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Taking the hard work out of aerating, kneading and binding, a good mixer will reach every part of the bowl and cope well with every consistency of mixture. Hand-held ‘beater’ models will have the power to get through lighter doughs and make light work of frothing and smoothing out ingredients.
How to choose a mixer
When choosing your mixer, think about how heavy duty it needs to be. Some of the machines in our line-up have hefty price tags, but if you’re an everyday baker, preparing heavy doughs you’ll need those solid gears to cope, avoiding motor burn out. A heavier casing will keep the machine stable on the worktop during operation.
What can they do?
All the models we tested here have beaters for the even blending of cake mix, etc. Some models have whisk and dough hook attachments, which you’ll need if making bread or whipping air into egg whites, cream and batters.
Can you add to them?
The more you invest in a mixer, the more possibilities there will be to add different, custom-made attachments for making the likes of pasta, ice cream and mincing meat. One of the most versatile machines in your kitchen, you can really add a lot to even the simplest of dishes. (Just try whipped up mashed potato and you’ll never go back to a masher.)
So, whether you decide on basic rotating-beater hand version or a fancy countertop showstopper, a mixer will bring new possibilities to your menus.
KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-head 4.8L Mixer
KitchenAid certainly make the most iconic stand mixers on the market, and this model will perform to perfection too. We love milkshake, this colour, but of course there are many more choices, so get matchy-matchy with your kitchen or stick to classic red, white or black.
With its sprung dough hook, beater and whisk attachments, it can tackle any baking related task, and there’s an array of extra attachments for sale if you want to make pasta, sausages… even ice cream.
This model is an investment piece but has the power and build quality to become an heirloom. It’s heavy, so you won’t want to move it in and out of storage but that’s not a problem when it looks this good. And it works to perfection, with easily swapped attachments that work exactly as they should to beat, whisk and blend. Perfection.
Included accessories: 4.8 L Bowl, 3 L Bowl, Pouring Shield, 6-Wire Whip, Flat Beater, Flex edge beater, Dough Hook
Kenwood Chef Titanium XL Stand Mixer KVL8300S
Serious about your cakes and bakes? This is the real deal – an investment mixer that will undoubtedly improve your recipes and make life just a little easier.
It’s powerful, made from top-grade materials and versatile, of course, but this Patissier version of the Titanium Chef has extras like built-in scales and an EasyWarm bowl which will gently melt ingredients like butter or chocolate as you mix or prove bread dough.
The clear inbuilt lighting ensures you can see every scrap of mix in the clearly- measured bowl, which incidentally has two sizes included – 5 or a whopping 7L capacity. There’s a touch screen control panel which shows weights, speed and temperature and it’s easy to wipe down and keep clean.
Overall, the whole thing screams quality, from the way the attachments click easily into place, to the noise levels and precision mixing. A dream.
Included accessories: Power Whisk, Spiral Dough Hook, K-Beater, Splash Guard
Morphy Richards MixStar Compact Stand Mixer
This is a brilliant stand mixer option if you don’t have the space to keep one out on the countertop permanently.
Not only is the footprint compact, but it also doesn’t have a high mixer ‘arm’, so can fit under lower cupboards too. Everything can be stored inside the moulded caddy that sits snugly inside the mixer bowl when not in use.
Although at 4 litres, it’s not the largest capacity of the mixers here, we found it more than adequate, size-wise, for the usual family cake baking sessions.
With six speed settings and a timer, we could change the speed on mixes or walk away and leave the machine to it, the dual spinning attachments gathering every last bit of mix from the bowl sides.
Included accessories: Stainless steel bowl, 2 x Beaters, 2 x Whisks, 2 x Dough Hooks
Cuisinart Cordless Power Hand Mixer
It’s so annoying to have power cords trailing over messy baking areas, so this brilliant cordless hand mixer is great to have charged via its USB lead and raring to go for busy cooking sessions.
With a 130 charge, you’ll have half an hour to power through every mix, the sturdy stainless steel beaters perfecting egg whites, omelette mixes, guacamole and creamy mashed potato, though it’s not powerful enough for tough bread dough.
We liked the digital 5-speed display and comfortable, soft-grip handle and now we’ll always have this versatile gadget charged and ready to use.
Power: 10 W
Included accessories: Beaters.
Smeg Stand Mixer SMF03
This heavyweight stand mixer really does make a statement, with its retro, bullet-shaped casing and 50s-style design cues. It’s more than just a pretty package, though and has the power to cope with the heaviest bread doughs and make light, fluffy whisked cake batters.
We liked the cover for the bowl which meant that fingers wouldn’t get near beaters as they worked away. Everything felt sturdy and top quality, with the stainless-steel bowl feeling especially top-notch compared to some of the others we tested.
The slide control was easy to manoeuvre, meaning the transition from slow start to power mix was smooth and less likely to cause flying flour and mess. One for style fans who are serious about their home baking.
Included accessories: Flat Beater, Flex Edge Beater, Dough Tool, Splash Guard
Von Shef Black Stand Mixer
There’s an impressive amount of power to this stand mixer, which comes with every attachment you’ll need for baking prep. We liked the gauge of the stainless steel used for the bowl, making it seem great quality for the price. It’s pretty quiet too.
There are eight speed settings here, plus a pulse function which is useful for perfecting the stiffness of meringue mix, for example. Easy to wipe down and keep clean, the added splash guard made sure any mess stayed in the bowl.
We did have to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time, but it did a good job of combining ingredients across the board. Great value.
Included accessories: Flat Beater, Balloon Whisk, Dough Hook, Splash Guard
Tower Hand and Stand Mixer
If you need a mixer for light baking sessions but like to use it for hand mixed recipes too, this is a great choice that won’t take up too much storage room.
Like a normal stand mixer, the beaters will lower into place over the bowl, but with this model you can also detach to make a lightweight beater hand unit that, with its interchangeable beaters and dough hooks, is great for tackling the various jobs around the worktop.
We liked the black and rose gold styling and especially liked the bargain price. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get great results, you know. We suspect this could be an ‘entry level’ machine for new bakers that ends up becoming a firm favourite.
Included accessories: Beaters, Dough Hooks, Splash Guard
Cordless Hand Mixer
We like the fast charge option on this lightweight cordless hand mixer from the iconic mixer brand, which took only ten minutes to give our tester enough power to mix one batch of cake batter.
Choose from Matt Black or Empire Red – they both look glossy and high end, although the casing is in tough plastic rather than the cast metal you might usually associate with KitchenAid. The controls were so easy to use, with a slide bar on top of the handle which gave a choice of seven speeds.
The attachments included a couple of beaters without the option of changing to dough hooks, as with some other models. That aside, we loved the design and its solidity, as it sat easily on the worktop without falling over or making a mess. The slow start feature was also good for ensuring mixes stayed in the bowl where they belonged.
Included accessories: Beaters