The 30-Second Review

The best stand mixer saves you time in the kitchen by whipping, mixing, and kneading while you attend to other things. It’s powerful and versatile enough to handle a variety of tasks, and it mixes everything in the bowl quickly and thoroughly. We spent hours studying stand mixer construction and spoke with a professional baker about necessary features, then tested recipes in 12 mixers to find the top-performing models.

Best Overall

A top-notch stand mixer that shines for both its power and its design. This mixer will whip, mix, and knead to your heart’s content. It also has a gorgeous classic look, and is wonderfully user-friendly ($430).

A Budget Option

Packs almost the same power as the Artisan, but less speedy. Also — a lot cheaper ($250).

A Style-Conscious Option

Smeg 50's Retro Style
The cool retro design is the selling point for this mixer, though it also tied for second place in performance ($450).

The Best Stand Mixer

The KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer is powerful, efficient, and versatile. In testing, we loved the way it peaked egg whites perfectly, creamed butter and sugar, and kneaded tough dough — usually in about half the time of our other mixers. The bowl is lightweight and easy to handle, the attachments and pouring shield are simple to operate, and the controls are intuitive. We also love the wide range of attachments that you can add to any KitchenAid mixer, taking it from a simple baking tool to an indispensable kitchen appliance. At $430, this mixer is a big investment, but it’s one that will pay off in the long run by simplifying all of your kitchen work. (Plus, you can usually find it cheaper on Amazon or on sale in retail stores.)

For a significantly lower price than the Artisan, we were impressed with the Cuisinart Precision Master stand mixer. Cuisinart’s stand mixer stood out for having an excellent flat beater, which basically did all the bowl scraping for us while mixing cookie dough. The tradeoff is that it's slower than the Artisan and it struggled more with kneading heavy dough. But for almost $200 less, we’d be okay waiting a couple extra minutes for the Cuisinart to do its job.

If your stand mixer’s style is a priority, we also recommend the Smeg 50's Retro Style stand mixer. The Smeg passed every test we put it through: It creams butter and sugar beautifully and whips egg whites into peaks faster than the Cuisinart. We could tell it was working hard when kneading dough, but it got the job done. The Smeg goes for $450 brand new, which is why we recommend the (slightly more powerful) KitchenAid if you’re buying full price. But if you can find it on sale, or if you absolutely love retro style, this mixer is a great option.

Our Picks for the Best Stand Mixer

Best Overall

KitchenAid ArtisanKitchenAid’s most popular mixer, and our top performer in testing. It’s fast, powerful, and (we must say) good lookin’.

KitchenAid’s Artisan mixer is the gold standard for good reason. It breezed through every task we handed it, churning out springy pizza dough, stiff egg whites, and creamy cookie dough without so much as a stutter. Beyond its mixing abilities, the Artisan’s thoughtful design and excellent components reflect the almost 100 years of development that KitchenAid has put into this product.

In our first test we were truly impressed with the Artisan’s motor. At only 375 watts (the highest we tested was 750), it had no trouble kneading tough dough. This is because KitchenAid has really mastered that elusive idea of “torque,” pulling the most efficiency out of its motor. The mixer worked the dough all around the bowl without any pesky hook-climbing. Even in the stickiest of spots, the Artisan never shuddered, stalled, or ground its gears. Some of our mixers with much higher wattage had a lot more trouble kneading, proving that you can’t always trust the numbers written on the box.

KitchenAid Artisan for Stand Mixer

The Artisan performed better than any other mixer we tested, thanks to the combination of a strong motor and well-fitting attachments.

We were also pleased with the Artisan’s mixing attachments. Its wire whisk fit the bowl seamlessly, whipping egg whites into perfect peaks in just under three minutes. (The competition took four or five.) The flat beater also creamed butter and sugar in about half the time of our other mixers. The speed of the actual mixing process made up for the lost time we spent scraping down the sides of the bowl. Since one of the biggest benefits of owning a stand mixer is that it saves you time in the kitchen, the Artisan’s efficiency gave it a leg up on the competition.

KitchenAid’s mixer stood out for some thoughtful design elements, too. The latch to tilt its head is on the side of the head for easy access. Our other top contenders had tilt latches on the back of the head, which force you to reach blindly. The Artisan’s head is also narrower than other mixers, allowing us to add ingredients without having to stop mixing and tilt back the head. Unfortunately, the Artisan’s head doesn’t lock when you do tilt it back. This leaves it bobbing up and down when changing attachments or cleaning them off. Most of the other models we tested lock in the upward position, eliminating this problem. However, this is a minor annoyance and doesn’t really take away from the Artisan’s success as a mixer.

Latch-Comparison-for-Stand-Mixer

The Artisan's latch (left) is in plain sight, making it easy to use. Others were in the back, making you search for them (right).

Finally, we love the amenities that KitchenAid offers. The Artisan’s slip-on splash guard is a breeze to attach and take off. Our other contenders either didn’t have splash guards (and consequently flung ingredients out of the bowl) or came with multi-piece guards that we had to put on in stages. We appreciated KitchenAid’s simplicity in this department. Their stand mixers can also be fitted with a range of attachments that do anything from ravioli and ice cream making to meat grinding. Finally, the Artisan comes in almost any color you could wish for. Since most people end up keeping their stand mixer on the counter, both of these things are important. You’ll want a model that’s both nice to look at and versatile enough that you can use it all the time. The Artisan hits all those marks.

KitchenAid Artisan Splash Guard for Stand Mixer

The KitchenAid's pouring shield slips on easily and keeps ingredients in the mixer.

A Budget Option

Cuisinart Precision MasterWhile not quite as powerful as the KitchenAid stand mixer, it’ll do a great job in the kitchen and save you some money.

For a stand mixer that performs nearly as well as the KitchenAid but for almost half the cost, we recommend Cuisinart’s Precision Master. This stand mixer really held its own in testing; It handled pizza dough nicely, had great bowl coverage, and made a mean batch of cookie dough. It takes a little longer to complete tasks than the Artisan does, and it requires a little more attentiveness on your part. But if speed isn’t your No. 1 concern, you won’t be disappointed.

The Cuisinart’s 500-watt motor was more than powerful enough to handle our stress test. It never stuck or stalled while kneading, and it was noticeably quieter than most other models. We did notice that the motor began to warm up after a few minutes of tough work, but it never got hot enough to make us worry about overheating. The dough climbed up its hook a bit, forcing us to take the ball off the hook a couple times and place it back in the bowl to re-engage. But once we did, this mixer did a great job kneading.

Where the Cuisinart really shone in testing was its attachment-bowl relationship. Its flat beater did the best job of pulling batter away from the sides and bringing it towards the middle. We only had to give it one good scrape to make sure everything was evenly mixed. Its whisk also made lovely, fluffy egg whites — it just took two minutes longer than the Artisan to do so.

Cuisinart-for-Stand-Mixer

The Cuisinart's flat beater pulled dough away from the sides of the bowl.

Like KitchenAid, Cuisinart includes an attachment port to expand your mixer’s arsenal. However it only offers a skimpy four attachment options (as compared to KitchenAid’s 10+).

We’ll admit it, the Cuisinart is also not as pretty as the KitchenAid. It doesn’t have the same classic charm. What it does have, however, is a more sensible price tag. If you can’t justify spending $430 for an Artisan (or you can’t find one on sale), the $250 Cuisinart Precision Master is a solid option.

A Style-Conscious Option

Smeg 50’s Retro StyleA hard-working, well-designed, retro stand mixer that came close to matching the KitchenAid's performance. Even comes in avocado green.

What we really love about this mixer, and the reason it made our final list, is its cool retro design. Smeg’s mixer is about the same price as the Artisan, but we have seen it for $300 on Amazon. In testing, we were satisfied that it could knead dough, cream butter and sugar, and whip egg whites. If you love the retro design, this mixer is another great alternative to KitchenAid.

Smeg-for-Stand-Mixer

The Smeg stand mixer did a decent job in all of our tests. Its kneading was on par with the Cuisinart’s, and it didn’t take quite as long to beat egg whites into peaks. When it came to cookie dough, Smeg’s mixer performed similarly to KitchenAid’s. It did a great job mixing everything together, but we had to scrape down the bowl quite a few times to re-incorporate ingredients. While its performance wasn’t stand-out in any category, the Smeg never disappointed us. It’s a hard working, well-designed machine.

The one place Smeg trounced the competition was in clean-up. All of its components were wonderfully nonstick. There was almost no residue left clinging to the inside of the bowl, and its attachments came out more or less free of food particles. The other mixers weren’t horrible to clean, but we did have to spend a little extra time scrubbing dried dough out of crevices.

If retro style is your thing, check out Smeg’s stand mixer. We’d suggest looking for it on Amazon to find a good deal. For the full $450, we’d still recommend going with KitchenAid’s Artisan, which outperformed Smeg in our kneading and whipping tests. Still, this mixer accomplishes everything a mixer needs to do — and looks pretty cool doing it.

Did You Know?

Not all dough hooks are created equal.

If you’re serious about making bread or other tough doughs, you’ll need a spiral dough hook. Spiral hooks are specially designed to knead dough against the bowl using some real elbow grease. They can’t be used in tilt-head mixers because they exert strong upward force that could easily snap the tilt hinge. This means that if you make tons of hearty bread, you’ll have to look for a bowl-lift stand mixer. Check out our review of the Best KitchenAid Mixers to learn more about these.

Look for dishwasher-safe attachments.

One of Tish Boyle’s only complaints about her KitchenAid mixer was that its metal attachments aren’t dishwasher-safe. She points out that if you’re using it often, having to wash the attachments by hand every time can be enough to “drive [you] crazy.” We suggest looking for a mixer with plastic- or nylon-coated attachments that you can toss in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. All of our top picks come with dishwasher-safe attachments except for the Smeg — but the Smeg’s unique nonstick components did so well at repelling stuck-on dough that we didn’t mind washing them by hand.

All-metal gears aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

We saw a lot of users wondering whether or not their stand mixers are fitted with all-metal gears, citing concerns that having some plastic gears can make for weaker or less durable mixers. We spoke with a KitchenAid representative about this matter, and she explained to us that metal innards can be important for bigger, stronger mixers that will take on lots of tough jobs. For tilt-head mixers though, they’re not so crucial. Tilt-head mixers aren’t designed to take on jobs so stressful that their gears will break. If you’re doing serious bread making or other tough work, consider getting a bigger bowl-lift mixer with all-metal gears. With normal baking tasks, though, you don’t have too much to worry about with plastic gears.

The Best Stand Mixer: Summed Up

Stand Mixer
The Best
KitchenAid Artisan
Overall
Cuisinart Precision Master
Runner-Up
Smeg 50's Retro Style
Runner-Up