Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker Review

The Breville Smart Scoop is a highly customizable ice cream machine that is very easy to use

Brevile Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker sitting on table
(Image: © Breville)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Breville Ice Cream Maker is an easy-to-use compressor-style ice cream maker that is easily customizable with a range of 12 hardness settings. However, it’s heavy, large, and expensive.

Pros

  • +

    Easy-to-Use

  • +

    Makes consistently creamy ice cream

  • +

    Highly customizable

Cons

  • -

    Machine is large and heavy

  • -

    Very expensive

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker: Specs

Dimensions: 15.75 x 11 x 11 inches
Weight: 32 pounds
Volume Capacity: 1.5 quarts
Care: mixing bowl, paddle and lid are all dishwasher-safe
Construction: stainless steel, plastic
Noise: 64 dB
Wattage: 165
Cord Length: 18 inches
Warranty: 1 year, limited

The Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker is a reliable machine which is consistent in performance, and it has a sleek — if large — presence on the countertop. It offers 12 customizable settings so that you can control the hardness, as well as style, of any frozen dessert, including ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt and gelato. This is more control than most ice cream makers offer. 

However, at $499, this is one of the more expensive machines we’ve tested for the best ice cream makers. Read the rest of our Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker review to see how this popular machine compares, and if it’s worth the investment.

Breville Smart Scoop review: Price and availability

The Breville Smart Scoop retails for $499.95, and it rarely goes on sale (though Amazon usually has it around the $480 range). You can buy it from the Breville website directly or from retailers like Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table and Crate & Barrel. The only color option is stainless steel. 

Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker Specs review: Design

While its appearance is sleek and streamlined, the Breville Smart Scoop is large and heavy at 32 pounds. This is a harbinger of its durability, but it isn’t remotely portable as a consequence. It is rectangular in shape, measuring 15.75 x 11 x 11 inches, and the settings are visible on the LED screen. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There’s just one single, and very unobtrusive, control knob on the top which you use to select one of the 12 frozen dessert settings — this adjusts the hardness for ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt and gelato. There’s several additional control buttons surrounding the display too, including pre-cool and keep-cool settings to preset the temperature or maintain it. I didn’t use the pre-cool setting on my first batch; using it on my second batch only saved me about five minutes in total though. Keep cool will keep the machine churning for three hours if needed. The controls are very responsive and easy to use, and the progress bar lets you know how close the ice cream is to being finished.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Plastic parts are sturdy, well-constructed and are BPA-free. It comes with a cleaning brush, removable bowl (but, oddly, no lid for storage), paddle and instruction manual (with recipes). The cord is only 18 inches long, so you have to have considerable counter space near an electrical outlet, but it does mean there’s less to store.

Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker review: Ease of Use

No assembly is required beyond placing the bowl in the machine and locking on the cover — it really couldn’t be simpler. One control knob, which turns left to right, determines the hardness of your final product, otherwise you just set the timer and hit start. There’s an automatic timer included as well if you don’t want to set this manually. All of the machine’s features can easily be understood without having to look at the manual. The process is the same whatever type of ice cream you make. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The manual is thorough and detailed, and the website also has a video version if needed. The instructions give good tips for mix-ins, so that you can avoid common pitfalls. There are a number of recipes included too, with lots of ideas for kids. Classic recipes were a bit less in-depth though; I had to seek out a custard recipe, for example, as it wasn’t included in the book. But, any recipe will work with the Smart Scoop.

The plastic and metal parts are easy to clean and dishwasher-safe, so there’s no need to hand wash once you’re finished.

Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker review: Performance

What you’re really paying for here is the compressor, which freezes your recipe on the spot (i.e. there’s no need to pre-freeze the bowl or mixture. So this ice cream maker offers a quick and seamless process.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The machine is moderately noisy (maximum of 64 decibels, according to my meter), but the entire process takes at least 45 minutes, so it’s quite a long time to listen to the motor (don’t plan to use this when guests are over). It is also energy efficient, consuming just 0.8 kWh on average, although the Cuisinart ICE-100 was slightly better at 0.7 kWh.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I made three recipes: David Lebovitz’s classic vanilla custard ice cream, Barbara Tropp’s lemon sorbet, and a vanilla gelato from Saveur magazine. The vanilla custard ice cream came out fluffy and creamy, but it didn’t stay cold for long enough. Even after 50 minutes of whirring, I still felt like I needed to put it in the freezer to harden it up a bit.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The sorbet came out beautifully, balanced and sweetly tart, and the texture was visually coarse, but creamy upon tasting. The gelato was a bit lighter than the custard (because I didn’t use egg yolks), but it was otherwise indistinguishable in flavor from the custard recipe.

Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker review: Verdict

The Breville Smart Scoop is highly customizable, with 12 hardness settings for different styles of recipes, and its control knob is both intuitive and easy to work with. The downsides of this machine are its heavy weight (32 pounds) and its price ($499.95), especially when you consider that you may need to put the final product in the freezer to firm it up. It takes approximately 50 minutes to freeze ice cream with this machine, and with each batch, I still needed to put my desserts in the freezer for the finishing touches. 

The Whynter ICM-200LS Ice Cream Maker scored more highly and comes in at half the price. That’s why it’s our best compressor ice cream maker. The ice cream was ready to eat straight from the bowl and didn’t need more freezer time, so this is likely a better purchase.

However, if customization and extra features means more to you than anything, it’s worth sticking with the Breville Smart Scoop.

  • KevinKevin
    To Any Potential Buyers of Breville Ice Cream Machine - Smart Scoop…

    Below are my comments. Historically, I’ve enjoyed all of the Breville Small Appliances that I have purchased, but I was very disappointed that the Breville Ice Cream Machine did not meet my expectations … long term… failed after just 3.5 years.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    After 3.5 years of using the unit not more than 20 times, the ice cream maker control knob that adjusts the ice cream texture (soft vs hard) stopped working. When I contacted Breville, I was informed that the cost to repair was 50% of original repair cost, which I thought was outrageous. So Breville offered me a 25% discount off to use toward the repair cost or 25% discount to use toward purchasing a new ice cream machine. I did not move forward at the time because I was quite frustrated and disappointed. I realized that the unit was outside of the warranty period, but I was having a hard time justifying spending 50% of the original purchase price (before the 25% discount) to have the unit repaired. After 2.5 months, I decided to use the 25% discount towards having the unit repaired, but much to my surprise, Breville Customer Service informed me that the company had since had a change in policy and NO LONGER OFFERED REPAIRS ON … NOT JUST THE ICE CREAM MAKER... BUT NO LONGER ON ANY OR “ALL” BREVILLE SMALL APPLIANCES! Below is the actual email reply.

    "Thank you for responding.


    We no longer offer repairs on the smaller units with the change we made to our repair offers. So, not just the ice-cream maker other appliances as well. The Ice-cream maker will not be discontinued.

    We are basically saying we no longer offer repairs on the ice-cream maker and if you are interested you can use a 25% discount to purchase a new one.”

    As a loyal Breville customer, one who has purchased 11 different Breville appliances, I was blown away by this new policy. Why would anyone want to purchase an appliance from Breville if the company will no longer stand behind its products? And, what falls into the category of “small” appliances? If the ice creme maker is in the small category at $499, does the top of the line Breville espresso machine ($2,799) also fall in the “small appliance” category? Some of the Breville “small appliances” are quite expensive to no longer be supported by Breville when needing to be repaired! Needless to say, this experience has completely changed my perspective on the Breville company (brand), which I always viewed as high a quality manufacturer of small appliances.

    Extremely disappointing…
    Reply