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Although you can mix batters and knead bread dough by hand, these tasks are much more efficient with an electric mixer. Some handheld mixers don't have enough power to knead thick doughs and churn through large batches of cookie and cake batter. Plus, you have to hold them the whole time which can result in some serious hand and arm fatigue. If you're looking for a better way to mix and whip through your recipes, you may want to clear some counter space and invest in a stand mixer.
Stand mixers can whip cream, beat egg whites, and cream sugar and butter into light, fluffy batters with ease. Many stand mixers have optional attachments for pasta making, meat grinding, spiralizing, food processing, and more, making them true kitchen workhorses and helping free up more of your time in the kitchen.
Here are our best stand mixer picks, ready to mix up whatever you're cooking.
Best Overall: KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
Easily handles tough doughs
Heavy-duty bowl with handle
Impressive array of optional attachments
Coated attachments could chip
Wire whip is not dishwasher safe
Not too big, not too small, this 10-speed mixer can knead a double batch of cookie dough and mix small amounts just as easily. No matter what the task, our tester said this machine "proved its worth." It might not have all the integrated bells and whistles (timers, automatic shutoff, etc.) of some of our other picks, but what the KitchenAid lacks in technology it makes up for in attachments and market ubiquity. When someone says they have a stand mixer, they're most likely talking about a KitchenAid, and probably even this model.
There are at least 15 different attachments for this machine, including a grater, grain mill, juicer, pasta maker, spiralizer, ravioli press, ice cream maker, and more. (Although keep in mind they are all sold separately.) Since the brand is so popular, besides official KitchenAid-branded attachments there are third-party attachments and accessories available also.
You can get this mixer in a wide variety of colors to match or accent your kitchen décor, and the tilt-head makes it easy to switch from paddle to dough hook, add ingredients, or scrape the bowl. This mixer has a 5-quart bowl and comes with a flat beater, a dough hook, wire whisk, and a pouring shield.
"No matter what the task, we could just set up the machine and stand back and watch it." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Runner-up, Best Overall: Cuisinart SM-50BC Precision Master 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer
More cost efficient than comparable models
Powerful motor to help mix thicker doughs
Some issues with attachments reaching bottom of bowl
More affordable than our top pick, but with a similar tilt-back motor head design, this Cuisinart stand mixer is a great choice for beginner bakers, brand devotees, or anyone who wishes to save a few dollars on a stand mixer without sacrificing quality or power. It's constructed of metal, has a 500 watt motor, and can be operated at 12 different speeds with the turn of a dial. It features a 5.5-quart stainless steel mixing bowl, which offers plenty of capacity for cakes, cookies, and breads, and comes with a whisk, dough hook, flat mixing paddles, and splash guard with pouring spout.
Customers who chose the Cuisinart over more expensive stand mixers haven't regretted the choice; they say it's durable, built to last, and praise its quiet yet powerful performance. It's available in six colors to match a variety of kitchen decor and backed by a 3-year limited warranty.
Best Budget: Hamilton 6-Speed Stand Mixer
Folding setting for delicate mixing
Head tilts high for bowl removal
Bowl lacks a handle
No splash guard
This has the same planetary mixing action as popular high-end mixers, at a budget price, so your cake batters will be smooth and your whipped cream will be fluffy. There are six speeds, plus a special fold setting for gentle mixing. The 3 1/2 quart mixing bowl is large enough for most baking needs, and the non-slip feet keep the machine stable as it works. The mixer head tilts up for easy access to the bowl and locks down in use, so it won’t bounce when mixing thick batters and doughs.
This mixer is powered by a 300-watt motor and includes a chrome-plated aluminum dough hook, wire whisk, and plastic beater for versatility. The stainless steel mixing bowl and attachments are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
"Along with the small size comes light weight, making it easy to move when you need to store it—it’s even light enough to carry one-handed." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best for Small Spaces: KitchenAid Artisan Mini Tilt Head Stand Mixer
Plenty of power for small batches
Great color selection
Some attachments not interchangeable with other models
This small mixer from KitchenAid is 25 percent lighter and has a 20 percent smaller footprint than the company’s classic mixer, but the 250-watt motor and hob attachment mean that it’s compatible with attachments like the pasta roller, grater, spiralizer, and more. The beaters and bowls are not interchangeable with other models, however.
The tilt-head design makes it easy to access the bowl or change beaters, and the head locks in place to make sure the beaters keep in close contact with the bowl for even mixing. It has 10 mixing speeds.
This has a 3 1/2 quart bowl, so it won’t hold as much as the full-size models, but it’s fine for dozens of cookies at a time. This includes a coated flat beater, coated dough hook, and wire whip and comes in 10 different colors.
Best High-End: Wolf Gourmet High-Performance Stand Mixer
7-quart bowl offers lots of space
Can handle small quantities
More industrial than stylish
Known for their high-end kitchen appliances, Wolf created this stand mixer that marries quality, design, and performance that will wow anyone looking to splurge on a top-notch stand mixer. The mixer is constructed of brushed stainless steel for a professional, modern look. It's equipped with a 7-quart bowl and 500-watt motor that is powerful enough to knead thick bread doughs, and it comes with a flat beater, dough hook, whisk, and splatter shield. Additional food processing accessories can attach to the tilt motor head and are sold separately.
Unique features that help this mixer stand out from the rest include a patent-pending bowl lift that allows you to adjust the height of the mixing bowl with just a turn of the bowl's handle and a pulse option for gentle mixing. If you go with this mixer, you'll want to make sure you have dedicated place to store it since it's heavy at almost 30 pounds and measures approximately 18 inches tall by 18 inches deep.
Best Bowl-Lift: KitchenAid Pro Line Series 7-Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer
All metal fittings
Great for larger baking projects
Efficiently kneads small batches of doughs
Fewer color options
Not appropriate for mixing smaller recipes
When you find yourself working on more significant projects that would otherwise require two or three batches in a smaller mixer, it might be time to upgrade to a stand mixer with a larger bowl capacity and a bit more power. The KitchenAid 7-quart Pro-Line is used and trusted in professional pastry kitchens and bakeries everywhere. Instead of the tilt-head design, this professional model holds the mixing bowl on arms that are raised and lowered around the mixing attachment with a lever on the side of the machine.
While not available in as many colors as some of the smaller models, the Pro-Line still comes in the most popular colors (Black, Silver, Red) that match almost any kitchen. This model sports all-metal fixtures and gears inside, instead of the plastic ones found on lower-end models. As with all KitchenAid stand mixers, the attachment hub on the machine’s front will accommodate any attachments from other models. A 1.3-horsepower motor makes mixing thicker doughs more convenient, including thick cookie doughs and even a single batch of thick bagel dough.
Best Design: SMEG 50's Retro Style 5 qt. Stand Mixer with Stainless Steel Bowl
Mid-century design and color options
Attachments for versatility
Powerful motor for dense mixes
Dishwasher safe attachments
Controls on top of mixer
Heavy to move
While the classic KitchenAid stand mixer design is iconic, the SMEG Retro Style stand mixer is downright stylish. Available in a palette of retro hues that coordinate with the other mid-century styled appliances SMEG produces. Clearly meant to be a fixture on your countertop, these Italian stand mixers are not only attractive but powerful with a 600-watt motor and a 5-quart bowl capacity.
Like the KitchenAid stand mixers, the SMEG stand mixer comes with a hub on the front and a line-up of attachments, including several pasta cutters, grinder, and slicer attachments. An ice cream freezer bowl is also available. This tilt-head model’s features include ten speeds, whisk, beater, dough hook attachments, detachable pouring shield, and weighted enough to avoid walking across the counter while mixing.
Best for Beginners: Hamilton Beach Classic Hand and Stand Mixer, 4-quart
Combo of stand or hand mixing
Good bowl capacity for small projects
Lightweight and easy to store
Stationary mixing requires more scraping down
Not built for heavy duty use
If you aren’t sure just how much you’re going to use a stand mixer, or you’re on the fence about whether to choose a hand mixer or a stand mixer—this Hamilton Beach combo mixer is a low-risk choice for the beginner baker. Like other hand mixers on the market, this unit comes equipped with two paddle attachments, two dough hook attachments, and a balloon whisk attachment. Six speeds are easy to adjust with a slider on top of the mixer and a pulse button for getting a mix started.
The detachable 4-quart bowl can handle small mixing projects but will likely not handle thick cookie and bread dough. This machine is ideal for whipping cream, meringues, and mixing cake batters. After a few projects, you’ll probably know if this machine has everything you need or if you want a more powerful hand or stand mixer.
Best Designer: SMEG x Dolce and Gabbana "Sicily Is My Love" Retro Style 5 Quart Stand Mixer
Powerful SMEG construction
Dishwasher safe attachments
Truly unique design
Several pieces may be overwhelming
Several stand mixers on our list come in a variety of colors to coordinate with your kitchen color scheme. But if price really isn’t an object and you’re looking for something with overwhelming style, meant to be more of a kitchen centerpiece than an accent piece—the SMEG “Sicily is my Love” stand mixer is for you. Designed in collaboration with iconic Italian fashion design house Dolce and Gabanna, this set of kitchen appliances is inspired by the colorful hand-painted Deruta plates and frescos found in Italian cathedrals and stylish homes.
The “Sicily is my Love” collection of appliances includes the retro 1950’s SMEG stand mixer, as well the SMEG toaster, tea kettle, refrigerator, oven, espresso machine, juicer, and blender. The paintings on each machine are uniquely designed but might be a bit overwhelming all together.
What to Look for When Buying a Stand Mixer
With all of the possibilities in mind, one of the very first decisions you should make when looking for a stand mixer is what you think you’ll be making with your mixer. Consider how often you’ll be using it and how versatile you’d like it to be. That information will help you decide what features will fit your needs best and quickly help you narrow down your options.
Smaller bowl sizes range from about 4.5- to 5.5-quart capacities. If you’re a casual baker or plan on only using your mixer occasionally, a smaller bowl size will accommodate most of your needs. For example, you can comfortably mix a half sheet cake’s worth of batter, two loaves of banana bread, three dozen cupcakes, or a couple dozen 2.5-inch chocolate chip cookies in a 5-quart bowl.
If you’re planning on making larger recipes, heftier doughs, or plan on using your mixer often for a variety of projects, consider stepping your bowl size up to a 6- to 8-quart mixing bowl. But keep in mind that larger bowls may actually make it harder to tackle smaller projects. You may be able to whip up 7 pounds of buttercream in one go, but you’re less likely to be able to whip half a cup of cream.
Note that many mixers advertise the bowl size by how many cups of flour they can hold. This can be misleading, as the bowls may hold the specified amount of flour, but they may not be able to mix a recipe of the same volume without making a mess or overwhelming the machine. It’s safe to assume a slightly lower capacity than advertised.
Like the bowl size, you’ll want to scale the power of your stand mixer to the volume and type of projects you’ll be using it for. The minimum recommended wattage is 250 watts, but some mixers boast up to 1000 watts. If you plan on mixing and whipping up lighter cake batters and liquids that don’t require a long mixing time, a lower wattage machine will get the job done.
If you’re interested in working with thicker cookie doughs and larger volume foods, a 325-watt motor or greater will give your project the power it needs. If your goal is to regularly work with heavier doughs (bagels, pretzels, large batches of bread), the more power the better. You should shoot for a machine with a minimum of 6qt capacity that provides at least 500 watts of power. However, keep in mind that even with a powerful mixer, you may still need to finish kneading bread dough by hand.
Also, like bowl size, the advertised wattage can be misleading. While a mixer may claim to have a 500-watt motor, it may take more energy to operate the machine than a comparable stand mixer with the same wattage, giving less power directly to the bowl. It’s best to use this factor as a general guideline while weighing the value of the other features.
Controls and Settings
Mixer controls range from dials and knobs to buttons, as well as the speed control lever-style found on the KitchenAid. Whatever controls your stand mixer has, they should be easy to understand and operate.
Stand mixers tend to have anywhere between three and 12 speed settings. Low, medium, and high speeds are fundamental, but the more speed settings you have, the wider the range of control over the recipe you have. Also, look for a machine that has a slow start or “stir” setting to begin mixing. This will help avoid liquid or flour flying out of the bowl when you turn the mixer on, and it can be used when working with especially delicate mixes.
Some machines are equipped with an internal timer and an auto-shutoff function (also called overload protection). While not an essential control, the benefit of setting the machine and turning your attention to another task (and being able to trust that it will turn off when the time is completed) is certainly an advantage.
If you decide to go with a tilt-head style mixer, you’ll want to make sure that the tilt-head locks while in the mixing position. This keeps the mixing head from jumping around with the machine on and ruining your recipe or damaging the machine itself. While the stand mixer head should lock for mixing, some also have a lock function in the open position as well. This is less necessary, and some reviewers even see it as a drawback if it takes two hands to unlock or is difficult to use.
While stand mixers certainly don’t come cheap, there are options for a quality machine in almost every price range. And unlike other appliances, you can generally rest assured that you’re getting what you pay for. Starting with more economical machines in the $100 to $200 range, you can find quality with very few compromises.
Again, take into consideration how often you’ll be using your stand mixer and the types of projects you’d like to undertake. The more you’re planning on doing, the more important it is to invest in a higher-rated machine. For this investment, it’s best to buy the highest quality stand mixer you can afford.
Overall Size and Weight
Counter space is almost always at a premium, so adding another appliance to your workspace can be a struggle. Measure to see how much space you can dedicate to storing your machine on your countertop, with attention given to clearance under your cabinets. Machines come in a variety of heights for just such purposes.
If storing your stand mixer on the counter isn’t an option, you might want to look at machines that are more compact and lightweight for easy storage in a cabinet or on a shelf. Generally speaking, the weight of a machine is one of the features of a stand mixer. Machines over 20 pounds may be uncomfortable to move around, but that weight also provides stability so your machine is less likely to creep or walk across the counter while mixing.
Color and Design
While functionality is usually the main concern with most stand mixers, having a color selection available is one of the more exciting choices when buying a new machine. Even the more affordable models are typically offered in a limited palette of silver, black, white, red, or blue. If you’re looking for a wider range of colors, KitchenAid offers over 30 choices for the Artisan 5-quart model.
Since your stand mixer will likely be a fixture on your countertop for years to come, choose a model you like looking at. Clean and contemporary, modern brushed steel, or classic and colorful are all options to consider when looking for a piece to accent your kitchen.
Warranties for most machines vary from one to three years, which isn’t a long time for such an expensive machine. Luckily, most stand mixers are built to last. If taken care of and not pushed beyond their limits, stand mixers tend to last for years (even decades!) without needing repair.
As always, refer to your user manual for guidelines specific to your machine, but also pay attention to any visible or audible signs of struggle your mixer may have while in use and work within its capacity.
Types of Stand Mixers
The majority of home-use countertop stand mixers are tilt-head models. The bowl is attached at the base of the machine, and the mixing attachments are secured at the top of the machine, lifting in and out of the bowl with a simple tilt of the head. Switching mixing attachments without removing the bowl is a breeze, and since you can push the head back, the bowl is more accessible when you need to add or remove ingredients or scrape the sides.
Bowl-lift mixers are typically higher-grade and professional or commercial-level machines. The bowl snaps into the side arms and the back of the machine and is lifted into place with a lever on the side. These mixers are on the larger end of the size spectrum and typically a little heavier and more stable. They pack a more powerful punch, handling tougher doughs and mixing projects easier than their smaller and lighter counterparts.
There are only a few options for this style mixer on the market, but those who use them swear by them. The motor of this mixer is in the base of the machine, underneath the bowl. The mixing attachments are secured inside at the base of the bowl, leaving the top of the bowl completely unobstructed. This is incredibly useful for recipes requiring multiple additions, and it provides a clear view of the action while working.
For the most effective and consistent mixing, look for a machine with planetary mixing action. On this kind of machine, the mixing attachment spins on its axis while also rotating around the circumference of the bowl (exactly like the Earth spinning on its axis around the sun). This motion helps reach the ingredients at the edge of the bowl.
Stationary mixers typically have two beaters that spin in place, while the bowl spins beneath them. This motion is less effective at mixing all of the ingredients, so stopping the machine to scrape down the sides and incorporate elements by hand is usually necessary.
When people say they have a stand mixer, they’re likely talking about a KitchenAid. The brand name is nearly synonymous with the machine at this point, which isn’t entirely surprising since it’s the original. Fans of the machine love the interchangeable attachments compatible with almost every style of mixer KitchenAid makes. From the compact mini mixer appropriate for tiny apartments, all the way up to the commercial mixers used in professional kitchens, KitchenAid has a stand mixer to suit almost every need. While usually a higher-priced mixer, the quality is undisputed. Most big-box retailers frequently offer discounts on these in-demand mixers several times a year, or for certain colors.
Cuisinart has stepped up its appliance game over the last couple of decades, branching out from its original core food processor line to higher-quality kitchen appliances like stand mixers, juicers, bread machines, and home countertop ice cream makers. Cuisinart products are known for being reliable without breaking the bank. The designs are unfussy, with contemporary brushed stainless steel features for a consistent look across the company’s wide range of products.
An easily recognizable name in the kitchen appliance market, Hamilton Beach has a reputation for economically priced equipment that’s sturdy enough for regular home use. Its massive line of kitchen equipment is typically easy to operate, clean, and store. Most Hamilton Beach appliances can be found across a wide range of retailers, from local hardware and grocery stores to department stores and kitchen-specific outfitters.
Wolf appliances are typically the envy of very high-end kitchens, with the focus primarily on sleek and powerful ranges, cooktops, and ovens. The brand offers a few smaller kitchen appliances including a stand mixer, microwaves, and coffee systems with a focus on the same luxury offered by its larger kitchen appliances. You won’t find an exhaustive range of colors or matching hand tools with this line—what the company may lack in quantity, it more than makes up for with the highest-quality equipment.
Bosch is as much a technology company as it is an appliance company. It is known for large, high-tech household appliances like dishwashers, laundry machines, and refrigerators. The brand also brought the same engineering prowess to smaller equipment like coffee machines, stand mixers, and food processors. Sleek designs, with techy features, will delight someone looking for a more modern style.
"Smalterie Metallurgiche Emiliane Guastalla” is a mouthful, translating to “Metal Enamelling Plant from Guastalla Emilia”—SMEG for short. This Italian brand has been in existence and manufacturing kitchen appliances since 1948. These days, SMEG’s fashionable line of vintage and iconic appliances is unmistakable in retro and pastel colors that coordinate with each other in designer kitchens. All of those attractive design features are backed-up with heavy-duty construction, high-end power, and versatile attachments.
It would be surprising if you managed to whip up an entire cake without a puff of flour or a splash of cream hitting your mixer. Most mixers are very easy to clean, requiring little more than soapy water and a sponge, but try to wipe them down as soon as possible after using to avoid caked-on splatter. For a glossy finished machine, avoid the rough scrubber side of the sponge to keep from dulling the shine of your mixer. Consider a stainless steel cleaner or polish on stainless steel-finished machines to occasionally refresh their look.
Almost all mixing bowls are dishwasher safe, as well as some of the attachments. Mechanical attachments, like pasta sheeters, may need to be hand washed or simply wiped. Refer to the included user manuals for the recommended way to clean your equipment.
Nearly all stand mixers come with some version of a flat paddle, wire whisk, and dough hook attachment. Many also include a clear plastic splash/pouring shield attachment for the bowl.
KitchenAid is well-known for its line of attachments and accessories (sold separately) that are interchangeable across the entire line of mixers. These include pasta sheeters, meat grinders, juicers, spiralizers, food processors, a sausage stuffer, and ice cream maker bowl—among others. The brand also offers designer bowl replacements and even third-party accessories given the popularity of the KitchenAid machines. If you want your stand mixer to be a multi-purpose workhorse, consider getting one that offers comparable accessories.
For the more ambitious baker, it’s nice to have a second mixing bowl and attachment set for projects that include mixing and whipping a variety of ingredients quickly so you don’t have to break to wash dishes in the middle of a complex recipe (like a delicate fickle mousse).
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is the author of the cookbook Make Ahead Bread and specializes in product reviews and kitchen gadgets so she knows a thing or two when it comes to stand mixers. In fact, she personally tested three of the mixers for this roundup.
This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who happily makes space for any gadget that makes cooking faster and easier. She specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats.
Jenny Kellerhals updated this roundup and wrote the accompanying buying guide. With over a decade as a pastry chef in NYC, Jenny has extensive experience with professional and home-grade mixers. Her favorite mixer on this list is the KitchenAid 7-quart stand mixer because of its larger capacity for mixing up wedding cakes, larger batches of frosting, and a boost of power for specialty doughs.