Kristen Hicks on July 7, 2017 0 Comments Table of Contents Should You Buy a Pasta Maker? Types of Pasta Makers Factors to Consider When Buying Popular Brands to Consider A box of pasta at the store doesn’t cost all that much and usually tastes fine, but true pasta lovers know the difference that making it fresh can make. Pasta makers simplify the job of making your own pasta at home so you can get that perfect flavor and texture more often. If you like the idea of making homemade pasta a staple in your home, our buyer’s guide will help you select the best pasta maker for your needs. Should You Buy a Pasta Maker? First you should consider if a pasta maker really is right for you. With many types of food, making it at home versus buying it in the grocery store will save you money. That’s generally not the case with homemade pasta because the type of pasta you make (which involves egg in the dough) is different and involves ingredients that cost more. In addition to the higher cost, you also have to be aware of the amount of work that goes into making homemade pasta. It’s usually a bit of a project that you’ll need to be prepared to set aside time for. For the people that love the idea of homemade pasta, none of that should act as a deterrent though. If you’re still interested, the benefits of a homemade pasta maker are clear: Homemade pasta is delicious. You have more power over the ingredients that go into your pasta (which is potentially helpful for those with allergies). That’s all you really need, right? And while it is technically possible to make pasta at home without a pasta maker, it’s even more time consuming and harder to get the shape and texture just right. If a homemade pasta maker is for you, then by this point in the buyer’s guide you likely have no doubts left. Now it’s just time to figure what type to get. Types of Pasta Makers When searching for the right pasta maker, you’ll find two main options to consider. Manual Pasta Roller Manual pasta makers are much easier than making homemade pasta by hand, but they still require a good deal of time and work. They use a classic design that involves rolling the pasta through the machine using a manual handle and then using the machine’s cutting tool to snip it at the end. These machines are best for longer styles of pasta like fettuccine and spaghetti. They typically cost less than automatic past makers and they can usually be counted on to work reliably for a long time, since the design and parts are fairly basic. In Summary: Affordable Reliable Good for long pasta styles Still require a bit of work, but easier than making pasta by hand Automatic Pasta Maker Automatic pasta makers do more of the work for you, making the job faster and easier. As an added bonus, electric pasta makers also allow you to make a wider variety of styles of pasta. Options like macaroni and ziti are within easy reach with these machines. These do cost more than manual pasta makers and adding electric components to an appliance comes with a higher risk of having to deal with issues and repairs. But with these, you simply make the dough, feed it into the machine, and you get your pasta. And the cleaning process is often easier, since many models make it possible to disassemble the machine and toss parts into the dishwasher. If you plan to make pasta frequently enough that a faster process is worth paying more, then an electric pasta maker is worth considering. In Summary: Costs more Faster Easier More pasta types possible Factors to Keep In Mind When Choosing a Pasta Maker In addition to deciding between manual and electric, you have a few factors you should keep in mind to figure out the best pasta maker for you. Cost The cost of pasta makers can vary pretty considerably, with the main indicator of price being whether you go for a manual or automatic model. Manual models — Ranges from $15 to $70. Electric models — Ranges from $75 and $300. In both categories, higher costs can often be attributed to brand reputation. Pasta makers made by brands that are known for making high-quality products that last a long time and work well usually charge more than those that are less established or make products less likely to last. Sometimes higher prices also relate to the number of types of pasta you can make with the machine, or features that make it easier to use, clean, or store. When you’re considering what price you’re comfortable with, consider if you’ll be more likely to actually put your pasta maker to use if it makes making pasta easy and quick. If it will sit in a cabinet the whole time you own it, then you won’t be getting your money’s worth. And consider if a few dollars now is worth being able to use your pasta maker for longer without problems. Ease of Use The whole point of buying a pasta maker is that it puts making pasta within reach of most people who aren’t quite up for the work of doing it all by hand. Any pasta maker you buy will immediately simplify the process of making pasta, so you’re starting from a place of winning on this point. As previous sections make clear, the biggest factor in determining how easy a pasta maker is to use is whether it’s manual or electric. But beyond that, different models within each category have features and designs that influence how much work is involved in using them. The models that get highest points for ease of use are any electric models designed to mix and knead the pasta dough for you, on top of making all the pasta as well. With these, all you have to do is add ingredients to the machine and wait for your pasta to be ready. For manual machines, features that ensure the pasta maker stay in place effectively while you work, a knob that’s easy to adjust to different thicknesses, and a handle that stays in place will add to how easy the machine is to use. The best way to get an idea of whether or not a pasta maker might be difficult to use before you buy is to check the reviews and see what other customers have to say about their experience. If there’s anything about the design that places obstacles in the path of getting that pasta made, your fellow consumers are highly likely to let you know in their reviews. Speed of Use Making pasta with a manual machine can be slow and they generally won’t be a huge difference between how different manual models fare in this category. With automatic pasta machines, one of the biggest selling points different brands can claim is how fast making pasta with their product is. You should be able to easily find how fast these products claim to be. If speed is a top priority for you, then look at the listings for a few different electric pasta makers and compare their speed claims. Take a few minutes to check those claims against what reviewers say just to be sure though. A fast pasta maker will enable busy home cooks to make pasta more often, so it’s an important consideration if you want to use your new machine regularly. Ease of Cleaning Cleaning any kitchen appliance can elicit groans, but pasta makers have lots of nooks and crannies for dough to get into, making them especially groan-worthy. Machines that you can take apart will often make it easier to get to all those otherwise hard-to-reach nooks when cleaning time comes. And any machine that has dishwasher-friendly parts will take a lot of the work off of your plate. As with ease of use, if the work that goes into cleaning a kitchen appliance can be a detractor to your actually using it, then take time before buying a pasta maker to research what’s involved in cleaning it. Durability A well-made pasta maker can last many years, but you should be prepared to pay more for a machine of that kind of quality. One of the best ways to make sure you go with a machine that has real staying power is to seek out brands that have been working in the space for a while, and have built up a solid reputation for making high-quality appliances. This is one category where manual pasta makers easily edge out electric ones. Not having an electric motor thrown into the mix means that as long as they’re made of high-quality materials and are well maintained, you can easily expect manual pasta makers to have a very long life. For all that they cost more, electric pasta makers will wear out faster. Another important consideration is whether they offer a warranty. A year long warranty is pretty standard for pasta makers, although some brands will go up to ten years. You should especially look for a warranty for any electric pasta maker, since there’s a higher chance you’ll encounter trouble with them. Pasta Types Everyone has their favorite types of pasta, even those of us that love variety. If you know it’s important to you to be able to make a particular type of pasta, you have to make sure you go with a machine that’s capable of it. Many pasta makers will come with standard blades that will make a few main types of pasta, but allow you to buy attachments that add to the list. And electric pasta makers generally offer a longer list of pasta options than manual ones. Popular Pasta Maker Brands A final consideration to make in your search for the right pasta maker is brand reputation. There are a few main brands in the pasta maker space. To help you gain an idea of which ones are the best choice, we looked at the reviews of actual customers. Here’s a summary of what they have to say about their experience. Cucina Pro CucinaPro makes a couple models of pasta makers that are generally well reviewed by customers. Reviewers praise the value for the price, say the machine makes great pasta, and that it’s easy to use. There are a handful of complaints from customers about particular parts of the machine that don’t work well for them, like the handle not staying in place or the pasta maker sliding around on the counter as you use it. Even the complainers tend to admit that the value of the machine is still worth it for the price though. KitchenAid (Pasta Attachment) KitchenAid doesn’t sell a pasta maker, but it does sell a Pasta Roller and Cutter attachment set for its popular stand mixer. So, if you already have a KitchenAid mixer, then purchasing the attachments instead of a new machine may be a practical choice for you. Customers who have done so positively rave about how well it works for them. Almost all the reviewers rate the attachments with 5 stars and comment on how well made and high-quality they are. They also comment on them being easy to use, easy to clean, and the pasta being delicious. Unsurprisingly, KitchenAid is a strong choice in this category. Lello Lello markets their pasta maker as being one of the fastest options out there, but their reviews are a bit mixed. Most customers are happy with their Lello pasta maker, saying it’s easy to clean (the parts are dishwasher friendly) and that it makes great pasta. The customers that weren’t happy had complaints that varied from the loud noise it made, how heavy the machine was to use, and just generally finding that it didn’t work well. Take some time to read the reviews so you’ll understand what you’re getting and make sure you read the instructions if you do go with Lello. Marcato Atlas Marcato Atlas is a well-regarded Italian brand for pasta makers. Customers are routinely happy with their products. They praise how well the pasta comes out and frequently use words like “perfect” and “love” in their reviews. The consensus from customers is that they’re clearly a solid choice to go with. Philips Phillips sells a high-end automatic pasta maker that will set you back about $300, but appears to make customers pretty happy. Customers commonly mention how much easier it is to make pasta with their Phillips machine than they expected, or than it was with past pasta makers they had. They’re happy with how the pasta comes out and many mention friends being impressed or buying additional Phillips pasta makers as gifts for loved one. This is another brand that reviews make clear you can count on. Ronco Ronco’s affordable pasta and sausage maker gets mixed reviews. Happy customers say it works great and is easy to use. Those with complaints mostly brought up the difficulty cleaning it and complained the pasta it produces was sub-par. While the cost is right, the reviews suggest you may not be fully satisfied with this one. Final Thoughts If you love food, the perfect pasta dish is one of the best things life can bring. Being able to create perfect pasta in your own home is hard to underestimate. If you love homemade pasta and are ready to make crafting those delicious noodles a more regular part of your life, the right pasta maker will be well worth the cost.