Many people swear by stand mixers as the most useful appliance in their kitchen. This review tests several models and recommends the best stand mixers!
Standing mixers have a wide variety of uses, from kneading bread dough to mixing cookie dough to whipping egg whites. But with so many models available, how do you pick the best one? They’re expensive, and there are so many out there!
Testing all the key features
America’s Test Kitchen tested 9 mixers, priced from $230 to $850, to find the best one and the best deal. The tests measure the three main functions of mixers: whipping, creaming, and kneading.
Several no-nos cropped up!
During the whipping test, some of the mixers’ whip attachments couldn’t reach the liquid to whip 1 cup of cream at the bottom of the bowl, although all of them could reach it when there were 2 cups of cream. The scaled-down commercial model by Wolrath also had a tiny chute, which made pouring sugar syrup into the bowl when whipping egg whites for meringue a big pain. Not worth it, especially for $850. The best models had a good whisk-to-bowl ratios, with wide whisks and rounder, wider bowls that kept liquid within reach of the whisk.
For the creaming test, the paddle attachment had to be shaped and positioned correctly to reach the ingredients and not have to constantly scrape the bowls. Z-shaped padel interiors trapped dough to mix inefficiently, while open branch shapes allowed dough to mix properly. One of the paddle attachments had scrapers on the sides, which saves time because you don’t have to stop the mixer to manually scrape down the bowl. Splash guards that attached to the bowl were easier to use than ones that attached to the mixer head. Vertical handles were easier to use than horizontal ones.
The kneading test featured a wet, sticky pizza dough. Two of the models got hot and slowed down while dealing with the difficult dough, eliminating them from the competition. The favorites, like the Kitchenaid Classic Plus, had more torque, which allowed them to move the dough around the bowl. Stand mixers are sold by size, but the smaller mixers were actually better able to handle the double batch of pizza dough because their attachments were better positioned.
The best stand mixers
In the end, the favorites were the Kitchenaid 7-quart Pro-Line Series and the Kitchenaid 4.5-quart Classic Plus. Each made 10 batches of pizza dough and 10 bagel dough; the head lock on the smaller Classic Plus broke after 6 bagel doughs, although it still worked if you held the head down. But the Kitchenaid 7-quart Pro-Line Series worked all the way through. It’s expensive, at $549, but America’s Test Kitchen says it’s worth it. For a cheaper buy that’s still very workable, go for the $230 Kitchenaid 4.5-quart Classic Plus.
Standing mixers are a fixture of a well-equipped kitchen, but the range of models and high prices can be intimidating and confusing for a first-time buyer. These tests broke down each model’s pros and cons to find the best quality and best value mixers for your kitchen.
Questions about stand mixers to discuss on Ohlelo:
- Have you purchased any of the models in the article, and what was your experience?
- Do you think the testers asked the right questions/ran the right tests to pick the best mixer?
- What criteria do you use when evaluating which kitchen appliance to buy?
- Do you prefer a more expensive, top-of-the-line kitchen appliance, or a more affordable one?
- What is your favorite kitchen appliance?
Check out more great kitchen appliance tests on America’s Test Kitchen’s YouTube channel.