The Cuisinart 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer SM-55 is a powerful option for frequent bakers. It has an 800-watt motor that can knead dough and mix thick ingredients with ease. It comes with three attachments (a flat beater, whisk and dough hook) and has several modern user-friendly features. It has a three-year warranty.
Performs like a champ. Reviewers are impressed with the overall performance of the Cuisinart SM-55. Users at Amazon.com, Cooking.com and Viewpoints.com all say it has a very powerful motor than can handle mixing jobs with ease -- even kneading double batches of bread dough. Most owners say the machine doesn't struggle under heavy loads like many other models. Owners say it whips through small batches just as well.
Testers especially like the added functions of the Cuisinart. Editors at Good Housekeeping say the fold feature ensures flour is incorporated into mixtures without overbeating, and the spiral dough hook "worked more efficiently than most other models to knead dough," say testers at Cook's Illustrated magazine.
User-friendly features. Reviewers say the Cuisinart stand mixer is easy to use and versatile; several praise the digital timer with automatic shut-off, saying it allows them to do other things while mixing without the threat of overbeating delicate ingredients. Several also praise the included splashguard, which helps prevent messes, but some point out that the pour spout is too small to effectively pour in dry ingredients while the mixer is in use.
Boring and cheap styling. The SM-55 doesn't have the sleek styling of KitchenAid stand mixers, but most users say it's attractive enough (available in white, black or brushed chrome) to leave it out on their countertops. Although the Cuisinart has plastic housing, unlike the KitchenAid, that trade-off also makes it lighter. A few users complain that the positioning of the attachments doesn't allow for use of the full 5.5-quart capacity of the mixing bowl.
A bit loud on high settings. While we didn't see a lot of complaints about noise levels, some users at Amazon.com say the Cuisinart stand mixer can be quite loud when on its highest speed settings. Most say it's worth it, given the powerful motor, and others say the noise doesn't bother them at all.
The Cuisinart 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer SM-55 is a powerful, large-capacity stand mixer loaded with user-friendly features. It isn't as attractive as KitchenAid models, however, and reviewers say the plastic housing looks cheap. It is durable, though, and Cuisinart stands behind the machine with a three-year warranty. The Cuisinart is comparable to the KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer (*Est. $350) but doesn't receive frequent reviews -- the primary reason it isn't listed as a top-rated mixer.
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1. Good Housekeeping
Excellent Editors at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute put a dozen stand mixers through comprehensive testing and then rank them from favorite to least favorite. The Cuisinart 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer SM-55 does well at the whipping, mixing and kneading tasks, and places fourth overall. Drawbacks noted include its heavy weight and many crevices to clean.
Review: Stand Mixer Reviews, Editors of Good Housekeeping
2. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Very Good The Cuisinart 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer SM-55 is included in Cook's Illustrated magazine's latest test of 22 stand mixers. Mixers are tested by kneading dough and whipping eggs and heavy cream.
Review: Stand Mixers (High-End), Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, March 2008
Good Nearly 200 reviews here give the Cuisinart 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer SM-55 an overall rating of 4.2 stars out of 5, mainly praising its power and features. One user complains that the attachments are positioned two inches below the rim of the bowl, limiting the true mixing capacity.
Review: Cuisinart 5-1/2-Quart 12-Speed Stand Mixer, Contributors to Amazon.com
Good About 20 reviewers here all give the Cuisinart 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer SM-55 an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Most users like the convenience of the timer and several praise the warranty. A few users complain about the attachments, saying they fail to reach the bottom of the bowl and are too far below the top edge of the bowl.
Review: Brushed Stainless 5.5-Qt. Stand Mixer by Cuisinart, Contributors to Cooking.com