On test: The best food mixers

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 machines.

Best... all-rounder

ArgosTefal Kitchen Machine

Best bits: Versatile, small kitchen footprint and plenty of functions. 
Price: £183.99

Comments: This compact food mixer tackled the basics with ease. Cake batter was a breeze and the splash guard fits well so you don't get any big clouds of flour. The revolving attachments don’t get in the way when pouring in liquids unlike some machines. The only negative came when kneading bread dough – a little too much clearance between dough hook and bowl hindered efficiency. The blender, grating and slicing attachments were an unexpected bonus, easy to attach and use. The 4.6l bowl and 900W motor are great for making big batches too.

Buy from Argos

Best... for beginners

Kenwood chefette mixerKenwood HM680 Chefette hand/stand mixer

Best bits: Easy to use and handy pulse function.
Price: £49.99

Comments: 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.

Buy from The Co-op

Best... design

Heston mixerSage by Heston Blumenthal, The Scraper Mixer Pro

Best bits: Innovative functions. 
Price: £299.99

Comments: This contraption is 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 – ideal for cake-making. 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 automatic sensors detect when heavy batters are being mixed and automatically adjust power to maintain the right speed. 

Buy from John Lewis

Best... fail-safe design classic

Kitchen Aid mixerKitchenAid Artisan stand mixer

Best bits: Quiet motor, chic design and easy to navigate.
Price: £469

Comments: 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 we threw at it, from meringues to burger mix. While the motor isn’t the most powerful, it has ten speed settings. The solid cast zinc casing means it’s heavy and large; so do take this into consideration. Gadget fiends can supplement their basic mixer with all manner of accessories, from mincers to citrus juicers. 

Buy from KitchenAid and department stores


Best... space saver

Morphy Richards kitchen mixerMorphy Richards folding stand mixer

Best bits: Folds down for storage and is easy to clean. 
Price: £59.99

Comments: 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 you can manually change the direction of the bowl as it rotated. We had to scrape the bowl down a few times, but this is a minor moan for a great value machine.

Buy from Dunelm

Tested by Sarah Sysum and Caroline Hire.

Buyer's advice

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.

This review was last updated in July 2016. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com. 

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Comments (15)

Shellbelle14's picture

I can't live without my good old Kenwood Chef. My mum let me have hers when she got a newer model and I don't care if it's over 20 years old! I make bread, I have several attachments like the mincer and spice mill. I love it ! Barely a weekend goes by when it isn't called into service

annierhee's picture

Thermomix is the very best product on the market, albeit rather expensive. I really don't understand why it hasn't been embraced by the British public as much as it has on the continent. You can throw away blenders, mixers, dough hooks and so forth. It makes perfect bread mixes, perfect pastry, perfect egg white mixes for pavlova and meringues, not to mention soups, stews and it even shreds and cleans lettuce. And it cooks whatever you want to make, for example, a cottage pie, in one hit. I'm a total convert. The only piece of equipment I've had to buy is a mandolin as it doesn't slice. Thermomix can only be bought via an agent, but you get such good 'after care' with recipes and cookery schools always on tap.

jenclews's picture

I have had a KitchenAid Artisan for 4 years. It's never missed a beat, and I am a serious cake maker and (home) artisan bread maker - I haven't bought bread in years. I regularly make heavy doughs using 1kg of flour and wet doughs like ciabatta, where the mixer gets a serious workout and I haven't had a problem. I had to contact KitchenAid a couple of years ago when I had an issue with the dough hook, they replaced it without charge as my mixer was still under warranty. I was so impressed with the KA I've since bought a KA toaster, coffee maker and kettle! :-)

rebeccalevasseur's picture

I love my KitchenAid mixer. I have had same mixer for over 31 years. I use it and attachments often, sometimes daily, and it's still going strong.

Edrini's picture

Where can I buy a Swan SP20140SSN professional mixer ?

Edrin

rozy's picture

I like to buy Kitchenaid and I live in India.
You have mentioned about Kitchenaid Uk website. Could you please tell me about India website?

Chef Kevin Ashton's picture

Being a chef and food writer myself, I'm suprised you didn't take a look at the two Andrew James table top mixers. Yes, Kitchen Aid still has a good reputation but not everyone can afford to spend £389 on a mixer. If you do a little research you'd find many good reviews of these already on the internet, which begs the question how you arrived a your choice of machines to review? Putting the name BBC Good Food adds credence and value to any review but only if the writer properly researches the current choices.

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

clarence49's picture

I was so sorry to read Ger and Clare's comments about their KitchenAid food mixer. My KA mixer has survived prepping treats for a hungry husband, two growing children and all their friends; and also my being a recipe tester for editors of cookbooks, plus endless other tasks....bread being my latest passion. However, it seems "things ain't what they used to be". My mixer was bought about 3 years into my marriage. In comparison, they cost today what they cost then, so it was a great extravagance! We purchased ours in the San Francisco Bay area where we lived, and yes it was made by Hobart of Troy, Ohio.
The mixer, just like our marriage, is still going strong 37 years later!

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.

Questions (4)

farpoint's picture

Has anyone tested the Andrew James stand mixer

cartel_molloy's picture

I have an Andrew James stand mixer. Very sturdy, several speeds plus pulse, large mixing bowl. I make my own bread using this mixer 2/3 times a week, and it is man enough for the job. When mixing batters for cakes, you do have to stop a few times to mix all the ingredients, and only use it for very large batters. Whisking meringues is easy too, but you need at least 4 egg whites.

darlingeric's picture

Loved this review as I am trying to decide whether to buy a food mixer or processor. I want something that will do everything but because I'm not really into making cakes ( I have a bread maker) but I do cook often, so have you a review on processors?

bacon-n-egg's picture

Magimix is a fantastic reliable processor - any processor where you can add or buy replacement parts is a must.

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