The Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab evaluated stand mixers for how well they mixed cake batter and cookie dough, kneaded bread dough, and whipped cream and egg whites. We also looked at ease of use, checking the thoroughness of the owner’s manual, how you assemble the beaters and mixing bowl, how simple controls were to work and, of course, how easy it was to clean. Here are the models that beat out the rest — and ahead we’ll also explain the difference between some of the bestselling KitchenAid mixers you may have been eyeing lately.
Top 10 Stand Mixer
- 10-speed slide control ranges from a very fast whip to a very slow stir
- Includes Flat Beater, Dough Hook and Wire Whip
- Two in one: lightweight hand mixer easily detaches from the base for extra mixing versatility
- Mix with ease: with 290 watts peak power and 6 adjustable speeds, plus QuickBurst, you can tailor your kitchen...
- Large 5.5 - quart capacity, polished stainless steel bowl
- Powerful 500 watt motor, Die cast metal construction
- Double Dough Hooks: The unique design simulates kneading by hand, and planetary-style mixer with double dough...
- Perfect Set: 5-Quart stainless steel bowl with comfortable handle offers enough capacity. Multipurpose...
- Same mixing action as KitchenAid stand mixers* this mixer performs better than 2-beater stand mixers, and...
- Complete bowl coverage - no scraping necessary Mix hands-free with excellent results every time Planetary...
- Same mixing action as Kitchen Aid stand mixers
- Powerful 300 Watt motor
- Multipurpose attachment hub, over 15 optional attachments
- 4.5-Qt. Stainless Steel Bowl;Direct Drive Transmission
- 【POWERFUL MOTOR & VARIABLE SPEED CONTROL】 660W high performance pure copper motor and sturdy ABS housing;...
- 【6.5Qt LARGE CAPACITY BOWL WITH HANDLES】 6.5QT Stainless steel bowl can meet all your kitchen needs. The...
- Multipurpose attachment hub, over 15 optional attachments
- 4.5-Qt. Stainless Steel Bowl
- VERSATILE: Sweet or savory, the Dash Stand mixer is your perfect kitchen accessory for frosting, meringue,...
- COMPACT: Weighing less than 5lbs, and standing only 12.5" tall, the Dash Stand Mixer fits underneath most...
This means that the beaters rotate on their axis similarly to the way the Earth rotates. Like a planetary system, the whole mixer head then rotates the opposite way, similar to the way the Earth rotates around the sun. This ensures that the sides of the bowl are scraped by the beater rather than having to do it by hand and that the ingredients become fully mixed.
ALL METAL GEARING
Although a bit noisier than other models with quieter nylon gears (sometimes referred to as “plastic” gears in various reviews), models with metal gears tend to last much longer.
That being said, there are obvious differences in quality between various brands in their manufacturing process, with some lower priced models opting for pot metal gears, while better models offer brass or steel gears with tighter tolerances.
SLOW START FEATURE
Any decent stand mixer will have this option. This basically slowly spins the motor up for the first several seconds, so that the ingredients do not fly into the air and create a flour cloud, or splatter your walls.
Generally, the more speed options available the better, as this allows you to perform any task that you set out to do, including whipping cream at a higher speed and kneading the dough at lower speeds.
This speed control also allows you to maximize the torque being produced by the motor with the stiffness of the ingredients. We like to see at least 6-7 speed options. It should be pointed out that the uber-expensive Hobart N50 only has three speeds, as the motor is so powerful it can plow through almost anything in any gear.
At Food, we are more into Function over Form. But we realize some folks value the ability to match their decor, so we’ve included this as a small metric.
However, you may value this more, and thus it may affect your selection criteria more so than it does ours – it just happened by coincidence that two of our top picks are available in a plethora of colors.
A heavy stand mixer has much less of a tendency to “walk” around your countertops when mixing heavy bread dough. You’ll generally want a mixer that weighs at least 20 pounds, though heavier is generally better.
In the good old days of USA manufacturing, many of these appliances got this weight from their heavy-duty motors (usually tagged with Emerson or Baldor) that contained lots of costly copper wiring and lasted nearly forever.
Unfortunately, in these years of making products cheaper and cheaper, many manufacturers have outsourced their motor supply to China (even if they are “made” elsewhere) and include smaller, less efficient, and much cheaper units. These manufacturers have beefed up the weight through other means.
Build quality is fairly self-explanatory and can include some of the other metrics already mentioned, as well as other variables. Does the machine have adequate power (or even better – surplus power) to accomplish the task at hand?
Are good quality parts and pieces used in the construction? Will the motor and electronic bits last for a long while? Are details an important part of the assembly and engineering process? Are tolerances tight, or was the product quickly slapped together?
Manufacturers generally have the ability to pick two out of the three performance goals when producing products: fast, cheap, or well built. At Food, we’d rather see well built than cheap for the products that we recommend.
Not only is the length of the warranty important, but you must also examine what exactly is covered, and most importantly, how good is the service?
Do they pick up the tab for shipping? Is support knowledgeable, and easy to communicate with?
Value is really a combination of price and builds quality. At Food, we don’t focus on price alone as a determining factor in rating a product. Instead, we utilize our concept of Value.
Does the product, when one considers the build quality and all of the other metrics in comparison to the price, provide value to the customer? And if so, what is the quantifiable number or star rating that we assign, based on our observations?
LIGHT DUTY STAND MIXERS
This one is ideal for the occasional baker, someone who bakes a couple of times a month but not in huge batches, or for those with a smaller budget. If you ever like to bake bread or make pizzas, we can’t recommend any of the light-duty machines for these purposes in good conscience. Move on to a better medium or heavy duty machine if you can afford to.
The Sunbeam MixMaster Stand Mixer differs from others in that it’s built very similarly to a handheld mixer, and it does not offer planetary action. Instead, double beaters rotate the ingredients – expect some bowl scraping to be required with this design.