Best Time To Buy An Ice Cream Maker (25-60%+ Off)

Making creamy, delicious homemade ice cream is easier than ever with today’s ice cream makers. Choosing the right time to buy one of these handy appliances can help you save money while still getting a quality machine. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to find the best deals.

Why Make Your Own Ice Cream?

Benefits of homemade ice cream:

Superior Ingredients

You control exactly what goes into your frozen treats. Use high-quality ingredients like real fruit, chocolate, and fresh cream or milk. Avoid preservatives, stabilizers, and mystery “natural flavors.”

Creative Flavors

Make unique flavor combinations like lemon basil, chocolate chili, maple bacon, or any ingredients you crave. Get the whole family involved by letting kids invent their own signature flavors.

Adjustable Texture

Ice cream makers allow you to customize consistency from soft serve to firm scooping texture. Crank up the volume on mix-ins like cookies, candy, nuts, or fruit swirls too.

Cost Savings

Once you have the appliance, homemade is cheaper than buying premium ice cream at the store. Making a basic vanilla or chocolate batch costs a fraction of Ben and Jerry’s or Haagen-Dazs.

Fun Family Activity

Gathering around the ice cream maker creates memories as you take turns pouring ingredients, turning the crank or monitoring freeze time. Then enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor together.

Types of Ice Cream Makers

Common household ice cream maker types:

Ice and Rock Salt Machines

These old-fashioned hand-crank or electric models use ice and coarse rock salt to provide refrigeration. The salt lowers the freezing temp of the ice so it cools the inner metal cylinder faster. Pros are nostalgic fun and no electricity required for hand-crank versions. Cons are messiness, arm strain with hand cranking, and longer freeze times.

Compressor Machines

Self-contained countertop units with built-in compressor and refrigerant to freeze the inner bowl. No ice or salt needed. Convenient and fast but expensive and heavy. Require electricity and freezer space for bowl between uses.

Freezer Bowl Machines

Most affordable and lightweight option. Bowl needs 24+ hours in freezer before use so requires some planning. No built-in compressor so less expensive but slower at freezing. Electric versions available but hand-cranking is common.In a nutshell:

  • Ice and salt – Old-fashioned, manual arm-cranking method
  • Self-contained compressor – No ice needed, fast but expensive
  • Freezer bowl – Affordable but requires bowl freezing prep

For best value, we recommend freezer bowl types, preferably with electric motor instead of hand-cranking.

Key Features to Compare

Important considerations when selecting an ice cream maker:

Bowl Capacity

Bigger capacity makes larger batches so ideal for entertaining, big families, or avid ice cream lovers. Consider your household size and usage. Standard is 1.5-2 quarts but mini and large options available.

Motorized vs Manual Cranking

Electric motor spinning the dasher is easier than hand cranking and gives smoother texture. Check wattage and reviews to ensure adequate power.

Double Insulated Bowl

Better insulation means faster freezing and firmer ice cream. Also keeps frozen longer when serving. Plastic bowls insulate better than metal.

Compact Storage

Measure dimensions to ensure appliance and bowl fit allocated space. Collapsible or nesting models are space-savers.

Dishwasher Safe

Check all removable parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.

Noise Level

Compressor machines and some electric motors hum during churning. Check decibel ratings if placing near living spaces.

Automatic Timer & Shutoff

Convenient features prevent freezing ice cream too hard or melting by automatically stopping churning at optimal consistency.

Warranty

5-year or longer coverage preferred for durability assurance.

Brand Reputation & Reviews

Choose reputable brands known for quality construction and reliability. Check reviews for longevity, noise level and ease of use feedback.

When to Buy an Ice Cream Maker

Timing your ice cream maker purchase around seasonal sales and holidays lets you score the best deals on top models.

End of Summer Clearance Sales

Peak ice cream season winds down in August, so retailers discount appliances in late summer to make room for fall/winter inventory. Shop August-September for sales up to 50 percent off or more. Stock is often limited so shop early.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday

The year’s best sales happen in late November around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Ice cream maker discounts range from 30-60 percent off. Again, popular models sell out quickly so don’t delay. Many deals are also available online for Cyber Monday.

Post-Holiday Sales

December is packed with holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve that involve sweet treats. Capitalize on post-holiday clearance sales in January to get up to 25 percent off leftover inventory.

Amazon Prime Day

Amazon’s annual Prime Day summer sale offers Black Friday-like prices exclusively for Prime members. Ice cream machines see steep discounts around 40 percent off or more during this 2-day event.

Manufacturer Sales

Well-known brands like Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach and Nostalgia often discount prices directly on their websites. Browse for online promotions and sign up for email lists to receive seasonal coupon codes or sale alerts.

Where to Shop for the Best Deals

Check these retailers for stellar savings on premium ice cream makers:

Amazon

As the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon carries a huge selection of ice cream machines at the best prices all year. Free shipping and free returns are standard for Prime members. Create price drop alerts and check daily deals.

Target

The popular superstore drops prices significantly on kitchen appliances during seasonal home sales. Expect at least 25% off ice cream makers or more during peak summer and year-end clearance events.

Walmart

Rollbacks on kitchen gadgets make Walmart a go-to for affordable appliances, especially freezer bowl type machines. Check for online specials too.

Bed Bath and Beyond

Sign up for Beyond+ membership to score 20% off coupons. Combined with clearance sales, you can snag steep discounts on premium brands carried here like Cuisinart and KitchenAid.

Sur La Table

Higher end ice cream makers see major markdowns in summer and winter at this upscale kitchenware giant. Loyalty club members also reap savings benefits.

Kitchen & Home Retailers

Stores specializing in kitchenware and small appliances, like Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, KitchenAid and Cuisinart outlets offer seasonal sales too. Sign up for their email lists to be notified of promotions.

Restaurant Supply Stores

Commercial ice cream machines found at restaurant and hospitality supply retailers like Webstaurant often translate well for home use. Shop their clearance sections for open box deals.

How Much Should You Spend?

Cost for a quality ice cream maker ranges widely from $30 on the low end to $300 or more for deluxe compressor machines. Consider how frequently you’ll churn batches when establishing your budget. Here are the best bets in each price tier:

Under $50

No-frills manual hand-crank machines and small freezer bowl models ideal for occasional use. Look for double-insulated bowls, plastic gears, and 4+ cup capacity. Popular picks: Nostalgia ICMP400WD, Dash My Pint, Cuisinart ICE-30BC.

$50 – $150

Best value electric freezer bowl machines with motorized dasher, digital timers and lid locks. Durable, easy to use, and family-sized. Leading options: Cuisinart ICE-70, Hamilton Beach 68330N, Breville Smart Scoop.

$150 – $300

Self-refrigerating compressor machines for serious ice cream lovers. Quick freezing, silent operation and premium features like self-cleaning. Top brands: Whynter ICM-200LS, Cuisinart ICE-100, Breville BCI600XL.

$300+

Commercial grade, extra-large capacity compressor machines for batch after batch of frozen desserts. Robust construction, high outputs and continuous production. Examples: Lello 4080 Musso Lussino, Whynter ICM-15LS, Dash Commercial Grade.

Best Ice Cream Maker Brands

Quality, reliability and smart design set these industry leaders apart:

Cuisinart

Pioneer of modern frozen yogurt, ice cream and sorbet makers for home use. Innovative features plus trusted quality backed by 3-5 year warranties. Wide range from affordable to deluxe models. Chef-preferred brand.

Hamilton Beach

Specialists in kitchen gadgets for over 100 years. User-friendly, mid-priced machines earning rave reviews for value. Simple to operate with emphasis on convenience. Leading budget pick.

Breville

Renowned for elegant, high-performance kitchen appliances with professional-caliber results. Precision engineering and innovative features define luxury Breville ice cream makers.

Whynter

Fast-freezing efficiency highlights Whynter’s specialty line of ice cream, gelato and frozen drink makers. Self-contained compressor units lauded for commercial quality.

Nostalgia

Vintage Americana style ice cream makers at friendly prices. Hand crank and electric options with focus on family fun. Sturdy build quality for making memories that live up to the Nostalgia brand promise.

Dash

Colorful, compact appliances with emphasis on value pricing. Streamlined and cute freezer bowl machines plus unique individual portion models.

Expert Tips for Buying an Ice Cream Maker

Follow this advice for choosing the best machine:

Match Frequency of Use

Casual users only churning occasional batches can save with a basic hand-crank or freezer bowl type. Ice cream fanatics should invest in a quality compressor machine for easy ongoing use.

Mind Storage Space

Measure where you plan to store your appliance before purchasing. Ensure adequate room for the unit, bowl and all accessories. Collapsible or stackable models are great for tight spaces.

Read Reviews

Don’t rely solely on brand reputation. Dig into actual customer reviews on sites like Amazon to compare real-world performance and longevity feedback across top contenders.

Compare Warranties

Lengthy 3-10 year warranties indicate durability and manufacturer confidence. Be sure to register your warranty properly upon purchase too.

Buy a Spare Bowl

Having an extra pre-frozen bowl allows you to churn batch after batch rather than waiting.

Look for Safety Features

Automatic shutoff, non-slip feet, lid locks and BPA-free construction ensure safe operation and peace of mind when kids get involved.

Calculate Cost Per Use

Crunch the numbers – a deluxe $200 model that gets used weekly works out cheaper long-term than a $50 appliance collecting dust. Buy quality your lifestyle demands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

What’s the easiest type of ice cream maker for beginners?

Choose an electric freezer bowl machine. No manual cranking or ice hassles. Just freeze the bowl then add ingredients and turn it on. Delicious ice cream in 30 minutes or less.

How long do ice cream makers last?

With proper care, quality ice cream makers last 5 years on average. Higher-end compressor machines often stay working up to 10+ years before needing repair.

What size ice cream maker is best for a family of four?

Aim for at least 1.5-2 quart capacity to have enough for 4 people plus leftovers. Compressor machines allow you to churn multiple batches more quickly.

Can you use any ice cream recipe?

Nearly all ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt and sorbet recipes work. Adjust amounts to match your appliance’s bowl capacity. Check manufacturer guidance on ideal ingredient proportions too.

What add-ons boost functionality?

Extra bowls for continual use, insulated lids to slow melting while serving, ice cream scoops, and recipe books expand possibilities.

Do I need special skills or ingredients?

Basic operation is easy – no special skills needed. Follow any ice cream recipe using standard pantry ingredients like cream, milk, sugar and flavorings. Get creative with mix-ins!

Ready, Set, Scoop!

The best part of ice cream season is indulging in endless flavors of cold, creamy, homemade goodness. We hope this guide helps you decide the perfect ice cream maker for maximizing frozen fun. With a well-chosen appliance and some delicious recipes, you’ll be on your way to ice cream nirvana in no time. Here’s to happy churning ahead!

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