The best stand mixers make home cooking and baking super-easy. That’s because stand mixers can essentially take on any mixing task. So whether you’re whipping up cookie dough, mixing cake batter or making a meatloaf, a good stand mixer can evenly combine ingredients more efficiently than a human hand ever could. Did we mention these handy kitchen gadgets are pretty self-reliant too? Once you’ve added all your ingredients to the mixer, you can leave it to do its thing while you get on with other tasks.
We aren’t being dramatic when we say that the best stand mixers come with powerful mixing capabilities. So when you’re deciding what mixer is best suited to you, check the different speed settings on offer. Also pay attention to the mixer’s bowl capacity. If you’re baking for a large gathering, you’ll want to make sure the machine comes with at least a four or five-quart stainless steel bowl.
When it comes to finding the best stand mixers, two brands easily stand out. Indeed, the battle of the stand mixer giants is pretty much KitchenAid vs Cuisinart, both of which design ingenious high-powered machines for all different kinds of cooking and baking jobs. This also makes them ideal for professional bakers who are serious about their cooking. You can also buy a range of KitchenAid attachments.
But you don’t have to spend a fortune to reap the rewards of the best stand mixers. In our guide, we’ve included a range of options with affordable price tags. Available in a wide variety of colors and high spec finishes, there’s a stand mixer for every kitchen. If you’re looking for more appliances to help with fresh food preparation, read our guides to the best pasta makers and the best ice cream makers.
1. KitchenAid Artisan Mixer: Best stand mixer overall
The robust KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer outdid the other mixers we tested for performance, 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 pouffy, 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 flair to your kitchen decor.
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. The main drawback, though, is its steep price when compared to other models we tested.
2. Cuisinart Precision Master: Best stand mixer for 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 options.
3. KitchenAid Classic Plus: Best budget KitchenAid mixer
The KitchenAid Classic Plus stand mixer is one of the least expensive KitchenAids you can buy, but it still packs as much of a punch as the most high end stand mixers. The KitchenAid Classic Plus performed very well in all our kitchen tests, whipping up stiff egg whites, blending chocolate chips gently into cookie dough without breaking them and kneading bread dough until it reached just the right consistency.
This is a somewhat pared-down model compared to its more expensive cousin, the KitchenAid Artisan. For example, it doesn't come with such things as a splashguard or a bowl with a handle. Still, the KitchenAid Classic is a useful tool with a sturdy 4.5-quart stainless steel bowl, a paddle mixer, a whisk attachment and a dough hook. If you choose, you can buy extra attachments from KitchenAid – they let you do far more with your mixer, including grind meat, make pasta and shred cheese.
- Read our KitchenAid Classic Plus review
4. Oster Planetary: Best stand mixer for small kitchens
The Oster Planetary FPSTSMPL1 is a fairly small stand mixer compared to others we reviewed, but it does a bang-up job mixing cookie dough and outperforms many bigger mixers at kneading bread dough. We got excellent results using this mixer’s dough hook to knead bread dough.
This mixer is designed to use planetary movement – the attachment orbits and the bowl rotates – so all the attachments touch nearly every part of the mixing bowl. As such, you don't end up with globs of flour or shortening stuck to the sides.
The Oster comes with standard attachments, including a mixing paddle, a whisk and a dough hook. However, you cannot buy extra attachments to make pasta, which some mixers make available. The 4.5-quart bowl has a splashguard and a handle, and the mixer has a slow start feature.
- Read our Oster Planetary stand mixer review
5. Hamilton Beach 6-Speed: Best budget stand mixer
The Hamilton Beach 6-Speed 63325 stand mixer is one of the few stand mixers we reviewed which can be found for under $100. That being said, it's lacking in a few features which would justify a higher price, including a large-capacity bowl and locking attachments for extra security.
We were impressed with the power of the Hamilton Beach 6-Speed stand mixer, which was able to work with bread dough and cookie mix easily. It did take a while to work egg whites up to stiff peaks, but it's still a lot easier and more time-efficient than doing it by hand.
There's no splash guard provided, which means things could get a little floury if you get carried away with your mixing speed, but with six speeds to choose from we think you get a lot for your money with this stand mixer.
6. Sunbeam Mixmaster 12-Speed: Best hand and stand mixer
If you're looking for ultimate versatility, the Sunbeam Mixmaster 12-Speed hand and stand mixer is a great option. This stand mixer has a removable mixer attachment, meaning that you can work with larger batches or get more hands-on control of your baking without always needing to use a stand mixer.
The Sunbeam Mixmaster comes with two durable glass bowls, but it's not up to more demanding tasks like kneading bread. The mixer attachments and are all this model comes with, so it really is a mixer, and not the multi-appliance model you'll find with KitchenAid and Cuisinart.
We like the two year warranty on this mixer, which is better than many other models, and this is also more affordable than many other big-name brands.
- Check out our Sunbeam Mixmaster 12-Speed stand mixer review
How much do the best stand mixers cost?
Home stand mixers span an exceptionally wide price range. For an appliance that gets used as often as a mixer, a higher price tag can sometimes make a remarkable difference in performance, durability and quality.
Mixers by well-known brands generally start at around $70 but can cost more than $350 on the high end. Buying a top-rated mixer manufactured by a trusted company is worth it in the end. You can get years of service from a powerful, properly designed stand mixer.
How to clean a stand mixer
If you’re like most people, you no doubt wash your stand mixer attachments, wipe down the outside of the machine and call it a day, at least most of the time. However, from time to time, it’s good to deep clean your mixer to keep it sanitary and make sure it looks great on your countertop.
The user manual for the KitchenAid Artisan, a highly popular stand mixer, describes which parts can go into the dishwasher and gives some general information, but it doesn’t specify how often to thoroughly clean your mixer. Here's what you should do regularly.
It's recommended you unscrew the attachment hub plate – the spot where you secure attachments – and wipe the inside, while you should also clean the beater shaft, which is where you insert beaters, since fine ingredients can build up there.
In case you have a new stainless steel mixing bowl with residue that won’t come off with regular washing, KitchenAid suggests spreading olive oil inside the bowl, letting it sit for a while, and then washing it with hot water and detergent. You can also scrub the residue off with a mixture of lemon juice and salt or a baking soda and water paste. “By doing so, you are able to remove the residue safely. These are food safe alternatives with abrasive qualities that will adequately clean the bowl.”
Why trust us on stand mixers?
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 using 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. In a video discussing various ways to mix ingredients for different foods, Stewart says, "This flat paddle is very good for breaking up large substances like a stick of butter, like beating in butter and flour, beating up meatloaf if – you're going to do something like that. Otherwise, you really have to use a wooden spoon and a bowl."
How we tested the best stand mixers
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 add volume to egg whites by whipping air into them. The goal was to get stiff peaks. The best stand mixers created the greatest amount of volume and did this in the least amount of time.