Breville Smart Scoop vs Cuisinart ICE-100
This means that while they're not really professional level ice cream makers, they're a step above the white labelled ice cream machines that make up the rest of the domestic offering.
They're both made by well established companies with good reputations. And as such they usually have price tags that are little higher than the other machines. But beyond that, they don't have too much in common.
Indeed there are many interesting differences between these two ice cream makers. So if you're trying to decide between the two of them, this hands-on comparison may help.
Smart Scoop Ratings
Ice Cream Quality
Value for money
Cuisinart ICE-100 Ratings
Ice Cream Quality
Value for money
In my comparison I'll look briefly at how they work, I'll compare their capacity, size, weight, construction quality, warranties, noise level and finally how the ice cream they make differs.
How do the Smart Scoop and the ICE-100 work?
The Smart Scoop and the ICE-100 are compressor ice cream makers. This means they have their own, in-built freezer that cools the ice cream mixture. As such they differ from other ice cream makers that use either a bowl that you keep in your home freezer, or a mixture of salt and ice to cool the ice cream mixture.
Compressor machines are the most convenient of all the ice cream makers. You don't have to pre-plan anything. There's no mess. When you want to make ice cream, you just turn the machine on to pre-cool, add your mixture and "boom", in half an hour or so you'll have ice cream!
However compressor machines are also bulky, delicate and expensive. And in general, they don't make ice cream that's any better than the other ice cream machines. If you're unsure whether they're the right choice for you, check out my guide to choosing the best ice cream maker.
How much ice cream can the Smart Scoop and the ICE-100 make?
Both machines claim to have 1.5 quart (1.4 litre) capacities. So theoretically, they can each make 1.5 quarts of ice cream at a time. But in reality, the ICE-100 seems to have a slightly lower capacity than the Smart Scoop.
You can see from the photos that when there's 1.5 quarts of water in each of the bowls, it's much closer to the top in the ICE-100 than it is in the Smart Scoop. And if this was ice cream, it wouldn't be sitting flat like water. In places, it would be rising up above top of the bowl and smearing against the lid!
This is no big deal. I would never put more than 1 quart or 1 litre of mixture into either of these machines anyway. Not just because larger quantities may overflow the bowl as the paddle adds air to the mixture. It's also because smaller quantities freeze faster and tend to produce smoother results!
However it's good to know that if you're not so careful with your recipe quantities, the ICE-100 is likely to be less forgiving than the Smart Scoop!
How big are the Smart Scoop and the ICE-100?
They are more or less the same size. The Smart Scoop has a slightly smaller footprint but is slightly taller than the ICE-100.
So, the Smart Scoop is 16" wide, 10.5" deep and 10.5" high (41 x 27 x 27 cm). And the ICE-100 is 12" wide, 16.73" deep and 9.33" high (30.5 x 42.5 x 24 cm).
The thing to note here is that if you place them on your worktop as intended (with the logo at the front), the Smart Scoop is wide while the ICE-100 is deep. Of course you can arrange them as you wish!
However be aware that both machines have air vents. These are to draw in and expel air when the machines are in use. And these vents should not be obstructed by placing them too close to walls. Breville recommends a distance of 15 cm.
On the Smart Scoop the air vents are on every side. On the the ICE-100 they're just on the sides. What this means is that you can't push the Smart Scoop back against a wall. And you can't push the ICE-100 to the side against a wall.
How much do the Smart Scoop and the ICE-100 weigh?
They both weigh 32 lb (14.5 kg). On the ICE-100 the weight is distributed towards the back. And while there is a recessed handle underneath the front of the machine, at the back there isn't. So it a just slightly trickier to carry around than the Smart Scoop where the weight is more evenly distributed and there are recessed handles on both sides. Again this is a very, very small issue!
How does the construction quality compare?
Both ice cream makers look and feel like high quality machines. Both feature an attractive stainless steel housing. And their heavy weight also gives them a feeling of reliability and durability.
However, the finish on the Smart Scoop is significantly better than the ICE-100. And this is largely due to the control panel and the lid.
On the Smart Scoop, the buttons are proper buttons! They're tactile and responsive, they light up when pressed and they're just generally much more satisfying to use. The LCD display is also bright and crisp.
On the ICE-100, the buttons are slightly raised areas on the control panel. They're much more basic and while they work perfectly well, you just don't get the same level of tactile feedback when you're using them. The LCD display is also much more basic and the dim blue light makes it less easy to read.
I find the lid on the ICE-100 difficult to use too, as I often struggle to lock it into place. This wouldn't be a massive issue if I only had to use it once, at the start of the cycle. But unlike the Smart Scoop lid, it doesn't feature a handy hatch for adding mix-ins during the cycle. So if I want to add cookies and candies, I have to remove the lid first. And then try and get it back on again when I'm done!
Aesthetically, I also prefer the Smart Scoop. It's neat symmetry is more attractive to me than the slightly sloping lines of the ICE-100.
How long are the warranties?
With compressor ice cream makers the warranty is important. This is because despite their great bulk and weight, these machines are delicate! The compressor may be damaged in transit. Or sometimes, after a while the compressor will just stop working as well as it did. The motors can also wear out.
Now of course, if the machine is delivered with a faulty compressor or a dodgy motor, you'll know straight away and can return it according to the stores return policy.
Before you use it for the first time, leave your ice cream maker standing upright for 12 hours. If it's been left on it's side, or upside down during transit, the coolant liquid will have seeped out of the compressor and it wont work properly. Leaving it upright for 12 hours will allow the coolant liquid to seep back into the right place!
But if it stops working after you've owned it a while, you're going to need that warranty. Now 3 years is obviously better than 1.
But one thing worth mentioning is that with the 3 year Cuisinart warranty, you have to organize and pay for the delivery costs to them and you have to include $10 to cover the postage costs back to you. Whereas with the 1 year Breville warranty, they will organize and pay for the delivery to (and then from) them.
However, despite these generous returns arrangements, I still think the 3 year Cuisinart warranty beats the Breville one!
How noisy are the Smart Scoop and the ICE-100?
In my experience, compressor ice cream makers are quieter than those with freezable bowls. And in fact, the Smart Scoop and the ICE-100 are two of the quietest ice cream makers I've used.
The Smart Scoop is slightly more noisy ranging between 73 and 75 db. While the ICE-100 makes around 71 db of noise during the cycle.
How do the features of the Smart Scoop and the ICE-100 compare?
This is where the biggest differences between the two machines lie. The ICE-100 has very basic functionality. Whereas the Smart Scoop has more features than any other other ice cream maker I've used! Lets have a closer look...
Pre-cooling the machines
It's a good idea to pre-cool all ice cream makers as it will reduce freezing time which should lead to smoother ice creams.
The only way to pre-cool the ICE-100 is to start it up (as if it's churning ice cream). So, turn it on, set the timer and press the Start button. The compressor will start cooling and the dasher will start turning. After 15 minutes it should be cold enough to add your mixture.
This works really well, as long as you don't let the timer reach zero. If you do, the machine will automatically turn off and even if you turn it on again immediately, the compressor won't start up again for another 2 minutes, in which time the bowl will have warmed up considerably, undoing most of the pre-cooling!
But even when it works well, you're guessing that it will have cooled down sufficiently in 15 minutes, you don't know what temperature it's currently at and it certainly won't tell you when it's reached the optimal temperature. Adding extra time to the timer is also a bit fiddly.
With the Smart Scoop, the pre-cool is automatized: you simply press the Pre-cool button! The compressor will start to cool the bowl. The current temperature of the bowl is shown on the LCD display. And when it's reached the optimal temperature, it dings to tell you pre-cooling is finished and it's time to add your mixture. Easy!
Unlike in the ICE-100, during most of the pre-cooling cycle the dasher doesn't spin. However, towards the end, it does start to turn. I suppose this is in case you have decided to pre-cool the mixture and the machine at the same time and it will stop the mixture from freezing to the sides of the bowl prematurely. I don't recommend that you do this though as it will slow freezing and lead to coarser ice creams!
In my side by side tests, they both pre-cooled the bowls at the same rate. But when the Smart Scoop dinged to tell me it had reached the optimal temperature, the ICE-100 was actually the coldest of the two bowls, at -22°F (-30°C) as opposed to -15°F (-26°C).
Making the ice cream
With the ICE-100, once the machine is pre-cooled, it's just a case of adding your mixture and then waiting and watching. When the timer reaches zero the machine will automatically turn off. You can obviously decide to remove the ice cream before this. Or you can add extra time if you think it needs more.
Just make sure if you need to extra time you do it before the timer reaches zero, otherwise you'll have that same problem where the compressor takes some time to come back on and there's loads of melting in the meantime!
With the ICE-100, the onus here is on you. You decide what to set the timer for and you decide when it's done.
The Smart Scoop will work this way too in Manual mode. But in Auto mode, you set the hardness of the dessert you want to make ranging from the softest sorbet, through frozen yogurt and gelato to the hardest ice cream. In all, there are 12 hardness settings to choose from.
The Smart Scoop then churns the mixture until it decides it has reached the desired consistency, when it automatically turns off. You don't have to decide anything!
Unlike the ICE-100 which leaves it entirely up to you, the Smart Scoop will even ding to tell you the best time to add your mix-in ingredients!
Keeping the ice cream cool
Both machines claim they can keep the ice cream cool for a period once it's finished.
The ICE-100 turns off automatically once the timer reaches zero. After 10 minutes the compressor starts up again and stays on for another 10 minutes, before turning off for good. So basically it can keep your dessert cool for up to 20 minutes.
The problem is that it's based on time. In a warm room, there will be a huge amount of melting during that first 10 minutes. So when it's re-frozen in the next 10 minutes, the quality of the ice cream will be compromised.
The Smart Scoop claims to be able to keep your ice cream cool for up to 3 hours. Once the timer reaches zero (or the desired consistency has been reached), the machine stops. But it intermittently tests the consistency of ice cream by moving the paddle. If it detects a certain amount of melting it will start up the compressor and start churning again.
The advantage here, is that because it's based on the consistency of the ice cream, the amount of melting that occurs before it starts up again should be limited. It seemed to work OK for me anyway, and I was in a warm room when I tested it.
The idea of being able to leave the finished ice cream unattended for 3 hours once it's finished is very appealing. It enables you to go out or get on with other things safe in the knowledge that the Smart Scoop is taking care of business!
However, whether it's done on the ICE-100's primitive time basis or on the Smart Scoops more sophisticated consistency basis, melting and then re-freezing will compromise the quality of the ice cream to some extent and should be avoided if possible!
How quickly can the Smart Scoop and the ICE-100 make ice cream?
Another big difference here! I've been pulling my ice cream out of the ICE-100 after just 20 minutes. Whereas the Smart Scoop takes over 40 minutes to reach the hardest ice cream setting in Auto mode.
While the ICE-100 was able to get a little bit colder than the Smart Scoop in my pre-cooling tests, this difference in extraction time is all about the different dasher designs rather than the bowl temperatures.
The ICE-100 dasher has two scraping blades that sit very close to the sides of the bowl. This means that the bowl is scraped twice per rotation and after they've passed, there's less than 1 mm of frozen mixture left on the sides.
The Smart Scoop dasher has only one scraper and there's a pretty big, 3 mm gap between that blade and the side of the bowl which leaves a thick layer of insulating frozen mixture.
Even though the Smart Scoop spins much faster (55 rpm) than the ICE-100 (25 rpm), the super efficient scrapers on the Cuisinart mean it's always going to freeze the mixture much quicker!
One of my readers with the Smart Scoop has tried to solve this issue by buying a second dasher, sawing off the blades and then screwing them onto the original dasher at an offset to reduce the gap! And he says it significantly reduces the freezing time in the Smart Scoop. More details with photos in the Smart Scoop review!
Now generally we want the ice cream to freeze as fast as possible as this should produce smoother ice cream. But it needs to be mixed too. And the ICE-100 seems to freeze much more efficiently than it mixes...
You'll often find big clumps of half frozen ice cream riding around on the paddle rather than actually being mixed. After less than 20 minutes, there is often very little freezing or mixing going on, with the ice cream sitting statically, away from the bowl wall and not moving through the dasher.
While the Smart Scoop dasher freezes the mixture much more slowly, it mixes much more efficiently. So that even as the cycle finishes with the ice cream hardening, the paddle is still moving through and agitating all the mixture.
The advantage of this is that you can make the ice cream in the Smart Scoop much harder. While it could still do with some time in the freezer, at the hardest automatic setting, the ice cream is almost firm enough to serve straight from the machine.
But does all this effect the final ice cream?
But how does the ice cream compare?!
This is perhaps the most important question! Well I can tell you, there's actually a significant difference in the ice cream they produce.
In my tests, the Smart Scoop tends to add much more air to the ice cream than the ICE-100. So, using the hardest ice cream setting in Auto mode on the Smart Scoop gave me ice cream with 51% air. While using the ice cream paddle, the ICE-100 produces ice cream with 36% air.
The percentage of air that an ice cream maker adds to the mixture is called the "overrun". And it will vary wildly according to the recipe, the volume of mixture and how long the ice cream's in the machine. So you'll see lots of different values in different reviews.
But what's important here is the difference between the two machines as this will always be the same. The Smart Scoop adds more air so the ice cream will be lighter, softer and fluffier. While the ICE-100 adds less air so the ice cream will be heavier, denser and creamier.
In terms of the smoothness, the ICE-100 produces ice cream that's noticeably smoother than the Smart Scoop. And this is simply because the Smart Scoop takes much longer to freeze the mixture.
To be honest, given that the Smart Scoop sometimes takes twice as long to freeze the mixture, I was expecting the difference to be more pronounced. But I think the mixing efficiency of the Smart Scoop dasher (or the inefficiency of the ICE-100 dasher!) mitigated the difference.
For sure, the difference in smoothness can be reduced by using recipes that are optimized for smoothness and by also making sure you prepare the recipe and the machine properly.
However, it remains a fact: the Cuisinart ICE-100 makes better quality ice cream than the Breville Smart Scoop!
And the gelato?
Each of these machines has a particular way to make gelato. The Smart Scoop has a "gelato" setting on the hardness scale in Auto mode. While the ICE-100, has 2 different dashers: one for ice cream / frozen yogurt and one for gelato / sorbet.
To understand how they work, we should quickly look at the difference between gelato and ice cream. Gelato generally contains less fat, less air and is served warmer than ice cream. The only influence the machine has here is the amount of air that it whips into the mixture; the other two are down to the recipe you choose and the temperature you choose to serve it!
But the thing is: all domestic ice cream makers, (apart from the KitchenAid attachment) whip so little air into the mixture, that the results are always in, or close to gelato territory (<40%) anyway.
And since a good deal of the air is added to the ice cream in the last few minutes of churning, simply by removing the ice cream a little earlier, you can ensure that even less air is added and you get a more gelato-like finish with any machine!
In fact this is how the gelato setting on the Smart Scoop works. It just churns the mixture for less time! But in my experience, the Smart Scoop takes so long to freeze the mixture that there isn't much difference between gelato (47% ) and ice cream (51%). And to be honest, 47% overrun is little high for gelato anyway.
With the gelato dasher with the ICE-100 my ice cream had a very low 19% overrun! This is compared to 36% overrun with the ice cream dasher. So there's a considerable difference. This means we have the ability to vary the amount of air in our ice creams much more with the ICE-100 than the Smart Scoop.
And since a 19% overrun is much more like gelato than a 47% overrun, my conclusion is that the ICE-100 makes better gelato than the Smart Scoop!
What's the difference in price?
The Breville Smart Scoop tends to be around 50% more expensive than the Cuisinart ICE-100. When you consider the better build quality, the better user experience and the vast amount of extra functionality you get with the Smart Scoop, this is understandable.
However when you consider that the ICE-100 makes better quality ice cream than the Smart Scoop, it starts to make less sense!
So for me, the Smart Scoop and the ICE-100 are the only competing ice cream makers in the second tier of compressor machines. The question is which one is best? The answer is going to depend on your priorities.
To help you make that decision, I've summarized the main reasons to choose one over the other...
4 reasons to choose the Breville Smart Scoop over the Cuisinart ICE-100
1. It has a slightly better build quality
I'm not talking about the motor or the compressor, or even the housing (although I do prefer the looks of the Smart Scoop). I think these things are pretty much equal. I'm only talking about the control panel and the lid really. They're just better quality. And they work better too...
2. It's more user friendly
From the hatch in the lid for adding mix-ins, to the user friendly buttons and the clear LCD display brimming with information, Breville has made a lot of effort to ensure the Smart Scoop easy to use. And it is much easier to use than the ICE-100, which has a lid with no hatch that is difficult to lock, a very basic control panel that's tricky to set and a dull, basic LCD display.
3. It automates ice cream making!
From the automatic pre-cool function, to the 12 pre-set hardness settings, the alert to add mix-ins and the 3 hour keep cool function, Breville's done as much as possible to automate the whole ice cream making process! You don't have to worry about anything. Once you've got more experience, you might find some of this functionality redundant. In which case, simply swap over to Manual mode!
4. It has a consumer friendly returns policy
You only get a 1 year warranty with the Smart Scoop. But if something does go wrong in that year, Breville will organize and pay for your ice cream maker to be picked up and returned to you once it's fixed or replaced.
3 reasons to choose the Cuisinart ICE-100 over the Breville Smart Scoop
1. It makes ice cream faster!
In my tests, the ICE-100 was often making ice cream in half the time it took the Smart Scoop! Now this is good news for you in two ways: 1) you'll get to eat your ice cream sooner and 2) faster frozen ice cream is usually smoother...
2. It makes smoother ice cream
I found the ice cream from the ICE-100 to be slightly smoother than the ice cream from the Smart Scoop. This is almost certainly due to the longer length of time the Smart Scoop takes to freeze the mixture. There are many steps you can take to improve smoothness. But all things being equal, in a head to head competition, the ICE-100 just shades it.
3. It has a 3 year warranty
Yes, you'll have to pay the postage costs to Cuisinart. But for me, a 3 year warranty trumps that inconvenience. And as far as I know, Cuisinart is the only company that provides 3 year warranties on their ice cream makers.
Although they work in the same way, the Breville Smart Scoop and the Cuisinart are actually very different ice cream makers. So at the end of the day it should be relatively easy to make a choice between the two of them...
The Smart Scoop is the slick, automatic machine that does everything it can to ensure ice cream making is easy and stress free. Once you've made your mixture there really is very little else to think about.
The Cuisinart ICE-100 is a less sophisticated machine that demands much more involvement from you. It's not as easy or pleasurable to use and it hasn't got a load of fancy features. But it does make slightly smoother ice cream, significantly faster than the Smart Scoop!
So if you prioritize ease of use and automation, go for the Breville Smart Scoop [Amazon]. But if you're more concerned about speed and want ice cream that has that tiny extra bit of smoothness, go for the Cuisinart ICE-100 [Amazon].
Smart Scoop Ratings
Ice Cream Quality
Value for money
Cuisinart ICE-100 Ratings
Ice Cream Quality
Value for money