I am new to cake decorating. I have only sold two cakes so far. My cheap 9 dollar hand mixer finally died. I would LOVE to buy a Kitchenaide but cannot bring myself to paying the price. I was curious on what you guys use? Are there any cheaper versions of the Kitchenaide stand mixers? I saw a Hamilton Beach stand/hand mixer for $30. It came with beaters, whip and hooks. I has a 4qt bowl and six speeds. What should I look for in a good mixer without having to pay a lot of money that I don't have!
I dont' know much about other mixers. Kitchenaid is definitely the gold standard. If you can find a refurbished one for less, I'd recommend it.
Consider that you will be using it a lot and will get your money's worth for sure. If a cheaper one craps out on ya, that's $30 you could have put toward a kitchenaid.
If you are dead set against it, though, make sure you have plenty of power, and planetary mixing action is soooo nice. You want it to be able to mix all the batter, not just what's directly around the beaters. SO maybe if they just spin, you'd need a bowl that rotates as well.
I put off getting a Kitchenaid for years, due to expense & limited counter space, but now that I have mine I wish I'd gotten it sooner. It actually saves time when mixing things up because you can leave it mixing and go on to measuring/prepping the next ingrediant(s) vs. being "tied" to the hand mixer.
In addition to what karateka pointed out, another thing to consider if you decide to make the investment is the size of the bowl. I'm not sure what size cakes you have been making, but a 4 qt could get tight if you are tying to do a larger sheet cake or large batch of frosting. It would be a shame to spend the money on 4qt only to later wish you'd invested a little more to get the extra space.
If you can't find a refurb, look for somewhere that will at least allow a coupon (we used a 20% off at Bed, Bath & Beyond)...
Buy the biggest, most powerful you can afford! (just like TVs!) Look for sales & refurbs, of course.
Of course, once you buy it, you'll be eyeing the next one! I currently have two Kitchenaids and don't know what I'd do without one! (Don't really need two, but that second bowl is heaven sent!)
Hands down....Get a Kitchen Aid. You will not regret it. I have used different brands and there is no comparison. And I second the ....walk away and do another job while the batter is mixing. Even other stand mixers don't mix the batter nearly as well, or have the spped and power.
One thing I have learned.....buy the biggest and most efficient equipment you can afford...or stretch to afford. Time is money and you will only regret that you didn't do it right the first time.
You can also buy just the bowls, so two or three bowls are nice....egg whites, cake, icing, royal icing....not having to continuously wash out the bowls when working is great!!
I love my hamilton beach 4.5 quart stand mixer. It has 400 horsepower, which is more than the kitchen aid starts out at. It is made with all metal parts. Sears.com has it for $159 rith now. I've had mine a year now and still LOVE it.
You can usually get great deals on KA mixers on Ebay. I got my pink one for about $150 total after shipping costs. It was a refurbished KA in the box. It is great! I do own 2 others and am planning on getting 1 more very soon!
I love this site and this is my first post. Definitely hold out for a KA mixer. I just replaced my old one today. I got the 5 quart cobalt blue from Kohl's for $179.00. (I REALLY wanted the 6 quart but that will be later down the line.) Now the one I replaced belonged to my grandmother who died in l968. My mother got it after that, and when she died 6 years ago, it became mine. Now it's going to my daughter who cried dibs on it the minute the new one came into my house. That tells you how long a KA mixer can last so they are well worth the investment.
The old one has had constant use and has held up beautifully. The only thing missing on it is the Kitchen Aid Logo on the front....it finally wore off from cleaning, and I do believe my mother replaced the paddle for it. Other than that, there is nothing wrong with it.
My two cents: It's worth the money now to go ahead and invest in a KA -- and get the biggest you can. You WILL grow into it.
AND just as a side note -- I got one of the new beater blades for Christmas for my 6 quart that has the extenders on the sides to help scrape the bowl - WOW . It's so cool!
i havent had a kitchen aid but I have a sunbeam. I decided to go with it (actually it ended up being a birthday present from my parents who bought it before i was able to) after talking my my husbands aunt who does a lot of baking and after years of having a sunbeam she finaly decided to get a kitchen aid and passed the sunbeam down to her daughter but now she wishes she had her old sunbeam back.
There must have been something different about the old sunbeams and the new ones because Im not so crazy about mine. I have to stand there and push stuff in front of the mixers (mixers are stationary but the bowl turns) and sometimes if i am making something with a heavy batter like chocolate chip cookies i have to turn the bowl because it is too weighed down. I talked to a friend who has the exact same model bought about the same time as mine and she said she also has the same problems.
i would tell you to get the kitchen aid also. but...how much baking will you be doing? if you willbe doing this long term then get the kitchen aid...if you will be baking once in a while then a less costly brand will work for you.
as everyone else said though you can get a refurbished kitchen aid for a good price. amazon also has the refurbished ones if you dont trust ebay.