We love stand mixers for heavy duty baking and blending, but sometimes you need a gadget that’s more—well—handy! Hand mixers are perfect when you need to whip up fluffy egg whites or cream butter and sugar together for chewy chocolate chip cookies. But choosing the right mixer can be tough, especially when you aren’t sure what exactly to look for.
To help you choose the perfect mixer, you can depend on our hand mixer buying guide below.
Find a Good Weight
All hand mixers are compact (that’s kind of the point, right?), but some are more lightweight than others. Using a lighter hand mixer helps prevent arm fatigue when you’re mixing up multiple batches of fudgy brownies. But when the mixer is too light, it will be harder to control. Pick up a mixer from the in-store display to find a weight that’s right for you.
What Functionality Do You Need?
Speed: Hand mixers come with three, five and even 10 speeds to choose from, depending on how much variety you want or need. For mixing dry ingredients, a mixer with a slow start feature will prevent messes and splatters. And while the majority of mixers have power of around 150 watts, you can buy one with additional power of up to 220 watts which is great for blending thicker dough.
Attachments: Plan to use your hand mixer for more than beating together baking ingredients? Buy one that comes with a variety of attachments like a dough hook, whisk or spatula. Sturdy stainless steel beaters will hold up the longest, but if you’re worried about scratching up your set of nice mixing bowls, choose attachments that have a protective silicone coating. Try this Hamilton 6-speed mixer with soft, silicone-coated beaters.
Special Features to Consider
Sound: No need to worry about waking up the kids on a Saturday morning making waffles from scratch if you’re using a hand mixer that’s specifically designed to be as quiet as possible. Reviewers recommend this 10-speed mixer from KRUPS for its powerful (yet quiet!) build.
Handle: While there are a variety of handle types and sizes, it’s important to choose one that is both ergonomic and easy to hold (think: rubber or silicone grips). You don’t want it slipping out of your hands as you mix.
Space-saving design: For any cooks who are tight on space in the kitchen, look for a hand mixer that has a retractable cord or a smaller body to help you squeeze it into even the most packed cupboard. Since hand mixers are an awkward shape, some also come with a storage case so they can be stacked in a closet or neatly arranged in a drawer.
The Cost of a Hand Mixer
The cost of a hand mixer can range from $20 all the way up to $100, depending on the quality and amount of special features it has. If you use your mixer frequently, consider getting a more expensive, higher quality one that will last longer. Finding a mixer with a warranty to cover any damage or broken parts is a smart idea, too.
Use the hand mixer buying guide above to make your perfect purchase—and then make one of these unexpected recipes with your brand new mixer!