Things to Consider Before Buying
Consider how often you'll use a stand mixer when browsing different models—not just how often you'd like to use it. "Think about what your cooking needs will actually be," says chef Nikki Meow. "What recipes will you be making? How often will you be using the machine?" For example, if you're baking for large groups, you'll want a mixer that's big enough to be able to mix a hefty batch. If you only need a mixer for occasion-baking/cooking, consider something smaller since stand mixers tend to take up quite a bit of countertop real estate.
In our tests, we found that higher price points did not necessarily mean more or better features, as compared to the more economical options. The three bowl-lift mixers that we tested (with prices ranging from $549 to $999) all performed exceptionally well, but these mixers did not provide adequate features as compared to our overall winner, the Breville the Bakery Chef Stand Mixer, with an MSRP of $399.
Power Is Key
ChefNikki Meow emphasizes that low wattage is a red flag for most stand mixer users—anything under the 600 watt range is typically a no-go. (The exception in our testing is our budget pick, which we acknowledge is a better choice as a combo hand mixer.) "Stand mixers are an investment, so cheaper isn't necessarily better, unless it's the right fit for your cooking style," says Chef Nikki.
Some models come with everything you need right in the box, while others have attachments that require a separate purchase. Look closely at what each model can do from the jump, without additional purchases. The three standard must-haves, says our expert, are the whisk, dough hook, and paddle.
Name recognition exists for a reason, adds chef Nikki Meow, speaking to the popularity of KitchenAid stand mixers: "Most people opt for KitchenAids because they're tried and true, aesthetically pleasing, come in a wide range of colors to suit your tastes (pun intended), and have a ton of attachments to get the most out of the machine."Design: A stand mixer can often be a kitchen showpiece, so don't hesitate to invest in a beauty. In our testing, the top scoring models' aesthetics matched their overall performance.
A stand mixer can often be a kitchen showpiece, so don't hesitate to invest in a beauty. In our testing, the top scoring models' aesthetics matched their overall performance.
How We Tested
Our testers tried out a total of 21 stand mixers. They evaluated the design, size, and features of each model, and put each mixer through its paces. Each mixer was tested on making whipped cream, cookie dough, and bread dough. Testers evaluated the performance on all three tests, noting details like whether all ingredients were well-incorporated, and if the bowl needed scraping at the end. Ease of cleaning was considered, as was the overall value of each mixer. Testers only learned the price of each model after testing, so they were able to fairly judge whether each one lived up to its price tag.
How big of a stand mixer do I need?
The size of its bowl determines a stand mixer's size. A mixer with a 4 to 5-quart bowl size is ideal for most home bakers. If you regularly cook and bake in large qualities, a mixer with a 7 to 8-quart bowl size would be useful.
How do you use a stand mixer?
Before using your stand mixer, make sure you have it set up on a smooth, flat work surface. Attach the accessory required for the item you're preparing. Lock the mixing bowl in place and begin adding ingredients according to the directions. Set your mixer to the appropriate speed and turn it on. Keep an eye on the ingredients while the mixer is running, and pause to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.
How long do stand mixers last?
Stand mixers are long-lasting appliances. Most will last at least 15 years, but some continue working flawlessly after 30 years or more.
Do I need a stand mixer and a hand mixer?
It depends on what you're making. Hand mixers are convenient for mixing small amounts of ingredients, and these lightweight portable appliances are helpful for quick mixing jobs. If you bake regularly, you'll want a stand mixer because it is stronger and better able to handle thick batter and dough. While a stand mixer can perform the same tasks as a hand mixer, a hand mixer is not as versatile as a stand mixer.
What Is People Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
Want more product recommendations? Check out all of our PEOPLE Tested content.
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