The workhorses of a busy kitchen, stand mixers can do much more than whip up cake batter. They are also ideal for kneading doughs and whisking glossy, stiff-peaked meringues. Available in a range of sizes, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to find the right stand mixer to suit your needs; there are small and compact models for those short on space or larger, professional-looking bits of kit, ideal for big families or those who like to bake in batches. Plus, everything in between!
Whether you’re a keen baker or you’re taking your first tentative steps into the world of bread, cakes and pastry, a stand mixer is an indispensable tool. Whilst a hand mixer can get the job done, stand mixers are more powerful, meaning they can whizz through creaming and kneading tasks with absolute ease, saving you time and elbow grease.
We tested a large range of stand mixers from key brands like KitchenAid and Kenwood, as well as Bosch and Russell Hobbs, to name just a few. We looked at the build quality, efficiency and accessories, putting each model to the test using triple-tested BBC Good Food recipes.
For more information, read about how we test and review products at BBC Good Food.
Jump to section:
- How to choose the best stand mixer
- Best stand mixers at a glance
- Best stand mixers to buy in 2021
- How we tested stand mixers
What is a stand mixer?
A stand mixer – also called a food mixer – is a machine that uses a rotating mechanism to carry out repetitive kitchen tasks. Thanks to the multiple attachments and large capacity of the bowl, they excel at making cakes, kneading dough, whipping and whisking, and work far more effectively than food processors in this respect (although the two are sometimes confused as they have a similar ‘spinning’ motion).
Stand mixers have a hinged main body with an output for various attachments, typically whisks, beaters and dough hooks, although you can often upgrade and buy a wide range of attachments. They are known to whisk egg whites, whip up a dough and cream butter with sugar incredibly quickly. They usually have simple speed settings and are easy to operate. They’re a medium-sized appliance, taking up around as much space as a slow cooker or blender.
What can a stand mixer be used for?
All of the stand mixers we’ve tested come equipped with a dough hook, beater and wire whisk. This means they’re ideal for bread, all kinds of cake from chocolate cakes and fairy cakes as well as thicker mixes, like carrot cake and gluten-free cake recipes. The wire whisk will make light work of meringue, for classics like lemon meringue pie and pavlova, as well as fun dishes like a tiramisu meringue roulade.
But stand mixers are incredibly versatile, so make a note of their other uses to really make the most of your machine. If you’re a fan of dumplings, use the beater to fully mix your ingredients together, see our gyoza and pork momos recipes for inspiration. You can even make your own butter by beating cream until it begins to split. Then separate the liquid from the solids until butter is formed.
Hand-held mixer vs stand mixer
A hand mixer performs many of the same baking tasks as a stand mixer. A hand mixer (sometimes referred to as beaters) also operate using rotating attachments, but are far smaller than stand mixers, which in turn makes them more affordable. They can be easily packed away for storage and are straightforward to clean. If you want a gadget just to do the basics, the best hand mixer will probably be sufficient.
A stand mixer is more powerful, with a higher wattage and larger capacity. They’re potentially more versatile, with some offering a wide variety of attachments. One major advantage is that, in binary contrast to hand mixers, they are entirely hands-free, allowing you to get on with other things while they work. The roomy bowls are designed to contain ingredients, minimising mess. They can also better handle heavier mixes like pastry and pizza dough.
Ultimately, a stand mixer is an upgrade from a hand mixer, but it depends on your budget.
What to look for when buying a stand mixer
- Capacity: like batch-baking for cake sales? You’ll need a larger bowl capacity and perhaps a more powerful mechanism that will plough through larger volumes of mix. Buy the biggest machine you can afford that will fit in your kitchen.
- Versatility: stand mixers can work hard with the right attachments, which include everything from pasta rollers to sausage makers. Study the number of bolt-on accessories available if you want to use your machine frequently for lots of kitchen tasks.
- Weight: if you’re short on counter space and will be hauling the stand mixer in and out of storage, be aware that some of them can be very hefty. If you struggle with your back, this is a significant consideration.
- Value for money: there’s no point splashing out on a gadgety machine with various accessories if you’re only going to use it to ocasionally make basic cakes.
- Best blow-out stand mixer for doughs: Kenwood Titanium Chef Patissier XL, £749.99
- Best stand mixer and food processor hybrid: Bosch CreationLine MUM5XW10 kitchen machine, £449
- Best stand mixer for range of colours: KitchenAid 5KSM125, 175, 185, from £399
- Best lightweight stand mixer for storing: Haden 5-Litre stand mixer, £120
- Best compact stand mixer: Morphy Richards MixStar compact stand mixer, £168.24
- Best large-capacity stand mixer for affordability: Cuisinart Precision stand mixer, £269
- Best stand mixer for versatility: Kenwood Chef XL Titanium, £499.99
- Best stand mixer for baking: KitchenAid 6.9-litre Artisan stand mixer, £699
- Best affordable stand mixer: VonShef 1000W black stand mixer, £73.99
- Best mid-range stand mixer: Russell Hobbs Go Create stand mixer, £119.99
- Best stand mixer for small kitchens: KitchenAid 3.3-litre stand mixer, £379
- Best stand mixer for luxe kitchens: Kenwood kMix Editions stand mixer chrome, £349
Kenwood Titanium Chef Patissier XL
Best blow-out stand mixer for doughs
Pros: integrated weighing scales and warming function, 7-litre EasyWarm bowl, in-bowl illumination
Cons: heavy, expensive, large footprint
Star rating: 5/5
When it comes to modernity in the world of stand mixers, Kenwood is a front-runner. This one adapts the classic design to make it a game-changer for usability, so the step up in price from the Chef Titanium XL stand mixer model is justified. Key are its integrated weighing and warming functions which work in tandem with the deep 7-litre EasyWarm Bowl – this has two practical handles for simple loading and arrives with a second 5-litre bowl nested inside.
The touchscreen display shows your chosen metric for weighing. It also offers presets for controlling the warming functions, which prove dough and whisk egg whites among other things. Once set, you can walk away and periodically snoop on your dough through the transparent bowl cover whilst it gradually doubles in size – the Chelsea buns produced were wonderfully soft. It’s features like this that afford you the best possible chance of achieving the same dough prove and rise every time.
In addition to the sophistication, you get all the basics you’d expect from a functional stand mixer like a beater, whisk and dough hook, except this model offers the capacity to make more, better and with great scope for personalisation. It’s an investment buy backed by a 10-year guarantee.
Read our full Kenwood Titanium Chef Patissier XL review
Bosch CreationLine MUM5XW10 kitchen machine
Best stand mixer and food processor hybrid
Pros: integrated scales and timer function, dishwasher-safe attachments, BPA-free plastics, overheat protection
Cons: outdated acronym in product name, weighs in increments of five grams, lacks pre-selectable processing time, expensive
Star rating: 5/5
Finding a stand mixer/food processor hybrid is hard to do. But the Bosch CreationLine machine also throws integrated scales into the mix and the result is a versatile multitasker that’s a pleasure to use as well as practical. Design-wise, the gadget sits landscape on the counter-top so has a relatively unobtrusive footprint for a stand mixer. The two-in-one nature means it’s also a space-saver when it comes to cupboard space.
A 1000W motor provides the oomph. All attachments arrive inside a two-pocket pouch, which is game-changing for storage. The patisserie set is tucked in one side (featuring a stirring whisk with silicone edge; height-adjustable beating whisk; and kneading hook with gear protector) and four food processor discs for slicing, grating and shredding in the other. All are dishwasher-safe.
Combined with automatic retractile cord storage, this stand mixer is an expensive but versatile multitasker with modern frills that’s fun to use.
Read our full Bosch CreationLine kitchen machine review
KitchenAid 5KSM125, 175, 185
Best stand mixer for range of colours
Pros: comes in a variety of colours, lots of accessories available, 10 speed settings, consistent high-quality results
Cons: wire whisk isn’t dishwasher-safe, some ingredients go unmixed at the base of bowl
Star rating: 4.5/5
This is KitchenAid’s most iconic stand mixer. It’s a medium sized model owing to the 4.8 litre bowl, and is available in a wide range of colours including KitchenAid’s annual Colour of the Year.
Like all KitchenAid mixers, this model is equipped with 10 speed settings on a sliding scale. This model comes with a beater, dough hook and balloon whisk – check out the full review to see what comes with the 175 and 185 models.
This model did a fantastic job on all of our beating, kneading and whisking tests and produced consistently high quality results. Our only gripe was that some of the cake mix was left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, though this was nothing a flexible spatula couldn’t fix.
If appearance is just as important as performance, this model is a great choice.
Read our full KitchenAid 5KSM125 review
Cuisinart Precision stand mixer
Best large-capacity stand mixer for affordability
Pros: 5.2L stainless steel bowl with practical handle, transparent splash guard, 3-year guarantee
Cons: no integrated scales, chef’s whisk is not dishwasher-safe
Star rating: 4/5
The die-case metal body with high-gloss finish gives this relatively affordable and large-capacity stand mixer the robust, quality feel of those twice its price. Features like its 5.2-litre stainless steel mixing bowl with practical handle contribute to the sense that what you get is great value for money.
It performs the basics well. The flat paddle mixer, dough hook and large whisk have good size and heft, sitting low in the bowl so as to pick up all ingredients. Its motor is 500W, which was less powerful than most tested but kneaded away without looking or sounding strained.
Covered by a three-year guarantee, this is a great one to consider if you want basic kitchen tasks done well, without a hefty price tag.
Read our full Cuisinart Precision stand mixer review
Haden 5-Litre stand mixer
Best lightweight stand mixer for easy storing
Pros: super-lightweight, four sucker feet for stability, dishwasher safe 5-litre stainless steel bowl
Cons: plastic outer, noisy
Star rating: 3.5/5
If you’re after the classic mixer look and a practical size for batch-baking, the Haden is good value-for-money option, retailing at around £100, with plenty of user-friendly features.
The outer is plastic rather than die-cast metal; just one element you forfeit for the price along with integrated scales and a timer. Four industrial suckers secure it to the counter-top. However, it’s robust without being hefty which is immensely practical for moving it between a cupboard and the kitchen surface.
An 800W motor powers through basic kitchen tasks easily with whisk, beater and dough hook attachments, all of which can be thrown in the dishwasher after use. It’s noisy, particularly with kneading dough, so it may not be suitable for open-plan kitchen living areas but no stand mixer is silent. For anyone wanting an efficient stand mixer for cakes and bakes, the Haden is a practical size.
Read our full Haden 5-Litre stand mixer review
Morphy Richards MixStar compact stand mixer
Best compact stand mixer
Pros: storage caddy allows you to store attachments inside the bowl, easy accessible height and lid design, non-slip suckers for securing to the counter top
Cons: ‘new product’ smell, missing the iconic stand mixer design
Star rating: 4.5/5
If space is at a premium in your kitchen, this innovative stand mixer by Morphy Richards is a compact alternative. It offers all the traditional functions from within a small footprint about the size and width of a large mixing bowl.
Dishwasher-friendly attachments for whisking, kneading and beating are stored within a caddy that slots comfortably into the bowl. It arrives fully assembled so you immediately know where and how everything slots together. Then it’s simply a case of loading your chosen attachment, donning its lid and peering over to watch it work. This is a great one to use with kids.
Read our full Morphy Richards MixStar compact stand mixer review
Kenwood KVL8300S Chef Titanium XL Stand Mixer
Best stand mixer for versatility
Pros: powerful motor with a 10 year guarantee, clever lighting
Cons: expensive, large footprint
Star rating: 5/5
Looking at the full array of test models we had for this round-up, the Kenwood Chef XL Titanium stood out from the crowd with its low, square design – and for being one of the more expensive ones. However, its quality and style shines through, with an enclosed guard for the bowl and lighting feature in the attachment head.
Like driving a flash car or wearing a good pair of shoes, you can truly feel the difference when you try a more luxurious model, and mixers are no exception. The controls and mechanisms on this stand mixer were a pleasure to use, with smooth actions, spring-loaded movements and satisfyingly solid attachments.
The whisk, hook and beater were hefty and fitted well into the head, plus if you want to get more adventurous, there are many interesting accessories to fix to its additional high- or low-speed ports.
For a high-volume, powerful helper around the kitchen, this is as good as it gets and we’d be happy to have the Kenwood Chef XL Titanium on hand for bakes, batch cooks and so much more.
Read our full Kenwood Chef XL Titanium review
KitchenAid 6.9-litre Artisan stand mixer
Best stand mixer for baking
Pros: large capacity, quiet even at max power
Cons: heavy to move around, expensive
Star rating: 4.5/5
This KitchenAid Artisan bowl-lift model has only been around since 2012, but it looks like a classic already. It screams ‘serious baker’.
If you’re working in an open plan space or like to hear the radio over the sound of your kitchen appliances, this is going to please you. The motor works surprisingly quietly, no matter how tough the mix.
The handled, stainless steel bowl has a whopping 6.9-litre capacity, which is big enough to whisk almost 2 litres of cream to airy perfection in minutes.
Set aside a rainy afternoon for a bulk baking session and this will be your trusty sidekick, powering its way through pastry, bread and batters. We also loved how it blended perfect mash for a freezer stock-up, tackling a bag’s worth of steamed spuds with ease.
As usual with KitchenAid, this model comes in a range of classic colours and looks good in every one. But whichever you choose, you’ll soon come to wonder how you ever cooked without it.
Read our full KitchenAid 6.9-litre Artisan stand mixer review
VonShef 1000W black stand mixer
Best affordable stand mixer
Pros: easy to move around, bargain price
Cons: small mixing bowl, plastic casing
Star rating: 3/5
This stand mixer from VonShef has a decent 1000W motor, so copes well with tough doughs and whizzes plenty of air into sponge and meringue mix. You may need to give it some time to achieve the best results, but that’s the payoff for its bargain price (around £100).
We suspect that over time the black plastic casing could pick up a few scrapes, but this model seems well put-together and is certainly light enough to be stashed away.
The 3.5-litre bowl can’t cope with huge quantities, but if you’re making occasional cakes or mixing dough for one or two loaves, it does the job perfectly well.
Read our full VonShef 1000W black stand mixer review
Russell Hobbs Go Create stand mixer
Best mid-range stand mixer
Pros: great price, good range of speed settings
Cons: can move when working hard, hand-wash bowl recommended
Star rating: 3.5/5
Combining generous capacity and power, this budget stand mixer is a good choice if you want something functional and care less about wowing with a statement piece. In tests, we tried various recipes that put the dough hook, beater and balloon whisk to good use and found it coped with everything we threw at it, although we had to push dry ingredients down into the mix at times.
Tough doughs saw the machine move slightly, but that’s to be expected when it’s not in the heavyweight league.
We liked the straightforward controls and found the attachments easy to twist into place – the bowl, too, although it’s the only element that can’t go in the dishwasher. The beaters can, and we found the whole thing easy to wipe clean.
Read our full Russell Hobbs Go Create stand mixer review
Kitchen Aid 3.3-litre stand mixer
Best stand mixer for small kitchens
Pros: smaller kitchen footprint, impressive build quality
Cons: no splashguard, smaller bowl size unsuitable for big bakes
Star rating: 4/5
This built-to-last KitchenAid stand mixer is a mini masterpiece. It may not be the right choice if you have a large family or want to impress a bake sale with your battenbergs – the 3.3-litre bowl can only handle enough mix for around eight cupcakes at a time.
It’s gorgeous to look at, with all the design features you’d expect from this classic brand. The slide speed control is smooth and the top hinge opens effortlessly with the press of a button to lift the beater out of the bowl.
Although there’s no splash guard with this model, the half-speed control means you can start every mix gently and work up without ingredients flying everywhere.
Read our full KitchenAid 3.3-litre stand mixer review
Kenwood kMix Editions stand mixer
Best stand mixer for luxe kitchens
Pros: attachment tools available, hardwearing and stylish
Cons: tricky to remove splash guard when beater is in place, shiny casing shows up finger marks
Star rating: 4.5/5
Kenwood’s kMix is available in a range of colours and metallic finishes, but we think it really suits this special edition chrome casing. Thankfully, it’s easy to wipe clean as with this sort of bling, fingermarks and splashes really show up.
All the attachments are hardwearing steel, so no danger they’ll chip in the future. They’re also fine to go straight in the dishwasher, which is a bonus when you’re baking – no one wants a sink full of doughy water.
At 1000W, the motor on this stand mixer packs enough punch to ensure that even tough doughs like wholemeal bread are no problem. Airy meringue is easy to make – turn the dial control straight from min to max and the machine accelerates gradually to avoid splashing.
Read our full Kenwood kMix Editions stand mixer review
We tested a representative sample of food mixers, from budget-friendly options to high-end investment models, and used them to whisk egg whites for a chocolate and peanut butter pavlova, make an enriched dough for Chelsea buns, and cream together butter and sugar before making this zesty lemon and orange cake. We tested all attachments, final cooked products and scored the machines against the following criteria:
- Packaging: Like most high-value kitchen appliances, stand mixers often arrive with a lot of packaging. Those that had recyclable or biodegradable elements scored better.
- Overall quality of materials: Well-made stand mixers with quality components should last. We looked for those that were robust.
- Results of functions: A machine that efficiently mixed all the ingredients at the same time was a staple requirement. We looked for pavlova mixes that were glossy and well-whisked, cake mixes that were light with evenly distributed zest and finally, well-risen dough that was soft and light when baked.
- Value for money: You can spend anything from £60 to £900 on a stand mixer. Whatever the performance and functionality, it must always match up with the price.
- Processor versatility: Stand mixers should take on key kitchen tasks that make life a lot easier. Whisking, beating and kneading attachments are key to this and we awarded extra points to machines that offer more integrated features, like weighing scales, timers and extra attachments.
- Ease of use and cleaning: Modern stand mixers can offer sophisticated features but being easy to use is incredibly important. Washing your stand mixer’s attachments by hand can also be a real pain, so we looked for dishwasher-safe accessories to make cleaning less of a headache.