There are two types of electric mixers, hand mixers or portable mixers and stand mixers. The primary difference between the two types is that stand mixers provide a mount or stand for the mixer while hand mixers are portable. All of the other parts of electric mixers are comparable in functionality but may vary in size with brand and purpose.
Mixers have a bowl or container. The bowl holds the mixture or solution. In an electric concrete mixer, the bowl container is a mixing drum. In electric batter mixers, the bowls often come in two sizes, small and large. These bowls are made of glass or metal.
Whisks, Beaters, or Blades
To mix the solution, batter or ingredients requires a whisk or beaters. Usually there are two beaters but some mixers have only one beater. Since the function of the beaters is to mix the batter, the beaters are not sharp like the blades found in a blender. Beaters may have a center post with outer blades or be whisk-like without a center blade. The beaters rotate at varying speeds but start out slow. A dial adjusts the speed. The higher the number on the speed dial indicates a higher rotation of the beaters. Some stand mixers may have up to 16 speeds while mixers may have up to nine speeds. The beaters on an electric concrete mixer are blades called churning blades and look like paddles.
As noted above, portable hand mixers don’t have stands. However, some stand mixers allow for the removal of the mixer from the stand to create a portable hand mixer. Most kitchen stand mixers however, have a stand, which supports the main portion of the mixer and is not removable. Instead, the mixer pivots up from the stand or has a lever to raise and lower the bowls. Mixers that pivot should also have a locking position to keep the mixer in the up position. In concrete mixers, the stand supports the mixing drum and the motor assembly.
Motor, Gear Casing and Electric Cord
The main body of a mixer includes an on/off button or switch, a handle and the speed control on a case covering the motor and gears. An electric cord supplies the means to transfer the electricity to run the motor. The motor then turns a series of gears, which turns the beaters.
Attachments provide greater functionality for mixers. A common attachment is a dough hook used to mix dough batter. Other possible attachments are a citrus juicer, can opener, slicer, pasta, ice cream bowl, blender, food processor, fruit pulper, ravioli maker, cookie/pastry press, meat grinder or sausage stuffer attachments. Attachments usually are not interchangeable between different brands of mixers.