Dimensions: 15.3 x 12.5 x 11.1 inches
Weight: 5 pounds
Volume Capacity: 4 quarts
Construction: plastic, aluminum
Noise: 72 dB
Cord Length: 18 inches
Warranty: 1 year, parts and labor
The Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker is a tempting purchase because of its price point and its evocation of “old-fashioned” ice cream — it uses ice and rock salt to freeze the ice cream. But, other than these two features, it’s not a great choice unless cost is your top priority. It’s messy, noisy and cumbersome (despite its lightweight design). And it has a very short cord. Still, it makes decent ice cream in large volumes. So, depending on your priorities, it may be worth considering.
It might not make our list of the best ice cream makers, but read on for our full Hamilton Beach 68330N review to see how it compares with other models.
Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker review: Price and availability
The Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker retails for $62.99, and it can often be found on sale at Amazon and other outlets. You can buy it at Home Depot, Walmart, Target and other big-box stores. The only color option is off-white.
Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker review: Design
While it's quite lightweight (just five pounds), the Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker is big. It requires a fairly large storage space that’s at least 16 inches high and the motor makes it top-heavy, so it’s best to store that separately. The upside of this ice cream maker’s simplicity is that, aside from the motor, there aren’t any vulnerable parts that will break or fail easily. In other words, its construction is durable.
The design is “old-fashioned,” which is in quotes because true old-fashioned ice cream making required turning a crank by hand to freeze the ice cream. This machine is automatic, but designed to evoke old-style production with its use of ice and rock salt. It has a generous four quart capacity, which makes it ideal for producing large volumes.
There are no control buttons to worry about — it’s either on or off. The cord is only 18 inches long, and because the process is messy, you might want to take it outside with an extension cord.
Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker review: Ease of use
No assembly is required beyond locking the motor onto the metal canister. Operation is intuitive; the only reference you’ll need to make to the manual is for the proper ratio of ice and rock salt. However, the idea that you can just turn this machine on and leave it is not an accurate one. As with all machines of its type, the ice molds to the canister and then begins to melt, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on the process and add ice and salt, as needed. This is where things get messy. While the canister that holds the ice cream mixture is covered (so that stray ice and salt don’t get in), there’s inevitable spillage as you schlep ice and salt into the plastic tub. The best strategy is to freeze your ice cream outside; if you do this inside, you’ll want to put newspapers or towels down to keep the mess contained.
You need about 10 pounds of ice and three cups of rock salt per batch. The manual suggests that the whole process takes 20-40 minutes, but my first four-quart batch took closer to one hour. Recipes are included that lean towards the classics, like old-fashioned vanilla custard. The manual also gives tips for working with sugar-free alternatives. You can, of course, freeze any ice cream (or sorbet) recipe in the machine.
The plastic and metal parts are easy to hand-wash, but it would be nice if parts were dishwasher-safe for convenience.
Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker review: Performance
I made two recipes with this machine, David Lebovitz’s classic vanilla custard ice cream and Barbara Tropp’s lemon sorbet. They were moderately successful. The ice cream wasn’t as creamy compared to other competitors, including the Cuisinart ICE-21P1 and the Whynter ICM-200LS ice cream makers. Plus, I had to freeze the canister even after it was finished in order to firm up the results before serving, but you do get high volumes of ice cream with each batch. The sorbet came out better; balanced and sweetly tart, and the texture was pretty creamy.
The machine is moderately noisy (maximum of 72 decibels, according to my meter), but because I made my recipes outside, the noise was not terribly offensive. However, it took much longer than the manual indicated it would, and I had to tend to it constantly, adding ice and salt regularly. In terms of energy efficiency, the machine consumed 0.8 kWh on average, which is standard compared to other machines.
Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker review: Verdict
The Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker is an inexpensive, lightweight machine that produces decent ice cream and sorbet. But, it lands at the bottom of the pack in terms of score because it’s messy, noisy and cumbersome. It’s much more high-maintenance to operate versus other models too.
We’d recommend buying the Cuisinart ICE-21P1 Ice Cream Maker instead. The performance was stronger and it’s easier to use too — plus there’s not much difference in price. Or if you’ve got money to spend, you could opt for a compressor-style ice cream maker, in which case we recommend the Whynter ICM-200LS Ice Cream Maker.