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

From the classic KitchenAid to professional-level models, these are the best mixers for baking and kneading dough
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  • If there’s one kitchen appliance no budding baker should be without, it’s one of our best stand mixers. Not only does a stand mixer take the hassle out of whisking, whipping, beating and kneading, it will also deliver better and more consistent results than doing the same task by hand. So it’s well worth having one on your worktop.

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    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.

    Best stand mixers 2020

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

    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, AO.com

    2. Kenwood kMix KMX754 – best stand mixer for easy use

    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 (black), £262.25, Amazon

    3. UltraMix stand mixer by AEG – best stand mixer for useful accessories

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    We all like to get more for our money, and the UltraMix is a stand mixer that takes that to heart. While it’s one of the pricier models available, the sheer amount of kit goes some way to justifying the cost.

    As well as the basic three tools (dough hook, whisk, flat beater), you’ll also find a SoftEdge beater for combining creamy mixtures, a splashguard with a chute for adding ingredients, an extra 2.9-litre bowl (which fits neatly inside its standard 4.8-litre bowl for storage) and a lid so you can prove and ferment without having to remove the contents. There’s even a built-in bowl light.

    The UltraMix’s design will appeal to many – it’s available in three colours with a robust matt finish, and has a hub at the front of the machine so it can power accessories, such as a meat grinder or pasta roller. While heavy at 9kg, it’s balanced, so that it doesn’t start to tip when the head is up.

    However, the slider switch to raise the head is on the opposite side to the speed control, meaning that you’ll need to reach around each time you want to change a tool or remove the bowl.

    The stand mixer doesn’t skimp on power and performance – its 1200W motor whisked egg whites into stiff peaks in just a few minutes, while making a sponge cake was effortless. Creaming butter and sugar for the batter was quick and required no scraping down, and the finished sponge was light and springy – a testament to how much air the UltraMix had been able to incorporate.

    Where it didn’t deliver quite as well was with bread dough. The hook mixed it easily enough but rather than kneading the ball around the bowl, the dough had a tendency to wrap around the hook. This meant we still had to knead by hand before baking but the loaf rose and baked well nonetheless.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: UltraMix stand mixer by AEG, £349, Amazon

    4. Precision Stand Mixer by Cuisinart – best stand mixer for a large capacity

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    Great for batch bakers and big families, the 500W Precision Stand Mixer is surprisingly roomy. While its footprint is standard, its 5.2-litre, stainless-steel bowl provides more capacity than you’d expect in a model of this size. Which means that you can knead up to 1.2kg of dough, whip 1.4 litres of cream or whisk 12 egg whites in a single load.

    There are 12 speeds, from a gentle stir (which we found invaluable for starting to mix dough) to a rapid whisk that took the effort out of making meringues. The mixer shook a little on the highest settings but stayed steady on the worktop.

    Its tools are the usual three of whisk (the only part not dishwasher-safe), beater and dough hook. This last one was especially good in that our bread dough didn’t wrap itself around the hook, but moved and kneaded it around the bowl efficiently.

    Our loaf rose well without any manual kneading. The two-part splashguard and spout, while a handy option, was something that was awkward to have in use most of the time. It slid on easily enough but every time the mixer head was raised, both sections had to be removed, making scraping down the bowl more of a chore.

    Its performance couldn’t be faulted – our sugar and butter creamed together quickly, and the batter looked well aerated. The finished sponge wasn’t as fluffy as we’d hoped though. Where it delivers less is on aesthetics – the Precision Stand Mixer is only available in black or white, the pedal to raise the mixer head protrudes oddly and the dial feels like a clunky way to move up or down through the speeds.

    However, if you’re looking for robust workhorse of a mixer and don’t mind not having a colourful appliance, it’s a smart choice.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Cuisinart Precision Stand Mixer, £275, Amazon

    5. SMF03 stand mixer by Smeg – best for retro design

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    For something noticeably different from the usual run-of-the-mill stand mixers, Smeg’s 1950s-inspired design can’t be beaten. Not only will it stand out on your worktop in cream, black or red, its curvy style will complement any other retro kitchen appliances you might have.

    This stylish 800W mixer has 10 speeds, with a soft start to prevent ingredients being thrown out of the bowl, combined with a 4.8-litre stainless-steel bowl. The bowl comes with a handle, so it’s easier to secure to the base and remove, and has enough capacity for up to 12 eggs whites, a litre of cream, 2kg of cake batter or 1.8kg bread dough.

    At the front, it has an outlet that can power extra kitchen tools, such as a meat grinder, spaghetti cutter, ice cream maker, or a slicer/grater, so you can expand its food prep capabilities.

    During testing, this stand mixer was simple to use, creaming eggs and sugar together perfectly. Its three-pronged flex edge beater has been designed to reach all sides of the bowl, too, so you don’t need to keep stopping the machine to scrape the walls or base.

    The motor strained a little when tackling firmer recipes, such as bread dough, but this was resolved by adding liquid. Cleaning up afterwards was straightforward – all the parts are dishwasher-safe, except for the splashguard and wire whisk, which were quick to wash by hand.

    This sleek mixer is definitely a future design classic but, given its price tag, is probably more suited to experienced cooks who will enjoy its variety of accessories, rather than beginners.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Smeg SMF03 stand mixer, £499, AO.com

    6. Go Create Stand Mixer by Russell Hobbs – best budget stand mixer

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    A more traditional boxy exterior might have you swiping left on the Go Create Stand Mixer. But beneath the no-nonsense plastic lies a good yet affordable helper. There are noticeable differences between this and a more premium model – the stainless-steel bowl has a plastic base as does the whisk, for example – but beyond that everything you need for baking is here.

    Three tools, a slide-on splashguard with a pouring spout, a powerful 1000W motor and 10 speeds. There’s even a pulse on the dial, which provides a burst of top speed for finishing off mixes.

    The benefit of fewer metal elements (even the beater is made from fibreglass) is that all the parts are dishwasher-safe. This makes it invaluable in a busy family household, plus it’s lighter than die-cast models. So you can move it around without straining under the weight.

    Another plus is the mixer’s generously sized five-litre bowl, which easily accommodated bread dough, cake batter or egg whites without throwing anything out.

    There are a couple of quirks. The mixer was very noisy on the top speeds, and the spring from new was strong, so you’ll need to hold the head as you raise it or it jerks. However, the performance was surprisingly efficient for a machine at this price point.

    It whisked our egg whites to firm peaks in about four minutes. It mixed and kneaded bread dough around the bowl without it wrapping around the hook (which resulted in a well-risen loaf), and blended butter and sugar to a pale creamy consistency.

    We noticed a few streaks of butter in the sponge batter after mixing and scraping down, but the baked cake rounds were light with golden, springy tops.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Russell Hobbs Go Create Stand Mixer, £89.99, Argos

    7. KitchenAid Artisan Mini stand mixer – best stand mixer 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, £349, KitchenAid

    8. KitchenAid 5KSM7580X Artisan
6.9l bowl-lift stand mixer – best stand mixer 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, £699, John Lewis

    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. Additional ones are 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. That way, you won’t lose kit at the back of a cupboard.

    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. This 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. This 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. 

    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?

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    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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