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:
- All three of the ice cream makers were loud, but this one was the softest.
- The dasher seemed a bit flimsy and hooked into the lid with just a small portion of plastic. I do not feel that this would hold up well with thicker ice creams.
- It was difficult to get the lid on and off. It was very heavy and unwieldy and I had trouble getting it to click in place.
- It only comes in unattractive colors.
- After 30 minutes of churning, it shut itself off. The ice cream was soupy and nowhere near done. I thought this may have been a fluke since my daughter used the microwave just before it turned off (and maybe too much power got drawn from the same circuit–not that I know anything about electricity). So a few days later, I made another batch of ice cream and tried it again (with no children around). The same thing happened.
- Though not as loud as the Hamilton Beach, it still put out quite a few decibels.
- The dasher is firm and solid.
- The lid is lightweight and easily snaps into place.
- It comes in attractive colors.
- After 37 minutes, the ice cream was a perfect soft-serve consistency. The ice cream was so thick that it stopped moving around in the bowl and was all stuck to the dasher.
- Probably the noisiest of the three makers.
- Dasher seems sturdy enough.
- Lid easily snapped on.
- The bowl wobbled as it spinned.
- After 45 minutes of churning, the ice cream began to overflow. It was the consistency of melted soft-serve.
As you can see, the clear winner here is the Cuisinart. Quite frankly, I was surprised at the total ineffectiveness of the other two ice cream makers. All the bowls had spent the exact same amount of time in the freezer prior to the experiment, and each ice cream mixture (the Classic Vanilla) was exactly the same. However, the Oster and Hamilton Beach both failed miserably at creating ice cream. Both of these ice cream makers were brand new, while my Cuisinart is over two years old. However, it performed perfectly.
My advice: Don’t even think about getting a Hamilton Beach or Oster ice cream maker. Yes, they only run about $30 whereas the Cuisinart runs about $60. But do you want to be out $30 and have a piece of useless junk and no ice cream? Or would you rather pay $60 and get an appliance that will perform well, time after time, and make perfect ice cream?
Note: (My Cuisinart is an old model. The newer models have lids without the wavy part at the bottom. This is just cosmetic, so there is nothing to worry about in terms of functionality).
So order a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker today! This is a perfect gift for yourself or anyone you love. (I’ve given it as a wedding gift). Summer is just around the corner, and you will get tons of use out of it. (Plus, you will be the most popular person on your block!)
Note: I have not been compensated by Cuisinart in any way for this review. Cuisinart has no idea who I am. My review is completely unbiased and based on my personal research.
Has anybody had a different experience with any of these ice cream makers? Leave your thoughts in the comments.