1. Types of Mixers
Deciding which mixer to buy will depend on how often you use it and what you expect to use it for.
A stand mixer is a countertop appliance that comes with a dough hook, whisk and beater as standard. With a large basin attached, they can tackle high-volume mixing tasks for cakes, batter or dough.
These handheld tools usually have twin beaters, which fold plenty of air into mixtures, making them ideal for cake and mousse preparation.
Stick mixers – also sometimes called hand blenders – are the smallest appliance in the set. Simply place the stick mixer into a bowl of soup or puree for quick and easy blending. Many stick mixers come with a balloon whisk attachment – ideal for mixing light batters and whipping egg whites.
2. Speed Variation and Settings
Mixers tend to be favoured by keen bakers, so finding an appliance that has a number of speed settings may be important. Whisking must be done at high speeds, while dough preparation is much slower. Some models even have a slow start feature that begins at a slower pace but builds up to higher speeds. Ideally a mixer with a minimum of six speeds is perfect to cover all mixing tasks.
3. Motor Power and Wattage
Power will be an important consideration when buying a mixer, particularly with stand mixers where it will need to cope with large batches of food. Weaker motors may be prone to overheating, so picking models with a higher wattage may be a good idea if you will be using the appliance frequently. Most mixers have a wattage between 300W and 1500W, however KitchenAid mixers have a lower wattage but the motor efficiently uses all of the power produced. You should also check how long the manufacturer’s warranty lasts as this can be an indicator of quality.
4. Attachments and Additional Features
While stand mixers are primarily used for baking, they do come with a range of optional attachments and features to tackle a variety of tasks.
- Pasta Rollers
- Food Grinder / Mincer
- Ice Cream Bowl
- Food Processor
- Electronic speed sensor for different load conditions
- Extra-power settings
- Safety locks
- Tilt-head design
- Planetary mixing capabilities to ensure all ingredients are fully mixed
- Soft starting options to reduce spilling
- Timers – for recipes that specify mixing times
5. Size and Weight
Think about weight and size when you’re considering which stand mixer to buy. A good, heavy weight is necessary for keeping the mixer stable while mixing heavy doughs and batters, because if it’s not sturdy it could rattle around. Most stand mixers are also quite large, so you’ll need to think about whether you have space to store it on your kitchen benchtop or in the kitchen cupboards, and how heavy it is if you want to be able to easily lift it in and out of the cupboard.
6. Bowl Capacity and Material
Most stand mixers will come with either a stainless steel or glass bowl. Both definitely have their advantages. Stainless steel bowls are great for whipping egg whites, while glass bowls make it easy to check that ingredients are completely mixed together. The size of the bowl is also something you should consider. 4-litre bowls are fine for most domestic baking, but 5-litre bowls can be used for bigger baking tasks including batch baking.
7. Why Choose a Stand / Hand Mixer?
- More power than a hand mixer
- Hands-free mixing convenience
- Can handle larger mixing volumes
- Add on attachments available
- Better for dough and heavier batters
- Perfect for regular bakers and passionate cooks
- Space saving – can be easily stored in a cupboard
- More cost effective than a stand mixer
- Lighter and easier to manoeuvre
- Clean-up is easy as most parts are dishwasher safe
- Ideal if you only bake once in a while