Planetary Vs. Spiral Mixers: How To Select The Right One For The Job

Do you struggle with finding the perfect mixer for your small or large catering event? Here are three tips to help you decide.

There are two types of mixers: spiral and planetary. They accomplish the same task, but in different ways that make them ideal for different tasks.

A spiral mixer is typically used when food is being mixed with hot liquids like milk, water, juices and stir-fried sauces. The spirals on the blades of the mixer continually expose a new section of blade to mix with the food as it rotates which helps to prevent hot liquids and foods from burning.

A planetary mixer is typically used to mix dry ingredients together, or dry and wet. The planetary motion ensures that no two adjacent ingredients are in contact while being mixed, which helps keep them dry.

So how do you decide on which mixer is right for the job?

1) Assess Your Equipment Needs: For example, if you’re mixing chocolate ganache that needs to be smooth and fluffy, you can use either a spiral mixer or planetary mixer. If you’re using a spiral mixer to mix heavy ingredients like dry cake mix, you’ll want a planetary mixer. Spiral mixers are typically more efficient for small portions of food, such as bar cookies and smaller baked goods. Planetary mixers are typically more efficient for large amounts of food, such as cakes for a wedding and catered events.

2) Determine How Much Food You’ll Be Mixing: If you’re interested in making a lot of muffins, you might want to invest in a spiral mixer that has two attachments with larger diameter holes than one that has only one attachment. This will allow the muffins to be mixed evenly with less waste.

3) Figure Out How Much You’ll Be Preparing in Advance: If you want to mix a large batch of home made barbecue sauce, you might want to use a spiral mixer so that you don’t have to get out another tool halfway through the process. If you’ve got time for the sauce to cool before bringing it to an event, you can use a planetary mixer.

4) Decide on the Consistency: Are you looking for an even texture with no large clumps? A planetary mixer is probably what you need. If you’re looking for slightly lumpy texture, then either will work well. In this case, it will come down to personal preference – a planetary mixer is better for slightly lumpier texture.

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5) Include Smaller Ingredients That Require Mixing: For example, if you’re using a power mixer to mix together cake batter, then liquid ingredients should not be mixed in with the batter until the finished product is ready for use. If you do end up with too much batter and don’t use it all at once, you can save it in an airtight container and add more later. Consider this method when preparing large amounts of baked goods.

6) Consider Necessary Power: Are you using a power mixer or hand mixer?

If you need to mix a large quantity of food, you’ll want to look at mixers with 1-3 peak HP and a large-capacity tank. The larger the tank, the more volume it can handle before needing to be drained. Some smaller tanks can be emptied and cleaned as needed, or they might have an attached drain. However, large capacity tanks are typically easier to clean because there is ample space for all of the food particles inside to fall out. If you’re making smaller quantities of batter ingredients for example, then it might make more sense for your needs that only small volume batches will be used at one time.

7) Consider Additional Features: Consider attachments for spiral mixers, such as a steel blade, dough hook or scraper. A dough hook is great for making bread making and ice cream. Scraper blades will help prevent your ingredients from clumping together.

8) Consider Cost: Are you looking to buy used equipment or a new one? If you’re going to be washing the mixer a number of times, such as when making large batches of barbecue sauce, then you’ll want to consider buying a model that has a solid base and doesn’t have any moving parts with high wear (such as the motor). These models are typically more expensive because they’re not meant to be continuously washed. However, they’re typically more durable. If you’re looking to save money, then you’ll probably want to buy a lower end model that can be washed more times with less wear and tear.

9) Consider Your Budget and Your Event: If you’re making a large batch of bread batter, it might be wise to opt for a larger mixer (larger capacity tank and/or more power) than needed to help ensure that you have enough capacity.

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10) Consider the Overall Budget: Considering the average cost of two dozen cupcakes for a wedding and the average rental cost for an S-2000 planetary mixer (manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $2,700), it’s not really worth investing in other higher end features. In this case, the greater investment will be in buying food that requires less prep work.

The mixer you use will depend on your needs. You can also find a used S-2000 planetary mixer that can be found on Trade Me, Craigslist or local classifieds. Before buying, make sure to consider the overall cost and determine whether you’d prefer to purchase and install it yourself. Our team of experts at Kondinin Bros. Inc., an equipment distributor in Canada, will be happy to answer any questions you may have about mixers or any other equipment you need for your business.

Kondinin Bros. Inc., a distributor of industrial equipment and food service equipment, also offers rental equipment for businesses, restaurants and caterers. They are experts when it comes to planning a range of kitchen processes, from commercial dishwashers to complete cafeteria systems. The company is based in Burlington, Ontario, Canada but they ship both across Canada and internationally. Contact them at 1-866-721-0668 or visit their website at www.kondininbros.com to learn more about the full line of products offered by Kondinin Bros.

What do you use a planetary mixer for?

I use a planetary mixer to make homemade pizza dough. The dough comes out perfect every time and the consistency is just right. I have also used a planetary mixer to make bread, brownies and other things, but it’s not as common of a use.

What do you use a hand mixer for?

I use my hand mixer to mix cake batters, confectioner’s sugar, cookie dough and some other recipes that require texture work. I also use my hand mixer to beat eggs in when making custard or pudding recipes.

What do you use a power mixer for?

We use our powered mixer for mixing cake batter and cookie dough, but we also use it for mixing eggs together when making different kinds of egg-based recipes. I would never think of using a manned hand mixer to mix eggs because that would be incredibly difficult and time consuming! We also use the power mixer to mix up pancake batter with ease. It’s a pretty nifty device.

What do you use a stand alone mixer for?

I use my stand alone mixer when I am using larger quantities of ingredients (over 2 cups) at one time. Handle some larger quantities of ingredients so that you don’t have to mix them too much and risk creating a mound of lumps.

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Does mixing by hand take any extra time?

A lot of people think that they can save time by just mixing it by hand. It doesn’t, as long as you are patient and use the right amount of ingredients. Hand mixing is completely different from using a mixer because you don’t have the motor to help drive the process along.

How do I choose a planetary mixer?

When choosing a planetary mixer, you’ll want to consider how large the tank is and how much volume it can handle. Consider if an attached drain is available and if the container is made from stainless steel or other materials.

Why should I choose a planetary mixer instead of a spiral mixer?

Some people choose to buy a planetary mixer over a spiral mixer because they can handle jar sizes and capacities that spiral mixers simply cannot match. Planetary mixers are used by professional cooks and bakers for this reason. They should be treated as commercial grade equipment.

What does spiral mixing do?

Spiral mixing is often used on large batches of ingredients when preparing recipes like bread dough, cake batter, pancake batter and more. It can help you to create consistent, beautiful results every time.

What does planetary mixing do?

Planetary mixing is often used for smaller batches of ingredients when preparing recipes like bread dough, cake batters, and more. It helps you to mix the ingredients perfectly every time. Overall, it’s a must have piece of equipment in your food service kitchen!


If you thought the world of mixers was full of mysteries, think again! It all comes down to how much you can afford and how much you need your equipment to do. For example, if you want to make a large batch of chocolate chip cookies and the recipe calls for a total of 10 cups of ingredients but only has 5 cups in your mixer’s container, then it’s just as simple as taking out 5 cups from your mixer’s tank and placing them back in your mixing bowl. This process will work for any other type of mixing bowl and size as well. Again, it all comes down to how much capacity your mixer has.