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Ice Cream Scoops

Published May 2015

How we tested

High-quality dense, hard ice cream requires a sturdy scoop to dig out and release perfectly smooth, round spheres for topping pie and balancing in cones. For years, our go-to dipper has been the Rösle ($26.95), chosen for its gently curved bowl that produces picture-perfect scoops. But its narrow handle has always felt a bit small for users with larger hands—and frankly, its price tag is steep. In search of a model that’s just as effective, but more ergonomic and economical, we compared it with six models (priced from $11 to $18.44), including classic and innovative designs as well as a portion scoop that claimed it could also scoop ice cream. We scooped from hard-frozen pints of our favorite ice cream and sorbet.

Bowl shape varied among the models, most of which were either slightly curved ovals or perfectly round half spheres like the portion scoop. Both models featuring the latter design formed tidy orbs, but frustratingly the ice cream had to be scraped from the confines of the bowls’ relatively tall walls. A large, shovel-shaped bowl on another model formed awkwardly oblong scoops that overwhelmed sugar cones. Better were the shallower oval scoops (including the Rösle), which encouraged ice cream or sorbet to roll back on itself, forming perfect balls that released easily.

As for a more-comfortable grip, testers rejected models with spring-loaded handles, like the portion scoop; stretching our hands as much as 6 1/2 inches to grasp the two wide-side ends and squeezing them while scooping was uncomfortable, particularly for those with smaller hands. One of these, which featured an innovative split-apart bowl for supposedly easy release, had a thin edge on both handles that dug into our palms as we dug into the ice cream. The other failure, another innovative model, sported a pair of feet sticking out from the back of the bowl meant to prop it up and prevent ice cream puddles from forming on the countertop when we set it down; but while the bowl itself didn’t drip, the feet snagged the rim of the ice cream container, got sticky as we scooped, and left puddles of their own. Ultimately, simpler designs were best. Testers preferred single, rounded handles that measured 3 to 4 inches around at their widest point.

From head to handle, the best scoops came from two models, both of which offered wide, comfortable handles for superior grip and leverage and oval bowls that yielded neat scoops. But one model's handle has an extra perk: It contains a heat-conductive fluid that instantly heats up when your hand warms the handle. When that heat travels to the scoop’s metal bowl, it slightly melts the ice cream as you scoop to make the job easier. The downside is that the fluid-filled handle isn’t dishwasher-safe, but since hand-washing an ice cream scoop takes seconds, it’s a minor flaw on an otherwise solid product.

The Results

Winner
Highly Recommended

Zeroll Original Ice Cream Scoop

This scoop’s gently curved oval bowl forms perfect round orbs that release easily. Even better, its wide, comfortable handle contains heat-conductive fluid that warms up instantly when your hand grips the exterior; when that heat travels to the bowl, the warm metal slightly melts the ice cream or sorbet so that it’s particularly easy to scoop.

More Details
Comfort
Release
Scooping
$18.44*
Highly Recommended

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop

The slightly pointed tip on this scoop helped testers dig into hard ice cream, and its shallow oval bowl formed—and released—balls that were just a little less perfect than those from the Zeroll. The company’s signature rubbery material on the handle made it easy to grip.

More Details
Comfort
Release
Scooping
$14.95*
Recommended

Rösle Ice Cream Scoop

Our former favorite features a sturdy bowl with a thin, sharp edge that easily cuts through frozen desserts. Its scoops were a perfect fit for ice cream cones, though ice cream occasionally stuck to the bowl. Its thin handle measures just 2.5 inches in circumference, which felt insubstantial to testers with larger hands.

More Details
Comfort
Release
Scooping
$26.95*

Zyliss The Right Scoop

Shaped more like a shovel than a scoop, this tool’s wide bowl, with a blunt edge, digs in and then releases a somewhat loosely packed ball that was too large for ice cream cones. The smooth, slightly curved handle was comfortable to hold.

More Details
Comfort
Release
Scooping
$14.66*
Recommended with Reservations

Tovolo Tilt Up Ice Cream Scoop

The thin-edged bowl plowed through ice cream and sorbet and released them, but its large, oblong shape scooped balls that were too big for a sugar cone. The small feet sticking out from the back of the bowl kept the bowl from dripping on the counter when we set the scoop down but snagged on the rim of the container and left their own puddles.

More Details
Comfort
Release
Scooping
$11.00*
Not Recommended

Good Cook Smart Scoop Ice Cream Scoop

Testers strained to squeeze together the wide-set (just over 6 inches apart) spring-loaded handles, especially while pushing against rock-hard ice cream. Worse, thin edges on the handle cut into our hands. Its innovative bowl forms a tight half-sphere when its two handles are squeezed together, but springs apart when the handle is released, which helps the balls release from the bowl. The downside: The scoops emerged too big and somewhat flat.

More Details
Comfort
Release
Scooping
$11.32*

Norpro EZ-Scoop 2-Tablespoon Stainless Steel Scoop

Like a portion scoop for baking, this model has a tiny strip of metal that swipes the half-sphere-shaped bowl clean when its handles are pressed together. The broadly spaced handles meant that we had to form an awkwardly wide grip, making it painful to dig into hard-frozen confections. Thin strips of ice cream became stuck under the wiper, jamming the mechanism so it wouldn’t release cleanly.

More Details
Comfort
Release
Scooping
$13.33*