If you’re a keen baker, a food mixer will be a really useful addition to your kitchen. They reduce preparation time and the amount of washing up, leaving you more time to enjoy your creations with friends and family.
Mixers are ideal for baking as they can cream, whisk, knead, and mix food items. They’re really versatile, so with the right accessories you can even create fresh pasta and ice cream.
Stand mixers have a base stand unit, a mixing bowl and an operated arm, where mixing attachments can be fixed. The large mixing bowls can vary in capacity from one litre to over six litres, and are perfect for larger quantities of food – great if you’re making batches of cake mixture, dough, or batter.
Some models have a fold down arm which greatly reduces the overall size, and you can often choose between an opaque stainless-steel bowl, or a clear glass one. Often available in a variety of colours and finishes, they can be a statement piece for your kitchen.
Mixers are ideal for baking as they can cream butter and sugar.
Hand mixers, also known as electric whisks, have twin beaters, and are mainly used for mixing or whisking.
They’re smaller and lighter than a stand mixer, so take up much less room in your kitchen. Operated with one hand, they’re a good compromise if you don’t have a big budget or will only use them occasionally. They vary in weight so it’s worth testing a few out to see what suits you best. Hand mixers with detachable bowls generally have smaller capacities of one to three litres.
Operated with one hand, hand mixers are a good compromise if you don’t have the budget for a stand mixer or will only use them occasionally.
There are a variety of accessories available for both types of food mixer depending on the brand and price range.
Stand mixers generally come with a balloon whisk, dough hook and beater for mixing, whisking, kneading, and making pastry. Keep in mind that kneading dough in a food mixer can take longer than a food processor, as the attachments cannot move as quickly.
Middle range models can come with: double whisks, a jug blender, a splash guard, and a flexi-beater with silicone edges that scrapes any leftover mixture off the sides
There are a variety of accessories available for both types of food mixer.
Some accessories are only available with higher-end models or may need to be bought separately. They can be attached via additional power outlets on your stand mixer, giving you an even larger choice of functions:
Mini Chopper – For chopping nuts, herbs and spices.
Slicer/Grater – Great for shredding vegetables, similar to an attachable mini food processor.
Citrus Press – Perfect for squeezing fresh fruit for juices.
Grinder – Used to grind up spices, pepper, or dried fruit. This can work with a fruit and veg strainer to make jams, purées, and baby food.
Mincer – Ideal for making burgers, pâtés, terrines, or meatballs. If a pipe attachment is included, you can even make your own sausages.
Ice-cream Maker – Usually a freezable bowl which can be used with the main mixing tool.
Pasta Roller – Make your own pasta from scratch and wow your family and friends. There are several different versions of this tool depending on the type of pasta.
Grain Mill – Grind wheat, oats, rice, corn, and other grains with this handy feature.
Spiraliser – This tool cuts fruit and veg into thin and curly ribbons, so you can replace pasta and noodles with vegetables.
As hand mixers are smaller, there aren’t as many available accessories. A pair of metal beaters will generally come included, but you’ll probably have to buy any other attachments separately.
Dough hooks, balloon whisks, kneading tools, juicers, grinders, and blenders all increase your cooking abilities. A storage stand also helps to keep your attachments organised and contained in one place. Some models even have detachable mixing bowls, making them similar to stand mixers, but without the same power, capacity, or stability level.
Dough hooks, balloon whisks, kneading tools, juicers, grinders, and blenders all increase your cooking abilities.
Mixers vary in price depending on the brand, model, power, and number of accessories included.
You can find basic hand mixers for between £10 and £60, or more high-tech accessorised versions for about £100. Stand mixers are the more expensive option due to their larger size and variety of functions. For a sophisticated machine from a reputable brand, you’ll be looking at between £120 and £300, with really highend versions going over £700.
Stand mixers can have from five to 12 set speed levels. Some have a variable speed function, which gives you complete control over the speed by turning a dial.
Smaller and less powerful hand mixers have the same power system but usually don’t have as many speed levels. Some higher-end models have electronic speed sensors, which adjust the speed settings automatically.
A pulse button is great for short, sharp bursts of speed or if you have harder ingredients. The controls are often a combination of buttons and dials, with LED light alerts.
Some higher-end models have electronic speed sensors, which adjust the speed settings automatically.
Food mixers have become much easier to clean over the years. With the introduction of dishwasher-safe attachments and removable parts, you can wipe down the whole machine easily. It’s always worth using a lower heat wash and double checking that parts are dishwasher-friendly to ensure that they don’t disfigure.
Modern food mixers come with a selection of safety features to protect you from any nasty accidents while using the appliance. Splatter guards not only protect your clothes but also your fingers from the fast moving beater.
Some mixers will also automatically shutoff if you’ve overloaded them, to prevent any damage to the motor. You can also find blade guards for some models, which protects the sharp blades when you’re not using them.
Modern food mixers come with a selection of safety features to protect you from any nasty accidents.