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A Guide to Ice Cream Vending Machines

Are ice cream vending machines a lucrative choice? Where can you buy a good ice cream vending machine affordably? Here is all you need to know.


The ice cream market is constantly evolving. Technological advancements now make it possible for vending machines to make ice cream to order as per customers’ preferences. Specifications of ice cream vending machines even allow customers to choose their preferred mix of ingredients and flavors during the sale.

Most of the vending machines in the market today offer mostly popular drinks and wrapped snacks. If you request some differentiation that helps you boost sales, vending ice cream to customers can give you the competitive edge you need. Read on to learn more about the specifications and business of ice cream vending machines and find the ones on sale globally.

Are Ice Cream Vending Machines Profitable

Unlike drinks and wrapped snacks or frozen food where prices are generally standardized across the board, ice cream gives you greater ability to experiment with pricing because of the many customization's you can achieve with ingredients, flavors, packaging, and portions. Bottom line, this can greatly impact your sales.

You will have greater ability to control your sales margins with an ice cream vending machine than with traditional vending equipment selling drinks and branded snacks. For this reason, vending these frozen treats - compared to say, frozen food vending -will likely be profitable.

As with most vending machines, you need to choose a good location. An ice cream vending machine will do well in theme parks, playgrounds, school compounds, shopping districts, cinemas, and streets lined with restaurants.

How Much Does an Ice Cream Vending Machine Cost?

The prices of vending machines vary greatly based on condition (used or new), brand, payment system, and storage capacity. Refrigiration unit is also something that tends to make them generally weightier and pricier. Generally, a fairly-priced vending machine brand will cost between $2800 and $5,800. 

To find a sale at a fair price, the shopping is best done directly from the manufacturer. You can compare different vending machines for sale on Alibaba and order one directly from Chinese manufacturers. The minimum order unit for sale is one - you don’t have to worry about arbitrary MOQs.

This is an investment decision. The price you choose to pay for a machine on sale should be determined by

  • The anticipated shopping demand for ice cream in the target market and location
  • The expected payback period - determined by revenue (a function of ice cream demand)
  • Shipping costs and junk payments

Even at $2800, the machine will be a significant investment. Do proper market research in your area and secure a great location to help you recoup the investment faster. If you're down for some research, you can also search for affordable vending machines online or even land on free vending machine if someone's looking to get rid of one.

The Different Types of Ice Cream Vending Machines

Ordering vending equipment for sale from sites such as Alibaba allows you to compare different types of machines available for sale. You will then be able to pick one that best suits your needs based on factors such as

  1. Pre-packaged ice cream vending. Some ice cream vending machines for sale can only carry pre-packaged ice cream. They are less sophisticated and work the same way traditional snack vending machines operate.
  2. Robotic vending. These machines are more sophisticated and allow customers to choose their ingredients based on the instructions on the touchscreen display.
  3. Payment system. The payment options available include cash (bills and coins), credit cards, mobile money, and web payments. The more customizable options there are during sale, the better for you.
  4. Number of flavor variants. The most popular ice cream flavors are vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and chocolate chip. All these flavors have die-hard fans. You may lose them if you don’t carry their favorite flavors or a variation of them. It is best to choose an ice cream vending with the capacity for more than one flavor.
  5. Number of toppings. Toppings are an essential part of the ice cream business. Pay attention to how many toppings a vending machine can carry.
  6. Customization options. Some manufacturers allow you to brand the ice cream vending machine using custom logos and graphics.

Bear in mind that frozen food vending machines are different from ice cream vending equipment and are not to be mistaken. Also it's important to note that ice cream vending machines may be heavier, therefore they are a lot harder to move. If you're considering a transport, make sure you check our complete guide on how to move a vending machine.

Ice Cream Vending Machine Manufacturers and Suppliers

When buying an ice cream vending machine, or in fact most vending machines, you need to consider specifications such as ease of use, safety (especially for kids), size and weight (consider local footprint laws), cost, electricity consumption, and how long it can keep products frozen when there is a power outage. You can source the machine from a manufacturer in the United States or import one from Asia.

Ice Cream Vending Machines from Asian Manufacturers

You can source frozen food and ice cream vending machines - and not overextend paying for pricey shipping - directly from Asian manufacturers directly through

  1. Alibaba. Great selection in each category with reviews.
  2. Made in China. Same as Alibaba but with no reviews in any category.

The vending equipment shipping is done by sea. The shipping will likely take more than three weeks to arrive in the United States.

Ice Cream Vending Machines from American Manufacturers/ Distributors

You can source frozen treats - in some cases frozen food - vending machines from the following companies in the United States:

  1. Vencoa Vending Machines. The company sells the USI FF 2000 vending machine that allows for the vending of pre-packaged ice cream and other frozen foods. It goes for $4,495. [Contact details]
  2. Selectivend. The company sells a popular frozen food vending machine that accepts cash and electronic payments. [Contact details]
  3. AVS Companies. The company sells the USI Alpine Combi 3000, which you can use to vend ice cream and other frozen food category items. [Contact details]
  4. Advance Ice Cream Vending Co. Based out of South Florida, the company installs, maintains, and operates machines. It partners with location owners such as business owners, parks, and hotels and pays a commission based on revenue generated. Consider this partnership if you are a location owner in Florida. [Contact details]
  5. Fastcorp Vending. Fastcorp’s machines are a great choice if you want a robotic machine on sale. [Contact details]

Ice Cream Vending Machines on the Internet for Inspiration

Ice cream vending is a growing business. If you need inspiration on how to set up your vending business, you can check what other people are already doing. Below are some of the vending operations you can use for inspiration.

Final Thoughts

An ice cream vending machine is an excellent way to enter the vending business. Since the machines are automated, the business will give you flexibility in working hours and an opportunity to scale.

The vending machine will constitute a significant portion of the startup costs. You should, however, set aside money for inventory and maintenance costs. As in any vending business, your location will determine whether or not you become successful. If you need help finding prime locations in your area, we can request research from us and get an extensive list of potential locations with their contact information. Learn more about this service here.

P.S. Cake vending machines are a huge hit right now. Read on if you want to check why they may be a solid part of your vending business venture.

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