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The best stand mixers of 2021

The best stand mixers
(Image credit: KitchenAid)

The best stand mixers are essential purchases for bakers of all levels. They pack in all sorts of tools to enhance your baking needs, and it doesn't matter whether you need a hand with mixing, or want to spiralize some veggies with a special attachment. A good mixer can go a long way, and there are even models out there that offer easy clean-up and a color-scheme that matches your existing kitchen decor.

The best stand mixer is more than enough to keep yourself waist deep in cookies and bread for weeks. In fact, the most intensive job you'll have to worry about is measuring out the ingredients and throwing them in a bowl. It doesn't matter if you're a total noob or a seasoned pro. You have to check out the best stand mixers, and see what's out there.

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. 

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 Cuisinart Precision Master Stand Mixer SM-50, which offers capacity for bigger baking jobs but sells at a budget-friendly price, or the Wolf Gourmet Stand Mixer (WGSM100S), which offers professional grade construction and capabilities, provided you're ready to pay a premium.

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.

The best stand mixers you can buy today

(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
All parts, except wire whisk are dishwasher-safe
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: Hamilton Beach)

2. 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 reasonable priced
Lightweight and easy to move
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.  

The best stand mixers: Cuisinart Precision Master Stand Mixer SM-50

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

3. Cuisinart Precision Master Stand Mixer SM-50

A large capacity stand mixer at a great price

Type: Tilt head | Bowl capacity: 5.5 quarts | Speeds: 12 plus Pulse | Size: 14.17 x 7.87 x 14.13 inches | Features: Comes with stainless-steel bowl with handle, flat paddle, whisk, dough hook, splash guard, Illuminated speed dial

Excellent and efficient at all mixing tasks
Easy to  operate
All parts, except wire whisk, are dishwasher-safe
Can only knead enough dough for 2 loaves of bread

While the Cuisinart Precision Master Stand Mixer is solidly built of die cast metal, it’s not overly heavy, which makes it very convenient to store in a closet or cabinet when you’re not using it. It has a large 5.5 quart mixing bowl and the oomph to mix batter  for 5 dozen cookies. However, it can only  knead dough for about 2 loaves of bread so if you’re a heavy duty bread baker, this might not be the model for you. For its capacity, however, it is a very affordable and handsome choice.

The Cuisinart is easy to use and all the parts except the whisk are dishwasher safe. It is available in a selection of colors including ruby red, white, black, periwinkle blue, robin's egg blue, and silver. You can purchase a variety of attachments from  a pasta roller to a  spiralizer.

The best stand mixers: Wolf Gourmet Stand Mixer (WGSM100S)

(Image credit: Wolf Gourmet)

4. Wolf Gourmet Stand Mixer (WGSM100S)

Best stand mixer for a pro-style kitchen

Type: Bowl lift | Bowl capacity: 7 quarts | Speeds: 12 plus Pulse | Size: 20 x 19.5 x 13.1 inches | Features: Comes with stainless-steel bowl with handle, flat beater, plastic-coated, whisk, splash/pouring shield

Impressive professional performance
Large capacity
Excellent and efficient at all mixing tasks
Expensive and heavy
No attachments available yet

If you have a professional-style kitchen and want a mixer that fits right in, you’ll love the Wolf Gourmet Stand Mixer. It has the same impressive stainless steel design, complete with a red knob, as the Wolf range. And as you would expect, it also costs top dollar. This is one big heavy countertop appliance designed for people who bake often and in large quantities. In fact, the bowl can handle enough batter for 14 dozen cookies or dough for 8  loaves of sourdough bread.

While on most bowl lift mixers, you turn a crank to lower and raise the bowl, on the Wolf you rotate the bowl itself to adjust its height. There are a dozen settings on the speed dial but you can stop anywhere in between for lots of fine tuning. There’s a pulse setting for cutting butter into flour for pie dough or just not overbeating a cake batter when you add in the dry ingredients. When you turn the Wolf on, it starts off slowly so never get a big splatter. There’s a hub up front for optional attachments but to date, none are available. If you’re not a fan of the signature red knobs, black and stainless steel ones are included with the mixer.

(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 and heavy

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
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. 

When to replace your stand mixer

Warranties on stand mixers range from one to five years. But, generally, small kitchen appliances last between 6 to 10 years. KitchenAid estimates that its own stand mixers will keep on beating for at least 15 years, while many KitchenAid owners report using their mixers for a lot longer. In fact, many people replace their KitchenAid stand mixers because they’re more interested in contemporary colors, and not because their machines have stopped working. 

You may be offered an extended warranty but we don't think they’re worth purchasing. Any repair costs you accrue during the mixer’s lifetime are likely to be less than the price of the warranty.

If your stand mixer stops mixing properly, the problem is probably that the head needs to be adjusted. That’s a fix that you can easily do yourself by following the instructions in the manual. Unusual noises are a sign that the parts need lubricant or that the worm gear has to be replaced. These are relatively inexpensive repairs that are worth making to extend the life of your mixer. However if your mixer stops running, it is possible the motor has failed. Remember that if you are quoted a price that’s 50 percent of the cost of a new model, it’s time to spring for a new one. 

You may be able to find a new stand mixer is better suited to your needs, and there are smaller and larger models on the market. Whether you’re an occasional cookie maker who hates dedicating a lot of countertop space, or a semi-pro bread baker who wants to be able to knead dough for several loaves at once, there’s a model sized for you. 

Models also pack in convenient new features like timers, lights, and speed guides right on the body of the mixer. In addition to KitchenAid, other manufacturers regularly introduce new colors that can give an instant facelift to your kitchen. There’s no need to settle for an avocado green, harvest gold or plain vanilla mixer. 

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