When considering what mixer to buy, the consumer has the choice of a hand mixer or a stand mixer. The hand mixer is far more portable and is used to add mixing ability to any bowl anywhere in the kitchen. A stand mixer stays in a mostly fixed position, with a mixing bowl and stainless steel mixing tool.
Some stand mixers are capable of being detached from the main unit, turning them into hand mixers too. These latter models are useful for people on a fixed budget who see the benefit of owning both a hand mixer and a stand mixer.
Stand mixers deliver serious watts of mixing power to the chef. Mixers have multiple speeds to choose from and sometimes also a burst mode to finish off a food mix that just needs a final flourish to complete the task. The level of granularity when it comes to speed increments is useful for different cooking preparation because one doesn’t necessarily want to run the mixer at the same speed when creating a sweet fruit cocktail versus kneading a dough mixture. Multiple speeds deliver additional control to the chef who knows exactly how they want their ingredients to be blended together.
Stand mixers are plugged into the mains power for a constantly supply of mixing power from the motor. More expensive mixers are not only larger with bigger mixing bowls, but often include a mixer stabilizer to keep the unit steady.
The mixing bowl supplied with stand mixers is usually stainless steel for better fluidity in the mixing process. Some of the larger stand mixers include a 4-quart mixing bowl which reduces the number of mixing processes needed to be completed when cooking for the whole family or a large group.
Depending on the make and model, the number of attachments provided with the mixer varies. Often there is a beater, some dough hooks, and a standard whisk, at a minimum, to swap out interchangeability. This provides flexibility with what mixing can be completed when additional attachments are provided.
What’s Included with The Best Stand Mixer
The best stand mixer includes the mixing unit with overarching arm, the stainless steel mixing bowl, and several attachments to whip through the produce inside the bowl.
Some mixer bodies will be made of plastic and metal, or die cast metal, with rubber feet fitted at the bottom of the unit to ensure it doesn’t slip around the kitchen top during operation.
Usually the top of the unit will house the speed controls, sometimes with a speed boost button to maximize the speed for a final burst of mixing ability or to push through stubborn ingredients.
For stand mixers that double as portable hand mixers, there is a button to release the unit from the base.
Attachments like a chrome whisk, dough hooks, and a beater is included with the majority of stand mixers. Some models offer many more attachments too.
What to Know Before Making a Purchase
The wattage of the motor is important because a less powerful one will not be able to keep rotating the attachment to successfully whisk up thicker mixtures like oatmeal.
Some bowls will be situated off-center which allows the chef to add new ingredients during the mixing operation or when mixing is paused, but without needing to remove the bowl completely to do so.
Does the locking head have a tilt back facility? This makes it easier to remove the mixing bowl without needing to remove the attachment to do so.
Is there a convenient eject button to remove the attachment quickly so that a different one can be inserted?
Even a stand mixer with a powerful motor can perform more delicate operations like mixing up egg whites with sugar to prepare some French macaroons. So chefs who like to make tasty desserts can rest assured that a stand mixer will be up to the task, rather than requiring a hand mixer (or to actually mix the egg whites by hand) to do so.
Some mixers can shred chicken, whereas others cannot. Mostly the differentiator is the power of the motor to drive through tough meat like chicken, pork and beef without slowing down the attachment to the point that it loses its slicing ability. A motor with at least 250 watts of power is necessary for tougher food stuffs, with the rule being more power is better than less.
KitchenAid produce countertop appliances, mixers, juicers, kitchenware, and other accessories for the home kitchen.
Sunbeam manufactures heated bedding, mixers, humidifiers, pain relief, and pet products.
Hamilton Beach goes deep and wide in their range of kitchen appliances. Everything from bread makers, to ice shavers, to toaster ovens all bear their logo.
What Consumers Say
Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:
Loudness: Not all mixers are the same with the amount of decibels heard during use. Sometimes this is a factor of the way they have been designed and other times it is more to do with the mixing motion.
Bowls: Not every spare bowl with fit a stand mixer. Some models only fit a slimmer and taller bowl; other models require a shorter, wider bowl. It is possible to purchase replacement bowls, but do not expect all bowls to fit because they won’t.
Optional attachments: Many mixers will only have 2-3 attachments and may not offer any others for sale separately. More expensive mixer brands support over 10 different attachments which provides greater flexibility when mixing ingredients during cooking preparation. For versatile chefs who like to create pastries stuffed with mixed ingredients or those who enjoy trying out new recipes regularly, a mixer with more attachments is probably a better choice.
Variable speeds: Higher-end, more expensive stand mixers have up to 12 speeds. It is also possible to set a variable speed to work through a food mixture gradually without being set at a single speed while doing so. Generally, more speed settings are better than fewer with a food mixer. A burst mode is also useful to have.