"Always start out with a larger pot than
what you think you need."
— Julia Child

Best Food Mixer Budget

Paul Gonzalez
• Saturday, 05 December, 2020
• 7 min read

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. Although you can mix batters and knead bread dough by hand, these tasks are much more efficient with an electric mixer.

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Some handheld mixers don't have enough power to knead thick dough and churn through large batches of cookie and cake batter. If you're looking for a better way to mix and whip through your recipes, you may want to clear some counter space and invest in a stand mixer.

Of some of our other picks, but what the Kitchen lacks in technology it makes up for in attachments and market ubiquity. You can get this mixer in a wide variety of colors to match or accent your kitchen decor, and the tilt-head makes it easy to switch from paddle to dough hook, add ingredients, or scrape the bowl.

This mixer has a 5-quart bowl and comes with a flat beater, a dough hook, wire whisk, and a pouring shield. More affordable than our top pick, but with a similar tilt-back motor head design, this Cuisinart stand mixer is a great choice for beginner bakers, brand devotees, or anyone who wishes to save a few dollars on a stand mixer without sacrificing quality or power.

It's constructed of metal, has a 500 watt motor, and can be operated at 12 different speeds with the turn of a dial. It features a 5.5-quart stainless steel mixing bowl, which offers plenty of capacity for cakes, cookies, and breads, and comes with a whisk, dough hook, flat mixing paddles, and splash guard with pouring spout.

Customers who chose the Cuisinart over more expensive stand mixers haven't regretted the choice; they say it's durable, built to last, and praise its quiet yet powerful performance. It's available in six colors to match a variety of kitchen decor and backed by a 3-year limited warranty.

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This has the same planetary mixing action as popular high-end mixers, at a budget price, so your cake batters will be smooth and your whipped cream will be fluffy. The 3 1/2 quart mixing bowl is large enough for most baking needs, and the non-slip feet keep the machine stable as it works.

The mixer head tilts up for easy access to the bowl and locks down in use, so it won’t bounce when mixing thick batters and dough. This mixer is powered by a 300-watt motor and includes a chrome-plated aluminum dough hook, wire whisk, and plastic beater for versatility.

This small mixer from Kitchen is 25 percent lighter and has a 20 percent smaller footprint than the company’s classic mixer, but the 250-watt motor and hob attachment mean that it’s compatible with attachments like the pasta roller, grater, spiralizer, and more. This has a 3 1/2 quart bowl, so it won’t hold as much as the full-size models, but it’s fine for dozens of cookies at a time.

Additional food processing accessories can attach to the tilt motor head and are sold separately. Available in a palette of retro hues that coordinate with the other mid-century styled appliances Meg produces.

Clearly meant to be a fixture on your countertop, these Italian stand mixers are not only attractive but powerful with a 600-watt motor and a 5-quart bowl capacity. This tilt-head model’s features include ten speeds, whisk, beater, dough hook attachments, detachable pouring shield, and weighted enough to avoid walking across the counter while mixing.

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Six speeds are easy to adjust with a slider on top of the mixer and a pulse button for getting a mix started. This machine is ideal for whipping cream, meringues, and mixing cake batters.

Final Verdict Donna Carrie is the author of the cookbook Make Ahead Bread and specializes in product reviews and kitchen gadgets, so she knows a thing or two when it comes to stand mixers. She specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats.

The struggles to mix ultra-glutinous dough by hand, or rapidly whip an Italian meringue while juggling boiling sugar are no inconvenience whatsoever with this powerful tool. Originally designed by Hobart for large-scale dough mixing, the company soon realized that this special machine would be incredibly valuable for smaller professional purposes as well as home baking.

With the wide range of attachments, these machines can also grind meat and stuff sausages, while seamlessly transforming into ice cream makers and pasta shelters. If you’re a casual baker or plan on only using your mixer occasionally, a smaller bowl size will accommodate most of your needs.

But keep in mind that larger bowls may actually make it harder to tackle smaller projects. Note that many mixers advertise the bowl size by how many cups of flour they can hold.

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This can be misleading, as the bowls may hold the specified amount of flour, but they may not be able to mix a recipe of the same volume without making a mess or overwhelming the machine. If you’re interested in working with thicker cookie dough and larger volume foods, a 325-watt motor or greater will give your project the power it needs.

If your goal is to regularly work with heavier dough (bagels, pretzels, large batches of bread), the more power the better. However, keep in mind that even with a powerful mixer, you may still need to finish kneading bread dough by hand.

This will help avoid liquid or flour flying out of the bowl when you turn the mixer on, and it can be used when working with especially delicate mixes. The Spruce Eats / Donna Carrie Some machines are equipped with an internal timer and an auto-shutoff function (also called overload protection).

While stand mixers certainly don’t come cheap, there are options for a quality machine in almost every price range. Measure to see how much space you can dedicate to storing your machine on your countertop, with attention given to clearance under your cabinets.

If storing your stand mixer on the counter isn’t an option, you might want to look at machines that are more compact and lightweight for easy storage in a cabinet or on a shelf. While functionality is usually the main concern with most stand mixers, having a color selection available is one of the more exciting choices when buying a new machine.

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Even the more affordable models are typically offered in a limited palette of silver, black, white, red, or blue. If you’re looking for a wider range of colors, Kitchen offers over 30 choices for the Artisan 5-quart model.

As always, refer to your user manual for guidelines specific to your machine, but also pay attention to any visible or audible signs of struggle your mixer may have while in use and work within its capacity. These mixers are on the larger end of the size spectrum and typically a little heavier and more stable.

They pack a more powerful punch, handling tougher dough and mixing projects easier than their smaller and lighter counterparts. This is incredibly useful for recipes requiring multiple additions, and it provides a clear view of the action while working.

This motion is less effective at mixing all the ingredients, so stopping the machine to scrape down the sides and incorporate elements by hand is usually necessary. The brand name is nearly synonymous with the machine at this point, which isn’t entirely surprising since it’s the original.

Fans of the machine love the interchangeable attachments compatible with almost every style of mixer Kitchen makes. Cuisinart has stepped up its appliance game over the last couple of decades, branching out from its original core food processor line to higher-quality kitchen appliances like stand mixers, juicers, bread machines, and home countertop ice cream makers.

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The designs are unfussy, with contemporary brushed stainless steel features for a consistent look across the company’s wide range of products. An easily recognizable name in the kitchen appliance market, Hamilton Beach has a reputation for economically priced equipment that’s sturdy enough for regular home use.

Its massive line of kitchen equipment is typically easy to operate, clean, and store. Wolf appliances are typically the envy of very high-end kitchens, with the focus primarily on sleek and powerful ranges, cook tops, and ovens.

It would be surprising if you managed to whip up an entire cake without a puff of flour or a splash of cream hitting your mixer. Most mixers are very easy to clean, requiring little more than soapy water and a sponge, but try to wipe them down as soon as possible after using to avoid caked-on splatter.

For a glossy finished machine, avoid the rough scrubber side of the sponge to keep from dulling the shine of your mixer. Mechanical attachments, like pasta shelters, may need to be hand washed or simply wiped.

The brand also offers designer bowl replacements and even third-party accessories given the popularity of the Kitchen machines. For the more ambitious baker, it’s nice to have a second mixing bowl and attachment set for projects that include mixing and whipping a variety of ingredients quickly so you don’t have to break to wash dishes in the middle of a complex recipe (like a delicate fickle mousse).

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Enthusiastic cooks and casual bakers alike will find this machine a valuable addition to their kitchens. If you find your cooking repertoire has grown with the addition of such helpful tools, you may eventually want to upgrade your machine.

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