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The best stand mixers of 2020

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

The best stand mixers are essential tools for any baker, providing plenty of tools, easy clean-up and designs that complement your kitchen decor. 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. 

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 our favorite models based on performance, features, price, design and other factors.

Whether you're mixing up birthday cakes and pastries, or maybe using attachments for spiralized veggies and homemade ice-cream, you'll find that a good mixer will go a long way. These are the best mixers you can get, with options that match any kitchen, skill level or budget.

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What are the best stand mixers?

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. 

For a mixer that won't monopolize your counter space, we think the Kitchenaid Artisan Mini 3.5-quart tilt-head stand mixer is the best small stand mixer out there. The smaller capacity will limit you in quantity of baked goods, but translates into a compact design that's perfect for smaller kitchens.

But there are other choices out there that can save you some dollars or offer conveniences that you won't find on a KitchenAid. One of our favorites is the Hamilton Beach 7-speed stand mixer, our pick for the best budget stand mixer you can buy. With a price tag of less than $100, you'll get a 4-quart mixer with plenty of features, like a two-handled stainless-steel mixing bowl, attachments like a dough hook, which and splatter shield, and even a guide to finding the right mixing speed for your next batch of goodies. You won't get the huge assortment of KitchenAid accessories, but it's a great mixer for basic use.

Other top mixers include the Kenmore Elite Ovation pour-in-top 5-quart tilt-head kitchen stand mixer, which has a 360-degree splash guard to minimize messes. Finally, there are more advanced options for KitchenAid fans, like the Kitchenaid Professional 5-Plus Series 5-quart bowl-lift stand mixer and the Kitchenaid Pro Line Series 7-quart bowl-lift stand mixer, which offer professional-grade quality and larger capacities, making them perfect for bakers who need to handle big loads and are willing to invest in quality.

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

1. KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart tilt-head stand mixer

Best overall

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

Tilt head
Comes in a large assortment of colors
Large capacity
Excellent and efficient at all mixing tasks
Quiet
All parts, except wire whisk, are dishwasher-safe
Can be used with KitchenAid mixer attachments
You need an even larger bowl

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. 

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

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

Available in 10 colors
Compact
Excellent and efficient at all mixing tasks
Lighter than other KitchenAid mixers
All parts, except wire whisk, are dishwasher-safe
Can be used with most KitchenAid mixer attachments
Small capacity
Can't be used with ice cream-maker attachment

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. 

(Image credit: Hamilton Beach)

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

Very reasonably priced 
Lightweight and easy to lift and move
Excellent at all mixing tasks
All parts are dishwasher-safe
Smaller capacity than many
No attachments available

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.  

(Image credit: Kenmore)

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

Comes in only two colors
Low profile 
Large capacity
Easy to add ingredients to bowl
All parts, except wire whisk, are dishwasher-safe
Heavy
Glass bowl is breakable 
No attachments available

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. 

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

5. 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

Large capacity
Excellent at all mixing tasks
All parts, except wire whisk, are dishwasher-safe
Can be used with all KitchenAid mixer attachments
Large capacity
Excellent at all mixing tasks
All parts, except wire whisk, are dishwasher-safe
Can be used with all KitchenAid mixer attachments

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.   

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

6. 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

Very large capacity
Excellent at all mixing tasks
All parts are dishwasher-safe
Can be used with all KitchenAid mixer attachments
Expensive
Large and heavy

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 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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