Are you a cake connoisseur? Do you love making delicious dough? Or are you just fed up with mixing by hand and need a trusty kitchen appliance in your life?
Whatever it is that you’re specializing in, there’s a mixer out there that’s just perfect for you! However, which type of mixer you go for all depends on your needs. It’s important to consider your space, who you’re baking for, how regularly you’re baking, and what kind of mixtures and batters you’re dealing with the most. Before you go making any final decisions on which mixer is right for you, you need to think of all of these factors.
In this article, I’ve sifted all the ingredients into a light mixture for you to whip through. Within minutes, you’ll be able to discern which of these types of mixers is a no, and which is a go!
Your Guide To The Different Types Of Mixers for Baking
There are so many variations of mixers on the market that it can be overwhelming to pick the best one. Here are a few of my favorite options, which provide alternative functions and suit different baking needs.
Hand mixers, stand mixers, and manual mixers are all different types of mixers, each with their own uses, benefits and drawbacks. Which mixer is right for you depend on what your specific requirements are.
Hand mixers are an excellent choice if you’re going to be doing a moderate amount of baking. They are light, portable, and come in a range of sizes and speeds. What I love about hand mixers is the amount of control you get while mixing. Since you can move the mixer around the bowl, you get to see and feel the consistency of your batter and whether the ingredients have been incorporated properly.
The number of times I have overwhipped cream in the stand mixer is just too many! Now, to be on the safe side, I use my hand mixer as I can turn it off as soon as I see my cream is ready.
The downside to handheld mixers is that they can be slower, less powerful, and more tiresome to use than stand mixers as you have to hold them. They are also not the best at making bread dough as you need a more powerful mixer to do this, preferably a stand mixer.
Hand mixers are ideal if:
- You are not a regular baker, but need to mix on occasion
- You are making smaller quantities of baked goods
- You have limited space in the kitchen
- You don’t tend to make much bread dough
Stand mixers are like the bigger and better version of a hand mixer. Just like hand mixers, they come in all sorts of different sizes and motor sizes. The bigger the motor size, the more powerful your stand mixer is and the more versatile your baking can be. There are a few different types of stand mixers to consider with various motors and motions, depending on what type of baker you are.
Stand mixers are excellent if:
- You’re baking regularly and want to save time
- You are making large quantities of mixture
- You have space to keep an appliance sitting out on the bench
Here are a few of the different kinds of stand mixers you can choose from:
Bowl lift stand mixers are the most powerful stand mixers out there. They tend to have a greater capacity for ingredients and are generally used for making large quantities.
So, if you’re looking for optimum mixing power and capacity, a stand mixer with a bowl lift feature is the one for you!
Tilt head mixers are the most common ones we see on the shelves. They tend to have less power than the sturdy bowl lift designs, but they are great for ease of use. Tilt head mixers are ideal for beginner bakers, and can mix small quantities as well as large, unlike a bowl lift mixer which is generally used for large batch baking.
They also tend to allow for lesser amounts of ingredients, so they’re good for small batches.
Spiral mixers are your best option if you want to mix heavier, high-quality dough consistently. These mixers are not as common as the tilt head or bowl lift types, but the best example of a spiral mixer is the Ankarsrum mixer.
The bowl rotates as the blade mixes, and they’re ideal for mixing pizza and bread dough.
On the downside, spiral mixers are generally larger and rather expensive, and they’re more commonly used in commercial setups.
Before there were stand mixers, many bakers had to settle for a good ol’ wooden spoon and some brute strength. You can also get whisks, spatulas, as well as manual egg beaters which could also technically be used for mixing batters.
Manual mixers do the job if:
- You have very limited kitchen bench and storage space
- You don’t need to mix things very often
- The quantities that you are mixing are very small
Check out this article for more great tips on manual mixing!
How To Choose The Best Type Of Mixer For You
To make the right mixer appliance choice, you’ll have to take the following into consideration:
Your Baking Needs
Are you baking for the whole neighborhood, a family of five, or just for yourself?
Consider the quantities you’ll be making, and which mixer will suit these needs. A hand mixer is perfect for the irregular baker, or someone who is not mixing large quantities.
With smaller quantities or lightweight mixtures, a handheld mixer does the trick just fine! However, it will still take longer than a more powerful stand mixer.
A stand mixer with a bowl lift will be your best option if you bake most days in large quantities, while the tilt head is generally better suited for the regular family baker or a beginner baker.
If you’re regularly mixing large quantities of heavy dough, then you may want to consider a spiral mixer. But be warned– these can be super pricey! It might just be worth it, though, if you’re cutting costs by baking your own treats and bread. Plus, you’ll definitely save time with this highly efficient design.
Mixers come in all sorts of different prices. A spatula or wooden spoon is going to come in at a slightly cheaper price than a bowl lift mixer, obviously. They can literally only cost a couple of dollars, making manual mixers the cheapest ones. Hand mixers are the cheapest electrical mixer and can range from anywhere between $20 to $150, depending on the brand you get.
If you’re going to be keeping your mixer under the bench or up in an overhead cupboard, you’ll need to consider the weight of your appliance.
If you’re going to have to move the appliance every time you want to use it (and if you use it regularly), then you might opt for a smaller appliance such as a handheld mixer.
You’ll want an appliance that has the appropriate speed settings for your needs. With a manual mixing utensil, you can only go as fast and as hard as your arms can take you. Hand mixers usually have three to nine speeds, and most stand mixers have up to ten or twelve speeds. If you want a powerful mixer, it’s not the speed settings you want to look at but what type of motor the mixer is. Mixers with DC motors produce more power than AC motors.
Another thing to consider is the amount of space you have to store your appliance. If you have limited bench space, you’ll most likely want a hand mixer that’s easy to tuck away and bring out when it’s needed.
If you have plenty of bench space, then a stand mixer is an ideal appliance to keep stored right there on the bench for ease of use.
If you are extremely limited on both bench and cupboard space, a manual mixing utensil might be more suited to your needs.
The range of attachments that come with each type of mixer might also be something to consider. With a hand mixer, you typically get two beaters, which is enough for your general mixing and whipping. Some models also come with dough hooks as well but it is generally not recommended to mix tougher doughs with a hand mixer as there is not enough power to withstand tough batters.
With the stand mixers, you get your standard attachments; the dough hook, flat beater, and wire whip, which are plenty for all your baking needs, from mixing cake batter to whipping meringue and kneading dough. With some models, like KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and Smeg, you also have the option to choose from additional attachments like pasta rollers, juicers, food grinders, and ice cream makers. If you want to use your stand mixer for more than just baking, then you might want to take a look at some of the brands I mentioned above!
There’s no denying that some of the mixers look more like a centerpiece than a useable appliance (looking at you Smeg!). Many of our favorite stand mixer brands don’t just do the job of mixing up our favorite desserts, they are also very easy on the eyes and make for a great kitchen centerpiece. Most stand mixers these days come in a huge range of materials and colors so that you can match them perfectly to your kitchen style.
Hand mixers come in a smaller variety of styles and colors, but they are usually kept tucked away in a cupboard so the appearance is less important.
Ease of Cleaning
Hand mixers are the best when it comes to cleaning up time. Just whip off the beaters, give them a quick wash, and they’re good as new!
On the other hand, with stand mixers, you end up with a ton of different pieces and attachments that need cleaning.
To ensure the longevity of your appliance, you’ll also want to wipe down the entire thing to remove any residue that could lead to erosion of the metals.
The Bottom Line
If you were to ask me which one I think is the best type of mixer, I would definitely be recommending a tilt-head mixer. These types of mixers are great all-rounders, perfect for both beginners and seasoned pros, and can mix a variety of tasty treats. But, which one you choose all comes down to what your individual baking needs are.
For huge quantities of ingredients, the spiral stand mixer takes the cake. However, these are expensive and generally significant in both size and weight.
For pro home bakers with a fair amount of space, you might want to opt for the lift bowl stand mixer. For those with lighter baking needs, consider the tilt-head stand mixer or a handheld. When it comes to the lightest of duties, a bit of manual mixer may be all that’s needed!