Best Stand Mixers From Consumer Reports' Tests

    7 models that can’t be beat for mixing, kneading, and whipping

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    If you bake a lot of cookies and frequently make bread and pie dough, you’ll appreciate the ability of a stand mixer to power through thick batters and stiff doughs without causing your arm to ache like a hand mixer might.

    There are two factors to consider when choosing a stand mixer: what types of batters and foods you plan to use it for, and how much space you have to store it. If you make a lot of thick doughs, look for a stand mixer that has the heft and weight to handle tough jobs without “walking” across the counter from laboring under the stiffness of the dough. The mixers on our recommended list range in weight from 17 to 31 pounds.

    As for storage, most stand mixers have a tilt head that lifts up to insert the mixing bowl, so if you're using it near upper cabinets, make sure there's enough clearance. And don't underestimate the effort it takes to get it in and out of a cabinet each time you use it. The attachments take up space, too. If you're into more savory foods, using a meat grinder or pasta maker attachment can expand your repertoire in the kitchen, getting even more mileage out of your stand mixer.

    In CR's labs, to test mixing performance we make chocolate chip cookies. “Chocolate chip cookie dough is a thick dough, and a stand mixer makes it much easier to blend all the ingredients together,” says Cindy Fisher, who oversees our stand mixer tests.

    To test kneading, we add blue and yellow food coloring to dough and time how long it takes the mixer to turn the dough an even green. We top off our tests by timing how long it takes to whip a half-pint of heavy cream into airy peaks.

    Here, listed in alphabetical order and not ranked by performance, are the seven best stand mixers from our most recent tests. For more information about stand mixers, read our stand mixer buying guide. And for more details on how models perform in our tests, see our stand mixer ratings.

    CR’s take: The Hamilton Beach Eclectrics 63221 is top-notch at whipping and mixing, and almost as good at kneading. It has the distinction of being the quietest model in our tests, earning an Excellent rating for noise: Whipping cream in this mixer is much quieter than making a smoothie in a blender. The 12-speed mixer comes with a 4.5-quart stainless steel bowl, flat beater, dough hook, and wire whisk. At 17 pounds, it’s the lightest of our recommended stand mixers, and you can’t use it with power attachments like you can with the other models featured here. It comes in white, black, red, and stainless steel.

    CR’s take: The 10-speed Kenmore Elite 89208 stand mixer checks all the boxes when it comes to mixer performance and aces our tests for whipping cream, mixing cookie batter, and kneading bread dough. Our testers found the controls easy to adjust and use, earning it a Very Good rating on our ease of use test. It’s a bit on the noisy side compared with some of the other mixers in our tests, but you may not mind because mixers are run in such short bursts. It comes with two stainless steel bowls, a 5 quart and a 3 quart, and you can stick both in the dishwasher. It's available in red, black, and stainless.

    CR’s take: An impressive performer, the KitchenAid Artisan KSM150PS earns top marks in all our key tests—mixing, kneading, and whipping—earning an Excellent rating in each. It’s noisier than the Hamilton Beach, though. It earns a Good rating in that test. The 10-speed mixer comes with a 5-quart stainless steel bowl, flat beater, dough hook, and wire whisk. The beauty of KitchenAid stand mixers is that you can use any KitchenAid power attachment—42 and counting, including a spiralizer, sausage maker, and juicer—with any model, even those manufactured decades ago. The Artisan weighs 23 pounds and comes in 46 colors, including aqua, purple, and bright red.

    CR’s take: The most affordable KitchenAid mixer on this list, the KitchenAid Classic K45SS matches the performance of the other two KitchenAids here test for test, meaning it excels at mixing, kneading, and whipping. It gets a middling score for noise, however. The 10-speed mixer comes with a 4.5-quart stainless steel bowl, flat beater, dough hook, and wire whisk. It’s compatible with all KitchenAid attachments, so you can branch out from baking into more savory foods like sausage or pasta. It weighs 23 pounds. Unlike the Artisan, this model comes only in white and black.

    CR’s take: Another winner from this brand, the 10-speed KitchenAid Classic Plus KSM75WH keeps up with its brandmates on all our key tests—whipping cream, mixing cookie batter, and kneading bread dough. Our testers found all the controls to be intuitive and easy to use. It’s a bit noisier than the other KitchenAid mixers on this list, but it's not raucous. And like all KitchenAid stand mixers, it can be used with the full assortment of KitchenAid’s power attachments—so you can use it for more than just baking. It’s available in both white and silver.

    CR’s take: The KitchenAid Professional 6500 Design Series is our top-rated stand mixer and aces our three key tests—mixing, kneading, and whipping. At 31 pounds, it’s the heaviest stand mixer in our tests, so you might want to find a place for it on your counter to avoid moving it back and forth. Two features distinguish it from the other mixers on this list: a glass bowl and a bowl-lift mechanism that raises and lowers the bowl to engage the beaters rather than tilting the power head up and down. The 10-speed mixer comes with a 6-quart bowl, flat beater, dough hook, and wire whisk. Like other KitchenAids, you can use it with all KitchenAid power attachments. This model comes in four colors, including Medallion Silver and a snazzy Candy Apple Red.

    CR’s take: Smeg is known for making kitchen appliances in bright colors with a retro style. The Smeg SMF01RDUS excels at both mixing and whipping, and earns a Very Good rating for kneading. This 10-speed mixer comes with a 5-quart stainless steel bowl, flat beater, dough hook, and wire whisk. It can be used with Smeg’s power attachments, such as a pasta maker. This model weighs 19 pounds, has a tilt head, and comes in eight colors, including red, cream, black, and several pastel shades.

    Mary H.J. Farrell

    Knowing that I wanted to be a journalist from a young age, I decided to spiff up my byline by adding the middle initials "H.J." A veteran of online and print journalism, I've worked at People, MSNBC, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and an online Consumer Reports wannabe. But the real thing is so much better. Follow me on Twitter.