Anybody who enjoys baking or cooking, in general, even if it’s just a mild interest, would love having a stand mixer in his or her kitchen. If you want to make a living off your cooking, owning one of these is almost a requirement. They help you make better doughs and batters and they allow you to crank out desserts and other dishes in greater quantities with a lot less effort.
Of course, due to the price of these stand mixers, the casual cook won’t usually have one. A lot of people would rather break their arms hand mixing or hand kneading their food than pay up for a mixer.
How Much Are Stand Mixers?
The price for stand mixers actually varies quite a bit and the first thing to remember is that they aren’t all terribly expensive. You can buy a stand mixer for under $50 but you have to start questioning the quality when the price gets this low.
If you want a nice stand mixer from a leading brand, you’ll likely wind up paying around $200 or more, depending on the model you buy and on whether or not you buy purchase additional attachments. Some of the attachments are machines on their own and can cost as much as the stand mixer itself.
So, what makes stand mixers so expensive? As far as the cost, there are several different qualities that justify — or at least explain — the price.
Stand Mixers Are Multi-Functional
One of the biggest attractions of the stand mixer is that they are able to perform so many different tasks so well.
Whenever you need your cake batters mixed or your eggs whipped, the stand mixer gets the job done more quickly than you can and unless you are a professional chef, the results are generally better. Stand mixers also handle tough mixtures such as bread doughs or pizza doughs so you don’t have to tire yourself kneading and stirring the ingredients.
These aren’t things that you just happen to be able to do either. There are specific attachments for each of these tasks and the three most important ones (the flat beater, the dough hook, and the whisk) are usually included with your purchase so you’re ready to cook as soon you get the machine home.
The high-end stand mixers go far beyond this as well. KitchenAid mixers have over 80 different add-ons, attachments, and accessories, including juicers, meat grinders, and pasta makers. Sometimes these are also included with your purchase.
These Machines Are Powerful
Think about how much effort you put into thoroughly mixing thick cookie dough or kneading a heavy ball of bread dough. Your mixer needs enough power to do the exact same things.
Generally, the higher-end mixers will have more powerful motors and stronger gears that allow them to power through the tough stuff. Without enough power, they wouldn’t be able to perform such a wide variety of tasks so efficiently.
Quality stand mixers can perform these jobs over and over again, often for years, without breaking down. They are built to last long.
They’re Robust and Durable
Those stand mixers that are under $50 are usually made of plastic. The high-end mixers will be made out of far more durable materials such as brushed and solid aluminum. Yes, you could buy a $50 mixer and it would probably get the job done but for how long? Is it worth it if the cheaper mixer has a significantly shorter lifespan?
Many stand mixers come with five-year warranties so you can be confident that they will last at least that long. If you take care of your machine, it could last a lot longer than that. Sometimes a stand mixer is one of those things that gets passed down through the family and somebody with a cooking history in the family might inherit his or her grandmother’s old machine that still works beautifully.
The weight of the machine is also an indication of quality. High-end mixers are typically a lot heavier than the cheaper ones because they’re using better materials.
They Are Convenient
If you wonder what makes stand mixers so expensive, convenience definitely plays a role. No matter what it is, companies always seem to get away with charging a little extra when something is convenient. But this doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it.
Obviously, the mixers remove a lot of physical work that you’d have to do yourself. Whether it’s mixing or kneading dough, whipping a lot of eggs, or mixing the ingredients for a meatloaf, these tasks are all easier (and often less messy) with a stand mixer. But this isn’t the only convenience that they have to offer.
The build quality of the machine itself is also very convenient. The arm of the mixer easily lifts and lowers so that you can access the contents of the bowl. The attachments are easy to remove and most of them will be dishwasher-safe.
If you cook or bake frequently, the constant stirring and kneading can grow extremely tiresome even when your muscles get accustomed to the work. In those cases, stand mixers are extremely helpful.
You can operate stand mixers at several different speeds and the more expensive ones are likely to come with all of the essential features such as timers, automatic stops, and other programmable settings.
They Help You Get Better Results
Some recipes will specifically call for you to mix the ingredients with a mixer. It’s not a requirement and you’ll be able to do it without the mixer most of the time but they call for it for a reason.
Some ingredients may need to be mixed for several minutes and others will be so thick that mixing by hand is somewhat ineffective. The stand mixer is able to power through tough mixtures a lot faster than you’ll be able to, which often results in more evenly mixed ingredients.
One major advantage is stability. The mixing bowl is completely stable, which allows you to walk away from the machine, and even with tough mixtures, the bowl won’t move around. The size of the bowl also prevents splashing.
When you are hand mixing, you are constantly changing directions, resting, and mixing in different ways but the stand mixer remains constant the entire time, often producing better mixtures at a quicker pace.
Questions to Ask Before Buying a Stand Mixer
If you think that you are about to give in and buy a mixer, there are a few different things that you want to consider. Asking yourself all of the following questions will help you decide if stand mixers are right for you and whether or not it’s worth paying the price for a high-end machine.
1. Do I Need it?
It’s a simple question. Do you really need a mixer or do you just want one? If you have the money and are willing to splurge a bit, the answer to this question may not really matter. However, if you are on a budget, you may want to rethink. Consider the alternatives. Hand mixers, for example, are often able to get the job done and they are a lot more affordable than the giant stand mixers.
2. What Would I Use the Mixer for?
What are you going to use the mixer for? Are you just baking once a month or do you plan on experimenting with bread and other dishes? Do you enjoy cooking? Also, how often would you use the mixer? If you are confident that you will use the mixer at least once a week, it could be a good investment. However, if your cooking habits don’t usually require a lot of mixing, you may want to hold off on the purchase.
3. Do I Have Enough Space?
Space is definitely something that you need to consider. Stand mixers are large, which makes it difficult to store. You can’t just stick one of these in your cabinet when you aren’t using it. Before you commit to any machine, take a look at your kitchen counters. Is there space for an entirely new appliance? If not, will I be able to make space? Also, make sure that you will be okay with looking at the machine every day. Unless you have a large enough cabinet, you can’t just stuff it away when you are sick of looking at it.
4. What Exactly Will I Be Cooking?
The answer to this question will tell you which mixer you should buy. For example, if you want to be able to mix bread dough and make pasta, you might want to buy a mixer with a pasta-making attachment. If you want to grind and mix meat, buy a mixer that has a meat grinder attachment available. Also, watch out for package deals. If you can find a mixer that comes with any of these attachments, you can avoid buying the attachment separately.
5. How Much Can I Afford to Spend?
Don’t spend more than you can afford on a mixer, especially if you aren’t super into cooking. Stand mixers can get as high as $400 but low-end mixers can be under $100. If you don’t have the budget for a high-end model but aren’t willing to buy a cheap version, you might have some luck with a refurbished machine from one of the top brands, which you can often find on their websites.