Pros: dependable, simple, quiet, cheap, easy
Cons: small, canister takes up freezer space, only one batch a day
We got this as a wedding gift and used it several times of the years. I have recently been using it quite a lot and have debated replacing it with a new bigger compressor model, but may just keep this one.
It's very easy to use and has made the best ice cream I have ever eaten. I'm a huge fan of Ben & Jerry's and Haagen Daz and this can make ice cream that beats them both. You churn by hand but only turn it 3 revolutions every couple minutes, so it's no work at all. You can even churn with it on your lap as you watch TV or surf the net reading Chef blogs.
The keys to success are:
1) Good recipe - Custard based ones seem to be the best, but non-cooked ones work well too
I have had good luck with the Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream book, Ben & Jerry's book and Alton Brown's Vanilla.
2) Freeze Canister well - Freeze the canister overnight in the bottom of your coldest freezer. I have also perfected the ability to wash out the canister after a batch without letting it thaw. Simply rinse the inside with very hot water, dump and immediately wipe with a paper towel. You have about 4 seconds before the towel freezes to the sides so move quickly. This reduces the time needed to freeze between batches.
3) Churn just enough - Churn until it becomes a consistent density throughout and pulls away from the sides. Eat immediately if you like soft serve or put in a sealed container with wax paper pressed against the top of the ice cream and freeze for several hours, if you like harder ice cream.
I want to be able to make enough ice cream for guests who come over and would like to make several batches in a row. but I'm just not sure buying a loud, heavy, $250 compressor model is worth it. This little beauty works so well silently on my lap.