Hi Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am currently a hobbyist, but would love to decorate cakes as a profession one day. I just started decorating about a year or so ago. Since then, I killed my old hand held mixer and was fortunate enough to receive a used stand mixer as a gift. My mother recently bought a new one for herself and passed along the used one to me. However, after a few months I am noticing a crack on one of the beaters. Since this is a very old mixer, I can't find replacements. I have been saving money and have enough to buy my very own, brand new stand mixer. I'm more than a little excited. But I wanted to get some specific reviews from those of you who have been using stand mixers at home/your business and can give accurate feedback. Which brand do you like best? Which model? What qualities make it the best?
Thanks so much in advance for your help! I want to make sure I get the right mixer the first time, because although I've been saving...I don't have enough to buy one that I don't don't really like, and then buy a second one.
I have both a KitchenAid Pro 6-quart mixer and a 7-quart Cuisinart mixer.
I've had the KitchenAid for over 10 years and I've used it mercilessly nearly every day running a cake business and it's as good as new. That thing is a tank! I like that it is more solid/heavier, metal and doesn't move around on the counter when it's on. (The capacity of the one I bought isn't ideal though. I can do a 2lb recipe of buttercream in it, so I bought an industrial Spar mixer as well as a backup for the business. )
I do MUCH prefer the "bowl-lift" option of my mixer, as opposed to the "tilt-head" varieties. Takes less room on the counter.
I've only had the Cuisinart for about 2 years. Although I do like the added capacity of the one I bought (I can do a 3lb recipe of buttercream in it), it's one of the loudest machines I've ever worked with...even on the lowest speed. That really put me off. The other drawbacks are that it has a plastic body, it has more watts (though do NOT mistake that for having more power!), it does shimmy around on the counter when it's on, it heats up faster than the KitchenAid so that I have to "rest" it more, and the attachments seem to mix the middle of your bowl more than the sides (which means you might have to scrape your bowl a lot more than usual to assure even mixing.) The good qualities about the Cuisinart are that it is digital (though that's probably going to be something harder to fix if it ever needs repairing), it has a timer, auto-shut off, more speeds, etc. The one thing I really love is that the machine starts off on a very slow speed for a few seconds then speeds up when mixing, to prevent your dry ingredients from flying out. That's pretty cool!
IMHO, I'd go for the largest KitchenAid mixer you can afford. Treat it well and you'll have it for life.
Antonia - Thanks you for sharing your personal experience.
I was in the market for a new mixer last year. I did a google search for the difference between the two. I have to say yours is the best I have heard as a description between the two.
I ended up getting the KA. Only because of what you mentioned - the plastic, ease of repair, etc. I did not get a chance to hear one running.
And if you want to consider a third option Williams -Sonoma is selling a Breville mixer. I saw it running and it was whisper quiet. I have no other information on it.
But the sales clerk and myself both agreed that KA is hands down the best mixer for the home. And some other businesses use it too, when they aren't big enough or can't afford the Hobart.
You will hear some conflicting stories on the internet about the KA, but in my research I found that the problem was fixed some time in 2007. Just be sure you are buying one that has not been on the shelf for a few years. The best way to do that is to go a place where they sell a lot of their inventory. I recently saw some KA's at TJMax for less than $200. I'll bet you they are old ones with the plastic housing. As tempting as it was to get one, I didn't.
I actually have a KA with the plastic housing too. I bought it in 2000, but used it sparingly and not for any type of hard dough, like bread. So luckily I had no problems. I mention this because you will find stories about this on the internet.
Thanks so much! I love that detailed feedback; just what I was hoping for.
Although I hear that Williams Sonoma is a great place, I don't have one near me. But I certainly appreciate the information about the 3rd type of mixer.