Cuisinart ICE-100 vs Whynter ICM-15LS
And while they may come from different tiers of the compressor ice cream maker market, they actually have a lot in common.
Different tiers? Let me explain. We can divide compressor machines (which are those ice cream makers with built in freezers) into three distinct groups...
On the first tier are commercial quality machines that have been scaled down for domestic use. On the second tier are machines from well established domestic brands that control the manufacture of those machines themselves. And on the third tier are machines that are made by one company, Foshan Nordika and then white labeled by various other brands around the world.
The Cuisinart ICE-100 is a second tier machine. Cuisinart are a well established company, with a good reputation and a certain amount of expertise in producing their own domestic ice cream machines.
While the Whynter ICM-15LS is a third tier machine. Whynter are much younger company and rather than produce their own their own ice cream makers, they simply white label machines made by Foshan Nordika.
The model that Whynter sells as the ICM-15LS can be white labeled by any other brand and in Europe for example it's sold by Unold as the Unold Cortina Ice Cream Maker.
Of course, both the Cuisinart and the Whynter / Foshan Nordika machines are made in China. But the point is Cuisinart control the manufacturing process whereas Whynter don't.
Anyway, I've been using the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS for a good few months and while they do have a lot in common, there are some interesting and significant differences too. So read on and I'll explain everything...
Whynter ICM-15LS Ratings
Ice Cream Quality
Value for money
Cuisinart ICE-100 Ratings
Ice Cream Quality
Value for money
In this comparison, I'll explain briefly how they work, I'll look at their capacities, size, weight, construction quality, warranties, noise level and finally how the ice cream they make compares.
How do the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS work?
Both the ICE-100 and the ICM-15LS are compressor ice cream makers. This means they have their own in built freezer that's constantly cooling the ice cream as it's being churned.
So they're different from the ice cream makers that use a bowl that you pre-chill in your home freezer or the machines that use a mix of salt and ice to freeze the mixture.
These compressor ice cream makers are the most convenient you can get. You don't have to pe-plan anything. You don't need to worry about finding room in your freezer. Or rush out to buy salt and ice. When you want ice cream, you just pre-cool the machine, throw in the mixture and within half an hour or so you'll have ice cream!
On the other hand, compressor ice cream makers are big, heavy and also quite delicate. Not to mention expensive! And they don't necessarily make ice cream that's any better than the other machines. So, if you're not sure which type of machine is best for you check out my complete guide to choosing the best ice cream maker.
How much ice cream can the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS make?
Both ice cream makers have 1.5 quart (1.4 litre) capacities. So in theory they can make 1.5 quarts of ice cream at a time.
But the bowl that comes with the Whynter ICM-15LS is actually significantly smaller than the one that comes with the Cuisinart ICE-100.
You can see that when they're filled with 1.5 quarts of water it comes right up to the top of the bowl in the Whynter bowl. And if it was ice cream it would be pushing up against the lid and possibly overflowing.
It's not a big difference, but it is worth noting that in reality the Whynter has a slightly smaller capacity than the Cuisinart machine.
I would never put more than 1 quart or 1 litre of mixture in an ice cream machine anyway. Not just because it might overflow as the ice cream maker adds air and therefore volume to the mixture. Smaller volumes of mixture will also freeze faster, leading to smoother ice creams!
How big are the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS?
The Cuisinart machine is 12" wide, 17" deep and 9.5" high (30.5 x 42.5 x 24 cm). While the Whynter machine is 15.25" wide, 11" deep and 9.5" high (28 x 24 cm x 13.5 cm).
So they're more or less the same size, with the Whynter having a slightly smaller footprint.
The thing to be aware of here is that while the Cuisinart is deeper than it is wide, the Whynter is wider than it is deep. Now of course you can arrange them on your worktop as you wish! But you do need to consider the air vents...
All compressor ice cream makers have air vents to cool the motor and the compressor. These must not be obstructed while the machine is running, otherwise it won't work properly. So you should probably leave at least 4" (10 cm) space.
On the Cuisinart ICE-100 the air vents are on the sides, so the machine shouldn't be positioned too close to any side walls in your kitchen. While on the Whynter ICM-15LS, the vents are on the front and back, so you shouldn't push it too close to the back wall.
How much do the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS weigh?
The Cuisinart ICE-100 weighs 32 lb (14.5 kg), while the Whynter ICM-15LS is much lighter at 27 lb (12 kg). This is significant, since more weight tends to indicate better quality components and a more powerful motor and compressor!
How does the construction quality compare?
To me, the construction quality of the Cuisinart ICE-100 seems to be a cut above the Whynter ICM-15LS. And it's not just the extra weight that gives me this impression.
While the casing on both machines consists of a stainless steel top and plastic sides, it appears to be much thicker and sturdier on the Cuisinart.
I also find the Cuisinart the better looking of the two machines. From the sculpted air vents, to the sloping top panel, some effort seems to have gone into making the Cuisinart attractive. While the Whynter is just plain ugly!
Having said all that, I much prefer the lid of the Whynter. The tiny hatch for adding mix-ins is next to useless, forcing you to remove the lid when you want to add cookies, candies or fruit towards the end of the churning.
But at least the Whynter lid is easy to get on and off! I constantly struggle with the lid on the Cuisinart and it always take me a a least a couple of goes to secure it in place.
In terms of the control panel, both the Cuisinart and the Whynter are equally bad! Both feature very basic control panels with, un-tactile buttons, dull LCD screens and frustratingly limited functionality.
On both control panels you can only adjust the timer in one direction, and while the Cuisinart allows you to do this in 1 or 5 minute intervals, with the Whynter you can only adjust in 10 minute intervals!
How long are the warranties?
The Cuisinart is the only ice cream maker that I know of that comes with a 3 year (5 yeas in the UK!) warranty. This is pretty generous.
However, if there is a problem within that period, you have to organize and pay for delivery to Cuisinart and you also have to include $10 to cover the return postage. Which is a bit tight!
The Whynter comes with a 1 year warranty. You have to organize and pay for delivery. If there is a problem within the first two months they will pay for the return postage. After that, you pay.
For me the 3 year Cuisinart warranty is definitely better than the 1 year Whynter warranty.
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!
And with compressor ice cream makers, the warranty is important. Machines with built in freezers are delicate. After some time they may stop working effectively or stop working altogether. So it should definitely be a consideration when you're deciding between machines.
How noisy are the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS?
Generally compressor ice cream makers are quieter than the machines with freezable bowls. However the Whynter ICM-15LS is a bit louder than usual, averaging 77-79 Db while churning.
In contrast, the Cuisinart ICE-100 is the quietest compressor machine I've tested generally curning at around 71 Db. It's not a big difference but if you are sensitive to noise it's definitely worth considering.
How do the features of the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS compare?
In this respect the two machines are very similar since they both have very basic features...
Pre-cooling the machines
Neither the Cuisinart ICE-100 nor the Whynter ICM-15LS has an automatic pre-cool function. So if you want to pre-cool the machine (and you really should), you just turn them on for 15 minutes before you add the mixture.
For sure, the dasher will be spinning in an empty bowl, but that's not a problem!
One advantage of the Whynter here is that every couple of seconds, the LCD display toggles between the time left on the timer and the current temperature of the machine. I find this really useful for keeping track of how the machine is doing, both during the pre-cool and the churning.
Since the timer is frustratingly difficult to adjust on both machines and since we should always avoid the timer running down to zero, I tend to leave both machines on 60 minutes and then just add the mixture when the timers shows 45 minutes left.
Making the ice cream
Again there's very little difference between the two machines here. We just add the mixture and wait until it's ready!
It's worth mentioning again that we should never let the timer reach zero while the ice cream is churning. If we do, on both machines, the compressor will automatically turn off. If the ice creams's not yet ready, even if we turn the machine on again immediately, although the dasher will start to turn, the compressor will take a couple of minutes before it re-starts.
During this time a whole load of ice cream will melt and when it re-freezes it will do so with bigger ice crystals and the final ice cream will be much less smooth!
So with both machines we simply add the mixture to the machine, make sure there's enough time left on the timer to get the job done and then stop the machines manually when we decide the ice cream's ready!
Keeping the ice cream cool
Both the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS feature very basic keep -cool functions that are designed to keep the ice cream in it's final, ideal state for some time, should we not be able to extract the ice cream when the machine finishes.
So, on the Cuisinart machine, one the timer reaches zero the dasher will stop turning and the compressor will stop cooling. After 10 minutes, the compressor come back on, stays on for another 10 minutes then goes off again for good.
The Whynter machine does exactly the same thing, but will repeat the cycle for up to an hour. So in theory, the Cuisinart ICE-100 will keep your ice cream ready for 20 minutes while the Whynter keep it ready for up to 60 minutes.
In practice both of these features are pretty useless and should definitely be avoided. During each 10 minutes that the compressor isn't running, the bowl will warm and large amounts of ice cream will melt. When the compressor comes back on and re-freezes that melted ice cream, the ice crystals will be much bigger and the ice cream more coarse.
So if you want smooth ice cream avoid the keep-cool function on both of these machines!
How quickly can the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS make ice cream?
This is a really important comparison, because not only will it determine how quickly we can start eating ice cream, it's also a fair indication of how good that ice cream will be!
The faster ice cream mixture freezes, the smoother the final ice cream. So we can be pretty sure which ice cream will be smoother simply by knowing which one was extracted from the machine first.
What determines how fast a machine freezes the ice cream? Well, the temperature of the bowl certainly. But also the design and speed of the dasher that churns the ice cream.
In my tests the Cuisinart is able to cool the bowl much further than the Whynter. Although the LCD display on the Whynter suggests the bowl cools to between -15 and -20 °F (-26 and -29°C), when I've tested it with an infrared thermometer, it always seems significantly warmer. While the Cuisinart bowl is regularly and measurably cooled to -18 °F (-28°C).
The dashers of the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS are very similar.
They both leave very little space between the blades and the sides of the bowl. This is important, as a smaller gap means a thinner layer of insulating frozen mixture is left on the sides of the bowl, which means the mixture will freeze faster.
However the Whynter dasher rotates at a much faster 56 rpm than the dasher on the Cuisinart which spins at a very slow 25 rpm. This should be reflected in the amount of air that's added to the ice cream. We'll see for sure later, but I'd expect the Whynter to add much more air than the Cuisinart.
Although the dasher designs are very similar, in practice they churn the ice cream in very different ways. In the Cuisinart, as the ice cream starts to harden it forms clumps, that in the end, ride around on the dasher without being mixed properly. While the Whynter paddle is able to keep mixing the mixture thoroughly even as it hardens.
Despite the more efficient paddle in the Whytner, the Cuisinart still freezing the mixture slightly quicker and to a degree colder, with the ice cream at 19 °F (-7°C) after 25 minutes and ready to come out. In the Whynter I tend to extract it after 30 minutes, with it still at 21 °F (-6°C).
So they're both actually quite fast, but the Cuisinart just shades it.
But how does the ice cream compare?!
Well, as I thought, there's a big difference in the amount of air that the two machines add to ice cream. And this is largely due to the different speeds at which the dashers rotate.
The amount of air that's added is measured as the percentage by which the volume of the mix increases as it's turned into ice cream. So if 1 quart of ice cream mixture becomes 1.5 quarts of ice cream, that's a 50% increase. And we call it overrun. So it's 50% overrun.
The Cuisinart ICE-100 makes ice cream with around 36% overrun using the ice cream dasher and 19% overrun using the gelato dasher. This is pretty low, even for a domestic machine. While the Whynter ICM-15LS produces ice cream with around 47% overrun. Which is quite high for a domestic machine.
But what does this mean for the ice cream? Well, the Cuisinart ice cream is denser, heavier and may seem to be a little creamier. Whereas the Whynter ice cream is lighter, softer and fluffier.
The differences are significant and even effect the color of the ice creams with the Cuisinart's appearing more yellow than the lighter Whynter ice cream.
In terms of quality, or more specifically smoothness, I can't tell too much difference between the two ice creams. Both machines are capable of making very smooth ice creams with the right recipe and much less smooth ice creams with the wrong recipe. And more or less to the same degree!
I suspect that the greater power of the Cuisinart ICE-100 compressor is balanced out by the greater efficiency of the Whynter ICM-15LS dasher.
Anyway, the big difference here is in the way the different amounts of air affect the texture of the ice cream. If you like dense, heavy ice creams you'll be drawn to the Cuisinart. If you like light, fluffy ice creams then you'll prefer the Whynter.
What's the difference in price?
As I write, the Cuisinart ICE-100 is around the same price as the Whynter ICM-15LS. This is a little surprising, since Cuisinart is a more established brand with good reputation and the ICE-100 seems to have the better build quality.
However, prices can change quickly with machines going in and out of special offer. My advice is to keep a close eye on the prices as l see lot's of changes with ice cream makers!
While the Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-15LS are on different tiers of the compressor ice cream maker offering, they actually have a lot in common and making a decision between them isn't easy. So to help you out, I've tried to summarize the reasons to choose one over the other...
4 reasons to choose the Cuisinart ICE-100 over the Whynter ICM-15LS
1. It has a better build quality
The Cuisinart is sleeker and more robust than the Whynter. The extra weight also suggests a stronger motor and a more powerful compressor.
2. The 3 year warranty
The Cuisinart is the only company that provides 3 year warranties on their ice cream makers (5 in the UK!). This provides peace of mind that if something goes wrong it will be fixed. But it's also an indication that Cuisinart have got confidence in the quality of their products.
3. Different dashers for ice cream/frozen yogurt and gelato/sorbet
Two different dashers allows us to vary the amount of air we add to the mixture according to the type of dessert we're making. This is really useful, especially for sorbet where, if we use a regular dasher, it's easy to add too much air and make it dry and crumbly.
4. If you prefer dense, creamy ice creams
Whichever dasher you use, the Cuisinart will make very dense, creamy ice creams because it adds less air to the mixture. If this is the type of ice cream you prefer, this machine is the better choice.
1 reason to choose the Whynter ICM-15LS over the Cuisinart ICE-100
1. If you prefer light, fluffy ice creams
The rapid rotation of the Whynter dasher means that it adds lots of air to the ice cream mixture. This results in a lighter, fluffier and also softer ice cream. If this is the sort of ice cream you prefer, this machine is the best choice.
Although they have a lot in common, in the end, it's difficult to recommend the Whynter ICM-15LS over the Cuisinart ICE-100, unless you prefer the lighter, fluffier ice creams it produces.
Of course that may well be the case. The Cuisinart ice creams are particularly dense and that won't be to everybody's taste.
But I certainly couldn't say that one makes smoother ice cream than the other. They are both more or less equal in that respect.
So for me, the superior build quality, the generous 3/5 year warranty and the ability to vary the amount of air in our ice creams by using two different paddles, make it fairly easy to choose the Cuisinart ICE-100.
Whynter ICM-15LS Ratings
Ice Cream Quality
Value for money
Cuisinart ICE-100 Ratings
Ice Cream Quality
Value for money