Can't live without the KitchenAid!
January 12, 2012 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Is it ok to put a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer in my checked luggage on a flight from JFK to Heathrow?

The mixer is one of these. I have a luggage weigher thing, so I will make sure I don't go over the 50lbs, but I'm worried that either security will think it's a bomb and destroy it, or customs will think it's new and try to tax me for it. How plausible are either of these scenarios? Also, will it survive the trip? I'd try to fit it in my hard suitcase, but I think it might not squeeze in there, so I may end up having to wrap it in towels and put it in my larger soft suitcase. Oh, and also, would bringing one of these be likely to set off warning alarms as well?
posted by Grither to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
You know that you'll need an ~600W transformer (big, heavy) to use this with the UK's 230V 50Hz power? I'm sure you'll be fine bringing it through security/customs, but getting it to work in Europe will be more of a problem.

(UK folks use Kenwood Chef mixers. My mum's will be 50 years old next year, and it's doing great.)
posted by scruss at 9:41 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Check the label/plate on the back to make sure it will work with the UK's voltage, some electrical/electronic equipment will work with both and you'll just need a plug adaptor if not you'll need a transformer or risk damaging your mixer.

As for checking it that should be fine, if they see anything suspicious on xrays or whatever they will just open up your bag and have a look. I once flew with a a whole bunch of animatronic Christmas decorations in my checked baggage internationally all the weird wiring and moving parts and whatever must have set off every security check point I flew through and my bags got opened and checked every time. Make sure you have a padlock that security can open on your bag, or do what I did and just use a twist tie to keep the back shut I'd have spent a fortune on padlocks otherwise.
posted by wwax at 9:52 AM on January 12, 2012

I really think it's going to be destroyed if you put it in a soft suitcase wrapped in towels. They stack those suitcases in gigantic piles, they get tossed around, etc. I'd just box it up properly and use that as your "suitcase."
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:57 AM on January 12, 2012

Best answer: Carry it on with you! I did this three years ago--tied a couple of straps around the box, and carried it on the plane as my one allotted item. Mine is one of those 40-year-old all-metal monsters, so it was kind of a pain in the ass to lug around the airport, and I got some really interesting looks from the X-ray guy as it went through on the belt, but no one stopped me, and it rode under my seat with no problems.
posted by Mayor West at 10:07 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hmmm the carry-on is an intriguing possibility, especially if it doesn't fit in the hard case. The only problem is I no longer have the box, as the machine is 3yrs old, and it doesn't make sense to keep boxes when you live in tiny apartments in Manhattan! I wonder if just putting it in a sturdy bag would be ok?

scruss: "You know that you'll need an ~600W transformer (big, heavy) to use this with the UK's 230V 50Hz power?"

The second link in my question is to a 3000W transformer that should be more than enough to cover the kitchenaid!
posted by Grither at 10:16 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't think that you will have any special problems with either customs or security. They will be quite familiar with transformers. I will mention that KitchenAid suggests that you not do this, as you will likely find with a quick Google, although I know that a number of people have done it successfully for years. Their concerns probably stem from the fact that the hz cycles of Euro-power are different from ours, even after transformers have their way. You will find a fair few horror stories of people with burned up motors in Europe despite using an appropriately sized transformer.
posted by Lame_username at 10:46 AM on January 12, 2012

The combined weight of the mixer and the transformer is 63lb, so you're already way over your 50lb limit. Might be cheaper to sell the KA and get a Kenwood once you're in the UK.
posted by scruss at 11:17 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I know this is not an answer to the question you've asked, but you do know they sell KitchenAid in the UK now, right? They even have a Website.
posted by I_read_somewhere_that_. . . at 11:37 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

We live in Europe and have carried all sorts of crazy stuff back here from the US, both as carry-ons and checked without a hitch, so I wouldn't worry about that at all.

I would worry about the fact that the power in Europe cycles about 15% slower than US power. The best case scenario is that the mixer runs too slow and, as a result, probably doesn't do a great job. As others have mentioned, the worst case is that you burn out the motor ruin the mixer entirely. Speaking from experience here, in either case I'd say you're going to be unhappy with the mixer in Europe, transformer or not. Save yourself hassle (and probably money) and just buy one meant for use in the UK.
posted by dseaton at 2:31 PM on January 12, 2012

Best answer: I took my kitchenaid to Japan in my luggage no problem. lot's of bubble wrap.
posted by Infernarl at 5:50 PM on January 12, 2012

Response by poster: So I decided to wrap it in bubble wrap in my luggage, and bingo presto, it is up and running in London now. Thanks for all the advice, folks!
posted by Grither at 4:57 AM on January 24, 2012

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