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I own 2 Tesco Value hand mixers. Both are model number HM06, bought a few years apart. The oldest is now nearly 8 years old. I bought it to save me the trouble of getting my large mixer out of a cupboard and set up if I just wanted to beat a few eggs. My kitchen sadly isn't large enough to have all the appliances out that I use on a regular basis. The second HM06 was bought 2 years ago to keep in my holiday caravan. The two hand mixers look identical and are operated in the same way. However the newest purchased of the two has only 2 speeds, compared to the 5 of the older one. Tesco obviously decided that changing this detail didn't warrant a model number change. The two speed option is currently the only one available to buy new, so I will base my review chiefly around using that.
WHAT YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY
The first Tesco hand mixer cost just under £5, so I was pleased and surprised that it actually cost less when I bought it again several years later - £4.09 to be precise. At the moment the price has climbed to £4.27. To be honest I think it would be a bargain at twice the price considering the amount of use I have had from it! The box is typical of that of Tesco Value products being chiefly blue and white and generally sparse on "prettiness." You wouldn't mistake it for a high end product. If this bothers you you may be pleased to know that once out of the cardboard, the mixer looks much the same as any other. There are no large logos to identify it as a Tesco Value product. Inside, the mixer comes with 2 sets of beaters. Balloon whisks are one set, dough hooks are the other. I bought this mainly for the first set although I have used both. There is also a users manual which is short but contains the essential information such as instructions on how to actually use the thing. I have not had to refer to the manual since the first time I used the product as it is very simple to use. What instructions there are at least written in proper English rather than a sort of "auto-translate."
IS IT EASY TO USE?
The hand mixer is simple to use- there are few buttons on it so it doesn't take long to work out which is which. Setting it up for the first time is easy, as after washing it once, you only need to attach the beaters and plug it in. The beaters slot in without difficulty and the machine won't work if they are not properly and securely attached which is reassuring feature. Plugging the mixer in is more of a difficulty as the lead is ridiculously short at under a metre. I can't use this in one of my kitchen sockets as the worktop in that area is unusually wide and results in my having to lean in awkwardly as I can't bring in the mixer towards me. I had hoped that if Tesco was going to change anything about HM06 it would have been this rather than the number of speeds available. I don't use all 5 speeds in the older version though, and I find the two that are left are good enough for most things I want the mixer to do. Switching between the speed settings should be easy to do one handed as the switch is near the handle, but I find that it has always been rather stiff. I suppose that this could actually be a safety feature, as accidently switching the mixer to high could be a messy experience.
I use my HM06 mainly to beat butter and sugar together, create batter mixes, and to beat eggs in order to make meringues. The results have always been without fault. Sponge cakes have a good and light texture when made using this, which I think is a good test of a mixer. If enough air wasn't beaten in to the mix the cakes would be heavy. In common with most mixers I have used, there is a maximum time which you are supposed to run your machine continuously for. With the HM06 this is 3 minutes, after which it needs to cool down for 10 mins before being used again. This restriction does limit it's use in my kitchen at times. There are a few cake recipes that I use that need beating sessions of 5 minutes or more, though thankfully not many. For these, I use my stand mixer, which is also kinder on my arms! The HM06 does feel warm after use, but never to the point I have felt uncomfortable using it. It is also fairly noisy, but I don't think it is significantly more so than my mum's Morphy Richrds model for example. I can put up with noise when it is only for just a few minutes at a time.
The dough beaters have been less useful to me. I know from using my large mixer that if you overwhelm dough hooks with too much mixture or one that is too dense for them, they can get stuck in the mix. The dough hooks supplied with the HM06 are relatively flimsy and I don't feel they can deal well with anything other than small quantities of bread dough. I have tried them with a few light doughs and they still seemed to find it hard going so I rarely use them now. If you wanted a hand-mixer mainly for the dough hooks, I suspect you would need a better pair for frequent use.
Once the baking is over, you eject the beaters by pushing a button. This function has started to work only intermittedly on the older of my two models. The whisks now need to be tugged slightly to get them out. It has taken 7 years to get to that point though, which isn't bad considering the price paid. Once out, the beaters can be put in a dishwasher, although I wash mine by hand. This is quite fiddly, but the ones in my large stand mixer are too. It is just the shape of them. The main body of the mixer obviously can't be immersed in water, but it wipes clean easily.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?
As mentioned above, I have had one of these for 8 years, during which time it has been used at least once a week, often several times. Apart from the problem with ejecting the attachments, it is still working as well now as it did when first purchased. The second hand mixer of mine has had more seasonal use but I can see no signs of wear and tear yet. For the price I paid, I think both have performed brilliantly. If you are looking for a reliable everyday mixer that won't take up much space then I would recommend it strongly. If you want a mixer for the dough hooks and will be putting them to heavy use, I think there are likely to be more robust products that would stand up to this use better. The same would apply to serious bakers who require a mixer to be capable of continuous use for extended periods. For everyone else, it is a great product, even if the short cord doesn't make it a perfect one.
Available from Tesco Direct Online, as well as in larger Tesco shops. 125W. Available only in white.
[This review also appears under my user name on Dooyoo.]