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Can a KitchenAid mixer travel from US to Europe?
August 9, 2005 5:56 PM   Subscribe

Can I use a KitchenAid from the US in Europe with the aid of a 110 to 220v transformer?

We're visiting the States from Ireland and just bought a refurbished 545w KitchenAid 6qt Pro Stand mixer at an outlet store, and would like to bring it back to Europe with us. When I tried the machine, the lowest setting went way too fast, and after about five seconds the machine just turned itself off.

My wife called the toll free KitchenAid number and they let us know it would take weeks, if not months, to get a replacement machine. They also mentioned that using the machine in Europe would void the warranty, and that the machine would not work in Europe. This is contrary to what the sales lady in the store told us: she said it would work in Europe and the KitchenAid warranty would be honoured in Europe, no question.

We now have to decide in the next two days if we should just get our money back or get a replacement machine either from KitchenAid or the store where we bought this. Is it possible that the change from 60Hz (US) to 50Hz (Europe) would damage the machine, or is there something else to this, e.g. KitchenAid merely being overly protective of regional sales?
posted by McIntaggart to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
 
Okay, plugging that 120 volt appliance in to 220 volts has probably already completely exploded all the electronics inside it, but since there's nothing any of us can do about that, we'll pretend it's ok (it might be if there's no computer electronics inside it and it wasn't exposed for long, but this is about the worst abuse you can put anything electronic under apart from putting it on top of a lightning pole during a storm...).

The only way you can safely operate this appliance on your electricity will be to purchase a 2:1 step-down transformer that is rated for the necessary current and voltage. It must match or be HIGHER than the rating on the unit. A lower rating transformer will overheat and should eventually set on fire.

Any good electronics store should offer these. I would expect a 600 watt transformer should cost up to $100 US. You should consider getting one a bit bigger since you'll be using an appliance designed to run on 60 Hz power on 50 Hz power. It will be less efficient and draw more current. The transformer should weigh, oh, about 20 lbs. Maybe more, maybe less. It'll be pretty big, that's for sure.

Here's a surprisingly cheap one that has no certification whatsoever (caveat emptor!).

If spending that much money isn't an option, you could try getting one of the hairdryer-only 220 -> 110 volt adapters. These have a simple diode inside and cost about $5. If this isn't going to work, you'll know when the appliance sets on fire.

And you wonder why KitchenAid doesn't want to support the warranty outside of North America... :-D

If you can still get your money back, do it... At this point, having plugged the machine in 220 volts, I wouldn't trust it at all.
posted by shepd at 7:38 PM on August 9, 2005


I burned out a food processor, a wand mixer, a stereo, and a fan, all using 220V-->110V transformers that were rated at or above what they were supposed to be. Anything with a motor in it is a massive gamble, especially anything that encounters any kind of physical resistance and strains a bit (i.e. my poor food processor that began emitting smoke from its underside before it simply stopped working forever).

We had friends who used a shoebox-sized transformer to operate their North American blender, but the transformer was a gift from someone who evidently used it to test out aviation parts. Good luck finding something similar.

If I were you, I'd get the machine fixed/replaced and sell it on eBay.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:08 PM on August 9, 2005


I've thought about buying kitchen gadgets in the US and bringing them home, but the step-down transformers are HUGE - the one shepd posted the link to weighs 15lbs and measures 7 x 5 x 4 inches, which is pretty compact for one of those things.

I would say get your money back and buy a new mixer in Europe which will definitely work on 220/240V, either from a specialist kitchen store or on the web.
posted by essexjan at 1:48 AM on August 10, 2005


Okay, plugging that 120 volt appliance in to 220 volts has probably already completely exploded all the electronics inside it

Judging from the question, I think McIntaggart is still in the US, and just has a dud KitchenAid.

Take it back to the shop and get a refund. A general rule of thumb with the 110-240V divide is that if an appliance relies upon a powerful electric motor (food mixer, power tool), it's going to be too much hassle and risk. At worst, you could burn your house down.
posted by holgate at 3:30 AM on August 10, 2005


Appliances that rely on cycling (something turning 'round and 'round) definitely need transformers. They shoud work with the correct transformer but it will be big, heavy and possibly expensive.
posted by cushie at 8:02 AM on August 10, 2005


I have relatives in Belgium that have used their American Kitchen Aid Mixer there with a big heavy transformer for years. I'm sorry I don't know what kind of transformer it was, but I do recall it was at least 4" cubed, and weighed several pounds. It definitely wasn't the simple little hair-dryer type.

I guess all I'm saying is yes, it is possible.
posted by clgregor at 8:56 AM on August 10, 2005


Even if you use a converter, the converter won't change the cycles (or at least they didn't when I lived in Europe). So anything that has a motor won't work as well as it should - vacuums won't suck as hard, dryers take forever, and I'd you won't achieve top performance out of a mixer. Eventually this causes a lot of extra wear on the motor and burns appliances out.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 12:00 PM on August 10, 2005


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