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Hand Mixers

Saturday, 6 March 2010 | Tags: ,

Portable and light, hand mixers can literally be used anywhere you've got power (though best used in the kitchen!) With so many brands and models available, we test some popular choices to see if one stands out above the rest.

The Basics

  • Hand mixers have small motors and can be used for light duty mixing tasks like making icing, creaming butter, mashing potatoes, whipping egg whites or yolks, and fluffing fillings. For heavier duty, thicker batters, you’ll want to use a more powerful countertop stand mixer.

  • The advantage of hand mixers over stand mixers is that they’re quick and easy to use: just take it out of the cupboard, plug it in, and mix. Stand mixers are more powerful, but they’re also bulkier and heavier.

  • Many people use both a hand mixer and a stand mixer in the kitchen, depending on the task at hand.

  • Look for a hand mixer with additional attachments such as dough hooks, which add versatility.

  • For power, 3-5 speed settings should be enough to handle any hand mixing task, so don’t be taken in by high wattage and multiple settings. They don’t really make a difference in performance.

  • A mixer with a low, slow start speed helps prevent splattering of wet ingredients or clouding up of dry ingredients.

  • Make sure speed settings are clearly marked and match up with the switch.

  • Hold the mixer in your hand. It should feel comfortable and well-balanced. It shouldn’t feel too big or heavy. An ergonomic handle can provide additional comfort.

Other Considerations

  • Wire beaters that don’t have the thick center post are much easier to clean.

  • If your mixer will be sitting out on your counter or will be wall-mounted, make sure it matches your other appliances.

  • Hand mixers that come with a stand or a flat-bottom make it easier to use when you’re adding more ingredients during your mixing time.

  • Beaters and other attachments are usually dishwasher safe, but look for that on the label to make sure. Never submerge the mixer itself in water. Wipe it down with a dry or lightly damp cloth after each use.

TEST CRITERIA

We invited some bakers to help us test out these four hand mixers:

  • Hamilton Beach Performance Plus: $24.99
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Sunbeam Heritage 6-speed: $34.99
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Kenmore Digital 16-speed: $59.99
. .
  • KitchenAid Artisan 7-speed: $99.99
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Mixing Test

  • The Sunbeam’s flat-sided beaters didn’t do as good a job as the mixers with the thinner wire beaters.

  • The Hamilton Beach mixer was heavy and not as easy to use compared to the others. However, it had good power.

  • The Kenmore’s 16 speeds was a bit of overkill. It was also very loud compared to the rest.

  • The KitchenAid was the lightest and quietest, and was nicely balanced. Also, it’s backside was flat, allowing it to rest solidly without teetering on the edge of the bowl, which was handy when adding more ingredients to the mix.

OUR TOP PICK

Our unanimous winner was the KitchenAid mixer. It was the easiest to use, the best at mixing, felt good in your hand, well-balanced, and we really liked the flat-bottom feature. It’s a bit of an investment since it was the most expensive of our product tests, but if you are a baker, we think it’s worth it.

 

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