Some believe that gelato is simply an Italian term for "ice cream" as Americans call it. Both are frozen dairy desserts but there are enough differences to be able to distinguish them. These differences are mainly due to the processing methods and ingredients.
Gelato contains more fat (or butterfat), than ice cream. Ice cream must contain at least 10% fat and may have as much as 18% depending on its cream content. The gelato recipes use milk (low-fat or whole) and little to no cream. This makes the fat content between 3 to 8%. If you want to make gelato at home, then you can consider buying a gelato ice cream equipment.
Gelato uses egg yolks in greater quantities than gelato that is custard-based. This is especially true for chocolate and caramel flavors. Eggs are used to thicken the milk base for frozen desserts.
Gelato is known for its fresh, high-quality ingredients. This is in contrast to frozen desserts that use artificial ingredients such as syrups and other preservatives. Gelato should be consumed within two days of being made.
The differences in these frozen desserts are also affected by sugar content. According to Wikipedia.org, gelato usually has less sugar than ice cream. Some chefs even balance the sugar and water to keep gelato from solidifying, preserving the creamy texture.