Buying Guide: Stand Mixers
Stand mixers aren't just reserved for professional chefs. An electric mixer is easy to use and saves you time in the kitchen. This guide outlines the features and benefits, and what you should consider when comparing stand mixers to buy.
Which Stand Mixer Type?
Rotating Disc: A single flat beater mounted on a rotating disc, which moves like a planet orbiting the sun — simultaneously spinning on its own axis and travelling a circular path around the bowl.
- This "planetary movement" creates more contact between the beater, inner bowl and ingredients, keeping them from getting stuck to the sides.
Fixed-Beater: A conventional type of mixer using one or two fixed beaters with a rotating bowl.
- Slower than the rotating disc mixers.
- Need to be monitored, so the excess mixture doesn't gather at the sides.
The Importance Of Speed Variations
The more speeds, the more control you have over your mixing. Less "shock" between each speed means the contents are less likely to spray everywhere when you accelerate.
- Look for at least five speeds.
- Slow speeds mix dry ingredients without flinging them out of the bowl.
- Use faster speeds to whip cream or egg whites.
How Much Power?
Stand mixers range from 250 watts up to 1,000 watts.
- General household applications shouldn't require more than 500 watts.
- Above 500 watts will suit "serious" cooks.
Which Attachments Do I Need?
Make sure any attachments you buy are non-stick or stainless steel. Some mixer attachments include:
- A flat beater for efficient stirring and blending.
- A wire whisk for whipping tasks.
- A dough hook for kneading bread.
Which Bowls Are Best?
- Stand mixer bowls hold anywhere from 1.5L to 7L.
- 4L to 6L should be plenty for most cooks.
- Metal bowls are durable and should last the life of the mixer.
- A bowl with handles is convenient for pouring mixtures.
- A splash guard prevents ingredients from spilling out.
Does Weight Matter?
Heavy-duty mixers can weigh over 10kg, so they are best left on kitchen bench tops. The heavier a stand mixer is, the less chance it will move around during operation.
Optional Attachments To Consider
Convert your mixer into a multi-purpose appliance with optional attachments like:
- Meat grinders
- Grain mills
- Ice cream makers
- Pasta makers
- Sausage stuffers
- Can openers