Best ice cream brand is also the cheapest

Clark Howard is a nationally syndicated consumer advice expert

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For as far back as I can remember, I have been thrifty. Some would say "cheap," and I have no problem with that word. But all through the years, I have had a mantra: There is one thing in life on which I will not compromise and that's ice cream.

I have an affinity for high butter fat, high quality ice cream. It is my weakness. For much of my adult life, I ate a pint of ice cream a day. Today, though, I have only about two pints a month. I've really modified my intake because I was struggling with weight as a result of my habit.

The galloping inflation in ice cream prices a few years ago also made it easier for me to wean myself off the expensive stuff!

When I travel around the country, I have my favorite ice cream haunts no matter where I am. I have a particular weakness for Graeter's in Ohio and my favorite flavor of theirs is Toffee Chocolate Chip.

Who makes the best ice cream in the nation?

Consumer Reports has ranked the best ice creams in its June 2014 issue. Sadly, Graeter's was not among the 20 or so brands the magazine taste tested…so you'll just have to take my word on how good it tastes!

All rankings below are for vanilla flavor unless otherwise noted. They did a separate tally for butter pecan that you can see at

At the top of the tally, you have Ben & Jerry's at a cost of $1.03 per serving. B&Js scored 98 out of 100.  Following up in second place is Haagen-Dazs, which scored a 95 and also costs $1.03 per serving.

Talenti -- a brand that's quickly expanding around the country -- came in third. Their Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato scored an 83 and costs $1.19 per serving. True confession from cheap guy: I particularly like Talenti's Sea Salt Caramel pint, despite the high price!

As you can see, all of the ones just mentioned cost a lot of money. But guess what came in pretty much right with them? Costco's Kirkland Signature Super Premium at one-fourth the cost -- a mere 30 cents per serving with a respectable score of 82. It's the only 'best buy' on the Consumer Reports tally … and it has the highest butterfat content to boot!

All the rest, the national brands you think of, the dip stores you may have gone to, they all trailed the pack in the rankings. So if you say you get what you pay for, it's true…if it weren't for Costco coming in at a fourth the cost!

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