The Sunbeam Mixmaster, which is decidedly less expensive than the other stand mixers we reviewed, is good at certain kitchen tasks like mixing cookie dough, and it carries the brand name of a company that has been making appliances for a century. However, we found its performance varied when it came to other kitchen tests, and sometimes the results for heavier tasks were less than satisfactory.
We tried whipping 4 ounces of room-temperature egg whites into the stiff peak stage using the 4-quart mixing bowl, which is the larger of two bowls that come with this mixer. Both bowls are quite heavy and sturdy. We ran this electric mixer for four minutes using the two whisk attachments that come with this machine. The mixer whipped the egg whites into a medium-sized mass of whipped egg whites and the texture was a thin, very soft peak stage, which was not what we had expected. When we tried again with the smaller 2-quart bowl, the whisks and motor fared better and the result was a considerably larger volume of whipped egg whites and somewhat better peaks. These were still a bit softer than we would have liked, but they were much closer to stiff peaks than the earlier batch.
We had far better luck making cookie dough. The beaters blended the dry ingredients and wet ingredients reasonably well, and in a fairly short period of time. There were some dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl that we needed to scrape with a rubber spatula, but nothing that would cause problems baking good cookies. When we added the chocolate chips, it took a while for the machine to mix them into the dough, and we found that they were not fully incorporated until we stirred a bit with a spoon, but they were mixed reasonably well and none got chopped into tiny pieces.
The bread dough test was this stand mixer's downfall. We used the two spiral-shaped dough hooks to mix ingredients for two loaves of bread dough and the kneading process began well. Our test was set to run 10 minutes. However, it eventually bogged down to the point that the hooks were moving in one spot with dough clumped around them. We scraped the dough off the hooks several times, tried adjusting the turntable from the large-bowl setting to the small-bowl setting and back again, and even tried manually rotating the bowl, but nothing seemed to work, so after about 20 minutes, we stopped testing.
This 12-speed mixer starts slowly so you don't get sprayed with ingredients when first starting your recipe. If you need extra oomph, you can push and hold the Burst of Power button.
It's easy to tilt the head back on the Mixmaster, and it locks into place itself so you can insert or remove attachments. You insert the dough hook with the smallest foot into the socket closest to the bowl, while the whisks can go into either of the sockets.
You can buy this machine in either white or silver. If you want better all-around performance, especially for bread dough, the more expensive KitchenAid Classic Plus will do the job wonderfully well. You get a two-year warranty on this mixer, which is better than the industry standard. If you run into difficulties, you can contact the manufacturer by phone or email, and if you misplace your user manual, you can download another from the website.