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Ice Cream Freezer
For Ice Cream Truck

The choice of an ice cream freezer is one of the most important decisions you'll make for your ice cream business.

ice cream truck freezer

You have to keep your ice cream frozen and in perfect condition or you will wind up with no product to least none that anyone would want to eat!

Ice cream men recommend using cold plate freezers for the ice cream truck business.

If you don't think your budget can handle the purchase of a cold plate freezer right away, here's some questions to ask when choosing a freezer and an overview on the various types of freezers available.

Buying a Freezer

Before purchasing any freezer, you should check with your local Health Department for regulations on ice cream freezers in your area.

Next, you should consider the nature of your business.

    Will you be vending ice cream for long stretches of time?

    How much product will you need to carry at a time?

    What does your budget look like?

    Are you able to handle a large upfront cost (cold plate) or can you only handle a smaller upfront cost (chest or dry ice: but these result in higher operating costs)?

With these considerations in mind, now it's time to look at the various types of freezers available.

Types of Freezers

Cold Plate Freezers


    Cold plate freezers use metal plates built in the freezer walls to keep the freezer unit cold.

    ice cream freezer, cold plate freezer

    Plug the freezer unit in during the night to freeze the cold plates. After being plugged in for a night, the freezer is able to maintain consistently cold temperatures for hours.

    No power source or dry ice is required.


    • Reliable consistent freezing
    • Often has an adjustable thermostat
    • No power source required during the day if unit was plugged in at night
    • Low operating costs
    • No drain on engine power to keep freezer cold
    • No affect on gas mileage since this freezer does not need to run on a power source during the day
    • Easy to use


    • Heavy
    • Most expensive type of freezer available

Chest Freezer


    Chest freezers require a power source to keep the freezer unit cold. These freezers can be run with a generator/inverter.


    • Reliable consistent freezing
    • Often has an adjustable thermostat
    • Easy to use
    • Generally lighter than cold plate freezers
    • Generally cheaper than cold plate freezers


    • Requires constant power to maintain consistent cold in freezer unit
    • Requires the purchase of generator/inverter
    • Generally noisy
    • Expels heat when running
    • Drains engine power and decreases gas mileage

Dry Ice Chests/Cold Boxes


    Dry ice chests are insulated boxes that are kept cold by the use of dry ice. No power source is required.


    • Lightweight
    • Relatively cheap
    • No power source required
    • Does not run on engine
    • Does not decrease gas mileage


    • Can lose some product to dry ice freezer burn
    • Continual expense and hassle of dry ice
    • Health and safety concerns related to handling dry ice

Whether you choose a cold plate freezer, chest freezer, or dry ice freezer, use it with care. Make sure that you've secured your freezer well to the floor of your vehicle so that it doesn't move while your ice cream truck's in motion!

The choice of an ice cream freezer for your ice cream business is up to you. Know the pros and cons for each type and make your decision accordingly! All of these types of freezers have been used successfully in an ice cream truck business.

By Jenn Fraiser

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