ermahgerd hand mixers
July 2, 2012 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Hand mixers! Can you recommend one?

Lots of stand mixer questions in the archives, but I couldn't find any hand mixer recommendations. Is that because they're all the same? My needs are basic: whipping eggs, whipping cream, maybe making frosting from scratch every once in a while. What say you, kitchen wizards of Metafilter? Which mixer should I get?
posted by roger ackroyd to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
KitchenAid 9 speed. Mine is blue. (People will tell you that the color doesn't matter, but they are wrong. Pretty things make your food taste better.) It's awesome. It has seen many lesser mixers fall before it.
posted by phunniemee at 8:25 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is there some reason you wouldn't use a stick mixer for those jobs? I whip eggs and make whipped cream with mine all the time, and wouldn't hesitate to put it to work on frosting. I ask only because I get the impression hand mixers have really been supplanted by stick blenders for anything under dough weight, and I do find them less cumbersome to use for the kinds of basic tasks you're describing.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:29 PM on July 2, 2012

Cook's Country recommends the Cuisinart Power Advantage 7-Speed Hand Mixer.
posted by zinon at 8:30 PM on July 2, 2012

DarlingBri, no reason except I've never used one. Feel free to recommend awesome stick blenders, everyone.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:31 PM on July 2, 2012

I adored my stick blenders. I had one of the cheaper Brauns and eventually moved up to the Professional version. It was super easy to clean even after I made smoothies every morning. Great for sticking into a pot of soup, wonderful for making things like hummus that would otherwise have clogged up my blender, fantastic for chopping and pureeing and all that without breaking out a food processor or a stand mixer.

And for all of the things that you mentioned, it worked beautifully.
posted by Madamina at 8:35 PM on July 2, 2012

Braun Professional here. Most excellent very quick for cleanup.
posted by arcticseal at 8:46 PM on July 2, 2012

I did my absolute best to kill my kitchen aid 3-speed over the course of 8 years of making lots and lots of cookie dough. It never even smelled bad. Then I got married and got a stand mixer, so I guess it will probably live forever. It only comes in white though. Our little 200 watt kitchen aid stick blender also appears to be nigh impossible to kill, so give that a look too. It does all the things you want it to do, and makes smoothies too!
posted by rockindata at 8:46 PM on July 2, 2012

I have a breville control grip immersion (stick) blender. It comes with a whipping attachment, and a mini food processor attachment I have never used. Most everything blends well with just the stick (15 speeds), from ice to squash to cream to nuts, with just the stick blender part.
posted by snaparapans at 9:35 PM on July 2, 2012

I've owned a variety of hand mixers and stick blenders over the years. The hand mixers have all been perfectly fine. I wouldn't buy anything more than a very basic hand mixer, because there's little difference between a cheap one and a fancy one. Stand mixers are a different thing, because you can do heavy-duty stuff with them like bread dough and attaching blenders and grinders and all that malarkey. Stick blenders are great for things that are basically liquid - soups, cream, etc. I wouldn't use one for anything much thicker because all that happens is that the blender creates a void in whatever you're trying to mix and then spins uselessly without mixing anything. For its ability to mix cookies/biscuits, cakes etc., as well as doing a good job at whipping cream and making frosting/icing, the hand mixer would be the single multi-purpose tool I'd buy first.
posted by pipeski at 1:57 AM on July 3, 2012

When I was picking out a new hand mixer last year I encountered a few points that are an issue (but maybe weren't an issue with hand mixers 10-20 years ago):

1) Multiple power levels, but even the first one is too powerful (i.e. it will splay the contents of your mixing bowl across your kitchen)

2) Chrome-plated blades. Apparently the chrome comes unplated sometimes. Into flakes. Into the food you're mixing.

(1) is an issue with the inexpensive Sunbeam mixmaster I ended up buying, and apparently is an issue with many hand mixers if Amazon reviews are to be believed. (2) hasn't been so far, though I've been careful when washing it and have been making sure to let it dry fully before putting the blades away, which I've read helps.
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:39 AM on July 3, 2012

I worded that strangely: I've been careful washing the blades and letting THEM dry fully before putting them away.
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:41 AM on July 3, 2012

Cook's Country recommends the Cuisinart Power Advantage 7-Speed Hand Mixer.

The KitchenAid 9 was also highly recommended, but the Cuisinart beat it (ha!) because it was $30 cheaper. This was in 2009.

In 2010, they highly recommended the Kalorik Sunny Morning Stick Mixer, and the name alone makes me wish I had bought one instead of the more expensive Kitchenaid immersion blender that I have.
posted by amarynth at 5:44 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

My manicurist gave me a cheap-o Hamilton Beach hand mixer 25 years ago and it's still going strong.

I also have a 10 year old Black and Decker toaster and a 20 year old, Black and Decker one-cup coffee maker. Both were $10 and have stood the test of time.

On Black Friday last year, I got a stick mixer for $10 at Target, it works great.

These small appliances are well made and inexpensive. You don't have to spend a lot of money on this.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:22 AM on July 3, 2012

I have a Bamix stick blender that has serious power. My handmixer is a pretty simple Phillips that only gets hauled out rarely. I have a stand mixer that gets hauled out when necessary but a majority of things that I do does not require serious power such as, Payard's pound cake or Medrich's chocolate chip cookies.
posted by jadepearl at 7:00 AM on July 3, 2012

I don't think you want a stick blender for the things you mention. It's really a blender (blades) not a mixer (stir/whip) though there's definitely some areas those things overlap.

I like my fairly basic Hamilton Beach hand mixer, which looks like this, but comes with a snap-on case like this. It comes with "traditional beaters" and "wire beaters" plus a whisk attachment, and though I can't for the life of me figure out which situation I'm supposed use wire vs traditional (cookies, bread dough, cake batter, eggs, egg whites, etc) it's really handy to have the extra set of beaters (recipe where you're making a flavorful thing with the egg yolks using beater one, then you whip the egg whites and fold it all together, it's great to have a clean pair of beaters right there with no oil that could make the whites fail).
When it says "Bowl Rest" that means there's a little ridge near the base end that sits on the edge of the bowl and doesn't slide off, so you can pause with the beaters in the batter and let go, not have to tip it back to set down with the beaters going horizontally. Handy.
"Snap on case" means there's a clear plastic thing that fits all 5 clean beaters and the bundled-up cord, so you can store it all together with no loose parts. Cool concept, but rebundling everything when I clean up after baking is moderately annoying, so if I used the mixer a lot, I think I'd rather just keep the beaters in the tool drawer and the mixer on the appliance shelf.
posted by aimedwander at 7:21 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

To be specific, almost any stick blender/mixer you buy will come with a full complement of attachments, including a food processor and, yes, whisk-beater attachment.
posted by Madamina at 7:23 AM on July 3, 2012

Oh, to be clear, I find my Breville immersion blender to be extremely useful, and versatile, I use it all the time... the attachments not so much.
posted by snaparapans at 7:30 AM on July 3, 2012

I have a cheapo Hamilton Beach - it works great. I hardly ever use my fancy KitchenAid stand mixer any more because the hand mixer is almost always enough.
posted by mskyle at 8:00 AM on July 3, 2012

I have a KitchenAid 9-Speed that I adore. The first power level is fairly low, so no first-level-splatter like needs more cowbell mentioned, and I like that the cord sort of swivels and locks to one side or another in the back so you can keep it out of your way. The 9-speed is a little spendy, but I use mine a ton and I've had lesser models crap out on me before; I wanted one that I wouldn't have to replace for years and years so I did a bunch of research and that's what I decided on. Bed Bath and Beyond carries them and I was able to use one of my 20% off coupons when I got it.
posted by alynnk at 8:07 AM on July 3, 2012

The thing about hand mixer versus immersion/stick blenders is that you can make cookies or cakes with a hand mixer, but not with a stick blender. Then again, you can't puree soup with a hand mixer. But if you already have a regular blender, you could always use those for soup.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:41 AM on July 3, 2012

The other thing about the stick blenders is that they're not great, at least from what I've seen, at whipping cream or creaming butter and sugar. For whipped cream, I've found it hard to keep them above the surface of the bowl (so you're incorporating some air) without spraying cream all over the kitchen. Once I watched my cousin, trying to minimize spray, "whip" the cream with the blender totally submerged, so that she made a kind of butter soup rather than the mousse she was aiming for.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:12 AM on July 3, 2012

Aizkolari are you talking about a stick blender with a whisk attachment? Because that... should not happen like that.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:46 AM on July 3, 2012

I didn't know you could attach whisks to them. That sounds like a great idea.

No in my example the person was using the normal blade attachment. I guess if you can stick a whisk on the end of your stick blender it could be a good substitute.
posted by Aizkolari at 11:15 AM on July 3, 2012

Yup! Even the most entry-level models often come with a whisk attachment, even if they don't come with other stuff. I love mine and make whipped cream all the time :)
posted by DarlingBri at 3:18 PM on July 8, 2012

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