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Stand Mixers

Sunday, 15 November 2009 | Tags:

The typically heavy-duty stand-mixer can manage most recipes, from light and delicate meringues to thick and heavy bread dough. We test out some stand mixers to see which one is worthy of a spot on our busy kitchen counters.

The Basics

  • For most recipes, 4 ½ quarts is a good size.

  • Most mixers come with an assortment of attachments, most importantly:

    • the flat beater tool for cake and cookie batters

    • a wire whisk for whipping cream

    • and a dough hook for bread recipes.

    • Don’t get swept away by attachments you’ll never use.

  • Make sure the beaters reach the bottom of the bowl for the most efficient beating.

  • More speed settings don’t necessarily mean a better mixer. You need one low enough to mix dry ingredients (to avoid a big dust cloud), one high enough to whip cream, and a couple in-between for other mixing jobs. Around six speeds is sufficient.

  • Look for beaters that revolve around the bowl as they spin for the most thorough mixing.

  • A stainless steel bowl is virtually indestructible, whereas a glass bowl can shatter, and a plastic one can crack.

  • If you don’t have enough room to permanently store it on your counter, beware of the size and weight. At up to 30 pounds, moving it from a cupboard to the counter can be tricky. However, they need to be heavy so they don’t dance across the counter when they’re mixing a stiffer batter.

TEST CRITERIA

We recruited some professional mixers – cement truck drivers – to help us test and evaluate four stand mixers.

  • Kenmore (6-speed stand/hand mixer combo): $74.99
. .
  • Sunbeam (12-speed): $189.99
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Hamilton Beach: $299.99
. . —  Amazon.com
  • KitchenAid Artisan 5 quart: $499.99
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

 

Mix Test

  • It was unanimous with all of us: the KitchenAid was the sturdy and durable choice.

  • The other mixers had their merits, but the bowls were either too small or the mixer mechanism didn’t turn with the beater tool, leaving unmixed ingredients.

OUR TOP PICK

Without question, the Cadillac of mixers, the KitchenAid Artisan 5 Quart Stand Mixer is our top choice.

  

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