A good mixer can coolly simplify the life of both the avid culinary and amateur of simple omelettes. The main thing is to arm yourself with the device that is suitable for your lifestyle, culinary ambitions and budget. In this article we will tell you how and what mixer to choose for the house, in which case the mixer should prefer a blender and than the stationary model is better than manual.
What to choose - mixer or blender?
The main difference between these devices is in different functions:
- The purpose of the blender is to grind the product with knives, and the purpose of the mixer is to whip with a whisk, and also knead the dough with a hook. The mixer can not cook cream soups, baby food, smoothies and cocktails, chop nuts, and blender - turn cream into foam or knead yeast dough.
But since the submerged blender always has an additional nozzle in the form of a whisk and sometimes even a hook for kneading the dough, the question arises: can a blender replace the mixer? Yes, but only partly.
- The fact is that the blender is comparable in its capabilities only with a hand mixer, but not with a stationary mixer. After all, only a stationary device is capable of quickly and qualitatively kneading a thick and dense dough, say, for pies and pelmeni. Neither a blender nor a hand mixer can cope with this task.
But with such non-trivial tasks as beating eggs or pancake dough, the blender will cope almost as well as the hand mixer (but the mixer is still more effective and more convenient for long work). If you like the idea of "3 in 1" devices, then we recommend choosing either an immersion blender with a power of 500 W with a hook in the kit, or ... as much as possible a powerful blender that looks like a mixer but has a shredder attachment. Find out the other nuances of choosing a blender in our step-by-step guide (see material: Guide for choosing a blender submersible and stationary type). And this video will help you not only to understand the difference between two similar devices, but also to choose a mixer for the kitchen.
6 steps of choice
Step 1. Determine the type of mixer
Mixers are conventionally divided into three categories: manual, stationary and stationary with a planetary mixing system.
- Hand mixer - light and low-power (200-500 W) device with two corners and two hooks in the kit. Excellent for whipping eggs, cream, butter, as well as for mixing semi-liquid dough, for example, for biscuit or pancakes. It is good because it costs inexpensively (from 500-3000 rub.), It takes up little space, it is easy to clean (it is enough to remove and rinse the nozzles) and it makes it convenient to whip absolutely small portions. Unfortunately, the power of a hand-held device is not enough to knead a yeast dough for pies or a steep dough for ravioli, vareniki and manti. However, if you cook these dishes rarely, then the hand mixer is an excellent choice.
- Stationary mixer (household type) - this stationary device with a bowl, stand and mixer all with the same coronals and hooks. Thanks to such a device, the device can process the product without your participation. All you need to do is load the bowl with ingredients and start the engine. Since in modern stationary mixers not only the nozzles rotate, but also the bowl itself, the mixture is treated evenly. In addition, due to the greater power (400-700 W), this mixer is able to knead even a stiff dough. If necessary, the mixer can be removed from the stand and used as a normal hand-held device. Disadvantages: high price compared to manual (average price of 2500-8000 rubles), larger size, greater engine noise and rotation of the thicket. Also the disadvantage is the need to wash the bowl before processing the next product, whereas the hand mixer only requires cleaning the nozzles. Compared to a planetary mixer, a standard device is much cheaper, but it is less stable, its engine is much less durable and reliable. Who can use a stationary household mixer? To all those who not only beat eggs and biscuit dough, but also prepare flour products from dense or yeast dough. But it does not do it every day, but only from time to time.
- The planetary mixer is the same stationary mixer, but more powerful (500-1200 W), and most importantly - with a nozzle rotating on the principle of rotation of the planet, that is, around its axis and at the same time along the entire circumference of the bowl. Thanks to this "focus" it is possible to achieve the ideal quality of the mixture in the shortest possible time. If you cook often and for many (especially cakes, sweets, pies, pel'menis), then the planetary mixer will become the most demanded "workhorse". By the way, some models of planetary mixers have another bonus - the possibility of equipping with additional devices: meat grinder, grater, dough and noodles, crusher and even a juicer. Such multifunctional mixers are often called food processors or kitchen machines. The disadvantages of planetary mixers include, first of all, a high price (from 5 tr to 130 tr), heavy weight and noise.
To better understand the difference between the three types of mixers, we recommend that you read the following video review.
Step 2. Pay attention to the power
When choosing a mixer, the first thing you need to pay attention to is the power. As a rule, the productivity and speed of processing of products depend largely on it. The more power, the more the test can knead the device. At the same time, the more powerful it is, the higher its cost and the more energy is expended.
- For a hand mixer, which only whip / mix liquid and semi-liquid mixtures, the power of 250 watts is enough. If you use a manual mixer often and for a long time (more than 10 minutes), then choose a mixer more potently - 350-400 W.
- The power of a stationary mixer for domestic use should be at least 500 watts.
- A planetary mixer for intermittent use should be purchased with a power of at least 600 W, for everyday use - not less than 900 W.
Step 3. Look at the materials of the case and the bowl
Housings of inexpensive stationary mixers are most often made of plastic, and models are more expensive and planetary mixers are made of stainless steel.
- The steel housings of stationary mixers due to their gravity are more stable, which is especially important when kneading dense dough. In addition, they are much more beautiful and stronger. However, metal mixers are much more expensive than similar devices in plastic.
- Plastic cases with heavy loads often begin to smell, creak and shake. But they make the devices much cheaper and easier to transport, move from place to place.
Mixer bowls are plastic, glass and metal.
- Glass bowls are eco-friendly, inexpensive, beautiful, but fragile. Plastic thickets do not fight and are inexpensive, but they can deform with time and change color. The ideal material for the bowl is stainless steel.
Step 4. Select the volume of the bowl
Mixers are completed with bowls in volume from 1,5 to 6 liters. From this indicator it depends which maximum quantity of the product you can shake / mix at a time. But the minimum limits for stationary mixers do not exist - even in the largest bowl you can equally well beat both a pair of eggs and a dozen. The secret of this ability lies in everything in the same planetary mixing system or in the rotation of not only the nozzles, but also the bowls.
To determine the volume of the bowl, think about what maximum volumes you usually process in the mixer and add to this number 200-500 ml. Such a stock will not allow the mixture to splash, and flour and sugar - scattered beyond the bowl.
By the way, about sprinkling. When buying a mixer, be sure to attach a special lid with an opening for adding ingredients. This simple object protects your kitchen from stains and at the same time allows you to pour and pour everything you need right during the work process. Unfortunately, inexpensive blenders are often not equipped with such a cover.
And a couple of useful tips for choosing a bowl:
- Choosing mixers in the store, try to test their bowls by simulating, say, pouring a biscuit dough into a mold. The handle of the bowl should be such that you can hold the container with one hand, and with the second hand it is easy to scrape its contents with a shovel. The bowl itself should be easily removed from the stand.
- It makes sense to buy an extra bowl so that when preparing multicomponent dishes you do not have to wash the already used capacity once more.
Step 5. Select the nozzles and accessories
Most often, the stationary mixer is equipped with only a pair of nozzles - a whisk for whipping and a hook for kneading a steep dough. And the hook can be really hook like on the photo below (for kneading a dough) or spiraling (for a more liquid dough). Sometimes the kit includes a nozzle-blade for mixing the batter. Some mixers have a nozzle for mashed potatoes and / or a nozzle-shredder (blender) for making sauces, smoothies, cocktails, etc.
Standard set of nozzles for a planetary mixer
Mixers-combines, as we already noted earlier, can be equipped with additional nozzles: a meat grinder, a dough press, a citrus press and a grater. Sometimes these attachments are included in the kit, and sometimes are purchased separately.
Step 6. Learn about modes, speeds and additional options
Mixers work in 3 modes:
- Standard - the device simply turns on, starts to beat or mix.
- Impulse - the motor works impulsively, as if by jerks. This mode is more suitable for grinding (!) Solid products, rather than whipping and mixing.
- Turbo mode - in this mode the mixer works quickly, but within a few seconds, to avoid overheating of the engine.
The speed of rotation of the mixer nozzles is available from 3 to 20. The more speeds the device has, the thinner you can regulate the degree of product processing, smoothly slow down or accelerate the rotation of the nozzles.
- However, as practice shows, the majority of culinary specialists have enough 3-5 speeds.
Of the really useful additional options are:
- A timer that allows you to set the desired turn-on and turn-off time, which is very convenient when you need to leave.
- A safety system that automatically turns off the mixer at the risk of overheating.
And finally, for those who decided to choose a planetary mixer, we offer you to familiarize yourself with the following video review of the KitchenAid mixer in comparison with a food processor.