When it comes to home-oriented stand mixers, power often ends up mattering more than most would suppose. While a hand-held mixer suffices for many common kitchen tasks, there comes a time when only a beefier, more permanent stand mixer will live up to what is asked of it. When that moment arrives, many amateur chefs pick up something on the low end of the scale, supposing that will be all that is needed to take care of their occasional requirements of this kind.

That outlook often turns out to be shortsighted, though. While an economical stand mixer might suffice for whipping up a quick, small batch of cake batter, it will not be able to do many of the things that a more capable model might. More often than not, deficits of that sort can be traced back to a lack of power.

In fact, online reviews of stand mixers that are produced by experienced home cooks often put this point front and center. Those who read the full review of a unit from a respected company that nonetheless get a middling score will very often find that the reviewer was disappointed in the device’s power. Problems of this kind manifest themselves in any of a number of ways, all of which will limit the basic usefulness of the mixer.

While an under-powered mixer, for example, might be okay for bringing together thin sauces and other watery mixes, it will never extend much beyond such relatively simple work. A mixer that lacks power will not be useful for mixing and kneading dough, for example, with glutinous flour being simply too much for it to handle. It will also never be able to handle the kinds of advanced tasks, like grinding meat, that high-end mixers often have special attachments for tackling.

A mixer with relatively little in the way of power, then, is a limited one. It can sometimes make sense to invest a small amount of money in a device of this class that will only be used rarely. On the other hand, many home cooks who plan to be active in the kitchen for a while to come might be better off saving up for a better mixer.