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When looking at home ice cream makers, there are a few brands that always seem to rise to the top. Cuisinart, Whynter, and Breville are the big three that most people like. There is a fourth – Musso – that appears on many lists as well. (At least, I think Musso is the brand name. More on that later.)
This is not to say that soft serve ice cream makers from other manufacturers never make it into a top ten list, but they don’t usually hit the top five. So in the review of some of the best ice cream makers available today, I’ll concentrate on those four brands. For both Whynter and Cuisinart, there is more than one model worth your consideration, so I’ll compare them to each other for you.
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Whynter Ice Cream Makers Are Top Notch
Depending upon whom you ask, one of these three Whynter ice cream maker models is the best of the best in today’s market. The good folks at the Wirecutter think it’s the ICM-15LS because it makes some of the smoothest, but not the smoothest, homemade ice cream of those they tested. They say it is also the quietest maker and the easiest to scoop from and to clean. All of those items are important factors when considering a personal ice cream machine. The question is: How important are they to you?
The Whynter ICM-15LS has been around for many years. Back in 2011, Fine Cooking Magazine rated it as the best self-freezing ice cream maker. House Beautiful Magazine featured it in 2014. So, it’s stood the test of time.
The ICM-200LS apparently has the same motor and compressor as the ICM-15LS. The main difference between the two is that the 200LS has a larger capacity. There is an accompanying rise in cost that you may or may not be willing to pay just to make ice cream.
The ICM-201SB has a newer, sleeker design but is the same size as the ICM-200LS. It costs even more than that model though.
The table below shows you at a glance which specifications change from one Whynter model to the next.
|Housing||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel|
|Removable churn blade?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cooling Temperatur||-0.4ºF to -31ºF||-0.4ºF to -31ºF||-0.4ºF to -31ºF|
|Dimensions WxLxH (inches)||18.5 x 11 x 10||16.75 x 11.25 x 10.25||12.5 x 10.75 x 14.25|
All Whynter models also come with a one-year limited warranty. That should be plenty for a small device like this.
In addition to ice cream, you can also make sorbets, gelato, sherbets, yogurts, and similar treats each in about 30 to 40 minutes. Why limit your possibilities or get another gadget that does the same thing.
The video below shows you a brief overview of the ICM-200LS and the ICM-201SB.
The ICM-201SB has three operating modes: Ice Cream mode, Cooling only mode, and Mixing only mode. My guess is that you use less power in cooling only mode.So, this is a versatile machine.
According to Whynter…
“If you need to add your favorite fruits for flavor, or check the consistency of your ice cream, you can simply use the Pause button to pause the cycle.”
That’s a nice feature that some other machines also have. We all know life happens. Sometimes you just need a pause button.
Breville Smart Scoop AKA BCI600XL
Breville has a very popular ice cream maker called the Smart Scoop. The actual model name is the BCI600XL – something which isn’t always made clear on other sites.
Breville says this is the “first ice cream maker to automatically sense the hardness of the mixture based on your selection.” It then can keep your mixture at the desired temperature for up to 3 hours. That sounds like a handy feature, especially when you get interrupted and can;’t finish the ice cream job here and now. You don’t have to put it in your freezer (which may be a different temperature…and may be full), so you can serve it as you like over time, say, at a party.
Speaking of hardness, you can set this Breville ice cream maker to any of 12 settings depending on whether you want to make regular ice cream, sorbet, gelato, yogurt, or other treats. You can get all these yummy treats from the one machine.
With this Breville ice cream maker, you can mix in the ingredients of your choice part of the way through the process, as you could with the Whynter machines above.
When your mixture is ready, the Smart Scoop will alert you with either a beep or a musical tone, if you like. You can alternatively turn this feature off. Personally, I would prefer to hear the beep. I think you will too.
The unit has a stainless steel housing that measures 15 ¾ by 11 by 11 inches. The capacity of the removable bowl is 1.5 quarts. Is that enough for your household? Probably.
Breville gives you a one-year limited warranty. Again, probably enough for a gadget like this.
Cuisinart Ice Cream Makers Offer Variety
The four Cuisinart ice cream makers described here are just a few of the several they make. These seem to be the more popular models.
The differences among them aren’t all that great. Considering that there are several models that all do basically the same thing, I wouldn’t expect there to be huge differences from one to the next.
|Size LxWxH (inches)||9.5 x 9 x 11.25||8.25 x 8 x 11.25||9.74 x 8.62 x 13.22||16.73 x 12 x 9.33|
*One paddle is for making ice cream. Another is for making gelato. You only use 1 at a time.
In the Wirecutter’s tests, the ICE-100 took longer to make a batch of ice cream, was noisier than other machines, and resulted in an icy mixture. Maybe you like your ice cream that way…?
I think the fact that it has a 60-minute countdown timer says something about how long it takes for this machine to make the dessert. If you’ve got that much time, this won’t be a problem.
I have seen at least the ICE-30 in different colors, such as red (ICE-30R). If you look around, you’ll probably find the color you like, if color is a thing that matters to you.
Lello 4080 Musso Lussino
As I hinted at above, I’m not quite sure who the manufacturer of the Lello ice cream maker is. It seems to be Musso or maybe Musso Lussino, despite the order of the words in the model name. I could be wrong, but it really doesn’t make that much difference. Just realize that it’s all the same machine when you see one wording or another.
This Italian-made machine is large, measuring 10 ½ by 17 ½ by 12 inches. If you’ve got the counter space or storage space, no problem. It’s also apparently a bit of a chore to clean. If you don’t mind chores, again, no problem.
If you can read Italian (or want to take the time to have Google translate for you), you can see the official specs of this machine here at the manufacturer’s site. Sorry, I couldn’t find a document in English.
The Wirecutter’s testers thought this was the best ice cream maker available because it was fast and produced the smoothest and best-flavored desserts of all models tested. The problem is that, unless you’re going to use this machine on a very, very regular basis, it’s simply much too expensive. But if you’ve got the funds and want to splurge, this is the machine for you.
So, if you want to check it out, click the button below.
So Who’s the Ice Cream Maker Winner Here?
Unless you’re really strapped for cash, I think you have to go with either a Whynter model or the Breville Smart Scoop.
If going with a Whynter, just decide which size is better for your family. Larger may not be better.
Personally, I would try the Breville first, if only because it seems to be so popular and easy to use amongst several other reviewers. Those 12 different settings are more than you might ever use, but such granularity is normally a good thing to have. You might eventually settle on 2 or 3 degrees of hardness that you prefer, but you might want to experiment with the others from time to time – or it might depend on whom you’re making the ice cream for.
If none of these tickle your ice cream fancy, take a look at the White Mountain ice cream maker here.