Kitchen stand mixers are modern variations to the older hand-held mixers. They are frequently used by people who have a passion for baking. If you have been using those portable mixers, you might have an idea that they can be messy and tiresome to use. This is where you need to invest in a kitchen stand mixer.
Buying a stand mixer is not difficult, but it requires a considerable amount of knowledge to choose the perfect product. Your budget, kitchen space, and the frequency with which it will be used – all play important factors. Before suggesting you the best stand mixers to choose from, let’s take a look at the key factors that you should consider before making a purchase.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Stand Mixer
1. Your Usage
Most baking and cooking projects can be done without any expensive equipment. If you occasionally bake as a hobby, chances are that you already own a hand-mixer. Hand mixers are not bad for baking every now and then. They are easy on the pocket and do not need extra space.
On the other hand, stand mixers are excellent to finesse your baking experience. They save up time and do the job efficiently. They also keep you from getting an arm ache by the end of your baking session. So, for relatively frequent use or to upgrade yourself from a hand mixer, investing in a stand mixer is a good idea.
2. Price Range
Once you have evaluated how often you will use a stand mixer, it is time for you to decide your budget. As opposed to a hand mixer, which could be bought for as low as $20, a stand mixer can range from $200 to a staggering $1,000 for commercial mixers.
Deciding your budget is important because you don’t want to invest a ton of money in something seldom used. As mentioned above, you need to determine the type of work you want to do with your stand mixer. There is no need to go for a mixer with a high price in hopes of getting good quality. You can easily find a decent quality stand mixer according to your requirements without breaking the bank.
3. Kitchen Space
The stand mixer is not something so small that it could be stashed away in a cabinet or a storage box after every use. That is something you want on your countertop to be used readily. Plus, it can also be a hassle to pull it out and store it away again and again – stand mixers can be pretty heavy.
Before buying a stand mixer, measure your countertops and make sure that you have enough space for a stand mixer to sit. Most stand mixers come with additional attachments that require storage space as well. You don’t want to create a mess with everything scattered over the countertops with a chance of losing a few pieces. You should declutter your kitchen and make some space for the new member of kitchen appliances.
4. Size and Weight
This factor is directly linked with the above requirement of storage space. Stand mixers are bigger compared to hand mixers. Hence they demand more space and a place where they would topple off the countertop. Even the smallest size of a stand mixer would be relatively larger than your other kitchen equipment. Obviously, you would want to choose a suitable size for the space you have in your kitchen.
Usually, we prefer to buy lightweight things, but when it comes to stand mixers, we don’t want something that can easily bounce off the countertop. As much as heavy equipment is a hassle to handle, the weight gives the mixer an additional grip on the counter. Since these stand mixers are not meant to be frequently moved around, the weight should not be a problem as anything that needs to be cleaned can be detached easily.
5. Additional Attachments
Traditionally, mixers are used to whip up mixtures used for baking cakes and cookies. But mixing and whipping are not the only functions that a stand mixer can do. Modern mixers come with attachments that can perform other tasks with better efficiency. These tasks include, but are not limited to, churning, mashing, kneading dough, and even pulling out pasta.
Of course, these attachments will increase the price range of the stand mixer. That is why it is important to know how you intend to use your mixer. It won’t be beneficial for you to spend money on these attachments when there is a low chance of them being ever used.
Types of Stand Mixer
Now that you have evaluated all the details about your kitchen space, budget, and requirements, it is time to do the actual homework. Stand mixers come in two basic types. The difference between these types is not drastic; rather, they are more about ease of use. Let’s take a look at the types of stand mixers so that you can decide which one is better for you.
1. Tilt-Head Mixer
The head is the part of the mixture with which the beaters are attached. It is connected directly to the base, making the whole machine a single unit. The tilt-head mixers have a movable head that can be tilted backward up to an angle. This tilting makes it easier for the beaters to be removed and cleaned as required. It also allows the bowl to be lifted easily and used separately.
Many people prefer this type simply because it is more convenient to detach and clean the beaters. The only drawback of this type is the limited size of the bowl. This type of stand mixer comes in bowl sizes, ranging from 3.4 quartz to 5 quartz. So if you want to use a mixer for a smaller quantity of ingredients, it is perfect for you.
2. Bowl-Lift Mixer
This type of mixer comes with handles attached to the head. The bowl is placed between those handles, and it is a few inches above the base of the mixer. The head remains stationary while the bowl can be moved up and down to adjust or remove attachments. At a glance, the bowl-lift mixer gives a more professional look compared to the other type.
Bowl-lift mixers are typically heavier and larger than tilt-head mixers. Its bowl capacity ranges from 4.5 to 8 quartz. For heavy and frequent use, bowl-lift is the best option as it mixes large quantities with less hassle.
Extra Features to Consider in Stand Mixers
While it is not a difficult task to buy a stand mixer, there are some features that you should know about.
AC vs. DC Mixers
Commonly, we have AC outlets in our homes that provide 110 volts. Most appliances require a separate adapter to convert AC into DC to function properly. Without these adapters, there is a high chance that your appliance will burn internally.
Fortunately, modern stand mixers have a power converter already built in their powerhouse. The converter does the job of converting AC into DC without using an external adapter. This ensures the smooth and efficient performance of the mixer. However, such mixers can be a bit heavy and expensive. The bonus point about these DC mixers is that they are super powerful compared to the AC ones. They give maximum torque, which means that they can easily mix a batter of thick consistency.
Furthermore, DC appliances are much quieter and fast. You can work with them without the fear of being too noisy. Since this feature is not mentioned in the specification section of the product, you might have to ask the seller yourself. Don’t let them fool you by saying that two mixers with the same wattage but a different mode of current are equal. Five hundred watts of AC is not equal to 500 watts of DC. DC always remains the superior one in terms of speed and performance.
Suppose you have bought a stand mixer and tried it for the first time to mix dough for cookies. To your horror, the batter at the bottom remains unmixed, and you can’t over-mix it now. To avoid situations like this, you should check the adjustability feature of the attached beater before making the final purchase.
A good quality mixer comes with a knob that can be used to adjust the height of the beater. By testing the beater, you can make sure that it reaches the bottom of the bowl. The test used for this purpose is called the Dime Test. It is done by placing a coin in the bowl and starting the mixer. If the coin changes its position by a quarter or a half every rotation, the machine is good to go.
Our Choice for Top 3 Stand Mixers
Even if you try to buy a stand mixer without any prior knowledge, you will find KitchenAid as the number one brand. Without a doubt, KitchenAid is considered a king of culinary appliances. Their products may be on the expensive side of the budget, but they guarantee performance and a heavenly cooking experience.
The Artisan Series by KitchenAid is one of their best sellers. They have introduced a variety of models and more than 20 colors to choose from. This five quartz model is highly recommended for your kitchen. It comes with ten levels of speed which you can change according to your needs. There are 15 optional attachments that come with the machine. Apart from them, you get a flat beater, a dough hook, wire whip, and a pouring shield.
Since this model is a tilt-head mixer with a stainless steel bowl, it is very easy to detach the attachments and do the cleaning. The body of the mixer is made with stainless steel, which gives it a very heavy structure. Heavy is definitely not bad if you have space in your kitchen to place it.
You can imagine the efficiency of this stand mixer by the fact that it takes 60 seconds to knead the dough for a whole bread while cleaning the entire bowl. Whipping egg whites for a cake takes lesser time than usual to get those perfect spikes. Overall, KitchenAid Artisan is a great choice for you if you can afford it.
- Offers 10-speed setting
- Heavy-duty performance
- Available in 20 colors to choose from
- Easy to use and clean
- The tilt-head does not necessarily allow easy access to the mixture. You might have to remove the bowl or attachment to put different ingredients at once
An economical choice, Hamilton Beach is in no way lesser than KitchenAid. In fact, it may give you even more efficiency at a fraction of the price compared to the above option. Although it comes with seven-speed levels, Hamilton stand mixers are considered competitors to KitchenAid ones. As KitchenAid stand mixer is quite expensive for an average person, Hamilton stand mixer might just be the right choice for you if you are looking for something budget-friendly.
One of the best things about this product is that it comes with a speed guideline mentioned on top of the head. You do not have to find a manual to know what speed is suitable for a task – it is written right on the machine. It offers 300 watts of power, which might feel a bit underpowered in some situations than other options. It may take a bit longer for your egg whites to get the spikes, but they might be better than before. The dough hook is known to give more rise to any bread dough.
The only thing to consider about this model is its plastic body. Only the bowl is made up of stainless steel; the rest is made of plastic with small parts made of steel. This may not necessarily be a bad thing as there a suction grips present at the bottom of the base, which can prevent the mixer from toppling over. The plastic body also makes it lightweight compared to the other options. For an easy-on-the-pocket experience with great results, Hamilton Beach is the obvious choice for you.
- Complete bowl coverage when mixing
- Lightweight (may be a con for some)
- Value for money
- Easy to use controls
- Body made of plastic
- Water may get trapped in the base of the bowl after washing
This one is the prime example of commercial bowl-lift stand mixers. It is an excellent choice for those who bake things on a large scale and frequently. It comes in five elegant-looking colors, and as said earlier, bowl-lift stand mixers always give a very professional look.
The mixer comes with a huge 8 quartz stainless steel bowl which can easily yield more than 12 dozen cookies. Its powerful 500-watt motor is practically noiseless and works like a charm. The amount of torque that it exhibits is great to work on thick batters without the worry of leaving anything behind. The stainless steel bowl guard is used on top of the bowl to prevent anything foreign from getting in the mixture while mixing.
Since the mixer’s body is all steel and the bowl itself is large, this mixer is heavy and is not supposed to move around frequently. Also, given the higher wattage and torque, it is on the more expensive side of things that makes it suitable for commercial use in cafés and restaurants. But if your budget allows you to buy it for your home kitchen, KitchenAid bowl-lift stand mixer promises to deliver you excellent results in your culinary experience.
- A commercial-grade machine that packs a lot of power
- Heavy-duty performance
- Enough space to mix 13 dozen cookies
- Sturdy stainless steel bowl with guard
- Very expensive for an average person
- It can be a bit complex to use for beginners
KitchenAid Artisan Series
Hamilton Beach 7-Speed
KitchenAid Commercial Bowl-lift
Stainless Steel, Metal
Supports Extra Attachments
More than 15 optional attachments
Compatible with all KitchenAid Attachments
Investing in a kitchen stand mixer can enhance your baking and cooking skills tenfold. It saves time and gives better results compared to a hand-held mixer. However, choosing the right stand mixer can be a difficult task. Therefore, it would be best to do your homework first and analyze your requirements and how often you will use it. This way, you will not have to go through the hassle and eventually buy the best mixer made for your kitchen top.
We hope this guide helps in making your buying decision stronger and easy for you to find the perfect hand mixer according to your needs.