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Best Stand Mixers

By: Saundra Latham on June 19, 2017

Serious bakers need a quality stand mixer

Experts and owners agree: Short of professional-grade models, it's hard to find a better stand mixer than the KitchenAid Artisan (Est. $300). Described as a "workhorse" by many, this 10-speed, 325-watt mixer can power through the toughest duties: kneading bread, mixing thick cookie dough and even tackling several pounds of meat mixtures for loaves and meatballs. But reviewers say it also makes short work of more delicate tasks, such as whipping up creams, meringues and frostings, and creaming butter and sugar into a light, fluffy blend.

The Artisan's 5-quart bowl can mix up enough dough for nine dozen cookies or more than four loaves of bread, but it also can handle small quantities with ease, without the ingredients getting lost or splattered around the bowl. Owners say it's very easy to use; the tilt-head design offers ample access to add ingredients to the bowl and stays securely in place, though it won't lock in the up position, note testers with Reviewed.com. The bowl has a handle that makes it easy to hold and includes a plastic pouring shield to keep messes to a minimum. 

One of the Artisan's most popular features is its array of color options -- more than three dozen in all -- that can complement almost any kitchen décor. The Artisan also has a long-standing reputation for durability, so much so that most reviewers say not to worry about the fact that it comes with only a one-year warranty. Be warned: this is a large mixer. It's heavy and takes up a lot of counter space. If you don't have room to store it on the counter, be sure you can lift its 26 pounds.

If you're a dedicated baker who is willing to pay more for a higher-capacity stand mixer, the KitchenAid Professional 600 Series (Est. $380) boasts those perks with many of the same advantages of its well-known sibling, the Artisan. Chief among them are versatility, the same much-vaunted durability and more than two dozen color choices. 

The Professional 600 has a larger 6-quart bowl that can yield 13 dozen cookies or more than eight loaves of bread. Its motor offers more power (and makes more noise, testers note) than the Artisan's: 575 watts compared with 325. The Professional also boasts a heavy-duty burnished aluminum spiral dough hook and flat beater compared with the Artisan's coated versions. All of these factors combine to make this mixer especially good for frequent bread bakers, reviewers say. Those tasked with more delicate jobs may want to opt for the Artisan; "the whip didn't even make contact" when tasked with a single egg white in tests by TheSweethome.com.

Reviewers say the Professional 600 is easy to use, though some say the bowl-lift design (which lifts the bowl to the mixer head and attachments instead of vice versa) has a longer learning curve than a tilt-head model like the Artisan. It also comes with a plastic pouring shield and bowl with a comfort handle. This mixer is quite heavy at 29 pounds and will probably require a permanent spot on the counter.

A worthy KitchenAid alternative, the Cuisinart SM-55 (Est. $295) is a strong all around performer like the Artisan, but with a few added functions. This mixer did just as well as the Artisan with small, delicate tasks like whipping one egg white or ½ cup of cream, says TheSweethome.com's Lesley Stockton, but wasn't as good with a thick dough. Its 800-watt motor is more than powerful enough for bread, however.

The 12-speed Cuisinart SM-55 has a few bonus features the Artisan lacks: a timer, auto shutoff, and three outlets meant for accessories, sold separately, such as the Pasta Maker (Est. $80) or the Blender Jar (Est. $30). A slow-start feature also aims to keep ingredients from flying out of the bowl, which owners appreciate. Like the Artisan, the Cuisinart SM-55 has an easy-to-use tilt-head design. But some reviewers say they don't like the 5½-quart bowl's double handles, which are too small and high to be useful.

The Cuisinart SM-55's die-cast metal housing should take a beating. The mixer also comes with a generous three-year warranty that extends to five years for the motor, but reviews indicate that Cuisinart's service isn't as seamless as KitchenAid's. The mixer weighs 21 pounds -- no lightweight, but a bit lighter than the Artisan for those who may not want to keep it on the counter. It comes in white, silver and black.

If you're not a frequent bread baker, the Breville BEM800XL Scraper Mixer Pro (Est. $300) has a lot of fans for its sleek, user-friendly design. Reviewers say this stand mixer excels in tasks like whipping and creaming, and is particularly adept with cake batter and cookie dough.

Like the KitchenAid Artisan, the Scraper Mixer Pro has a 5-quart bowl and a user-friendly tilt-head design that offers easy access to ingredients. It offers a more powerful motor (550 watts versus 325) and more speeds (12 versus 10). Other differentiating features: An LED display shows speed and includes a timer, and there is a scraper beater in addition to a flat beater. Reviewers say the scraper beater effectively keeps the sides of the bowl clear and easily incorporates all ingredients. 

Several reviewers say the Scraper Mixer Pro is not the best for bread, though; the Sweethome's Stockton says it rocked back and forth while kneading. The mixer is available in silver, black and red. It's slightly lighter than the Artisan at 21 pounds and has a one-year limited warranty. A few reviewers report overheated motors, particularly when making bread.

Finally, if you just can't stomach paying $300 or more for a stand mixer, don't despair: The 12-speed, 400-watt Hamilton Beach Eclectrics All-Metal Stand Mixer (Est. $175) includes some of the high-end conveniences of the KitchenAid Artisan and its competitors for much less money.

The Eclectrics has a 4½-quart bowl with an ergonomic handle that users say is very comfortable to use, and it has a pouring shield to guard against spills. It also has an easy-to-operate tilt-head design with a head-lock feature that reviewers love. The mixer is reportedly easy to use, though a few reviewers do complain that the release button for the head is awkwardly placed. Some experts also say it has too many crevices to make clean up easy, but few owners note that as an issue.

In professional tests, the Eclectrics ranks right up with the Artisan in whipping and mixing, but it doesn't do quite as well when tasked with mixing the heaviest, thickest dough or kneading larger quantities. The bigger question is durability: While the mixer comes with a generous 3-year warranty, some reviewers report burned-out motors or frequent wobbles on the counter. Customer service gets mixed reviews. It comes in black, white, silver and red.

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