Buying a stand mixer – what to look for
Stand mixers generally are a expensive kitchen appliance. Everyone seems to have the basics: a stove, refrigerator, microwave, and generally, a toaster. Even so, mixers are a specialty appliance with a presence confined to the kitchens of those people who enjoy to bake.
There are a number of top reasons to consider investing in a budget priced stand mixer:
•You are a dedicated baker and you already own an expensive stand mixer, but you want one for your holiday home and you know all you’ll be doing is mixing pastries for the grandkids. A budget mixer may be right for you.
•You live in very small home, and you won’t be able to store the stand mixer on the kitchen counter all of the time. A lightweight, budget priced mixer may well be right for you.
•You need a stand mixer for one use only, like cooking cupcakes for a friend’s wedding. A cheap mixer might be perfect for you.
•You are not certain whether you would use a stand mixer enough to warrant a higher end model. By all means try out a budget mixer first and then, if you use it enough, move up to a more costly model with more bells and whistles.
If you have agreed that buying a cheap stand mixer makes sense, here are some things to think about …
1 – On the low end, you might find that the available machines are a combination stand/hand mixer.
With a stand/hand mixer combination, you have the option of extracting the mixing head — which include motor and beaters, and using away it from the stand, as a hand mixer.
2 – Furthermore, with budget mixers, there may be restricted options in add-ons. I have seen some models which have only beaters and dough hooks, and still others that have got only beaters.
3 – In many circumstances, these mixers are rather lightweight. While this may be an bonus if you need to store it in another place or you plan on transporting it often, it can be a negative aspect when mixing. Clearly, you should closely supervise any operating stand mixer, but this can be specially critical with more lightweight models. Having your mixer dance off of the counter and onto the floor can be a real tragedy!
4 – Low cost mixers often have less mixing speeds than the 10 – 12 speed provided in more pricey models. If I recall, just lately I have seen them with 6 or 7 mixing speeds.
5 – Finally, budget priced stand mixers have far less potent motors than higher end models. To give you an idea, budget mixer motors will run in the 200 – 300 watt range, whilst more high-priced models can easily run in the 350 – 550 range.
The power of the motor relates directly to how successfully a mixer can work with heavy dough.
Realistically, the budget mixers will likely be able to manage cookie dough, but practically nothing much thicker than that. A lot of of them can’t handle bread dough, and in fact, may not even have the option of a dough hook.
However, gluten free bread dough, which tends to have a far wetter consistency than regular bread dough, may be achievable, but I wouldn’t buy a mixer until I know that someone has been able to use it for that purpose.