Ninja NC301 CREAMi is an ice cream maker that can create different creamy frozen treats including ice cream sorbet, gelato, smoothie bowls, milk shakes etc.

Nina’s products are usually known to look sleek and the NC301 doesn’t deviate from the tradition. It looks very much like a blender but it is actually an ice cream maker in that it doesn’t use a churning process but rather uses an 800W power blade that spins from the top to the bottom.

A drawcard of the NC301 is that it is compact, which means it won’t occupy much space on your countertop and storage will be hassle-free. This model has two motors – one spins the paddle while the other one is for applying downward pressure.

Everything feels secure when you assemble the product except that the overall build quality could be better since most parts are plastic. It is very easy to use: just prepare the base, freeze it overnight, process it in the CREAMi and serve. There’s an accompanying recipe book of about 30 creations.

This icie cream maker comes with seven one-touch versatile programs that allows for a combination of speed, pressure and time to completely shave through your frozen pint. Options include ice cream, sorbet, gelato, milkshake, smoothie bowl, lite ice cream and mix-in.

Going further, this ice cream maker uses Ninja’s proprietary technology, Creamify. This system finely shaves and churns ince particles into creamy frozen treats in minutes. If you’re unsatisfied with the results, the re-spin button lets you trigger further processing to make your treat softer and creamier.

Another positive point of the Ninja NC301 is that it is convenient to use. It comes with easy functionality that works great for people of all ages, which means anyone in the family will be able to make frozen treats whenever they want. There’s also the mix-in feature that lets you customize flavor and texture by mixing in your favorite chocolate, nuts, candy, fruit etc.

The Ninja NC301 CREAMi is easy to clean as most of its parts are dishwasher safe. Overall, this product is sure to make you rethink your addiction to store-bought ice cream.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Easy to use
  • Different modes to choose from
  • Impressive results when making dairy-free ice cream

Cons

  • Noisy
  • Can only make small quantities

2. Whynter ICM-200LS Ice Cream Maker

 

An award winning ice cream maker, the Whynter ICM-200LS Ice Cream Maker is one of the best, on the market, at churning out rich, creamy treats. It is essentially a 2.1 quart domestic ice cream maker with a self-refrigerating compressor that lets you make premium ice cream as well as sorbets, Italian gelato, sherbets, fresh frozen yogurts and other ice treats.

Starting with its appearance, the ICM-200LS is constructed of stainless steel and looks aesthetically pleasing. It measures 16.8 x 11.2 x 10.2 inches with a weight of 32.2 pounds, indicating that it a taller than most ice cream makers but with a relatively smaller footprint. The top panel of the unit features an LCD display and a set of buttons.

Coming to its internal component, a 180-watts motor works to produce 1.5 quarts of treats, with the start to completion duration taking only about 25 minutes. When you push the power button, the LCD screen lights up with options for Ice Cream, Cooling and Mixing only (should you want to add other ingredients when the ice cream is partially solidified.)

A headline feature of the ICM-200LS is its compressor freezer, which is very powerful as it requires only about 30-60 minutes to freeze a batch of ice cream. Even better, you can use it again and again so there’s no downtime during your party. It also sports an audible timer to alert you when your treat is ready.

Noise levels can be a deal breaker for most people and the ICM-200LS scales through this requirement. Although the manufacturer states that the ice cream maker is rated 58 dB, it is actually closer to 72 dB during freezing. This shouldn’t be an issue except that you might hear a squeaking noise while it’s freezing. .

Cleaning this unit requires that you use warm soapy water as the its parts are not dishwasher safe. Overall, if you want to top-notch ice cream that’s extremely smooth, dense and creamy, the Whynter ICM-200LS is a capable model.

Pros

  • Compact and light
  • Small quart capacity
  • Audible timer

Cons

  • Squeaky noise while freezing
  • Difficult to clean
  • Not durable

3. Cuisinart ICE-30BC

 

Cuisinart is a household name in kitchen appliances, having built their reputation over the years by releasing high-quality products to the market. The Cuisinart ICE-30BC lets you make chilly treats with a range of flavors.

The ICE-30BC comes as a brushed, stainless steel unit with a transparent, a combination that improves the unit’s aesthetics. The transparent lid is a good idea as it allows you to view the mixture while it’s in progress while a spout on the inside of the main unit ensures consistent temperature while it’s churning so any goodies doesn’t interrupt the freezing process.

Additionally, this appliance has a large sturdy base and non-slip feet to keep the unit in one place when in use and prevent movement due to the internal motor. The base has a small opening at the back to store the cord when not in use. In all, the dimensions measure 11.7 x 8.9 x x. 2 with a weight of 10.4 pounds.

Moving further, the ICE-30BC has a number of features to elevate your ice cream-making experience. For instance, it comes with a safety feature that automatically turns the appliance off when the motor overheats, thus extending the life of the appliance.

This machine makes up to 2 quarts of ice cream bu it takes it around 30 minutes to freeze 0.95 quart at a draw temperature of 10.4-degree Fahrenheit. A major issue with the ICE-30BC is that it’s unable to freeze two batches of ice-cream consecutively. In effect, this means this model from Cuisinart is great only for home use while those looking for a unit for parties might have to search further for a suitable option.

Cleaning the ICE-30BC is easy as you can either do that manually or via the dishwasher. But note that only the dasher and lid are dishwasher safe while the bowl isn’t. As for the noise level, it is within an acceptable range.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Creates great tasting ice cream
  • Feature-rich

Cons

  • Needs to be monitored as it overflows
  • Can’t freeze ice cream batches consecutively

4. Cuisinart ICE-21

 

An ice cream maker is one of the appliances you need to enjoy summer and the Cuisinart ICE-21 is one of the most popular options available right now. With this model, you can also make sorbet and yogurt.

Available in six colors, the ICE-21 weighs only seven pounds and stands less than a foot high, so it fits in most cabinets or garage storage spaces. Due to its small design, it also means it has a small bowl built-in, which you can easily fit in your freezer without having to rearrange it. Then there is the non-slip rubber feet to keep it stationary and secure during use.

Operating this ice cream maker is so simple that anyone in the family can make their favorite treats. There’s only one switch for on/off and the process is so straightforward that you can create ice cream in five steps. If you need help making the treats, you will benefit from the recipe book that ships with the package.

Despite its plastic construction, this unit feels well made. You won’t feel the absence of stainless steel or that it was made of a poor filmsy construction.  The transparent cover at the top locks easily to the base and provides visibility into the status of your treat.

If you pre-chill the ingredients, you can make your treats under 20 minutes otherwise, it takes about 40 minutes to make ice cream.

Like most ice cream makers, the ICE-21 has a loud motor, which means you might have to find a way to cope with the noise as you might hear it from another room. Another issue many buyers of this product complain about is that most of the parts are not dishwasher safe, so you might have to go the manual way.

Overall, the Cuisinart ICE-21 isn’t the best ice cream maker on the market but it does offer value for money. It’s a compact and straightforward to-work appliance.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Easy to use
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Loud motor noise

5. Cuisinart ICE-70P1

 

 

The Cuisinart ICE-70 has a lot going for it that have endeared the product to ice cream lovers. Perhaps, the most important is that it lets you make delicious ice cream with very few or coarse icy bits. Plus it takes only half an hour for you to get your favorite treat if you keep the bowl in the freezer in between the uses.

Some people consider the appearance of appliances when making purchases. Apparently aware of this, Cuisinart gives the ICE-70 a chrome finish that would be right at home in any kitchen. Its dimensions measure 8.5 x 13 x 9.5 inches and with a weight of 14 pounds, indicating that it is tall yet narrow so it doesn’t take up much space on your countertop.

Other must-have features are also present. For instance, there’s the LCD screen to show you what’s going on inside the ice cream maker. You also get 3 different settings for you, enhancing versatility while the timer helps you set the ICE-70 so it works in your absence and alerts you when your treat is ready.

Boasting a capacity of 2 quarts, this unit can churn out frozen treats in about 30 minutes thanks to the improved paddle while the spout comes with an integrated measuring cup for easy pour and less spill. As they do with most models, Cuisinart throws in recipe book so you can experiment different treats.

The ICE-70 is a great performing model. It makes some noise during use but it’s not as loud as the beep sound that informs you that the treat is ready. You can hear it from another room, which could be a positive thing for many people. According to the manufacturer, this model can be programmed to shut down automatically if the treat is too thick.

Overall, this ice cream maker is a top-of-the-line unit that delivers fluffy soft serve that develops into ice cream after a few hours in the freezer. Thankfully, some parts are dishwasher safe, which means cleaning isn’t tedious.

Pros

  • Built-in timer
  • Automatic and manual modes
  • Small footprint

Cons

  • Can be noisy
  • Heavy freezer bowl

6. Cuisinart ICE-45

 

You’d probably agree that homemade is the trend now, which is why many people are skipping stores to make their own ice cream from the comfort of their home. The Cuisinart ICE-45 creates delicious soft serve and even has 3 dispensers for sprinkles, nuts, chips and so on.

If you were to judge ice cream makers by their looks, you will likely agree that the ICE-45 is a stylish appliance. It rocks a pink color and is quite a big unit. Although it has removable parts, there’s no way to reduce the height, which is something to keep in mind if under the counter or cabinet storage is a requirement.

Away from the size, the ICE-45 was really made for fun and it’s no surprise that many customers think it’s great for kids. It comes with a stand for displaying stacked ice cream cones. Agreed, the stacked ice cream cones doesn’t in any way improve its function but it does provide visual stimulation for kids.

Furthermore, this model comes with three built-in condiment dispensers and is able to produce 11/2 quarts of ice cream in 20 minutes. It churns just like any conventional ice cream maker and sports a double-insulated bowl. The controls are easy to use and the unit stops automatically if it starts moving.

Overall, this is a really good ice cream maker but the major complaint is that it’s not easy to clean. The machine has a lot of nooks and crannies that are hard to reach. Warm water, soap and some patience are the ingredients required to keep the ICE-45 sparkling clean.

Pros

  • Fun to use
  • Visually appealing and great for kids
  • Shuts down when overheating

Cons

  • Very tall
  • Lots of parts and crevices to clean

Author

  • Keith Rowland is a seasoned electrician who enjoys fixing faults in home appliances and electronics. Being someone who loves writing, he shares on this blog, DIY tips on how to fix various devices within a few minutes. When he's not fixing stuff or writing a new blog post, he's playing with his two cute girls and their mom.