Ice Cream Freezer & Dipping Cabinet Buyers' Guide

Ice Cream Freezers

Whether you want to open a concept that specializes in frozen goodies or just add new options to your dessert menu, an ice cream freezer is the best way to hold and display your frozen treats. Equipment in this category includes solutions for by-the-scoop counter service, self-serve merchandising, and back of house holding. We'll help you decide which solution is right for you.

Ice Cream Dipping Cabinets

Ice cream freezers are designed to hold temperatures in the range of -10 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperatures considered optimal for serving ice cream. Most dipping cabinets provide controls for adjusting their temperatures, so you can find the setting that gives you the best texture for your product.

If you're looking to sell ice cream by the scoop, the first step in choosing the right dipping cabinet comes down to knowing how many tubs you'll want to display and how many you'll want to have stored on hand to replenish your supplies. Dipping cabinets provide room for each.

Available dipping cabinet sizes range from compact freezers that accommodate fewer than five tubs to 26-tub behemoths. Whichever you choose, check the dimensions to make sure you have the space to dedicate to the equipment. Keep in mind that some freezers may have minimum clearance requirements that prohibit them from being installed within close proximity to surrounding walls and equipment.

Dipping cabinets generally provide a compartment for tubs on display, as well as a holding space for extra tubs. For example, a dipping cabinet that displays 12 tubs may have space in its base to store eight more. That extra room can help keep service flowing and save trips to your storage freezer.

Glass Window Merchandisers

The glass-top cabinet is the type of ice cream merchandiser associated with the classic ice cream parlor. They're the ones with the tall glass windows that let customers browse your available flavors. A door in the equipment's rear gives employees access to scoop and serve the ice cream.

You must make a style decision when you pick your glass-window merchandiser. Standard models with flat glass panes generally have the lowest price tags, but you may find curved glass models to be more aesthetically appealing. Curved glass models may also give taller customers better views of your products.

Flip-Lid Ice Cream Freezers

Flip-lid dipping cabinets conceal ice cream from view, so they can't be used to merchandise your products. Instead, flip-lid cabinets are ideal as backup ice cream freezers in ice cream shops or restaurant kitchens. Since their solid lids make them more thoroughly insulated than equipment with glass windows, flip-lid cabinets are energy-saving alternatives for applications where customers don't need to see the product you're serving.

Gelato Display Cabinets

Gelato merchandisers are similar in design to ice cream cabinets, with three important differences. First, they generally have shorter bases and taller windows to allow for better visibility. Rather than being deep to hold 3-gallon tubs, they typically include at least two levels to hold the wide, flat pans that the gelato is sold in and served from. Finally, since gelato is served a little warmer than ice cream, the typical temperature range for a gelato merchandiser is -5 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. There's a little less aesthetic diversity in the selection of gelato cases, as gelato's European origins have standardized a curved glass design.

Novelty Case Ice Cream Freezers

Sometimes called novelty cases, horizontal freezers with sliding glass lids are used to hold and merchandise packaged snacks like popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, and other frozen novelties. They're common in convenience stores, but they can also be used to expand the offerings of ice cream parlors, delis, restaurants, and other concepts.

You'll find novelty cases with flat- and curved-glass designs, with the former typically offering a lower up-front cost and the latter providing greater aesthetic appeal and a better view of the freezer's contents. Novelty cases include baskets for holding and separating different products, so be sure to choose one with enough baskets to hold all the products you want to merchandise.