Sunday, January 02, 2011

Buying a Stick Mixer

hand blenderIt being the holiday season there was a need to make fruit drinks and cold (Gazpacho) soup. What I found hand at a friend's house was an immersion blender (stick mixer). With this I was able to hollow out a half watermelon, making the drink and the serving bowl for it at the same time. But buying a stick mixer did not turn out to be that easy, as there are so many models.

I made the mistake of taking the easy option and buying the cheapest model at the Coles supermarket: "Stick Mixer model XB980C" (Matrix Home Appliances, $15). The blade did not turn freely and it made a high pitched sound (of a stuck bearing) when I turned it on. This went back to the shop: Coles provided a prompt refund.

Choice Magazine has an article: "The perfect blend: looking for a light and portable blender, rather than a full-blown food processor? One of these will fit the bill. Test: Handheld blenders" (January 2009). I found that the ACT Library has an electronic subscription and I was able to access the article. This indicated there were other $10 to $20 mixers like the Coles model (similar to the Kalorik), another range around $70 (such as the Braun) and then Barmix models for several hundred dollars.

Woolworths had two models of mixers for less than $20. A plastic body unit came with a mill attachment. This looked very similar to the Coles unit (described as "good" in a discussion of "Food processor or stick mixer?" on Ocerclockers) . Much more impressive was the "Presto" Model SW-108 Sick Mixer". This had two speeds (170 Watt and 220 Watt) and detachable stainless steel shaft. Unlike the Coles unit, this had two sets of bearings to hold the shaft in the removable unit. This and the stainless steel made it look much more robust. The stainless steel guard around the chopping blade has a sharper edge than the plastic one did, which made easier to use it to shop into soft ingredients, such as fruit. It worked very well for making fruit punch. At $16.99 this stood out from the other mixers. With the white motor body black accents and stainless steel shaft this looks a lot more expensive that the other under $20 units.

Looking further online I noticed that BigW were selling what appears to be the same mixer, as the "Abode Stick Mixer 180W" for $14.95. This has blue accents instead of black on the body.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I agree about the Matrix stick mixer - the one I bought to make smoothies just sends milk all over the kitchen, there is no control. Mine goes back today.