Most cooks will find they need a mixer at one time or another. Many cooks who have smaller kitchens, or are not avid bakers, can make do with an electric hand mixer. These mixers are time-honored and suitable for most jobs, but the baker-cook will probably want a stand mixer, eventually.
A stand mixer is a large mixer that sits on its own stand, or platform. The appliance includes a bowl which sits on a round platform below the motor housing. The motor housing may lift up and down to put the beaters in the bowl, or the stand may have a holder that lifts the bowl up to the beaters.
One of the advantages of a stand mixer is its powerful motor. A stand mixer is much more powerful than a hand mixer, and the motor will turn the beaters much faster. Another advantage is that the cook does not have to wear his or her arm out mixing a tough dough or beating egg whites. The beaters go into the bowl, the mixer is turned on and the cook simply has to keep an eye on the process.
This is especially important when a recipe can be mixed by hand, except for the egg whites, for instance. While the egg whites are being aerated, the cook can work on another part of the recipe. A stand mixer often has more than one beater attachment, such as dough hooks, paddles or a whisk, to suit the cooking job at hand.
One model of stand mixer comes with various attachments that fit to the front of the motor housing and use the motor to perform other jobs. Available attachments may include a meat grinder, juicer, pasta maker or sausage stuffer. These are usually sold separately.
Pricing a stand mixer all depends on brand, quality and attachments. They usually start at about 80 US dollars (USD) and go up from there. One of the powerful commercial brands may be over 500 USD. If a cook has the space to permanently store a stand mixer, and will use it frequently, buying one will probably be a happy investment.