After 20 hours spent whipping up four cakes, 16 dozen cookies, four batches of pizza dough, and several bowls of seven-minute frosting with four different hand mixers, we think that the Breville Handy Mix Scraper is the best hand mixer you can get. It churns through dense cookie doughs and quickly whips delicate batters and pillowy meringues, and comes with more useful attachments and features that cheaper mixers lack. Hand mixers are great tools for smaller recipes and don’t take up as much space as larger appliances, but if you’re a serious baker you may want to check out our guide to stand mixers.
Our pick: Breville Handy Mix Scraper
The Breville Handy Mix Scraper was the best hand mixer we tested. With plenty of power and uniquely thoughtful features—like coated beaters that don’t rattle against bowls, the Breville produces excellent results and is a joy to use. This mixer was the most versatile one we tested. It can quickly switch between nine different speeds to handle a range of tasks like creaming butter, mixing chunky doughs, or gently folding batters without straining. Extra features—a timer, a pause button, and a light that shines into the bowl—save time and take some of the guesswork out of a high-stakes bake. The Breville was the easiest mixer to use and clean, with a handy quick-release for beaters and a snap-on storage case to neatly consolidate its attachments. We think it’s worth the relatively high cost for people who want the best results you can get short of using a stand mixer, but if you’re looking for a no-frills, affordable option for use every now and then, you may prefer our budget pick.
Budget pick: Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Hand Mixer
We like the Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Hand Mixer for occasional baking and making smaller recipes. This little machine is an effective hand mixer that evenly blends cookie dough and quickly whips fluffy meringue. It has a nice range of speeds, but it’s not as powerful as the Breville and it’s fairly loud. It isn’t as easy to use as the Breville, because it lacks things like a light and a timer, but it can still churn through most recipes. Compared with other, less expensive models, it has more attachments and a handy storage case to keep all of its parts together.
Why you should trust us
We turned to several mixing experts for their thoughts on hand mixers: Deb Perelman, writer of the recipe blog Smitten Kitchen and, most recently, the Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites cookbook; Michelle Lopez, writer of the Hummingbird High baking blog; Sarah Carey, then editor-in-chief of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, now the host of Everyday Food with Sarah Carey at Martha Stewart Living; Jane Lear, author and former senior articles editor at Gourmet; and Anna Gordon, owner of The Good Batch bakery in Brooklyn, New York.
For this update, I put four hand mixers to work making batches of sponge cake, pizza dough, cookie dough, whipped cream, and seven-minute frosting. As an enthusiastic but novice baker who lives in a tiny apartment, I approached testing by looking for the kinds of features that fellow space-strapped home bakers might want. Wirecutter senior staff writer Lesley Stockton, the guide’s original author, has spent nearly 20 years working in restaurants, catering kitchens, and test kitchens, using a variety of hand mixers from popular manufacturers.
Who this is for
A good electric hand mixer will greatly expand what you can easily bake. It can handle tasks that would be time-consuming, tiring, or impossible to do well by hand, like whipping cream, beating air into batter for lofty cake layers, or creaming butter and sugar thoroughly for cookies. Hand mixers aren’t as powerful as larger stand mixers, but the two aren’t necessarily interchangeable. Many cooks use both for different tasks—for example, a hand mixer will be best for whipping up smaller batches of creams, sauces, or fillings, while a stand mixer’s larger paddle and extra power will more efficiently knead large batches of thick dough or pastries (and save your arms some effort).
Hand mixers are appealing appliances because they’re smaller and lighter than stand mixers. You should be able to hold a hand mixer with one hand. Most can also fit in a cabinet or drawer, and often come with cases to neatly store attachments. Stand mixers, however, usually live on a kitchen counter, and can be heavy to move if you need to free up space. Deb Perelman, author of the cooking blog Smitten Kitchen, said, “I love my stand mixer but I use it a fraction as much as my hand mixer. I don’t keep my stand mixer on the counter because I have a small kitchen and so I really only drag it out when it’s unquestionably going to save me a lot of trouble, such as something that needs many, many minutes of mixing.” Hand mixers are usually less expensive than stand mixers, too, so they’re a low-risk investment if you’re a new or occasional baker.
The trade-off of saving money and space is that hand mixers aren’t as powerful as stand mixers. Because you have to manually move a hand mixer around the bowl, it takes a bit more effort to use (and your arms can get surprisingly tired after eight to 10 minutes). If you need a stronger machine or want to upgrade, check out our guide to stand mixers.
How we picked
To find the best hand mixers, we focused on the big names in electric mixers, and looked for new models from Oster, Hamilton Beach, KitchenAid, Breville, and Cuisinart. We also looked at the best-selling mixers from retailers like Williams Sonoma, Target, Walmart, Sur la Table, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Amazon. For comparison, we also read other hand mixer reviews from Epicurious and Good Housekeeping. To guide our search, we asked professional and home bakers and baking bloggers about their favorite mixers and how they use them. After our research, we decided to look for mixers that met the following criteria:
Powerful: A good hand mixer should most importantly be powerful. Although it will never work quite as efficiently as a stand mixer, it should come close. In fact, we tested hand mixers right alongside stand mixers for comparison. Across the board, we looked for machines that were sturdy and fast enough to handle many basic baking tasks. A good hand mixer should be able to whip cream or egg whites quickly, without too much wild splashing, and it should cream butter and sugar to a fluffy consistency. It should also be strong enough to churn through thick cookie dough or knead bread without stalling or straining.
A range of speeds: Hand mixers should have a wide range of speeds to tackle a wider variety of tasks—most of the ones we looked at had at least five and topped out at nine, but more speeds will give you greater finesse for different recipes. High speeds are great for whipping egg whites, and a lower speed is essential for gently mixing cake batter (over-mixing can yield a gummy cake). And a hand mixer’s ability to toggle between speeds smoothly is key. “Sometimes you just need to revive something with a quick, light mix as opposed to a heavy, middle of the road mixing session,” said Michelle Lopez, of the blog Hummingbird High. Being able to start at a slow speed and gradually work your way up is also important, because jumping right in on high is guaranteed to spray butter all over your kitchen. We favored hand mixers that had nine speeds; we did test one notable five-speed mixer, but it wasn’t nearly as powerful and took far longer to cream butter and whip egg whites.
Several attachments: Some inexpensive mixers come with only a pair of beaters, but we prefer machines that include other useful accessories, like dough hooks for kneading bread, or a whisk for whipping cream.
Comfortable to hold: Because using a hand mixer can get tiring, we looked for models that were comfortable to hold and not too heavy. A good hand mixer should be strong and sturdy, but not so clunky that you feel like you’re going to drop it into the bowl while mixing.
Easy to clean: Most hand mixers are similarly easy to clean. But some have better quick-release mechanisms to release the beaters than others. We looked for mixers that made it simple to put on and take off attachments for both mixing and cleaning.
Easy to store: Hand mixers are smaller than stand mixers, and most can stow away on a shelf or cabinet. The best hand mixers have storage containers that keep both the mixer and all of its attachments in one place, so dough hooks or whisks don’t get lost in the abyss of a drawer.
Based on our research, we chose four models to test: the KitchenAid 9-Speed Hand Mixer, the Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Hand Mixer, the Breville Handy Mix Scraper, and the VonShef Hand Mixer.
How we tested
In our testing we made lofty cakes; cookies filled with fruit, nuts, and chocolate; thick pizza dough; dollops of whipped cream; and airy frosting to see how well the mixers handled each task. We also tested hand mixers alongside stand mixers to compare results.
We started by making a sponge cake to test how well each mixer could aerate a batter that gets all of its loft from whipped eggs. Then, we made kitchen sink cookies to see how the mixers coped with lots of resistance and mix-ins, and made pizza dough to see how well each model could knead heavy doughs. We looked for cakes with an even crumb, high dome, and few air pockets (a sign the eggs had not been fully whipped); cookies that were evenly mixed and didn’t spread; and pizza dough that had been worked into a uniform, springy ball. Then, we beat half a cup of cream, followed by one egg white to see how well mixers whipped small amounts. We were able to eliminate a few mixers, but made seven-minute frosting with the finalists to see how well they whipped air into meringue, measuring the volume yield of the frosting (the more frosting, the more aeration). And we paid attention to how comfortable each mixer was to hold, if it overheated or strained, how it worked around the bowl, and how easy the attachments were to clean and store.
(Some general advice: We’ve found that a shallow mixing bowl doesn’t really work with handheld mixers, because the beaters push the contents up the sides of the bowl, making for more scraping between additions. If you use a bowl with high sides, the contents tend to stay at the bottom, and if you’re whipping a liquid, the sides will keep it from splashing all over your countertop).
Our pick: Breville Handy Mix Scraper
The Breville Handy Mix Scraper was the most versatile, effective mixer of any we tried, with the most functional attachments and useful features that make it a joy to use in the kitchen. With nine speeds that can toggle from powerful to gentle, it made the best cookies, sponge cake, and pizza dough in our tests. It had the most unique and intelligent design of any mixer we tried, with a built-in timer, a button to pause mixing, a light that shines into the bowl, and rubber-coated scrapers. As a bonus, it was also the simplest to clean and store compared with other mixers. We think this superior mixer is worth its relatively high cost, but the Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Hand Mixer is a steadfast budget option if you want a pared-down machine for occasional tasks.
The Breville excelled in all of our tests. It was powerful enough to blend the thick cookie dough without straining, and its coated beaters helped keep all of the ingredients from climbing up the sides of the bowl. Each baked cookie was well-mixed with an even distribution of the good, chunky morsels we wanted in every bite—chewy raisins, chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, and flakes of coconut. The sponge cake it produced had an even crumb, a delicate texture, and the least air bubbles of any we baked. It was also one of the loftiest, unlike the VonShef’s cake, which sunk in the middle and at the sides. The Breville’s dough hook was even able to mix pizza dough pretty well, whacking it around to create a single ball, whereas the VonShef and the KitchenAid created stringier doughs that we had to take out of the bowl and shape on the counter. After whipping eggs and sugar for the requisite seven minutes, the Handy Mix produced just under a quart of seven-minute frosting—slightly less than the Cuisinart— but it was still fluffy, spreadable, and delicious.
Compared with those of other mixers, the Breville’s attachments stood out for their more thoughtful design and effective mixing capabilities. Rubber-coated beaters on the Breville do a better job of scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl compared with other models’ beaters, and help with noise control. “It doesn’t make a racket if you’re mixing stuff in a metal bowl,” said Lopez, who also owns this mixer. And we didn’t have to scrape the bowl with a spatula as often as with the Cuisinart when mixing our cookie dough with the beater attachment. The Breville’s two whisk attachments actually work to whip eggs for sponge cake or meringue, while we had to use the beater attachment to get similar results with all of the other mixers, which had only one whisk. In our genoise test, we found that the Breville’s whisk attachments actually worked better than the beaters at aeration (we tried both), making a more evenly baked cake.
With its clever extra features, the Breville was by far the easiest and most enjoyable mixer to use of any we tested. A screen with a built-in timer helps keep track for time-sensitive recipes, which I found especially useful when making seven-minute frosting. The timer also has a pause button, so you can stop mixing, add ingredients or scrape down your bowl, and then resume immediately without having to speed up again. You can seamlessly transition between nine speeds with a scroll wheel, similar to one an old-school computer mouse. Even though there’s nothing wrong with pressing a button, the scrolling felt easy and familiar (and made me nostalgic for pre-Apple days). The mixer also has a light at the bottom of the machine that shines into the bowl, which I used to check if the sponge cake batter had turned the pale, glossy yellow I was looking for. None of the other mixers we tested had these features, and though they’re definitely a bonus, I didn’t think they were a gimmick—they made the baking process easier overall.
Breville says that this mixer is touch-sensitive, using the company’s proprietary Beater IQ technology to adjust mixing speeds depending on which attachments you use. We didn’t notice this kicking in during testing, but the Handy Mix was sufficiently powerful to handle all of the doughs and batters we made. It seamlessly transitioned from slow to high speeds without splashing ingredients around.
This mixer was the easiest to clean and store, too. Instead of pressing a button to eject beaters, you can pull a loop to release them, which requires much less effort than with other mixers. This is a small detail, but it makes using the Breville that much easier—in contrast, I had to put my full body weight on the VonShef’s eject button to try to get the beaters out. The Handy Mix has Breville’s patented Assist Plug (found on most Breville appliances), which has a loop for your finger so that you can pull the plug out of the wall more easily. I found myself wishing that more of my kitchen appliances and home electronics had this feature.
All of the beaters are dishwasher safe, and you can easily wipe down the mixer with a damp cloth (although all hand mixers have vents—to keep the motor from overheating—that can trap food). A plastic case slides cleanly onto the base of Breville for storage, whereas you have to align the Cuisinart’s storage case with the mixer’s vents to attach one to the other. The Breville’s case neatly holds all of the beater attachments and the cord. With some other mixers, you either have to save the box the machine comes in, or store components in a bag. We like that the all-in-one system keeps the mixer’s small parts together, so that you don’t have to fumble around in a drawer for a single missing dough hook.
Epicurious also likes this mixer, and Michelle Lopez told us she uses it for many baking projects. “It’s quiet, powerful, and comes with a bunch of bells and whistles that make it great for precise baking,” she said. The Breville has a one-year limited warranty. We’ll continue to test it over time to see how it holds up.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Compared with most other mixers we considered, the Breville is expensive, and it doesn’t have as long of a warranty as our budget pick, the Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus. If you’re not ready to get a stand mixer, are short on space, or simply want a great supplementary mixer for smaller recipes, we think the Breville is a great investment. But some people might find all of the extra Breville-ian features, which likely add to the price, unnecessary. Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman said she isn’t a fan of screens on kitchen appliances, for example. If that’s your case, our budget pick is another great, more basic option that’s still powerful enough to handle doughs and batters.
The Breville can feel heavy after a long mixing session—it weighs about 4 pounds. But it’s not much heavier than other mixers we tested. Because it’s powerful, you hopefully won’t have to hold it as long to get a good mix.
Budget pick: Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Hand Mixer
The Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Hand Mixer is a basic little hand mixer with multiple attachments and nine speeds, and we think it’s the most dependable hand mixer for its price. It whipped air into genoise batter faster than the competition did, and it can handle a range of recipes, just with less finesse than the Breville. The Cuisinart is also less easy to handle, clean, and store than our top pick. But compared with the similarly priced KitchenAid and VonShef mixers, the Cuisinart is far more effective, comes with a longer warranty, and has a handy storage case. We’ve also been using it for years with no problems. This is a no-frills mixer that’s good for basic tasks, but it lacks the superior design and extra features that make the Breville even easier to use.
With its beater attachments, the Cuisinart aerated eggs for genoise faster than even the Breville’s beaters, doing it in about seven minutes—two to three minutes faster than the competition. When baked, the sponge cake was lofty, with a more even crumb and far fewer large air pockets than the KitchenAid or VonShef cakes. This model’s beaters didn’t aerate a genoise as well as the Breville’s two whisks, however, which created the tallest and most even-crumbed cake of any we made. The Cuisinart’s single whisk, in contrast, was weak and ineffective. The Cuisinart also whipped up voluminous seven-minute frosting (again with its beaters), yielding the full quart that the recipe promised in under seven minutes. The mixer didn’t strain while making cookies, but the bake was slightly uneven, as was the distribution of mix-ins. The Cuisinart also did a decent job kneading pizza dough, but it didn’t make as neat of a ball as the Breville—we had to turn the dough out and work it on the counter for a few minutes.
The Cuisinart has nine speeds, and ramps up quickly. Though we didn’t notice splattering in our tests, we did find that the mixer can get hot when it’s working at high speeds, which we didn’t notice with the Breville. We asked Cuisinart about this, and a representative said that the motor can get warm with use (which is common with hand mixers, and why they all have vents). The Cuisinart is relatively light to hold—about 4 pounds, just like the Breville. The mixer didn’t walk around the bowl or rattle as much as the KitchenAid, but it’s not as smooth to use as the Breville.
All of the Cuisinart’s removable parts are dishwasher safe, and the machine is just as effortless to wipe clean with a damp cloth as the Breville. Ejecting the beaters is simple thanks to a button you can depress, although we still prefer pulling the loop on the Breville to release the beaters.
The Cuisinart has a plastic container for storage, just like the Breville, but it’s slightly harder to attach to the mixer. You’ll need to line the case up with the mixer’s air vents to snap it into place. The case easily holds all of the attachments plus the power cord.
This mixer is covered by a limited three-year warranty, which is a big step above the one-year warranty that comes standard with most of the other hand mixers we looked at (and, for that matter, with many of the pricey stand mixers we’ve tested). Cuisinart also sells all of the attachments (and the storage container) separately, should you ever lose any. We’ve been using this mixer since 2013 with no complaints.
Even though there are even cheaper hand mixers, we think the Cuisinart’s power and durability are worth the price. It works better and faster than other similarly priced models, and it’ll likely last for years.
Long-term testing notes
We’ve used the Cuisinart mixer in the Wirecutter test kitchen since 2013, and it’s still going strong. We often reach for the hand mixer when we need to mix something quickly during testing, or when it isn’t worth it to drag our favorite KitchenAid stand mixer down from its high shelf. We’ll continue to long-term test our new pick, the Breville Handy Scraper, to see how it compares.
The KitchenAid 9-Speed Hand Mixer wasn’t as powerful as our picks, and has fewer features—unlike both the Cuisinart and Breville, this mixer lacks a storage case. A single whisk attachment doesn’t do much, and this mixer noticeably rattled in our hands when working through heavier doughs like chunky cookies or pizza. It does a fine job for whipping cream, and on the plus side it didn’t heat up like the Cuisinart.
We tested the VonShef 250 Watt Hand Mixer after reading Epicurious’s review, and we were extremely disappointed with this mixer. With just five speeds instead of the nine on our picks, it’s not as powerful and struggled to aerate batters and frosting. It’s more awkward to use, and the beater ejector doesn’t work well—I had to put my entire body weight on the button to release them.
The Cuisinart Power Advantage 7-Speed Hand Mixer doesn’t come with the extra dough-hook attachments that the nine-speed version has, and can’t get to high enough speeds for making frosting and whipping batters quickly.
As a no-frills mixer, the KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer works, but it has no extra attachments and doesn’t have as many speeds as our picks, so it isn’t as all-purpose.
1. Deb Perelman, blogger at Smitten Kitchen, email interview, July 2, 2018
2. Michelle Lopez, blogger at Hummingbird High, email interview, July 3, 2018
3. Sarah Carey, editor-in-chief of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, email interview, September 26, 2013
4. Anne Gordon, owner of The Good Batch, phone interview, September 27, 2013
5. Jane Lear, former senior articles editor at Gourmet, email interview, September 26, 2013
Read the original article on The Best Hand Mixer.