A stand mixer (also known as a food mixer or kitchen machine) will save you time and energy prepping in the kitchen. The latest designs will add a light touch to your cakes and bakes and help you craft an artisan loaf in style. They’re perfect for kneading dough for bread and fuss-free mixing ingredients for cakes and pastries.
But with an ample choice of food mixer appliances online, which one should you buy? To highlight the best designs, we have test driven a range of the latest food mixers. We’ve experimented with a baker’s dozen to find the perfectly structured loaf and scoffed our faces with Victoria sponge to find the fluffiest of textures – all in the name of research.
These five stand mixers scored highest for ergonomics, style and practicality. In particular, we wanted to know how well the attachments work to combine ingredients without sticking to the sides of the bowl, how versatile the models are, how many speed settings are available and whether there are any useful extras worth the spend such as built-in scales or a blending attachment.
What’s the best stand mixer to buy in 2020?
WIRED Recommends the KitchenAid Artisan 4.8L Stand Mixer (£499) as our best stand mixer overall due to its robust and stylish body, packed with useful features.
View the KitchenAid Artisan 4.8L for £499 on Amazon
Meanwhile, we’ve highlighted the Russell Hobbs Go Create (£90) as a sub-£100 model, which is a good option for occasional bakers. It’s the best budget stand mixer to buy in 2020.
View the Russel Hobbs Go Create for £90 on Argos
For those keen to multi-task, the Bosch OptiMUM (£625) is an excellent choice due to its blender option and built-in weighing scale. It’s the best stand mixer and blender package.
View the Bosch OptiMUM for £625 on Amazon
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KitchenAid Artisan 4.8L
WIRED Recommends: The Kitchenaid Artisan is an eye-catching mixer with luxurious features
Bowl size: 4.8L | Bowl material: Stainless steel | Power: 300W | Dimensions: 36 x 24 x 37cm (HxWxD)
Designed in 1937, the KitchenAid stand mixer is an iconic design. Not least for its choice of 15 head-turning colours – which includes Empire Red (pictured) – but also for its pleasing aesthetic and classic features.
There are four attachments in the box of the KitchenAid Artisan 4.8L (£499), including a dough hook, flat beater, flex edge beater and wire whisk. We were particularly intrigued to see how well the flex edge beater works compared to standard beaters we’ve tested – which almost always need stopping to remove ingredients sticking to the side of the bowl. When we used it to combine the caster sugar and butter, we were impressed at how well the flex edge beater did scraping the ingredients off the sides – we only needed to give it a little mix at the end to ensure every last bit had been combined.
Another plus is the well-positioned feed chute on the pouring shield. It’s placed ergonomically at the front of the machine, so it was easy to use and minimised spillages while we were adding ingredients. It’s recommended you don’t go over speed two when mixing dough to avoid causing damage to the machine, and while this took a little longer than anticipated, we found the results satisfactory.
In the box you get a second 3-litre stainless steel bowl, which came in useful for tasks such as cracking eggs and leaving the dough to rest. One of the most exciting features about this design is the fact that it can grow with your cooking adventures as you can buy 15 optional attachments adapt the machine – these include items such as a sifter and scale, spiralizer, pasta maker, food processor and sausage maker.
Pros: Luxury feel; ergonomic body; useful extras; attachments easy to fit and secureCons: At 10.98kg, it’s a heavy design
Price: £499 | Check price on Amazon | KitchenAid | Harrods
Russell Hobbs Go Create
A useful sub-£100 option for novice bakers
Bowl size: 5L | Bowl material: Stainless steel | Power: 1000W | Dimensions: 34 x 27.5 x 40.2cm (HxWxD)
With a 1000W motor, the Russell Hobbs Go Create (£90) boasts an impressively powerful motor for such a compact design. It comes with 10 speed settings and a pulse function operated by a basic-looking dial on the side of the machine. There are three attachments in the box including a whisk, flat beater and dough hook and a plastic spatula and splash guard.
We started by mixing caster sugar and butter in the bowl using the flat beater. Once we whizzed the speed control up to 10, we were pleasantly surprised at how quickly the mixture became light and fluffy. We did need to stop halfway through to coax the ingredients around edges back into the bowl, but this wasn’t a huge problem.
On the plus side the Go Create is one of the lighter designs in our test, which means that it’s easy to move around on the worktop should you wish. This did however mean that when kneading dough the body was prone to movement, particularly when the dough got a little stiff. Securing the suction feet onto the worktop with a little push seemed to help.
This isn’t the most attractive stand mixer in our test, and its white and stainless steel body doesn’t feel as luxurious as some more premium models we’ve tested. The arm also feels a little too close to the bowl, which makes it slightly awkward to raise. That said, the variety of speed settings the Go Create offers, together with the powerful motor that gets the job done quicky and effectively, makes it a stand mixer worth considering.
Pros: 10 speed settings; bowl size; matching Go Create appliances; recipes in the manualCons: Basic design; a little too compact for our liking
Price: £90 | Check price on Argos
Kenwood Chef XL Titanium
An innovative design that pays close attention to detail
Bowl size: 6.7L | Bowl material: Polished stainless steel | Power: 1,700W | Dimensions: H35.6 x W38 x D28.5cm
With its rather handsome, polished stainless steel body, the Kenwood Chef XL (£700) comes with a powerful 1,700W motor. In the box there’s three stainless-steel attachments including a dough hook, whisk and K-beater, plus a creaming beater and fold tool to create particularly light mixes.
At 10.4kg, the Kenwood Chef XL is only slightly lighter in weight than the KitchenAid model. You’ll also need a decent amount of space to house it on the worktop extras and storage for the extras included in the box. You also have the option to add to the base design with up to 20 attachments for tasks such as blending, cutting pasta and mincing meat.
When we used the cream beater to mix the caster sugar and butter, we were surprised at how quiet the operation was, particularly as this is the most powerful mixer in our test. The body feels robust and satisfyingly secure on the worktop too, with only a slight vibration while in use on a high-speed setting, compared to other designs we’ve tried. While the Kenwood comes with a splashguard, the ‘soft start’ speed dial works well to ensure ingredients doesn’t come flying out of the bowl when it initially gets turned on.
The variable speed dial is easy to control and lights up when in use. There are two ports on the machine, which are discreetly covered with silver caps, and can be used for attachments such as a blender or pasta roller, which you’ll need to buy separately. What we particularly loved about this model is the ‘halo light’, which gives you shadow-free in-bowl visibility so you can easily see what’s going on inside the bowl.
Pros: Versatile, extra large bowl, robust and timeless bodyCons: A little bulky but we can live with that
Price: £700 | Check price on Amazon | Kenwood | John Lewis
A versatile stand mixer with useful extras
Bowl size: 5.5L | Bowl material: Brushed stainless steel | Power: 1,500W | Dimensions: 33.7 x 22.2 x 43.3cm (HxWxD)
Midway in price between the Kenwood and KitchenAid models, the Bosch OptiMUM MUM9GX5S21 (£625) offers an impressive spec.
It features seven speed settings as well as a pulse setting, but it also has built-in weighing capabilities and three disc attachments for cutting, grating and shredding foods. Then there’s the 2.3-litre ThermoSafeglass blender, which comes as part of the package – this means that as well as baking and kneading dough with the main part of the machine, you can use it to blend soups and mix drinks too.
We found the built-in scale particularly useful when it came to measuring ingredients for our cakes. We simply poured the ingredients into the bowl and measurements were shown on the LED display, which is positioned neatly on the front of the mixer. Another useful feature on this design is the Smart Dough sensor, which ensures a constant mixing speed and comes in useful when you’re kneading a large quantity. Unlike other models in our test, this display also provides automatic programmes for use on egg whites, dough and cream, and stops when the ingredients are ready. This means there’s less time having to hang around waiting to see when they mixture is ready.
Pros: Cable automatically rewinds when unplugged; built-in scales; blender includedCons: Ample storage space needed to house extras
Price: £625 | Check price on Amazon | AO
Where retro 1950s style meets contemporary settings
Bowl size: 4.8L | Bowl material: Polished stainless steel | Power: 800W | Dimensions: 37.8 x 40.5 x 22.1cm (HxWxD)
There’s no denying the signature retro 1950’s styling of the Smeg stand mixer will zhuzh up just about any countertop – particularly in the dreamy pastel blue and stainless steel finish we tested. To complement the die-cast aluminium body is a stainless steel wire whisk, aluminium flat beater and dough hook included in the box, all of which feel well made and luxurious. There’s also a plastic bowl cover to avoid any splashes.
At 800W, the Smeg SMF02PBUK (£399) is almost as powerful as the Russell Hobbs model, and just as effective. In line with similarly styled products in the Smeg collection – such as a juicer and blender – the stand mixer controls are operated by a lever-type contraption at the top of the machine, as opposed to with a circular dial like other competing models.
A slow start safety feature ensures ingredients doesn’t fly out of the bowl, but you can soon ramp up to speed 10, which feels powerful, and rather loud. We stuck with an even 8 speed setting while mixing caster sugar and butter as we felt the machine got a little too noisy above 8,. We also opted for a much slower setting while kneading dough, which the Smeg did effectively although the dough did need to be coaxed off the hook a few times.
Similar to other stand mixers in our test, the Smeg can be added to with a range of accessories such as a slice and grater, ravioli cutter, multi-food grinder and pasta and spaghetti cutters.
Pros: Sturdy 8.81kg body; non-slip feet; 10 speed settingsCons: No pulse control
Price: £399 | Check price on Amazon | AO | Harrods