For the budding baker or the busy mom that needs to save time in the kitchen, a stand mixer is an essential appliance to have on hand. The best stand mixers effortlessly knead bread dough, rustle up cookie and cake mix, and whisk eggs with ease. They're not just restricted to baking either, as the top stand mixers can also double up as blenders, food processors, and even pasta makers, making them a handy accessory for the kitchen. During our most recent round of hands-on testing, we put several mixers through the wringer to find out which ones are the best for your kitchen. Here are the ones we highly recommend.
Robust stand mixer
This is a tilt-head mixer, so you simply tip the head back to get to the 5-quart stainless steel mixing bowl. The KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer outdid other mixers we testes. With its powerful motor is muscled through 10 minutes of kneading bread dough with a smooth, shiny, and precisely blended ball of dough with virtually no leftover bits sticking to the sides of the bowl.
- Has a powerful motor
- Includes three attachments
- Includes a splash guard
- No overload protection
As for whisking eggs, the KitchenAid wished more air into egg whites than the other mixers we tested and did it in only three minutes. The result was a great volume of poufy, stiff-peaked 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.
The mixer comes with a dough hook, whisk, paddle attachment, and splash guard. However, you can purchase other attachments that make this KitchenAid mixer extra versatile. These include a meat grinder, pasta maker, and sausage stuffer. The biggest drawback is there is no overload shut-off protection if the machine is working too hard, which could cause the motor to burn up.
Good model with high power
The Cuisinart Precision Master stand mixer is a good, all-around value is a good motor that does a fine job of blending cookie and whipping egg whites. It is equipped with 12 power settings and on the highest one, you get some serious energy for aerating things like whipping cream.
- Mixes cookie dough well
- 5.5quart stainless steel bowl
- Bread dough comes out sticky
The Cuisinart Precision Master offers some excellent extra: 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 mixer comes with a whisk, dough hook, and paddle. you can separately buy a frozen dessert maker, a meat grinder, and a pasta roller and cutter tool.
In our bread test, the Cuisinart kneaded two loaves of dough in 10 minutes. Though the ingredients were incorporated well, we noticed that the dough remained sticky and not as smooth compared to other stand mixers we tested. This meant we had to add additional flour before we could remove the dough from the bowl.
Good at kneading
The Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Stand Mixer is a good general use electric mixer that can handle most kitchen tasks. It did reasonably well in our kitchen lab tests and has dishwasher-safe parts and extremely strong non-slip feet to hold it tightly in place on the counter when in operation.
- Good at kneading
- No locking attachments
- Limited add-ons
We were impressed with the power of the Hamilton Beach 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. This stand mixer comes with six speeds as well as an extra “fold” setting that you set and hold when you want to gently add delicate ingredients such as whipped cream.
With the Hamilton Beach mixer, you get the standard beater, whisk, and dough hook that is especially good at kneading bread doughs. Unlike other mixers we reviewed, the Hamilton Beach's attachments simply went straight into the sockets where they were supposed to go, and you pull them straight out to remove them. There is no locking mechanism. The lack of locking attachments isn't too big of a deal, but in our opinion isn't as safe.
A hand and stand mixer
The Sunbeam Mixmaster 12-Speed mixer is a great option for ultimate versatility. 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.
- Removeable mixer attachment
- Come with durable bowls
- Not up to high-power tasks
- Lacking in add-on attachments
The Sunbeam Mixmaster comes with two durable glass bowls and a set of beaters and dough hooks, though they aren’t recommended to use for kneading heavy doughs. In fact, the bread dough test was this mixer's downfall. We used two spiral-shaped dough hooks to mix ingredients for two loaves of bread dough. The kneading process began well. However, it eventually bogged down to the point that the hooks were moving in one spat with the dough clumped around them.
It's easy to tilt the head back on the Mixmaster, and it locks into place itself so you can insert or remove the included attachments. This mixer isn't designed for additional attachments like an pasta maker or meat grinder, so it's pretty basic. In addition to an impressive 12 speeds, this mixer has a slow start to help avoid spills. And if you need a little extra oomph, you can push and hold the Burst of Power button.
What we recommend
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Most people seek out a new stand mixer because they love baking, but find it tiresome to mix cookie dough, combine cake mix, or whisk egg whites by hand. A mixer can save you some serious time and effort, and because they operate with powerful motors you can whip up multiple batches or loaves in one go. If you’re an amateur chef or home baking enthusiast, we would recommend investing in one of the more premium stand mixers you can buy.
Any model made by KitchenAid gets our stamp of approval. These mixers are well-known throughout the baking industry as being the top mixers and are preferred by professional bakers.
How we found the best stand mixer
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 thorough, 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 stand mixers created the greatest amount of poufy volume and did this in the time we set, which was four minutes. Again, the best marks went to the mixers that performed well in the time set. 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.
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, a 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."