Planetary Vs. Spiral Mixers: How to Select the Right One for the Job

Mixing is a difficult and strenuous task for the human hand. This is why many people resort to using mixers to ease the process. One of the most common mixer types is planetary mixers, which operate by rotating around in one point on an orbit creating a whirlpool of batter. A Spiral mixer, on the other hand, operates by rotating around in two points, one of which being at its center and the other being at its edge.

As with many things, here we have two different styles of mixers that both work very well in their own right. The choice then comes down to what is the right mixer for your job.

Here are the differences:

Planetary Mixers

Planetary mixers operate in one point, making them easy to use on large batches of batter. This style of the mixer also tends to stir up more air into the batter, which makes for lighter baked goods and fresher pancakes. Planetary mixers are incredibly effective at emulsifying, emulsifying, and dispersing ingredients in a liquid batter. These hand-held mixers come with two attachments: a paddle attachment and a dough hook. The paddle attachment is used to mix the wet ingredients while the dough hook is used to knead the dry ingredient.

The difference between a planetary mixer and a spiral mixer is how the batter is mixed. With a planetary mixer, the batter is stirred with its rotating wires rather than the dough hook. This means there will be some (small) pieces of dough hook in the batter.

Spiral Mixers

Spiral mixers on the other hand rotate around in two points, one at its center and one at its edge. This causes the bowl to spin just as it does with a salad spinner. This spinning also causes the batter to be pushed into and under the wires as it spins around. This type of mixing also makes it easier for the dough to rise and for pancakes to be light and fluffier.

Chances are if your mixer has a dough hook, it is a spiral mixer. As you may have guessed though, not all mixers have dough hooks. The “one point” mixing found in planetary mixers does not feature a dough hook so they are less common than their two-point cousins are.

With spiral mixers, only one attachment — a whisk—is included. It is attached to the motor shaft. The whisk twirls while the mixer is turned on, mixing the ingredients.