I have some experience with a much nicer ice cream machine, so this one was a little counter-intuitive at first. You freeze the bowl and refrigerate your ice cream ingredients, and then this machine acts essentially just as an automated paddle while the bowl freezes your ice cream. Thus, it requires a little more foresight than a model with built-in refrigeration. That said, once you get the hang of it, it works great and very quickly and it's so cheap. I use mine primarily to make coconut ice cream as I'm lactose intolerant, and it's paid itself off very quickly: Coconut ice cream is about $6/pint in stores, $1.50 a pint at home. The thing cost me $24, that's six batches and it's worth it.