Most cooks will find they need a kitchen mixer at some point. Blenders are great, but can't mix cookie dough or cake batter. A mixer is the ideal tool. But how does a cook choose the right kitchen mixer?
The first point to consider is how the kitchen mixer will be used. If the cook mostly makes simple brownie, cake or cookie recipes, then he will probably want a standard hand mixer. If he makes breads and more complicated recipes, or meringues requiring whipped egg whites, he may want to think about purchasing a stand mixer. These mixers are much more powerful than a hand mixer and will work by themselves, allowing the cook to work on another part of the recipe.
Stand mixers may also have attachments, such as pasta rollers and meat grinders, that expand their usefulness beyond simple mixing. However, hand mixers feature attachments now, too. Some include balloon whisks or dough hooks, and if the hand mixer is a powerful one, the average cook can use it for almost any job.
Another consideration for the cook is space. Stand mixers are more powerful, but they also take up a lot of room. They are heavy as well, which makes stowing them under a cabinet impractical. Hand mixers are small and portable. They can be stored in a cabinet or a deep drawer, or set on a shelf. A hand kitchen mixer is ideal for an apartment or any home where counter space is at a premium.
A third consideration when buying a kitchen mixer is price. A kitchen mixer can be purchased almost anywhere, and the buyer will usually be able to compare prices and features right in the store. A hand kitchen mixer will usually cost US$15 to $40, depending on the maker and attachments. Stand kitchen mixers start at about US$80. Some of the more popular models cost about US$125. However, stand mixers can cost more than US$400 for a top-of-the-line, professional model with all the bells and whistles.
Cooks looking for a good kitchen mixer can comparison shop in the store or on the Internet. This is often a good idea, since the same mixer may vary in price from one store to the next. Considering space and use first will help the cook get the best kitchen mixer for his needs.