My hulking KitchenAid standing mixer was in semi-retirement until recently: when I took the BeaterBlade for a whirl, I quickly decided that my 20-pound monster-mixer was now worth hoisting out of the cupboard.
Made by New Metro Design, the BeaterBlade works like a windshield wiper in your mixer. It has rubber wings that scrape batter off the sides of the bowl as it blends, so you don't have to continually stop and scrape; it even gets flour out of the dimple at the bottom of the bowl. The "wing-system" design speeds up the mixing process by as much as 50 percent and cuts your frustration level substantially.
Can the BeaterBlade damage your mixer? According to the manufacturer, it draws on the motor more than a traditional beater, but no more than if you're making bread with the dough hook. You do need to make sure that the beater doesn't project too low or the head of your mixer may bounce around; a screw on the mixer can be adjusted to fix this problem. You might also need to modify mixing times to avoid overbeating some batters. The BeaterBlade website recommends running the mixer two speeds lower than you would using a traditional beater. Also, if you're adding flour to a batter, be sure to use the mixer's splash guard.
BeaterBlades are compatible with most KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Viking, and Kenwood mixers, and are available for both tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers. Make sure you order the right BeaterBlade for your mixer (5-, 6-, or 7-quart). Another similar beater attachment that's getting good reviews right now is the SideSwipe, which is compatible with KitchenAid, Hamilton Beach, and Cuisinart mixers.
Now if someone would invent a standing mixer that weighs five pounds instead of 20, I'd be really happy.