Commercial mixers are available in three main styles: planetary, spiral, or vertical cutter. Once we determine if a mixer we need is a planetary, spiral, or vertical cutter mixer, we then have to determine where it is going to sit in the commercial kitchen. The options are either the bench mixer, floor mixer or the smaller stand mixer. Let’s explore and define all of these mixers.
The mixer type is defined by how the mixing occurs. If the agitator of the mixer is the actual moving part and the mixing bowl stays in one place, the mixer is a planetary mixer. If the agitator stays in one place and the mixing bowl moves, this is a spiral mixer. Vertical cutter mixers are different from both of these, as the agitator is internal.
When shopping for a commercial mixer, it is important to understand the way your mixer will primarily be used. Planetary mixers are well suited for doughs, puddings, mashed potatoes, whipped cream and those sorts of tasks. Planetary mixers are good mixers for small to medium size jobs, creating a uniform mix without pockets of unmixed products or air. Larger dough jobs like pizza dough, should be handled by spiral mixers. The spiral mixer is the favorite of pizza kitchens and bakeries alike. It is intended for large batches of dough and is often initially equipped with a fixed-position dough hook. Vertical cutter mixers are usually found in restaurants, supermarkets, and industrial or commercial kitchens that are combining ingredients for bulk situations. The mixer is designed to cut and mix dozens of pounds of ingredients at a time. This makes them great for creating batters, chopping sausage, potatoes, or mixing bread dough.
Floor vs. Bench
The true definition behind a floor model versus a bench model is simply size. Floor models have the ability to mix larger amounts at once and are considered for large batches. Bench models are for small to medium sized batches and can rest either on a countertop or a mixer table. Planetary or spiral mixers can fit into either of these categories.
How big of a mixer do I need?
The mixer is a complicated purchase, but not just for the understanding of the special position it will require in your kitchen. The determination is made on the types of items you are mixing, as well as the amount. Can your items be mixed in small batches or large? Are the items you are mixing for sauces or thick batters or doughs? Do you need to chop items or simply fold in the next ingredient? When choosing a mixer, consider how full your mixing bowl will be. Does it have room for all the flour you need? Just because the bowl is a 20 quart bowl does not mean you should put 20 quarts of ingredients in it. Always go one step larger in capacity than your recipes call for. Once you determine how much you will be mixing, then determine the types of ingredients you are mixing. Large batch heavy pizza dough calls for heavy duty floor spiral mixers, but if you are mixing pizza sauce only, you can get the job done with a standard duty bench planetary mixer.
Top Commercial Mixer Brands
Truly the top brands in commercial mixing are Hobart, Globe and Univex. Each manufacture planetary and spiral mixers with multiple sizes and speeds. Each carries a line of commercial mixer accessories for their products as well.