A Guide to Choosing Mixers

Bakeries, pizzerias, traditional restaurants, and institutions all need to consider how much they’ll need to mix in any given batch of product as well as what they are planning on mixing to decide which mixer is best suited for the task


There are three main types of mixers available for commercial use today.




Best for:


Also called a vertical mixer, these feature an agitator with an offset shaft. The mixing bowl remains stationary.

  • Interchangeable Agitator Attachments

  • Some feature a Power Takeoff Hub (PTO) for slicing, grating, and chopping attachments

  • Can mix smaller batches with smaller bowls

  • Dough

  • Icing

  • Meringue

  • Pudding


Featuring a stationary spiral-shaped agitator, the bowl instead moves around the agitator. These don’t come with many (if any) additional agitator attachments.

  • Do not need to change the bowl when making smaller batches.

  • Large Quantities of Dough

Vertical Cutter

Features a high-powered motor, covered mixing bowl, and interior agitator. Doesn’t achieve the same level of precision as its counterparts.

  • Can perform a variety of functions and is primarily used for food preparation.

  • Fast, bulk production

  • Mixing Sauces

  • Chopping Nuts, Salads, or Breads

Sizing and Capacity

Always oversize your equipment by at least 20% because you can’t mix items thoroughly or safely if the bowl is filled to capacity. Also, consider adding capacity in case of unexpected growth in business or for peak business hours. Many machines - notably planetary mixers - allow you to utilize a smaller bowl for when the full size is not necessary.

  • Smaller Models (20 qts or less) can sit on a countertop or stand, making them a preferable choice for businesses with only small batch requirements.

  • Floor Models are typically not designed to be moved and don’t need to have the bowl lifted onto table height. These units tend to be of the larger variety.

To determine the appropriate size, you’ll need to ask yourself the following:

  • How much will you be mixing? While small restaurants may get by with a planetary mixer between 5 and 20 qts, others like bakeries and pizzerias will likely opt for a floor model of 40 qt capacity or higher.

  • What ingredients will you use? Your bowl can’t be filled to the brim and still function properly, and there are certain ingredients that work best with certain batch sizes:

    • Small Batch Sizes : Ingredients that include high flour protein content, low water temperatures, less water in the dough, and higher mixing speeds require smaller batches and, thus, smaller mixer requirements.

    • Large Batch Sizes : More oil or shortening allows for larger batch sizes. Think: frostings, puddings, etc.

Here’s a list to give you guidelines for the size batch you’re able to produce in different mixer sizes. Refer to the manufacturer's literature for each manufacturer’s recommendations, though, as these are only guidelines.

5-7 qt. mixer

20 qt. mixer

40 qt. mixer

100+ qt. mixer


2 lb

9 lb

25 lb

100 lb

Mashed Potatoes

3 lb

12 lb

30 lb

100 lb

Batter (Pancake)

2 qt

6 qt

16 qt


Bread Dough (Light)

4 lb

18 lb

45 lb

180 lb

Pasta Dough


7 lb

15 lb

100 lb

Pizza Dough (Light-Medium)


10 lb

32 lb

125 lb

Drive System

There are two main types of drive systems designed for the rigors of commercial mixer use, but there are PROS and CONS to each:

Drive System




  • Eliminates risk of drive-system slips.

  • Considered more robust to handle heavy products like dough.

  • Maintenance and repairs tend to be more expensive.


  • Cheaper to maintain and fix.

  • Typically have unlimited speed settings.

  • Risk of belt slipping, which can reduce velocity ratio in the system.

  • Belts typically need to be replaced over time.

Speed and Horsepower

Along the same lines of production output comes the ability for the mixer to change speeds and the horsepower of the machine itself to produce certain batches.

  • Speed: Many mixers allow adjustments in speed ‘on the fly’, but some force the user to turn the mixer off before changing speeds, which can be a hassle in high-volume businesses. Some have a limited three or four speeds and some infinite.

  • Horsepower: Generally, the larger the mixer, the higher the horsepower. If you plan to mix heavy batches like doughs, opt for high-horsepower mixers to ensure that it will get the job done. If you are buying a unit for a pizza shop or bread bakery, confirm that the unit is capable of sustained use in these heavy use applications.

Bowl Lift

While this option may seem secondary, there are two types of bowl lifts available for planetary mixers:

Lift Type


Best for:


Requires the user to lift the bowl via a lever or wheel or tilt the entire upper half of the mixer to allow access to the bowl.

  • Smaller Mixers

  • Small-Batch Operations


Utilizes an electronic interface and system to raise and lower the bowl.

  • Large Mixers

  • Heavy Batches

Other Features

  • Bowl Guards : These plastic or wire protectors are placed at the top rim of the bowl for protective purposes and many times are required by OSHA regulations (Standard 29CFR 1910.212).

  • Durability : What type of usage do you expect to get from your mixer? This can help determine the durability of your mixer:

    • Standard Duty: Best for lighter items such as batters, egg whites, and whipped cream but are not suited for heavier products like bread doughs.

    • Medium Duty: Can handle all of the duties of a standard mixer but can also handle light bread mixing duties as well. Just steer clear of heavier doughs.

    • Heavy Duty: If you’re a pizzeria with high volume output or a bakery that produces lots of heavy breads, then a heavy duty mixer is essential to keeping up with production.

  • Interchangeable Bowls : Mixers come with their applicable bowl size (60 qt mixer comes with a 60 qt bowl), but you can purchase an interchangeable smaller bowl for most planetary mixers as well. We recommend sticking with Stainless Steel bowls because tinned bowls lose their outer coating over time and are less durable.

  • Attachments : If you’re opting for a mixer with changeable attachments, then you’ll need to know which ones will be of most use to you. Consider using the power hub if your unit comes with one. The meat grinder, vegetable slicer, and shredder hub attachments are not covered here but we recommend buying all your parts and attachment with your mixer. The cost for aftermarket parts may be higher.



Best for:

Dough Hook

Spiral shaped and suited for doughs.

  • Pizza Dough

  • Bread Dough

Flat Beater

A wide, flat, durable attachment.

  • Batter

  • Icing

  • Cookie Dough

  • Mashed Potatoes

Wire Whip

Wire strands in an oval shape provide ultimate fine-mixing abilities but aren’t suited for heavy items.

  • Egg Whites

  • Custards

  • Puddings

  • Souffles

  • Mousse

Pastry Knife

Easily combines and cuts heavy, thick ingredients.

  • Pizza Dough

  • Pie Dough

Bowl Scraper

An attachment that continually scrapes the sides of the bowl, reducing waste and labor costs.

  • Icings

  • Batters

  • Doughs

  • Mashed Potatoes

Shop our extensive line of mixers at CKitchen.