Using an electric mixer ensures light and airy cake layers, stretchy dough for homemade pizza and fluffy frosting that’s velvety smooth — you can even use a stand mixer to shred chicken or make guacamole. Plus it’s speedier (and easier on your arm!) than stirring a whisk around a bowl umpteen times. Unlike hand mixers, stand mixers free you up to do other tasks while they do the work. Some models even include handy stand mixer attachments you can buy separately that let you grind meat, roll pasta and spiralize vegetables.
Artisan Design Series 5-Qt. Mixer
- Aced Lab tests across the board, from cookie dough to egg whites
- Many color, attachment and customization options
It’s the ultimate countertop showpiece for a reason: There’s practically nothing this KitchenAid stand mixer can’t do. This model scored well in all of our tests — we even thought the manual was helpful — but it particularly aced our cookie dough and whipped cream tests, easily tackling dense oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies and turning out fluffy, stable whipped cream. It also got a perfect score for kneading, which makes it perfect for bread bakers.
It includes great basic tools like a paddle, whisk and dough hook, but the bonus of KitchenAid mixers is the power hub that lets you use the motor to run accessories like a pasta maker, spiralizer or juicer. When it comes to all-around kitchen power, this 5-quart classic is unparalleled.
- Bowl: 5-quart spouted glass bowl with handle
- Watts: 325 watts
- Weight: 25 lb 8 oz
- Number of speeds: 10
- Attachments: Flat beater, dough hook, wire whip
Electric Stand Mixer
- Kneads bread dough as well as it whips egg whites
- Suctions to countertop for sturdy performance
- Had some issues with splattering in our tests
This Hamilton Beach pick was among the most affordable models we tested and earned a high score in nearly every one of our evaluations. Our Kitchen Appliance pros were impressed with its ability to both whip delicate egg whites into stiff peaks and to quickly (and evenly) knead bread dough. It’s designed with a handle on top to make lifting the head super easy, plus it suctions to your countertop so it’ll stay in place when you’re mixing. All attachments are dishwasher safe.
- Bowl: 4-quart stainless steel bowl with handles
- Watts: 300 watts
- Weight: 9 lb 6.24 oz
- Number of speeds: 7
- Attachments: Flat beater, dough hook, whisk and splash guard
SM-50TQ Stand Mixer
- Impressive performance at a nice price
- Useful attachments for pasta, ice cream and more
- Head may move with stiff bread dough
This stand mixer features 12 speed settings that are easy to select with the turn of a dial. The lowest setting is very gentle so flour won’t spew everywhere, while the highest setting is good for putting the final touches on whipped cream. The bowl attaches to the base easily, as do the attachments to the head of the mixer. In our tests, the whisk whipped excellent fluffy egg whites and cream that didn’t seep. It also handled a monster cookie recipe very well, as well as a multigrain bread dough.
Several attachments can be bought separately for this stand mixer, including a pasta roller and cutter, spiralizer and ice cream maker, which is our analysts’ favorite. We especially like using ice cream attachments on stand mixers because you can increase the speed to make a fluffier ice cream. The ice cream maker attachment also comes with a unique fruit chopping paddle so you can make all natural sorbets.
- Bowl: 5.5-quart stainless steel bowl with handle
- Watts: 500 watts
- Weight: 23 lb
- Number of speeds: 12
- Attachments: Flat beater, dough hook, chef’s whisk and splash guard with pour spout
Artisan Mini Stand Mixer
- Smaller footprint but doesn’t compromise on performance
- Lightweight and easy to move
- 3.5-quart bowl is not suited to large batches
If you’re looking for a smaller stand mixer, this KitchenAid is the model for you. It’s 25% lighter and takes up 20% less counter space than the classic but doesn’t compromise on performance: From whipping egg whites into stiff peaks to plowing through heavy oatmeal cookie dough, it aced our Lab’s mixing tests. The Mini features a 3.5-quart bowl with a beater, whisk and dough hook attachment (and can still accommodate all those fun accessories).
- Bowl: 3.5-quart stainless steel bowl with handle
- Watts: 250 watts
- Weight: 16 lb 8 oz
- Number of speeds: 10
- Attachments: Flex-edge beater, dough hook, wire whip
High Performance Stand Mixer
- 7-quart bowl for large loads
- Easily mixes stiff doughs
- Tools can be hard to swap when bowl is full
This stand mixer has a 7-quart bowl that lets you tackle large quantities, and its powerful motor is perfect for bread bakers. In our tests, it created smooth and elastic bread dough in about 10 minutes and handled stiff oatmeal cookie dough with ease. It also turned out fluffy, sturdy meringue and whipped cream. Because the bowl lowers (rather than the head lifting), our tester did find the attachments could be a little hard to remove when ingredients were in the mixer, but the overall performance made this a solid pick for big-batch bakers.
- Bowl: 7-quart stainless steel bowl with handle
- Watts: 500 watts
- Weight: 29 lb 8 oz
- Number of speeds: “infinite speed” dial that allows for nuance
- Attachments: Flat beater, whisk, dough hook and splash/pouring shield with ingredient spout.
Types of stand mixers
Stand mixers come in a few varieties, and understanding the difference will help you find the style that’s right for you.
- Tilt-head stand mixers: A tilt-head mixer has a hinged neck so that the head can tilt back, giving you better access to the bowl and letting you insert and remove the accessories more easily. When lowered over the bowl, the head generally locks into place so that it won’t bounce on the hinge when in use. Tilt-head mixers usually have small- to medium-capacity bowls and are good for most baking and mixing tasks.
- Bowl-lift stand mixers: A bowl-lift mixer has a fixed head, but the bowl sits either on two arms or a rotating platform that can be raised to meet the mixing attachment. These mixers often have a larger base and can support a large-capacity bowl and, therefore, are ideal for larger batches and heavier tasks, like making bread dough.
- Planetary mixing stand mixers: This is the most common type of stand mixer for household use. With planetary mixers, the bowl locks into place and the mixing attachment — such as paddle, whisk or hook — rotates on its access while also rotating around the bowl (just like our solar system’s planets, hence the name). They do require scraping the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated, but they are reasonably good at working ingredients into the mixture.
- Stationary mixing stand mixers: Usually these involve two beaters that spin in place while the bowl rotates below. These are less commonly found models for home cooks. The can require frequent scraping to incorporate ingredients that are not below the beaters.
How to choose a stand mixer
Finding the best stand mixer for your needs comes down to these main factors:
- Capacity: This refers to the size of the work bowl. We like a 5-quart bowl as a baseline, but a larger bowl can give you more flexibility for batch size if you find that you’re always doubling your recipes to cook for a crowd. That said, if you bake for just one or two people or need the ability to whip just a few egg whites or a small portion of heavy cream, a smaller bowl is a better choice.
- Wattage: This indicates the maximum power of the motor. Think about what you like to bake most. Will you be using the stand mixer for sourdoughs and pizza crusts? You want motor that can tackle stiff or sticky doughs: The higher the watts listed for the motor, the greater the power. Looser items, like cake batter, can turn out nicely even with a lower wattage.
- Price: Clearly you must consider what you can afford. Some high-end mixers can cost more than $500, while others are closer to $50. Sometimes a budget-friendly model is a steal, but other times you might find that the motor can’t handle heavy-duty tasks or just won’t last as many years. A larger upfront investment in a high-quality mixer may save you money over time.
- Material: Higher-quality machines are usually constructed of coated metal, which provides both durability for a long life and heft to keep the machine in place during use. Metal is often easier to clean because it’s usually smoothly polished with fewer crevices. Lower-priced models are often made of plastic, which can be a boon for lifting and storing (and price!), but the lightweight design may mean it shifts around during use or shows wear-and-tear more quickly.
- Size and weight: Do you plan to store your stand mixer on the counter? If so, you need to consider the width of your available space and the height of your cabinets when choosing your model. If you plan to store your stand mixer in a cabinet or pantry, the weight will be an important factor, as you’ll need to be able to lift and move the unit with each usage.
- Attachment and accessories: Most stand mixers will come with a paddle attachment (for cookie doughs and brownie and cake batters), a whisk attachment (for meringues, marshmallows and whipped cream) and a dough hook (for bread doughs). Some might also provide a paddle attachment with a fin that helps you scrape the side of the bowl as you mix. The most versatile machines include the option to buy additional attachments that let you use the stand mixer’s motor for completely different tasks, like rolling pasta, juicing fruits and veggies, grinding meats or peeling produce.
How to clean and care for your stand mixer
Stand mixers are built to last, so with some timely cleanup and maintenance, you can enjoy yours for years to come. Always follow the instruction manual for care, and contact the manufacturer for larger issues. But for day-to-day cleaning, these tips from Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab Director, Nicole Papantoniou, will help:
For stray flour or dry goods, wipe the mixer with a dry cloth or use a dry pastry brush to remove the mess from any crevices; this will prevent clumps and buildup (since introducing water can create a paste that will harden if not removed).
For wet messes like batter or liquid, wipe with a damp sponge or cloth right away to prevent sticking and staining. Then dry the mixer with a dry cloth.
Hand wash attachments and accessories and dry — or allow to air dry — thoroughly. While many are dishwasher safe, hand washing will help prevent potential nicks, chips and rusting as well as help preserve the nonstick finish when applicable.
Store the attachments in the bowl of the mixer, preferably in a tea towel to help prevent scratching.