If you love to bake, don't think twice about investing in a stand mixer. You'll find that it creates the fluffiest whipped cream and smoothest cake batters and easily handles dough for dozens of chocolate chip cookies and multiple loaves of bread. And while you'll still have to measure out the ingredients, a mixer makes whipping up baked goods basically hands free.
The best stand mixer for most people is the KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart tilt-head stand mixer. Its 5-quart capacity is large enough for most tasks, it comes in a wide range of colors, and it can be used with KitchenAid's extensive line of attachments — such as a pasta maker, an ice cream maker and a vegetable spiralizer — to expand functionality even more. But there are other choices out there that can save you some dollars or offer conveniences that you won't find on a KitchenAid.
The Wolf Gourmet high-performance stand mixer ($899) is just hitting stores, so no reviews are in yet. But with a steep price, a huge 7-quart capacity and a look that coordinates with the coveted Wolf range, complete with a red knob, this appliance has the potential to be the ultimate status symbol in stand mixers.
Here are our picks for the best stand mixers.
1. KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart tilt-head stand mixer
Type: Tilt head | Bowl capacity: 5 quarts | Speeds: 10 | Size: 14.1 x 13.9 x 8.7 inches | Features: Comes with stainless-steel bowl with cushioned handle, plastic-coated flat beater, plastic-coated dough hook, wire whip, pouring shield
With its iconic design, available in 46 stunning colors — including Orange Sorbet, Green Apple and Dried Rose — the KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart stand mixer is eye candy for your countertop. But it's also a real workhorse that tops almost everyone's list of best stand mixers, due to its fast, efficient mixing and quiet operation. It has the bowl capacity and oomph to mix up nine dozen cookies, four loaves of bread or 7 pounds of mashed potatoes. It has a Slow Start feature to avoid spattering your counter with a flurry of flour or a splash of milk when it first ramps up. Like all KitchenAid stand mixers, it has 10 speeds and a hub for attaching optional accessories, including a pasta roller and a spiralizer.
2. Kitchenaid Artisan Mini 3.5-quart tilt-head stand mixer
Best small stand mixer
Type: Tilt head | Bowl capacity: 3.5 quarts | Speeds: 10 | Size: 12.3 x 12.3 x 7.8 inches | Features: Comes with stainless-steel bowl with handle, beater with a flexible edge, dough hook, wire whip, Soft Start
If you're short on kitchen space but still want the luxury of a beautiful KitchenAid stand mixer, consider this adorable Artisan Mini model. You can depend on it for the great mixing performance for which the brand is known, but its smaller, 3.5-quart capacity means you'll be limited to making dough for five dozen cookies or just one loaf of bread at a time. In addition to being smaller, the Mini is lighter weight than other KitchenAid stand mixers, so if you want to stash it away in between uses, it's easier to pull out of and put back into a cabinet or closet. It's compatible with all of the hub attachments, like the ravioli maker, but can't be used with the bowl that turns a KitchenAid into an ice cream maker.
3. Hamilton Beach 7-speed stand mixer
Best budget stand mixer
Type: Tilt head | Bowl capacity: 4 quarts | Speeds: 7 | Size: 16.25 x 16.25 x 10.5 inches | Features: Comes with stainless-steel bowl with two handles, nonstick flat beater, nonstick dough hook, whisk, splatter shield, handle on mixer head for transport, cooking guide on mixer
We won't lie. This stand mixer won't dress up your countertop the way a KitchenAid will, but it won't make as big a dent in your budget, either. And you won't sacrifice much in mixing results. This mixer turns out clouds of whipped cream, tender lemon chiffon cake and two tall loaves of whole wheat bread. The Hamilton Beach may take a little longer to mix than a KitchenAid does, but hey, you're not mixing the batter by hand. And when it comes to ease of use, the Hamilton Beach bests them all.
Not only is the speed dial easy to turn, but it also has big numbers, no reading glasses necessary. If you're never quite sure what speed to use, check out the guide matching tasks to speeds right on top of the mixer head. Handles on either side of the bowl make maneuvering the mixer easy, and all of the parts, including the whisk, can be popped in the dishwasher. As the mixer is relatively lightweight and has a handle on top, it's convenient to reposition or carry to a closet for storage.
4. Kenmore Elite Ovation pour-in-top 5-quart tilt-head kitchen stand mixer
Best stand mixer for avoiding a mess OR keeping things neat
Type: Tilt head | Bowl capacity: 5 quarts | Speeds: 10 | Size: 14.75 x 13 x 9.25 inches | Features: Comes with glass bowl with handle and lid, flat beater, dough hook, wire whisk, splash guard, funnel, egg separator, grater, slow start, LED light to illuminate mixing, cord storage, Tilt & Glide for easy movement on countertop, cookbook
What distinguishes the Kenmore Elite Ovation stand mixer is the ability to easily add ingredients through a hole at the top of the mixer as it's working. This appliance also has a so-called 360-degree splash guard that virtually eliminates splatters on the countertop, cabinets and your shirt. During mixing, a light illuminates the bowl, so you can tell when all the raisins are evenly distributed or your sponge cake batter is turning pale yellow. The glass bowl is a nice change from stainless steel, but of course, glass is not indestructible.
5. Breville BEM800XL Scraper Mixer Pro
Stand mixer with most bells & whistles
Type: Tilt head | Bowl capacity: 5 quarts | Speeds: 12 | Size: 7.9 x 15.8 x 13.8 inches | Features: Comes with stainless-steel bowl with handles, flat beater, scraper beater, dough hook, wire whisk, splash guard, pouring shield, spatula
Breville's Bakery Chef stand mixer is beautifully designed, with a brushed-aluminum finish, and it's chock-full of unique and useful features. As soon as it starts mixing, a built-in counter starts to count up so you know when you've been kneading for five minutes. Or if you prefer, you can set it to stop the mixer after a specific time. A light shines down on the bowl during mixing, making it clear when there are no more streaks of flour in the brownie mixture. You turn a dial to select your speed, and as you turn, a bar lights up showing you what task is recommended at each setting. Load-sensing technology detects when heavy doughs and batters are being mixed and automatically adjust the power.
The mixer comes with a 5-quart stainless steel bowl. In addition to the standard attachments, you also get a scraper beater with a flexible edge that scrapes the bowl as it turns, eliminating the need to stop and scrape to make sure every bit of cornmeal is incorporated into your muffins. However, while the Breville shines at whipping air into egg whites, whipping cream and turning out tender cakes, it has some trouble with bread dough. As it kneads, it "walks" around the counter quite a bit, so you definitely want to keep an eye on it, lest it "jump" right onto the floor. If making bread is your thing, better to choose another mixer.
6. Kitchenaid Professional 5-Plus Series 5-quart bowl-lift stand mixer
Best budget big-load stand mixer
Type: Bowl lift | Bowl capacity: 5 quarts | Speeds: 10 | Size: 16.5 x 14.6 x 11.3 inches | Features: Comes with wide-mouth stainless-steel bowl with handle, flat beater, spiral dough hook and wire whip
With this mixer in your kitchen, you can go ahead and double up on recipes; it has the power to handle the dough for six loaves of bread or 72 cookies. At Thanksgiving, it can mash 7 pounds of spuds, leaving you free to carve the turkey and whisk up the gravy. This mixer is big and heavy and is definitely for bakers who bake a lot and bake often and want to give a stand mixer pride of place on the countertop. Of course, you can use all the KitchenAid attachments, from the meat grinder to juicer to the spiralizer, so this device can replace several appliances. That's good, because it's easier to store lots of accessories than several machines.
7. Kitchenaid Pro Line Series 7-quart bowl-lift stand mixer
Largest-capacity KitchenAid for home bakers
Type: Bowl lift | Bowl capacity: 7 quarts | Speeds: 10 | Size: 16.25 x 14.6 x 13.3 inches | Features: Comes with stainless-steel bowl with cushioned handle, flat beater, dough hook, wire whip, pouring shield, Soft Start
If your kitchen is practically a factory for bake-sale cookies, this is the mixer model for you. The most powerful stand mixer for home use, it has the horsepower to mix up the dough for 14 dozen oatmeal cookies at once. Its Slow Start feature keeps flour from being spewed around the kitchen at the beginning of mixing. As you may expect, it will set you back more than any of our other picks, and it will occupy a major chunk of countertop space, so be sure you need this appliance before you click Add to Cart.
Three things to look for in a stand mixer
Will it fit?
If you bake often, you'll probably be leaving your stand mixer out on the countertop. Before you make a purchase, measure the space where you plan to keep the appliance, being sure to account for the distance between the countertop and the bottom of your cabinets.
How much can it mix?
Most manufacturers will tell you stats like how many dozens of cookies or pounds of potatoes a stand mixer can handle. Those figures are more important than the wattage or the bowl size, as they reflect the efficiency of the motor. If you're a bread baker, pay particular attention to how many loaves of bread or cups of flour a mixer can handle, as many bread recipes make two loaves and some mixers can knead only one without stalling.
Tilt head or bowl lift?
On tilt-head models, you tilt the head back to insert or remove the mixing bowl and attachments; on bowl-lift models, you turn a crank to raise the bowl for mixing and lower it to remove the bowl and beaters. Tilt-head mixers are shorter so they fit more easily under a cabinet when not in use, but you do need to have enough room for the head to tilt up when you put these devices to work. With bowl lifts, you don't need any clearance above the height of the mixer. But with a tilt head, you'll find it easier to add ingredients and more convenient to scrape the bowl and the attachments.
Tilt-head models are less expensive and lighter in weight, but bowl-lift mixers have more power and come with bigger bowls. Decide which one to buy based on what you make. If you primarily bake cakes and whip up cream, opt for a tilt-head model. If you're a passionate bread maker and bake several loaves at a time, or you're a cake or cookie maker who doubles or triples up on recipes, you'll appreciate the power and size that a bowl-lift model offers.
How we picked
To come up with a list of the best stand mixers, we looked at the top picks from Reviewed, Good Housekeeping, Wirecutter and other sites, as well as the top-selling models on Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and other retailers. We then took into account our personal experience working with stand mixers. From there, we narrowed the list down to seven models based on performance, features, price, design and other factors.
How to use and care for a stand mixer
- Check the beater-to-bowl clearance. The bottom of the beater shouldn't touch the bottom of the bowl, but it shouldn't be too far away from it either. Getting this just right means better mixing and less stopping to scrape with a spatula. The manual will give you instructions on how to make an adjustment.
- Before deciding to double (or even triple) up on a recipe, look in your mixer's user manual to find out how many pounds of flour your device can handle at once.
- Unless your mixer specifically has a soft-start feature, always start mixing on low, then ramp up to a higher speed, to avoid spattering.
- Don't be tempted to use a spatula while the mixer's running, even if a recipe says to scrape constantly as you beat. If you don't stop the mixer first, the spatula can get caught in the attachment and you'll wind up with a beater or whisk that's twisted out of shape.
- For the loftiest, fluffiest whipped cream, chill the bowl and the whisk before whipping.
- After you're finished mixing, raise the beater or whisk slightly above the surface of the food and run the mixer starting on low, then high, to spin off any excess mixture.
- Check the manual to find out which parts can go in the dishwasher. If you disregard its advice, you could wind up with discolored or damaged parts.
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