In the world of kitchen appliances, the Ankarsrum Original has an unconventional design, and it requires the user to learn some new skills to unlock its benefits. This stylish workhorse has a 7.4-quart bowl that can accommodate large batches of rising dough, while the kneading roller and powerful motor can work the bowl's contents with little effort. However, the problem with focusing on bread making is that the other functions of the mixer are not fleshed out. The machine requires a secondary bowl and componentry for whipping and the like. While its triplicate whip mixing action is effective, the plastic components are easily over-stressed by the powerful 600-watt motor. Compared to other stand mixers we reviewed, the many downsides of this machine will be a turn-off to a generalist, but many a baking specialist will find them to be a boon.Editor's Note: We updated this gear review on February 14th, 2022, with new information and sections to help you navigate your decision-making process.
Ankarsrum Original Review
Pros: Unique dough roller, cavernous bowl, powerful motor
Cons: Expensive, long learning process, primarily focused on baking applications
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|Pros||Unique dough roller, cavernous bowl, powerful motor||Powerful motor, simplistic design, large capacity bowl, planetary mixing||Powerful motor, simplistic design, sturdy platform||Powerful, affordable, easy to use||Easy to clean, one-handed operation, large bowl|
|Cons||Expensive, long learning process, primarily focused on baking applications||Bulky, heavy, expensive||Tilt-head impedes bowl access, mediocre whipping action||Poor whipping action, requires bowl scraping||Broad bowl/attachment gap, fiddly splash guard|
|Bottom Line||This atypical machine requires an adapted skillset to bring out its impressive capabilities||Simply the best all-around stand mixer on the market||A do-it-all mixer with a bowl capacity and price suited to most households||Incredibly powerful and easy to use for the price||This economic mixer sacrifices little in the way of performance to keep the cost low|
|Rating Categories||Ankarsrum Original||KitchenAid 6-Qt. Pr...||KitchenAid Artisan||KitchenAid Classic...||Aucma 6.5qt|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Specs||Ankarsrum Original||KitchenAid 6-Qt. Pr...||KitchenAid Artisan||KitchenAid Classic...||Aucma 6.5qt|
|Bowl Capacity||7.4 quart||6 quart||5 quart||4.5 quart||6.5 quart|
|Standard Attachments||Dough roller, dough knife, dough hook, multi-wire balloon whip and single-wire cookie whips||Wire whip, flat beater, spiral dough hook||Wire whip, dough hook, flat beater||Wire whip, dough hook, flat beater||Wire whip, flat beater, spiral dough hook|
|Mixing Action||Kneading and triplicate whip||Planetary||Planetary||Planetary||Planetary|
|Number of Speeds||continuous (45 - 130 RPM)||10||10||10||7|
|Measured Dimensions (L x W x H)||14.75" x 11" x 14.25"||14.5" x 11.25" x 16"||13.25" x 8.75" x 13.5"||14.5" x 10.75" x 14.25"||15.2" x 9.4" x 12.4"|
|Measured Weight||21lbs. 7oz.||26lbs. 1oz.||22lbs. 13oz.||22lbs. 13oz.||13lbs. 6oz.|
|Warranty||7 year manufacturer's-warranty on the motor assembly||1-year||1-year||1-year||none|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This stand mixer stands out from the others as the bowl rotates on the stand while the attachments remain stationary. The primary attachment is a dough roller connected to an adjustable arm. As a result, the kneading action occurs without the motor bearing much of the burden. If whipping is your goal, this machine employs two whisks that circle the bowl in a triple whipping action. Unfortunately, this machine isn't easy to learn how to use, even if you've used other standing mixers in the past.
Our set of mixing tests involved mixing ingredients of a cowboy cookie recipe, frosting for cakes, and incorporating all the ingredients for pizza dough. Kneading was assessed separately (see below). Given the large size of the bowl and the untraditional mixing method it employs, the machine did not perform well. For example, our pizza dough recipe calls for mixing with the dough hook, and the unit's unique dough hook does not perform well in such applications. Contenders that perform well in this metric include the KitchenAid products, such as the award-winning KitchenAid 6-Qt. Professional Bowl-Lift and KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer.
Another issue with this machine is that the manufacturer does not provide suggested methods to achieve desired outcomes. Most of the other stand mixers in our review provide such information, which is invaluable. Proper usage of the Ankarsrum is not intuitive, and the lack of guidance from the manufacturer requires experimentation to release the full capabilities of this unorthodox machine.
Ease of Use
As the name implies, the ease of use metric evaluates the machine's user experience, from taking it out of the cupboard to putting it back in. While the Ankarsrum shines in user interface and cleanliness, overall, it performs average for the class. To assess the machine, we look at the dials controlling operation, the sturdiness (how does it behave at high RPMs?), and, perhaps most importantly, is it easy to keep clean. Finally, we rate the unit for the overall user experience, primarily focusing on the gap between the attachments and bowl and the noise output.
The main appeal of the Ankarsrum Original is that it has a huge open-top bowl and the power to mix large quantities of dough. This ample space results in fewer spills and quicker clean-up. As far as sturdiness is concerned, the main unit and metal bowl are bombproof. However, the plastic mixing bowl is somewhat flimsy and distorts when mixing heavy ingredients, and more concerning are the plastic gears on the whisk attachments that are prone to failure under heavy loads. One shredded and became unusable. The base is heavy enough to stay put, and at 85.5 dBA, it is pretty loud by comparison to others in the class.
Two key findings in the overall user experience assessment focused on the bowl/attachment gap and noise. First, the Original's attachments fit wonderfully and require little spatula work from the user. This outcome is mainly due to the unique and effective sidewall scraper fitted to the main bowl. Conversely, at 85.5 dBA, this is one of the loudest machines in the class.
Whipping is one of those tasks that are hard to do by hand and generally separates professional outcomes from the rest. The Ankarsrum's powerful motor and continuous speed-setting dial promote high-quality whipping. The mixing system uses two-wire whisks that rotate individually on their axes while orbiting the bowl. This action whips up egg whites and cream to splendid effect. However, as discussed above, this action requires one to bear the second bowl and the mixer attachments.
The whipping metric made use of cake, cookie, and frosting recipes, and while we make all of our assessments as objective as possible, the whipping is the most quantifiable of the lot. The evaluation measures the increase in volume produced from whipping a half cup of cream and the amount of rise observed in a cooled cake, which directly relates to how well the eggs were aerated when whipped.
The main appeal of the Ankarsrum Original is that it has a huge bowl and the power to mix and knead large quantities of dough. The ample space leaves plenty of room for the dough to rise in the bowl or double recipes. Unlike other models in the class with smaller bowl capacities, the Original allows the dough to rise in place and be kneaded periodically with the turn of a dial. The whole system is pretty sweet when one gets the hang of it.
The kneading metric relied solely on the machine's ability to work pizza dough. We also made sourdough and sandwich bread. The later two doughs were informal tests, but they went a long way to show why this machine has been a standby for serious bakers for so long. The Original's unique roller arm allows more dough to be worked in a fashion similar to manual kneading.
Should You Buy the Ankarsrum Original?
In the world of stand mixers, the Ankarsrum is a bit of a black sheep. The mixing action is produced by rotating the bowl instead of the mixing attachment. The primary attachments connect on an arm that swivels across the bowl opening so that you can position the attachments to accommodate a range of needs. In this configuration, the mixer shines. Unfortunately, many of the mixing needs of the home cook require the use of a second bowl and attachments. As such, we see this machine as a specialty item that will appeal to a narrow group of dedicated home bakers.
What Other Stand Mixers Should You Consider?
The Ankarsrum Original is a costly kitchen appliance for your home. If it fits your needs as a baker and you're willing to learn its nonstandard uses, then it may be worth the money. However, our testing suggests that not everyone will appreciate this machine. We think the Aucma 6.5qt is an attractive alternative. Overall, it performs better than the Ankarsrum Original, and it's significantly less money.
— Nick Miley and Michelle Powell
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