Top five food mixers

  • By
    Sarah Sysum - Assistant editor - Easy Cook magazine

If you love baking, a stand mixer is an ideal investment. They're also good for general whipping, mixing and kneading tasks. We picked our five favourite models.

Food mixer

Why buy?

A stand mixer's main tasks are mixing cakes, kneading dough, whipping and whisking. Stand mixers excel at these tasks – much more so than food processors, due to their large capacities and big, metal balloon whisks. Essentially they take the hard work out of making large batches of cakes, doughs or batters.

What should I buy?

Get the biggest machine you can afford so you don’t have to do several batches for one recipe, but remember to think about whether you’ll be able to store attachments and the equipment itself. Every model should come with a dough hook, a balloon whisk attachment and a beater tool. Popular attachments like meat grinders and electric pasta machines are useful but can be tricky to use and don’t utilise the mixer’s powerful motor or large bowl.

What we looked for

1. A sturdy mixer. That didn’t jump around the worksurface when mixing heavy dough.

2. Incorporating all ingredients. A machine that efficiently mixed all the ingredients so that I only needed to stop once to hand mix any stray ingredients that had crept up the bowl. 

3. Washing up. Washing your stand mixer's attachments by hand can be a real pain so I wanted dishwasher-safe accessories to make cleaning less of a headache.

1. Starter model

Kenwood chefette mixerKenwood HM680 Chefette hand/stand mixer

If you’re after a machine for simply whipping egg whites or light batters this is a good starter model. An updated version of a 1970’s classic, this is a hand mixer with a stand and rotating bowl. It isn’t hugely powerful, although you can whip up a huge amount of mixture as the bowl has a 3L capacity. The hand mixer attachment has five speeds and a pulse function for folding, which is particularly useful for making meringues. It's great for whipping up pancake batters too, but anything thicker such as fruitcake will require a dedicated stand mixer.

2. Clever design

Heston mixerSage by Heston Blumenthal, The Scraper Mixer Pro

Called a scraper mixer due to its special ‘scraper beater’, which cleans the sides and bottom of the bowl in order to incorporate as much as air as possible and is the key to a light and airy sponge. The variable speed setting means the 1000W of power is tough enough for dough and nimble enough for whipping up peaks in a meringue. The controls are easy to use (and see, thanks to the light up display) and I really like the automatic sensors that detect when heavy batters are being mixed and automatically adjust power to maintain the right speed. The instructions are easy to understand and the hints and tips section is great for those new to food mixers. 

3. TV favourite

Kitchen Aid mixerKitchenAid Artisan stand mixer

An iconic kitchen gadget, this is a serious piece of kit. The 5½L  bowl can accommodate up to 1.2kg of flour and the metal beaters made deft work of everything I threw at it, from meringues to burger mix. While the motor isn’t the most powerful, it’s very quiet and has ten speed settings. The solid cast zinc casing means it’s heavy and large; so do take this into consideration. And if you like to be able to ‘see’ what you’re mixing, it might be worth buying the glass bowl (£61, Lakeland) too.

  • from £389, from KitchenAid and department stores

4. Space saving

Morphy Richards kitchen mixerMorphy Richards folding stand mixer

Great for the smaller kitchen, the arm of this clever mixer folds down to a third of its assembled height. The motor however is only 300W, which means, while it will make fluffy meringues and a light sponge, it may struggle when making something like a heavy bread dough. It is however incredibly easy to put together, and I liked the fact I could manually change the direction of the bowl as it rotated. I had to scrape the bowl down a few times. But this is a minor moan for a machine that is easy to use, clean and store for such a great price.

5. Great value

Swan food mixerSwan SP20140SSN professional mixer

A reasonably priced, stainless steel mixer. Although sturdier than it looks, the housing does feel slightly flimsy when the paddle works through a heavy mixture. It does, however, have some good features: three speeds, dough hooks and a whisk attachment, particularly useful for whipping cream. You do need to run around the bowl with a spatula occasionally to ensure all the mixture is mixed, but the cake I made was airy enough and it was excellent at mixing light, yeasty dough for brioche.  

Are you a fan of food mixers? Share your product recommendations with us below...

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beamuffin's picture

no Thermomix mentioned, what a shame! It's my most essential kitchen gadget for 14 years now!

Ger_Clare's picture

Good morning all.

I have had a very bad experience with one of the food mixers listed here. So much so that I most strongly recommend that you do your research first before paying out your hard earned £££.

Most importantly, have a look at the many videos on YouTube on "kitchen faults/repair/problems" etc. I refer to the "so called Iconic KitchenAid.

I had one of these mixers it was the Artisan. There are only two of us here, my wife and myself, so baking duties are light.

Firstly: when mixing dough the mixers seriously struggles. Anything in excess of 3½ cups of wholemeal flour and the machine cannot cope.

Secondly: the mincing attachment is very small and will clog up quite easily.

Thirdly: After 4 years of very light use (whipping egg white, cream and pan-cake batter) the mixer seized up when mincing some diced pork for making 1Lb of sausage.

That was the limit. I contacted KitchenAid and needless to say the customer service side of things was automated and "menu driven". I then emailed the company and just as I had guesses, send it off for repair.

I didn't - I stripped the machine down and to say the leased I was "gob-smaked".
I found that there was NO lubrication in the drive-box head.
The attachment gear which had seized was running directly in the housing! NO bushing nor Bearing (not a clever engineering concept).
When the gear seized it took gouges of metal from the mixer housing.

So I was left with a right problem. I modified the housing, fitted a lubricating point, fitted a new gear. Reassembled the rest of the plastic gears, lubricated the drive box and sold the KitchenAid off.

KitchenAid are advertised as a very good machine. They were one time! When Hobart made the kitchenAid brand they were without exception a very good food mixer.
Hobart then sold off the domestic side of the business (KitchenAid) to Whirlpool and it was then the rot set in with the use of nylon/plastic gears. Using no bearings/bushings where they should have been. And fitting a electro-mechanical governor to control speed and the operating speed.

KitchenAid are advertised as having a "10 speed gear box". No such gearbox exists in a KitchenAid. They use a 7 position switch which controls the "electro-mechanical governor" to give you a range of speeds. So on speed #1 or #2 for working dough the motor is operating real slow and will be very easily overloaded if you exceed the kneading time of a couple of minutes.

If you bake a reasonable amount of bread I recommend you to have a look at a Spiral Dough Mixer.

Ger & Clare

pippylongstocking64's picture

I love my mixer, it is a Kenwood chef premier, it mixes and kneads, and takes all the effort out of me physically doing it...the best thing ever to be invented,well almost!

bacon-n-egg's picture

I've burnt out many a hand held mixer so the other half gifted me with a kitchenaid. It was a toss up between this or the Kenwood but Kenwood had a short guarantee and wasnt happy to spend this much money when they could only give you 12 months. I love it. Makes light work of bulky mixes its heavy, strong and reliable - simple to clean. I always handwash the whisk attachment.

magpie01's picture

Hi.I have KitchenAid Artisan-Gods send!Were will I be without it?!!Such a fantastic machine and it's saves me sooo much time every time I used it and that's few times a week.My hubby bought me for Christmas 4 years back and carried for a half a mile to the car park.I am so pleased with it -I just cannot say it how much.One thing against it is the price.otherways perfect for me.

cookahoy's picture

The Sunbeam mixer is not mentioned here, first made in 1930 still made today, mine is now 65 years old and as good as new

lordy lawks's picture

how funny...was just lamenting that there was no Sunbeam. I love our ancient old family one which I´ve just brought back from Ireland and now our Kenwood has been relegated to the cellar. It´s the way it beats so close to the bowl and such a strong motor. Love it.