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Commercial Mixer Buying Guide

Commercial mixers are some of the most useful and versatile pieces of equipment you can invest in! With numerous innovative features and attachments from belt drive systems to bowl guards, our mixers will be a vital asset for any commercial kitchen.

To aid in selecting the perfect mixer, we even have a mixer sizing chart to break down the mixer size needed for various types of mixing jobs. Whether you're a pizza shop that mixes hundreds of pounds of dough a day, or you're a restaurant that only needs to make mashed potatoes once a week for a dinner special, we have the right commercial mixer for you!

Parts of a Commercial Mixer

For the most part, commercial mixers share common components and features. Most mixers will include front and rear covers, a safety / bowl guard, mixing device attachments, a bowl lift wheel or lever, a bowl, and power and speed controls. Some units may feature electric bowl lifts or additional attachments, but in general, commercial mixers will operate in a similar fashion.
Mixer-Diagram

Different Types of Commercial Mixers

Planetary Mixers

A planetary mixer (also called a vertical mixer) features an agitator that turns on an offset shaft, while the mixing bowl remains stationary. A variety of interchangeable agitator attachments let you mix anything from dough to icing to meringues and puddings.

Dough Mixers

Dough mixers (also known as spiral mixers) consist of a spiral-shaped agitator that remains stationary, while the bowl revolves around it. This specialized design makes them great for mixing large quantities of dough at a time.

Vertical Cutter Mixers

Vertical cutter mixers feature a large covered mixing bowl, a high horsepower motor, and an interior agitator that lets them perform a variety of functions for fast, bulk production.

Commercial Mixer Features

You'll want to consider how big you want your mixer to be, and along with that where you want to place it in your kitchen. Smaller (less than 10 qt.) countertop mixers are designed to fit on a countertop, while slightly larger (10-20 qt.) stand mixers are often best suited for an equipment stand. Just about anything above that size is considered a floor mixer and is designed to sit directly on the floor.

Drive System

Mixers generally come with either a belt-driven or gear-driven system. While both types are designed to stand up to the rigors of commercial use, there are some benefits and disadvantages to both:

Belt-Driven

These can experience belt "slip," or insufficient grip between the belt and drive, which reduces the velocity ratio of the mixer system. If repairs are required, they tend to be cheaper to fix than a gear system.

Gear-Driven

Gears eliminate the risk of drive system slip. However when repairs are needed, they tend to be more expensive than a belt system.

 

Restaurant Equipment

Mixer Speeds

Mixers typically feature several different operating speeds which affect how quickly the agitator (or bowl, in the case of spiral mixers) revolves.

Be sure to read the manufacturer's literature, as certain products will mix better at certain speeds, and on a planetary mixer the different agitator attachments will perform differently. 

Also consider whether the mixer lets you change speeds during operation. Some models allow you to adjust on the fly, which can be a big boost to your productivity.

Keep in mind that not all mixers are engineered to handle the mechanical stresses associated with adjusting on the fly--for those mixers you must shut the unit off before changing the speed. This helps prevent internal damage and ensures the end user's safety during operation. 

Restaurant Equipment

Horsepower

Larger mixers tend to have a higher horsepower motor than smaller models since they're mixing more material at a time, and larger mixers are also better suited to handle thicker, stiffer dough (like pizza dough), which require more power to mix than lighter mixtures.

Bowl Lift

On planetary mixers, the mixing bowl usually attaches to a yoke at the sides or near the vertical column on the machine, and is raised and lowered one of two ways:

Manual Bowl Lift

The most common variety, manual lifts raise and lower the bowl via a wheel or lever. On some smaller countertop planetary mixers, however, the bowl does not move. Rather, the entire upper housing of the mixer, mixing device included, tilts back and permits access to the bowl.

Electric Bowl Lift

As the name implies, this system raises and lowers the bowl automatically with buttons or a similar interface. This is more common on larger mixers with larger mixing bowls.

Restaurant Equipment

Bowl Guard

A plastic or wire housing around the top of the bowl, the guard prevents hands, clothing, or foreign objects from coming in contact with the agitator during mixing, and most mixers are required to include one to comply with OSHA regulations (Standard 29CFR 1910.212). 

Your staff should understand the dangers of operating the mixer; for example, trying to bypass the guard by putting hands / fingers / utensils in or under it during operation can have very negative consequences and your training should cover the proper way to operate and clean commercial mixers for the safety and security of your staff.

 

How to Choose the Right Commercial Mixer

Before making your purchase, there are three main questions you will want to ask yourself:

1.) What will you be mixing?
Different types of dough and batter will have different consistencies, and as a result not every mixer is right for every job - kneading a batch of thick, stiff dough is going to require more power than mixing meringue or icing, for example. A bread mixer and pizza dough mixer will be different than a mixer meant for whipping delicate egg whites.

Finding the absorption ratio (lbs. of water divided by lbs. of flour) for some of your most commonly used dough is a good way to figure out what types of mixers might best suit your needs; the lower the absorption rate, the more difficult the dough will be to mix and in turn, the more powerful your unit should probably be.



2.) What type of usage do you expect from your mixer?
All mixers are designed to handle the rigors of commercial use, but some are better equipped for certain types of mixing than others; be sure to check the manufacturer's literature on the product pages for more information.

Light Duty

The light duty mixer is best suited for establishments that only need a mixer for occasional or infrequent use such as light prep work and small batches of baked goods.

Standard Duty

The standard duty mixer is ideal for a catering business, restaurant, or cafe that makes batter and dough in house. These mixers are good for egg whites, whipped cream, cake batter, and occasional batches of pizza dough on low speed.

Heavy Duty

The heavy duty mixer features a more durable construction suited for applications where thick, heavy dough is constantly being mixed like large bulk batches of pizza dough and baked goods. These types of dough mixers also have deluxe accessory packages to give you more options out of the box.

3.) How much will you be mixing?
How much you will be mixing plays a large role in what size of mixer you will want to look at. A small restaurant can take care of most needs with a 5 - 20 qt. planetary mixer. In contrast, a pizzeria or bakery will want to look at 40 qt. or larger, or even a spiral mixer in very large-scale applications. This is because the mixer is being used almost constantly and turning out high volumes of product.

Also, be mindful of the fact that the bowl can't be filled to the brim and different ingredient factors will affect how big each batch can be:

  • Higher flour protein content = smaller batch size
  • Lower water temperature = smaller batch size
  • Less water in the dough = smaller batch size
  • Higher mixing speed = smaller batch size
  • More oil / shortening in the dough = smaller batch size

Our mixer capacities chart (below) is a great way to determine what size of mixer is best for you.

PLEASE NOTE: This chart is not a definite guide for every mixer; the values represent a typical capacity for the products that we carry and are meant to help you decide which mixer size best suits your needs. Please refer to the manufacturer literature (located under "Specsheet" on our product pages) for more detailed information about what each specific model can handle.

N/A = Certain mixers in this size category may not be suitable for this type of mixing. Consult the manufacturer's literature for more information.
5 - 7 Qt. Mixers 10 - 12 Qt. Mixers 20 Qt. Mixers 30 Qt. Mixers 40 Qt. Mixers 60 Qt. Mixers 80 Qt. Mixers 100 Qt. and Above
Egg Whites 0.25 qt. 0.5 qt. 0.75 qt. 1.5 qt. 1.75 qt. 2 qt. 2 qt. 4 qt.
Icing 2 lbs. 5 lbs. 9 lbs. 18 lbs. 25 lbs. 36 lbs. 65 lbs. 100 lbs.
Mashed Potatoes 3 lbs. 5 lbs. 12 lbs. 23 lbs. 30 lbs. 40 lbs. 60 lbs. 100 lbs.
Mayonnaise (Qt. of Oil) 1.5 qt. 3 qt. 6 qt. 12 qt. 13 qt. 18 qt. 30 qt. 50 qt.
Pancake Batter 2 qt. 4 qt. 6 qt. 12 qt. 16 qt. 24 qt. 32 qt. N/A
Shortening & Sugar, Creamed 3 lbs. 6 lbs. 12 lbs. 24 lbs. 35 lbs. 48 lbs. 65 lbs. 120 lbs.
Whipped Cream 1 qt. 2 qt. 3.5 qt. 6 qt. 8 qt. 12 qt. 16 qt. 30 qt.
Cup Cakes / Muffins 3 lbs. 12 lbs. 20 lbs. 30 lbs. 45 lbs. 60 lbs. 90 lbs. 165 lbs.
Layer or Sheet Cake Batter 3 lbs. 8 lbs. 15 lbs. 30 lbs. 40 lbs. 60 lbs. 90 lbs 165 lbs.
Pound Cake Batter 3 lbs. 8 lbs. 14 lbs. 30 lbs. 40 lbs. 55 lbs. 100 lbs. 185 lbs.
Sponge Cake Batter 2 lbs. 5 lbs. 9 lbs. 18 lbs. 40 lbs. 36 lbs. 65 lbs. 140 lbs.
Bread / Roll Dough, Light 4 lbs. 5 lbs. 18 lbs. 45 lbs. 45 lbs. 75 lbs. 170 lbs. 180 lbs.
Bread Dough, Heavy N/A 3 lbs. 16 lbs. 30 lbs.. 35 lbs. 60 lbs. 140 lbs. 175 lbs.
Doughnut Dough, Raised N/A 2 lbs. 7 lbs. 15 lbs. 25 lbs. 30 lbs. 60 lbs. 100 lbs.
Pasta Dough N/A 4 lbs. 7 lbs. 8 lbs. 15 lbs. 30 lbs. 65 lbs 100 lbs.
Pie Dough 3 lbs. 5 lbs. 13 lbs. 27 lbs. 35 lbs. 60 lbs. 75 lbs. 60 lbs.
Pizza Dough, Light - Medium N/A 3 lbs. 10 lbs. 20 lbs. 32 lbs. 60 lbs. 155 lbs. 125 lbs.
Pizza Dough, Heavy N/A 4 lbs. 20 lbs. 40 lbs. 45 lbs. 70 lbs. 155 lbs. 190 lbs.

Commercial Mixer Accessories and Attachments

Mixer accessories can be used to increase the versatility of your unit. Some of the most common ones include:

Mixing Bowls

Used for mixing ingredients, mixers come standard with an appropriately-sized bowl (i.e. a 60 qt. bowl for a 60 qt. mixer) but one advantage of planetary mixers is that you can generally trade this out for a smaller bowl if you want to mix up smaller batches.

 

Flat Beater

A flat beater provides a wide, flat surface that is perfect for mixing up batter for cakes and brownies, and also firm to hard cookie dough. You can also use it for making icing and even mashed potatoes.

 

Wire Whip

The wire whip is made of wire strands arranged in an oval shape. Its primary use is for mixing light items like custards, puddings, and whipped cream, and it's also great for creating the light, thin texture found in meringues and souffles.

 

Dough Hook

This attachment consists of a spiral-shaped hook, which allows your mixer to knead and fold pizza dough, bread dough, and more.

 

Pastry Knife

The pastry knife is designed to mix and cut heavy pizza and pie dough, easily combining even thick ingredients.

 

Bowl Scraper

A bowl scraper continuously scrapes the sides of the mixing bowl as the agitator turns. This makes it a great way to minimize ingredient waste and reduce the need for manual bowl scraping.

 

Mixer Attachments for PTO Hubs

There are a variety of attachments that can be used on the Power Takeoff (PTO) hub on your mixer, letting you perform many tasks beyond mixing just dough and batter! However, the hub size on the attachment has to match the hub on the mixer. Most commercial mixer hubs and attachments are #12 size so this is seldom an issue, but still check this before purchasing. These are some of the most common attachment types:

Grater / Shredder

Perfect for shredding up items like vegetables and cheeses into fine pieces, these attachments consist of a housing with shredder disc, and you can adjust the size of the finished product by using a different disc.

 

Meat Chopper / Grinder

These attachments usually come with a feed pan and stomper to direct meat down into the chopper unit where the meat is ground up or chopped.

 

Vegetable Slicer

Similar to the shredder in concept, a slicer attachment features slicer knives that cut food into smaller pieces; use it to cut up potatoes, fruits, cabbage for salads or cole slaw, and more. Many slicer attachments can also be converted into shredders by replacing the slicer blades with a shredder disc, instead.

 

Commercial Mixer Tables

A good support platform for countertop mixers, a mixer table provides added stability and we offer models with offset edges to contain spills. You can also choose from mobile units that come with casters, and others that have tray slides so you can keep bun pans close at hand.

 

How to Maintain Your Commercial Mixer

Proper use and care can help extend the life of your mixer. Keep these simple steps in mind for a better overall experience with any mixer you purchase.

  • Follow the proper guidelines for how much product your mixer can handle.
  • Remove attachments and accessories and run them through the dishwasher or wash by hand after each use.
  • Mixers should always be turned off and unplugged before cleaning and never submerge the units in water.
  • Use a damp cloth with sanitizer to clean the main part of your mixer after each use or at the end of every day.
  • Remain engaged with your mixer throughout the mixing process. Do not leave it unattended.
  • Be sure to use a food-grade machine oil on the attachment shaft to minimize the risk of breakage.
  • Do not shift gears on the fly unless your mixer explicitly has this feature.

How Often Should Commercial Mixers Be Serviced?

  • Have service agents perform regular oil changes every 6-12 months depending on use.
  • Have service techs perform annual or biannual checks to prevent breakdowns.

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