We spent 80 hours trying different stand mixers in the kitchen to come up with our top pick for the Best Stand Mixer: the Kitchen Aid KSM150PSER Artisan Stand Mixer. This stand mixer’s motor and stand construction holds up to repeated mixing from the lightest, frothiest batters, to the stiffest, toughest dough you may ever encounter. To top it off, cleanup and care are easy for this stand mixer.
Jen’s Top Pick
Our step-up pick is the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine. Although it is more costly than our top pick, it is an excellent stand mixer for a larger budget household. We also decided to choose a suitable stand mixer for our budget pick – the Sunbeam 2371 MixMaster Stand Mixer.
Table of Contents
- History of Stand Mixers
- Types of Stand Mixers
- How to Choose Stand Mixers
- Proper Care of Stand Mixers
- Jen’s Top Pick
- Not a Deal-Breaker
- Jen’s Step Up Pick
- Jen’s Budget Pick
- Recipe Books
- Toy Stand Mixers
History of Stand Mixers
The first, most important day for stand mixers was November 17, 1885. On this day a patent was given to Rufus M. Eastman for his invention of an electric mixer. Although because electricity was still not widely used, he invented the mixer to be used with water or mechanical power, also.
In the year 1908 the Hobart Manufacturing Company, in Troy, Ohio, had the engineer, Herbert Johnson, working for them. He invented a stand mixer that would help bakers mix larger batches of dough.
By 1915, Herbert Johnson’s invention would be purchased by many large kitchens and bakeries. It was a little bigger than what we know today, though. Our household bowl capacities are, at tops, 7 quarts. Mr. Johnson’s held 80 quarts!
Of course, with such success in large kitchens, the Hobart Manufacturing Company wanted to bring this amazing appliance down to a smaller size for home use. By 1919, they first manufactured the KitchenAid Food Preparer to be used in the comfort of home kitchens. The weight was still an incredible 65 pounds, but that was nothing compared to the previous versions! It was to be the beginning of a love affair between home bakers and machine!
This new-age stand mixer was the culmination of all these mixing efforts and our absolute favorite stand mixer for our top pick: the KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Stand Mixer. Today’s KitchenAid stand mixer has an average 300 wattage, 10 speeds, 3 tools, a 5 quart capacity of bowl, and die-cast metal construction. Planetary mixing action became a key word that KitchenAid began to use. That means that the beater travels around the bowl with so many points on the bowl being touched in each rotation it makes. This gives a perfect blend of all ingredients, without leaving some stuck to the side of the bowl.
In 1930, the Sunbeam MixMaster was offered for sale for home use also. It was invented by Ivar Jepson and was patented in 1928. They were able to trim costs to sell their product for a much less expensive cost than KitchenAid Food Preparers. This made the standing mixer become more popular in homes due to its affordability for some people. Thus, KitchenAid and Sunbeam became competitors in the stand mixer world.
This competitive business relationship prompted the Hobart Manufacturing Company to have Egmont Ahrens work on a smaller version of the KitchenAid mixer in 1936. He made it more suitable to moving around the kitchen by making the design much lighter. In 1946, the company moved to Greenville, Ohio. The new building had more space to be able to manufacture the stand mixers.
In time, people started having preference of color in purchasing their household appliances, so KitchenAid began manufacturing in colors other than white. Then in 1986 the Whirlpool Corporation purchased the Hobart Manufacturing Company. Today, they continue to manufacture the KitchenAid stand mixers and can be purchased in an array of colors.
Types of Stand Mixers
There are 4 types of electric mixers. The hand mixer, which includes 2 beaters and usually 2 dough hooks is the first type. The second type is the stand mixer that has a tilt head for removing the bowl easily, as well as, changing attachments between a dough hook(s), a wire whisk, or a paddle. The third stand mixer has a bowl lift metal arm holder attached to the mixer housing. This allows the bowl to fit into the arm holder so that the bowl is brought up to the attachments for mixing. The fourth type of stand mixer is a combination. It can be used as a stand mixer or detach to use as a hand mixer.
Key Features of Stand Mixers
There are key features that the best stand mixers always include. The first is planetary rotation for the best mixing action. A slow start setting and a splash guard are key features to keep messes to a minimum. A locking tilt head is important for lifting the mixer attachments out of the bowl either to change the attachment or to remove the bowl. Dishwasher safe attachments and bowls are also a necessity to be included as a key feature.
The very first factor we considered in choosing the best stand mixer was price. Price comparison shopping is a must in an economic world where there can be so many different price points for similar quality products. We all like a bargain, but we do not want to sacrifice quality for the sake of saving a few bucks! Secondly, we considered the power wattage of the stand mixer. The more wattage it has, the more power it has for multiple tasks in your kitchen. After all, you want a mixer that can do the job effectively! Wattages can range from 275 watts all the way to 1000 watts. The speeds directly correlate to the power wattage. Having the ability to go all the way from a slow whir to a brisk mixing motion is important so messes are kept to a minimum! The splash of batter all over our cabinets, counters, and ourselves is something we would definitely love to avoid!
The next function we felt was important was the capacity of the bowl used for mixing. We all want to be able to mix our recipes in one batch as often as possible! The tools included were another important factor due to the need to have the ability to mix anything and everything ever needed in our kitchens! The construction was also important, as we want it to be sturdy enough to withstand its daily “beatings”! Also, making sure it will remain where it is placed on our counter without moving during mixing was important to us. So non-skid feet on the bottom are a must. Finally, just because we can, we considered all of the colors available for the aesthetic design of our kitchens!
Proper Care of Stand Mixers
Proper care of any stand mixer is crucial to the life of the machine. Although our top pick, step-up pick, and budget pick are all made very sturdy, overloading the bowl with too many ingredients can harm the motor. It can cause the motor to slow down the speed of mixing to the point of burning up the motor. Using low speeds when mixing heavier batters and kneading dough, especially. The stiffer the ingredients, the less the mixer motor can stand high speeds without excessive strain and possible malfunction. Medium speeds should comfortably mix most basic cookie batters and beat any kind of cake mixes. Always reduce the speed again when adding ingredients like nuts or dried fruits to cookie batters to avoid stressing the machine too much. High speeds are always used for whipping ingredients to a fluffy, frothy, peak-forming consistency, such as egg whites.
Jen’s Top Pick: KitchenAid Artisan
The KitchenAid Artisan has everything we would look for in the best stand mixer: 325 wattage, 10 different speeds, easy-to-adjust lever for the speed control, all the attachments we would need.
The flat beater mixes cake and cookie batters with ease. The wire whisk beats egg whites to an excellent stiffness and whip cream to perfection. Finally, the dough hook helps blend dough for baking. The tools are easy to slide on to the mixer head mechanism. With a small twist to the right, the tool can be locked into place. A small twist to the left releases the tool. There is also a bonus one-piece pouring shield included. Using the pouring shield creates fewer messes when pouring batters.
The capacity of the bowl for the Artisan is 5 quarts, giving plenty of room for 4 batches of bread dough or 9 dozen cookies. There is also a special grooved area, or bowl clamping plate, where the bowl sits that locks the bowl into place. The die-cast metal construction ensures a long life for the stand. The non-skid rubber feet keep its 26 pounds stationery so there is no accidental sliding or tipping of the mixer. There is also a tilt release to lower the attached tool of choice into the bowl. The bowl, flat beater and the dough hook are dishwasher safe, which is another great time saver! Cleaning the 6-wire whisk requires hand washing with a mild dish washing liquid. To clean the stand housing, use a warm cloth with a gentle dish soap of your choice.
There are more than 15 attachments that can be used. By unscrewing the power hub on the front of the head of the mixer, the attachments are directly connected for use. One attachment available is the Pasta Roller. Homemade, delicious pastas can be made at home without having to buy the processed boxes at the grocery store. They can be made to suit dietary needs with fresh ingredients, which is appealing to many with dietary restrictions. For more Italian food lovers, KitchenAid has made a Ravioli Maker attachment. Making dishes to be served with flair, the Ravioli maker is a favorite of ours. A Pasta Cutter Set to help out with the Pasta Roller is available as is a Gourmet Pasta Press.
The Spiralizer Attachment has five blades that will spiral, slice, core and peel foods. This is your personal food processor that eliminates the need of other bulky mandolin-type slicers. From day-to-day meal preparation to fancier occasion appetizer and meal preparation, this attachment is what we call a little “slice” of paradise. The ease with which it can be used makes it one of our favorite attachments available for the KitchenAid Artisan.
A Sausage Stuffer and Food Grinder are 2 more attachments. You can make your own healthier versions of sausages with the Sausage Stuffer. The food grinder can help grind your meat for the sausages you make. You can also grind meat for jerky making! Baking your own jerky can be a healthy, protein-filled snack that you can be proud to make with no preservatives using your Food Grinder.
A Rotor Slicer and Shredder are available, also. The slicer can slice many of our meats to the perfect thickness we desire. Vegetables like tomatoes and onions can be sliced for our favorite burger toppings. The shredder is great for all kinds of cheeses. No need to purchase the expensive pre-shredded cheeses. Now we can buy bulk blocks of cheese to shred for ourselves. The Sausage Stuffer, Food Grinder, Rotor Slicer, and Shredder are all available for purchase as a set.
There is also an Ice Cream Maker attachment. Who doesn’t love ice cream?! Again, healthier versions of ice cream can be made, rather than the more sugary store-bought ones. We can even use yogurt in your recipes to make it healthier! This attachment is another space saver so we can get rid of that huge ice cream maker that takes up so much space in our cabinets!
A Fruit and Vegetable Strainer Set is available, as well as a Juicer and Sauce Attachment. A variety of juices can be extracted with these attachments. Again, there is that healthy, fresh factor that appeals to us! Making our own fruit juice means no preservatives and no added sugar, as well. Using the Strainer Set, we can strain fresh vegetables for all of those amazing veggie smoothies we crave, and the fruit smoothies, too! The Sauce Attachment gives us the opportunity to make our own delicious sauces, again with no preservatives. We can eat the sauces fresh or can them for future use.
There is even a Food Processor Attachment set. We love the fact that we can blend those smoothies we make to perfection with this set. Once again, there is that space-saving factor. We can eliminate the other blenders and food processors we own.
The All Metal Grain Mill is an attachment that brings a whole new meaning to healthy. Grinding our own grains for flours gives a new lease on life for those who have gluten allergies! We can make our own rice flour for a variety of uses with this mill. Besides, the fact that it is fun to make a recipe truly from “scratch” makes us just a little giddy with pride.
A Precise Heating Mixing Bowl can be purchased, as well. This bowl has precise temperature technology. It can be used to mix chocolate, bread dough, and cheese, for example. When temperature matters in mixing to perfection, this is the bowl to own.
Glass, Metal and Ceramic bowls are all available for separate purchase. That includes some bowls with handles. Having additional mixing bowls on hand helps speed up the mixing process of several items in a short period of time. A Flex edge beater is also now available for purchase. With the flexible edging, it scrapes the side of the bowl so no ingredients are missed in mixing. Cloth dust covers are also available for purchase. There are a variety of different covers to suit your style and color preference.
Another amazing attribute to the KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Stand Mixer is that all tools and bowls are interchangeable with other Kitchen Aid machines. So if you find yourself wanting a second Kitchen Aid around for the holidays and special occasions, you will not have to worry about which tool fits which mixer! This gives the freedom to mix and match your colors of stand mixers; especially since there are 20 colors manufactured by KitchenAid Artisan.
Not a Deal-Breaker
The only flaw we found was that occasionally the shiny wire whisk gets a grey build-up of oxidization if we toss it in the dishwasher or leave it to soak to long in our sink water. The whisk beater is made of burnished aluminum that is not dishwasher safe. Our recommendation is to hand wash it in warm, soapy water, then towel dry it right away. If we did accidentally forget and end up washing it in the dishwasher or soaking it for too long, the build-up will appear. In order to remove the build-up, soak the beater in warm, soapy water and use a nylon scrubber to take off the build-up. If we do need to remove the build-up the beater will be a little less shiny, but still more than functional.
Jen’s Step Up Pick
Our step up pick is the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine. This stand mixer would be highly suitable in a professional kitchen with a higher output of meals. Of course, that may be just perfect for those of you with a very large family. It has more features than our top pick and is just slightly more expensive. The wattage provides an impressive 800 watts of power, and the capacity of the bowl at 6.5 quarts. That gives another 1.5 quarts of mixing room.
The bigger wattage also means that with more power our step-up pick may very well run even longer before any trouble-shooting may need to happen. Another positive, the extra capacity of the mixing bowl is a perfect for larger batches. The wattage and size of the mixing bowl are in line with what a professional kitchen or larger family would need on a daily basis.
The Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine is also built very sturdily and is simple to clean. It includes cord storage so that when it is not in use the cord is not lying out in the way. Speeds range from low to high with 4 settings and it also has an impulse setting. It has covers for added security to the drives, as well. At a little over 12 pounds, it is very lightweight in comparison with other stand mixers.
Like our top pick, our step-up pick also has very useful attachments that can be purchased. One useful attachment is the dough hook extender. The extender helps make small batches of dough. It also helps move the dough hook around the middle. Other attachments that can be purchased are the cookie paddles. It comes with a metal whip driver that is required for using the cookie paddle. If at any time the cookie paddles or the metal drive need to be replaced, they can be purchased separately. When purchasing the metal drive installation is the same as the plastic drive. We have found that the metal drive holds up to the heaviest mixing needs. The plastic drive does not withstand repeated use with heavy dough as well as the metal drive.
There is a third attachment choice which is the bowl scraper. It will get every bit of ingredients mixed together without leaving any behind on the bowl. It has a blade drive with 2 sets of blades. It is designed to scrape the bowl. It works by placing it over the attached mixing tool. Finally, a fourth attachment available is a blender made especially for the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine. It holds 6 cups of ingredients. The blender blades are stainless steel and can be taken out to clean properly.
Jen’s Budget Pick
The Sunbeam 2371 MixMaster Stand Mixer is our budget pick. This stand mixer comes with two bowls. The first bowl capacity is 2 quarts and the second bowl capacity is 4 quarts. It also has a locking tilt head that has a switch that allows selection of the 2 quart bowl size or the 4 quart bowl size.
The tools are also comparable. It includes 2 chrome beaters, 2 wire whisks, and 2 dough hooks. The beaters do not have posts in the center like many other mixer beaters. The tools are dishwasher safe, yet also much easier to hand wash because of the design. A light shows what speed it is set on, as well.
The downside is that it has only 350 watts of power, but it does have 12 different speeds for mixing. It has a soft handle with a speed burst button. It also has “soft-start technology”. This means it gives a slower start to mixing so there is not as much splatter when it begins to mix ingredients. It weighs quite a bit at 17.5 pounds. Fortunately, this stand mixer does have the safety feature of non-skid rubber feet making it stable for use. Chances are with a much less powerful wattage it will not last quite as long as our top pick and step-up pick. Yet, the price can’t be beat for a functional stand mixer for a small household.
As a side-note, we noticed that there is a silicone-type bead on the end of a beater. Definitely leave it in place. The bead is placed there to assist the bowl in turning as the mixer is operated. Another possible benefit for the purchase of the Sunbeam 2371 MixMaster Stand Mixer is that the bowls are made of glass. Some people prefer glass bowls over stainless steel bowls. The glass bowls have the advantage of being able to see your ingredients as they mix, without having to go to the bowl and look inside.
Now for the competition! The Breville BEM800XL Scraper Mixer Pro 5-Quart Die-Cast Stand Mixer is comparable in price to our top pick of the KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Stand Mixer. Yet, the Breville leaves something to be desired because it does not have all of the useful attachments the KitchenAid Artisan has for additional help in the kitchen.
The Cuisinart SM-70BC 7-Quart 12-Speed Stand Mixer is comparable to our step-up pick of the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine in price.
The Hamilton Beach 63325 6-Speed Stand Mixer is comparable in price to our budget pick, the Sunbeam 2371 MixMaster Stand Mix. This stand mixer comes in at only 300 watts of power compared to the Sunbeam’s 350 watts. Due to the decreased wattage and the fact that it only has 6 speeds, we are not convinced that it is better than the Sunbeam.
Recipe books are available for purchase designed for stand mixers. One such recipe book is called KitchenAid Stand Mixer Cookbook by Editors of Publications International. Another great book is The Mixer Bible: 300 Recipes for Your Stand Mixer by Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder. A third book available is The Essential Mixer Cookbook by Kay Halsey. A fourth book that has a permanent place in our kitchen bookstand is Mix It Up! Great Recipes to Make the Most of Your Stand Mixer by Jamee Ruth.
Toy Stand Mixers
For those of us with small children or grandchildren our research found a super cute little toy mixer. It is called the Just Like Home Stand Mixer. The mixer base is blue and the mixing bowl is orange. Little ones will think they are chefs, too, when playing with this toy! The top lifts up for the removable bowl to be put in place, then even turns on! When the switch is pressed, the beaters turn. It has five speed settings and a pulse setting. Batteries are included. This toy is recommended for children over 3 years of age.
Another toy stand mixer is the Educational Insights Mixer. It works as a portable mixer, also. The colors are blue, yellow, and red with a clear bowl. It has real sound and lights. The toy mixer has two speeds of auto and pulse. Two types of beaters are included. It does require the purchase of 2 AA batteries. This toy is recommended for children over 3 years of age, as well.
A third toy mixer choice is the Play @ Home Toy Cake Mixer. It is blue and red stand with a clear bowl, and has one beater. It requires the purchase of 2 AA batteries. This toy is also recommended for children over 3 years of age. Purchasing this toy mixer for our children and grandchildren fuels their imagination. It also promotes baking as a fun and important duty in life!
We hope our research has helped you to choose the right stand mixer for your kitchen. For most families, our top pick Kitchen Aid Artisan is your best bet. Those who want something extra can consider our step-up pick, the Bosch Universal Plus Machine. Happy shopping and happy mixing!