The best Stand Mixer can take all the hard slog out of the kitchen, making baking and bread making easy,everyday activities. But lets be honest they can cost a fortune, sometimes more than the big kitchen appliances. With such a big investment it is worth thinking about how you use your kitchen and cook, do some research and make sure you get the right mixer for your needs, not just the prettiest.
A good stand mixer is a must for a keen baker, it can take the strain out of making cakes, bread, pastry, and whipping cream, taking literally hours off your prep time. If you are a keen baker, you bake at home regularly you need a high quality Stand Mixer, but for everybody else there are some questions you should consider before you buy.
Five Questions you should ask your self to get the best stand mixer for you.
Do I really need a Stand Mixer?
Do you really need a stand mixer, or do you lust after the looks of the ultimate kitchen gadget? They do look beautiful on counter tops, and no doubt they add to the design of the kitchen (particularly the colorful brands), and they do an excellent job if you bake often. But a hand mixer can do some light kitchen tasks well if you don’t bake regularly.
It is arguable that if you don’t make cakes, bread, or marshmallows, you just don’t need a stand mixer.
How often will you use a stand mixer?
Will you use your stand mixer often, at least once a week? Do you want to spend a large amount of money on a gadget, that looks pretty, but just gathers dust in the corner. Can you spare the space for something you don’t use?
If you only bake at Christmas, is it really worth buying a large stand mixer, maybe you could manage with a hand mixer.
Do you have the space for a stand mixer?
A good quality stand mixer is a large piece of equipment and very heavy. As a guide you need at least a square foot of space, with a clearance above for the mixer to tilt for access.
Will you use your stand mixer for more than baking?
The different brands of stand mixer offer a wide range of accessories, so think about your cooking habits, or aspirations. in an ideal world what would your mixer be able to do? For example, do you want to make your own pasta? If you do then you might want to consider a KitchenAid mixer, as they offer an excellent Pasta Press attachment.
How much can you afford to spend on a stand mixer?
As stand mixers come in a wide price range, do you get what you pay for? Unfortunately, in the case of stand mixers the more money you spend the better the mixer. So again you need to consider what you want your mixer to do for you. If you plan on using your stand mixer often for baking, and you make your own bread, you should buy quality at the highest price you can afford.
On the other hand if all you intend to do is bake the odd batch of cookies, or a cake mix for birthdays, you can get some great deals on the lower price points.
Best Stand Mixer – which is the right one for me?
It’s easy to get confused in the world of kitchen equipment and mixers, there are several different types of mixer:
- Stand Mixer – A stand mixers job is mainly the traditional baking, using one large mixing bowl and a range of attachments, including whisk,kneading hook and paddle.
- Kitchen Machine – A kitchen machine has many extra functions, such as chopping, slicing and blending.
- Hand Mixer – These are a basic and very traditional mixer. Think of a whisk with a motor. They can be useful for whipping cream etc. I actually have both a stand mixer and a hand mixer, kept in the draw for quick, light jobs.
- Tilt Head Mixer – These are stand mixers that lever the top of the machine up for access, adding ingredients or removing attachments. This is how most stand mixers work.
- Bowl Tilt Mixer – A slightly different type of stand mixer which lower and raises the bowl to meet the beaters, while the top is fixed. More commonly a commercial mixer, although KitchenAid have a couple of models that are bowl tilt. Some people think they look more professional.
You will often find these terms used interchangeably, along with food mixer.
It may surprise you to learn that Stand Mixers can cost more than a kitchen machine that can do more jobs in the kitchen. So remember to consider carefully what you really need, what jobs do you want this mixer to do in your kitchen?
Best Stand Mixer – Features
Different models have varying bowl sizes, but the standard sizes are between 4.5 and 5.5 quarts. This would be large enough for most single batches of baking. Beware that the cheaper end of the range, can have considerably smaller bowls, so do check before opting for a basic mixer.
If you do batch cooking, maybe a couple of loaves at a time, you would be better looking for a larger bowl. Kitchen Aid have a 6 quart capacity, and claim it can make eight loaves at once! Never tested this claim, and I must admit I remain a little skeptical.
Speed Settings and Wattage
All models have a good range of speed settings, and trust me you will never look at the dial, you’ll just turn it up!
Speed setting is not a good indicator of quality, however wattage can be important. Top of the range models can have powerful motors, some as high as 1000 watts. This can be important if you make a lot of bread and will be using the dough hook to knead regularly.
Never even consider buying any mixer with less than 250 watts…it will barely whip cream!
Most of the top range mixers offer extra settings, including
- Pause – You can stop the mixer, without switching it off and starting again. Useful to add some ingredients or to check how things are going.
- Fold – A slower and softer mixing motion, it gently folds in ingredients to the mixture, for example flour into cake batter without losing air bubbles.
- Soft Start – this feature means that even if you turn your mixer straight up to full speed, it will start gently, avoiding a big cloud of flour.
- Timer – allows you to check how long your mixer has been running. Useful during kneading bread.
The stand mixer beaters take an elliptical path around the bowl, this helps to ensure that all the ingredients are uni-formally mixed together.
I would advise only buying models who’s attachments are dishwasher safe, washing a whisk is fiddly and annoying. Always check the models instruction book, for washing temperatures etc.
Storage of Accessories
As you accrue a wide range of accessories they can take up a lot of space. There is nothing more annoying than not being able to find your balloon whisk, mid cake! Fortunately some models of mixer come with a storage compartment.
Best Stand Mixer – Attachments and Accessories
The range of attachments and accessories will make sure your stand mixer can do all the jobs you need it to do for you in your cooking.
There are three basic attachments that are included with every stand mixer
- Dough Hook – for kneading bread
- Balloon Whisk – for whisking and whipping
- Paddle or beater – for general mixing and cake making
Most models have extra attachments and accessories, some come with the stand mixer and some can be purchased separately. Be careful and check what exactly you are buying, some boxes can appear misleading by showing pictures of attachments you can buy for the mixer, not what is actually included.
This can be a vital accessory and should be available for most stand mixers. It covers the bowl and stops the ingredients splattering all over the kitchen.
A flexi beater has a flexible spatula side, which helps it to clean all round the sides of the bowl during the mixing.
Increases the range of jobs your stand mixer can perform for you, including chopping,slicing and grating.
A jug blender attaches to the top of the stand mixer, the blender is great when making soups or smoothies. Some models can also crush ice.
Allows you to mince your own meat, so you know exactly what is in your homemade burgers.
Ice Cream Maker
Makes a soft ice cream, sorbets or frozen desserts, while mixing.
Attaches to the stand mixer and firstly rolls the pasta dough and then cuts it into various shapes.
Allowing you to roll biscuit dough to the right thickness, and churn out large quantities of shaped biscuits and cookies.
A citrus press allows you to produce fresh fruit juice.
A slow juicer attachment allows you to juice the harder vegetables and fruit.
Mills spices,pepper, or dried fruit. Some grinders can also grind coffee, check your attachments instruction book.
The big trend of making spiral noodles out of vegetables, such as courgettes or carrots.
Each manufacturer has their own range of attachments and some you will use constantly, others will stay in the draw. But all sell replacements for broken parts to keep your stand mixer working for years to come.
Best Stand Mixer – Which Brand is for you?
There are several very well known manufactures of stand mixers, the best selling and arguably the best looking, is KitchenAid. But which brand is best, which offers you the best attachments, depends on your needs.
KitchenAid are a very old brand and they do a brilliant job with stand mixers, not only in their practicality but their looks. The KitchenAid range start with the Classic series and go up to the Professional and Commercial collection, all their mixers are a heavy,solid construction.
A big selling point for KitchenAid Stand Mixers is the massive range of colors they come in, they can match every bodies kitchen color scheme and frankly are beautiful design.
- Range of bowls from 3L – 6 Quarts,in steel and glass
- Citrus Juicer
- Flexi Edge Beater
- Food Grinder
- Food Processor
- Grain Mill
- Ice Cream Maker
- Maximum Extraction Slow Juicer
- Mixer Covers
- Pasta Shape Press
- Precise Heat Mixing Bowl
- Ravioli Maker
- Rotor Vegetable Slicer
- Sausage Stuffer
The Kenwood range of stand mixers are a classic, simple and functional design. While they have been a housewife’s favorite for decades, they have kept bang up to date and wouldn’t look out of place in any modern kitchen.
- Glass bowl
- Multi Food Grinder
- Range of Pasta Cutters
- Grinding Mill
- Food Mincer
- Rotary Slicer/Grater
- Fruit Press
- Glass Bowl and Folding Tool
- Creaming Beater
Breville range of stand mixers combine traditional features with cutting edge technology. A good solid build, weighing in at over 20lbs!
- Scraper Whisk
- The Freeze & Mix
- Extra Bowls
- Scraper Beater
At the lower end of the stand mixer range are mixers from Sunbeam and Hamilton Beach, these mixers are cheaper and they show it. With less options, less durability and light weight. I would only advise buying them if you don’t intend to bake often or they are all you can afford.
I hope this buyers guide has helped you decide which is the best stand mixer for you and your needs. Myself I own and use daily a Kenwood Chef, which I love. However I admit, like many others, to longing for a brightly colored KitchenAid Artisan Mixer!