Stand mixers are a great addition to anyone’s kitchen.  I used to have a hand-held mixer which was ok  if all I wanted to do was to quickly beat some egg whites, but I really started cooking (pardon the pun) when I invested in a heavy duty stand mixer.

If you have multiple ingredients to add or a heavy batter, then a stand mixer is definitely the way to go.

Why Choose a Stand Mixer?

A stand mixer allows you to operate hands-free so you can use your hands  collecting and adding all the different ingredients to your mixture. This way you’re not always starting and stopping the mix.

There are numerous brand names, models and price ranges to choose from. Don’t waste your time looking at them all.

Consider what you want to use the stand mixer for and that will help eliminate some of them.  For instance, if you’re only going to use it once in a while for light cake mixes or small batches of cookies then you might be able to get away with a lighter, less expensive model.

Decide what you’re going to use the mixer for and how often.  If you are looking for something to use for light batters and whipping a few times a month then a less robust model may be your choice.

If you’re planning  on using it frequently, need a large capacity bowl or want to use it on heavy batters or bread dough then a mixer with a stronger motor would be more cost effective for you.

Features to Consider

Easy Cleanup

I love to cook and bake but dread the cleaning up afterwards.  Anything that makes cleaning up easier and faster is a blessing.  If you feel the same, then look for bowls and attachements that can be put in the dishwasher.  An extra bonus is a machine with a splatter guard on the bowl.

A good choice is a splatter guard with a pouring spout.  Not only does it stop the splatter on to the machine motor and the counters when you’re adding dry ingredients but it also gives you a clear opening to pour the ingredients in.

A handle on the mixer bowl is also a nice option.  It makes it convenient to pour and to clean.

Mixing

Some bowls turn with the beaters in a stationary position, other bowls lock in place and the beaters move around the bowl.  I have used both and have found that the turning bowls not only don’t mix as well but you spend a lot of time scraping the sides trying to get the mixture into the middle.

The machines that have bowls that lock in place have beaters that are designed to move around the bowl to different quadrants, requiring less to no scraping.

Size and Decor

There are two different types of sizes to keep in mind when purchasing a new mixer.  The first is the capacity of the bowl.  If you are using it occasionally or with the average, every day recipe then a 4 to 5 quart bowl will be fine.  But if you frequently do larger batches then you might want to consider a 6 quart or higher capacity bowl.

The second size to keep in mind is where you’re going to store it.  Whether it’s in a cupboard or on the counter make sure the dimensions of the mixer fit.  They come in different heights, weights and lengths.

If you’re going to store it on the counter then you might want to choose a color that fits the décor of your kitchen.  Some brands have multiple colors to choose from.  If color is important to you then check out Kitchenaid Artisan series.  It has the most choices in colors.

Stability and Motor Size

Stand mixer motors range from about 200 to over 1000 watts.  If you are doing a lot of heavy batters or bread dough then you will want a stronger motor so you don’t burn out your machine.

If you get a mixer with a strong motor you will also want stability.  The last thing you want is the machine to move around on the counter.  Some brands take care of this with the weight of the machine, others use suction feet for stability.

Other Options

Check to see what attachments come with the mixer.  Sometimes there is an extra bowl, which can come in handy, other times there is a whisk and dough hook.

Some stand mixers also have additional attachments that can be purchased later such as a citrus juicer, sausage stuffer, meat grinder etc.

Best Prices

If you’re like most people you want to get the best options for the best price.   The place I have found with the consistently best  prices is Amazon. It has the added benefit of being a well-known, trusted company with good customer support and a huge array of choices.  You can also read the customer reviews for each machine.