Let's just get this out of the way: The best mixer of all is really a stand mixer. Still, the search for the best hand mixer is worthwhile. Maybe you live in a tiny apartment and have a limited budget (same) but still get the urge to make cookies from scratch. Hand mixers are less of an investment than a stand mixer and are perfect for tiny kitchens with limited counter space. We tested 11 leading hand mixers to find out which one is truly the best. Read on to discover our top picks. For details about the testing process and what to look for in a hand mixer, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Best Hand Mixer Overall: Krups 10-Speed Digital Hand Mixer
The Krups 10-Speed Digital Hand Mixer was sturdy and effective but still relatively lightweight, making it easy to maneuver through dense oatmeal cookie dough. It weighs in at 2.2 pounds—so it's much less likely to tire your arm as you're holding it up to whip cream. And its beaters were even more efficient at beating egg whites than any other hand mixer.
The Krups shares many of the same features as our upgraded pick for the best hand mixer, the Breville Handy Mix Scraper (an LED interface, a storage case for attachments, a handy pause button, 10 speeds, a turbo feature, and silicone-tipped beaters that don’t clank against the bowl as you mix). But the Krups also has a few pros that edge it past the Breville: a straightforward eject button rather than the Breville’s awkwardly placed trigger-like finger-pull, plus a slow-start feature that keeps dry ingredients from poofing out of the bowl. Even better, at $45, it’s about a third of the price of the Breville.
Luxury Hand Mixer: Breville Handy Mix Scraper
The Breville was the only hand mixer that could cream butter and sugar in a reasonable amount of time (3–5 minutes). It was also the quietest machine as its 240-watt motor is designed for near-silent operation at both high and low speeds. Plus, its beaters are coated in rubber so they're non-scrape and don't make a clanging sound when they hit the sides of the bowl.
This electric hand mixer also has more features than its competitors, including a screen that indicates the speed level and shows how long you've been mixing (you know when a recipe says to beat the butter and sugar for 3–5 minutes and you just sort of fudge it? No more.). Plus, the Breville is the only mixer we tested that came with not one but two whisk attachments (in addition to regular beaters and a bread hook), which makes whipping cream and egg whites speedier processes. The machine has a plastic storage container that attaches to the body of the mixer where you can store the extra attachments—a huge bonus since mixers come with small accessories that are easy to lose. It even has a light that automatically turns on when you mix, illuminating your mixing bowl as you work—a largely unnecessary feature that we found hilarious.
The Breville has nine speed options, all noticeably different from one another. It mixes at both low and high speeds effectively. You change the speed via a scroll and the new level appears on the digital screen. At high speeds the mixer remains steady and doesn't fly out of your hand around the bowl. It even has the ability to sense the specific attachment you're using (whisk, beater, hook) and calibrates its speed settings to fit the specific task. The Breville is on the heavy side—it weighs 4 pounds—and your arm can get tired holding it up. However, the body of the machine rests against the edge of a standard mixing bowl easily, effectively relieving the weight you'll hold.
Again, the Krups has all of these features, minus three: It doesn't have a light to illuminate your bowl and it doesn't come with multiple whisk attachments. It also doesn't have the ability to sense the attachment you're using and adjust the speed automatically. Generally, we don't think these three additional features make the Breville worth selecting over the inexpensive Krups—especially since hand mixers are a less-expensive alternative to stand mixers and therefore shouldn't necessarily be a splurge item. Still, if you're looking for a luxury option, this mixer is extremely effective and has features that go above and beyond any other model we tested. It has a design finish quality that's high above the rest. It's still well under the price you'll pay for a stand mixer, and it takes up far less space.
How We Tested the Hand MixersEmily Johnson
We performed two rounds of testing. In the first round we whipped egg whites with the hand mixers to see how they held up to the task and how easy and comfortable they were to use. Then we made salted-butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. We looked at how well the mixers creamed butter and sugar together, incorporated eggs and dry ingredients like flour and baking powder, and finally blended in oatmeal and chocolate chunks. During these tests we evaluated the following factors.
How many speeds does the hand mixer have?
The mixers we tested had a range of three to 10 speed options. More important than the number of speeds, though, is the discernible differences between them and if a mixer can effectively operate both slowly and quickly (many mixers had a bunch of speed settings but didn't actually operate at different speeds when you changed them). We also looked at how easy it is to switch between speed settings. Some mixers switch speeds when you move a lever while others have a scrolling button or a press button. We found that some of the scrolling buttons made it too easy to switch from a fast to low speed and skipped the middle options.
How steady is the mixer?
A low-quality hand mixer is hard to control and often flings around the bowl, making your hand feel like it's riding a mechanical bull. We wanted a firm mixer that's easy to hold steady and doesn't vibrate or move around too much while in use, especially at high speeds.
How comfortable is the mixer to hold?
Is the mixer heavy? Whipping egg whites and incorporating dense dry ingredients into a batter requires a surprising amount of arm strength. We wanted a light and comfortable option that didn't sacrifice quality or efficiency. We did take into consideration that a heavier hand mixer can get the job done faster than a less powerful and lighter one, eliminating some work for your arms.
What attachments does the mixer come with?
The best hand mixers come with a set of regular beaters, wire beaters, and bread dough hooks. Even better? The mixer comes with a storage compartment so you can keep the attachments together in your cabinet without losing them.
Can the hand mixer whip egg whites? Cream butter and sugar? Mix cookie or cake batter?
Every mixer we tested was able to whip egg whites. But creaming butter and sugar together for cookies? Not so much. Only our top choice yielded a coherent, airy batter similar to what you'd get from a stand mixer. Some mixers struggled more than others with blending the oatmeal and chocolate chips into the cookie batter. We wanted a mixer that could handle all of these tasks with relative ease.
Other Hand Mixers We Tested
In addition to our two winners, we also tested nine other hand mixers. One of the standouts that did not, however, make the final cut was the Hamilton Beach 5-Speed Hand Mixer. Its beaters might have strained ever so slightly against the oatmeal cookie dough, but for a budget-priced ($35) tool, it had a powerful motor, was comfortable to hold, and intuitive to use.
Before we found the Krups, which could perform at the level of the Breville at about half the price, we struggled to choose a clear inexpensive winner among the Cuisinart Power Advantage Handheld Mixer and two other less-expensive options from KitchenAid and VonShef. All three hand mixers performed the above tasks (whipping egg whites, creaming butter and sugar, and mixing a full cookie batter) with more or less the same ability. Whipping was easy and effective; creaming butter and sugar fell short on all of the machines; and once we added eggs and other mix-ins, the full batter came together well, with little difference in ability between the models. Cuisinart was ultimately chosen as a budget winner in our original test since it has nine speeds, compared with five for the other two. It also comes with a plastic case for storing attachments and changes speed by button, which we found easier to operate than the lever and scroll buttons of the KitchenAid and VonShef.
Still, the VonShef hand mixer is only $20 and genuinely gets the job done. It whips egg whites well—and creams butter and sugar not particularly well. It is steady and not too loud. It's also lighter than the Cuisinart and the Breville (though not the winning Krkups), coming in at 2.95 pounds. It lacks some of the features of the Cuisinart: It comes with a whisk attachment, two beaters, and a dough hook but has no storage container for its extra parts. It has five distinct speeds plus a turbo boost function (compared to the nine speeds on the Breville and Cuisinart), but its speeds are distinct from each other and work well.
The KitchenAid 5-speed hand mixer ($40) performs at a similar level to the Cuisinart and VonShef models. It doesn't come with a whisk or dough hooks, while the Cuisinart and VonShef do, and is heavier than the VonShef.
The $90 Dualit 4-speed hand mixer has a high price tag and looks really sleek. However, its chrome exterior means that it appears messy immediately—not a good idea for a machine you'll use for baking with flour, sugar, and eggs. It also feels excessively heavy. It has a retractable cord—a good idea in theory, except that the cord isn't long enough! It's frustrating to use the machine because you have to find countertop space right by an outlet or else lose maneuverability.
The Black & Decker hand mixer ($17) also only comes with standard beaters. It's loud and doesn't handle slow speeds well, and the speed is hard to change incrementally because its lever moves quickly between settings. There isn't much difference between speed settings, and it shakes unsteadily with blades that scrape loudly against the bottom of the bowl.
The Vremi 3-speed hand mixer ($14) is lightweight, but it doesn't come with whisk or bread attachments. It only has three (unlabeled) speed settings. There isn't much difference between its speed settings, and it is loud and unsteady.
Buy the Krups hand mixer for an economical high-quality hand mixer that will handle tasks from whipping egg whites to creaming butter and sugar easily but take up less space than a stand mixer. For a luxurious high-design pick that will still run you less than a stand mixer, choose the Breville Handy Mix.
6 Ways to Use a Hand Mixer
Hand mixers are one of the handiest kitchen appliances to have around. They can handle a variety of kitchen tasks. Here's a look at six of our favorite ways to use hand mixers.
1. Whip Eggs
The hand mixers we tested all performed well when it came to this task. Whipped egg whites for cakes, cocktails, and meringues will work well when you use your hand mixer.
2. Shred Chicken
This seems wild, but if you're in a hurry to shred a large quantity of chicken for tacos or sandwiches, you can simply place it in a high-sided mixing bowl and run your hand mixer over it for a few seconds. Boom. Superbly, evenly shredded chicken with minimal effort.
3. Make Mashed Potatoes
Making mashed potatoes with a hand mixer is not our preferred method (the best mashed potatoes are made with a food mill; more on that here). Again, though, if you're a beginner cook and want to limit the amount of tools you own, it works just fine. Just be sure not to overmix or you'll risk gluey texture.
4. Make Meatballs
This use of a hand mixer might surprise you, but this tool actually is really effective at evenly blending all the ingredients in your meatballs (and it keeps your hands clean).
5. Froth Milk
Want a delicious, frothy café au lait? You could get a designated milk frother, but the hand mixer does this job well too.
6. Make Whipped Cream
Store-bought whipped cream just doesn't compare to the homemade stuff. All you need is a cup of heavy cream, two tablespoons of confectioner's sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix for four to five minutes and watch it turn into a fresh, luscious whipped cream dream.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious