The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Buying a pre-owned mixer

CJRoman's picture

Buying a pre-owned mixer

I did it. I killed my mixer after really, not that many doughs. I make very heavy dough though...

Anyway, I'm on my way to opening a home bakery and I am caught between two states of mind.

Buy a Kitchen Aid and replace as necessary.


Invest in a commercial mixer.

There is no way I can afford a new commercial mixer so I've been looking at used. This is new territory for me (commercial equipment) and I'm not sure if its stupid to buy used equipment. I suppose I wont *really* know its wear and tear.

Is this a bad idea? What kinds of questions do I need to ask? What do I need to look for?

Thanks everyone!

Nickisafoodie's picture

I googled 20 qt mixer and new ones can be bought for $1000.  granted they are heavy and would have to go in your garage, it will be money well spent compared to a kitchen aid.  you will be able to mix approx 12-14 pounds of dough at a time.  whatever you end up, figure out how much you are going to make at a time and ensure that the machines specifications line up.  good luck!!

PeterS's picture

for less than $1000. The best looking and newer ones will go for that and more, but a good serviceable 20qt'er can be had for under $600. I got mine for $400. It needed some paint and a grease job, but is otherwise in fine shape. Just be sure you get the attachments that you need with it and don't pay for them assuming they are there--i.e. do your homework.

Many are easily fixed--for the mechanically inclined, but internal parts can get expensive. Again, do your homework.

Hobarts and many of the clones all share the same attachments, 3rd party attachments, e.g. dough hooks, etc are available new at very reasonable prices. Other non interchangeble brands will cost more; I have a univex, its attachments are not readily available on the used market, if at all.

Don't let age scare you off, a well maintained mixer will last next to forever.

Test a mixer by running it, if you hear a lot of knashing sounds walk away. A good mixer will have gear noise, but it should not be too loud or uneven. Look for leaking grease; seals can be replace, but insufficient lube over the years will take its toll on the gears. Make sure it runs in all speeds (gears). Like all machinery, the worse looks, the less it was probably maintained.

A good commercial 20qt mixer will weigh in at 150-200 lbs. Mine came with a stainless steel table, about 2' square and doesn't take up as much room as you'd think; it's no particularly attractive, but does fit in my back room and doesn't have to go in the garage.  Beyond 20qt sizes are another story. :)

Go to a restaurant supply that sells used mixers and take a look, see what they are selling; establish some benchmarks.

polo's picture

I also fear that my KA mixer is going to be on it's last leg soon. I will also be on the search for something along the 20 quart line. 

Any advice as to preferred brand names and those that should be avoided. I know Hobart has a good reputation, but I know very little about other name brands.

PeterS's picture

of course, but you'll also pay more; however, if it was my sole livelihood I would consider one.

There are many good Hobart clones. If you search these forums and others, you'll find some good info.

Many have commented favorably on Global and Thunderbird. I'd avoid Berkey.

Remember with any mixer not to exceed the manufacturers recommendations for speed when making bread doughs. All of them have specific guidelines in their instruction manals.

mimifix's picture

If you are planning on a business, then you must have proper equipment to keep up with sales. There is excellent advice given in all the posts above. Especially if you will be making breads, invest in a mixer that will last longer (and have a larger capacity) than a small home-use mixer.

I began my baking career as a home-based business. I had no mixer (really, really stupid) until I moved my business into a retail location and purchased a 30 qt Hobart. Knowing everything I have learned along the way, I should have immediately purchased for my home-business a 20 qt mixer. And Hobart has a great reputation for good reason.

I regularly blog about home-based food busineses.