Mixer Ratings by Cook's Illustrated
I've read with interest the various threads posted here about mixers - likes and dislikes. I was browsing through the "2005 Cook's Illustrated" annual when I came across an article in the "November & December 2005" issue titled "Mix Masters". Needless to say I read the entire article avidly. Rather than repeat the entire article I'll just lift a few of the points that I found very interesting.
"Cook's Illustrated" rated the mixers on the following task categories: Capacity, Price, Wattage, Dye Incorporation, Kneading, Creaming, Whipping, Design, and Features.
"Rating Standing Mixers - Recommended:
1. KitchenAid Professional 600: With 18 models tested, a KitchenAid still came out on top - though just barely edging out the DeLonghi. With 575 watts (the median for the group), it plowed through 4 cups of dough almost two minutes faster than most "super-wattage" models. Ideal 6-quart capacity distributed wide (rather than tall) made for easy scraping and additions, if a bit more flour spray.
2. DeLonghi DSM5: Watching this compact mixer expertly cream butter and sugar into a uniform consistency was a thing of beauty. Flared bowl and well-sized attachment kept ingredients "low in the bowl" and minimized scrapiing. A bit more composure during heavy workloads might have broken the near-tie for first in its favor.
3. Hobart N50: "Purrs like a kitten," said testers about this industrial-strength lion, as it calmly processed rustic dough, oatmeal cookies, and anything else we threw its way. Narrow bowl mouth (the narrowest) made it awkward to add ingredients, and turning off power to change speeds was a pain - but not as much as transporting the 55-pound beast."
Then there was the largest group "Recommended With Reservations" and finally the "Not Recommended" group which included:
"Electrolux DLX-2000 Assistent: Wide bowl allowed easy access and capacity for nine bread loaves, but cookies, cakes, and even single loaves got lost in the abyss. The roller tool's grooves are a haven for butter, and the least intuitive user interface in the lineup had us constantly re-deciphering the manual before every task."
There were a couple of very interesting tests/comments in the main-body of the article.
One test involved using food coloring to evaluate the mixing ability of the mixers to thoroughly mix 4 cups of pizza dough. I'll just lift a few words here: "The quickest? A speedy 3:45 . From fastest to slowest: KitchenAid Professional 600 (3:45), Bosch Universal (4:45), DeLonghi 7 (5:03), Hobart (5:30)...(omissions)...and Electrolux (11:15). And wattage? Clearly unrelated."
This comment about wattage is explained: "If I hadn't included the Hobart in the lineup, I might never have discovered the sneaky truth behind wattage ratings. Most mixers list their power in watts; Hobart is the only one to use horsepower. When I learned that 1/6 HP equals a mere 124 watts, I scratched my head in puzzlement. How could this quiet, powerful workhorse have the lowest wattage rating in such a hacking, shuddering group (from 250 watts to 1,000 watts)? Turns out Hobart is the only mixer to list output power rather than input power. What's the difference? Output wattage is the amount of power the motor actually produces - which flows out of the motor, moves through the mixer arm, and, ultimately, smacks the ingredients around. Every other mixer lists input wattage, which is simply the power that flows from the electrical outlet into the mixer's motor. What does input wattage tell you about the power of a mixer? Absolutely nothing - it's purely a marketing gimmick." How interesting!!!