Cuisinart Precision Master Stand Mixer Review SM-50
Review: Cuisinart Precision Master Mixer
By Chef Austin
If you're going to investyour hard-earned money on a new mixer, you'll want one that will perfectly perform all of the tasks you ask of it, for years to come. However, not all mixers are created equally. Some mixers are better at kneading doughs, some mixers also transform into a multi-use appliance. At Everything Kitchens, we rigorously tested our top-selling mixers to find the perfect match for every cooking style. We literally got out our stopwatches and figuratively went through these mixers with a fine-tooth comb to see where each excels and where each could do better.
Best For: People wanting a mixer lighter than a KitchenAid - say, more than 10 pounds lighter. The Cuisinart Precision Mixer SM-50 has a nice built-in cord-storage feature as well. This Cuisinart will do the average-size mixing and kneading loads, but not as effectively as other mixers. Cuisinart does offer some basic attachments to expand the usefulness of this mixer.
Lightweight Tilt-Head Mixer - The Cuisinart SM-50 weighs a mere 16.5 pounds, almost 10 pounds less than the KitchenAid Artisan, so it's easy to move, lift and store
Easy Control Dial - The speed-control dial has a slick blue LED-illuminated ring when powered on and has a nice audible "click" when changing speeds
No Smooth Moves - The Cuisinart displayed a tendency to unevenly mix and knead doughs
Too 'Hands-On' - We had to manually adjust the height of the tilt-head before it could fully mix anything
Can't Stand Still - Lightweight design allows the mixer to bounce around when mixing at medium to high speeds
Design & Construction
Cuisinart has an all-metal design but weighs 10 pounds lighter than the KitchenAid Artisan mixer - you can easily store it when not in use. The Cuisinart is a tilt-head style mixer where the motor head tilts up and down. The locking mechanism on the back side pushes down easily to release the tilt head up so you can add a mixing attachment and load in the stainless steel bowl. The tilt head locks in both positions, raised and lowered, so the mixer head will not fall down accidentally while in the raised position. Simply press the release lever again to lower the tilt head when you're ready to start mixing.
Ooh shiny... The dial has nice labels to let you know proper mixing speeds for each mixing tool.
On the neck of the mixer, you'll find the speed control dial. When the mixer is in use, a blue LED illuminated ring will light up to indicate the mixer is running. The speed control dial clicks at intervals and features a nice slow start feature so you don't blast flour all over the counter by selecting too high of a speed at once.
"One port to rule them all." The port cover is magnetic, making it easy to remove and put back on.
On the front of the tilt head, there is a removable cover that reveals the Attachment Port. This is used for optional accessories from Cuisinart to turn your mixer into a meat grinder or pasta roller.
Cuisinart includes all the tools you need to for all your basic mixing tasks: the flat mixing paddle, dough hook, and chef's whisk.
The gangs all here! These attachments are on the lighter side to match the light weight of the mixer.
The flat mixing paddle and dough hook are a light-weight metal with a non-stick coating making them easy to clean. The wire chef's whisk is also a light-weight metal that is not coated. The wires on the whisk are loose and movable like a standard hand whisk. Both the dough hook and mixing paddle are dishwasher safe, the whisk is hand-wash only.
The stainless steel bowl has a 5.5qt capacity. That's enough room for 5 dozen cookies or 6 cups of cream for whipped cream (around 12 cups whipped). Also included is a splash guard with a pour spout which fits on top of the bowl. This makes it easier to add ingredients while mixing and can prevent messes, but can be tricky to properly install. The shield is two pieces, the shield portion and pour spout portion. To install, you have to place the shield part to the mixing bowl, then attach the pour spout to the shield. Not the most user-friendly, but is recommended because there isn't a lot of space to add additional ingredients without it installed.
Cookies turned out delicious, but we did have to scrape down the side of the bowl during mixing. You can see some unmixed butter on the left side over there.
To test the beater blade, we made my Great Aunt Rose's Chicago chocolate chip cookies, full of chocolate chips, oats, and corn flakes. During testing we also noticed the mixing paddle was not mixing evenly - it was leaving behind streaks of un-mixed ingredients on the sides of the bowl. The bowl design was very tall and made it hard to add ingredients without using the less than user-friendly pour shield.
The Cuisinart Mixer is a whipping wizard; the whisk is pretty effective even for small batches.
For the wire whip, we tested with two amounts of egg whites. When enough air is incorporated into egg whites, they become foamy and fluffy to be used for meringue or souffle. If you've ever tried to do this by hand, you know how much of a workout it is. We can say that this mixer is good for smaller batches with the whisk tool. We were able to whip a minuscule 1/4 cup of egg whites to stiff peaks in an acceptable time (the caveat is we did have to manually adjust the height of tilt-head, which had zero documentation on how to do).
We tested the dough hook out by making fresh pizza dough. Pizza dough is very sticky and is a pain to knead by hand. Unfortunately, the Cuisinart couldn't fully incorporate the flour into the dough or fully knead our pizza dough. Flour was left at the bottom and the sides of the mixing bowl; there was also a large amount of knocking and the mixer was literally moving around on the counter.
So, the lighter-than-average mixer does come with some trade-offs. On all of our tests, the mixer started to shake and bounce on the counter at speed 6 and above - this is because there isn't much weight to keep it grounded as the powerful 500W motor started to turn faster. Some squeaking from the motor was also heard during testing - this didn't affect the performance, but this along with the jumping around made the Cuisinart Precision Master Mixer feel like a lesser quality machine.
Cuisinart's light-weight mixer is easy to take in and out of storage. If you're only occasionally mixing a cake or a batch of cookies and then not using your mixer for a while, then the Cuisinart would be a good fit for you. If you want to make thick bread doughs, I would recommend a different mixer like the Bosch or KitchenAid. The Cuisinart Precision Master Mixer is too light-weight and has too powerful of a motor causing the mixer head to shake around while trying to knead thick doughs. It can whip egg whites like a pro and does an okay job of making cookies as long as you scrape down the sides of the bowl.
About the Author:
Chef Austin Merath is Everything Kitchen's Culinary Wizard, Kitchen-Gadget Reviewer, and New-Product Tester. He studied under chefs in College of the Ozarks' Culinary Program. It's his job to make sure you choose the kitchen tools that are right for you by testing the best we have to offer. When not cooking, Austin is tinkering with computers or exploring the Ozarks with his wife Amy. Click here for his full bio.