Here at the Strategist UK, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, 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 products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And whilst we’ve covered kitchen products before — from blenders to slow cookers — here, we’ve rounded up the best ice cream–makers for everyone, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated overall ice-cream machine
This was the best-rated ice cream–maker overall, and it was a particularly popular option for people who are new to ice cream–making, with 482 reviewers describing it as easy to use. One customer specifically bought it to make sorbet for a dinner party, calling it effortless to make (even when not using a recipe, although a booklet is included). Seventy-three reviewers were impressed with it given the affordability, with one review noting how good it was “despite” the low price. One woman who bought this ice cream–maker so she could make desserts with her grandchildren said her first attempt tasted like something from a little Italian village.
Part of the machine needs to be kept in the freezer for up to eight hours before adding the mixture; one customer recommends leaving this in the freezer at all times so you can make ice cream much quicker. Negative reviews focused on the lack of a funnel for pouring the mixture, which made a lot of mess, while cleaning it was also considered cumbersome. Twenty-eight customers wrote critically of the inability to clean this ice cream–maker easily, as the parts cannot go in the dishwasher. The majority of reviewers also recommended filling it only halfway up, as the ice cream froze better than if the machine was at full capacity.
Best-rated small ice-cream machine
Sensio’s ice cream–maker was also highly rated, and it is one of the smallest models online. While the capacity is only marginally smaller (1.4 litres compared to the Andrew James’s 1.5 litres), the notably smaller size of the machine overall meant it was able to fit into smaller freezers and cupboards when not in use. The Sensio is 14 centimetres tall (by comparison, the Andrew James model is 20 centimetres tall), and ten customers noted that the size was perfect for those with limited kitchen space. Thirty-seven reviewers also commented on how easy it was to use, while 20 found the device easy to clean, especially around the lid and paddle.
Best-rated large ice cream–maker
Most ice cream–makers on Amazon come with a 1.5-litre bowl, but the bowl on this VonShef model is 2 litres. One customer specifically bought it because Nigella Lawson’s ice-cream recipes typically call for a 2-litre churner, and their previous attempts to change the ratios of ingredients for their 1.5-litre model had failed spectacularly. Other customers noted how cold the bowl stays after being frozen, with several reviewers saying they would make a second batch of ice cream immediately afterward (one even said a third consecutive batch would be possible). However, many reviews note how difficult the machine is to clean owing to the motor being attached to the lid. Reviews also noted that this model didn’t include detailed instructions, with several customers saying they had to look up how to use it online, particularly when making sorbets or healthier ice creams.
Best-rated self-freezing ice-cream machine
Though this is the most expensive ice cream–maker on our list, 18 reviewers were confident that the Cuisinart Gelato and Ice Cream–maker is worth the money. With a 1.5-litre bowl and two different mixing paddles — one for ice cream and one for gelato — 88 reviewers said it was easy to use, with one calling it “idiotproof.” A bonus for this ice cream–maker is that, unlike cheaper options, there’s no need to keep the bowl in the freezer before using it to make your ice cream. It doesn’t take too long to make a batch, either: One customer said they were able to make banana ice cream in 30 minutes. Some ice cream–makers can be especially noisy, but plenty of customers agreed that this machine isn’t too disruptive, with one reviewer saying it makes less noise than her microwave.
Best snow cone–maker
This snow cone– and slushy-maker produces snow cones in minutes — 65 reviewers said that their kids, their kids’ friends, and their nieces/nephews were thrilled with the machine. It also has a handy safety feature to prevent younger children from hurting themselves as they use it. It’s not just kids who love the machine, though. The ages of satisfied customers vary from as young as 3 to 40, with one 22-year-old claiming they’ve been making snow cones for their friends and family ever since their purchase. Another enthusiastic reviewer was a pregnant woman who was always craving ice cubes; after her dentist advised her against chewing on too many, she bought this.
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.