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    We Tested A Bunch Of Hand Mixers To Find The Best One For Your Kitchen

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    Regular and hobby bakers who don’t want to splurge on a stand mixer — or don’t want to sacrifice precious counter or storage space to such a hulking machine — depend on their hand mixers to speed through cookie doughs, whisk air into cakes, coax eggs into stiff meringue peaks, and fluff heavy cream until it transforms into a delectable topping.

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    Even some stand-mixer stans admit they rely on their handheld mixer most of the time (at least until holiday baking gets into full swing). We powered through mountains of butter, sugar, and flour to find the best hand mixers that really whip recipes into shape.

    Editor's Note: We're currently updating the picks for this review! Check back soon for more.

    Cuisinart PowerSelect Hand Mixer

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    You may notice that this mixer gets only four out of five stars on Amazon — but so does every single other mixer in this price category. Apparently it’s hard to make a perfect handheld mixer on a budget. But Amazon averages be damned, the Cuisinart 3-Speed Mixer gets five out of five stars in our hearts, especially when compared to other mixers under $30.

    The differences begin with the thin but sturdy stainless steel beaters, which almost act like whisks; the Cuisinart made the fluffiest, airiest whipped cream in our testing without much effort at all. But it doesn’t only excel at delicate tasks! It also creamed cold butter in the blink of an eye and made short work of a classic cookie dough recipe without a single clogged-up beater.

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    Two of the other beaters at this price point have a center post flanked by four C-shaped tines — the same design as your grandmother’s mixer — as opposed to the Cuisinart’s open-wire design that’s angled to be self-cleaning, so you can mix even thick doughs without scraping out the beaters. And our testers agree with America’s Test Kitchen: Beat it, old-school beaters! The major downside of that old-school design? Because they’re too wide and angled only vertically, the moment you try to mix anything thick, like butter or dough, everything sticks to them, clogging them up. And that means you have to stop the mixer and scrape them clean at least once or twice, instead of simply continuing on with your recipe. (There is one other $ mixer with open wire beaters like the Cuisinart, the VonShef 5-Speed, but its more vertical design also made cookie dough stick.)

    The Cuisinart doesn’t come with any other attachments (except a small white scraping spatula, which...sure? Maybe some beginning bakers will appreciate it), but unless you’re baking bread on the regular, you probably won’t miss the dough hooks included with other mixers at this price point. It also doesn’t come with a convenient way to store its attachments, but because it has only the two beaters and the spatula, we’re sure you’ll be able to find them a good home in a drawer.

    Like all of our picks, the Cuisinart’s cord swivels left or right and locks in place, so no matter your dominant hand, you won’t have to deal with a cord nudging up against your elbow (although, TBH, our left-handed testers found no real difference between these mixers and the few without swivel cords). Speaking of its cord: Like most small appliances you might buy, it’s UL-listed for both the US and Canada, which means it meets certain safety requirements. At 2.6 pounds, it’s on the lighter end of its category, and its slim, ergonomic handle and body design made it easy (and even kind of fun!) to use.

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    We didn’t see any evidence of it “flinging batter all over the place,” as one Amazon reviewer put it, but that’s likely because we used deep stainless steel mixing bowls for all of our tests. While we haven’t tested mixing bowls yet, there’s definitely a reason that the classic KitchenAid Stand Mixer uses deep bowls; when you’re mixing at medium or high speeds, shallow bowls always splatter.

    We do concede that this mixer can be loud. The first speed didn’t bother our testers, but we agree with reviewers that with great speed comes not-so-great decibel levels. (Cuisinart mixers also tend to be even louder than other brands — more on that in our other reviews.)

    Some reviewers also note that this mixer runs just way too quickly even on the lowest speed — and it’s true that there’s no “stir” setting in sight, just “beat,” “mix,” and “whip.” But every other mixer at this price point has bigger pitfalls. And by giving up the super-slow speed option you’d get with other mixers, you get a mixer powerful enough to cream butter pulled straight from the fridge, no softening required, with beaters that can make cloud-like whipped cream and won’t clog up even with sticky, thick cookie doughs. (Full disclosure: We did smash the butter up with our fingers first, but still, good news for those of us who always forget to pull two sticks out of the fridge an hour or two in advance.) And plenty of other reviewers love the Cuisinart 3-Speed: Check out what just a few of them have to say below.

    Get it from Amazon for $25.

    KitchenAid 7-Speed Digital Hand Mixer

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    At this price point, we found two truly powerful mixers that will get basically any job done with minimal fuss; but because we must choose, the KitchenAid 7-Speed edges out Cuisinart’s 7-Speed hand mixer just barely, mostly thanks to its true slow-start and slower low speeds.  

    And in general, this is what we found to be the biggest discrepancy between KitchenAid and Cuisinart hand mixers, at both the $$ and $$$ levels. KitchenAids, while still more than powerful enough, run more slowly, reach a slower top speed, and are quieter while doing it. Cuisinart's really don’t have a comparable low speed; at top speed they spin incredibly fast but can be overbearingly loud. (KitchenAid claims the difference comes from the type of motor each uses.)

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    The Cuisinart 7-speed hand mixer does have one big advantage, though: It knocks out some tasks much faster than the KitchenAid. At its top speed, the Cuisinart 7-speed turned a cup of heavy cream into whipped cream in one minute and 20 seconds, while the KitchenAid took a full two minutes. The KitchenAid did eventually cream cold butter, but the Cuisinart did it in a little more than half the time.

    But here’s the rub: The KitchenAid can still do everything the Cuisinart can, even if it takes a little longer. The Cuisinart can’t do everything the KitchenAid can.

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    The KitchenAid shines because of its slower speeds: It gently combines wet and dry ingredients until the flour is mixed in enough that you can raise your speed without clouds of baking ingredients being thrown all over your kitchen. When you need to mix in something by hand (like chocolate chips or nuts), you don’t have to dirty a spoon or whisk — just select one of the lower speeds. We’re convinced that low speeds are just as important as the high ones, especially when you’re spending $50 or more. And while the KitchenAid’s top speed is definitely not as aggressive as the Cuisinart’s, this also means the motor is quieter, especially at the highest settings. The beaters eject easily with the press of an out-of-the-way-but-still-convenient button, and its mere 2-pound weight means you can mix for quite a while without your arms wearing out (all but one of the other mixers weigh 2.5 pounds or more).

    Despite its overall speediness, the Cuisinart 7-Speed’s slow-start setting didn’t pan out. Like several reviewers noticed, it starts with a big burst of speed before slowing down a second or two later. And at high speeds it’s unpleasantly loud. Some of our testers even had trouble with the eject button/trigger: They’d accidentally pull it when they picked up the mixer, ejecting the beaters just as they were about to mix. Frustrating to say the least. And it weighs 2.6 pounds, which makes life just that much harder for those who aren’t Crossfitters on the side, especially for time-consuming projects.

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    Our #1 pick and runner-up do share a few essential characteristics. Both mixers come with two stainless steel open-wire beaters and a single-wire whisk (for whipping cream and egg whites). We found the performance of all the attachments very comparable — neither set of beaters had a tendency to clog up with dough, and if they did, it easily spun off back into the bowl at a lower speed. Both mixers also had swiveling cords that locked either left or right, and are UL-listed in the US and Canada.

    While there are ultimately pros and cons to each mixer, and we wish we could fuse the two together to have a truly full range of slow-to-fast speeds, the KitchenAid remains our $$ pick for its comfort, lower noise level, and slower low speeds.

    Get it from Amazon for $70.

    KitchenAid 9-Speed Digital Hand Mixer

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    Honestly, every mixer at this price point does a solid — if not incredible — job. But the main differences between the 7-speed Cuisinart and KitchenAid carry on up to their 9-speed siblings; the KitchenAid performs at every task, from slow-speed mixing to cold-butter creaming to quick cream whipping, while the Cuisinart’s ostensibly low mixing speeds just weren’t quite slow enough.

    Light, with a comfortable, soft-grip handle and intuitive controls, the KitchenAid 9-Speed felt like a joy to use without sacrificing one bit of power. No matter what task we set it to, we felt in control the entire time, even at the highest whipping speed for cream. And at every speed — but especially the highest ones — it’s quieter by far than some of its competitors. Even better: One of our writers who moonlights as a casual baker has owned one for the past six years and has had absolutely no problems with it to date.

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    While we’re not sure we’ll ever use the blender attachment (only five of its 1,000+ Amazon reviewers actually mention milkshakes, one mentions smoothies, and it’s not even close to as useful as a true immersion blender), all the other accessories it comes with are worth having. The open-wire beaters can tackle a range of tasks from cookies and cakes to dips, and can even shred chicken. The whisk is perfect for meringues and whipped cream. The dough hooks handle pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, and even lighter bread doughs (though if you’re a serious bread baker who wants to knead by mixer, definitely upgrade to the standing sort). It comes with a slim canvas bag that comfortably keeps all the attachments together — and while this may not be as appealing at first as other $$$ mixers’ snap-on plastic cases, those cases, when they actually worked, could be bulky if you have limited storage space.  

    Again, there’s not a bad mixer at this price point. The Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed is a solid choice, essentially comparable to, but with some upgrades from, its 7-speed version; you get two dough hooks (and a random spatula, like with our $ pick) in addition to the whisk and two beaters, and it comes with a snap-on plastic storage case that fits everything (but that may not work well in smaller kitchens). Ultimately it didn’t make the cut, though: At top speeds the motor is so loud it screams, some testers accidentally triggered the eject button, and speeds 7 to 9 are so fast you probably wouldn’t want to use them for anything but whipping cream and egg whites.

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    Some of our testers really liked the bells and whistles on the Breville Handy Mix Scraper — it has a built-in timer (good for favorite recipes with specific beating times), a bowl-illuminating light (useful for taking Boomerangs of your chocolate chips and just making it easier to see your progress), and rubber-coated beaters (which make mixing so quiet it’s almost soothing, replacing that familiar bang-and-clang with a gentle thud thud thud). But other testers found it less than intuitive to use, we couldn’t get the plastic storage case to snap on and actually stay, and when we dug deep in the reviews we found something even more concerning — it looks like the rubbery plastic we love so much on the beaters has a tendency to peel off with time. Gross, and not worth the price tag.

    So if you want a hardworking, versatile, quiet, and top-of-the-line hand mixer that won’t disappoint no matter how much baking you do, look no further than the KitchenAid 9-Speed Digital. But don’t just take our word for it: See what other reviewers had to say!

    Get it from Amazon for $80.