So you decided you're going to buy a stand mixer? Yay! There are a few things to know before you run off to your nearest kitchen store. For starters, what size bowl will you need? (Will 3.5 quarts be big enough for your jobs? Do you need something that can hold 6 quarts?)
Keep reading to find out five more things you should know before buying a stand mixer.
1. KitchenAid isn't your only option.
It's the classic, but it's not the only game in town. Tons of companies make stand mixers! For example, Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, Bodum, and Sunbeam all have stand mixers on the market (and usually for less money than a KitchenAid!). If you're dying for a stand mixer but worried about how much cash you'll have to fork over, you might want want to consider one of these other options.
2. There are two big distinctions.
The major design difference between the various stand mixers is how you get the bowl in place to start the mixing process. Some have a lifting mechanism, which lifts the entire bowl up to meet the paddle or whisk. The others have a tilted head that rocks back and forth to give you access to the bowl. The tilted head will need room — behind it and above it! — in order to move. If you're short on a space and have to have a stand mixer, a lift might be the way to go.
3. You might need to buy some extra attachments.
If the mixer you're looking at only comes with a regular metal or coated beater blade, we recommend getting a silicone scraper blade to use instead. The silicone edges on this blade can do what your rubber spatula does, so you don't have to stop the mixer and do it yourself.
Additionally, people have strong opinions about C-shaped dough hooks versus spiral ones. If you're going to be mixing a lot of dough, spiral is your best bet, as dough tends to climb the C-shaped hooks.
4. The attachment port is a nice bonus.
You can find a very basic stand mixer for $35, but it won't have a port attachment. Get one with a port attachment and you can buy all sorts of bonus tools, which means you can use the stand mixer for a lot more tasks. Various attachments include things like pasta makers and meat grinders. Note: The KitchenAid is the only one with an ice cream machine attachment at this time.
5. The wattage doesn't matter.
Should you get a stand mixer that touts 800 watts or 325 watts? Turns out, it doesn't really matter. In this case, the wattage listed is actually how much power the mixer consumes — not how much power the motor produces. You can actually choose the one with the lower power consumption and save energy while getting the same mixing results.
What kind of stand mixer do you have? Would you buy it again if you had to?