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 bits: Versatile, small kitchen footprint and plenty of functions.
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 HM680 Chefette hand/stand mixer
Best bits: Easy to use and handy pulse function.
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
Sage by Heston Blumenthal, The Scraper Mixer Pro
Best bits: Innovative functions.
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
KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer
Best bits: Quiet motor, chic design and easy to navigate.
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 folding stand mixer
Best bits: Folds down for storage and is easy to clean.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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