Are tired arms keeping you from baking what you want? If so, then it could be time to invest in a stand mixer.
Stand mixers are a fixture of the modern kitchen and almost essential for the baking enthusiast. They take the hard work out of mixing, kneading, and otherwise preparing a huge range of recipes. In hindsight, you may struggle to see how you made do without one.
Stand mixers have many advantages over electric hand mixers, including a broader range of speed settings, more power, and greater automation. Some can even adapt to other tasks, like making pasta, noodles, and ice cream.
In this guide, we look at what stand mixers are and how to choose one for your kitchen. We’ll also give you our top picks for the best stand mixers of 2021.
Our Top Picks: Summary
- Best Overall: KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer
- Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Eclectrics 12-Speed Stand Mixer
- Best Splurge: KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Qt. Stand Mixer
- Best Features: Breville Scraper Mixer Pro 5-Quart Stand Mixer
The Best Stand Mixer: Our Top Picks
Best Overall: KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer
KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer
A 10-speed mixer with excellent functionality.
Why We Picked It
The best stand mixers combine functionality, durability, and affordability, and for this category, we’ve chosen the KitchenAid Artisan series mixer.
The KitchenAid is a 10-speed mixer with a 5-quart capacity. The tilt-head design allows access to the stainless steel mixing bowl, or to swap out the included flat beater, dough hook, and wire whip.
The mixer has 10 speed settings, so it can handle anything from stirring to whipping and aerating. The speed is set by a simple slider located on the mixer head, and the silver backing makes it easy to see your current setting at a glance.
The stand-out feature of this mixer is the power hub, which can accept more than 15 optional attachments, turning your mixer into an all-round kitchen tool that won’t take up the extra space of another appliance, effectively multiplying the mixer’s value.
Keep in Mind
The tilt-head design allows for easy switching of accessories but may not be robust enough for thicker mixtures.
In a Nutshell
- 10-speed mixer
- Power hub for 15 additional attachments
Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Eclectrics Stand Mixer
Hamilton Beach Eclectrics 12-Speed Stand Mixer
A budget-friendly upgrade to the modern kitchen.
Why We Picked It
For many shoppers, a mixer is about functionality over luxury, which makes affordability a high priority. For these shoppers, we’ve chosen the Hamilton Beach Eclectrics stand Mixer.
The Hamilton Beach Eclectrics is a 12-speed, 400-watt mixer with a 4.5-quart mixing bowl and a die-cast metal finish. The speeds range from slow stirring to fast whipping, covering the full spread of functions. Its planetary mixing gives it the same kind of bowl coverage as more expensive mixers and it comes with a flat beater, dough hook, whisk, and pouring shield attachments.
The tilt-up design allows for easy swapping of accessories, and the 12 speeds are controlled by an easy-to-use slider on the mixer arm.
This mixer also has a compact design, which will suit budget-conscious shoppers who may not have the space for something larger.
Keep in Mind
The 400-watt motor is strong enough for most tasks, but may not have enough power for thicker mixtures.
In a Nutshell
- 12-speed mixer
- Tilt-up design
- Compact and affordable
Best Splurge: KitchenAid Professional 600 Series
KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Qt. Stand Mixer
A luxury stand mixer to take your kitchen to the next level.
Why We Picked It
If you have money to burn or you’re looking for a luxury treat, then the KitchenAid Professional 600 series could be the mixer for you.
The KitchenAid is a 10-speed mixer with a 6-quart bowl and is available in a range of 10 colors, so there’s one to suit all tastes and kitchen designs. It features an elevated bowl design and an all-metal build (including the bowl), which makes it a robust and stable mixer. The mixer uses a 67-point planetary mixing action to provide complete coverage.
Attachments include a spiral dough hook, flat beater, stainless steel wire whip, and pouring shield. A multipurpose hub gives this mixer excellent versatility, accepting over 15 optional attachments.
The unit is controlled by a physical slider mounted on the upper casing, which is easy to access and tweak while mixing.
Keep in Mind
Though it justifies its price, this model won’t suit everyone’s budget.
In a Nutshell
- 10-speed mixer
- All-metal construction
- 67-point planetary mixing
Best Features: Breville Scraper Mixer
Breville Scraper Mixer Pro 5-Quart Stand Mixer
A feature-rich mixer for the enthusiast.
Why We Picked It
If you’re going all-out with your mixer purchase and want the bells and whistles, then the Breville Scraper has your back.
The Breville is a 12-speed mixer with a 5-quart bowl, with a die-cast metal stand that makes this mixer sturdy and stable. Its planetary mixing action ensures consistent results.
This mixer comes with versatile attachments including a scraper beater, flat beater, dough hook, whisk, splash guard, and spatula.
The mixer’s controls are simple, with a speed-control dial to set each of the 12 speeds. A stylish indicator strip shows which function is currently active, ranging from gentle folding and kneading to aerating and whipping.
Additional features include load-sensing technology, which helps protect the motor, lift-assist handles for the mixer head, and a 10-minute timer with auto-off.
Keep in Mind
Due to its range of features, this model will be out of some buyers’ price range.
In a Nutshell
- 12-speed mixer
- Range of attachments
- 5-quart bowl
How We Chose the Best Stand Mixers
To choose the best stand mixers, we looked at several key areas to build a complete picture of the product. Here are some of the areas we looked at:
Like a car, a mixer is rated according to its power, though we’re talking Watts instead of horsepower. But the same principle applies: the more powerful the mixer, the better its performance.
We looked at mixers with enough power to tackle even thick batters and doughs, allowing you to prepare the maximum possible range of recipes.
Stand mixers usually offer a range of speeds, from the slow speeds used for folding and kneading to the high speeds needed for aerating and whipping. In short, the larger the speed range of a mixer, the more utility it offers and the more fine control you’ll have when mixing.
We chose models with a good range of speeds to help you prepare any recipe. For each model, we looked at how many speeds were on offer and the kind of mixes that could be prepared with them.
Ease of Use
Most people value convenience and efficiency in a kitchen, so ease of use is paramount in a kitchen appliance. We looked at how easy the mixer is to use, including whether its controls are intuitive and how easy it is to add ingredients and swap accessories.
Stand mixers aren’t as complex as some kitchen appliances, but higher-priced mixers typically offer a few special features. Some mixers include useful functions like timers. One popular feature is a hub for connecting additional, non-mixing accessories, which allows a mixer to make pasta, noodles, and sweet treats. This greatly expands a mixer’s utility and so makes it a better investment.
We note the special features of each mixer, as they can bring a lot of extra value to a stand mixer, giving you more bang for your buck and justifying the space they take up.
Many shoppers aren’t looking for a luxury accessory when buying a stand mixer. Instead, they’re looking for budget-friendly utility. There are exceptions, of course, so we made sure to provide options that covered a range of price tags, from the utilitarian to the feature-rich and stylish.
For each model, we assessed whether it lived up to its price tag. Even budget-friendly stand mixers represent an investment, so we looked at what each mixer offered for the price.
Customer reviews help us to build a complete picture of the product in aggregate, from hundreds of different user experiences. With customer reviews, we can note how the mixer performs in an everyday environment, including any quirks a user may want to know about.
What is a Stand Mixer?
A stand mixer is a versatile kitchen appliance that performs the role of hand-driven tools like whisks and egg-beaters but is motorized like a hand mixer.
Unlike a hand mixer, a stand mixer entirely automates the mixing process. The central body of the stand mixer contains a motor, a platform for the mixing bowl, and the mixer head. Using a stand mixer isn’t much more complicated than setting it to the desired speed and leaving it to do its job.
A stand mixer can be used for any traditional mixing tasks, as well as kneading, folding, and a range of other functions.
Stand mixers are heavier and bulkier than hand mixers and, as a result, more expensive. They also take up more space in the kitchen. But for those who can afford a stand mixer and find room for it, they’re a no-brainer upgrade to other mixing methods.
Types of Stand Mixers
Not all stand mixers are the same. There are several major variations in style and function, so it’s helpful to know what they are when buying a new mixer.
Here are some of the terms you’ll often see used to describe stand mixers:
- Tilt-head: Tilt-head mixers have a pivot point where the mixer head joins the main body, or part way along the head. This allows the entire head to left out of the mixing bowl, giving easy access to swap out the bowl or mixing accessories.
- Bowl-lift: Bowl-lift mixers use a mechanism to bring the bowl into contact with the mixing accessories. This means the mixer is usually taller, but it allows for a quieter, more stable build than a tilt-head. The most powerful stand mixers tend to be bowl-lift, as they’re sturdy enough to take the strain of a more powerful motor. However, it can be trickier to access and swap out accessories in a bowl-lift mixer.
- Planetary: Stand mixers with planetary motion use a counter-rotation system to move the mixing accessory through the mixture while it’s turning. This ensures even coverage, with the end result of a smoother, more uniform mixture.
- Stationary: A stationary mixer(also called a spiral mixer) keeps the beaters in place while moving the mixing bowl. Spiral mixers are generally used for thicker mixtures like dough, as they lead to less undermixed dough and they won’t increase the dough’s temperature during mixing.
Stand Mixers vs. Hand Mixers
Shoppers will want to decide between a stand mixer and a hand mixer before they make their purchase. There are some obvious differences between the two, but in general, stand mixers are more automated and suited to heavier tasks, while hand mixers are more manual but cheaper.
Alongside budget, the main consideration when deciding between the two is the frequency of use. A stand mixer is more convenient and consistent for enthusiastic bakers, who may use it multiple times in a week or month. However, a stand mixer is more expensive and takes up more space.
A hand mixer is suitable for people who may only mix occasionally or who don’t need professional-grade precision. They have fewer speed options but are cheaper and easier to store in a crowded kitchen.
|Hand Mixer||Cheaper than a stand mixer|
An improvement over unpowered mixers
Can be attached to a stand for a middle-ground between hand and stand mixer
Easy to store when not in use; won’t take up counter space
Manual input required
Not efficient for frequent baking
Lacks the power for dealing with thick mixtures
Fewer speed settings
|Stand Mixer||Automated, makes it easy to multitask|
Can handle thick mixtures
More efficient for frequent baking
Usually kept in-situ for convenience
Planetary mixing means more uniform coverage
May include the option for additional attachments (e.g. blending)
|Bulky, takes up worktop/storage space|
Expensive, including to replace if developing a fault
What to Consider When Choosing a Stand Mixer
To find the best stand mixer for you, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind, including your unique needs. Here are some things to think about when making your decision:
In some kitchens, a stand mixer will be an essential item that sees a regular workout. In others, it will only see occasional use. Likewise, some users will put their mixer through its paces with thick mixtures like dough while others will only use it for light mixing tasks.
For instance, bread makers will want a premium, sturdy model, as bread-making is taxing on a mixer.
Stand mixers usually come with a range of attachments, including dough hooks for kneading, balloon whisks for whisking and whipping, and the flat beater for more general mixing tasks.
Some stand mixers come with non-mixing attachments, too, like those used to make sausage, pasta, or ice cream.
The eternal struggle of kitchen efficiency is to equip it with all your necessary appliances without taking up all your usable space. Stand mixers range from sleek to bulky, so you’ll need to choose one that suits your available space.
As part of this, consider whether you prefer a stand mixer as a permanent feature or one you can bring out as needed. You’ll then know whether you’re planning based on your counter space or your storage space. If you plan to move your mixer often, then you’ll also know to buy a lighter model.
If your stand mixer is a permanent feature of your kitchen, then aesthetics will enter into the equation, too. Many mixers are available in a range of color options to suit any kitchen, though be sure to include this in your research, as not all products will have this option.
Choose a color and style that will work well with your kitchen. This is particularly important if you have a bulkier model, as it could clash with a minimalist kitchen.
If you’re more likely to bring your stand mixer out only when you need it, then you’ll likely want a lightweight design. Of course, you won’t have to worry quite so much about its aesthetic appeal.
Stand mixers represent an investment in your kitchen due to their relative expense. On top of that, the price you pay for your stand mixer will likely reflect its quality, including the durability of its motor and the stability of its construction. It’s worth investing extra for a better mixer.
If a stand mixer is outside your budget, consider looking into hand mixers. While not as automated as stand mixers, they can save you the time and energy of mixing by hand, and they’re a lot more affordable.
How to Care for Your Stand Mixer
To get the most out of your stand mixer, you’ll need to clean it regularly—and not just the obvious parts, like the mixing bowl and attachments. Cleaning will extend a mixer’s lifespan, keep it looking pristine, and reduce the risk of food contamination.
Here are some pointers for maintaining the appliance:
- Don’t push it: Pushing your mixer’s motor too far with thick mixtures or an overfilled mixing bowl is a sure-fire way to shorten its lifespan. Make sure the mixer operates smoothly with your mix. Cease operation immediately if you hear unusual noises from the motor.
- Disconnect the appliance: A stand mixer is an electric appliance, so disconnect it from the power before you start cleaning.
- Clean the body: Clean the body of the machine with a damp cloth, scrubbing to remove stains. You can also use a little baking soda for tough stains. Even if you use your mixer rarely, it can still accumulate dust and grime from the rest of the kitchen, so do this regularly.
- Clean the controls: When you’re cleaning your mixer, don’t forget to clean out the controls. These complex surfaces can attract grime, so be sure to wipe levers or slide controls.
- Clean other complex surfaces: Areas like the motor vents and beater shaft are all complex surfaces, which are hard to wipe clean and prime spots for dirt to accumulate. Use an old toothbrush to gently scrub these areas.
Looking for more kitchen guides? Be sure to check out our other pages.