If you're an avid baker, stirring, whisking and mixing everything by hand requires a significant investment of both time and effort. Kitchen mixers make it quicker and easier to tackle a host of food prep tasks ranging from whisking eggs to mixing up cookie dough.
Mixer prices range from around $50 to $1,000 with models to suit everyone from novices to experienced home cooks.
This guide leads you through the different types of mixers available and the features they offer to help you find the best mixer for your kitchen.
Compare some of the best kitchen mixers
What is a mixer?
A mixer is an electrical appliance used to mix, beat, whip, whisk and combine foods. It features one or more beaters to make these common food prep tasks quicker and easier.
Don't confuse a mixer with a blender. While mixers combine ingredients together, blenders break ingredients down and are capable of turning soft foods into liquid. Find out more in our guide to the best blenders.
Why should I consider a mixer?
Why buy an electric mixer when you could do everything by hand? The answer is simple: cooking with a mixer can be a whole lot less labour-intensive than cooking without one.
With a mixer on your benchtop, you can whisk eggs, whip cream, knead dough and perform a wide range of other common kitchen tasks at the push of a button. It's much quicker and easier than the old-fashioned way of mixing, which gives your elbows and wrists a solid workout and makes baking seem like more of a chore.
You can also expect better results from a good-quality electric mixer. Mixers allow you to follow a recipe to the letter and hopefully create dishes with improved texture and consistency.
If you bake regularly or if you're simply looking for an appliance that'll make your time in the kitchen a little easier, buying a mixer could be a wise decision.
Why shouldn't I consider a mixer?
There are a few reasons why you might decide to save your money rather than buy a kitchen mixer. The most obvious is if you're not all that much of a home cook and you don't plan on changing your ways any time soon.
It's also worth pointing out that you don't actually need a mixer to prepare most of the dishes you want to make. A mixer will make the process much easier, sure, but it's not essential to your ability to whip up delicious cakes, biscuits and other tasty treats.
Finally, you may decide that there's another appliance better suited to your cooking needs. For example, maybe you're considering an all-in-one appliance like the Thermomix. If so, check out our Thermomix guide.
What types are available?
There are a few options to consider when choosing a mixer:
Also called a bench mixer or a benchtop mixer, these appliances feature a motorised base with a head that houses the beater attachments and a removable bowl that you can lock into place when in use.
They offer more power over hand mixers and can tackle heavier doughs, while most come with several different attachments (from beaters and whisks to dough hooks and food grinders) to provide extra versatility. They're a completely hands-free mixing option.
However, they can be expensive and also take up a fair bit of space in your kitchen.
There are two main types of stand mixer available:
- Planetary mixers. These models feature beaters that rotate in an elliptical path around a stationary bowl, providing an even mix throughout the bowl and usually performing well with heavy dough.
- Fixed-beater mixers. These models feature off-centre beaters in a bowl that rotates. They're cheaper than planetary mixers but may not offer the same level of performance.
Hand and stick mixers
If you're looking for something a little smaller that won't take up as much cupboard space, you may want to consider a hand mixer. These handheld appliances often have twin beaters and are handy for light-duty tasks like whipping cream or preparing cakes and mousses. They're best suited to occasional bakers and those that aren't sure whether spending big dough on a stand mixer is worth it.
However, they're not as powerful as stand mixers and come with fewer attachments and features.
Stick mixers are the most compact option available and are often referred to as hand blenders. They're easy to use and usually feature several attachments including a whisk, but are generally more for blending and pureeing. Check out our guide to choosing a stick blender for more info.
How to compare kitchen mixers
Before buying a mixer, you'll need to think about the type of cooking you do and the amount of money you want to spend. This should help you narrow down your choices to a range of suitable models, and you can then compare your options based on a number of key features. Factors you should consider include the following:
Which mixer is best for me?
There is no single mixer that is the top pick for every home cook, simply due to the fact that everyone has different needs and expectations for this very handy appliance. The best mixer for you is the one that suits the type of cooking you do and your budget.
For example, a passionate home cook who is baking every other day and always testing out complicated recipes may want a top-spec stand mixer with several attachments, while someone who simply wants to bake the occasional birthday cake or sweet treat may prefer a hand mixer.
The key is to compare kitchen mixers to find one that suits your requirements. To help make the comparison process easier, we've weighed up the pros and cons of five popular mixers in the table below:
|The good||The bad|
|KitchenAid Classic Plus|
|Breville Bakery Chef|
|Cuisinart Precision Master|
|Hamilton Beach 63326|
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