As an ice cream creator, I have made a lot of ice cream. I started making my healthier, home-made ice cream after buying a Cuisinart ice cream maker. At the time, Cuisinart was really the only company making consumer-grade ice cream makers. But in the last year or so, Hamilton Beach and Oster have both come out with ice cream makers. I purchased ice cream makers from these two companies in order to compare them to my Cuisinart. I was very interested in their performance, because both were half the cost of the Cuisinart.
First, let’s compare the physical aspects of the ice cream makers. Each ice cream maker has a 1.5 quart capacity bowl, but they are all different sizes (and therefore not interchangeable between ice cream makers of different brands).
Here is a picture of the lids. The Cuisinart and Hamilton Beach have similar lids, but the Oster’s lid is quite different. This is because the motor is in the lid rather than the base of the ice cream maker.
One important part of an ice cream maker is called the “dasher” or “paddle.” This fits inside the bowl and is what causes air to be introduced into the ice cream. For the Cuisinart and Hamilton Beach models, the dasher sits inside the bowl and is held in place by a rim in the lid. The dasher is stationary while the bowl turns. The dasher for the Oster hooks into the lid itself and spins around while the bowl stays stationary. (I had to set the Oster paddle in part of the lid so it would stand up and you could see it).
To test which ice cream maker was best, I made my Classic Vanilla Ice Cream three times and used each model to churn it. Here is what I noticed for each ice cream maker: