Chill Out This Summer: Comparing Top Ice Cream Makers for Summer Treats


There's nothing quite like a scoop of homemade ice cream to beat the summer heat. With an ice cream maker, you can experiment with flavors, control ingredients, and enjoy fresh, creamy treats whenever you want. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right one? This guide will compare the top ice cream makers, highlighting their features, pros and cons, and what makes each one stand out. Let's dive in and find the perfect ice cream maker for your summer treats.

A modern kitchen counter with various ice cream makers, including a compressor model, a traditional bucket-style maker, and a frozen bowl model.

Types of Ice Cream Makers

Manual Ice Cream Makers

Manual ice cream makers rely on hand-cranking to churn the ice cream mixture. They are often more affordable and have a nostalgic charm.


  • No electricity required.
  • Great for outdoor use.
  • Typically less expensive.


  • Requires physical effort.
  • Limited capacity.

Electric Ice Cream Makers

Electric ice cream makers automate the churning process, making it easier and quicker to produce ice cream.


  • Effortless operation.
  • Consistent results.
  • Larger capacity options.


  • Requires electricity.
  • Can be more expensive.

Compressor Ice Cream Makers

Compressor ice cream makers come with built-in freezers, eliminating the need to pre-freeze the mixing bowl.


  • No pre-freezing required.
  • Continuous batches possible.
  • High-quality, professional results.


  • Expensive.
  • Bulky and heavy.

Frozen Bowl Ice Cream Makers

These ice cream makers require the mixing bowl to be frozen prior to use. They are a popular choice for home use.


  • Affordable.
  • Easy to use.
  • Compact and lightweight.


  • Requires pre-freezing time.
  • Limited to one batch at a time.

Comparing Top Ice Cream Makers

Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker


  • Fully automatic with a commercial-quality compressor.
  • 1.5-quart capacity.
  • Touchpad controls with a blue LCD readout.
  • Two paddles: one for gelato and one for ice cream.


  • No need to pre-freeze the bowl.
  • Can make multiple batches in a row.
  • Easy to use and clean.


  • High price point.
  • Larger footprint on the counter.

User Reviews:

Users love the consistency and quality of the ice cream produced by the Cuisinart ICE-100. The convenience of not needing to pre-freeze the bowl is a major plus, though some note that it takes up significant counter space.

KitchenAid KICA0WH Ice Cream Maker Attachment


  • Compatible with all KitchenAid stand mixers.
  • 2-quart capacity.
  • Dasher rotates inside the bowl to spread, scrape, and mix.


  • Utilizes existing KitchenAid mixer.
  • Large capacity.
  • Easy to attach and use.


  • Requires pre-freezing of the bowl.
  • Only works with KitchenAid mixers.

User Reviews:

Owners of KitchenAid mixers find this attachment convenient and efficient. It’s praised for its large capacity and ease of use, though the need to pre-freeze the bowl can be inconvenient for spontaneous ice cream making.

Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker


  • 4-quart capacity.
  • Fully automatic with an easy-lock lid.
  • Uses rock salt and ice for freezing.


  • Large capacity for families and gatherings.
  • Affordable.
  • Simple to use.


  • Requires rock salt and ice.
  • Can be noisy during operation.

User Reviews:

Users appreciate the Hamilton Beach 68330N for its large capacity and value for money. It's a favorite for family gatherings and parties, despite the extra steps of using rock salt and ice.

Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker


  • Self-refrigerating compressor.
  • 1.5-quart capacity.
  • 12 hardness settings.
  • Pre-cool setting and keep-cool function.


  • Customizable settings for different textures.
  • No need to pre-freeze the bowl.
  • Keeps ice cream cool after churning.


  • Expensive.
  • Large and heavy.

User Reviews:

The Breville Smart Scoop is highly rated for its advanced features and ease of use. Users enjoy the ability to customize the texture of their ice cream, though some find the price and size to be significant drawbacks.

Nostalgia ICMP400WD 4-Quart Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker


  • Old-fashioned wood bucket design.
  • 4-quart capacity.
  • Electric motor with an easy-to-clean plastic liner.


  • Nostalgic design and large capacity.
  • Easy to use with an electric motor.
  • Affordable.


  • Requires rock salt and ice.
  • Can be messy.

User Reviews:

Fans of traditional-style ice cream makers love the Nostalgia ICMP400WD for its charm and large capacity. It's a hit at parties and family gatherings, though the cleanup can be a bit more involved.

Key Considerations When Choosing an Ice Cream Maker


Consider how much ice cream you want to make in one batch. Smaller capacities are ideal for individuals or couples, while larger capacities are better for families or entertaining.

Ease of Use

Look for features that make the process straightforward, such as automatic churning, digital controls, and easy-to-clean components.


Ice cream makers range from budget-friendly to high-end models. Determine your budget and consider how often you'll use the machine to find the best value.


Consider the size of the ice cream maker and your available kitchen space. Compressor models tend to be larger and heavier, while frozen bowl models are more compact.

Special Features

Some ice cream makers come with additional features like multiple paddles, pre-cool settings, and keep-cool functions. Decide which features are important for your needs.


Do I need to pre-freeze the bowl for all ice cream makers?

No, only frozen bowl models require pre-freezing. Compressor models and some manual ice cream makers do not.

How long does it take to make ice cream in an ice cream maker?

The time varies depending on the model and the recipe. Generally, it takes about 20-40 minutes to churn ice cream, with additional time for freezing if needed.

Can I make other frozen treats with an ice cream maker?

Yes, many ice cream makers can also make gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurt, and other frozen desserts.

What ingredients do I need to make ice cream at home?

Basic ingredients include milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings. You can also add mix-ins like fruit, nuts, and chocolate.


Choosing the right ice cream maker can enhance your summer with delicious homemade treats. Whether you prefer the convenience of an electric model, the versatility of a KitchenAid attachment, or the nostalgic charm of a traditional bucket maker, there's an ice cream maker to suit your needs. Consider the features, capacity, and ease of use that matter most to you, and enjoy creating your favorite frozen desserts at home.