Best stand mixers – the top food mixers for baking and kneading dough

From a compact KitchenAid to professional-level models, these are the best mixers for baking and kneading dough

If there’s one appliance no budding baker should be without, it’s the stand mixer. Not only does it take the hassle out of whisking, whipping, beating and kneading, a stand mixer will also deliver better and more consistent results than doing the same task by hand.

From light, springy sponges to the perfect meringue, a versatile stand mixer is the easiest way to bake your way to perfection. Some models can also double up as blenders, food processors or pasta makers to help shake up midweek meals, too. Put simply, a stand mixer will save you both time and effort in the kitchen, leaving more time to eat cake. What’s not to love?

Why do I need a stand mixer?

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Image credit: KitchenAid

There are two good reasons for buying a stand mixer. The first is that mixing batters and dough by hand is hard work and inefficient – not only is it often difficult to get rid of lumps for a consistent mixture, it also leaves your arms aching. Stand mixers work faster than you ever could and they do a better job, even if you have to momentarily stop them to scrape the bowl down a few times.

The other, obvious reason why you should invest in a stand mixer? It’s like a second pair of hands in the kitchen – while your mixer is happily churning away, you can be greasing cake pans or getting on with other food prep.

What are the main features of a stand mixer?

  • Bowl capacity Unlike some small appliances, where wattage can be a rough guide to how powerful a machine is, when it comes to stand mixers, it’s better to buy on more tangible features. Bowl capacity is a good place to start. Some can be as low as 3.3 litres, but average is between 4-5 litres. Larger six-litre-plus bowls are ideal for batch bakers. Bowls are usually made from stainless steel (cheaper models may have a plastic base) but they can be made from glass, too, which enables you to keep an eye on the ingredients as they mix.
  • Tools Most mixers will have three tools as standard: a balloon whisk for whipping cream, eggs and light mixtures, a dough hook for kneading bread and a beater for batters, biscuit dough and general mixing. This could also be a flexi or scraper beater – a tool with a silicone rim that helps to scrape down the bowl as it mixes. Another accessory that’s common is a splashguard – essential for stopping the contents of the bowl escaping during vigorous mixing.
  • Speed The majority of stand mixers use planetary mixing action, which means the tool orbits while the arm moves around the bowl. This action should mean that the mixture is moved towards the middle of the bowl rather than being flung out to the sides. Each mixer will have a range of speeds, controlled by a slider or a dial. This allows you to build up to the speed you want gradually.
  • Slow start and pause functions There may also be a ‘soft start’ slow speed to prevent fine ingredients, such as flour, puffing out before the speed ramps up. Another useful feature is a pause function, which stops the machine mixing so you can add ingredients, before returning to the same speed. Some mixers may also have preset programmes for food types such as cake or gentle ‘fold’ options.
  • More extras Other stand mixer extras include integral lighting, so you have a better view inside the bowl, a countdown timer that helps prevent over-mixing, and sensors that help maintain the mixer’s speed when tackling heavier loads. 

Best stand mixers

1. Bosch MUM59340GB Kitchen Machine Stand Mixer – best for value for money

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This is a stand mixer for cooks who want to progress from making a springy Victoria sandwich to baking the sort of things the Great British Bake Off judges would be wowed by. The reason is that it’s more than a stand mixer. Not only does it come with shredding discs, a mincer, a citrus press and a blender (and swivels into three positions for you to use them), in its stand mixer mode it beats, mixes, whisks and kneads like a pro.

Inside the mixer’s 3.9-litre bowl, there’s enough room to mix up to 2kg of dough with the kneading hook. This even has a ‘dough deflector’ to stop any mixture from escaping. During testing, dough wrapped around the hook but was easy to remove. The blender also performed well with no lack of power – a common problem with attachments.

When you’re finished baking up a storm, the MUM5 stand mixer’s cord automatically retracts. All the accessories except the mincer can be popped in the dishwasher and there’s a storage bag. The obvious downside of this mixer is the sheer amount of kit to store, but if you’re willing to make some room you’ll be rewarded.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Bosch MUM59340GB Kitchen Machine Stand Mixer, £299, Amazon

2. KitchenAid Artisan Mini stand mixer – best for small kitchens

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Proof that good things come in small packages, this marvellous mini stand mixer is a stylishly scaled-down version of the iconic Artisan. It’s 20% smaller and 25% lighter (around 6.5kg) but still manages to pack in a 3.3-litre stainless steel bowl that’s big enough to tackle up to eight egg whites or 680g of plain flour.

It’s perfect for compact kitchens or small batch bakers, plus there’s no compromise on features. It’ll run the same hub attachments as its bigger brother and it’s just as powerful. There’s also a choice of stunning colours, from the covetable Twilight Blue to on-trend Guava Glaze.

In testing, this mixer did a great job creating super-stretchy pizza dough, light fluffy sponge and whisking egg whites to perfect peaks, while making minimal noise. Downside: there’s not a lot of space at the edge of the bowl for adding ingredients, and there is no splashguard. Also, its stability could be improved when tipped back – the same size of motor in the head means it can briefly lift the base.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: KitchenAid Artisan Mini stand mixer, £449, John Lewis 

3. Morphy Richards 400015 Total Control Stand Mixer – best for beginners

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If you’re never quite sure when batters are thoroughly combined or how long it takes to knead dough, meet the stand mixer made for baking newbies. The Total Control comes with six programmed presets for egg whites, whipping cream, sponge, buttercream, white bread dough and multigrain dough (these can be paused, too). There are six speeds plus the option to pulse for other baking tasks.

Boasting a five-litre bowl (with a 1.5kg capacity), splashguard and bowl cover, it’s a practical rather than a pretty mixer. However, this translates to a machine that’s easy to use and has fewer places for food residue to hide. In testing, this Morphy Richards mixer handled stiff biscuit mixture without breaking a sweat and its automatic bread programme made short work of dough.

On the downside, its whisked egg whites still needed a little longer to become rigid and none of the mixer parts were dishwasher safe. Plus, even at its more budget-friendly price, it’d be good to see at least one extra outlet for stand mixer attachments.

Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Morphy Richards 400015 Total Control Stand Mixer, £119 ,Amazon 

4. KitchenAid 5KSM7580X Artisan
6.9l bowl-lift stand mixer – best for batch baking

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One for the serious bakers out there. This super-sized Artisan mixer comes with a 6.9-litre bowl, which can accommodate a whopping 2.2kg of plain flour, 19 egg whites, 4.5kg of cake batter or 1.9 litres of cream. Need to make cookies? This stand mixer can squeeze in enough dough to make up to 14 dozen.

Like the bowl, most of this stand mixer’s other features are a bit beefier too, from an angled Powerknead spiral dough hook and elliptical 11-wire whisk to a 500W DC motor with a 1.3hp output, making it both quiet and efficient. There’s also a pouring shield to prevent splashes. One of the differences between this and other models is the arms, which raise the bowl for mixing – and the fact that this stand mixer is taller, so you may have trouble fitting it below wall kitchen cabinets.

It’s also one of the heaviest stand mixers available, at a knee-bending 13.1kg with accessories. The bowl-lift performed well during testing, although fitting the bowl and tools was trickier. It makes a great upgrade for keen bakers, but bear in mind that its tools won’t be compatible with a smaller KitchenAid mixer. It’s also only available in four colours and comes with a higher price, so be sure you’ll appreciate its extra size before you invest.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: KitchenAid 5KSM7580X Artisan
6.9l bowl-lift stand mixer, £779, Amazon

5. Kenwood kMix KMX754 – best for easy use

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Whether you’re a beginner, a casual baker or more experienced, the kMix stand mixer offers something for everyone. Not only is it incredibly easy to control with six speeds and a fold option, its five-litre heatproof glass bowl allows you to see exactly what’s going on inside. This puts paid to pesky flour lumps. It also features a 1,000W motor designed to handle up to 1.35kg of difficult dough. On the downside, thanks to its metal body, it’s another heavy mixer at 10.9kg.

During testing, the kMix stand mixer was fuss-free to use, staying reassuringly steady on the worktop even at high speeds. It produced everything from light, fluffy doughnuts to crisp meringue and thick whipped cream for pavlovas perfectly. Another plus is the sheer range of compatible attachments, which include a pasta cutter, grinding mill, dicer and spaghetti maker. It comes in four colours and all the parts are dishwasher-safe.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Kenwood kMix KMX754, £429, John Lewis 

6. Smeg SMF01 stand mixer – best for retro design

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For something noticeably different from the usual run-of-the-mill stand mixers, Smeg’s curvy, 1950s-inspired design can’t be beaten. Not only will it stand out on your worktop in shades ranging from pastel green to red, it’ll complement any other retro Smeg kitchen appliances you might have. This stylish 800W mixer has 10 speeds with a 4.8-litre bowl for handling up to 12 eggs whites, 2.8kg of cake batter and a litre of cream. It has an outlet that can power a food grinder, ravioli maker or a slicer/grater.

During testing, this stand mixer was simple to use, creaming eggs and sugar together perfectly. Its protective pouring shield came in handy when mixing in fine flour and had a large enough spout to add ingredients without spillage. The motor strained a little when tackling firm bread dough but this was resolved by adding liquid. This sleek mixer is definitely a future design classic but is probably more suited to experienced cooks who will enjoy its varied accessories, rather than beginners.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Smeg SMF01 stand mixer, £348, Amazon

7. Sage The Bakery Boss – best for professional baking

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If you want your soufflés to rise every time, and you deplore a soggy bottom, this is the mixer that can take your baking to a new level of thoroughness. With an LCD timer that can count up or down, it also features over-bowl light so you can monitor progress. 12 speed settings denote the type of mixing, rather than a numbered scale. It comes with everything a budding baker needs: a scraper beater as well as a flat one, splashguard, spatula and an array of tips for getting the most from the machine.

It also uses load sensing technology to adjust the power to maintain the select speed so there’ll be no slowing down once mixtures start to thicken. In tests, the Bakery Boss stand mixer felt noticeably well-engineered and solid, a plus given that it’s slightly more affordable than some premium mixers. It handled all the jobs well, which included cake batter, bread dough and biscuits (where its pause function was used to add ingredients).

The mixer comes with two bowls, which is also useful for a batch baker. Where it could be better is the option to use hub attachments (it only has one outlet) and for all stand mixer parts to be dishwasher safe.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Sage The Bakery Boss, £382, Amazon

What to consider when buying a stand mixer

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Image credit: Oliver Gordon

How much should I spend on a mixer?

This depends on whether you’re buying a stand mixer with a view to keeping it long-term. Basic mixers can be picked up as cheaply as £50 but for one that will last, budget for a minimum of £100. Beyond £150, most of what you’ll be paying for is a greater choice of colours and styling, extra features or accessories. More expensive mixers tend to have a sturdier build quality to ensure they’ll be whisking and beating for decades to come.

What kind of stand mixer attachments are available?

Stand mixers often feature more than one outlet (the main outlet being using to rotate the tool in the bowl), with additional ones usually located at the front of the machine or on the top of the lever arm. These allow you to power attachments, turning your simple stand mixer into a multifunctional kitchen helper. Standard mixer attachments include a blender jug for making smoothies and soups, or crushing ice, and sometimes a food processor for slicing, grating and chopping.

Most manufacturers offer a range of stand mixer attachments to buy. These include rollers for making pasta, specialised ravioli makers, mincers or grinders for processing meat, slicers, pre-freeze ice cream bowls, millers, spiralisers and juicers. Accessories and attachments can take up a fair amount of room in your kitchen. Look for models that can store accessories inside the bowl or come with a storage box so you don’t lose kit at the back of a cupboard.

What other key questions do I need to ask about stand mixers?

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Image credit: Simon Whitmore

1. Are the mixer parts dishwasher safe?

While a dishwasher-safe bowl is usually standard, check that accessories are too before you pop them in alongside. Whisk attachments often have to be washed by hand, while hot temperatures can cause plastic to be damaged.

2. What about spare parts?

Spares can be handy if you’re having a full-on baking day, so look for manufacturers that offer additional bowls and attachments.

3. Where can I store my mixer?

Think about where your stand mixer will live. If it’s out on the worktop, find a design that comes in a shade to suit your kitchen and will fit below wall units. If it’s destined for a cupboard, opt for a machine that’s light enough to lift in and out. Some cast-metal stand mixers can be heavy and bulky.

4. How can I tidy away wires?

Trying to avoid too many trailing wires across your worktop? Look out for machines with handy cable storage.

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