Our table compares the best 8 models of 2020. Models are sorted by our score that represents our opinion on the product. BEWARE: price score varies based on the current price (updated multiple times everyday), so the standings are variable. For every model, you can read the complete review, or click and see the Amazon offer.
The best stand mixer: comparison table
Today we’ll talk about how to choose a stand mixer. This small kitchen appliance (not so small) is useful for making various types of dough, for cakes, pies, homemade pasta, bread, pizza and focaccia.
The mixer performs, in a few minutes, what can also be done by hand, but with much effort and in a much longer time. In the past, mixers were very expensive, and reserved only for bakeries and pizzerias or for industrial use. Then, as often happens, the manufacturing companies started producing and marketing domestic models and, thanks to the innate passion of people for cooking, the success was immediate.
Sometimes, we buy useless appliances, in the grip of compulsive shopping, but I must say that not many appliances are useful and solve so many problems like a stand mixer. It will change your life in the kitchen. Don’t believe it? Read on.
The best stand mixer
The market of stand mixers is large and contains models with a price that can vary from less than a hundred to more than a thousand, and capacity ranging from that necessary for a small family to professional ones, necessary for large doughs. Thus, it’s very difficult to draw up a single ranking.
Our evaluation criteria
How did we evaluate the stand mixers to get to the table above? As with all categories, we have chosen four evaluation criteria. One of these is price, which is extremely variable for this appliance category, as we have already mentioned. The other three criteria, on the other hand, concern quality. This way, the final average resulting as the rating assigned to the model represents a true quality/price ratio. So let’s see these quality criteria for the category of stand mixers.
In this criterion we considered the quantities of dough that can be processed by the stand mixer, giving priority to the quantities relating bread and pizza doughs, the first ones that come to mind when deciding to buy a stand mixer. All low-end stand mixers allow you to work up to 1 pound of flour, but medium and high-end ones go well beyond. We also considered the processing quantities related to the other doughs, such as those for desserts, fresh pasta and so on, but giving them a lower weight in the final score. We didn’t give much weight to electric consumption because the stand mixer is not an appliance that stays active for a long time.
Some stand mixers are sold without any additional accessories apart from the typical hooks (kneading hook, beater). However, being a heavy and cumbersome appliance, even for the most compact models, we considered the presence of extra accessories as a rather important criterion. If it’s true that the stand mixer takes up space in the kitchen, it’s equally true that it can save space that would otherwise be occupied by other small appliances. In fact, thanks to their equipment, some mixers can also work as a blender, food processor, juicer, chopper and many more. Because of this, the equipment alone can justify a high price.
The same considerations made above for the equipment also apply to accessories you can buy serparately. Some brands and models do not produce any additional accessories, while other brands have a long list of options, very important for the future expansion of your stand mixer. This appliance, having to do hard work, usually has a very powerful engine. So why waste this power just to knead? Among the most popular accessories there is certainly the machine to pull the pasta, a very efficient accessory for a machine that can prepare the pasta dough. Then there are meat mincers, vegetable mills, but also, given the ability to blend, the ice cream maker. Buying a stand mixer that has many available accessories is definitely an advantage.
Let’s now analyze this appliance in detail.
What is a stand mixer?
First of all, let’s clarify the ideas on what a stand mixer is: it is a kitchen appliance with a motor to which various types of accessories are hooked, and a bowl where you put the necessary ingredients for the dough: eggs, water, flour, yeast, cocoa , salt, sugar, etc.
Often, the mixer is confused with the food processor, and the major manufacturing brands certainly do not help to clarify: Kenwood calls them planetary mixers, Kitchenaid calls them kitchen robots, while Bosch calls them kitchen machines. This is because stand mixers, in addition to kneading, perform other functions.
So let’s start clearing our ideas by listing the types of mixer.
Mixer with direct drive motor
Easy to spot by their “vintage” look. The classic example is Kitchenaid: in this type of stand mixer, the whisk is hooked directly below the motor, allowing better efficiency. In other words, you will get the same results with less watts. A “green” but risky choice: if something goes wrong, the engine will have to be thrown away.
Mixer with gears
In this type of mixer there are belts and gears that start from the motor and indirectly transmit the movement to the whisks. Of course this type of mixer is less efficient, and it takes many more Watts to have the same result. The advantage? If something goes wrong, the gears will break saving the engine, and can be replaced at a low cost.
Used mainly at industrial level, the spiral mixer gives a single rotation movement on itself to the whisk attached to the motor, but the result is the same because the whisk in question is spiral-shaped and therefore creates lateral tractions to the dough, similar to what happens for planetary mixers.
Why buy a stand mixer?
If you like cooking, the stand mixer will be an irreplaceable companion. You can make bread at home, prepare dough for pizza, homemade pasta, cakes of any kind and cookies, in no time.
The great advantage of this kitchen appliance is that it does not splash (depending on the dough to be prepared, a cover can be applied to the bowl) and then, at the end of the work, you just have to rinse the steel bowl, the whisk and, if used, the cover, which are generally dishwasher safe.
I normally use the mixer once a week and in less than a hour and a half I can prepare, in order:
- pizza dough for dinner and more that is frozen to be used next time;
- bread dough that lasts for one week;
- a cake or biscuits we eat for breakfast.
Not to mention pasta dough that I also do often: I also do this often because I like tagliatelle, tagliolini, spaghetti alla chitarra (and let’s stop here, but I could go on and on): homemade pasta is unbeatable!
Which factors to consider when choosing a stand mixer
Below are the ones that, in my opinion, are the most important factors to consider when deciding to buy a mixer.
We are talking about an appliance that will save you a lot of time, but above all a lot of effort. An effort that is necessary to obtain a good result. A mixer must be powerful: electric consumption is not a big problem, the stand mixer works for minutes, not for hours, so your choice must be based on power. For some doughs, if you want to do things right, the kneader will have to work for 30 consecutive minutes. In particular, mixing bread, pizza, egg pasta, requires a lot of energy.
If you choose an underpowered mixer, you will face a big disappointment: the motor will strain immediately, causing breakdowns or results that are not on par. Warning: do not think that a 1500 Watt mixer actually consumes 1500 Watt: this depends on the speed and hardness of the dough. The mixer will not weigh much on the electricity bill: in fact, it is better to have a reserve of power, so that the engine does not heat up too much.
In any case, as previously anticipated by describing the various types of mixer, evaluating the power only from the number of Watts can lead to totally incorrect results. In fact, it is also necessary to consider whether the motor is direct drive or not. A 300 Watt mixer with direct drive motor can have the same performance as a 1200 Watt gear mixer.
So how do you assess power? The best way is to consult the technical data sheet of the appliance. Here the manufacturer will report the maximum quantities of dough that the engine can work in one session. This should be your parameter when choosing.
The capacity of the bowl determines the maximum quantity of ingredients that can be used in one go. This is an important parameter, but don’t be fooled: it doesn’t mean that all the available capacity can be used for each type of dough. Again, it depends on power. My first kneader (cheap, but a disappointment) had a large four-liter bowl, but it did not allow me to work more than 1 pound of flour at a time, because the power was too low. And even with one pound, it strained and overheated. In short: make sure that the quantity of dough that your stand mixer allows you to work with is good enough for your family size.
Having to do hard work, the mixer must be resistant, which means that not only the motor, but also the structure that contains it must be built with the best materials. Metal, often used for whisks and bowls, remains the favourite material also for the structure. Obviously, in order to keep costs down, many brands use plastic: be careful to distinguish good from bad plastic: our reviews will give you valuable insight on this. Care in construction is a necessary factor for a satisfactory purchase.
Each type of dough needs a different speed; from slow pastry doughs, where the ingredients are to be incorporated slowly without causing loss of volume, to doughs for bread and pizza that require more speed to obtain a better growing: moreover, the best techniques sometimes require that the speed is also varied in the course of the kneading process. In other cases, the dough must remain at rest for a certain interval between two mixing sessions. It’s not so much about being slow or fast, but how many speeds the mixer can offer. The more they are, the better, because you will have more control and reach a better result.
The hooks available are a factor to consider when purchasing a mixer. Definitely, there must be the K-shaped beater and the dough hook, which are used for more or less soft doughs and, sometimes, both for the same dough, starting with one and ending with the other. Usually there is also a balloon whisk to work softer doughs, excellent for meringues, whipped cream and cakes in general. Included equipment is important, because some accessories you can buy later can be quite expensive.
If you decide to buy a stand mixer, you have to spend to get a good result. If you don’t want to be disappointed, and I speak from personal experience, don’t buy a low-end model. If you do, in all likelihood, it will happen that after a while you will no longer use it, or that you will be forced to buy a better one. This is exactly what I went through: scorching disappointment at the beginning, a few months to get dust settled, and then I had to buy a real mixer. I threw money away for a useless purchase.
Stand mixer vs other kneading machines
The stand mixer, which we are dealing with in this article, differs from other types of kitchen appliances that perform slightly different tasks. It is worth to list them, also because if you are looking for a mixer on Amazon, you could be confused by the variety of appliances that are displayed, often belonging to different categories such as blenders, food processors, beaters and so on.
The pasta machine
The pasta machine is an appliance or a hand-cranked manual tool used to roll out pasta dough and cut it into the desired pasta format. It comes after the mixer (and can be a good companion), to process the pasta dough once it’s been prepared.
The bread machine
The bread machine is an appliance baking bread dough in the form of loaf bread. Some bread machines can also prepare the dough, which can lead to confusion. In any case, this type of machine only deals with bread dough, and in rather small quantities.
The beater is the “ancestor” of mixers. Much cheaper and much less powerful, the beater is a long-standing appliance, which helps to mix and whisk eggs and very soft doughs. It certainly will not help you in making homemade bread, pizza or pasta, but it can be a valid alternative if it is only about whipping eggs and sugar or whipping egg whites, or more generally for preparing cakes.
The beater usually has two rotating hooks, should be held in the hand and has no bowl, so you will need to use your own. With your free hand you will have to hold the bowl, or it will spin around and, with the other hand, you will hold the mixer, providing the circular movement that the stand mixers provide independently. I have an economic beater, and I use it, as alternative to the mixer, depending on the type of dough I must prepare, and its quantity.
The food processor
This versatile appliance usually uses a single base and a single motor for various functions: blender, meat mincer, dough stretcher and also, often, a mixer. The food processor has a great advantage, as it occupies the space of an appliance and performs the functions that otherwise would require more than one. However, you should consider that its work is not as specialized like that of a stand mixer. If anything, the opposite is true, namely that the stand mixer, with the necessary accessories, can work like a food processor.
I hope you have come this far. If you did, it means that you got an idea of which features to look at when deciding to buy a stand mixer. In summary: the mixer is an appliance for which looking for the lowest price at all costs is not a good idea. Better to focus on a powerful and solid model, avoiding low-end products, to avoid unpleasant surprises.