When it comes to baking, having the right tools can make all the difference in the world.
In our last post, we took a look at the benefits and drawbacks of manual hand mixers.
In this post, we’re going to do our best to help you determine which type of electric mixer, a hand mixer or stand mixer, makes the most sense for your situation.
As a baker, mixing ingredients is just part of the job. There are many ways to accomplish this simple task, including using a spatula, using a manual mixer, using an electric hand mixer, and using a stand mixer.
Each method has its benefits and drawbacks, and depending on the situation, one method might make more sense for you than another.
In the text that follows, we are going to dive into the benefits and drawbacks of the two most efficient ways to mix your ingredients: using an electric hand mixer and using a stand mixer.
We will also take a look at our favorite model in each category. If neither option makes sense for your situation, take a look at how to mix batter without a mixer at all.
Now, let’s get started!
What are the benefits of electric mixers?
Electric mixers provide many benefits over manual mixers, and electric hand mixers and electric stand mixers each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at how each type compares to one another.
One of the main reasons that most people look at electric mixers is the added convenience that they bring.
Electric mixers can do the work of a manual mixer (or spatula) in a fraction of the time, all without you having to break a sweat!
You will benefit from this convenience with both hand mixers and stand mixers. However, stand mixers make things even easier.
With a hand mixer, you might not have to do any stirring or whisking, like you would with a manual mixer, but you still have to work the mixer around the mixing bowl by hand to ensure that all of your ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
With a stand mixer, on the other hand, it can be as simple as putting your ingredients in the mixing bowl, setting the correct speed setting, and walking away. If you bake regularly, this can save you a lot of time in the long run.
Counter space and storage
While stand mixers provide the most benefits in regards to convenience, the same can’t be said for the amount of counter space and storage space that they require.
Electric hand mixers have a relatively small frame, when compared to stand mixers. Most models also come equipped with removable attachments, which makes it even easier to store your mixer in your cabinet or drawer.
When in use, a hand mixer will generally either sit right in the mixing bowl or right next to the mixing bowl. Either way, it has a relatively small footprint.
Stand mixers, on the other hand, are not ideal when it comes to counter space and cabinet space. They tend to be heavy and have a relatively large footprint.
Because of the bulky nature of stand mixers, you usually have a few options for storage.
One, you take it apart after each use and use up a decent chunk of your cabinet space. Two, you store it in a different part of the house where you have more storage space. Or Three, you simply leave it on the counter at all times.
The frequency that you tend to use a mixer will typically determine which option makes the most sense for your situation. Just know that stand mixers do eat into your counter space quite a bit, at least when in use.
Ease of use
Both hand mixers and stand mixers are pretty simple to use. They both typically have removable attachments that can be easily swapped out for different applications or for cleaning.
Hand mixers are generally pretty light in weight, making them easy to maneuver. However, the fact that you have to maneuver them by hand means that they require more physical work than stand mixers.
When mixing ingredients, you have to move the beaters around the mixing bowl to make sure you get to every part of your mixture. Depending on the thickness of the mixture, this can sometimes get tiring after a while.
Unlike hand mixers, stand mixers are not light. In fact, they are quite heavy. They are also relatively bulky in size.
If possible, it’s ideal to leave a stand mixer right on the counter, once you’ve decided where you want to keep it. Using the mixer itself is very easy. You simply pour your ingredients into the mixing bowl, set the speed, and turn it on.
You’ll then want to keep an eye on it, and depending on the type of mixture and the mixer itself, you might have to push some of the ingredients from the edges of the bowl toward the center. Overall, stand mixers are extremely easy to use.
The amount of work required to clean a mixer really depends on the specific model that you get. Some mixers are made of parts that don’t provide a good food release.
A lot of mixers now come with easily detachable parts that make it a bit easier to clean the hard to reach spots on a mixer. Some of these parts are safe to wash in the dishwasher.
As we just mentioned, this all depends on the specific model of mixer that you get, but does apply to both hand and stand mixers. Just keep these points in mind when comparing different models.
For most, cost represents the most important factor when deciding whether to purchase a hand mixer or a stand mixer. In this respect, hand mixers win hands down. A typical hand mixer will run you under $50, whereas a decent stand mixer will run between $150 and $500.
If cost is a major concern for you, a hand mixer probably makes the most sense for your situation. A hand mixer can generally produce the same results as a stand mixer, but requires a bit more effort on the part of the end user.
If cost is not a serious factor for you, you should focus more on the other benefits and drawbacks that we’ve covered to determine which type of mixer makes the most sense for your situation.
Now that we’ve looked at some of the benefits and drawbacks of using a hand mixer vs. using a stand mixer, let’s take a look at our favorite model in each category.
250 W Hand Mixer from VonShef
Not everyone can afford a KitchenAid stand mixer, and not everyone that can afford one wants one either. Aside from being a fraction of the price, a hand mixer has a lot to offer the home baker.
This stylish, hand cake mixer from VonShef is worth a look, if you’re looking for power and functionality at a low cost and in a small package.
While aesthetics don’t impact the functionality of a kitchen appliance, it’s still an important factor to consider.
The red and silver finish on this mixer should stand out and should look nice next to the other appliances in your kitchen. The silver wraps around the body, as well as across the top, with black buttons accenting the shiny surface.
This mixer is nice and compact, coming in with dimensions of 7.2 in x 4.3 in x 3 in. The small size of the appliance is part of the appeal of electric hand mixers.
The attachments are removable, and the back end of the unit is flat, allowing it to conveniently sit on a counter or in a cabinet, when not in use.
Although this mixer is small when compared to a stand up mixer, it has quite a bit of functionality and really packs a punch.
At 250 watts of power, this small, kitchen appliance is equipped to handle some thicker doughs or mixtures, such as mashed potatoes.
To better accommodate different mixtures, this mixer offers 5 speed settings, as well as a turbo button. The various speed settings allow you to do anything from whipping cream to stirring thick gravy.
Although not specific to this particular model, another benefit that a hand mixer provides is ease of use, due to the smaller form factor and lightweight design.
While stand mixers are heavy and take up a considerable amount of counter space, electric hand mixers are light and easy to use and store.
While this mixer is perfect for mixing cake batter for cakes or cupcakes, it can be used for a multitude of other foods and mixtures as well. Whether you just need to stir your gravy, whisk egg whites, or mix a thick dough, this mixer can do it all.
At 250 watts, it can handle most tasks you would normally throw at it.
With this mixer, you’ll receive 2 beaters, 2 dough hooks, and a balloon whisk. These attachments can easily be removed and exchanged using the eject button on the upper part of the handle on the appliance.
A mixing bowl is not included and would need to be purchased separately.
What else to consider?
Overall, this baking hand mixer has a lot going for it. However, there are drawbacks to going with a hand mixer.
First, you have a cord to deal with. The cord on this mixer is 5 feet in length and comes out from the side. While not typically a big deal, you have to make sure the cord stays out of your way, and you have to make sure you have an electrical outlet close by to provide power to the device.
Also, hand mixers take a little more work to accomplish the task. Unlike a stand mixer, where you can often set it and forget it, with a baking hand mixer, you need to work the mixer around the bowl by hand, and you can’t set it down and walk away.
Another disadvantage of hand mixers is the power. While this model is pretty powerful at 250 watts, stand mixers often come rated at over 500 watts. This means you might have to work a little harder to achieve the same results that you would with a stand mixer.
While there are some drawbacks to using a hand cake mixer, the affordability of them typically makes it worth the investment. At a small fraction of the cost of a stand mixer, it’s difficult to fault a hand mixer for its shortcomings.
This mixer from VonShef in particular is a solid, small-kitchen appliance, with very few negatives. As long as you’re willing to put in a little more elbow grease while baking, this mixer can accomplish just about any mixing job you throw at it. At such an affordable cost, it’s well worth giving it an honest look.
- Electric hand cake mixer
- 250 watt motor for whisking, kneading, or mixing
- 5 speed settings, plus a turbo button
- An ejection button to easily change attachments
- 2 beaters, 2 dough hooks, and a balloon whisk
- All accessories are dishwasher safe
KitchenAid Tilt Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl
If you’re like most people, KitchenAid is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a stand mixer. Known for their quality and reliability, KitchenAid has become a household name.
Although an electric mixer is never a necessity when you’re mixing cake batter or making cookie dough, the convenience and ease of use that the appliance provides make it easy to justify the cost.
Before deciding to go with a stand mixer, decide whether or not you need one.
Most KitchenAid stand mixers come equipped with a similar set of features as a standard offering, such as a mixing bowl, multiple speeds, and a tilt head.
At the same time, each mixer usually has some features that set it aside from the others. This electric mixer is no exception.
What comes standard?
First, let’s discuss some of the more typical features that this mixer has in common with other KitchenAid stand mixers. One such feature is the tilt head.
The tilt head provides easy access to the mixing bowl, both when adding and removing a mixture, by shifting the entire top portion of the mixer back at an angle.
This is a common feature, but it’s worth mentioning, as its added convenience makes removing or emptying the bowl, as well as changing attachments, a quick and easy process.
Another common feature is the heavy-duty, zinc frame. When you get your hands on a KitchenAid stand mixer, it’s pretty apparent that they’re built to last. The metal body on these appliances are part of what make them so reliable and trusted by bakers and chefs worldwide.
While we’re on the topic of the frame, this particular model is offered in 10 beautiful colors. Unlike some of their other models, these colors are all very bold and unique.
If you don’t want your mixer to stand out in your kitchen, you might want to look elsewhere.
What makes this model unique?
Now that we’ve covered some of the more standard features, let’s take a look at some of the features that make this baking mixer unique.
The first thing you’ll probably notice when you see this mixer is the glass bowl. The glass mixing bowl really sets this mixer apart from its competition and provides some unique benefits.
One of the benefits of the glass bowl is its unique appearance. While that might not sound like much of a benefit, combined with the bold colors of this particular model, this mixer really makes a statement in your kitchen. It will be instantly noticed by your guests.
The 5 quart, glass bowl features measurement markings. These marks can be beneficial when pouring out a mixture.
Speaking of pouring out a mixture, the glass mixing bowl features both a handle and a spout. The handle and spout make it very easy to transfer your mix to a pan to bake.
Another feature of this model is the power hub. The power hub is fairly common on KitchenAid mixers and allows you to add various attachments to the appliance.
For example, you can use a beater to mix a batter, then use a dough hook to knead bread, then a pasta maker to create pasta. This versatility is one of the reasons that KitchenAid has become so popular.
This baking mixer also features 10 speed settings. Although it’s not uncommon for a mixer to feature various speeds, this mixer does offer a wide range of speeds, which makes it ideal for just about any task, whether it’s mixing, kneading, or stirring.
What do I get?
So what comes with this mixer? Well, this mixer comes with a 5 quart, glass bowl. It also includes a metal dough hook, a 6-wire whip, and a flex edge beater.
The flex edge beater is a favorite of many bakers, because it saves time when mixing. The beater has a flexible edge that continuously scrapes the edge of the bowl while mixing, which significantly reduces the need to scrape the sides with a spatula.
What else should I consider?
While this baking mixer has a ton of great features, nothing is perfect. First, let’s talk about that glass bowl that we’re so fond of. The glass mixing bowl is very unique for a mixer and really makes it stand out.
However, glass bowls are heavy, which can make pouring, or even moving the bowl, more difficult than it should be.
Glass is also breakable. Combined with the fact that the bowl is heavy, it’s not difficult to see a situation where the bowl might be dropped, leading to a dangerous mess of glass on the floor.
On the plus side, you can purchase the bowls separately, if you were to ever break one.
Another thing to consider with this mixer is the power rating. The wattage on this electric mixer is 300, while some models go well over 500. This is something to keep in mind, if you often bake with thicker mixes.
While this mixer will likely handle your thicker dough just fine, it will struggle a little more than a model with a higher wattage.
In all honesty, you can’t go wrong with a mixer from KitchenAid. As we mentioned, they all have some features in common, with something setting each one apart from the next.
KitchenAid mixers are a staple in most bakers’ kitchens, and with good reason. They’re reliable, they’re durable, and they’re just a high quality appliance overall.
Yes, they do tend to cost a little more than the competition, but it’s pretty easy to justify the cost when the product is this good.
As we mentioned earlier, no one really needs a mixer. However, if you’re serious about baking, or you simply want to make things a little easier for yourself in the kitchen, a mixer is great to have.
It’s one of those things that you’ll look back at and wonder how you ever got by without one.
- Heavy-duty mixer
- 5 quart, glass bowl
- Metal dough hook, 6-wire whip, and flex edge beater
- 300 watts
- Power hub that supports more than 15 optional attachments
- 10 speeds
- Tilt head
- Offered in 10 colors
- 1 year replacement warranty
Wrapping it up
In this post, we’ve taken a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of using hand mixers and stand mixers, and we’ve also taken a closer look at our favorite model of each type.
We hope that we were able to give you some food for thought as you decide which type of mixer makes the most sense for you.
Before committing to one or the other, take some time to think about what you’ll most often be using the mixer for. This thought process should help to guide you toward the type of mixer that makes the most sense for your needs.
As always, leave us a comment below to let us know what you decide and how you like it!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.