Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like ice-cube trays), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. Here, the best ice-cream makers on Amazon — we’ve also picked out our favorite backyard pools and beach chairs — according to the people (note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity).
Best No-Ice-Required Ice-Cream Maker
4.5 stars, 3,906 reviews
“Love! This is the perfect size for us empty nesters. It gives us three or four nights of ice cream. It’s so much easier to use than back in the ’80s, when I had to pack ice and salt rock around the canister. I left the canister in the freezer after washing it when we first got it, and made the yummiest vanilla ice cream from the recipe book enclosed with it. Storage takes a very small amount of space. I put the ice cream made in a Rubbermaid container in the freezer, and wash and dry the canister and it’s stored in the freezer.”
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Best Medium-Batch (Four-Quart) Ice-Cream Maker
4.3 stars, 1,368 reviews
“If you don’t care about glam and you want to do things the semi-old way, then this churn is for you! Oh my gosh, best homemade ice cream ever. I made a replica of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream’s retired ‘Queen City Cayenne,’ and this churn pulled it off flawlessly. We were licking the inner canister. It will make huge batches of ice cream. Can’t wait to make my grandmother’s southern peach ice cream with the sweet, locally grown peaches down the road this upcoming summer!”
Best Large-Batch (Six-Quart) Ice-Cream Maker
4.2 stars, 236 reviews
“I have used a lot of ice-cream makers, and by far this is the best! Yes, it comes at a higher price, but there is a reason why. Top-notch!! I am not sure my lawn mower has a motor as strong as this one.”
Best Portable Ice-Cream Maker
4.2 stars, 805 reviews
“Most of the ice-cream makers on the market don’t make enough at one time. This makes a gallon of ice cream quickly and neatly. It only needs ice and coarse salt, plus the ingredients for any kind of ice cream you can imagine! It isn’t very noisy and is very easy to clean. I highly recommend it for its wonderful capacity. I can put any leftover ice cream (should such a thing occur) in my freezer for later. A quick trick is to semi-melt vanilla ice cream and throw in a bag of frozen fruit, such as mango or blackberries, and run it through the ice-cream maker to have delicious fruit-flavored ice cream without buying a gallon of heavy cream and pounds of sugar. Coffee ice cream can also be made this way, with ripples of chocolate and/or caramel running through it.”
Best Old-Fashioned Ice-Cream Maker
4.4 stars, 280 reviews
“Many people scream for ice cream, but I guarantee you won’t be screaming at your loved ones when using this awesome little ice-cream maker, because it’s hassle-free. I’ve made two batches so far using recipes found in the manual, and they’ve turned out wonderfully well. Depending on the recipe, it will make a little less than a gallon at one time.”
Best Single-Serving Ice-Cream Maker
4.2 stars, 104 reviews
“Today, I made vanilla ice cream using the recipe included with this bowl, it was a big hit. I found it very easy to use once I found a good rhythm for the scraping and stirring. The ice cream was ready to eat in just under five minutes with a consistency like VERY thick soft serve. I only made one serving, but considering that the water I used to rinse the bowl froze on the sides, I am confident that I could have easily made a second bowl without putting it back into the freezer.”
Best Brushed-Steel Ice-Cream Maker
4.6 stars, 3,005 reviews
“I’m SO happy with this ice-cream maker!!! No dry ice!! No rock salt! No regular ice! You put the ice-cream-maker bowl in the freezer, then pop it into the appliance and add your recipe. We’ve made vanilla and strawberry ice creams from the recipes in the book. Both came out quite soft, but hardened up perfectly in the freezer — hard enough to scoop into ice-cream cones. The appliance itself is made of just four parts, all of which should be HAND-washed, not put in the dishwasher. Very easy to put together right out of the box. Very easy to clean in warm, soapy water.”
Best Ice-Cream Maker Mixer Attachment
4.2 stars, 2,352 reviews
“I scream, you scream, we all scream. I’m not sure why we’re screaming, but I am sure that you should add this attachment to your small-appliance roster. It is by far my favorite attachment for our KitchenAid, but I must admit, I am partial to ice cream. This makes it easy, though if you’re like me and want it to always be ready to go, it does take up quite a bit of space in the freezer. Solution? Get an additional freezer, plus that gives you more room for ice cream. Problem solved.”
Fastest Ice-Cream Maker
4.5 stars, 329 reviews
“Love it! Have made three batches so far, and not disappointed with anything about this unit! It cranks out a batch in 18 to 24 minutes. If you had a second container, you could probably make four batches in a day. It’s simple to clean up, and it is not too noisy while operating. Have not tried gelato or sorbet yet, but no reason to doubt they will be just a good.”
Best Combination Ice-Cream-and-Gelato Maker
4.4 stars, 566 reviews
“Got mine this week and tried it out for the first time for a gathering of friends. I used two of the gelato recipes right out of the manual, and it worked to perfection. I followed the directions and refrigerated the mixture for two hours, and made both batches right after each other. I can’t wait to try other recipes. Two batches (different flavors) were enough for 13 people to have a scoop of each. This will pay for itself in no time! Highly recommended!”
Best Fruit-Soft-Serve Maker
4.2 stars, 1,818 reviews
“I have to admit, even after reading the rave reviews, I did not think the banana-soft-serve product would be as good as people were saying. But I’m amazed! The creamy, INTENSE banana flavor outdoes real ice cream. Awesome. Listen to the directions and reviews to have the best experience: Only use very ripe bananas — minimum two (rather large) — let thaw for 10 to 15 minutes before processing, and rinse the parts very soon after use. Even my husband said, ‘This is really, really good!’ And good for you as well.”
Best Snow-Cone Machine
4.4 stars, 1,228 reviews
“Awesome purchase! We usually rent a snow-cone machine for my daughter’s birthday party in July ($50 for a weekend!). Last year, while putting ice in, she cut some of her fingers. Never again! I went to Amazon and found this machine has great reviews. I bought it, but was a little hesitant that it wouldn’t work with so many kids. I was wrong! Quick and easy, and there is a safeguard on top that won’t run unless it is on. We never used it consistently for five minutes, but it made so many snow cones at once, we never had to. Definitely would recommend!”
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