Should I Buy a Used Hobart Commercial Mixer or a New One?
Hobart - The Cadillac of Mixers
If you’re considering a mixer for your bakery, pizza restaurant, or other commercial kitchen, you’ve probably already decided - wisely - to go with a Hobart. Hobart has been the first name in commercial mixers for many decades. They first entered the market over a century ago when they introduced the Model A-80 in 1914. No other kitchen machine is as likely as a Hobart mixer to be shown off by its proud owner and praised for its 30, 40, or more years of dependable performance.
Total Cost of Ownership: $ Upfront + $ Down the Road
In deciding whether to buy a used commercial mixer or new one, it's essential to consider not just the purchase price but the total cost of ownership (TCO) over the years you rightly expect it to be part of your food service operation. This simply means thinking not just about the upfront purchase price, but what you expect to spend on maintenance, service, parts and other upkeep expenses over the long haul. It's also vital to consider the potentially devastating cost of unplanned downtime.
Save Up to 70% On Purchase Price
The upfront savings on the purchase price is a no-brainer. For example, a new 60-Quart Hobart mixer runs right around $20,000. A good used equivalent Hobart mixer that has been professionally refurbished costs between $6,000 and $7,000 depending on the particular model and included options. That's a savings of almost 70%.
Standing the Test of Time
How do their costs compare over time, though? Can a refurbished Hobart that left their plant twenty years ago stand up to a brand new model in terms of reliability, performance, and total cost of ownership? City Food Equipment believes it absolutely can. In over thirty years of refurbishing Hobart mixers, we have come to believe that a properly restored used mixer is actually superior to a brand new one in several important ways, and can save you money over the long haul as well on the purchase price. How? Read on...
Design Changes Have Affected Repair Costs
Hobart's product quality and design excellence has always been top notch. Their reputation in every market they've entered bears this out. In 2003, however, they made major mechanical design changes to their mixers. These newer "Legacy" series mixers have fewer total parts, a simpler drivetrain, and no doubt cost less to manufacture. They may not be better for you in the long run, however.
If It Ain't Broke...
The acclaimed Hobart mixer drivetrain had changed little in the previous 50 years. Power had always been transmitted from motor to agitator through an exquisitely well built gear drive, transmission, and planetary unit. Speed was changed with a clutch and a gearbox while the motor ran at a constant optimum speed. The only electrical controls were a power switch and, on some models, a mechanical timer.
The redesigned mixers are more dependent on electronics than the vintage models. Power and timer controls are implemented with digital microcontrollers. Electronics can be a single point of failure that leave you with an inoperable machine. Most electronic components cannot be serviced - they must be replaced. The electronic control unit for a newer 60-Quart Legacy mixer runs about $1,500. The parts cost of that repair alone could have been 25% down toward the purchase of a refurbished Hobart mixer.
While mechanical problems with professionally refurbished mixers are not unheard of, they are very rare. Importantly, it's more likely that a vintage Hobart mixer needing service will still partially operate (in only one gear, for example) instead of being completely out of service until an expensive electronic component is replaced.
The Bottom Line
Simply put, it has been our experience that:
- Pre-"Legacy" Hobart mixers that have been professionally refurbished are generally more reliable than post-2003 Legacy models.
- Servicing newer Hobart mixers costs more than servicing professionally refurbished vintage models. Diagnosing problems with the newer mixers is a much more complicated process because of the electronics involved, and they contain more non-repairable components that must be completely replaced when issues arise.
- A professionally refurbished vintage Hobart mixer costs significantly less than a new one - both up front and down the road.
Who You Buy From Matters
All of this is not to tell you that you should buy that old mixer on eBay that was pieced together and rattle-can spray-painted by a hobbyist. "Professionally refurbished" means:
- Completely disassembled
- Each individual gear checked for missing or damaged teeth and keys
- All bearings, snap rings, and o-rings inspected and replaced as needed
- Old oil or grease drained/removed then replaced with new
- Electrical parts and connections checked
- Body fully sanded and painted to a good-as-new or better finish
- Reassembled and meticulously tested
This is what we do. We've been doing it for 35 years. This article is a reflection of the experience we've gained over those years. If you're looking for a refurbished Hobart mixer that will serve your operation for many years to come, have a look at our current inventory, give us a call at (888) 878-4964, or contact us here though our website.