Our Guide to the Best Stand Mixers
We whipped cream, mixed up cookie dough and baked loaves of bread to find the best stand mixers on the market.
Photo By: EddieHernandezPhotography
Which Stand Mixer Is Right for You?
A stand mixer is the type of appliance that makes you feel invincible in the kitchen. It allows you to create everything from cookies to bread without needing to work quite so hard — and let’s not forget the attachments that open up a whole other world of cooking potential. And although stand mixers seem to be synonymous with the KitchenAid brand, we tested some other quality models worth considering. Here are our favorite stand mixers for any kind of baking project.
Best Overall: KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
We tested three full-size KitchenAid models (the Classic, Artisan and Pro Line) and of all the units we tried, the Artisan is the best choice for the everyday baker. The Artisan can churn out quality cakes, single batches of cookies and whipped cream with ease. It comes complete with a 5-quart stainless steel bowl, three attachments (flat beater, wire whip and dough hook) and a pouring shield, which is convenient for avoiding dust clouds when adding flour to the bowl. We found it worked seamlessly on cookie dough, egg whites and whipped cream, but when we used it on heavier breads the mixer jumped on the countertop, especially as we increased the speed. Like most of the stand mixers we tested, this model is a tilt-head. Finally, with more than 50 color options, you're bound to find the perfect model to fit your kitchen aesthetic.
Buy It: Amazon, $319.95
The Modern Workhorse: Kenmore Elite Ovation 5-Quart Stand Mixer
You know you’re dealing with a solid piece of equipment when lifting this futuristic-looking mixer onto the counter — it weighs a whopping 30 pounds! The heft of this machine makes it best for a regular baker who will give it a permanent spot on the counter. We love this machine for its splatter guard, which attaches to the top of the mixer and sits flush against the glass mixing bowl (which is conveniently labeled with measurements). It creates a strong seal so that dry ingredients don't cloud when you first turn on the mixer, especially when combining them at a high speed. Another differentiating feature was a pour spout on top of the machine, similar to a blender, that lets you add ingredients while the mixer is on. The fact that this mixer passed all our tests with flying colors and is so reasonably priced makes it all the more attractive.
Buy It: Amazon, $259.99
For the Fashionista: SMEG Stand Mixer
The beauty of this retro-style stand mixer goes beyond cosmetics. It performs most everything a stand mixer should, like creaming butter and sugar, as well as kneading bread with ease. While the SMEG stand mixer struggled to aerate cream and egg whites quickly, especially in smaller quantities, its Smooth Start Speed control feature makes handling dry ingredients nearly mess-free. This clever feature enables the mixer to gently build up its speed, keeping flour from drifting out of the bowl, which we found particularly handy when mixing up cookie and bread doughs. If you’re willing to pay the price, this art piece can keep you happy whipping up classic recipes.
Buy It: Williams Sonoma, $459.95
Best for Beginners: Costway Stand Mixer
If we hadn’t seen the price tag before testing, we would have thought this mixer cost more than it does. The Costway may not have a lot of bells and whistles, but it took only 45 seconds to cream butter and sugar, and it easily handled every other test we put it through. The mixer feels almost too light, and while it doesn’t seem sturdy, it didn’t jump off the counter during even our toughest bread test. While it may not be as sleek as some other mixers on the market, knowing it's less than $150, we recommend this mixer for occasional or beginner bakers.
Buy It: Amazon, $89.99
Best Bang-for-Your-Buck: Hamilton Beach Eclectrics Stand Mixer
If you’re not prepared to shell out the money for a KitchenAid, this Hamilton Beach model is the next best thing. It worked well with basic tasks like whipping cream and egg whites, as well as mixing cookie dough, but it labored with the heavier brioche batter on higher speeds. The tilt head on this machine is a little clumsier than the KitchenAid and you'll probably need to lift the beaters to scrape down the bowl, which requires very firmly pushing the rear button with one hand while raising the head with the other. All things considered, this machine would perform everyday baking tasks well.
Buy It: Amazon, $199.99
How We Tested
After careful research from reputable consumer buying guides, we purchased 10 stand mixers. We evaluated each model by how well it creamed butter and sugar, mixed chocolate chip cookie dough, kneaded brioche, and whipped cream and egg whites. We also evaluated the thoroughness and clarity of the owner's manual, the ease of assembly of the beaters and mixing bowl, how each control worked, and how easy it was to clean by hand and the appropriate parts in the dishwasher.