Kitchen Appliances--You Must Have A Good Frame Of Reference To Properly Purchase One
As a chef, and as a person that has been working with power tools (an electrical kitchen appliance is simply a different kind of power tool!!) since I was 5-6 years old (supervised, of course!!) I am often asked "What kitchen appliance should I purchase??"..Invariably, I reply to "Buy the best that you can afford for your anticipated needs"..I also recommend buying a little more appliance than you might THINK that you need..It is far more common (99.99999% of the time) to want to, and to attempt to, exceed one's initial desires in food preparation, and rarely, rarely, rarely do I find people telling me that they purchased more in the way of an electrical kitchen tool than they truly ever feel the need to use..
The main number 1 problem that I find with electrical kitchen appliances is that I find that the vast majority of failures are NOT due to poor design, or bad manufacturing; instead the appliance fails because the user causes the electric motor to over heat and fail because THEY DO NOT KNOW WHEN TO STOP WHEN THEY HEAR THE ELECTRICAL MOTOR STRAINING TO DO ITS JOB!!!!!!!!..Period.. Sorry for the caps, but I am really trying to make this point!!..
Most modern Americans equate high purchase prices to indestructability..This is especially true with blenders, juicers, food processors, and stand mixers..There is a wide variety of electric motors for a manufacturer to choose from when specing out an appliance during the design stages before the appliance is offered for sale to the public..There can be an astounding difference in price between two elcetric motors that to the untrained eye appear to be very similar..A better quality electric motor that is capable of withstanding more strain (torque on the motor) often accounts for at least 50% of the price increase in a commercial kitchen appliance as opposed to a home consumer one..
I will provide the following concrete example..
On this forum it is generally accepted that the best non-commercial mixer for the home bread baker is the Swedish-made Electrolux DLX mixer..It is a proven design matched by 5 decades of reliable service in many countries..Its primary design is to knead bread doughs as efficiently as possible..It will do other things, but in my opinion it is best used as a dough kneading machine..The current average price in the USA for the DLX mixer is between $570.00 to $600.00 (depending on color choice), with the chrome plated model commanding a hefty premium at approximately $820.00..
By comparison, the smallest commercial stand mixer readily available in the USA is the Hobart N50 5-quart mixer..It has all of the appearance, and accessories, of the Kitchen Aid Professional 600 stand mixer, with the exception of the power control switch and the color..The Hobart N50 is painted a dull battleship, industrial gray, and it has the high-quality 3-position (1st-2nd-3rd speeds) control switch that all Hobart commercial mixers have..The speeds on a Kitchen Aid mixer are controlled by a sliding rheostat switch that regulates the amount of electricity that the electric motor recieves..The speeds on the Hobart N50 are controlled by the 3-position lever switch which in reality IS NOT an electric switch, but instead a gear shift lever..Unlike the gears on a manual transmission car, which is equipped with a clutch that allows for changing gears while the gears are moving; the Hobart needs to come to a complete halt before changing the gears..Otherwise the gears will be stripped, necessitating a VERY costly repair job..Both mixers come with their respectively-sized 5 and 6 quart SS bowls, a paddle, a whip, and a dough hook..The overall quality of EVERY component on the N50 mixer, as well as the attachments, is light years higher for the Hobart compared to the Kitchen Aid..This is especially true of the gears, the gear changing mechanism, and the electric motor on the Hobart N50 mixer..
I offer the following prices as a comparison..These prices were taken off a variety of internet sites while writing this thread, so that they are very current..
Kitchen Aid Professional 600 6-quart stand mixer, w/ 6-qt. SS bowl, paddle, whip, dough hook, splash shield @ $350.00
Electrolux DLX Assistant 2000 8-quart stand mixer, w/ 8-qt. SS bowl, fluted roller, scraper, dough hook, white plastic bowl, spindle, double whisk attachment, spatula @ $570.00 to $600.00---($820.00 in chrome)
Hobart N50 5-quart commercial stand mixer w/ 5-qt. SS bowl, paddle, whip, dough hook @ $2,035.00
Other commercial 8, 10, and 12-qt. stand mixers are going to be priced between $2,400.00 and $5,000.00..Commercial electrical kitchen appliances are designed to be used all day long, sometimes 24-7, with only short periods of downtime to allow the electric motors to cool off between uses..Home appliances are simply not designed for such use..What a commercial kitchen appliance will deal with without even straining, will generally destroy the average home kitchen appliance..
Both the Bosch Universal Plus 6-quart, 800w stand mixer ($400.00), and the DLX mixer are using a direct drive interface between the SS mixing bowl and the shaft of the electric motor..This is why the Bosch Universal Plus, at only $50.00 more than the KA Professional 600, is so easily able to outperform the KA..The torque of the motor is more efficiently being transfered from the motor to the mixing bowl..With the KA design, a LOT of power is lost as the energy transfers through the motor and down through the dough hook, vibrating away out into space..The Hobart mixers, with their far more efficient and powerful motors, are able to overcome these design inefficiencies..
The main problem that I find with many home cooks is that they want near commercial quality, or actual commercial quality kitchen appliances, but they are simply not willing to pay for that quality..I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people tell me that they will just purchase the less expensive appliance, wear it out, and keep purchasing another, only to trash and wear out that one..I know one person that could have purchased a commercial stand mixer, food processor, and blender for all the money that they have spent purchasing multiples of the cheaper appliances..
A bad behavior that I find increasingly more common is people deliberately purchasing an appliance knowing in advance that they are going to abuse it..Then, they try to claim a replacement under warranty, very often successfully..It is amazing how often this type of person can get 1-2 appliances replaced under warranty before the manufacturer catches on, and refuses to honor the warranty any further..Of course, this is a primary reason for the higher costs of many of todays kitchen appliances..
I cannot overstate the importance of learning to listen to your kitchen appliances, especially if you do not own the best-quality ones that can easily handle the tougher jobs..At the first sounds of the electric motor struggling, STOP what you are doing!!..Take a moment to really evaluate what you are doing..In most instances, removing some of the food from the tool, and proceding to work in batches will keep you from destroying the appliance..By the time that you smell smoke, or that "electrical" smell, permanent damage to the motor has almost always occured..
After that, you either have an appliance that never again works as well as before it was damaged, or else replacement is immediate, or perhaps 1-2 usages away..