Not all stand mixers are built the same. Some are basic and only come equipped with a standard whisk, while others have all sorts of interchangeable attachments for various applications. If you’re looking for the latter, you’ve come to the right place.
Among the pricier kitchen appliances, stand mixers with attachments are purchases that most of us don’t take lightly. As any experienced baker knows, a stand mixer can be a valuable—even crucial—baking resource. Even the most expert baker would be hard pressed to whip up a batch of icing by hand that could truly compete with the fluffy, light, and airy texture that a good stand mixer can create. At the same time, though, a bad mixer can set us back quite a bit of money while still not functioning adequately for our baking needs.
I’ve found that the attachments a mixer has, and how well these attachments perform, is often an important consideration and indicator of quality. So, I’ve decided to introduce you to three of my favorite stand mixers, while focusing specific attention on their attachments, in addition to their other attributes. Not everyone needs, or wants, the biggest, sturdiest, or most expensive mixer. My hope is that I’ll be able to help you decide which mixer best meets your own individual needs and expectations.
1 – KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Series KSM150 Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (Top Pick)
For home bakers who want a truly outstanding stand mixer, this mixer from KitchenAid is a product worth seriously considering. Overall, it is extremely well-made and performs wonderfully.
- Over 40 colors to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that matches your kitchen décor or personal taste.
- Includes three useful attachments: flat beater, dough hook, and wire whip (I’ll talk more about these in the section on attachments below).
- Extremely sturdy, well-made mixer that should last for years
- It’s heavy enough that it won’t tilt or jostle around, even when run at its highest speed.
- Adding and removing attachments is smooth and effortless
- Has a large 5-quart bowl with a convenient handle on the side. The 5-quart size makes this large enough to make dough for up to four loaves of bread at a time, making this a great choice for those who like to meal prep or get a lot of baking done at one time.
- Has 10 speed settings, so you have a lot of options. This is particularly useful for batters that are prone to spraying out and making a mess at the beginning; you can start slowly and increase speed once the ingredients are better combined.
- The head tilts backwards to allow convenient access without having to repeatedly remove and replace the bowl.
- This is quite heavy—part of the reason it is so sturdy and durable—which can be a problem for those who have difficulty lifting heavy objects. I’ve found this to be mostly a problem when trying to store this in high cupboards. If you have plenty of counter space in your kitchen, one solution is to simply leave this in the same place.
- This isn’t one of the cheapest mixers available, so it will require a bit of an investment. Fortunately, it should last for years and will outlive many less expensive products.
This comes with the following attachments:
Coated flat beater: This strong beater does a great job of whipping up batters quickly and effectively. One downside to this beater—which I’ve found to be a common issue with coated beaters in general—is that, over time, it is prone to the enamel flaking off. This doesn’t affect functionality until quite a bit of the coating is chipped off, but no one likes pieces of enamel in their batter. These are fairly inexpensive to replace, though; you just need to make sure to find a replacement that fits your mixer’s specific model. Dishwasher-safe (just put it on the top rack only).
Dough hook: This is the perfect attachment for making yeast breads. This KitchenAid mixer really stands out when it comes to its breadmaking functionality. With this hook, you can easily mix and knead your dough quickly and effectively. Those who’ve experimented with kneading dough in a variety of different stand mixers may be aware of some of the common pitfalls—uneven mixing, incompletely kneaded dough stuck to the edges of the bowl, and even the mixer itself becoming unstable during kneading—and will be pleasantly surprised by how well this mixer evades those problems. The dough hook does a great job of mixing all of the dough evenly; the dough comes out looking as though it was kneaded by hand. This one is also dishwasher-safe on the top shelf.
Wire whip: This attachment works well for making homemade whipped cream, icings and lighter frostings, as well as for desserts that require whipped egg whites, for instance. It does a great job of beating to a light and fluffy texture with just the right amount of airiness. It’s not dishwasher-safe, so you’ll need to hand wash this one, but the lack of a coating means that there aren’t any worries about chipping or peeling. For heavier frostings, you may want to experiment with both this attachment and the flat beater, as there can occasionally be problems with the frosting getting stuck inside this wire whip. After a few trials, though, you should know what works best for you.
Although this comes with three attachments, there are more than 15 other attachments that can be purchased separately and will be useful for specific needs. Some highlights include the Pasta Roller & Cutter which will help make cooking pasta from scratch so much easier, a food grinder that can be used to grind meats, cheese, and vegetables—amongst other things, and even an ice cream maker attachment!
Who Is This For?
This top-of-the-line mixer is great for those who know they will use their mixer fairly frequently. It is a bit costly, so it works best for those who are able to pay a bit more to have a stellar mixer that will last for years and hold up to frequent use. It’s also the heaviest of my recommended stand mixers, so it may be best for those who have enough kitchen space to allow this to stay on the counter, as moving it around frequently can be quite a chore.
What to Consider Before Buying
A high-quality stand mixer such as this is definitely an investment. Before purchasing, you’ll want to make sure you actually need an outstanding mixer. Those who will truly benefit from paying a bit more for a mixer such as this are frequent bakers who need something sturdy and durable, as well as perhaps more infrequent bakers who need a mixer that is truly superior at getting the job done. If you’re only an occasional cake baker, for instance, but when you do bake, you want your icing whipped to perfection, you’ll enjoy having a mixer that does a great job with little effort on your part. Likewise, before buying, make sure you have room in your kitchen—or perhaps a closet somewhere easily accessible—to keep this piece. It is large and takes up a bit of space.
As someone who has quite a bit of experience with stand mixers, I can undoubtedly recommend this as a stellar product. It’s not the cheapest mixer available, and it does have a few small shortcomings, but the KitchenAid KSM150 truly stands out above the rest.
2 – KitchenAid KSM75WH Classic Plus Series 4.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
As another stellar stand mixer from KitchenAid, this one has many of the same pros and cons as the KitchenAid Artisan Mixer discussed previously. There are a few important differences, though, which might make one model a better choice for specific needs and uses. While many people will be best suited by the Artisan mixer, this one may be the better choice for some bakers. So, although both will probably please most baking enthusiasts, I will focus on the specific benefits and downfalls of this model so that you can make an informed choice.
- Less expensive than the KitchenAid Artisan model, although still a bit of an investment
- Heavy-duty construction makes this durable and sturdy
- Has 10 speeds, so it is just as customizable, in terms of speed settings, as more expensive models
- Approximately 10 pounds lighter than the Artisan model, making this a great choice if you don’t have room to always keep a mixer on your kitchen counter. This model is much easier to more around.
- The bowl doesn’t have a handle, making it slightly less convenient when compared to other mixers. A bowl with a handle which fits this model can be purchased separately (find out where), if you prefer.
- Doesn’t come in a wide variety of colors, so it can’t be matched to exact kitchen décor, although, with its clean white design, it is still an attractive machine that blends in well and should look great on any countertop.
Like the Artisan Stand Mixer, this comes with a coated flat beater, dough hook, and wire whip attachments. All of these work great with this model as well, and the same comments apply for the most part. One thing to note, though, is that the dough hook seems to work a bit better on the Artisan model than it does on this one. Kneading dough puts a fair amount of pressure on the machine, and the heavier, sturdier model does outperform this one a bit. You may find that you need to knead longer, or sometimes stop and rearrange the placement of the dough in this machine, in order to get it completely and properly kneaded.
One great thing about Kitchen Aid’s optional attachments is that most work on all models. Like the Artisan mixer, this model can also use over 15 optional attachments, and if you ever do decide to upgrade to a more expensive Kitchen Aid mixer, you’ll likely be able to keep the same attachments.
Who Is This For?
This is a great mixer for frequent bakers who want an exceptional mixer that is lighter weight, a bit cheaper, and somewhat easier to maneuver than some of the other KitchenAid mixers. It is particularly suitable to those who don’t have enough counter space to keep a mixer as a permanent countertop fixture and so will need to move it around often for storage. It’s also great for those who mostly use mixers for icings and cookies and such that don’t require the heavy kneading of yeast breads.
What to Consider Before Buying
Although somewhat cheaper, this is still an investment. Before purchasing, consider what you’ll be using the mixer for most often. If it’s yeast breads, this may not be the best choice, but it is outstanding for many other purposes. Also, it helps to think about where you will keep your mixer and whether having a designer model that matches your exact kitchen décor is of primarily importance to you.
Kitchen Aid makes many fine stand mixers. This model is a great choice for those who want something a bit lighter weight and a bit less expensive that still has top-notch capabilities.
3 – Hamilton Beach 64650 6-Speed Classic Stand Mixer, Stainless Steel (Budget Pick)
No one will call it a top-of-the-line stand mixer, but this classic mixer from Hamilton Beach is a great budget-friendly option, especially well-suited to those who don’t bake frequently and need a mixer more for icings and lighter cake batters, as opposed to heavy-duty yeast breads or denser cookie doughs.
- This is a very affordable mixer with some impressive capabilities, especially for such an inexpensive piece.
- The 4-quart bowl is large enough for working with fairly large amounts of batter or dough.
- The top detaches and functions as a hand mixer, a nice feature that can be particularly convenient when you need to quickly mix or whisk something and don’t want to transfer it.
- Comes with six attachments, which will be discussed further below
- Lightweight and doesn’t take up too much space
- Has six speeds which allows for a bit of customization, although you may find that this mixer has difficulty working at quicker speeds.
- Easy to take apart and clean
- In order to get even mixing, you’ll likely need to stop this periodically and use a spatula to rearrange the ingredients in the bowl, scraping the sides and bottom.
- Doesn’t work well with heavier doughs and batters. It will often jam and temporarily stop working in such cases; the motor simply isn’t strong enough.
- As a cheaper, less sturdy mixer, this is unlikely to last as long as many of the more expensive products.
- Can be loud while in use
- When used as a hand mixer, this can be a bit heavy and difficult to handle for more than a minute or two.
This comes with two beaters, two dough hooks, and one whisk. None of these are coated, so there aren’t any worries about peeling enamel. One negative issue, which exists with all of these attachments, is that they don’t reach the bottom of the bowl. This makes it difficult to achieve even mixing when used as a stand mixer. The workaround for this problem is to periodically stop and stir by hand, then resume the mixing process.
Beaters: The beaters work well for cookie doughs and cake batters. They are easy to clean and fairly durable, although they have difficulty handling thicker batters such as peanut butter cookie dough. These beater attachments do have a tendency to veer to the side, however, and it is usually necessary to turn the bowl a few times in order to achieve even mixing.
Whisk: This has a standard whisk which does a great job with icings, whipping egg whites, and making whipped cream. The whisk is easy to clean and works great both in the stand and hand mixer modes. If whisking is your main need for a mixer, you can rest assured that this is one area in which this mixer particularly shines. The one downside to the whisk attachment is that it can sometimes take a minute to put in properly—the fit isn’t perfect for ease of use.
Dough hooks: The dough hook attachments are capable of kneading enough dough for one loaf of bread at a time. This is a significant difference from many other stand mixers on the market which, like the two Kitchen Aid models above, are capable of kneading enough dough for three or four loaves at a time. Similarly, even when kneading just one loaf, this mixer has some difficulty. You’ll probably need to stop the mixer and do some stirring periodically, and in the end, with thicker doughs, you may need to do some kneading by hand, as this machine isn’t suitable for many dense doughs. It should be noted, though, that this isn’t just a problem with the dough hook attachment itself, but also an issue of the mixer’s motor not being very powerful.
There a couple optional attachments for this mixer, but they aren’t readily available. In general, you should plan to use this exclusively with the attachments it comes with. Those interested in using a stand mixer for making homemade pasta or ice cream, for instance, should look into other mixers such as those by KitchenAid discussed previously.
Who is This For?
This is a great choice for the budget-conscious baker who doesn’t frequently need a mixer. It works best for those who use stand mixers mostly for light work such as making icings or beating egg whites.
What to Consider Before Buying
An important thing to consider is one’s budget. If you are a frequent baker and can afford a higher-quality mixer, it is worth considering the Kitchen Aid products discussed earlier. But, if budget is an important consideration, and you are willing to buy a mixer that will likely need to be replaced in the future, this really is a good option. It can help streamline the baking process and save time and effort while also providing the light, fluffy consistency in foods such as icings and whipped cream that is difficulty to achieve by hand.
Is this as good as most higher-end stand mixers? No, it is not. Is this a decent, viable option for many people? Absolutely. As a very affordable product, this stand mixer functions fairly well and makes owning a stand mixer a possibility for more people. Not everyone bakes enough to need a large, heavy-duty mixer. This Hamilton Beach model is inexpensive, lightweight, and takes up little space in the kitchen. It also functions remarkably well for such an inexpensive piece.
Do you have experience with any of these mixers? If so, which one is your favorite, and which attachments do you like the most? Let us know in the comments below.