Are Stand mixers the ultimate vanity purchase?
Some people buy mixers for baking, others buy them to boast.
As some of you may know, I’m a big fan of making food. My fridge is packed with jars of pickled vegetables. I make my own jams. In the past I’ve made my own pastas. Jamaican patties? Lamb meatballs? I really enjoy learning how we make food. With that said, you would think that I would own a mixer. But I don’t. It wasn’t until my new obsession grabbed me that I considered purchasing one. The new obsession? Baking cookies.
They’re easy to make. equal parts sugar, butter and a double portion of flour. Need them to be chewy? Add an egg. Every other ingredient is play and experimentation. While making a batch, my whisk was not working and I realized that it was time to invest in a mixer.
Searching for a new, name brand mixer I discovered that a high quality hand-held mixer would set me back around $50. You can pay more, but generally, you’re not going to get much more quality beyond that point. As far as stand mixers, You can find brand new, high quality stand mixers starting between $150-$200. With that knowledge, I decided to look at the second-hand market online.
The average price for a stand mixer, where I live, in the second hand market is $250. Upon further investigation, the most commonly offered stand mixer on the second hand market retails for $300. I saw a posting where a person was trying to sell their second-hand $300 mixer for $500! On the same website (Kijiji) a restaurant was selling their industrial quality stand mixer for $400! What’s wrong with this picture? Should anyone own a $300 stand mixer?
For the record, if someone wants to sell you their $300 stand mixer, which they likely abused, beat up, etc., for $250 that is not a good deal. Warranties exist for a reason. You’re basically paying full price minus the warranty. And you have zero reasons to trust the seller. Don’t do it. If you really need that mixer, and you cannot find a seller who understands what a fair deal is, just buy your mixer at the retail price.
For the average consumer, there are only 3 reasons to buy a $300 stand mixer: The looks, the prestige, or the add-ons you can purchase for these mixers.
It may take some searching, but you can find a stylish looking, sturdy, name-brand stand mixer for under $200. But, you won’t be able to buy add-ons for them. To be clear, $300 stand mixers come with attachments to knead bread, mix cake batter, etc., but they do not come with the attachments that make them sought after products. No, you have to spend as much as an additional $100 each for these attachments. The 2 most common are: pasta making attachments and meat grinder attachments.
With that in mind, I researched pasta makers and meat grinders. Surely, if I have to pay an additional $200 for the ability to make pasta and sausages with my stand mixer, the prices for these machines must be fairly pricey? No. If you don’t mind using hand cranked machines, you can find both for around $35. If using a hand crank is an issue, electric pasta makers can get pricey, but if you bought a $150 stand mixer, buying an electric meat grinder and an electric pasta maker would save you money.
There’s definitely a purpose for these products, otherwise, they would not exist. Smaller professional kitchens, large families that eat food made from scratch, Youtubers, people who are heavily involved in weekend community markets all would benefit from having a more expensive, durable, mixer with a significant warranty. But for most of us, let’s be honest, it’s about prestige and looks. It’s a quiet way of saying, “The mixer in my kitchen, that I only use 3 times a year, costs twice the price of the one you use every week.”
Who am I to judge? That extra $150 can’t buy a family a week’s worth of groceries in Toronto. You do you. But when it’s time to sell it, I’m not going to buy your mixer for $50 under retail. That’s all I’m saying.