Black & Decker Spatula Smart Hand Mixer Model MX300
Pros: Relatively inexpensive. Does what hand-mixers are designed to do – whip cream, mash potatoes and beat egg whites.
Cons: Made in China. Noisy. Slowest speed too fast. Stiff batters such as cookie dough will likely cause permanent gear damage or total unit failure. Black & Decker small kitchen appliances badge-engineered – built by Spectrum Brands.
Back in the day, our kitchen didn’t have room for a dedicated stand mixer. One Christmas, my mom received a Sunbeam hand-mixer in an era when wives did not take offense to such practical household gifts. She ran that thing for years until the bottoms of the metal beaters wore down to tin-foil. When it was finally retired, the motor and gears were still fully-functional.
Since that time, planned obsolescence and corporate musical chairs have rendered the small appliance market a hazy quagmire of quasi-quality. Though the name is still around, the company responsible for that indestructible Sunbeam is but a memory. A succession of inferior, name-brand mixers just couldn’t coalesce the cookie dough without stripping a plastic gear in the process.
Today, the Black & Decker Spatula Smart Hand-Mixer (Model MX300) has assumed third-string status behind my Jenn-Air planetary stand mixer and a stationary Mixmaster with conventional beater arrangement. The former has become a dedicated bread-kneader, while the contemporary Sunbeam – with its dual stainless bowls – excels at cake construction.
Bland & Decker
While its pedestrian appearance would inspire yawns from legendary industrial designers like Raymond Loewy, its reasonable price will make it attractive to fledgling cooks outfitting starter-kitchens. Those who occupy a world of take-out and TV-dinners should benefit from this mixer’s limited qualifications.
Five Speeds, No Waiting
The first thing you’ll notice is the lack of a slow speed. As a result, creaming butter and sugar for your favorite cake can be an adventure. If the butter isn’t thoroughly softened, chunks will fly about the room at random – regardless of how deep a bowl you use. Placing the bowl on the dish rack in my double-basin sink limits the degree of mess created, but should such impromptu culinary methodology be necessary?
This unit is fitted with two gimmicky features of limited worth. The spatula feature is designed to scrape the mixing bowl as you work – but it accomplishes little in a straight-sided bowl – and nothing if the bowl is tapered. An attachment so inconsequential, I couldn’t tell you what has become of mine since its solo flight those many moons ago. The latest generation of this mixer does-away with the name and the attachment completely.
The second gimmick is called “Power Boost” and consists of a button that effectively turbo-charges the mixer into a state of spattering cacophony. Pushing the button will occasionally cause the mixer to stop until it’s released and pushed again – a hiccup whose existence or remedy is not covered in the convenient Use & Care Manual.
For the money, the Black & Decker Spatula Smart Hand-Mixer is functional for light-duty tasks. Its 250-watt (one review site claims 250 horsepower) motor is sufficient to whip potatoes to a frenzy, while adjustments can be made to counter its food-hurling habits.
Keep in mind the fact that ultra-thick batters such as cookie dough will cause the motor to bog-down and stall – which does not bode well for a long and useful life. Appropriately used as a backup mixer, it will mash potatoes, whip cream and beat egg whites for years – which is the cumulative legacy of my current example.
Black & Decker Appliances
3001 Deming Way
Middleton, WI 53562