Best Mixers of 2018

Linda Thomson ·
Updated
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We’ve been evaluating kitchen stand mixers for the past seven years. During our most recent round of hands-on testing, we found that the durable KitchenAid Artisan stood out from all the mixers as the best overall. It blasted through every challenge we put it to and produced the results a good cook would expect. The KitchenAid Artisan offers impressive power, comes with three attachments and a splash guard, and you can buy 10 other versatile attachments.

Best Overall

KitchenAid Artisan

The KitchenAid Artisan whisks egg whites into airy clouds, kneads bread dough with longshoreman-like power and can knock off any other mixing task in a jiffy.
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Best Value

Cuisinart Precision Master

The Cuisinart Precision Master stand mixer is not the cheapest model on the market, but for a reasonable sum, you get a versatile and well-designed mixer with sturdy attachments.
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Best Splurge

Breville Bakery Chef

The Breville Bakery Chef is a hearty and powerful stand. You also get helpful features like a paddle beater with rubber scraping edges and a spatula, as well as standard attachments.
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Best Overall
The robust KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer outdid the other mixers we tested, despite steep competition. This is a tilt-head mixer, so you simply tip the head back to get to the generously large 5-quart stainless steel mixing bowl.
With its powerful motor, the KitchenAid Artisan muscled through 10 minutes of kneading bread dough like it was nothing at all, and the result was a smooth, shiny and precisely blended ball of dough with virtually no leftover bits sticking to the sides of the bowl. As for whipping egg whites, this electric mixer whisked more air into egg whites than any of the other mixers we tested and did it in only three minutes. The result was a great volume of poufy, stiff-peak egg whites that could be used to create an elegant meringue. When it came to making chocolate chip cookie dough using the paddle attachment, each ingredient was well incorporated into the finished dough, with no flour residue and only tiny smears of butter on the sides of the bowl. The mixer comes with a dough hook, whisk, paddle attachment and splash guard. However, you can purchase as many as 10 other attachments that make this KitchenAid mixer extra versatile. These include a meat grinder, pasta maker, sausage stuffer and more. On a whimsical note, you can choose from more than 40 colors (some are the same hue, but matte or shiny) to add pizazz to your kitchen décor. There are a few drawbacks: This does not include a timer, you get only a one-year warranty and there is no overload shut-off protection if the machine is working too hard, which could cause the motor to burn up.
Pros
  • Has a powerful motor
  • Includes three attachments and a splash guard
  • Can buy up to 10 extra attachments
Cons
  • No overload protection
  • Just a one-year warranty
  • No timer
$299Amazon
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Best Value
For all-around value with an acceptable price tag, the Cuisinart Precision Master stand mixer is a great choice. Its powerful motor can handle two loaves of wet, heavy bread dough, and it does a fine job of blending cookie dough and whipping egg whites.
In our bread test, the Cuisinart kneaded two loaves of dough in 10 minutes with no trouble at all. It did a fine job on cookie dough, incorporating all ingredients quickly and well, and when we added chocolate chips, they blended in nicely. And it aced our whipped egg whites test. It is equipped with 12 power settings and on the highest one you get some serious energy for aerating things like egg whites or whipping cream. This stand mixer offers some excellent extras: The "low" setting is truly low, which helps avoid getting doused with flour when adding dry ingredients, and the 5.5-quart stainless steel bowl is the biggest of all the mixers we reviewed. The bowl also has a sturdy handle, which is helpful when you want to remove a bowl full of batter or dough from the base. This comes with a whisk, dough hook and paddle, and you can separately buy a frozen dessert maker, a meat grinder, a pasta roller and cutter tool, and a pasta extruder. You get a choice of six colors, which is great compared to mixers with only one, but far fewer than the KitchenAid Artisan.
Pros
  • Mixes cookie dough well
  • Great at whipping egg whites
  • 5.5-quart stainless steel bowl
Cons
  • Not a low-budget model
  • Bread dough is a bit sticky
  • Only six colors
$166.06Amazon
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Best Splurge
The well-designed Breville Bakery Chef (technically The Bakery Chef) is a powerful stand mixer with 12 speed settings and many sturdy attachments. Our tests showed it can mix, blend, knead and whip any ingredients you put into its 4-quart stainless steel bowl or 5-quart glass bowl.
This potent machine does not come cheap, however, since it clocks in at a manufacturer's price that is about 17 percent higher than our top-ranked KitchenAid Artisan. It made short work of kneading bread dough for two loaves in 10 minutes, and it did equally well mixing ingredients for chocolate chip cookies with its paddle attachment. This comes with a splash guard, so adding different ingredients is not a messy process, although the pour spot opening was smaller than the one on the KitchenAid Artisan. This mixer boasts a balloon-shaped whisk bigger than that of any mixer we tested, and it can whip egg whites into stiff peaks in slightly more than three minutes. Besides the standard attachments of dough hook, paddle and whisk, this mixer also comes with a flexible edge beater that gets to every side of the bowl. Unfortunately, Breville does not offer any other attachments for this mixer. You get a timer than counts up or down, so you can set it for counting down and do another kitchen task, and there's a bright light above the bowl that illuminates the ingredients inside.
Pros
  • Kneads dough beautifully
  • Built-in timer
  • Has a light over the bowl
Cons
  • Cannot buy extra attachments
  • Pour shield slides into place only with the smaller bowl
  • Expensive
$395.26Amazon
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Why Trust Us?

We have been reviewing stand mixers since 2011. During that time, we’ve invested hours doing hands-on testing for all the mixers we chose after researching stand mixers and coming up with popular and affordable products from well-known manufacturers. We wanted each test to be fair, so we measured all ingredients precisely, timed everything carefully and graded each mixer on the exacting standards we set for great results in foods and great value in a mixer.

We also sought advice from the experts. We checked in with Teresa Hunsaker, family consumer science educator at Utah State University Extension, to see what the typical home consumer should look for in a stand mixer. She strongly recommends that each individual think first about what they'll be sing the mixer for most of the time and go from there when looking for features.

We also tracked down Lynnette Nielsen, bakery manager at Dick’s Fresh Market in Bountiful, Utah, who has worked as a commercial baker for almost 40 years. Given her extensive experience with giant commercial and home countertop mixers, Nielsen knows exactly what she would want in a home mixer: Power.

Without the oomph to make plenty of revolutions, a mixer cannot do the job it should, according to Nielsen.

We also looked at the website for renowned lifestyle expert Martha Stewart, who began her career in that area as a caterer and certainly knows her way around a kitchen. When discussing different mixer attachments on her website, Stewart said she is especially partial to the paddle attachment to tackle heavy jobs.

How We Tested

Our latest in-house testing for stand mixers involved checking motor power, design, attachment effectiveness and overall performance. This included evaluating how well the dough hook could knead bread dough, gauging the blending and mixing of ingredients for chocolate chip cookies and whipping egg whites to the “stiff peak” stage that makes great meringues, but is considerably short of the generally undesirable “stiff peak-dry.”

We used each mixer to knead enough dough for two loaves of bread for 10 minutes with the dough hook. Two mixers could not handle that much dough, so we kneaded half that amount and made note of it in their reviews. After the kneading process was through, we touched and handled the dough to see how elastic and smooth it was, and looked for any remaining bits of dough that might have stuck to the bowl. We awarded top grades to mixers with the smoothest and most resilient dough, and the cleanest bowl since that means everything was properly mixed.

Using the paddle attachment, we made a batch of basic cookie dough in each mixer, then added chocolate chips. Among other things, we noted whether the mixer lets you begin slowly to keep ingredients nicely in the bowl and avoid a flour shower, and whether we could incorporate chocolate chips without grinding them into sprinkles. We gave top marks to mixers that did not expel flour everywhere as we added dry ingredients, incorporated the chips in gently and, most importantly, fully mixed all the ingredients.

We used the whisk attachment to whip four ounces of room-temperature egg whites to examine each mixer's ability to volumize egg whites by whipping air into them. The goal was to get stiff peaks. The best mixers created the greatest amount of poufy volume and did this in the time we set, which was four minutes. Again, best marks went to the mixers that performed well in the time set (or in less time, as was the case for the KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer and the Breville Bakery Chef.) We also ranked mixers for the volume of poufy egg whites each produced and whether the egg whites were whipped to the stiff peak stage.

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