Need to know
- CHOICE experts recently tested the latest model of Thermomix, the TM6, which retails for over $2000
- Although this high-performing machine scored highly in our tests, our experts still have a safety concern about the latest model so don't recommend it
- We test a range of all-in-one machines for all different budgets in our kitchen labs to help you find the appliance that’s right for you
With its hefty price tag of more than $2000, adding a Thermomix to your kitchen collection is a significant investment. Now that there are plenty of competitor all-in-one machines also available at a range of prices, it's important to weigh up all your options before you buy.
Is a genuine Thermomix really worth splashing the cash on? It's worth considering if you're going to use it every other day, or if it's going to sit neglected at the back of your appliance-rammed cupboard.
The TM5 Thermomix has now been superseded by the latest model, the TM6.
What is an all-in-one kitchen machine?
All-in-one machines, such as Thermomix, combine multiple features such as slow-cooking, food processing, steaming and mixing, letting you make thousands of different recipes from homemade bread and curries to pasta sauces, stock pastes, yoghurt, ice cream and nut butters.
"All-in-one appliances combine several appliances into one, which can free up precious cupboard and bench space," says CHOICE home economist Fiona Mair.
In fact, the latest Thermomix model has a compact design that takes up only slightly more surface area than an A4-sized sheet.
"This style of appliance is great for people who are just starting out setting up their kitchen or for keen cooks who want to get rid of multiple appliances in favour of just one," says Fiona.
The machines we tested range from budget brands such as the Kogan all-in-one machine priced at $350, through to the mid-range KitchenAid Cook Processor at $799, and up to the higher end of the price scale with models such as the Kenwood kCook Multi Smart at $1699 and the Thermomix TM6 at $2269.
What can a Thermomix do?
The Thermomix TM6 does the job of more than 20 appliances, allowing you to chop, beat, blend, whip, weigh, mill, knead, mince and more. You can use it to whip up everything from banana bread and scones to butter chicken, pumpkin soup, pizza dough or mashed potato – the recipe possibilities run into the many thousands.
The TM6's Wi-Fi connectivity gives you access to 50,000-plus recipes from the touchscreen.
Here are just some features of the Thermomix TM6:
- 20 functions and 12 modes including sous vide, slow cooking and fermenting for making yoghurt.
- 2.2L stainless steel bowl housed in high-grade plastic.
- Touchscreen cooking and Wi-Fi connectivity.
- 120 pre-programmed recipes, plus a further 80,000 recipes to search via the Cookidoo online recipe library/app – a six-month subscription is included with your purchase and costs $49 per year after that.
- Integrated scales 24-month warranty plus service centres available.
- Ability to use step-by-step guided cooking, pre-set recipes or manual cooking (our testers note that using the machine manually can cause some safety issues).
The Thermomix is designed to help you whip up a dizzying array of dishes, including soups and stews.
CHOICE experts review the latest Thermomix
CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair notes that the standout features for her that differentiate the Thermomix from other cheaper models is its general performance, and its pre-programmed recipes and Wi-Fi connectivity that gives you access to a huge database of step-by-step cooking guides and recipes.
"When it comes to all-in-one appliances, you get what you pay for," she says. "Cheaper all-in-one appliance brands such as Aldi's Mistral and Kogan have limited instructions and recipe guides as compared with the more expensive brands, which can be an issue if you've never used an all-in-one appliance before."
"Using one of these appliances is a different way of cooking and preparing foods, so initially you'll need guidance and specific recipes. These are features that the more expensive brands are better at delivering.
"If you're considering buying an all-in-one machine to replace most of your kitchen appliances, my advice would be to choose a brand that has excellent instructions with basic recipes, plus continued support and updates."
CHOICE tip: In our full review of the Thermomix TM6 we compare it with other machines, including the TM5 Thermomix, to give it a detailed score on performance, how easy it is to use and safety.
Our kitchen experts used the TM6 Thermomix to make honeycomb, following a recipe in the Cookidoo recipe database.
Reasons to buy a Thermomix
- Compact. Unlike other kitchen appliances that need to be dragged out and pieced together every time you need to use it, the Thermomix is surprisingly compact with minimal parts. It's designed to live on the benchtop and with a flick of a switch it's ready to go.
- Hands free. The Thermomix is set-and-forget, with a timer and the ability to stir while cooking – great news for busy (or distracted!) cooks who might be called away from the kitchen while trying to put dinner together. Best of all, this feature ensures no burning or overcooking.
- A plus for nutrition. If you've ever battled to get your kids to eat their vegies, the Thermomix is a great partner in crime when it comes to sneaking vegetables into meals. With a powerful set of blades it can pulverise carrots, celery, broccoli and more which can be blended into pasta sauces, risottos and soups.
- Cooking from scratch. It makes a breeze of cooking from scratch. Muffins can be whipped up and shoved into the oven in minutes. Biscuits and even pastry are equally easy and fast. Other fast favourites include smoothies and juices – all whipped up in seconds. Easy for beginners, too. The pre-programmed recipes and guided cooking functions mean that even a complete kitchen novice can follow the step-by-step instructions and produce some pretty impressive basic dishes such as pizza dough or biscuits.
- Ongoing support for updates and services. Vorwerk (the manufacturer) continually updates its technology and the TM6's Wi-Fi connection means that you are able to access new software updates as they become available. There are also physical dedicated service centres you can visit for repairs and service.
- Getting creative. If you're feeling adventurous you can even use your Thermo to whip up things like your own laundry detergent, body scrub and moisturiser.
Reasons to avoid a Thermomix
- It can't brown or caramelise very well. This is due to the small surface area of the jug. If you want to slow cook, the timer can be set for a maximum of 8 hours.
- It's not a substitute ice-cream maker. This may or may not be an important feature for you! While you can use the Thermomix to make the custard base for an ice-cream, then freeze and whip in the Thermomix, it doesn't actually churn ice-cream.
- A different way of cooking. Learning to cook differently is a bit of a drag at first. It took some time, effort and practice to learn how to get the best out of my machine. If you aren't time pressured and love to spend an hour sipping wine and lovingly stirring your risotto then this may not be the machine for you.
- No safety cut-off for speed when heating above 60°C. This is the reason why we haven't been able recommend the Thermomix in our tests. See below for more on Thermomix safety.
Is the Thermomix safe to use?
Thermomix in Australia was fined $4.6 million in April 2018 for misleading customers about the burn risks of their TM31 model. At the time, CHOICE testing had found the TM5 Thermomix to be an excellent all-in-one kitchen machine but we suspended our recommendation due to substandard customer care.
As a result of the fine, Thermomix offered to upgrade any customers who had bought the TM31 model between July 2014 and 23 September 2014 to the newest model at the time, the TM5. The ACCC allegations about the potential safety risk in 2014 did not relate to the Thermomix TM5 or TM6.
Although the TM6 performs well in our tests, we would like to see a safety cut off for speed when heating above 60°C before we recommend this productCHOICE kitchen expert, Fiona Mair
The Thermomix Facts website currently states: "We believe that all Thermomix models are safe to operate when used appropriately and in accordance with manufacturer's instructions and the user manuals. With all kitchen and electrical appliances, there is inherent risk of injury. It's important appliances are used in line with the manufacturer's instructions and user manual."
Our kitchen experts agree that the TM6 model includes improved safety features, however there are still some concerns in case users choose to operate the machine manually.
Fiona says: "The new safety feature in the latest TM6 model is that it will deactivate the temperature if the user exceeds speed 6 when using the heat setting manually. This is still an issue if the contents has been heated to 100°C as it's still able to blend the very hot contents at high speed, which presents safety concerns.
"Although this product performs well in our tests, we would like to see a safety cut-off for speed when heating above 60°C before we recommend this product," she says.
What do Thermomix owners say?
CHOICE staff member Clarissa has owned a Thermomix for seven years and says she uses it at least once every day.
"I use it for loads of things – smoothies, baking, cooking sauces and dips and things like dukkah," she says. "Today I will be making pizza dough and pizza sauce for homemade pizza. I also frequently do all-in-one meals (bangers and mash all at the same time is a favourite in our household)."
Of the expense, Clarissa says: "It is expensive, however if I were to break it down and weigh it up against how often I use it, I would say it is probably worth it. I would be curious to try a cheaper competitor as well, though."
Another staff member and Thermi owner Kate says: "I bought a Thermomix when my youngest was a baby and I used it quite a bit because I was home all the time. I really like the built-in recipes as it makes it super easy to use, although we don't use it that much for cooking full meals.
"Despite not using it every day, I do think the expense is worth it. Whenever I do use it, I marvel at its simplicity and functionality. Not needing to get out a bunch of chopping boards, scales, multiple bowls, pots and pans etc. is amazing."
I use it for everything: cooking main meals, grinding, making smoothies, mixing dough and more. It is also great for kids to use with minimal supervisionThermomix owner Karen
Thermomix fan Karen is onto her second machine – her first she owned for 13 years before upgrading recently to the newest model.
"I use it for everything," she says. "Cooking main meals, grinding, making smoothies, mixing dough and more. It is also great for kids to use with minimal supervision. If you broke the expense down to a cost per year, my Thermomix would cost me $140 per year so far, so I think it's worth the investment as opposed to buying a cheaper machine that you have to replace every couple of years. This type of cooking is not for everyone but you really need to see it in action before you dismiss it."
Where can you buy a Thermomix?
You can't buy a Thermomix from a standard retailer. They're sold by independent consultants, who hold 'Cooking Experiences' in home and workplaces to show the features of the machine. Once you purchase, your consultant will deliver your Thermomix for an introduction, and are supposed to be available to you for advice, ideas and assistance with your machine.