Choosing a Freestanding Mixer
Keen cooks pause longingly in front of freestanding mixers – those designer appliances with a hefty price tag. They come in stylish colours to match your kitchen, they make short work of recipes on TV demonstrations, and they’re increasingly demanded by baking cookbooks. But is a freestanding mixer a great investment… or an indulgent mistake? We've looked briefly at freestanding mixers in our article on the electrical equipment you may need for baking, but here we look in detail at how to choose.
You Spent HOW MUCH on a Kitchen Aid?!There’s no denying that this is an investment purchase. But it’s far more PRACTICAL than a pair of designer shoes or a diamond ring! Busy cooks will quickly get their money’s worth from a freestanding mixer. It enables you to quickly make your own bread or biscuits, whip up ice-cream and mince leftover meat. Making all these things yourself saves money on premium brands – and gives you more satisfaction too. If you need an excuse for buying yourself a freestanding mixer (and Christmas isn’t coming up), try one of these:
- A freestanding mixer replaces an electric Whisk and food processor.
- It also replaces a breadmaker and (with attachment) ice-cream machine!
- You can add attachments that juice oranges, grind meat, and make pasta.
- The huge capacity of these machines means you can make two loaves or up to 72 cookies in one go!
Prices of freestanding mixersTime to talk money. A freestanding mixer will cost between £260 and £600+. You could try saving money by purchasing second-hand, although as with all electrical goods, it’s usually safer to buy new and take advantage of the manufacturer’s warranty.
Kenwood’s entry-level mixer, the Prospero comes with three basic attachments: a flat beater, a whisk and a dough hook. You'll also get 3 processor blades, liquidiser and citrus press. It has 650 watts, so has reasonable punch and 5 speeds> There is a range of attachments available for extra cost such as pasta cutter, meat grinder, and so on. The 5 litre bowl is a good size for bakers.
Premium Freestanding Mixers – How Do They Compare?If you’re prepared to part with more money, take a look at the ‘professional’ options. Some have larger bowls, higher specification, bigger motors, and more accessories – what you bake and how often will decide whether the extras are worth the money.
The KitchenAid Artisan is the mixer you often see on display in contemporary kitchen shops – it’s the only one that comes in 25 different colours (from Green Apple to Cobalt, Pink and Chocolate). But it’s not just the finish that’s been upgraded. The motor is 350 watts which sounds low but its direct drive means it is as powerful as those with larger motors (this also makes it a little quieter) and has 10 speeds. The mixer is better able to cope with sturdy dough and high usage than some of the entry level models. The artisan comes with wire whisk, a dough hook and flat beater. Some shops like John Lewis offer this mixer with a 5-year guarantee. Here are some comments from our readers about the KitchenAid artisan:
- I love my kitchen aid! It's pricey but will last years so a worthwhile investment in my opinion
- I LOVE my Kitchenaid, it does everything
- It's got to be my kitchen aid! Never fails
Kenwood also offers some premium mixers, including the Titanium Chef. With a motor of 1400 watts, it’s a powerful machine. The bowl is stainless steel with handles for easy manoeuvre. The Chef comes with a flexi beater (our readers love this for scraping cake batter from the edges of the bowl), the 'K' beater (for fruit cakes and pastry), dough hook and whisk. There's also a food processor unit for chopping, slicing and puréeing, plus a 1.5 litre glass liquidiser. Kenwood suggest this one is perfect for those who cook and prepare food every day. This premium machine has a more contemporary look than the charming KitchenAid alternative. Here's what our readers say about the Kenwood Chef:
- Kenwood chef is brilliant, it's definitely made my baking life a lot easier
- Kenwood Chef has given me lots of faithful service, wonderful piece of equipment
- Kenwood chef titanium with the flexi beater...fantastic piece of equipment!