Great color options
Snap-on storage case
Difficult to remove attachments
Requires high speeds for thick doughs
Loud on high speeds
We purchased the Black+Decker Helix Performance Premium Hand Mixer so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Hand mixers like the Black+Decker Helix Performance Premium Hand Mixer cross the line between manual stirring and a stand mixer. They're more mobile and can get hard-to-reach angles when mixing batters and doughs. Hand mixers need enough power to handle thick mixes but still remain light enough that they won't fatigue your shoulder or arm. They also need easy-to-use attachments, and you can't forget storage. We put the Helix to the test. Read on for how it performed and whether you might want to add it to your kitchen.
Design: Watch out for attachment removal
The Helix is designed for power and simplicity. It doesn't have some of the extra features of more expensive models like extra speeds or LCD displays. The speeds are sufficient for occasional cooking. However, if you're a serious baker and will be using a hand mixer multiple times a week, the Helix may not keep up with your needs.
At low speeds, the butter stuck to the beaters.
A design feature we really liked was the flat back of the mixer that acts as a stand. That feature came with every hand mixer we tested. However, the Helix's cord comes out the side rather than the bottom, so it stood up better than some of the other models we tested.
The attachments are side-specific. One beater/dough hook has a notch cut out of a lip while the other side has a notch extending from the lip. You then match the beater/dough hook to the corresponding entry point on the mixer. It's not the easiest system for installing attachments, but once you figure it out, it's fairly straightforward.
One area we did have a problem with was detaching the attachments. Make sure you unplug this hand mixer before removing the attachments. To remove them, you have to press down on the same button that turns on the mixer. Pressing it down far enough is not easy. It takes a good deal of force. Once you apply sufficient force, the attachments shoot out. It was startling the first time we tried it. Of the four mixers that we tested, attachment removal was the hardest with this model. Sometimes, we had to use two hands to press down on the button.
Finally, the Helix comes in eight colors. For those of you who love to color coordinate your kitchen appliances, the Helix will provide a fun way to complement your design scheme. Some of the colors are pretty retro for those who can't resist a little mid-century modern throwback.
Features: Basic but solid
The Helix is not a feature-heavy model. There are five manually adjustable speeds and a turbo boost button. The turbo boost only kicks in as long as you're pressing the button. We used it a couple of times when our doughs got thick. At that speed, the vibrations and shaking ramped up. The attachment release and storage case are the only other features. Of the two, the storage case is by far the better. It has a notch cut out of the side for the cord, so it stays nicely tucked away while in storage.
There's a lot of shaking and noise with the Helix, but it gets the job done.
Performance: Surprising power
Black+Decker may be better known for its vacuums and tools, but it’s put together a kitchen appliance that rivals models that are more than twice the price. We tested the Helix with three recipes: chocolate chip cookie dough, pancake batter, and bread dough. We were confident that it would do fine with pancake batter, but the other two require hard work from a hand mixer.
The cookie dough recipe required creaming butter and sugar. We forgot to thaw our butter in advance, so it came directly from the deep freeze. We softened it in the microwave, but it was still slightly frozen.
The Helix comes with a single whisk, which was the first attachment we tested. We whisked the dry ingredients for our cookie dough without a problem. As we expected, the whisk whipped through everything, thoroughly mixing everything in half the time it would have taken by hand.
The real test came when it was time to cream the hard butter with the sugar. We used the Helix beaters, which are made of reinforced nylon to cut down on bowl noise. The Helix has 240 watts of power, and creaming the butter put the motor to the test. At low speeds, the butter stuck to the beaters. The directions give guidance as to what speeds work best with the different attachments. We followed the recommended speed suggestions, but it wasn’t cutting through the butter. We had to turn the Helix on speed four out of five to spin the butter hard enough for creaming. At that speed, it was loud with a lot of shaking, but the Helix got the job done.
After our experience with creaming butter, we were concerned when it was time to add the dry ingredients to the cookie dough. The instructions say that if the dough gets thick, use the dough hooks. We added half of the dry ingredients before we decided the sound of the motor necessitated changing to the dough hooks. We did half of the stirring with the Helix beaters and the other half with the dough hooks. While the Helix shook and whirred, the dough hooks were enough to mix the cookie dough. The dough hooks break up the dough into small pieces, so we stirred in the chocolate chips by hand to bring it all back together.
We used the Helix to whip eggs and combine our pancake batter. The single whisk did not suck the eggs through like a double whisk model would do. We know. We tested a model with double whisks using a similar recipe. With the Helix, we chased the eggs around the bowl, trapping them against the side. We got it done, but the whisk wasn't very effective. At the high speeds, it might work for egg whites, but definitely not the best for egg yolks. The beaters worked great for combining the rest of the batter.
The bread dough created the same challenges as the cookie dough—a thick mix that requires the beaters for part of the job and the dough hooks for the other. On the highest speed, the Helix was able to mix the bread dough. It shook and whirred loudly at the end, but it did work. We didn’t use it to knead it for the full time, opting to hand knead it due to the way the hooks break up the dough.
There's a lot of shaking and noise with the Helix. However, considering the price, it did incredibly well.
It also gets a big thumbs up for the included storage case.
Cleaning and Storage: Easy
All attachments can be hand washed or cleaned in the dishwasher. The mixer itself must be wiped down as it shouldn't be submerged. As far as storage, the included storage container is excellent. It's larger than some of the others we tested, which makes it easier to fit everything inside.
Price: A bargain worth grabbing
The Helix is a bargain hand mixer. You're skipping extra speeds and a few other perks in favor of a lower price. However, it makes a great model for occasional cooking. It has the speed for thicker mixes with a turbo for quick bursts or thick mixes. It also gets a big thumbs up for the included storage case. There's nothing worse than trying to chase down all the parts to your kitchen appliances.
Competition: Better power and ease of use, but much higher price
Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Hand Mixer: The Cuisinart hand mixer we tested steps into a different category of hand mixers. It has nine speeds, an LCD display, and the detachment is a cinch. Interestingly, you have to turn up the speeds to get those thick mixes just like with the Helix, and you’ll pay twice the price.
Breville Handy Mix Scraper: The Helix stands at one end of the price spectrum with the Breville that we tested at the other. This model is nearly three times the price, but you get luxury features like a mixing light, automatic torque adjustment, and quiet mixing. This model is incredibly powerful, making it a splurge worth making for serious bakers.
KitchenAid 9-Speed Hand Mixer: KitchenAid makes a solid nine-speed hand mixer, which we tested, that has more features than the Helix. However, at some tasks, they don’t perform that much differently. Both have to be turned up to high speeds for thick mixes, which sends vibrations up the mixer. You do get more speed options with the KitchenAid, but you pay more for it.
- Product Name Helix Performance Premium Hand Mixer
- Product Brand Black+Decker
- MPN MX600B
- Price $49.19
- Weight 3.35 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 3.8 x 11.5 x 7.9 in.
- Power 240 W
- What's Included Mixer, snap-on storage case, 2 beaters, 1 whisk, 2 dough hooks
- Warranty 3-year limited