Blue KitchenAid® hand mixer on countertop next to bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough

HAND MIXER BUYING GUIDE

Hand mixers are typically classified by speed settings, but they can also vary by included attachments, beater types, noise levels, wattage and more. Read through the guide below to learn more about 7 factors to consider to find the best hand mixer for you, then discover uses for hand mixers broken down by common speed settings. 

Black KitchenAid® hand mixer on wooden cutting board next to whipped cream with sprinkles in serving cups Black KitchenAid® hand mixer on wooden cutting board next to whipped cream with sprinkles in serving cups

IS A HAND MIXER WORTH IT?

Hand mixers are a staple of most kitchens and offer a quick and convenient solution for combining ingredients for batters, doughs, whips and more. Whether you’re preparing a batch of orange buttermilk pancakes for Saturday brunch or whipping up a side of mashed potatoes, hand mixers can make quick work of a variety of tasks. Plus, cordless models like the KitchenAid® Cordless 7-Speed Hand Mixer offer extra flexibility and allow you to move around the kitchen while you complete food prep tasks.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A HAND MIXER?

You can find the right hand mixer by first considering how you plan to use it on a day-to-day basis. If you’re looking for more precision when aerating batters and whips, consider mixers with a wider variety of speed settings and additional attachments. You can also keep your kitchen’s aesthetic in mind when considering hand mixer colors like KitchenAid® hand mixers in Aqua Sky or Candy Apple Red. If you value streamlining your work or storage space, consider a cordless hand mixer or one with a retractable cord or storage case.

7 FEATURES TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HAND MIXER

Discovering the right combination of features in a hand mixer can help you find the appliance best suited to what and how you make. Consider the 7 factors below—from speed settings and power to attachments and noise level—to help refine your hand mixer search. 

Close up of speed settings on red KitchenAid® hand mixer

1. SPEED SETTINGS

Hand mixers typically feature anywhere from 3 to 9 speed settings. The lowest setting gently stirs and combines ingredients, making it ideal for incorporating chunky add-ins or slowly combining dry and wet ingredients. A hand mixer’s highest speed is best for rapidly whipping frostings, whipped cream, egg whites and more. The more speed settings your mixer has, the more incremental control you’ll have over how you incorporate and aerate ingredients.

Maker plugging cord into black KitchenAid® hand mixer

2. POWER

Powerful hand mixers can effectively combine thick batters and doughs without stalling or losing control, and though wattage can be one indicator of power, it doesn't tell the whole story. Hand mixer wattage typically ranges from 60 watts to over 400 watts. When looking for a hand mixer, consider both the wattage and type of motor to find the right fit. Many hand mixer motors have alternating current (AC) motors, but models like select hand mixers from KitchenAid brand feature direct current (DC) motors that are lower wattage but 20% more powerful, quiter, lighter weight and more energy efficient than comparable models with AC motors. 

 

White KitchenAid® hand mixer resting on countertop above bowl of cookie dough

3. WEIGHT AND DESIGN

Part of a hand mixer’s appeal is its compact design that allows you to easily tuck it away for future use, but not all hand mixers are lightweight or optimally designed. Hand mixers can range from about 2 to 5 pounds, with most falling somewhere between 2 and 3 pounds. Though this may sound light, controlling a hand mixer on high speed for several minutes can lead to arm fatigue, so be sure to consider how much weight you’re willing to take on. 

 

Observe the design of the hand mixer base. If the base seems narrow at the bottom, test it out if you can by setting it upright to make sure it balances well and doesn’t tip over. Cordless models from KitchenAid brand are designed to stand on their own so you don’t have to worry about messes from tipping. You can also test the handle to make sure it contours well to your hand, making long mixing jobs more comfortable.

Maker using cordless KitchenAid® hand mixer to blend ingredients in bowl

4. PORTABILITY

Most hand mixers can be put to good use anywhere there’s an outlet in the kitchen, but some include convenient features that make mobility and storage even easier. Select hand mixers from KitchenAid brand feature a lockable swivel cord that keeps the cord out of the way during mixing to make maneuvering easier. Or, skip the cord altogether to find the ultimate freedom of movement with cordless hand mixers like the KitchenAid® Cordless 7-Speed Hand Mixer that can make up to 200 cookies on a full charge.1 

 

1. Based on 4 batches of chocolate chip cookies.

Close up of wire whisk beating white cream in glass bowl

5. ATTACHMENTS

All hand mixers come equipped with two beaters, but some come with additional attachments that make the appliance more versatile. Some models—like select KitchenAid® 9-speed hand mixers—include dough hooks, whisks or a blending rod for making homemade bread, whipping up fluffy mixtures or blending smoothies and shakes. Other helpful considerations include dishwasher safe features, and how easily attachments can secure to and release from the hand mixer base. 

Close up of flex edge beaters mixing mashed potatoes in glass bowl

6. BEATERS

Hand mixer beaters are typically categorized into one of three varieties: twisted wire beaters, straight wire beaters and flat beaters. Twisted wire beaters are optimized for fast mixing and are less prone to clogging, while straight wire beaters are best for heavy use in dense or thick doughs. Flat beaters are traditional hand mixer beaters that are similar in shape to straight wire beaters but have a thick center post that can make them difficult to clean. Some hand mixers come with flex edge beaters, like this model from KitchenAid brand, that are coated in silicon to maximize contact with the bowl for more thorough mixing. 

Maker using red KitchenAid® hand mixer to blend chocolate mousse in glass bowl

7. NOISE LEVEL

All hand mixers make noise while operating, but some are louder than others and can produce rattling, shrieking or whining sounds. Hand mixers will typically be at their loudest when on the highest speed setting, but noise levels vary model to model. When considering a hand mixer, pay close attention to what previous buyers say about noise levels. You can also use silicon-coated beaters to help reduce noise levels, as they’re quieter when they come into contact with the mixing bowl. 

TYPES OF HAND MIXERS

Hand mixers are classified by the number of speed settings they feature, which ranges from about 5 to 9 speeds. As the number of speed settings increase, you’re likely to find additional hand mixer features and attachment offerings. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of hand mixer types by speed setting to find the right fit for your kitchen.

 Black hand mixer next to ingredients and bowls on countertop Coral colored KitchenAid® hand mixer standing on countertop with copper bowl filled with whipped cream

5-SPEED HAND MIXER

5-speed hand mixers offer the basic functionality you need to mix batters, doughs and creams. The variable speeds of this mixer can cater to everything from mixing chocolate chips into cookie dough to whipping cream for dessert toppings, but a 5-speed hand mixer won’t offer as much control when aerating frostings and creams as models with more speed settings. This mixer may be a good fit if you primarily plan to use it for quick, light tasks and already have a more robust mixer—like a KitchenAid® stand mixer—for larger, heavier mixtures. 5-speed hand mixers:

  • Are typically a good choice for makers new to baking
  • Offer a streamlined set of speeds and accessories

SHOP KITCHENAID® 5-SPEED HAND MIXERS

Light pistachio green KitchenAid® hand mixer on countertop with egg shells and bowl of whisked egg whites Light pistachio green KitchenAid® hand mixer on countertop with egg shells and bowl of whisked egg whites

6-SPEED HAND MIXER

6-speed hand mixers allow you to whip up fluffy peaks or heavy cream with more precision than their 5-speed counterparts. Some models may include additional attachments, like a whisk or a blending rod, or upgraded beaters. The KitchenAid® 6-Speed Hand Mixer, for instance, features 2 Flex Edge Beaters that deliver 2X the surface area for faster, more thorough mixing.2 A 6-speed hand mixer may be best suited to those who prefer more control over blending and whipping than entry-level models offer without the extra attachments and features of a higher-end model. 6-speed hand mixers:

  • Offer more power for those advancing in cooking and baking techniques

  • Provide additional attachment options for increased functionality

2. Compared to metal Turbo Beater™ II accessories based on cake batter

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Black KitchenAid® hand mixer with bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough Black KitchenAid® hand mixer with bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough

7-SPEED HAND MIXER

Hand mixers featuring 7 speeds are typically mid-line models that offer moderate control over mixing speeds. Some models include additional convenience features, like the KitchenAid® 7-Speed Hand Mixer with a lockable swivel cord to keep the cord out of the way while you mix. Like a 6-speed mixer, a 7-speed hand mixer may best suit your cooking style if you prefer more precision, control and convenience features than an entry-level model. 7-speed hand mixers:

  • May include additional accessories, like a whisk attachment

  • Allow more mixing speed precision than 5 or 6-speed mixers

  • Can mix heavy or dense ingredients

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Stainless steel KitchenAid® hand mixer on countertop with cream-topped mini pie desserts Stainless steel KitchenAid® hand mixer on countertop with cream-topped mini pie desserts

9-SPEED HAND MIXER

Hand mixers with 9 speed settings offer premium versatility and precision with additional features that make mixing, whipping and even kneading processes simpler. Some models—like KitchenAid® 9-Speed Hand Mixers—come with a soft start feature that increases speed gradually to avoid ingredient splatter. You might consider a 9-speed hand mixer if you’re looking for optimal control over a wide variety of cooking tasks, from folding in adventurous mix-ins to whipping egg whites for meringues. 9-speed hand mixers: 

  • Often feature additional attachments like whisks, dough hooks or blending rods

  • Provide more precision in mixing speeds for a wider variety of recipes

SHOP KITCHENAID® 9-SPEED HAND MIXERS

Red KitchenAid® hand mixer next to bowl of sprinkles, icing and bath of homemade cookie cream pies Red KitchenAid® hand mixer next to bowl of sprinkles, icing and bath of homemade cookie cream pies

CORDLESS HAND MIXER

Cordless hand mixers give you the freedom to make from anywhere in the kitchen. Untethering from a cord lets you quickly move from whipping egg whites to mixing cake batter, or keep mixing while you check the progress of other kitchen tasks. A cordless hand mixer like the KitchenAid® Cordless 7-Speed Hand Mixer may fit best if you’re often multitasking while you cook or bake, have few available kitchen outlets or prefer to keep your countertop uncluttered while you cook. Cordless hand mixers:

  • Streamline your work space by removing cords that get in the way

  • Don’t require cord wrapping, making storage simpler

  • Typically include rechargeable batteries that charge quickly 

  • Can follow you wherever you go in the kitchen

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Maker plugging cord into black KitchenAid® hand mixer on countertop next to tray of chocolate chip cookies Maker plugging cord into black KitchenAid® hand mixer on countertop next to tray of chocolate chip cookies

HOW MANY WATTS IS BEST FOR A HAND MIXER?

Hand mixers range from about 60 watts to over 400 watts, but wattage isn’t the best indicator of power. For example, hand mixers like these ones from KitchenAid brand operate with DC (direct current) motors rather than the AC (alternating current) motors of some other brands. DC motors are often lower wattage but can be about 20 percent more powerful than their AC motor counterparts.

 Mint green KitchenAid® food processor, stand mixer, hand mixer and immersion blender on countertop with ingredients Black KitchenAid® food processor, stand mixer, hand mixer and immersion blender on countertop with key lime pie and ingredients

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAND MIXERS AND STAND MIXERS?

Hand mixers and stand mixers can perform similar tasks but feature key differences in maneuverability, power and versatility. Hand mixers are electric mixers you hold inside of a bowl or pot to whip, beat or mix ingredients, while stand mixers use an electric mixer attached to a stand that sits on the countertop. A bowl attaches below the stand for hand-free mixing. 

Hand mixers are easy to move around the kitchen and are best for small jobs and common kitchen tasks. Stand mixers are usually more powerful and ideal for large batches and stiff or dense doughs. Stand mixers can also offer more versatility since they're often compatible with attachments —like the Metal Food Grinder Attachment or Food Processor Attachment3 from KitchenAid brand—that allow you to dice, slice, grind, spiralize and more, on top of mixing, whipping or kneading.

3. KitchenAid® stand mixer attachments sold separately.

SHOP all KITCHENAID® HAND MIXERS

With 5, 6, 7 and 9-speed options available, you’re sure to find a KitchenAid® hand mixer to match the way you make. Select models come equipped with Flex Edge Beaters that deliver 2X the surface area for faster, more thorough mixing2, while others feature expansive accessory packs including a Stainless Steel Pro Whisk, Stainless Steel Dough Hooks, a Blending Rod and even a storage bag.

2. Compared to metal Turbo Beater™ II accessories based on cake batter.

DISCOVER MORE HAND MIXERS USES FROM KITCHENAID BRAND