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What are the Best Chocolate Panning Machines for Home Use?

chocolate panning machines

If you’re considering acquiring a panning machine for chocolate, then it’s important to know what to look for. Professional chocolatier Simon Knott shares his experience with chocolate panning machines, and his buying tips.

As a serious chocolate-making hobbyist or semi-professional working on your chocolate business from home, you may have considered whether to take the next step up to using machinery to automate some work for you.

There are many devices that assist with the chocolate-making and chocolatiering process, and one of these is a chocolate panning machine (aka chocolate coater machine).

If you’re in the business of making confectionery with a chocolate coating, such as choc-coated nuts or liquorice, then chocolate panning machines are good long-term investments that will provide a professional finish and ease your workload.

Let’s now pass onto Simon Knott, professional chocolatier, to discuss his experience with chocolate panning machines, and what to look for when buying one.

Best Chocolate Panning Machines for Home Use

Written by Simon Knott, professional chocolatier

Overview of Chocolate Panning Machines

The process of panning chocolate involves coating a centre, made of chocolate or other confectionery, with thin layers of melted chocolate in a uniform way, so the finished result is even and often round.

The concept of panning is used interchangeably with sugar confectionery where the finished sweets are called dragées or confits. A well-known example is sugared almonds and these are some of the earliest records from 11th-century Greece, where almonds, coated in honey and then stirred and dried over a fire are mentioned.

For an essentially simple process, the techniques and equipment employed in chocolate panning are complex. To maintain a consistent quality it is essential that the four major elements of equipment, environment, ingredients and technique are all carefully controlled to ensure optimum conditions during production.

In addition, there is an enormous variety in the sizes of machines available ranging from tabletop attachments for domestic mixes to large fully automated commercial panning machines, which can process many hundreds of kilos per hour. Prices for chocolate panning machines vary accordingly from US $500 to $20,000 (£400 to £16,000).

However, for all their complexity the basics of production are often similar, regardless of their size.

Components of Chocolate Panning Machines

The following are the common elements of a chocolate panning machine:

Drum & Stand

The drum is the primary receptacle for the chocolate centres that are to be coated. Often made of stainless steel, the drum is attached to the metal stand, which is connected to an electric motor. The motor rotates the drum, so the motion constantly tumbles the chocolate centres inside.

This continuous tumbling action ensures that each sweet is evenly coated as they bump against each other and the inside of the drum. Some drums are designed to be smooth inside, while others have small metal ridges that assist with the tumbling action.

Melting Tank

Larger chocolate panning machines have an integral melting tank, where the chocolate is melted and tempered, ready to be transported to the drum by a pipe called the intake manifold. The chocolate melting and tempering process is carried out externally with smaller home-use panning machines.

Then once the chocolate seed is ready for coating, the tempered chocolate is usually ladled in slowly so the coating process inside the drum takes place evenly. This even coating of many thin layers is the key to an attractive round shape of the finished chocolate.


Some panning machines have a blower, operated by a fan which leads warm/cool air by a pipe into the drum. Sometimes the drum contents need heating slightly to ensure even coating so the piped air is heated. Conversely, adding melted chocolate and the friction of the tumbling contents generates heat that needs to be dispersed for the chocolate coatings to set correctly.

Home-use smaller machines don’t generate that much heat, so the natural cooling around the device is enough to set the chocolate, so most small machines don’t have a fan or pipe attachment.

Control Unit

Even the most straightforward chocolate panning machine has a control unit. Often this will include an on-off switch, a variable control to adjust the temperature inside the drum, a variable control to adjust the speed of the turning drum and a direction switch, which changes the drum direction to ensure even coating.

Benefits of using chocolate panning machines

  1. While hand-panning chocolates is possible (see video at the end), it is labour-intensive; you can only make small batches, and the finish isn’t as professional as machine-panned items.
  2. Using a panning machine for chocolate coating enables larger batches, which are of a higher quality. Hence productivity and overall quality are improved.
  3. Often, even smaller chocolate panning machines have some level of automation. This can be temperature control or timers to gauge the panning time.
  4. Once started, the panning machine requires little intervention besides checking and adding more chocolate.
  5. Most panning machines are made of stainless steel, which aids heat distribution during production and makes for easier cleaning.
chocolate coating machines vs hand panning
Hand panning cannot produce the professional, uniform coating that machines can. Notice the flat bottom on the chocolates pictured here. They may taste great, but give an amateur appearance to your work.

Factors to consider when choosing a chocolate panning machine

Recent advances in both chocolate panning machine technology and the development of cheaper chocolate coatings have led to a situation where just a few more prominent manufacturers are producing large quantities of panned chocolate and sugar items at a competitive price that smaller producers can’t compete with. Unfortunately, the lower-grade ingredients the more prominent manufacturers use create inferior products.

The overall result is fewer smaller chocolate panning machines on the market. When sourcing a chocolate panning machine, it is essential to assess your realistic requirements for production and what you can afford to spend.

Check out manufacturer websites to read all you can. Chat with other chocolatiers on forums or in your local area, who have already bought a machine to find out what they tell you. What you hear may be positive or negative, but it’s better to find out before purchasing.

Tips for Choosing a Panning Machine for Chocolate

Size and capacity

Panning machines vary considerably in size and capacity, from the smallest, a panning attachment for KitchenAid and Kenwood mixers, to industrial applications that can produce vast quantities. Choosing the best size is necessary to project or test how much finished product you can sell. This will at least give you an idea of how much product you need to make.

Ease of use and cleaning

A machine you will use and clean every day must be as simple as possible. Small tabletop machines have little automation, but the batches are smaller, so this isn’t such a requirement. Larger machines have extra heating, cooling, and mixing features, and some are self-cleaning.


Prices for new chocolate panning equipment vary from US $370 (£300) to more than US $20,000 (£16,000). You usually pay extra for more significant batch production and complex control systems to monitor the panning process.

Some cheaper tabletop panning machines are available online from China. However, when you look closer, there is often no brand name, so follow-up servicing or technical problems could be a problem.

best chocolate panning machines for home
A panning machine for chocolate (aka chocolate coater machine) will give you professional-looking results, with less work than hand-panning.

Top chocolate panning machines for home use

Chocolate Panning Machine 7 litres 110 volt 

Price: US $7,220


This panning machine is entirely manufactured from stainless steel and is ideal for small to medium-sized operations. It has an integrated fan that pipes hot and cold air into the drum when required. The drum easily detaches from the machine for easy cleaning, and the cooling fan filter is washable.


  • Professionally constructed from stainless steel
  • The integral fan and the piping can be removed for easy product access


  • Expensive for a smaller machine

The Pomati Bassini Mini

Price: US $8,163

Website: – USA agent of Pomati

Italian-made, the Bassini Mini is fabricated entirely from stainless steel. It is ideal for chocolate coating batches up to 8kg with nuts, coffee beans, dried fruit and puffed rice. The machine has an integral fan which pumps hot or cold air to assist with production and the final polishing. A touchscreen control panel allows you to set the temperature, as well as the speed and direction of the drum.


  • Professionally constructed by a chocolate equipment manufacturer
  • The integral fan and the piping can be removed for easy product access
  • Compact tabletop dimensions for easy use


  • Expensive for a smaller machine

For a demonstration of the Pomati Bassini Mini, see this video for coating pistachios:

Chocolate World – M1285 – Panning machine

Price: US $4360 + shipping


The Belgian-made Chocolate World M1285 is designed to coat nuts, dried fruit and other confectionery specialities with smooth layers of chocolate. The drum is constructed from copper, while the frame is stainless steel for good heat conduction. The machine is entirely electrically operated on 230 V. Even with a limited batch size of 4.4 lbs (2 kg) per batch, two batches can be produced per hour. A manual tilting system operates with a stainless steel unloading tray for easy product removal.


  • Professionally constructed by one of Belgium’s leading chocolate equipment manufacturers.
  • Compact tabletop dimensions for easy use
  • Powered by electricity no need for a gas connection


  • More limited batch size
  • Expensive for a smaller machine

Confikit panning attachment for KitchenAid and Kenwood Mixers

For home-use manufacturing and trial runs with chocolate panning, the Confikit attachment for KitchenAid and Kenwood mixers has often been the ideal compromise between cost and function. The panning attachment (two designs, each slightly different, for each brand) fits on the front of the mixer, connecting with the motor for rotation.

The kit includes a stainless-steel stand, which enables the mixers to incline at 30 degrees for more efficient function. Two stainless steel rotating curved arms positioned inside the drum ensure effective product tumbling.


  • A cost-effective way to start panning
  • Straightforward and reliable equipment with good reviews


  • You need to buy or borrow a KitchenAid or Kenwood mixer
  • More limited batch size

Price: At the time of writing, the Confikit is available from a US supplier at $798 + shipping, or from a UK supplier at $408 plus $224 shipping to USA


Recommendation of the best chocolate panning machine for home use

The best option for getting involved with chocolate panning in the home is the Confikit conversion kit for KitchenAid and Kenwood mixers.

The kit costs approximately a quarter of the other comparable small chocolate panning machines on the market, making it easily the most inexpensive model. The second-hand market in confectionery equipment is always strong, so if, after working with the Confikit conversion, you want to invest in a larger chocolate coater machine with greater capacity, there shouldn’t be a problem in selling the Confikit conversion.


If you’re interested in what you’ve read about panning and you want to try out the process before buying an expensive machine, then hand panning is a good way. This video gives a brief introduction:

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article from Simon about the best chocolate panning machines, and buying considerations. For more information on chocolate-making machinery and equipment recommendations and advice, head over to our articles on home chocolate making machines you should acquire and tips for buying a chocolate conche/refiner.

Happy chocolatiering!

Article Author

  • Simon Knott

    Simon Knott studied a BSc Hons in Catering Management, Food Science, and Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University and started writing in 2006, specialising in food and drink. He worked as Food & Drink Editor for two county magazines, interviewing chefs and local food producers. In 2010 Simon started a company making traditional fudges and chocolate products. The company quickly grew, supplying local outlets and Simon was awarded five Gold Great Taste Awards for his products. Simon recently completed a Diploma in Copywriting, and continues to write about food and drink, business and skiing.

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