Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to find some new at-home hobbies. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been watching a ton of baking and cooking shows during 2020’s era of stay-at-home guidelines — and after weekend-long marathons of The Great British Baking Show and Nailed It!, it’s only natural to want to scratch that baking itch yourself. I mean, we all remember the banana bread phase of quarantine, right?
Well, whether you’re a longtime baker looking to spruce up your gadgets ahead of the holidays or a first-timer looking to whip up some pies, cookies, cobblers and cakes, a quality stand mixer is a must-have item in any baker’s arsenal. For the uninitiated, it’s important to note that these mixers are viewed as investments. While you can find a quality handheld mixer at a budget price, if you’re looking for a stand model with a particular aesthetic or size — or a model with all the bells and whistles — then you want to invest in one you can rely on for years to come. We’ve rounded up the best of the best, and all you have to do is nab one before it’s time to bake this year’s batch of Christmas cookies.
Best Budget Mixer
With nearly 4,000 five-star reviews, the Dash Stand Mixer is a real crowd-pleaser. This versatile machine is perfect for making frosting, creamy dressing, doughs and much, much more. And the best part about the Dash? It can do everything a pricier model is capable of doing — but for a fraction of the cost.
Best High-End Mixer
Who doesn’t love a few bells and whistles, especially when it comes to kitchen gadgets? There are some pretty cool reasons top-notch stand mixers cost a pretty penny, which is all the more reason you shouldn’t just jump into this kind of big investment. Our recommendation? The tried and true KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, which customers applaud for its ability to knead bread dough, shred chicken and beat perfect mixtures every time.
Best Mixer for Large Batches
If you’re looking for a solution to large-scale cooking projects, but you aren’t quite ready to invest in a KitchenAid or Cuisinart mixer, the Aucma Stand Mixer offers the perfect solution. Amazon rates it as the best stand mixer for large batches — and customers agree, with more than 3,000 reviewers awarding the appliance five stars. So, what makes the Aucma mixer stand out?
Best Compact Mixer
Although it functions much like a KitchenAid, the Hamilton Beach Electric Stand Mixer is half the price — and more compact. When it comes to finding a stand mixer that takes up less space, it can be difficult to balance size and quality. A lot of ultra-compact mixers simply aren’t quite built to last. Sure, you can likely find an even smaller stand mixer on the market, but this Hamilton Beach model gives you the best of all worlds.
Best Mixer with a Retro Design
Maybe it’s our collective obsession with things like Mad Men, Palm Springs and ‘50s diners — or maybe it’s simply that the mid-century modern aesthetic has come back in style after a few decades. Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that Smeg, a brand perhaps best known for its retro fridges, makes some lovely, eye-catching products. With its distinctive design and appealing pastel colors, the Smeg Retro Style Stand Mixer is no exception.
Best Overall Stand Mixer
There’s a reason Cuisinart is so synonymous with kitchen appliances. The brand is known for making high-quality products that last a lifetime. But first-time bakers and chefs shouldn’t be intimidated, because despite its top-notch features, the Cuisinart Stand Mixer is also incredibly user-friendly, making it a great product for beginners and seasoned bakers alike.