Cuisinart ICE-30BC vs ICE-70
The ICE-30BC and ICE-70 are at the top of the range of Cuisinart ice cream makers with removable, freezable bowls. If you're trying to choose between them, then this hands-on comparison should help you decide.
At first glance, there's not a great deal of difference between them. And if we look more closely there's actually even less!
Confused? Read on and I'll explain! In this review I'll quickly cover how they work (in case you're not sure). Then I'll look at the capacity, size, weight, construction quality, warranties, noise level and finally how the ice cream they make compares.
How do they work?
Since I've already covered this in great detail in my guide to choosing the best ice cream maker, my Cuisinart ICE-30BC review and my Cuisinart ICE-70 review, I'm not going to go over it again much here.
But basically, both of these machines use a removable, freezable bowl to make ice cream. Each bowl is lined with a special liquid gel that freezes solid when it's placed in the freezer (for at least 6 hours).
Once it's removed from the freezer, the gel maintains it's temperature extremely well. This means that when you've added your liquid ice cream mixture, the bowl stays cold enough, for long enough to freeze it into more solid ice cream!
It's worth mentioning that both these model have an advantage over other ice cream makers, because they rotate the bowl from below, rather than the mixing paddle (also known as the dasher) from above. Why is this an advantage? I'll explain further down...
How much ice cream can they make?
Both the ICE-30BC and the ICE-70 can make up to 2 quarts (1.9 liters) of ice cream, sorbet and other frozen treats. This is because the bowls are the same size!
In fact, the bowls are identical in everything but color and each one can be swapped around and used perfectly happily with the other ice cream maker!
One thing worth mentioning here is that 2 quart bowls are quite big. Both bowls measure 6.4" high (16.3 cm) and 7.8" (19.7 cm) across.
Why is this important? Well, don't forget that these bowls need to fit into your freezer. If they won't fit, you can't make ice cream!
And you need to put the bowl in your freezer every time you want to make ice cream. So even if it does fit, you need to be happy that it doesn't take up too much room. Because if it does, it will become inconvenient and you'll stop using it.
So please check your freezer can accommodate this size bowl before you buy either ice cream maker. If it can't, don't worry: there are fantastic machines with smaller bowls.
How big are they?
Since they both have the same capacity, you'd probably expect the ICE-30BC and the ICE-70 to be more or less the same size. And you'd be right!
The ICE-30 is 8.5" wide and 8.5" deep. And with the lid on, the it's 11.5" high. While the ICE-70 is just a little bigger at 8.5" wide, 9.5" deep and 13" high with the lid on.
This is because they pretty much share the same construction, with the ICE-70 just being a little bit deeper to accommodate an electronic control panel (more on this later).
How much do they weigh?
Again, since they have the same capacity and are more or less the same size, it's no surprise that the ICE-30BC and the ICE-70 are almost the same weight. The ICE-30BC weighs 13.5 lbs. While the ICE-70 is a little heaver at 14 lbs.
Neither are especially heavy. But they have enough weight to convey a feeling of quality and to also keep the base steady when they're in use.
What's the construction quality like?
Both the ICE-30BC and the ICE-70 look fantastic. They feature the same attractive, brushed steel housing. And this gives both machines a high quality finish.
While the controls on the ICE-30BC are very simple, being limited to a manual on/off switch, they feel solid and responsive. The ICE-70 features a more sophisticated electronic control panel with 4 buttons and a timer display. The buttons are very responsive and light up when pressed. And the timer display is clear and easy to read.
The most important part of these type of ice cream makers is the motor. Because it's pretty much the only thing that can go wrong. I'm not entirely sure, but I'd imagine that they share the same motor. It certainly drives the same gear that turns the same bowl. So why change it?
Whatever, the motor on both machines is strong and durable. I've owned my ICE-30BC for a good few years, (using it every week) and the motor has never caused me any concern with whichever ice cream mix or anything else I throw at it!
And this is where the Cuisinart ice cream makers have a distinct advantage over most other machines. Since they rotate the bowl from below rather than the dasher from above (like the other ice cream makers), they are much more efficient. Unlike these other machines, the gears don't slip, causing horrible clunking and screeching noises. And they never grind to a halt!
How long are the warranties?
Both machines come with a standard 3 year warranty. However, the best thing about these types of ice cream maker is that they're so simple, very little can go wrong. So your actually very unlikely to ever need the warranty!
How noisy are they?
There's no denying that ice cream makers are noisy! These two aren't any noisier than any others I've tested. But you won't be able to watch television in the same room as either of these machines.
I tested both the ICE-30BC and the ICE-70 with a decibel reader and found them both to be about 80 db. That's around the same as a hair dryer. And it's hardly surprising that they're at the same level since they probably share the same motor!
What's the ice cream like?
As always, this is the most important question! And there's no doubt at all: both machines make fantastic ice cream, gelato, sorbet and other frozen goodies.
But this is where we need to look at the biggest difference between the two machines: the control panel on the ICE-70.
This control panel allows you to select from 3 different pre-set programs: ice cream, gelato and sorbet. The idea is that the ICE-70 will churn the mixture slightly differently for each one to best suit their characteristics.
In practice, this means that the bowl is rotated at a different speed for different lengths of time before the beeper goes off.
So if you choose the ice cream setting, the bowl will spin for 25 minutes at 56 rpm. If you choose gelato it will spin at slightly slower 48 rpm for a slightly longer 30 minutes. And if you select sorbet it will spin at the same 56 rpm as for ice cream but for a much longer 40 minutes.
Gelato is more dense than ice cream because it contains less air. So the idea here is that if it's churned slower, less air will be added to the mixture. The problem is that in my tests it doesn't really make any difference. The gelato setting adds as much air to the mixture as the ice cream setting.
Sorbet contains a much higher proportion of water than ice cream or gelato. This means it takes longer to freeze. Which is why the pre-set timer is longer for sorbet.
But whether it's 25 minutes for ice cream, 30 minutes for gelato or 40 minutes for sorbet, the problem is that these times can only ever be guidelines. Different recipes (there is no definitive ice cream, gelato or sorbet base recipe), different household freezer temperatures, and different room temperatures will have a massive influence on how long it takes to finish.
The best way to know if your frozen dessert is ready, is to use your eyes. If the ice cream or gelato has started to solidify and come away from the sides of the bowl then it's probably time to take it out. If the sorbet has the consistency of a thick, barely pourable smoothie, then it's probably done.
Another way is with a thermometer. If it's between 25°F and 21°F (-4 and -6 °C), then it's pretty much done.
My worry is that people will see these times as the absolute times that ice cream, gelato and sorbet should be churned for. And often they won't be so they'll get sub-standard results.
So for me, these pre-set programs on the ICE-70 are a bit of a waste of time. Rather than depending on them you should be using your eyes (or a thermometer) and turning off the machine when they tell you it's ready!
But how do these settings compare to the Cuisinart ICE-30BC? Well, it will spin the bowl at a much slower 21 rpm. But the difference in the amount of air that's incorporated into the mixture is again minimal.
In my test, with the same sample base recipe, the finished ice creams from both machines and all settings, contained around 30 - 32% air. Which is closer to the amount of air you'd get in gelato than ice cream! And this is despite the ICE-30BC having a different shaped paddle to the ICE-70.
In my view, you'd need a different shaped paddle and much great difference than 35 rpms to make a significant difference in the amount of air that's mixed into the ice cream.
So in summary, both of these machines make really great ice cream (and gelato, sorbet etc). In fact, there's no discernible difference between the frozen desserts they make, whatever settings you chose on the ICE-70.
What's the difference in price?
The ICE-70 is generally more expensive than the ICE-30BC. That's because it has those extra settings. But for me, those settings don't justify the extra cost.
However, compared to other ice cream makers, they're both still incredibly good value. So much cheaper than compressor machines. And much more sturdy and durable than other freezable bowl machines.
So they're both well made and durable. They both look great. And they'll both make the same amount of fantastic tasting ice cream in the same amount of time with the same amount of noise!
So how do you choose between them? For me it's all about price. I'd go for the cheapest. But for you, there may be other reasons why you'd chose one over the other...
2 reasons to choose the ICE-70 over the ICE-30BC
1. The timer makes it easier to go and do something else
As I've said, the pre-set times are for guidance only. However, the beeper at the end of the cycle allows you to set a rough time when you think it will be ready (you can adjust the pre-set times) and then go and do something else, safe in the knowledge that the beeping will bring you back to check on it.
2. The pre-set functions can help you get started
While I don't think that using the pre-set programs for specific types of frozen dessert will produce any noticeable difference in the final product, they will give you a rough idea of what you're aiming for. Then, as you get more confident, you can start to ignore them!
2 reasons to choose the ICE-30BC over the ICE-70
1. It's cheaper!
The Cuisinart ICE-30BC makes ice cream, gelato and sorbet just as well as the ICE-70BC. Seriously, you wont be able to tell the difference. But it's much cheaper. Sometimes, less than half the price!
2. The pre-set functions on the ICE-70 can mislead you
If you start using the ICE-70 thinking that sorbet always needs to be churned for 40 minutes or ice cream for 25, because that's what the pre-set functions are telling you, then you're going to make some pretty dodgy desserts! The time it actually takes varies a lot. And it's only by using your eyes and your experience (or a thermometer) that ultimately you'll know.
Have no doubt, both of these ice cream makers are great! But for me at least, the extra functions you get with the ICE-70 are not worth the extra price. For you it may be different...
If you want a bit more guidance when you're making ice cream and you like the peace of mind that a beeping timer gives you (so you can concentrate on something else), go for the Cuisinart ICE-70.
If you want a slightly more involved experience where you have to judge for yourself when things are done and you have to remember to keep checking the machine's progress, go for the Cuisinart ICE-70.
And let me re-assure you: whichever one you chose it will still be great value for money and will produce amazing frozen treats for many years to come!