Best Soft Serve Machines in USA – Reviews

Hello Friends!

Frozen yogurt and ice cream are still HOT, more so then ever!  So far in 2013 Frozen Yogurt sales have grown over 70% on 2011 sales numbers.  Additionally, frozen yogurt represents about 40% of sales in frozen treat and novelty market.  Ice Cream remains strong at about 54%. Sales of both ice cream and frozen yogurt amount to over 11 Billion dollars per year!

Below is a list of the Best Soft Serve Machines for frozen yogurt and ice cream.

Frozen yogurt is a good bet, as deserts will always be popular and the flavors keep getting better and better for you.  Opening a frozen yogurt store takes money, time, and research – through our website we hope to offer some helpful information regarding getting started.  The #1 question we get from writers is regarding soft serve equipment, so that is what we have decided to write about today.   For more information on frozen yogurt machines please see our other posts dated over the last 3 years.

Below, we will list the  Best Soft Serve Machines, top quality soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt manufacturers – and rate them on a scale of 1-10 on quality, service, cost, and warranty.  We will then offer a brief description and our choice for best frozen yogurt machine(s) from that company.


Taylor Company:

Frozen yogurt machine by Taylor Company

Taylor Crown series soft serve machine


SERVICE:   7-10 depending on distributor

COST:        5

Product Consistency:   9


Taylor Company has the largest market share in the world of soft serve machines.  Taylor is a exceptional manufacturer or machines, unfortunately, we hear rave reviews as often as we hear negative reviews from customers who say they are fed up dealing with Taylor.  The Taylor Crown C723 with stand is our pick for frozen yogurt stores.  A great machine, priced over $13,000 each, plus other fees.  Taylor has created a strong presence by hiring its own service technicians throughout the country and placing strong requirements on dealers.  This in turn leads to higher prices, and less room for creativity and change.



Stoelting soft serve frozen yogurt machine

Stoelting soft serve frozen yogurt machine



COST:     8

Product consistency:  9


Stoelting has made a name for the F231 machine in franchises like orange leaf and aspen leaf.  It is a great machine that produces excellent creamy yogurt.  Stoelting sells through distributors across the country, sometimes service can be an issue for the smaller guys.  The F231 uses a single compressor for freezing cylinders with dual control by using a solenoid.


Electro Freeze:

Electrofreeze SLX4000 review and information

Electrofreeze SLX4000 review and information



COST:        6

Product Consistency:  9


Electro Freeze / HC Duke and Son has been making soft serve machines for a long time (as you can tell by the design J) A solid machine, produces great texture product, excellent programs for soft serve ice cream and pressurized systems, not so strong for self-serve frozen yogurt on a national basis.  The new model released this year is the SLX4000 which is their stab at the frozen yogurt industry.  A single 6500BTU compressor similar to the Stoelting and Taylor machines keeps cost down and energy use down.  The problem is, half the country does not have access to the product, and the cost can hurt!



Spaceman USA:

Spaceman USA soft serve machine review

Spaceman USA Soft serve machine review for 6250, 6378, and 6235 model machines – best soft serve machines



COST:   8

Product Consistency:  9


Spaceman USA is the distributor for Spaceman products, a  manufacturer of soft serve and slushy equipment.  Spaceman holds an extremely high quality standard and reputation in Asian markets and European markets.  One of the best tasting products we have tried is out of a spaceman machine. The machines build is similar to Taylor in size and capacity.

*We are ranking the Spaceman 6250 as the Best Soft Serve Machines for the frozen yogurt and mid sized soft serve ice cream business.

We know that we have left some manufacturers from this list.  Please email your questions, comments, or concerns so that we may address them on our next update of the Best Soft Serve Machines in the USA.



Soft serve machine reviews – comparison chart

UPDATE: 2014

The list and comparison chart below is our soft serve machine reviews pick for frozen yogurt stores.  Therefore, we have picked the best machine for that purpose from each manufacturer.  This is after all, The Frozen Yogurt Review!!!

If you are interested in soft serve equipment for different applications, such as high volume stores, or where air pumps are needed – then we suggest starting with the below mentioned manufacturers and seeing what they have available.

Notable models for high volume are:

the Taylor Crown Series C713, Taylor 794, Taylor 336,

Spaceman 6378, Spaceman 6248,

Electro Freeze FM8, Electro Freeze 66TF,  and Stoelting F431.

We get a lot of questions regarding machines; how much energy they use, production capacity, heat required, and price.  We have used A LOT of machines, and we have compiled a list of the most common machines new stores are using to open frozen yogurt shops.  Older models of Taylors and Electro Freeze we feel are not worth the investment, since they are not efficient in energy consumption, and to buy a used machines makes little sense to us.  So, please review the below chart, you can click on it for an expanded view.  If you have any information you would like to add please comment or email us and we will get on it!

Below is our comparison chart with soft serve machine reviews above.

Soft serve ice cream machine comparison chart review

Soft serve equipment comparison, Taylor C723, 713, Stoelting F231, Electro freeze SL500, Spaceman 6250, Donper BH7480, Wellspring, Sani Serve


Machines reviewed are, in no specific order:

Taylor Crown Series c723, Electro Freeze SL500, Stoelting F231, Spaceman 6250, Donper BH7480, and Wellspring WIM310, Spaceman 6240

Stoelting Soft Serve Machine Review – Stoelting f231

Stoelting F231

Stoelting Soft Serve Machine

Frozen Yogurt Machine

At over $13k per machine, the Stoelting F231 definitely inches toward the top end of the soft serve machines out on the market. Does the production justify the high price? Challenge accepted.

As always, I first evaluate the quality of product. I have worked in a frozen yogurt shop that uses Stoelting frozen yogurt machines. I don’t think we carried the highest quality yogurt as far as taste is concerned. The Stoelting F231 takes on the challenge with ease and finesse. It will transform almost any frozen yogurt mix into a delicately textured frozen treat that is definitely palatable, if not delicious. I give the Stoelting machines definite thumbs up for production quality.

I think the appearance of the Stoelting F231 is either a love it or hate it thing. It has a clear valve body that allows for a clear view of the inner workings of the frozen product. Upon dispensing, you see the product being mixed and dispensed through the valve body in the freezing cylinder. This is uncannily reminiscent of Slurpee machines. I tend to be on the “love it” side of this look. I like the view of the frozen yogurt being churned up in the cylinders as its being dispensed. The panels are stainless steel and the display panel is digital with a black overlay, which is kind of the norm for modern machines these days. It has an unmistakable and unique look as far as frozen yogurt machines go. It is distinct and I think it is pretty cool.

The use of the Stoelting F231 by customers and operators is by far the least convenient, in my experience. On the customer end, it operates just as any other quality machine: the blenders are triggered fairly early on the draw, to control the dispense rate, and the handles spring back. The only downside, which seems minor, but warrants my “least convenient” rating nevertheless, is the deception of the valve body. The valve body is clear plastic, and distorts the opening of the valve. Almost every time I try to get a sample from a Stoelting machine, I end up getting yogurt all over my hands, unless I bend down and look up at the opening to make sure that I am positioning my sample cup properly. The depth perception of the valve opening is distorted because of the nature of the plastic. Like I said, this is a relatively minor thing. But for such a simple concept of a machine (place cup under dispense valve, pull handle) this seems like something that could have been remedied by a better design. Worse, on the operator side, the control settings of the Stoelting F231 are too complicated, service on the machines is not easy to get, and there are so many parts to put back together that cleaning the machine takes way longer than it should. Too many times when I would work with these Stoeltings, they would seize for no apparent reason, and I would sometimes have to wait a day or 2 just to get someone to fix it. This may be a training issue, but that could be resolved from the outset as well. The blender mechanism has so many parts that it sometimes takes up to 45 minutes just to clean the thing.

These are high-capacity, high-output freezing machines! The Stoelting F231 is a dual 12k BTU compressor machine with 2 3-gallon hoppers and 3 liter capacity in each freezing cylinder. Again, this is a machine that would be a bit too much for me if I were running a self-serve frozen yogurt store with multiple machines.  Such a capacity is just unnecessary. Plus they run at the high end of energy draw: 230V. This equates to double the energy consumption of some of the more modest machines.

stoelting f231Don’t get me wrong. This machine is excellent – well built, with output capabilities overshadowing most others.

Cost: 3/5

Quality (look): 5/5

Ease of use: 2/5

Parts: 4/5

Service: 3/5

Upkeep cost: 4/5

Efficiency: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Taylor soft serve machine review – Taylor Crown Series c713

Taylor Crown Series C713

Taylor soft serve machine

Taylor crown series c713

At the high end of high end – running about $15k to $18k for a single machine – do these frozen yogurt machines stand up to the proclamation of “industry leaders” in soft serve equipment? We shall see. I will be reviewing Taylors in general, and Taylor Crown Series C713 in particular, where appropriate.

First and foremost, how does the frozen yogurt taste? I have worked with Taylors in stores, and have also been on the customer side of things, and have mixed reviews about yogurt quality. I have had really poor yogurt from Taylors, and also some of the best yogurt from the Taylor C713. This is both good and bad news for Taylor. Good news is that the bad yogurt I’ve had could just be because of the brand of product that the stores were using, because, like I said, some of the best yogurt I’ve had came from a Taylor. The bad news is that there are many functions and adjustments to the Taylor Crown Series machines, that it is easy for user error to net a poor quality product. I mean, I’m not what you would really call the sharpest light bulb in the oven, but I had to read the manual a few times (yes, I know how to read), before I could even imagine trying to set the C713 properly. I guess with proper training, this would not be a problem – just a little inconvenient for the lazy or slow.


The look of the Taylor Crown Series C713 is pretty slick: brushed steel paneling, with black plastic valve housing and display panel, and white lettering. I think they always look pretty good in a self-serve froyo shop wall. Some of the steel paneling is hard to keep clean. I can’t remember if it was the C713 or not, because I think there is a new kind of steel that resists smudges and stuff. Overall, this is probably one of the cooler looking machines I’ve seen.

The use of the Taylor C713 by customers is as easy as can be. The things I consider most important are how smoothly the handles and valves work, and how early in the valve draw the machine is triggered to dispense product. I am happy to report that all the handles and valves I have tried of the Taylor Crown Series machines (provided they were properly lubricated) were as smooth as sweet cream butter. Moreover, the motors that dispense the frozen yogurt were triggered almost immediately. That means that you can control how fast the yogurt comes out by opening the valve slowly. This is a huge plus from a customer perspective, especially when taking samples. You want the dispense speed to be very easy to control, so that your customers don’t end up with yogurt all over their hands, and you don’t end up with gallons of ice cream wasted all over the drip trays. Another bonus with these machines is that the handles return to the closed position automatically, with a spring-back system. This also helps prevent the aforementioned predicaments. Not all frozen yogurt machines feature this.

A little bit about the specs. The hoppers of the Taylor Crown Series C713 are huge: 20 quarts each (there are two per machine). And the freezing cylinders are 3.4 quarts each. These large capacities combined with dual 9,500 BTU compressors make for a huge output capacity machine. The hot (or cool) new thing these days is that the hoppers come with a refrigeration feature, to keep the product at a safe temperature.

The other things we should talk about is cost of parts, maintnence, and overall distribution and service of the Taylor soft serve machines in the United States market.  Ovbiously, Taylor has been around and reputable for a long time, so what does this mean for service. The good thing is they have a lot of offices and factory trained technicians.  The bad news is, they always want you to use their service guys.  This means if your store is 3 hours away from the office you sometimes have to wait a week or so for them to come up, and if they do not have the part in the truck you are looking at another week for them to come back up.  This can be a problem.  As far as sales and distribution, it looks like from the website that they have a supplier in each of the mainland states.  This, along with the fact that most people use taylor allows for very easy access to test the machines out if you are a potential buyer.  Parts can be expensive, especially on the used machines.  We spoke with a gentleman from partex who sells old Taylor and rebuilds them.  We asked about a problem we have seen many times – corrosion around the freezing cylinders and then leakage of coolant either to bottom of machine or into the cylinder itself.  This is a $3,000 minimum fix (at lowest) per machine.  He said “its not IF it happens, it’s WHEN it happens”.

All in all these are excellent machines. Once the operator gets the settings dialed in (and gets the right product in the machine, of course) these machines will produce very high quality yogurt. One thing to consider when looking to purchase a frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream machine is the capacity. The Taylor Crown Series C713 has a huge capacity. But think about it: do you really need such a high capacity when you’re running 6-8 machines at the same time? This is why I consider the price too high for a self-serve froyo shop. If I had cash to open up a self-serve frozen yogurt shop, I would try to save money on the machines, and buy machines with a little lower capacity. If I get quality product, it’s worth it to me to sacrifice a little appearance and brand name to save $40-80k in startup costs. Nevertheless, I believe these machines live up to their reputation.

Cost: 2/5

Quality: 5/5

Ease of use: 5/5

Parts: 4/5

Service: 3/5

Upkeep cost: 3/5

Efficiency: 2/5

Overall: 4/5

How to: Starting a self-serve frozen yogurt business / shop. Part 1

How to:  Starting a self-serve frozen yogurt business / shop.  Part 1

Frozen yogurt is tasty, healthy, and also a desert, or is it dessert?  Just in case you don’t know, desserts have been around a couple thousand years (so have deserts) and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.  So, with people more health conscious than ever, why not make it froyo?  With live cultures, potential for organics, no sugar added and low/nonfat options – it’s the right choice.  Opening a franchise frozen yogurt store or even your own concept is a great choice too, as long as you do your homework and follow a few proven techniques to ensure you end up successful.  We have been researching frozen yogurt franchises and ma and pops for years at the frozen yogurt review, and here is what we feel to be the most important “ingredients” to owning a successful self-serve location:


–          Great tasting product (duh, but you’d be surprised! – or maybe not?)

–          Great location (we will give tips for finding good spots below)

–          Good, no, GREAT atmosphere!

–          Mediocre employees…NOOOT…Great Employees!  (By the way, it’s your responsibility to train them to be great!  We will go over that too if you can read that far)

–          Um, social media and marketing, maybe?  Depends on your intentions, and just how GREAT you are!  We will also make suggestions – there are lots of free tips to succeed that worked great for Steve Jobs!  Think newspapers, magazines, etc.  Why not flatter an unknowing columnist and con, I mean convince them into writing an article on you!


So, this is a good place to start, we will go over these topics in paragraph form in order of bullet.  At the end of it all we will go into even more detail on what and where to you will actually need in the store.  These are just logistics and not as important as the concept, or “foundation”.

Great tasting frozen yogurt product:

Pretty self-explanatory, but cannot be said enough!  Test as many different brands as you can, and pick one with great flavors, and plenty of them.  You want the company to have at least 10 good flavors year round and then a variety of sorbets, seasonal, and low/nonfat and NSA (no sugar added) options.  You also want to make sure the company has good distribution to your store so that you are not let down and run out of product.   Good consistency is produced by good yogurt, a machine no matter what brand should produce good yogurt if the settings are correct.  If the frozen yogurt is too icy it’s usually the setting on the soft serve machine, not the machine itself, or it could be bad product with no stabilizers or poor content.   Anyways, don’t get a bad tasting yogurt in your store that leaves people with a bad aftertaste.

Great location:

The better the location, the more visibility, the more foot traffic, the more sales.  Here are some good tips:  Make sure the sign is visible from the street, and if it’s a 4 way intersection make sure you are able to have a visible sign from each position a car will be stopped (all 4 directions, also make sure the sign portrays that you are frozen yogurt store).  Be close to schools!  Don’t underestimate the desire and manipulative ability of children; they will get their parents to take them for frozen yogurt after school or after soccer practice.  High school kids will also want to go get a snack after school and hang out.  Also make sure if possible that you are close to restaurants, movie theaters, nice places to walk, business parks, and high traffic areas.  Do research to find the closest competition – make sure you have a plan for getting people to come to your store instead of theirs – or, pick another spot.  If it doesn’t make sense to you it sure won’t make sense to them.  Also, you should be able to get a couple months free rent on your lease – get a commercial broker to put a proposal together for you, remember the leasing agent for the space is required to put the land lords best interest before yours!   They should also help with build out costs.

Great atmosphere:

Think hard about how you want your frozen yogurt shop to “feel”.  Get a clear “feeling” in your mind prior to starting anything else.  Hold onto this “feeling” and radiate it in to every decision you make, tell people who you think don’t even care – this creates passion – the best artwork is always done from passion.  Opening a frozen yogurt shop should be fun, and it will be successful.   Make sure all of your furniture, colors, store layout, and design all go together and work in accordance with your theme “feel”.  When everything and everyone is working together in your store it will create an energy that will attract people back to your business, this force is powerful, do not neglect the force!  Each detail should be thought out and not overlooked.  Also, we recommend hiring an architect, or designer, or contractor who has done a frozen yogurt shop before.  They understand how to build out the walls correctly to reach through, get the place set up with the right electrical, air flow, etc.

Great Employees:

Make sure your employees get the “feeling”.  Hire people with passion, who love their job, and who like people.  They will need to interact with people, and if they are happy and give off good vibes then that’s the first thing your customers will notice.  Some people will never have had self-serve frozen yogurt before and will look at all the machines and be thinking in their head “WTF, what am I supposed to do?”  Have your employees ask people if they have been there before, show them where the sample cups are, encourage them to try the flavors, and explain they pay per ounce and get yogurt then add their own toppings.  Make it fun!  Everyone should be greeted.  Also make sure you have enough people so that if someone is cutting fruit, or filling the machines with product, someone is still out front to cashier and greet.  It’s worth it!  Be the frozen yogurt store in the pictures with lines to the curb; don’t just expect to have people casually come in every half hour.   Make sure your employees also understand the value of cleanliness.

Social Media, Marketing, etc:

Facebook page?  Absolutely, it’s free and people will like you, then you can promote deals, new flavors and get people talking about your store.  Do not overlook this simple tool.  Google listing, good places, do we really even have to say it!?!   I went to get a haircut 2 months ago and wanted to call earlier this week to check the hours and couldn’t find their number on the internet, are you kidding!!!  Guess what I did, Google mapped from my phone the next closest place and went there.   Another great idea, get the local newspaper or magazine to feature your store and do a story on you.  People love frozen yogurt, take advantage of it, if you’re the first self-serve store in town get on the phone and pimp yourself out!  They will do a story on it.  Their alternative is to try to make up a story on the local homeless celebrity…  Twitter also works.  Make sure you are listed and utilizing all available free social media and news.  Do deals, and put them on your Facebook page.  If you have a local high school or college then do a mascot theme night, or a sorority night with giveaways and specials.  One of the local frozen yogurt shops does sorority nights and has a lot of success.  Another shop offers delivery on their yogurt!  That is the ultimate treat to college stoners (sorry, but it’s true).

After you have the concept, have the passion, and are fired up to go you need to do the following:

Get a lease on a great spot, get a great build out, get good new machines (service, warrantee, etc.) try to save some money on the machines, there are alternatives out there now and this is a big expense (donper, forte equipment, spaceman usa) – don’t use an import company like palm island trading, you don’t want to get left high and dry with nowhere to get parts or service.  You can save up to $50,000 on soft serve equipment.  Same with refrigerators, topping bar and dispensers, point of sale equipment, etc. (, restaurant depot, and many more)   Get a great logo and name for your store that can be branded, loved, and recognized.  Form an LLC, corporation, or DBA if already have one.  Find the product, have the sales reps help you find other things you need like cups, spoons, toppings, fruit.  If you have a big local distributor like Sysco or US Foods contact them.  They should be able to supply a good portion of your needs and even tell you things you didn’t think of.  Hire someone to make a website.  You can get a good one made by companies like inMotion hosting for a good price.  Or make one on word press (like this site).  Badabing-badaboom!  If you have the passion and can follow some proven methods you are ready to rumba!  Oh yeah, you might need some cash too 🙂

Buying frozen yogurt machines overseas

Buying soft serve machines overseas, or importing frozen yogurt machines – and why you must reconsider.

A lot of our partners have brought this up, but more importantly we have received several questions from store owners who bought machines directly from another country and are now having BIG problems.

Some things we have seen:

Frozen yogurt machines without UL or NSF certification:   Guess what, your health inspector isn’t going to let you open – neither is the fire marshal likely to allow you to move forward.

Scams:  there are a lot of people in other countries taking pictures of machines and factories from other websites and manipulating email addresses etc to get orders for 10s of thousands of dollars, many times the orders are never shipped and can not be tracked.

Parts and service:  what happens in 6 months when your machine stops working or you need new parts.  These owners are now having to try to order parts from oversees because they wanted to save a little money up front.  Guess what, now your store has machines that are out of service for a month or more while you wait for the parts and pray that they send the correct product, also who will install these parts and service?  This does not make sense to us.  Buy a soft serve machine from a local (US) company who can provide you with parts, customer service, parts and training.   Saving a couple thousand dollars up front is not going to make sense in August when your patrons decide to go to another frozen yogurt store because you have broken machines – this will likely cost your business an excess of $40,000 of sales, and this is just for the first occurance!!!

Heres a question, are you buying your car from another country to avoid dealer fees in the USA, probably not…  Yeah,  you might drive a Toyota, but you still buy it from a local dealer.  There is a reason for this.  Did you go to India to purchase your computer?  No, you didn’t – so why are we seeing people trying to import their own frozen yogurt machines for a self serve store?  If you are interested in importing then go into the importing business, not the retail restaurant business!!!

We’ve all seen the wannabe serial entrepreneurs who have 10 jobs on top of their commission only sales job and participate in MLM scams.   These people are never successful!

Focus on opening a great store, shop around for a good frozen yogurt machine at a good price, but don’t be a fool and try to learn a new business just to save a couple bucks on your frozen yogurt equipment, it will end up costing you in the long run.