Any serious home chef knows that a stand mixer is an essential kitchen tool to have at their disposal. Not only do they save you time and energy, but they cut down on clean-up while allowing you to multitask.
If you’ve ever mixed your own cake batter by hand or tried to make creamy mashed potatoes (and countless other recipes) the old-fashioned way, you know what a life-saver a stand mixer is. If 2021 is the year you break down and finally get a stand mixer, we’ve picked out nine of the best ones to choose from. If you’re unsure which may be best for you, read to the end, where we’ll touch on some key points to consider when picking out a stand mixer.
Best Overall Stand Mixer: KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
The stand mixer line from KitchenAid is the brand’s number one money maker. It’s also the number one mixer brand, as they won’t hesitate to remind you. Their unmatched quality and dependability is what has kept them at the top spot for so long. If you were to take apart your KitchenAid and look under the hood (which we wouldn’t recommend), you’d find a gearbox comprised of well-oiled metal parts. This is hard to come by in any motorized appliance category. It’s also why KitchenAid can charge a premium for its mixers. The tilting head locks in place with incredible strength, and the levered speed control system helps to slowly scale mixing speeds. In most professional kitchens, aside from a commercial-grade stand mixer, you’ll likely also find a KitchenAid, used to perform smaller, more portable jobs (even though transporting this 26-pound beast is no easy task). If you want a stand mixer you can pass down to your kids, this KitchenAid is it. Coming in 10 colorways, you’ll also find the perfect one to match your kitchen and aura.
Best Value Stand Mixer: Cuisinart 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer
It’s common in business to find out what sells and then sell your own version of it This Cuisinart 5.5-quart stand mixer is an exact representation of that very thing. It’s obvious that Cuisinart modeled this stand mixer from the bestselling model from KitchenAid. The main difference between the two is the speed control dial. This model is also about 7 pounds lighter (which isn’t necessarily a good thing when it comes to stand mixers). However, that’s not to say this mixer is a faulty rip-off. Cuisinart is no slouch in the kitchen appliance sector itself. The name carries the same trust as KitchenAid in many respects. This mixer can do everything its competitor can do for around $180 less, which is obviously significant. Plus, you get 0.5 more quart capacity in this Cuisinart. At the end of the day, it comes down to the question of long-term durability.
Best Budget Stand Mixer: Dash 3-Quart Stand Mixer
For small jobs, this Dash 3-quart stand mixer is an excellent option. This mixer is perfect for quickly whipping up pancake batter or some homemade whipped cream. For its size and weight, its 250-watt motor packs a decent punch. At just $40, if it only lasts a couple of years, you won’t feel so bad getting a new one.
Best Large Capacity: SanLidA 9.5-Quart Stand Mixer
If you’re in need of a mixer that packs more power and can churn out more product, this SanLidA 9.5-quart stand mixer is an excellent option. At 660 watts, this can churn out a double batch of cookie dough with ease. One feature that we especially liked is the detachable mixing lid that fits snuggly over the bowl. This is a thoughtful design that prevents the potential mess of large mixing projects. Other mixers like the KitchenAid and Cuisinart provide shields. Still, they sit loosely over the bowl’s rim and fly off under high power unless you’re there to hold it on.
Best Compact Stand Mixer: KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
There’s no reason to sacrifice quality for smaller jobs or if you’re working with minimal space. The Artisan Mini mixer from KitchenAid is the baby of the 5.5-quart model. It delivers the same quality and reliability at a snug height of 13 inches. Perfect for kitchenettes or merely wanting to make smaller, more precise batches.
Best Commercial Grade Stand Mixer: Vollrath 20 Qt. Commercial Planetary Stand Mixer with Guard
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re running a small bakery out of your basement, you’ll need a mixer that actual bakeries use. This 20-quart beast from Vollrath operates at a 1,200-watt capacity yet has more straightforward controls than most commercial mixers. It has a simple three-speed system; speed 1 for mixing heavy dough, speed 2 for mixing cakes and batters, and speed 3 for mixing egg whites. It has an emergency stop button in case things get FUBAR. This mixer is classified as a countertop stand mixer; however, sitting it on a maneuverable, knee-high table will make for optimal usage.
Most Versatile Stand Mixer: Cooklee 9.5-Quart, 6-IN-1 Stand Mixer
Cooklee is a registered trademark of the SanLidA company. So, this Cooklee 6-in-1 stand mixer is essentially the same model as the 9.5-quart SanLidA, but on steroids. With this Cooklee you can do it all; mix, blend, shred, slice, make pasta, and even sausage.
Best Conversion Stand Mixer: Hamilton Beach Classic Hand and Stand Mixer
Say you’re using the dough hooks in this Hamilton Beach 6-speed mixer to need some pizza dough, but you need to quickly beat some eggs in another. Then just remove the dough hooks, insert the whisk attachment, enter into handheld mode, and whisk away. That’s one example of how this stand-to-hand conversion stand mixer could come in handy. Other pros of this unit include its decent-sized 4-quart bowl and affordability.
Best Retro Stand: Smeg 5-Quart Stand Mixer
Smeg has the market cornered when it comes to retro kitchen appliances. Not only does this Italian-made stand mixer deliver on the fashion front, but it’s also high quality. At 600 watts, it’s powerful, while the Smooth Start speed-control function makes for easy transitions between speeds. Like designer clothes, you’ll pay a premium for this designer mixer.
How to Choose a Stand Mixer
As you can see, there’s a lot of variety in both price and performance when it comes to stand mixers. Cost aside, there are three main things to think about when you’re buying one.
Are you cooking for one or two, or more family-style? The mixing bowl size is something to pay attention to in this regard. We suggest going with a mixing bow over 4 quarts if you’re cooking for more than three people or if you just want leftovers. This will prevent you from having to mix in batches, which is very annoying.
Stand mixers can do way more than just mix these days. If you’re looking for add-ons like a pasta maker, slicer, meat grinder, juicer, or whatever else, make sure the stand mixer you buy has compatibility for accessories.
Everyone obviously wants the appliances they buy to last a long time. However, the phrase “you get what you pay for” exists for a reason. Mixing doughs, batters, and other foods is harder on a stand mixer’s motor and parts than one might think. Sacrificing quality for price is usually how the story goes. Buying a unit with sturdy steel construction will cost more but will likely be worth it in the long run. So, paying attention to what your stand mixer has under the hood is key.
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