511 of 524 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kitchen Aid vs. Sunbeam
I have a Kitchen Aid already. I got this because we had one when I was a kid and this was kind of nostalgic. There has been no significant change in the design of the Sunbeam since I was a kid, at least as far as I can remember. I don't remember the head locking either up or down, but maybe it did, I don't know. More on that later... I think you are already familiar...
Published on September 29, 2011 by ut158
34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Goods, Bads, and One Ugly
There is one thing about this mixer that I just cannot get past: The bowl moves by the one beater - designed differently than its counterpart and for this exact purpose - actually hitting the side of the bowl over and over again, making horrendous noise and making me wonder at what point stainless steel starts flaking into my food...
Before live tests, I...
Published on September 2, 2011 by MussSyke
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511 of 524 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kitchen Aid vs. Sunbeam,
Round 1: overall mixing ability
Today I was trying to make banana bread. First I have to cream some butter with eggs and sugar. After this was complete, I threw in some bananas and had the mixer mash them up. It appears that when you have semi-solid things (like butter or bananas) that you are trying to incorporate into a batter, the free-spinning bowl tends to spin the item right up to the beater, but then at first it doesn't want to go any further. After doing a little convincing, the beaters just buzz right through it and the bowl spins around until it reaches the obstacle again. This time there is less resistance and better mixing. On the 3rd go around, it's even better, and so on. I've made this same recipe dozens of times on the Kitchen Aid and this process goes a little faster and with less intervention. Don't get me wrong--the Sunbeam does just fine with this sort of task, it's just that the Kitchen Aid does it better. I'm going to say that Kitchen Aid is the clear winner here.
WINNER: Kitchen Aid.
Round 2: bowl scraping
Both mixers are very good at getting right up next to the edge of the bowl so that minimal bowl scraping is required, however neither is perfect and both will need a scrape or two during your food prep (NOTE: for either model, the paddles should not actually touch the bowl. If they are, you need to make an adjustment). You cannot scrape the Kitchen Aid bowel while it is running (well, at least not without a very high risk of damaging your mixer, the spoon and/or your hand). The Sunbeam, however, allows you to not only easily scrape the bowl while it is on, but it will even spin the bowl for you so you can just stick a rubber spatula in and hold it in place and the mixer will (sometimes) do the rest for you. I was even able to hold the spatula up to the beaters and thus wipe the spatula clean while it was on. NOTE: the very center of the bowl may sometimes appear to need a good scraping during mixing, but if you just adjust the bowl position using the bowl size lever, it will take care of it for you. It's manual, but easy. This is only sometimes necessary and I suspect if I ignored the problem, the mixer would eventually get everything in the middle, anyway.
Round 3: power
I'm afraid I haven't exercised to its full ability yet, but trying to run bread dough through 2 hooks feels a little awkward. I have made bread in this (and it came out great) but it sure sounded like it was struggling. On the other hand, the Kitchen Aid boasts a lot of power... HOWEVER, it has an intentionally engineered weak point--a gear that will break if it sees too much of a load. I've had to replace this gear twice on my Kitchen Aid. It costs about $100 to have a pro replace the gear for you, or if you are not too timid to open up the device and get grease all over, you can do it yourself for about $10-$20. Let's just say I'm not terribly impressed with the whole "power" aspect of Kitchen Aid's offering.
Round 4: ease of use
* Both are very easy to use, although if you have ever tried to add ingredients to a Kitchen Aid while it is on, you know that you need some sort of device to assist, or you will make quite a mess. That isn't a problem with the Sunbeam--there's plenty of room on one side of the bowl to add whatever you need.
* On the other hand, the head-locking mechanism on the Sunbeam is a little awkward. One of my Kitchen Aids is a tilt head (like the Sunbeam) and the other is a bowl lift mechanism. The tilting Kitchen Aid's head is much easier to deal with than the Sunbeam because it locks down with a simple lever and then there is no need to lock at the top. The Sunbeam, by contrast, has a button you have to press to lift and then press again to lower and it's awkward to press in either case. I much prefer the Kitchen Aid's approach here.
* The Kitchen Aid has a handle on the bowl that makes it MUCH easier to hold while scraping. The Sunbeam cannot have a handle since the bowl spins.
* Some of the Kitchen Aid models come with implements that are not dishwasher safe (My Artisan series implements are all dishwasher safe, but my pro-series model made it very clear that I should not be putting it in the dishwasher--if I wanted to wash in the dishwasher, I should buy the coated version. That was a turn off!). All of the Sunbeam's implements ARE dishwasher safe (no extra purchases required).
I think that adding ingredients during mixing and easy clean up are of greater importance than holding the bowl or putting it in place, so I'll say the Sunbeam wins, but only by a little.
Round 5: versatility
The Kitchen Aid has the ability to use dozens of attachments. The Sunbeam just mixes. I only use my Kitchen Aid for mixing, so it's a draw for me, but if I wanted to do more, I could, but only with the Kitchen Aid
WINNER: Kitchen Aid
Round 6: aesthetics, overall impression
This has a lot more to do with personal preference than the other categories, but here's what I'm considering...
a) Volume/loudness. Neither mixer is terribly loud. The Sunbeam may be slightly quieter... maybe?
b) Size/Weight. The Sunbeam is lighter than it looks. My wife hates hefting the Kitchen Aid around, so for her, this is a win for the Sunbeam. For others, the weight gives an impression of quality, so it's a win for the Kitchen Aid. Once again, this is preference. Both take up comparable amounts of space.
So that's 2 wins for Kitchen Aid, 2 wins for Sunbeam, and 2 draws. To me, the most important category is "Round 1: overall mixing ability" and Kitchen Aid wins that one, so if I had to choose between a Kitchen Aid and a Sunbeam and all other factors (such as price) were the same, I'd go with the Kitchen Aid every time. HOWEVER, the fact of the matter is that the Kitchen Aid is roughly 2x-3x the price of the Sunbeam and if I had to live the rest of my life with just the Sunbeam, I could be perfectly happy. If cost is an issue for you, and if you don't want to use any fancy attachments, I'd recommend the Sunbeam. If you have money to throw around, the Kitchen Aid may be a better appliance. Either one will serve you well.
95 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great looking, hard-working, and virtually mess-free,
I love the 4.6 quart stainless steel bowl with its steep, almost straight sides since it gives me so much depth for mixing and keeps virtually all the splatters within the bowl. With my handheld mixer and more rounded mixing bowls I would inevitably end up with batter on myself, the mixer, and even the counter around where I was working. Now, that just doesn't happen. Although this is a much bigger and heavier mixer, it's actually more convenient to use. I've been storing it on top of my refrigerator (as opposed to in a case in a cupboard), and it's a snap to bring down, put in the color coded beaters or hooks, and start mixing. Even better, the clean-up takes no time at all since the only things dirty now are the beaters and the bowl. Further, these beaters can go in the dishwasher, which I've read some beaters of more expensive stand mixers cannot.
As far as power goes, the mixer has plenty but is not too loud. The dough hooks worked great on the Bob's Red Mill whole wheat bread I mixed and made the eight to ten minutes of required kneading no trouble. I did wonder if the mixer's kneading was comparable to hand kneading and if I should adjust the time, but ended up kneading for about nine minutes, and the bread rose perfectly. The mixer had no trouble with one large loaf, and I think it could have readily handled two.
So what about drawbacks? I think the button to raise the head is somewaht inconveniently located on the shaft of the mixer and would like it if it were up on the head. Also, it would be nice if the head could be set at different distances from the bowl since at times it seemed either too close or a bit too far away. Further, the instruction/recipe booklet is only so-so and could be greatly improved with more interesting, varied, and health-minded recipes, plus tips on how to use the mixer. I was disappointed there wasn't a single recipe for bread, let alone whole grain bread, and very little on how to use the mixer for various tasks. I've found it's taking me a while to learn how to use it well, getting the bowl to turn with different contents, and I think some instruction, coupled with recipes and recommendations from skilled users, would make make a great addition. The mixer does not come with a small bowl, for example, and that made it awkward to use the first time I tried to make frosting. The second time I tried using a smaller bowl of my own, and it actually worked! I also have discovered I can mix with the head up and use it more like a hand mixer if I want. Having all these tricks explained from the get-go would be a real asset.
I can't really compare this to other stand mixers or the Kitchen Aide products but would advise buyers to approach mixer reviews on consumer sites with caution. I've read through dozens of them and think many are plants both for and against this product (in other colors) and its competitors, and that they often raise `straw man' arguments. For example, one reviewer for this product in another color said it was messy to use, and that seems almost impossible in my experience. Another said the unit lacked mixing power for something easy like cookies, and I also find that very hard to believe. If a reviewer has written nothing but one mixer review here at Amazon, for example, I'd question his or her motivation; when a product has dozens of those one-review reviewers, I'd suspect an orchestrated campaign.
Although this is neither the least expensive nor the most expensive of stand mixers, it's much more versatile than my hand mixer, attractive, well-built seeming, and overall a pleasure to use. I think it would be great if you could try both a less expensive and a more expensive model before buying, but if you can't this seems like a fine looking, dependable option that's sturdier than the cheaper ones and more affordable than the costlier ones. The deep red and stainless steel look gorgeous together, and the vintage styling is terrific in a modern, 'midcentury' kitchen. Four and a half stars since it could use a better instruction book and information on buying other attachments and a smaller bowl.
46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight, and easy to use,
I have recently bought the smaller bowl for this and it is the perfect size for me. Small stainless steel bowl for Sunbeam Heritage mixers.The bowl that came with the mixer is the biggest I would use, especially for home use. The smaller bowl is perfect for smaller projects. My husband is in the army, so when he is deployed it is just me and my daughter, so most of the stuff that I would use the mixer would be for small amounts.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, except for bread,
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This review is from: Sunbeam FPSBSM2103 Heritage Series 350-Watt Stand Mixer, Silver (Kitchen)I grew up with a Sunbeam and have always liked them. When I got married, I "upgraded" to a Kitchen Aid, which I despised. It was so cute, but it left a 1" thick layer of dough/batter etc. around the entire edge of the bowl that the one beater wouldn't pull in. You also couldn't scrape the sides while the beater was going because of the bowl being so tall and narrow, so in order to get to that ring of unmixed stuff, you had to stop the mixer, pull up the head, push the dough down to the center, and turn it back on. Four rotations later, it was pushed back to the edge of the bowl, again unreachable by the beater. I DO NOT recommend a Kitchen-Aid to anyone who actually wishes to mix anything!! I'm an avid baker and use my mixer a lot, so I cannot believe Kitchen Aids are so popular! The one thing it's supposed to do--mix your ingredients well--it couldn't do. I couldn't wait to sell mine and get something else.
Once I finally got rid of my Kitchen Aid, I wanted something attractive, powerful, and that would get ALL the mix off the sides of the bowl. I discarded any one-beater mixers because of my bad experience with Kitchen Aids. First I tried the Brylane Home 2-beater mixer. WAY too loud and powerful with no low speeds, only high, higher, and hurricane. So I finally crossed my fingers and ordered the Sunbeam (new and improved from my old 80's version) and hoped that the few negative reviews wouldn't make me regret it.
I'm happy to say, I like it a lot! It is a great mixer. It has all the power I need for even thick cookie doughs, and it whips cream very fast. I like that you can adjust the bowl to be in the center or the edge (I mostly keep it at the edge), and that the beaters start up slowly to keep splash to a minimum. This model doesn't have a self-propelling motor, and I'm glad! I like to move my bowl back and forward as it turns, which really helps mix that little spot in the center that seems to avoid the beaters if you just let the bowl turn by itself. Once you push the bowl the opposite way, all that missed stuff in the middle is quickly incorporated. Plus, this mixer gets everything on the sides down to about the last 1/8" of stuff. And you can easily scrape the sides as you mix with the beaters set to the side of the bowl, so you don't have to stop the mixer to scrape.
My one BIG disapopintment about this mixer is how poorly it does at making bread. My recipes call for leaving the mixer to knead the dough for 5-7 minutes. HA HA! This mixer just doesn't have the weight or strength to mix the dough unattended. It jumps all over the counter and would be on the floor in 30 seconds if I didn't forceably hold it down! This would have been enough for me to return this mixer if I had discovered how bad it was at bread in time, but I was on a low carb diet for the first 2 months after I got it and missed the return window. :(
That being said, I still like this mixer a lot. I don't make bread as much as I used to (those dang carbs!), and for everything else it is wonderful--frosting, cookies, cake batter, whipped cream, etc.--they all mix up beautifully. But if you are a big bread maker, this is NOT the mixer for you. You'll get a good arm workout holding your mixer down, but you cannot leave it unattended while it kneads.
p.s. It is also a big disappointment so me, Sunbeam, that the mixer doesn't come with a small bowl! I couldn't even find one to buy. My old Sunbeam came with the smaller bowl, which is so handy for making a cake and then making frosting without having to rewash the big bowl, or for whipping a small amount of whipped cream, or making a half-batch of cookie dough. Shame on you for cheaping out on that smaller bowl!
* 10/17/12: Edited to add: Sunbeam does now make the smaller bowl! You have to buy it separately, but it's only $20 on Amazon. I think at this mixer's price point, it should be included, but at least there is the option to buy it now. Thanks to those who linked me to the bowl!*
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good stand mixer,
I will start with the cons first since it is really short: Sunbeam cannot take a dozen different kind of attachments and so it is only good at mixing. So if you are planning to make fresh pasta or squeeze juice with one appliance only, then don't get Sunbeam.
Now to the pros. In short, Sunbeam is actually a very good mixer. Out of the box, it's literally a 12-speed mixer mounted on a stand, the oh-so-standard beaters and dough hooks, and a large 4.6 qt mixing bowl. The setup is straightforward, and I don't think I ever read the manual. I cannot comment on the longevity of the 350W motor yet, but it has been working for well over a year now, during which we've been through some relatively hard cookie dough several times. Let's just say that Sunbeam is definitely doing well in the power department.
What impressed me more, however, is the simplicity and the effectiveness of the bowl scrapping capability. Many of us know the complicated motions in a KitchenAid in which the beater does all the movement. In Sunbeam, the beater is fixed and the bowl rotates around its center. The trick is that you get to offset the bowl's center (see the picture in Amazon's description). Thus, as the bowl rotates, the beaters will be scraping the sides for you. More importantly, it opens up some space diametrically opposite of the beaters for you to insert your own spatula to get the rest (there is always some, which is true even in KitchenAid). The mechanism is so simple, and you can't make a mistake of destroying anything in the process. This compares very favorably to KitchenAid in my mind.
Overall, I am surprised that I missed the unique design offered by Sunbeam for so many years. Really, if you need a mixer and a mixer only, give Sunbeam a chance.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great first mixer,
This review is from: Sunbeam FPSBSM2101 Heritage Series 350-Watt Stand Mixer, White (Kitchen)I have an older version of the Heritage series Sunbeam mixer. It was the perfect purchase for me at the time I bought it 4 years ago. I was newly married, and wasn't quite sure how often I would use a stand mixer. If you are debating like I was if you should make the leap to Kitchenaid, think about your needs first. I used this mixer a few times a year at first for cookie dough, and it did great. The last year or so I've really tried to up the ante on my cooking/baking skills, and debated for awhile if I should upgrade. I've read lots of reviews and it sounds like a lot of people were in my position for trying to decide if the leap to a more expensive mixer would be worth it. I also tried making some dough for pretzel bites, and I decided it was time for me to upgrade after that. The mixer didn't sound well, like it was really struggling. It struggled to mix the dough and the bowl had a hard time spinning. I used it afterwards to make some cookie dough and it worked fine, so I think it might just struggle with thicker dough.
Bottom line - if you are an occasional baker or are just looking to make mixing things like cookie dough a lot easier, this will be perfect for you and your culinary adventures! I enjoyed it the four years I had it, and am only now ready for the next step. I decided to upgrade to an Artisan series Kitchenaid because I think I will be calling on my mixer more often for heavier dough, and for other tasks so I like the versatility of the Kitchenaid attachments.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine basic mixer perfect for light batters,
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine for the price but...,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sunbeam FPSBSM2103 Heritage Series 350-Watt Stand Mixer, Silver (Kitchen)I purchased this so that I could make bread more easily. I've been using a pastry blender (manual) to mix some of the dough before making it by hand. I thought it would be easier to get a stand mixer for those larger projects that require a stiff dough such as wheat bread.
I paid considerably less for this through Amazon (new and in packaging for $65!) and I figure that would be worth the price. I was right. This isn't the most perfect machine but it works fairly well.
Noise - it is MUCH more quiet than a hand mixer. I saw some people complain about the noise or about the pieces clanging up against the bowl but that is not at all the case with mine.
I did take the advice of another reviewer and change the bowl setting to make sure it was set to the large bowl setting before starting. If you find that this is a problem, check that setting.
I give the noise factor an A+
Power - this product definitely holds its weight in this department, although with a stiff dough, the bowl can shake a little, as can the whole mixer. I wish it had giant suction cups like my large food processor but the ease of use made it okay.
Power grade - B
Mixing ability - I did have to mix a dough of french bread for a bit longer than I anticipated (about 15 minutes of mixing/kneading, but it's 6 cups of flour) and it did not get all of the flour/dough from the middle/bottom of the bowl incorporated into the large portion of the dough. I took the majority of the dough out of the mixing bowl and was able to pick up the remaining flour/dough from the bottom of the bowl. I had to knead those two by hand to incorporate it and then put it back into the mixer for it to knead together. It was still far easier than mixing by hand and probably took about a quarter of the time. Since the dough was only really in two pieces, it was not THAT big of a deal but I was a little disappointed. I'd give it a B-
Maybe it would do better with a smaller amount of dough or a different recipe. This one was pretty stiff and a lot more flour than I've ever had to use before. I have been unable to incorporate full amounts of flour in any recipe by hand and this definitely did the trick, minus the small snafu.
Off-set bowl - I like this feature very much. I was able to easily put in more flour and other ingredients with ease. The only down side is that when you add ANYTHING to a spinning mixer, there is going to be some splatter. The steep sides of the bowl help reduce this but I would recommend a bowl guard for anyone who wants to do this regularly or with large projects.
I'm giving the off-set bowl an A, since it's normal splatter (or less than most mixers) and an extremely easy feature.
For the person who said that the tilt button and eject button were not convenient, I am not sure what the issue there is. The buttons are easily marked and function well. It would be nice if the tilt adjustment was on the top of the mixer but that's pretty minor. Since the mixer should be OFF when you tilt or change attachments, the placement of the button isn't that big of a deal - and it stays in place when tilted.
Overall, I give it a B. It does what it says it will, with some minor imperfections, but for the price (far cheaper than a kitchen aid) it is well worth it.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Durable, powerful stand mixer,
It's easy enough to operate that we didn't need the instruction manual to get started mixing a batch of flourless chocolate cake. The 19 different mixing settings allow you to vary the speed and power of your mixing very precisely so you can whip just the exact amount of air into your eggs. You can vary how off-center the bowl is, and if you get it right, you barely have to touch it - the contents of the bowl will mix itself and clean the sides. And cleanup is simple - press one button to lean back the head of the unit; press another button to pop out the dishwasher safe beaters; and just lift off the thin-walled but very strong stainless bowl. There are not many nooks, crannies and crevices to catch wet flour or dough and the controls are few in number and fairly well sealed as well.
I appreciated that the unit was lightweight but also very stable, and not prone to move on even a wet marble counter. The cord is a bit short - maybe a hair shy of 5 feet - but would be OK on most kitchen counters. And it really doesn't take up much room so you may end up storing it under a cabinet.
Our model was deep red in color, a very beautiful Christmas red that we think is quite handsome. In fact as I think of it I can't identify any negatives or shortcomings, nor can my wife. We'd recommend it for anyone who wants a stand mixer to use and who can do without the KitchenAid logo and the panoply of KitchenAid designer colors.
34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Goods, Bads, and One Ugly,
Before live tests, I thought that the bowl was actually to be turned by hand, which I thought was pretty cheap, but functional, then I realized that it was supposed to turn by the beater constantly hitting it. It even says in the manual something like 'the bowl speed increases as the motor speed increases'; I don't know if they just hope that nobody notices or what. That said, you CAN turn the bowl by hand if you wish. However, doing something with a very small quantity - like whipping a half cup of creme - doesn't work too well in that case. Of course, a Kitchen Aid mixer doesn't really like to do a half cup of creme, either.
The power cord comes out of the base, which seems less awkward than the Kitchen Aid. However, since they provided a protected pathway from the base to the top where the motor is, why not redistribute some of that power back to turn the base properly?
Speaking of Kitchen Aid mixers: I know it is tempting to make that your comparison point, but force yourself not to - they're really not comparable. The KA is much more expensive and has other features past mixing. The Sunbeam is really a hand mixer that you don't have to hold. So let's compare it to a hand mixer, and see if the extra cost is worth it (assume a similar hand mixer is $40-$50).
This whole unit is much lighter than expected: it should be quite easy to move from cabinet to counter or vice versa. The handle also helps. The head locks back or locks front, with a release button needed to be pushed to get it out of either position. The bowl does not lock on the base, despite the fact that the rubber on bottom of the bowl looks to be "keyed".
The mixers and dough hooks are color coded so you put the rounded one on the left and the more square one on the right, but they are not keyed differently; they should be to avoid accidents.
The speed control is also labeled "folding", "mixing", "light mixing", etc., unlike the KA (there I go with more comparisons...)
It is a pretty good looking machine, although some trim and handles are plastic instead of metal. There appear to be a couple fastener covers that are a slightly different shade of red, but not too easily noticed.
This is a good machine if you do a lot of baking, and don't need the added benefits of a very robust, attachment-ready stand mixer. If you want the functionality of a hand mixer, but want to free up your hands, this might be a good - considerably cheaper option. I'd probably give it four stars, even if the bowl was meant to be turned by hand, but something about the bowl turning by a "paddlin'" just doesn't sit right with me.
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