5 Best Stand Mixers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
We whipped cream, mixed up cookie dough and baked loaves of bread to find the best stand mixers on the market.
Our Top Stand Mixer Picks
- Best Overall: KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
- Best Value: Hamilton Beach All-Metal Stand Mixer
- Best Compact: KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Qt Stand Mixer
- Best Budget: Costway Stand Mixer
- Best for Big Batches: Wolf Gourmet High Performance Stand Mixer
Tested by Regina Ragone and Laura Denby for Food Network Kitchen
A stand mixer is a classic in the kitchen for a reason. 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 or cooking project.
This article has been reviewed since its original publish date for accuracy, pricing and availability. We stand by our list of top Kitchenaid stand mixer picks.
Stand Mixer Styles
When selecting the right stand mixer, there are a few different styles to choose from.
A tilt-head stand mixer lifts up at the neck, so you can easily move the bowl or access what’s in it. When hinged back, the head of the stand mixer stands perpendicular with the counter, and the attachment is parallel with the counter. Though this is a great way to create space and easily access ingredients, it can be challenging if you have low-lying cabinets. Keep mixer height and cabinet height in mind before selecting this style. Our best overall pick, the KitchenAid Artisan model is a tilt-head style mixer.
A bowl-lift stand mixer uses a mechanism that raises and lowers the bowl when necessary. The head remains in a fixed position, and the bowl typically sits on two arms that move up and down to meet it. Bowl-lift style mixers generally have a wide base and can accommodate large, heavy batches. These are a great option for baking enthusiasts who will use their mixer frequently for large baking projects. Our best for big batches pick from Wolf Gourmet contains a bowl-lift.
Perhaps the most popular option for commercial use, a planetary mixer features a stationary bowl that locks into place while the attachment moves around the bowl while also spinning on its access. Planetary mixers can come in extra-large sizes that stand on the ground, or can come in compact, countertop versions. This style can be used with a range of attachments, and they help incorporate ingredients throughout the mixing process. None of our current picks are planetary style.
What to Consider When Buying a Stand Mixer
Capacity: Before selecting a stand mixer, first assess how often you’ll use it and for what types of projects. Stand mixers come in different shapes and sizes, and the different models can hold different amounts of ingredients. If you plan to use it often and you have the counter space to accommodate it, opt for a larger capacity mixer. If counter space or storage space is an issue in your house, opt for a petite or compact option. In general, a 5-quart stand mixer is a great size for home use.
Weight: A stand mixer isn’t the most portable kitchen gadget, so be sure to keep weight in mind before selecting one. If you plan to store your stand mixer somewhere else in your house, like a pantry, basement, or closet, remember that you’ll have to lift and carry it over to your counter. A stand mixer should be heavy-duty so it doesn’t slide around while in use, but it should be light enough to move around your kitchen.
Price: Since these are some of the most multifunctional gadgets available, they also come with a hefty price tag. Before investing in one, take note of how often you’ll use it and for what. If you plan to use your mixer occasionally, opt for a simpler, more budget-friendly mixer. If you plan to use your mixer regularly for complex projects, invest in a more expensive model that can stand up to frequent use.
Attachments: One of the best things about a stand mixer is that it can add versatility to your weekly meals. It’s so much more than just a vessel for making baked goods — a good stand mixer can come with a variety of attachments like a meat grinder, pasta maker, ice cream maker, and more. If you want a multifunctional machine that can transform your cooking projects, make sure to select a mixer that’s compatible with a range of accessories. At minimum, you should select a mixer that comes with a dough hook, paddle, and wire whisk.
Material: Material is an important factor to consider, because it’s directly related to durability and price. Some mixers are made from coated metal which is resistant to cracking, scratching, and staining. Metal is also easy to wipe clean, so it’s a long-lasting material that looks sleek and attractive. However, metal products can be expensive and heavy. Alternatively, plastic mixers are more lightweight and more affordable. However, they’re less durable, and more prone to breaking, chipping or scratching.
How We Tested
After careful research from reputable consumer buying guides, we purchased 13 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.
We tested four KitchenAid models (the Classic, Artisan, Mini 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 the most color options of any stand mixer brand, you're bound to find the perfect model to fit your kitchen aesthetic.
If you’re not prepared to shell out the money for a KitchenAid, this Hamilton Beach model comes with the same number of attachments and a much lower price tag. 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.
Portability isn’t typically a factor you consider when shopping for a stand mixer, but this compact option from KitchenAid is perfect for someone looking for a machine that’s a little more convenient. The petite version of the classic mixer features all the same qualities the brand is known for, with a 3.5-quart bowl at a more affordable price point. It’s easy to move, clean, use, and store, so it’s perfect for someone with limited counter or cabinet space.
This mixer excelled in all of our tests: It whipped egg whites quickly and efficiently, it whipped heavy cream with minimal splatter, and it thoroughly incorporated ingredients into thick, sticky dough with consistency. It comes with a coated dough hook, wire whisk, and flex-edge paddle that has a silicone edge. We found that the paddle effectively scraped ingredients from the side of the bowl, so our testers didn’t have to stop midway through and manually scrape ingredients down. The paddle seamlessly incorporated flour, sugar, eggs, and butter when making chocolate chip cookies, and we didn’t notice any batches of dry flour on the sides. It features 10 speeds that are easy to switch between.
Though we love how compact it is, we did notice that it’s not as sturdy as some of the other mixers we tested. The bowl base is smaller, and we noticed a bit of rocking when mixing tacky brioche dough on the highest speed. However, it still functioned perfectly and mixed the dough efficiently.
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. This is a solid choice for the occassional baker looking to churn out some holiday cookies or a birthday cake.
The Wolf Gourmet Performance Stand Mixer has a large bowl with a sturdy base that handled all of our tests easily. The 7-quart bowl has tall sides, so no splatter escapes even when mixing wet ingredients like heavy cream and egg whites. It excelled in all of our tests and the heavy-duty base remained consistent and steady even when mixing tacky brioche dough on high speeds. The motor is smooth and the dial makes it easy to toggle back and forth between the ten variable speeds. It whipped egg whites into peaks quickly, and evenly incorporated chocolate chips into cookie dough.
We love that this mixer comes with a paddle, dough hook, whisk, and a splash shield with an ingredient spout. It’s a bowl lift-style mixer, which means the bowl raises to meet the blender attachment and lowers to release. Though we had to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times when creaming butter and sugar and mixing cookie dough, the bowl lift functionality makes it easy to do so. All the accessories are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
Keep in mind that at 18 inches tall and 30 pounds, this pro-style model is one of the larger mixers we tested. In fact, it doesn’t fit under our product testers’ countertops, which also makes it cumbersome to store. This mixer is well-suited to someone with a lot of space who's looking to make big batches of baked goods at home.