Should I buy a stand mixer?
Stand mixers are relatively heavy, semi-stationary pieces of kitchen equipment that are equipped with powerful motors. They’re designed to handle all kinds of mixing, kneading and whipping tasks, and the list only grows from there as you add more attachments.
If you’ve never owned a stand mixer before, you may be surprised at the sheer amount of tasks they can perform. In fact, the possibilities are almost endless, making them one of the most versatile kitchen gadgets to own. Common uses for a stand mixer include making whipped cream, kneading bread dough and mixing batter.
If you like to cook and make impressive dishes, you can’t go wrong with a stand mixer.
Stand mixer vs. hand mixer
A stand mixer is convenient because it allows for hands-free operation. This means you can leave your batter mixing or your cream whipping as you prepare other components of your dish. Stand mixers are also very versatile, due to the various attachments available.
The downside of a stand mixer is its size and weight. If you have limited space in your kitchen, it may be hard to find a place to store one. They can also be heavy, so some people may have trouble moving them around. That being said, they come in several sizes. If you’re lacking in space, you can choose a small one with a 2.5-quart bowl. Conversely, if space isn’t an issue and you often make large batches of food, you can opt for a large model with an 8-quart bowl.
Even if you choose the smallest stand mixer, it’s still going to take up more storage space than the average hand mixer. Hand mixers are more affordable, which makes sense because they’re smaller and have less powerful motors. Also, though both stand and hand mixers have multiple speed settings, some may feel the latter gives them more control over the process.
If you’re having trouble deciding if you should get a stand or a hand mixer, you may want to consider this model from Hamilton Beach. It’s a versatile option that can be used as either a hand or stand mixer, thanks to a removable head unit.
Considerations when choosing a stand mixer
Your space constraints are a determining factor when it comes to which size to buy. If you opt for a small stand mixer with a low capacity, remember that you may have to prepare your food in batches. Trying to overload the bowl can result in messes or potentially break the machine.
Generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the mixer. However, some high-end mixers with a low wattage can actually outperform basic models with more wattage. Still, if you plan for a lot of heavy-duty tasks, it’s a factor.
Stand mixers vary in the number of speed settings they have. Some may have as few as four or five, while others may offer as many as 10 or 12. Ideally, the more speeds, the better, as this gives you the greatest control over your mixing. Some delicate foods require slow speeds, while others are best whipped very quickly.
Most stand mixers come standard with two or three attachments. However, some premium models may include a host of extra accessories. If you plan on buying them at some point in the future, you may find that buying a mixer that includes them in the package may be more economical in the long run.
How to use a stand mixer
Using a stand mixer is a pretty straightforward task. It may seem a little intimidating at first, but it’ll feel routine in no time. The main attachments that come with most mixers are used in essentially the same way — you simply insert one into the head unit and turn it to lock it securely in place. To remove the attachment, you turn it the opposite way to unlock it.
The bowl included with your mixer also locks into place with a twist, and unlocks by twisting it the opposite way. Make sure your bowl is always locked securely in place before you turn the mixer on.
Depending on the model, the speed attachment may be a sliding switch or a rotating dial. It’s usually prominently placed, so you should have no trouble quickly locating it. As a rule of thumb, you should start the mixing process slowly to prevent creating a mess on startup. After that, you can increase the speed as needed.
Each model is slightly different. Some may have a head that you tilt up and down, while others have a stationary head and the bowl moves up and down. You can find this information in the user manual, along with the best method for cleaning the unit.
Best stand mixers for beginners
Offering a nice balance of price and performance, this easy-to-use model is a smart choice for those who want a capable machine that won’t break the bank.
Sold by Wayfair
This machine can’t make big batches, but it’s a good entry-level option that has an attractive retro appearance that many people will like.
Sold by Wayfair
If you expect a stand mixer is going to be a staple in your kitchen, you should consider this sleek and powerful unit. There are a range of attachments available for it to increase its versatility.
Sold by Amazon
A versatile model, this kitchen gadget can be used as a hand or stand mixer as needed, making it well-suited to those first testing out these machines.
Sold by Best Buy
Useful accessories for a stand mixer
Nearly all stand mixers come with two or three basic attachments: a wire whisk, a flat paddle or egg beater and a bread hook. However, if you choose a KitchenAid or Cuisinart mixer, these attachments only scratch the surface of the versatility of your new gadget. Here are a few other worthwhile accessories everyone should own:
Pasta roller: This handy attachment makes the process of rolling out and cutting your own pasta dough a quick and easy task. Whether you need wide sheets for ravioli or thin strips for fettuccine, it can do it all.
Juicer: If you love fresh juice but don’t have room for yet another piece of kitchen equipment, not to worry — you can attach this masticating juicer to your stand mixer and you’re ready to go.
Ice cream maker: Forget those store-bought ice creams packed with ingredients you can’t pronounce. With this, you can make a healthier homemade dessert with fresh fruits and any other ingredients your imagination can think up. Unlike traditional ice cream makers, this doesn’t require any rock salt or ice.
Food processor: There are few better ways to cut down on prep time than a food processor. Simply slip this onto the front of your KitchenAid mixer and you can start julienning, dicing and slicing vegetables in a fraction of the time it would take by hand.
Food grinder: If you like to make your own sausages or grind your own meat for hamburgers, this is the attachment for you. It’s considerably smaller and more affordable than a standalone grinder.
Brett is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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