Hand Mixers Buying Guide
Hand mixers are definitely one of the most useful items in the modern kitchen. Hand mixers come in two basic varieties – the manual hand mixer and the electric hand mixer. The 1950’s saw the first mixers being used and the very earliest did not use electricity at all, but actually used a manual mechanism to turn the blades like a rotary handle. These are actually better known as egg beaters. Electric hand mixers have almost exclusively taken the place of the manual “egg beater” style because the manual ones are extremely hard to turn.
Hand mixers are just the beginning of the equation. There are mixers that are extremely large and are made to mix huge amounts of dough or other foods in massive, stainless steel containers in commercial kitchens and then medium sized stand mixers that are used for mixing dough or other difficult concoctions.
What is a Hand Mixer?
There are many different types of hand mixers. The first is the manual hand mixer that usually has a handle that works rotary piece when you turn it. That rotary piece then turns the mixing blades that are actually used to mix whatever food you are preparing. There are many different designs for these manual hand mixers, but they have gone out of fashion because the electric mixers are so much easier to use. The manual hand mixers are very difficult to turn and the thicker your batch is, the more difficult using them becomes.
The second type of hand mixer is the electric design which can either be the elongated “iron” design or they can be slim and upright. Either way, the electricity moves the blades to make mixing a very easy task compared to the hand mixers that are turned manually.
Best Brands of Hand Mixers to Buy
There are many different brands of hand mixers, and even among those brands, there are some models that are better than others. However, here are some of the best hand mixer models and brands on the market today.
There are two leaders on the market when it comes to hand mixers. The first is Hamilton Beach, which is a leader in many of the other types of appliances that are on the market right now. Hamilton Beach is known for making great looking hand mixers as well as other products. One of the features that you’ll find on many of the Hamilton Beach models on the market is some type of storage case. This is very important because the beaters have a tendency to get lost and even if you store them in your utensils drawer, it can take a while to find them. There are multiple settings for Hamilton Beach mixers and they often come with multiple attachments so that you can whip, whisk or mix.
Another great brand of hand mixer is KitchenAid, and they pretty much tie for the top brand of hand mixers on the market right now with Hamilton Beach. KitchenAid mixers have features like multiple settings and an eject button for the beaters.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Hand Mixer
There are a few things that you need to look at when you start making the buying decision. All hand mixers are not the same and rather than going with a particular brand or model, try to decide what features you want and then get as close as you can to them. Here is what you need to keep in mind.
In the old days, hand mixers just had one speed. Now, hand mixers can have six speeds or even more. At the very least, you want a low speed, medium and high speed. That because you need different speeds to mix different types of foods. In fact, you should probably have five or six speeds. If you have very thin ingredients that you are trying to use the mixer with, you are going to splatter the food everywhere on the high settings. On the other hand, if you are trying to mix thick pancake batter, you will want a higher setting than the lowest. Some even have a slow speed start to allow you to get into the mix before the high speed kicks in.
You also want your hand mixer to be the right weight and have the right handle for you to use. Hand mixers are pretty light, weighing an average of about five pounds. You want to make sure that you can grip it so that it doesn’t slip out of your hand and it doesn’t cause you pain in your wrist or forearm after using it for a few minutes. While you are looking at the comfort of your hand mixer, you should also be aware of the size and ensure that it is something that can be stored easily and not take too much time to get going.
You also want to make sure that you are getting good attachments that are going to allow you to do everything that you want. Of course, you want the regular wire beaters, but you also want a whisk because whipping is much easier with one. If you decide that you want to knead bread dough at some time in the future with your hand mixer you are also going to want dough hooks.
Ease of cleaning
Your next factor to consider is how easy the hand mixer is to clean. If you get one that makes it almost impossible to clean it well after use, you are going to use it as seldom as possible. You obviously want the attachments to be removable, but you also want it to have a smooth surface without nooks and crevices where your batter can get in. A mixer that has touch pad controls is much easier to clean than those with buttons or switches.
Also, make sure that the motor on your mixer is strong enough or whatever you plan to do with it. As with the aforementioned speed settings, you don’t want a motor that is too weak to be able to use the mixer on thick concoctions. The wattage is what you are going to look at for this particular feature and it should start with a minimum of about 175 watts. However, you should definitely look at the reviews, because the wattage doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have a great motor.
Ease of Use and Security
You want the controls to be easy to use and more importantly, easy to read. The controls should be marked so that you can easily tell which line refers to which speed.
One feature that is especially important is that the beaters that you attach to the mixer lock into place securely. If they fall out while you are mixing this can be messy and perhaps even cause a safety risk.
Finally, the last feature that you want to look at when buying a hand mixer is the warranty. You want to make sure of two things – one that the warranty isn’t too difficult to invoke if you need to send it back in or get a replacement and two – that it covers you for at least three years. A three-year warranty is standard on hand mixers and as for the hassle-free part, you don’t want to have to jump through a bunch of hoops when you need to use your warranty.
Stand Mixers Buying Guide
Basically, there are two types of mixers that you will use in your kitchen. There are the hand mixers, which are usually electrically powered and then there are stand mixers, which while still powered by electricity, are not handheld and instead are standing mixers that you’ll keep on the countertop and actually insert the bowl underneath the beaters instead of bringing the mixer to the bowl.
If you like baking, then a stand mixer is a good investment.
The first mixer was actually introduced in 1856 in Baltimore, Maryland, followed closely by a patented whisk in England a year later. In 1859, the hand turned egg beater – a derivation of which was still in many kitchens all across the country in the 70’s and 80’s – was introduced and received a patent, and then bought by the Dover Stamping Company.
The first electric mixer was invented by an American named Rufus Eastman in 1885. From there, mixers were improved until they become the modern inventions that they are today. KitchenAid and Sunbeam MixMaster were two of the first brands to be making mixers and KitchenAid is still one of the most popular brands of these and other kitchen appliances. In fact, it was KitchenAid who introduced the first stand mixer in 1919.
What is a Stand Mixer?
A stand mixer is one that sits stationary on your countertop. The stand mixer is much more heavy-duty than the traditional hand mixer and so they are much heavier and made of more steel parts than their less expensive counterparts. You can attach a variety of beaters to the stand mixer and then lower them into a bowl and flip a switch to allow them to stir your mixture automatically. Some stand mixers even have an automatic bowl turner that will allow you to completely automate the mixing process, no matter what you are preparing.
Sunbeam 2371 MixMaster Stand Mixer How to know if you need a Stand Mixer
Are you considering getting a stand mixer (or asking for one when the next gift-giving holiday comes along)? If so, you might have wondered if it is something that you actually need. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself (and answer honestly) before you start browsing the shelves and online stores.
Do I need one? Be honest with yourself. Do you just want a stand mixer or do you really need one? Do you find yourself spending time using a hand mixer (or an even less automated method) to mix things up, wishing that you had one? Do you even make items that would need a stand mixer like bread, pancakes or other recipes that require a lot of mixing?
Will I use it just for baking or can I think of other uses? If you are going to invest the money to get a stand mixer, you might want to spend a little more so that you can use it for other things as well, like for making pasta.
Would I use it more than twice a month? You don’t necessarily have to use this estimate, but the point is, are you going to be using it enough to actually justify the expense? If you have money to throw away, sure, go ahead and get one, but if you are on a budget like most people, make sure that you will use it enough to justify the cost.
Can I afford it? This will depend upon which stand mixer you choose. They are fairly expensive – at least in comparison to hand mixers. You can count on a cost anywhere from a hundred bucks to as much as $500.
Do I have space for one? Don’t forget, stand mixers take up counter space and they don’t easily go into a cupboard unless you have one that is almost completely empty. You should estimate at least a square foot of space for your stand mixer.
Best Brands of Stand Mixers to Buy
There are five brands that really stand out when it comes to stand mixers. The first is Cuisinart, who has gained a reputation for excellence in kitchen appliances over the years. They have two stand mixers available – one of them a seven-quart model and the smaller one five quarts. You can find them in department stores or online.
Hamilton Beach 64650 Stand Mixer
Hamilton Beach is the next stand mixer brand that has earned a reputation for excellence. They have several stand mixer models that are intended for residential use and then they have a line of commercial mixers as well.
KitchenAid is rumored to have been named after stand mixers were given to executive’s wives and one of the commented that it was the “best kitchen aid [she’d] ever had.” They are definitely one of the original stand mixer companies, selling them door-to-door when the company first began, and KitchenAid mixers are still leading the pack today. They have all kinds of models, both home and commercial.
On the low end of the spectrum when it comes to price is the Sunbeam brand. On the other end of that same spectrum are the premium-priced Viking stand mixers.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Stand Mixer
When it comes to stand mixers, there are a few features that you want to look at while you are shopping to make sure that you are getting the perfect appliance for your investment. It starts with how comfortable the mixer feels to you. If it is too heavy to left, and you need to store it up in a cupboard, it is going to become annoying fast.
VonShef Stand Mixer
Second, what accessories and attachments does your mixer come with? You should of course have a bowl that comes with your stand mixer, and it should be one that is able to resist the scratches and damage that is bound to happen by using the beaters. Those are the other things that you should worry about. Make sure that you get at least the three basic beater attachments – the normal wire beaters, the whisk and the dough hooks. Also, be aware that the beaters that don’t have a central support are easier to clean.
Next, you’ll want to look at the speed settings of your stand mixer. This is going to depend upon the brand that you go with and how much money you want to spend. You can find stand mixers that have a dozen or more speed settings, but you at least want slow, medium and fast, and you want the slow setting to be as slow as possible so that you can mix thin concoctions without splattering. However, you also want enough power to mix thick dough like when you are baking bread.
You also want to make sure that you know how to use the controls on the mixer, but more important than that, make sure that when you use the mixer it is stable and doesn’t rock and move the stand mixer, even when you turn the control knob on the highest speed testing.
The last thing that you want to make sure of is that you are able to lock the stand mixer’s power heads. When the beaters are laden with dough, they could come down into the bowl while you are trying to remove it or add more ingredients and this could cause injury. In addition, make sure you can lock them in the downward position so that they don’t fly up while mixing.