Looking for the best soft-serve ice cream machine for your restaurant or food truck in 2018? We want to make the research process easier by organizing the top-rated machines based on feedback from our members. In our recent survey, we asked members to identify the most reliable and cost-effective machines on the market so we could bring this information straight to you. This post is a compilation of our findings.
One important item to note is that we are reviewing the best commercial-grade machines intended for use in restaurants, ice cream parlors, or food trucks. These machines are not for the “at home” use as the units require a four or five figure investment and power requirements beyond what you may be able to handle at home. With those disclaimers out of the way, let’s begin!
Countertop VS Floor Model Machines
Before diving into the reviews, it’s important to distinguish the two types of machines being reviewed in this post. Countertop and floor model machines are broken into distinct categories inside this review. Both can be used in restaurants or food trucks to serve high-quality soft-serve or custard. But your selection will be decided based on personal need and available space.
If you’re trying to conserve space and don’t anticipate a high-volume of ice cream sales, a countertop self-serve machine may be sufficient. These models can produce a high-quality product, but you will be limited in the amount of mix you can put into the machine at any one time. Many machines require 30-minutes to turn ice cream mix into quality ice cream, frozen yogurt, or custard for guests so this solution is not intended for high-volume stores.
You will be more limited in available flavor options with countertop model as well. There simply isn’t enough available space in the hoppers of countertop machines to add a lot of unique flavors. You’ll need to stick to the basics: vanilla and chocolate in most cases.
Floor models are larger machines perfect for high-volume restaurants or ice cream shops. These are the work horses of the self-serve industry with many machines weighing over 500 pounds and requiring over 20 inches in width and 30 inches in depth so make sure to check the dimensions of any machine before investing in a floor model self-serve machine to ensure you have enough space. You’ll also need to make sure you have an excess of electricity to operate as these machines routinely require over 208 – 230 volts of power.
Of course, you’ll be able to crank out a lot more ice cream with these machines compared to countertops as well. Many floor models can hold 20 quartz of mix of liquid ice cream mix and allow you to produce about 7 standard 4 oz. ice cream cones per minute. We begin our review of reccomended our review with floor model options below!
Floor Model Machines
Sweet Choice featuring Fuzionate by Electro Freeze: When it comes to soft-serve ice cream machines, Electro Freeze produces some of the most reliable and well-known equipment. They’ve been in businesses for over 30 years and can be credited with numerous innovations in ice cream, including the “swirl” that mixes chocolate and vanilla flavors. Electro Freeze also invented the refrigerated cabinet where you can store ice cream mix in a sealed environment and a unique mixer machine. If you want a creamy and consistent product that will keep customers coming back for seconds the Sweet Choice featuring Fuzionate AKA the 44RMTFB Fuzionate is a terrific option.
The Fuzionate has the flexibility to dispense ice cream, frozen yogurt, or gelato. The unique strength of this particular unit is that you can serve nine flavors from one machine.
Although there’s only one handle with this machine, you can simply press a button to switch your flavor from vanilla, to strawberry, to any other combination loaded into the machine. There’s also a push button rinse feature that allows you to easily flush out and clean the flavors at the end of the day.
The flavor is blends completely through the machine to ensure flavor integrity across each bite. In addition to flavor diversity what really makes this machine practical is the amount of space you need to store the self-serve ice cream machine in your restaurant.
Previously, you may have needed four – nine machines to serve nine total flavors. Now you can offer the same range of flavors with a single unit allowing your to save space, electricity, and time maintaining, cleaning /servicing multiple machines. You can learn more about the Sweet Choice at the official Electro Freeze website.
|Freezing Cylinder Size||3.7qt (3.5liters)|
SaniServ B-10 Floor Model: SaniServ is another longtime player to the ice cream machine business going back in 1929. The video below demonstrates the smaller B-5 countertop model, but how you operate a B-10 is almost exactly the same. The only differences are course the size of unit, production capacity, and how you input the liquid ice cream mix into the machine. Other than that everything else is exactly the same. For demonstration purposes the smaller unit was used in the video below.
The B-10 Model is made from stainless steel and weighs 520 pounds. The unit requires 208 – 230 volts of power. If you’re the owner or operator of a restaurant you can’t go wrong with this reliable and quality option. You can learn more about this unit here. This unit retails for around $20,000. The dimensions for this unit are 21 inches wide, 33 inches deep, and 51 inches in height.
Stoelting F231 Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine: Unlike the machine we just featured above, the Stoelting F231 is a lighter and more compact machine that won’t take as much space to operate. This machine *only* weighs 400 – 475 pounds, which may seem heavy but is a lot lighter than other machines that could be 500 – 600 pounds. This is the ideal machine if you are limited in space. So if you’re a food truck or kiosk this is one of the better options for your situation.
The Stoelting F231 is also very power efficient requiring a 12 amp / 220 plug. Again this is ideal for a food truck that will be pulling power to other appliances often with a single generator.
Although the unit is small in comparison to other units, the machine can crank out a lot of ice cream. There are two 3-gallon hoppers where mix can be loaded.
The video below demonstrates the speed and capacity this machine by filling 16 oz cups. Judging from the video test, you could produce 6.5 cups of soft-serve comfortably before you need to wait. This machine can dispense two flavors and a twist option. A new unit will run you around $15,000.