You can always mix your ingredients using a whisk. You can use your hands to knead the dough. Yet, doing these things manually can be strenuous. Well, a handy hand mixer can be a good option, but using them to mix extremely thick mixtures for an extended period of time can be challenging. This is what stand mixers are for.
Our SolidSmack Household Appliance and Tool Research Team shortlisted 15 leading stand mixers on the market. After thorough research and weighing the ones that offer the best value and set of features, we came up with the list of the 5 stand mixers that we needed to round up. With the aid of our in-house and sets of criteria and standards, we tested them and weighed which one offers the best balance between value and performance.
Cuisinart SM-50 scored the highest. It is not as flawless as the legendary KitchenAid Professional 600 that has been ruling the market for a decade now, but it has all the good qualities of a noteworthy stand mixer: 500 W motor, a huge bowl, variety of optional attachments, and affordable price tag.
A lesser-known model from Aucma also made it to our list due to its motor that has the highest power (660 W) of all the models we reviewed. Most of all, its mixing performance is just as effective as other high-end brands on the list.
To give you a more detailed view of how they performed in our test, here is a detailed review of each one. We also highlighted their main features and some important caveats you should know about. Without further ado, here are the top 5 best stand mixers this 2021 as recommended by our experts.
1. Cuisinart SM-50
Cuisinart SM-50 offers the best value out there and it is no wonder why it snatched this spot. Its motor has a substantial power of 500 W, making it very capable of mixing the thickest dough and batter.
In our test, it was just as efficient as the famous KitchenAid Professional 600. It handled thick mixtures with ease. The motor stayed silent and showed no signs of struggle as it was doing the job. The head got slightly warm after 15 minutes of our continuous use, but it didn’t overheat. (and it was not that loud!)
On the other hand, there is an illuminated dial that allows you to access up to 12 levels of speed. We didn't see significant differences in the speed of other number settings close to each other (e.g. Level 4 and Level 5) but its maximum level did pretty great with our meringue. Within the expected timeframe, we got the perfect results we were expecting.
The 5.5-quart bowl has a good quality, as well as its 3 attachments (whisk, dough hook, and flat mixing paddle). All of them are dishwasher-safe but even when we washed them by hand, we have to admit that the cleanup is easy due to their non-stick coats. Also, unlike other models, the design of its splash guard is notable due to its pour spout that prevents spills!
Further, we love the possibilities it can offer due to its versatility in accepting attachments! It can work with Cuisinart’s meat grinder, spiralizer, ice cream maker, and pasta maker attachments. That being said, you can turn this unit into a multifunctional appliance in just a snap!
2. KitchenAid Professional 600
Seeing the KitchenAid Professional 600 on this list is no surprise since it is one of the leading stand mixers reigning in the market for more than a decade now. With this, it is true that there are other newer models that can exceed what it is offering, but the reliability of the 600 remains unbeatable.
Its 575 W power remains the same. Powerful and accurate. When we used it continuously for 15 minutes, it didn’t show any sign of heating and problems while mixing thick dough. It can move the three attachments that come with it. All of them performed excellently on various mixtures we used. However, there is a small caveat we need to tell our readers: we weren’t really pleased with the quality of the burnished attachments (spiral dough hook and flat beater). According to the manual we read, they can’t be washed in the dishwasher as it can ruin the finish. Thankfully, the unit can accept the other optional attachments of the same size from the brand.
On the other hand, we found that the bowl-lift system can provide more balance when the machine is working. It also gives the attachments just the right depth to reach the bottom of the bowl. Apparently, placing the 6-quart stainless steel bowl in place requires more effort compared to the conventional designs of other mixers, but the huge handle of the bowl is a huge help!
There are 10 speed options available and it can be controlled using the slide switch. This gave our team good control in shifting from the lowest to the highest setting, and the experience was as pleasing as the mixing movement of the mixer. It employs 67-point planetary mixing action, making it possible for the attachments to have considerable coverage of the bowl. We also slow-start the feature, making our test a mess-free moment.
3. Aucma Tilt-Head
Aucma might not be the biggest name in the industry, but the stand mixer it is offering can give the best performance at a very affordable price. Indeed, its price is just a fraction of the bigger brands are offering, making it truly charismatic for those who are looking for budget-friendly options.
It has a 6.5-quart bowl with two handles. The quality is just as pleasing as the 3 attachments that come with it. The dough hook and mixing beater have substantial weight on them and their arms are rather thick, which we didn’t expect at such a price point. Changing them is easy, thanks to the tilting head system of the stand mixer machine.
Its motor boasts 660 W which is more than what you need for medium to heavy-duty mixing. When we tested it, it was also not as loud as we were anticipating since its motor has high power.
The stand mixer comes with a very simple control system that is all control with a dial. Turning it is truly effortless for us but what we love about it is the blue light that indicates the unit is working. It has 6 settings for speed and a Pulse mode. Each level has a distinct speed on them, but what we love the most is its maximum setting. When we used it to produce meringue, it easily produced stiff peaks. Thick and smooth. The dough hook was quite a performer as well after it managed to mix everything we put in the bowl. After the process, all the dry ingredients were well incorporated and there was no single dry pocket to see. The process was made easier and more controlled with the addition of a splash guard with an access hatch. With this, we didn’t experience any problem with flour dust flying in the air, and adding ingredients while the motor was working was truly easy!
4. Cusimax CMKM-218
Cusimax CMKM-218 is probably one of the most stunning stand mixers in the market. It has a sleek body that is available in 8 colors, with the stainless finish being our personal favorite. On the other hand, besides its beauty, it also boasts of great performance which is possible through its 500 W power.
In our test, it provided the same excellent rotating movements to do its job efficiently. When we tried the attachments, each one had just the right reach on the bottom and sides wall of the bowl. With a sufficient amount of content, it performed really well in producing evenly mixed and kneaded batter and dough. For the entire 20 minutes we were using it, it didn't overheat regardless of how thick the mixtures were. Compared to others, its noise level was also lower despite its huge body and powerful motor.
Just like the Aucma Tilt-Head, it has a splash guard that can be attached to the head of the machine itself. It is additional work but doing it is pretty simple. We also love that the guard has a tiny door that you can lift to access the pouring hole.
On the other hand, while cleaning the bowl itself and guard is easy, it is a different story when it comes to its hook and beater. Unlike the attachments of other models, the coat and finish of the said attachments can be damaged easily when cleaned inappropriately. With this, we can say that this is the only reason that prevents it from getting our perfect score. Yet, it shouldn’t discourage you from considering this monster as it is also one of the most affordable stand mixers out there with a powerful motor.
5. Hamilton Beach 63391
It is true that the KitchenAid Professional 600 set the standard among stand mixers. While the quality, features, and performance of the machine are unbeatable, its price might not impress everyone. If you are one of those folks who want to have the quality of the said model but don't have the money to burn, we have a good alternative for you: Hamilton Beach 63391.
It is a 4-quart stand mixer which is relatively smaller than other units we reviewed. It also has a lower power at 300 W, but it can be a handy and reliable stand mixer for medium-duty mixing processes. It managed to handle thick batter and bread dough in our test. Nonetheless, its motor isn’t the only thing to thank for its excellent work. This model’s mixing system is borrowed from the more expensive models like those in KitchenAid Professional 600. It employs the planetary mixing movement in its attachment, ensuring maximum interaction to the content in the bowl. When we used it, we loved how it mixed everything thoroughly and kneaded dough much better than other units at the same price point. The movement of the attachments and the shape of the bowl worked harmoniously, so there was minimal bowl scraping needed for us afterward.
Besides the attractive price, we also love how quality its details are. There is a 7-speed dial on the bottom side of the unit and what’s interesting about it is the fact that each level has a distinctive speed in it. We also love the addition of a top handle in the unit and 2 bowl side handles, so carrying them can be done with pure ease. There are also 4 suction feet at the bottom of the appliance, so it doesn’t wiggle that much when it is mixing thick dough and batter. With all of these things, it can definitely outscore its other expensive rivals in the market!
Best Stand Mixers - Buyer's Guide
A decent stand mixer should at least have 300 W of power. For bakers, a unit with at least 500 W is a must. If you are always mixing heavy doughs and using the machine almost every day for an extended period of time, make sure to find one that has high wattage to prevent overheating.
If you are just using it to mix small amounts of mixtures, a small stand mixer with a small bowl is just enough. It will also let you save some counter space. However, for home bakers who need to prepare multiple batches of bread and cookies, a bigger bowl is better.
Of all the stand mixers we tested, only the KitchenAid Professional 600 has the bowl-lift design. This allows the attachments to have a better reach in the content of the bowl and give it better balance as the machine works. However, checking the mixture (e.g. stiff peak of meringue) with such a design of bowl placement can be laborious.
You're probably thinking that the more speed settings, the better. Well, that is right as it will give you better control over the speed. However, it still depends on how it will perform in the actual setup. Some models give you a bunch of numbers but you won’t see significant differences in their speed.
Best Stand Mixers - FAQs
Do not settle for a stand mixer with a wattage level lower than 250 W. Instead, get at least 300 W or more. To ensure that it can handle heavy work, it is better to get a model with 500 W or more.
There are some stand mixers that accept grinding attachments like the Cuisinart SM-50. To make sure your stand mixer allows this, check their descriptions and the attachments that they take.
No, the attachments of the stand mixer are not designed to touch the wall or the bottom of the bowl as it has a direct effect on the motor. In this case, try to adjust and raise it.