Food mixers

Benchtop mixer or hand mixer, which is best?

Red food mixer.

Which mixer makes baking a breeze?

If you enjoy baking, a food mixer is a handy kitchen gadget. We've tested benchtop and hand-held models to help you find the best performer.

We've tested 37 food mixers.

Find a food mixer

Which type will suit your needs?

Benchtop food mixers

Bench mixers make light work of mixing cake batter, kneading dough and beating egg whites at the turn of a dial. Some models also have optional attachments like blenders, mincers and sausage makers, and additional accessories you can buy for making ice cream, rolling pasta, and much more.

  • More versatile than a hand mixer
  • Mixes heavy dough
  • Hands-free
  • Not portable
  • Expensive

Hand mixers

A hand-held mixer’s a useful kitchen gadget and a must-have for keen bakers. They're light, portable and take up little cupboard space. If you don't want to spend much, a hand-held mixer is a cheap alternative to a benchtop mixer.

  • Portable
  • Can do most beating tasks
  • Relatively cheap
  • Can't mix heavy dough
  • Not hands-free (unless it comes with a stand)

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Bench mixer features

If you're considering buying a benchtop mixer, here are the features to look for.

  • Bowl lock: Gives extra stability during mixing.
  • Easy release or eject button: Lets you keep your hands clean when you’re removing the beaters.
  • Spring-loaded tilt-head lock: Makes it easier to lift the mixer head.
  • A range of speed settings: Allows different speeds for different functions: slow for kneading and folding; light mixing for puddings and muffins; beating or creaming for butter and sugar or heavy batters; whipping and aerating for cream and egg whites.
  • Splashguard: Prevents ingredients from splashing out of the bowl – and it’s handy for “containing” flour (which has a tendency to make a cloud of dust when added). The splashguard’s chute also makes it easy to add ingredients without having to stop the machine and lift the motor head.
  • Stainless-steel bowl: More durable than a glass bowl. It should last the life of the mixer.
  • Single dough-hook: Performs better than twin dough-hooks.
  • Whisk attachment: Useful for making foamy whipped mixtures or for beating egg whites.
  • Paddle or “K” beater: Good for mixing cake batter and biscuit dough.
  • Paddle scraper-beater: This is a paddle or "K" beater with a rubber edge around the rim of the beater. It makes sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  • Timer: Useful when recipes specify a length of time for mixing ingredients.

Hand mixer features

If you're choosing a new hand mixer, here's what to consider.

  • Weight: A mixer that’s reasonably lightweight means your arm doesn’t get tired while mixing.
  • Handle: A comfortably shaped handle with a non-slip grip will make the mixer easier to hold. The on/off switch should be easily accessible.
  • Non-slip base: A non-slip rubber area on the end of the mixer stops it from sliding on the bench when in standing position.
  • Electronic controls: These mean the mixer can’t be left switched on and so won’t start operating if plugged in.
  • A swivelling or rotating cord: This makes the mixer easier to manoeuvre.
  • Attachments: These need to be a decent length (short beaters limit the size of bowl you can use).
  • Pulse option: Pulsing gives a short burst of power that can help remove excess mixture from the beaters.
  • Boost or turbo option: This gives an extra level of power when you need high-speed mixing.
  • Speeds: Look for at least 5 speeds that are noticeably different.

Tip: Choose a mixer by doing your own “testing”: check how comfortable it is to hold and whether the controls are easy to use.

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What about a food processor?

What about a food processor?

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What about a food processor?

A food processor is the ultimate food-preparation tool. It can chop, slice, grate, blend, puree, mix and knead.

Read our report