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.
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.
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.