The true workhorse of a modern kitchen is the stand mixer and if you don’t already have one, you need to know which stand mixer to buy. There are a number of criteria to pay attention to when choosing a stand mixer and we are going to look at those right now so you know what to look out for when choosing this big ticket kitchen item.
- If you plan on making bread you will want to ensure that the stand mixer you choose has a powerful motor and comes with a dough hook attachment. If you don’t choose a powerful motor your mixer will be straining and shaking as you try to knead two lbs. of dough.
- A whisk attachment is perfect for making foams and meringues or to whip you up some cream. This attachment needs to spin in planetary motion, orbiting the bowl in one direction around its axis so as to maximize missing power and contact.
- A paddle attachment to make easy work of creaming butter and sugar or making meatball mixes and mashed potatoes.
#2 Low gear port
This is a great option if you want your mixer to do more than just mix up the batter and knead dough. This port is where you can add things like a pasta maker attachment or a meat grinding attachment.
#3 Bowl Design and Capacity
You can find stand mixers with bowls in different shapes and with different capacities.
- You will find mixers with bowls that go as big as 7 quarts but this may not be a necessity unless you have your own little cake or bread shop. If you are a home baker, then you will do just fine with a bowl with a 5 quart capacity.
- When it comes to the shape you will find some mixers have taller bowls that are narrower at the top and wider at the bottom. These allow the ingredients to fall to the bottom easily so less scraping is required. It is a bit harder to add ingredients to these bowls while the machine is in use unless they come with lid guards or feed tubes.
The wattage of the mixer will demonstrate how it ranks within the manufacturers’ lineup of stand mixtures. This number tells you how much power the mixer consumes and not how much power it produces so you want to take that into consideration.
The material that is used to make the mixer is of importance if you want to ensure you get a machine that will last you for years to come you will find mixers made with all steel construction as well as mixers that are made from heavy duty plastics. Steel construction means a heavier mixer but this doesn’t have to be a disadvantage. If you have dedicated space for your mixer and won’t have to move it around, then a heavier mixer is actually a good thing.
The major difference in mixers, when it comes to designs, is the way the attachment contacts the food in the way it spins. You will find some mixers with a lift mechanism which just tilts the head and others that have a lifting mechanism which lifts by tilting at the joint where the base and body of the machine meet. The latter will require more effort and more space to insert and remove the bowl from the machine, so that is something to consider.
#7 Modern Features
More modern stand mixers have more features. For example, you can find stand mixers with an automatic shut off feature. There are also those mixers with a built in timer so that you can set it to stop working based on your recipe. This allows you the convenience to leave the mixer and do some other task. You want to look at the price difference to see if these added features are really worth it when you compare the price with other models without these features.
Which stand mixer to buy is really dependent on your needs, the space you have in your kitchen and the amount of money you can afford to spend on a mixer. When you are hunting down a stand mixer, make sure you look at customer reviews as this will give you a good idea of what to expect from the mixer as well as from the manufacturing company.