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Tom’s Guide
Tom’s Guide
Camilla Sharman

I tested Smeg’s retro stand mixer for two weeks — here’s what I learned

Smeg stand mixer in slate gray.
Smeg Retro Stand Mixer

Model: SMF03
Bowl capacity: 5 quarts
Dimensions: 14.8 in (H) (19.3 with head up) x 15.8 in (W) x 8.7 in (D)
Weight: 19.4 lbs
Speeds: 10
Material: Stainless steel bowl
Finish: Die cast aluminium body
Motor: 600 W
Cord length: 3.3 ft
Color:  Cream, red, pastel blue, pastel green, black, slate gray, pink and white

One of the best stand mixers is an invaluable kitchen appliance. It will open up a whole world of baking, giving you the flexibility to whip, beat, and knead ingredients for an array of sweet and savory recipes without much physical effort.

While KitchenAid is one of the best known brands when it comes to stand mixers, there are a lot of other competitors, including Smeg, which is known for its retro-styled designs. 

But does it deliver on more than just looks? I tested Smeg’s 50s-inspired SMF03 stand mixer to see how well it performed. 

Smeg's Retro Stand Mixer: Price and availability

The Smeg Retro Stand Mixer SMF03 is available for $599 at Amazon, although the pastel green version was slightly reduced to $542. Elsewhere you can pick one up at Williams Sonoma for $599 and Bath Bed and Beyond for $599. If you have a particular color choice in mind, don’t be disappointed to find some color options out of stock. 

In comparison, KitchenAid’s Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt Head stand mixer is available for $449 at Amazon.  

Smeg Retro Stand Mixer: Design

(Image credit: Smeg)
(Image credit: Smeg)
(Image credit: Smeg)
(Image credit: Smeg)

The Smeg Retro stand mixer is an attractive appliance with 50s-inspired retro styling. It’s a smart design that won’t look out of place on any countertop, even if you prefer a minimal look.

The styling is consistent with Smeg’s other kitchen appliances, including the iconic fridge, kettle, toaster and coffee machine, all featuring rounded and retro lines. So if you’re a fan of the retro look, you can kit out your kitchen with matching appliances. 

The color palette is also impressive. Standout red, black, and slate grey are available, as are softer pastel shades in green, blue, pink, and cream. All have a sleek gloss finish. 

As my household's stand mixer is a KitchenAid, I was quite surprised at how much bigger the Smeg appeared on my countertop. It is fractionally taller, which I found a little awkward when using the controls on the top (more on this later).

It is not a small appliance and will take up considerable space on your worktop, which could be a problem if you have a small kitchen. It is also fairly heavy, weighing just over 19 pounds. You might prefer to keep it on your worktop when not in use to save moving it in and out of a cupboard unless you fancy a workout between baking. 

However, unlike with the KitchenAid Artisan, I found that the upper part of the appliance didn’t feel top-heavy, which made the KitchenAid awkward to lift.  

Smeg Retro Stand Mixer: Functionality

(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)

The Smeg stand mixer offers plenty of functionality. It comes with a large 5-quart capacity bowl — a decent size for batch baking —and four attachments, including a dough hook, flat beater, wire whisk, and flex-edge beater.

What’s more, it offers ten-speed settings for different functions: settings 1-3 for combining ingredients and kneading, 4-7 for mixing and beating batters and cake mixture, and 8-10 for whipping and whisking cream, egg whites and sauces. 

If you want to add any other attachments, the circular disc on the front of the appliance detaches to reveal a hub to connect an ice-cream maker, multi-food grinder, slicer and grater, and pasta accessories.

Smeg Retro Stand Mixer: Performance

(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)

I made a variety of baked goods to experiment with the four attachments, starting with pastry. I used both the flat beater and the flex-edge beater. Compared to the other accessories, I was surprised at the weight of the flex-edge beater and intrigued by its silicon paddles. In fact, with its design and weight, it resembles an anchor.

It was particularly good at making pastry as it swept the inside walls of the bowl, scooping up all of the ingredients. The flat beater also did a fine job, but as it didn’t touch the sides, it took longer to incorporate the flour.

I was also impressed with the dough hook, and knowing how the weight shifts from side to side of the bowl when kneading, I noticed that the stand mixer stayed still and did not move on the countertop. Perhaps the anti-slip feet help? 

The wire whisk could have been better; beating cream took longer than I expected. I often get distracted and find that I come back to my mixer to discover a solid mass, but this wasn’t the case. However, it eventually did the job. 

Smeg Retro Stand Mixer: Ease of use

(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)

I instinctively knew how to use the stand mixer and didn’t need to resort to the instructions manual. However, the manual is very comprehensive if you need to find out how to operate the appliance.

Removing the bowl and locking it back into place was easy, although I’m sure the handle on the bowl helps with this movement. Lifting the appliance’s head to remove the bowl was also simple. The release button is at the back of the machine and needs to be pressed to release and raise the head. However, I found there was a trick for replacing it, as the head needed to be lifted again slightly before repositioning it into the down position. 

The speed controls are on top of the machine and effortless to adjust while using the appliance, although I did find the markings quite small to read.

The pouring shield is a handy addition that prevents dry ingredients from spraying onto your countertop and allows you to add ingredients during a mix — such as beaten eggs or dried fruit. I used the pouring shield to add egg yolks when making sweet pastry and chopped apples to a cake batter. However, I did find I had to wiggle the pouring shield to attach it to the top of the bowl.  

Smeg Retro Stand Mixer: Cleaning

There are no awkward nooks and crannies when cleaning this Smeg standing mixer. Simply wipe the body of the stand mixer with a soft, damp cloth, but avoid using cleaning solutions that contain bleach or abrasive agents, as they could damage the mixer’s body. 

The stainless steel bowl, dough hook, flat head, and flex-edge beater can be washed in a dishwasher.  And the silicon strips on the flex-edge beater can be removed before being placed in the dishwasher. However, the wire whisk and pouring shield are not dishwasher-safe and must be washed by hand.

Although most parts can be placed in the dishwasher, I washed everything by hand and found all items easy to clean. You’ll find the stainless steel bowl will show water marks, but these can be removed with a microfiber cloth if needed.

Smeg Retro Stand Mixer: The verdict

If you enjoy baking and plan to use a stand mixer regularly, then you won’t be disappointed with the Smeg SMF03 as it delivers great results. It will also look the part on your worktop. 

But, you're paying a premium for the design, as it costs $100 more than a comparable KitchenAid model. It's also fairly sizable and heavy, so you won't want to move it around much. Then again, with something that looks this nice, you'll want to leave it on your counter for all to admire.

If you only want to use a stand mixer occasionally, you might want to consider a cheaper model. But if you're in the market for a mixer that looks as good as it performs, then the Smeg is worth your consideration.

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