Do you have a stand mixer? If you don't, it is probably on your standing wish list. Many people buy stand mixers this time of year (it is Christmas, after all!) so here are a few tips and questions for those of you picking out a stand mixer. Whether you're buying the ubiquitous KitchenAid or another brand of stand mixer, run through these questions and tips as you go about your mixer shopping.
- Do I need to buy a stand mixer? - The first question you should ask yourself is whether you really need a stand mixer. Yes, they are gorgeous on the countertop, and they are very handy for certain kitchen tasks. But we have found that a good hand mixer is just as useful for nearly every kitchen task. If you don't make bread, marshmallows, and a few other heavy-duty recipes, you don't really have to have a stand mixer. But does a stand mixer make everything a little easier? Sure. And if you make a lot of bread, it's very useful.
- If I had a stand mixer, would I use it (on average) more than once a week? - This is an arbitrary standard, but I probably wouldn't have bought my own stand mixer if I didn't think I would use it about once a week, or frequently. If you are a yearly baker, you probably don't need a stand mixer. Think over your baking and cooking habits, and try to imagine how often you will use the mixer. Is it worth the counter space if you will only use it once a month?
- Do I have space for a stand mixer? - A good mixer is heavy and large. It's difficult to move it around the kitchen, so unless you have a built-in appliance lift or appliance garage, you will need at least a square foot of space on your countertop.
- Will I use my stand mixer for anything other than baking? - This is where your decision-making process may split amongst the different brands and models. If you really want to use your machine for pasta-making, for instance, the KitchenAid is an excellent choice, with its separate pasta press attachment. On the other hand, if your primary focus is bread, you might want to consider the Viking mixer, which is supposedly more powerful and better-suited to kneading bread.
- How much can I afford to spend? - Once you have decided that you can afford the counterspace, and that yes, a stand mixer is a good investment for your kitchen and your cooking style, it's time to decide how much you are willing to spend. Stand mixers can be found for anywhere from about $100 to over $400. If you are into baking and plan on using your mixer for bread, do not even think about getting a lower-priced, lower-powered model. It is worth it to buy the heaviest, most powerful model that you can afford. But if you are just thinking of cookies, cakes, and other basic baking tasks, keep an eye out on Amazon for the occasional great deals that go through there this time of year. Also, if you are within driving distance of KitchenAid or Viking's factories, try to drop in and look for a factory-refurbished model (also available through their websites).
Do you own a stand mixer? What do you like about it? What do you wish you could change? Any shopping tips to add to these?
More on KitchenAid Mixers:
• Pimp Your KitchenAid Mixer
• Help Me Break in My New KitchenAid Mixer!
• Coming Soon: 90th Anniversary KitchenAid Stand Mixer
• Should I Buy a Tilt-Head or Bowl-Lift KitchenAid Mixer?
• What Do To If Your KitchenAid Stand Mixer Breaks
• Hot or Not? KitchenAid Citrus Juicer Attachment
• Good Product: Beater Blade+ for KitchenAid Stand Mixers
• Help! Why Doesn't My KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Work?
• Product Review: KitchenAid Pasta Press Attachment
(Images: Via Amazon)