If you're looking at a traditional stand mixer thinking that there has to be a better design than putting the motor above the bowl, you should look at the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine. The motor of this unorthodox mixer is housed in the base, which not only leaves the 6.5-quart bowl unobstructed but gives the machine a low center of gravity. The motor of this machine boasts ample power, but unfortunately, it is limited to just four-speed settings, which pose problems with tasks that require a more delicate touch. Despite these shortcomings, the Universal performs well across many tasks in the stand mixer review. It might not rank as high as some kitchen appliances we've reviwed, but it might work for some people, depending on your needs.Editor's Note: We updated this gear review on February 14th, 2022, with additional information to help you find the perfect stand mixer for your needs.
Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine Review
Pros: Large open-top bowl, lightweight, powerful
Cons: Limited speed settings, lots of plastic parts, secondary motor
Compare to Similar Products
Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine
|Price||$469 List||$530 List|
$549.00 at Amazon
$449.00 at Amazon
$347.52 at Amazon
$139.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Large open-top bowl, lightweight, powerful||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||Limited speed settings, lots of plastic parts, secondary motor||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||A novel standing mixer that will appeal to those looking for an open-top configuration||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||Bosch Universal Plu...||KitchenAid 6-Qt. Pr...||KitchenAid Artisan||KitchenAid Classic...||Aucma 6.5qt|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Specs||Bosch Universal Plu...||KitchenAid 6-Qt. Pr...||KitchenAid Artisan||KitchenAid Classic...||Aucma 6.5qt|
|Bowl Capacity||6.5 quart||6 quart||5 quart||4.5 quart||6.5 quart|
|Standard Attachments||Wire whips and dough hook||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||4 (plus pulse)||10||10||10||7|
|Measured Dimensions (L x W x H)||12" x 15" x 10.5"||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||13lbs. 8oz.||26lbs. 1oz.||22lbs. 13oz.||22lbs. 13oz.||13lbs. 6oz.|
Our Analysis and Test Results
What sets the Bosch Universal Plus apart from other kitchen appliances in this category is its open-top mixer with two motors. The primary motor is high-torque and drives the standard attachments. The secondary motor is high-speed and is specific to aftermarket accessories such as a blender. In some ways, this mixer is more like a food processor in that the wire whips are better at breaking-up foods than they are for mixing. Moreover, the standard secondary motor implies investment in accessories. However, the 800-watts of power it packs make most standard tasks a breeze.
While the Bosch Universal Plus unusual design puts it on the periphery of the stand mixer market, it will nonetheless out-perform most of the models in the class. This feat is mainly due to its beefy 800-watt motor and the triple whipping action that will mix most ingredients with the best of the class. To test this, we run three mixing tasks that focus on specific mixing actions and outcomes that can be objectively rated. Based on the breadth and importance of this metric, we weighted the results to account for 30% of the product's overall score.
The first of our three mixing tests involves mixing chocolate chips, nuts, oats, and coconut flakes into the dough, creating a delicious concoction called cowboy cookies. For a mixer to receive a high rating, it must evenly distribute the ingredients throughout the dough without masticating them in the process. The Bosch performs admirably in this undertaking. Interestingly, the user's manual recommends the dough hook for this task, and it provides the firm, even action needed. However, some spatula work is required of the user.
While the cookie dough test focuses on integrating large, solid ingredients into a soft medium, the pizza dough recipe reveals how well the machine can incorporate wet and dry ingredients into an even dough. This recipe calls for everything to be mixed with the dough hook attachment, which can be problematic, but we held the mixers to this standard as it's ideal to complete a whole recipe without changing attachments. The Bosch Universal does not take to this task very well. Once the dough begins to form, it globs onto the attachment and spins around, requiring the user to scrape it off to get the right action.
The final evaluation in this metric is mixing a basic buttercream frosting. The Bosch's triple whip action brings butter, cream, and powdered sugar together quickly and thoroughly. The butter was well-aerated, producing light, soft frosting.
Ease of Use
While the other test metrics (mixing, whipping, and kneading) look at the different tasks a mixer can perform, this metric comprehensively analyzes how easy or difficult it is to interact with the machine. We use the mixers in various capacities in our testing and clean them repeatedly. As a result, all the design flaws (minor or significant) tend to emerge. We categorize our critiques under the headings of interface, sturdiness, user experience, and cleanliness. The sum of these four sub-metrics contributes 30% to the product's overall score.
The Bosch Universal earns itself a slightly above average score in this metric. The user interface consists of a single knob with four speeds, plus a pulse option. It is intuitive and well-placed. However, one of the problems we ran into was that the lowest speed was too high for some of the more delicate items we worked on within our test recipes. This issue was multiplied by the super effective triple whip action and the powerful 800-watt motor.
Despite the far below-average 12.3-pound weight of the Universal, the machine is quite sturdy. Some competitors require a lot of weight to secure the vibrating machine to the surface it is standing on, whereas the Bosch uses suction cup feet to good effect. However, if you do not have a smooth countertop, this might not work to the fullest effect. The plastic bowl is burly and left testers with slight concerns about its long-term durability.
Moving on to the user experience sub-metric, one of our primary concerns is how much the user needs to use a spatula when the mixer fails to grab and incorporate the ingredients poured into its bowl. This issue primarily results from a wide gap between the mixer attachment and the bowl. The Bosch doesn't suffer in this regard, but it does tend to fling ingredients when set to its higher speeds. It's a good thing that this mixer has a well-designed splash guard that, unlike many other competitors, fits snuggly and locks in place.
This brings us to the cleanliness of the Universal. As we've said, the splash guard helps keep the contents of the bowl where they belong. Additionally, the bowl is easy to hand wash and is dishwasher safe. The body is smooth plastic with rounded corners, making it easy to wipe down.
Accounting for 25% of the mixer's total score, the whipping metric assesses the quality of the whipping action for both egg whites and whipped cream. The Bosch delivered a below-average performance in this metric as its triple whip action, powerful motor, and limited speed settings quickly overwork these delicate mediums.
The cream assessment directly measures the increase in volume from an unwhipped half-cup of cream to whipped cream with stiff peaks. The Bosch quickly over-whipped the cream, nearly turning it into butter. The egg whites suffered similarly. We used the whipped egg whites as leavening in a cake sponge and measured how much the sponge rose and whether the center fell. While the rise was average for the class, the sponge fell significantly in the center.
Kneading is a very demanding task, and some machines are not cut out to do the work. Moreover, not all dough hook attachments are created equal. To assess the quality of the kneading action, we used pizza dough. Given the narrow scope of this metric, scoring in this test contributes just 15% to a product's overall score.
The Bosch is a powerful machine capable of working the densest and heaviest dough. However, it did not fare well in this assessment because the dough stuck to the dough hook and, as a result, was kneaded very little. This is partly due to the bowl's smooth interior, which limited the purchase needed for the hook to do its work. It's also the nature of the dough because this attachment worked great mixing the cookie dough. Ultimately, you can get the machine to perform this task with some manual input.
Should You Buy the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine?
The Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine delivered an average performance in our stand mixer assessment. If it were a traditional stand mixer in the vein of KitchenAid, this performance would not warrant recognition as a fantastic product. However, the Universal is not marketed as a stand mixer but as a swiss army knife for the kitchen. Despite this generalist leaning, it can hold its own in the class. More than just performing standing mixer tasks, this machine has a convenient design and lots of exciting aftermarket attachments. However, if you will be kneading a lot of dough or whipping frequently, less expensive machines will render better results.
What Other Stand Mixers Should You Consider?
The Ankarsrum Original performs well in the whipping and kneading metrics. Otherwise, the KitchenAid 6-Qt Professional Bowl-Lift is a top-ranking machine that performs well across the board. Indeed, it's an investment, but we think it's one that is worthy if you're a serious baker.
— Nick Miley and Michelle Powell
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