What Type of Commercial Mixer Should You Purchase for Your Business?

There are a variety of commercial mixers on the market today, so it's important to consider all your options before committing to a purchase.

By Kinnek Knowledge Team  |  June 09, 2018

Commercial mixers are a necessity in commercial kitchens and food processing setups that involve dough, from pizza dough to cake batter.  In today’s market, however, businesses have a broad range of commercial mixers to choose between — given the diversity of commercial mixer options offered by vendors, it can be rather challenging to select the right machine for your particular needs.

In the commercial mixer category, each machine (offered by a vendor) can vary quite substantially in a number of different ways: materials, function, size, motor strength, and feature-set, among others.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the basic factors separating commercial mixers from one another, and how these factors might influence your purchasing decision.

Planetary Mixers vs. Spiral Mixers

Commercial mixers can be divided into two main design categories: planetary mixers and spiral mixers.

Planetary Mixers

Planetary mixers have a stationary mixing bowl (non-rotating) attached to the central base of the machine.  Depending on the machine, the agitator is either lowered into the mixing bowl, or the mixing bowl is raised up into range of the agitator, which circles around the inside of the mixing bowl, giving the impression of an “orbit.”  The agitator itself may feature a number of different attachments, such as a whip, or multi-pronged blades or various paddles, and further.  These attachments may be removed and substituted at-will, giving planetary mixers a great deal of versatility when it comes to production functionality.

As a general rule, planetary mixers are best used for in-house production in smaller facilities — such as bakery retail — where the added versatility of the machine gives businesses more flexibility with regard to using the mixer to produce a diverse set of food items.  For example, a pizzeria that also makes pastries in-house would benefit from a planetary mixer that has a pizza dough attachment (and various pastry attachments, such as a whip for meringues).


Spiral Mixers

Spiral mixers — unlike planetary mixers — do not feature agitator attachments that allow for a broader functionality.  Instead, spiral mixers utilize a “spiral” hook attachment, and are designed exclusively for the purpose of mixing dough.  Depending on the programmability of the spiral mixer at-issue, however, its non-interchangeable agitator attachment can be used for mixing a variety of doughs.

Spiral mixers work by maintaining a stationary agitator.  The mixing bowl itself rotates around the agitator, and this vertical-action may be manipulated to play with the temperature of the dough.  Though not always, the design of spiral mixers allows for a greater volume of dough to be kneaded at a given time.

Generally speaking, spiral mixers are a better choice for food manufacturers (and a subset of food retailers) who have very specific production needs.  Those who require a high volume of production, and do not need the versatility of a planetary mixer and its various agitator attachments, will likely find that a spiral mixer is a superior option.

Safety and Efficiency — Optional Features

Commercial mixer manufacturers (and certain vendors) may allow for unique customization options that improve the safety and production efficiency of the mixer.

Optional add-ons include, but are not necessarily limited, to:

•  Automated bowl scraping

•  Safety-oriented chute for adding ingredients

•  Locking mechanisms for improving bowl stability

•  Bowl cage to prevent injury to limbs during mixing

•  And more

When shopping for a commercial mixer, make absolutely sure that you compare the “optional features” and “add-ons” with other vendor offerings.  Some vendors will undercut the competition by including certain features free-of-charge.

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