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Nov 23, 2013 02:13 AM

Which Compressor-Style Ice Cream/Gelato Maker is Best?


I am looking to make some delicious homemade ice cream and gelato, and have decided to go for a compressor-style machine (i.e. with built-in refrigeration).

The following seem to be the main home-sized units available in the US:

- Lello 4070 Gelato Junior ~$230
- Lello 4080 Musso Lussino ~$680 (highly recommended but does it produce a superior product to these other models?)
- Lello 4090 Gelato Pro ~$350
- Cuisinart ICE-50BC Supreme (discontinued, used to be ~$300, rec'd by David Lebovitz)
- Cuisinart ICE-100 (newer version of 50--is it better?), ~$300
- Whynter IC-2L SNÖ ~$250 (recommended by Cook's Illustrated but the only other compressor model they considered was ICE-50)
- Whynter ICM-15LS ~$280 (not sure why it costs more since it looks worse than the IC-2L)
- DeLonghi GM6000 ~$300 (recommended by several Chowhounds)
- Breville Smart Scoop BCI600XL ~$380

Is there anyone out there who has tried more than one of these and can compare the quality of the ice cream / gelato they produce? Am I missing some other option?

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  1. I was just going to ask the same question. I see that has the Breville Smart Scoop for $299! Free delivery, too! I think this is for the Black Friday sale. Best price I've seen so far for this model.

    2 Replies
    1. re: maxmillan

      The Breville SmartScoop is now $260! With free shipping within Canada.

      Then I looked into the Lello Musso Lussino 4080. If I have the cash or can wait a little longer this is the one I want.

      However, Breville seem to have a much better customer care department. Although I think the design is much better with the Lello I've read complaints of apathy when the machine doesn't function, especially after the 1-year warranty lapse.

      When reading reviews I also check the stats on the dates of positive versus negative reviews. This can indicate a company whose product is made cheaper than previous years.

      1. re: maxmillan

        One last help is to read

        Sounds like you can manipulate the quality of ice cream via science and come out with great ice cream without an expensive unit.

    2. Something to consider; is the blade plastic or metal? Is there a removable canister or is the holding cell inset into the machine? I hear this protects the machinery from spillage. This is the type I used in my pastry course and that machine was well over $1000. The Whytner seems similar. Don't know the model but it is all metal according to a YouTube video. Please let us know what you've chosen and how it rates.

      1. I bought the Lello 4090 but wish I bought the Musso Lussino 4080. The 4070 and 4090 are made by a different company than the Musso Lussino. I don't really understand the 4070-4080-4090 naming scheme but the 4070 and 4090 are similar to each other while the 4080 is totally different (and from what I hear, better).

        The Lello 4090 I bought had a strange smell of gasoline that never went away (I ended up giving it to Goodwill). The ice cream it makes was fine (better than the cheaper freezer container machines) but I didn't get the texture of gelato using it.

        One thing it didn't have was separate switches for freezer and mixer - that would let you control overrun. You may need to go up a level to get that capability.

        1. Speaking from personal experience, NOT Lello Gelato Pro. (4090)

          Mine died after 3 batches. Well it still turns on and spins, but it doesn't get cold anymore. Unfortunately, said 3 batches were each made a few months apart, and it was out of the (one year) warranty period by the time it broke.

          A one year warranty on such an expensive piece of equipment should have been a HUGE red flag.

          Anyway, I Googled around and there are repair options, for almost as much as the cost of the original unit. There are also a lot of other people out there with similar compressor and/or refrigerant problems with these machines. I don't know how common it is but the fact that I now own a very expensive paperweight gives me no reason to recommend -- and the ice cream wasn't great the times the thing did work. Very slow to freeze, and I thought the quality was slightly inferior to that produced by my bowl-in-the-freezer Cuisinart model.

          1. I don't have any experience with the other models on your list, but I've had a Lello Gelato Junior for about 5 years now, and it still makes great ice cream. It looks exactly like the Whynter SNO, but I don't know if it's just a different label or the insides are different. Excellent results, even when I add the mix when it's still luke warm. It does have separate switches for the compressor and mixer.