Mixing up a batch of cookie dough used to be a laborious task that required some serious elbow grease. But hand mixers have taken a lot of strain out of the process and they still deliver a delicious result every time. Some hand mixers are heartier than others, though. If you don't want to risk a feeble mixer wearing out on you halfway through baking, then it's important to choose a quality machine from the start. Here's an overview of the important factors to consider when picking your perfect hand mixer.
Considerations when choosing hand mixers
Consider the types of tasks you're going to use the mixer for. If you plan to work with thicker doughs, you may want a mixer with a powerful motor and dough hook attachments. If you are going to use your mixer to make homemade whipped cream or something light, then you need a high speed to whip air into the ingredients.
You should also consider how often you plan to use your hand mixer. There's no sense in going all out on a top-of-the-line mixer if you're only going to use it once a year. On the other hand, a high-end mixer could be worth the investment if you're always in the kitchen.
Here's a list of the essential factors to consider when choosing a hand mixer:
Comfort: A good hand mixer should have an ergonomic, non-slip grip. It needs to have a bit of weight to it or it will be difficult to control, but if it's too heavy, it may wear you out.
Attachments: All hand mixers have a set of beaters, but yours may also include a whisk attachment and dough hooks for kneading thicker batters.
Speed Controls: A good mixer should have several speed settings with simple controls, so you can transition seamlessly from one to the next. Buttons encased in plastic are best because they won't cake with ingredients.
Pulse Option: A pulse button generates a short burst of speed. This is a smart way to start your mixing so that ingredients don't splash out of the bowl.
Cord: If you're left-handed, you should choose a mixer that has a swiveling cord you can turn to the side. That way, it won't be in your way while you're mixing.
Price: If you only use a mixer occasionally, you probably can get away with a model that costs between $25 and $35. But if you bake often, it's worth investing in a unit that costs between $70 and $100.
Q. Why should I choose a hand mixer over a stand mixer?
A. While hand mixers do more or less the same job as a stand mixer, hand mixers are more portable. They can also be used in any sized container while stand mixers may not be used in some smaller bowls.
Q. How do I clean and maintain my hand mixer?
A. You should always read your owner's manual for specific instructions for your model. You may only need to wash the beaters. Some are dishwasher-safe while others may need to be hand washed. Detach them from the mixer before cleaning. If any debris got on the mixer itself, you can gently wash this away with soap and water but unplug the mixer first.
Hand mixers we recommend
Best of the best: Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Handheld Mixer
Our take: This mixer is up to any task and deserves a place in any serious cook's kitchen.
What we like: This is a powerful mixture with simple, soft-touch speed controls. It's backed by a three-year warranty and includes beaters, dough hooks, a spatula, and a whisk.
What we dislike: It runs loudly, and the cord connects awkwardly to the mixer.
Best bang for your buck: Hamilton Beach Power Deluxe Hand Mixer
Our take: Consider this model if you're interested in a basic mixer for occasional baking tasks.
What we like: This mixer has six speed settings and a boost option. It includes a whisk and a detachable carrying case where you can store the beaters when not in use.
What we dislike: It is heavy. Users report that the low speeds are still fast.
Choice 3: KitchenAid 9-Speed Digital Hand Mixer
Our take: This hand mixer works for light-duty tasks, but you may want something tougher if you'll be working with thick batters.
What we like: It includes dough hooks, a blending rod, and a whisk, all of which can be detached with the push of a button. It has nine speed settings and a Soft Start feature to prevent ingredients from flying around.
What we dislike: There have been some complaints about the beaters wobbling or falling out of their holders.
Kailey is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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