KitchenAid hand mixer: A complete buyer’s guide

KitchenAid hand mixer: A complete buyer’s guide

The KitchenAid hand mixer is an excellent product.

After a lifetime of using both the hand mixer as well as the stand mixer for mixing batters, doughs, frostings, egg whites, and everything in between, I’m convinced the KitchenAid hand mixer is a great addition to any kitchen.

The hand mixer is like the workhorse younger sibling of KitchenAid’s iconic stand mixer. It doesn’t have the glitz and romance the stand mixer has. It doesn’t come in a sparkly gold finish or adorn the sets of cable cooking shows. But it does its job, and it does it well.

The stand mixer is all about nostalgia. It’s retro, its design has been unchanged since 1937, it reminds people of making cookies with grandma. But if you’re anything like me, the real homemade memories feature an electric hand mixer. Growing up in the ‘90s, I didn’t know what a stand mixer was. Maybe I saw one at the mall, but nobody I knew had one. But fire up the the whirring beater blades on our family hand mixer and I’d come running. I knew I was minutes away from scraping the last few ounces of batter out of a bowl. Next up was the satisfying click of the mixer’s release mechanism and I was all over the remnants on the beater attachments.

To me, and millions of others, these are the real mixer memories.

What is a hand mixer?

A hand mixer is a handheld device, typically electric-powered, that rotates a set of beaters to mix ingredients, usually for baking. The mixer is light, most are less than 10 pounds, and can be used in any bowl (although deeper bowls are recommended to prevent splashing).

Another option is a mixer powered by a hand crank mechanism, typically called an egg beater.

The largest and most expensive mixer type, a stand mixer, has beater mechanisms held up by a stand and a mixing bowl attached to its base.

Hand mixer vs stand mixer chart.

Benefits of a hand mixer

Many people assume a stand mixer is entirely superior to a hand mixer. That’s not always the case. There are pros and cons to each one. And in many cases the hand mixer makes more sense. Here are some categories where the hand mixer comes out on top.

Lower cost

A good hand mixer will always be more affordable than a stand mixer. A KitchenAid hand mixer typically starts at $30-$50 dollars, with top of the line models for less than $200. For a new KitchenAid stand mixer, you’re unlikely to spend less than $200 and more commonly can expect to drop $300-$400.

More portable and easier to store

A complete hand mixer kit with all the attachments will weight less than half of a stand mixer and take up a fraction of the space. You can tuck it into a cabinet or drawer and its out of the way until you need it. This is a big benefit if you have a smaller kitchen, less counter space, or less storage space. And if you plan to travel with your mixer, it’s no problem to throw a hand mixer in a bag or purse.

More convenience

Thanks to this smaller footprint, in many cases the hand mixer is simply more convenient. Set up time is usually faster and so you can typically get started mixing more quickly than you could with a stand mixer. You can also use the mixer in any regular bowl, rather than just the bowl that locks into your stand mixer.

Easy cleanup

Hand mixer cleanup is a breeze. Just unsnap the beaters and wash them. That is if some family member or pet hasn’t licked them clean already.

Downsides of a hand mixer

For all its benefits, there’s a reason stand mixers are more coveted than hand mixers. The hand mixer does come with some disadvantages.

Less power

Hand mixers have less power under the hood. This isn’t much of a problem for most batters that just need a quick mixing. But for thicker doughs and whipping liquids into a foam, having less power means longer mixing times.

More manual effort

A hand mixer needs to, obviously, be operated by hand. That means the entire time you’re mixing, you’re also standing over your bowl, one hand on the mixer and the other on the bowl. This can be tiring for long mixing sessions. And it limits your multitasking abilities. Again, not much of an issue for quick batters, but for ingredients that take a few minutes of mixing time it can be a nuisance.

Fewer attachments

With a KitchenAid stand mixer, you have a universe of attachments available to you. From spiralizers to pasta cutters to meat grinders. With the hand mixer, your options are much more limited.

Why you should have both a hand mixer and a stand mixer

Whipping cream

I hope I’ve shown here that there are pros and cons to both the hand mixer and the stand mixer. It can be hard to know which is best for you, so let me make the choice easier: get both.

If you don’t have the space for a stand mixer, you’re in sticker shock over it, or maybe you just imagine it being a wedding gift someday, get the hand mixer. And upgrade to a stand mixer down the road.

But please, whatever you do, do not get rid of your hand mixer just because you got a stand mixer. If you’re the kind of person who needs a KitchenAid stand mixer, you’re the kind of person who also needs a nimble hand mixer on standby. There will be days when you can’t be bothered to lug your stand mixer out of the pantry. There will be days when you’re kneading dough in the stand mixer while simultaneously whipping cream with your hand mixer. You’ll be glad you have both.

Just take it from the experts at Wirecutter:

“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).”

KitchenAid hand mixer models

KitchenAid offers several different models of hand mixer, organized by speed (from 3 speeds to 9 speeds). The more speeds available, the higher the price. In this section, I’ll explain each hand mixer product line, the features and options for each, as well as available colors and pricing.

3-speed hand mixers

3-speed KitchenAid hand mixer
Photo: KitchenAid

The simplest and most affordable is the 3-speed hand mixer. You will get no frills or extras here, just a basic mixer. It only comes in white and only includes one set of stainless steel beater attachments.

  • Available colors: White
  • MSRP: $49.99
  • Included accessories: Beaters

Find it on Amazon

5-speed hand mixers

5-speed KitchenAid hand mixer
Photo: KitchenAid

KitchenAid is known for giving customers a galaxy of color options. With the 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer, you get more than 20 color choices, the most of any hand mixer they produce. If picking a unique color is your priority, this is the one to get. These are also some of the same popular colors you’ll find in the stand mixer lineup. So if you’re trying to color-coordinate, here’s where you’ll want to look.

  • Available colors: Aqua Sky, Bird of Paradise, Black Matte, Boysenberry, Cranberry, Crystal Blue, Empire Red, Matte Gray, Green Apple, Tempest Grey, Guava Glaze, Hot Sauce, Ice, Majestic Yellow, Onyx Black, Orange, Pink, Tangerine, Twilight Blue, White, Watermelon
  • MSRP: $69.99
  • Included accessories: Beaters

Find it on Amazon

6-speed hand mixers

6-speed KitchenAid hand mixer
Photo: KitchenAid

The 6-speed mixer is something of an anomaly. It only comes in two colors. It doesn’t follow the convention of skipping right from 5- to 7-speed mixers. But it’s still a great mixer.

  • Available colors: Contour Silver, White
  • MSRP: $69.99
  • Included accessories: Beaters

Find it on KitchenAid

7-speed hand mixers

7-speed KitchenAid hand mixer
Photo: KitchenAid

We start getting into the high-end territory with the 7-speed mixers. These have digital displays, a few more color options, and come with a whisk attachment as well as beaters.

  • Available colors: Contour Silver, Green Apple, Ice, Liquid Graphite, Majestic Yellow, Onyx Black, Tangerine, White
  • MSRP: $99.99
  • Included accessories: Beaters, whisk

Find it on Amazon

9-speed hand mixers

9-speed KitchenAid hand mixer
Photo: KitchenAid

KitchenAid’s 9-speed hand mixer is the top of the line option. On top of being more powerful, the more-expensive Architect Series mixer comes with several extra attachments like dough hooks for kneading dough.

  • Available colors: Contour Silver, Green Apple, Ice, Liquid Graphite, Majestic Yellow, Onyx Black, Tangerine, White
  • MSRP: $79.99-$129.99
  • Included accessories: Beaters, whisk, dough hook, blending rod, storage bag.

Find it on Amazon

Hand mixer attachments and accessories

The hand mixer comes with several different available accessories. Again, it’s nothing like the world of attachments and add-ons available for the stand mixer. But this is a great lineup of important tools.

Beaters

Any hand mixer will come with beaters. A hand mixer without beaters is like a car without tires. These are your workhorse tools for blending, mixing, and stirring.

Whisk

A whisk, whether it’s handheld or attached to an electric tool, is for whipping air into liquids. This increases volume, think whipped cream or fluffy whipped egg whites.

Dough hook

Dough hooks are helpful for kneading dough for break making. Kneading is typically done by hand and creates gluten strands that give bread its light and airy structure. Kneading typically takes at least a few minutes, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking about using a hand mixer. Understandably, many people prefer a stand mixer for kneading.

Blending rod

A blending rod is submerged into a liquid, similar to the way you would use an immersion blender. It can help make recipes like shakes, soups, and smoothies.

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