It’s a bit late to be in the holiday spirit, but this review is one that’s been in the making since December rolled over. Although I’ve tried quite a few ice cream makers, I always ask myself: “what is the best ice cream maker?” Indeed, what is it? I’ve looked long and hard, and I think I might’ve found my answer in last year’s amazing gift – the Lello 4080.
Now, the Lello 4080 is a whopping beast of a machine. It looks fairly innocent, yet weight nearly 40 pounds and is made of stainless steel. It’s price tag isn’t to be joked around with either – but, for all that, I’ve found that this Italian-made ice cream machine does really live up to its reputation.
This machine is will help you become the laziest ice cream chef to have ever lived. It only possesses two buttons – one to churn, and one to chill – and smackdab between them is a big, old-fashioned timer. Pour your base, set your time, press the churn and leave. Come back, boom. Ice cream.
Now, obviously, there are other machines that do this – that’s the beauty of electric compressor ice cream makers. So, why is this the best ice cream maker I’ve come across in a while? Because of reliability. It not only carries a number of handy features, as to be expected of a compressor ice cream maker – but after more than three dozen uses, I can tell that I’ll be using this maker to make hundreds and hundreds of batches.
The first thing that comes to mind when you see the Lello 4080 is the fact that it actually is completely built in steel. That makes it quite shiny, and fairly attractive.
The second thing you’ll notice is that this also makes it very heavy. This is a good thing, since a heavy ice cream maker tends to be much more grounded and stable due to its weight. Flimsy makers are a bad idea, and the Lello 4080 is far from that.
I cannot stress the metal enough. Durability and resilience is key with a good ice cream maker that you expect to see working for years to come, and the Lello 4080 has got that on point. Instead of an ingredient spout, it comes with a simple lid you can peel off to immediately dump your entire ice cream base. Simple.
While speaking about simplicity, the timer + two button interface is about as simple as it gets. Ice cream made by it is always good, too, because the resilience of the steel ensures that you don’t get any issues with the paddles. Furthermore, it has a hell of a motor, and a regulating clutch so you can leave it churning until the ice cream gets so hard that the motor forcibly shuts off, without damage.
A friend of mine has owned a Lello since 2007, and about a year ago he brought it into an appliance repair shop because it was taking a while to chill. All it needed was more refrigerant liquid, then it was as good as new. By then, I was already close to finding my answer to: “what is the best ice cream maker?”
As much as I praise this machine, I can’t deny that the weight can also be seen as a generally big downside. After all, lugging that much around the kitchen isn’t really anybody’s idea of fun. However, as long as you find a dedicated spot for it, that shouldn’t be much of a worry.
The other aspect to it that might be a bit hard to get used to to begin with is the fact that the Lello’s bowl isn’t removable. That means you have to take a sponge and clean it out that way.
Finally, the volume leaves room for wanting. At 1 ½ quarts, it’s good for a small family but not enough for us – thankfully, however, this is a maker outfitted with a compressor, meaning making back-to-back batches almost nullifies the issue.
If you’re looking for the end-all-be-all best ice cream maker, then I’d firmly stand behind saying that the Lello 4080 is about as close as it gets. It’s just damn solid in every regard. If you’ve got the money for it, then I wholeheartedly recommend it. So, if you’ve ever been asking yourself: “what is the best ice cream maker?”, ask no more.