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- Buying Guide: The Best Hand Mixers For You
Buying Guide: The Best Hand Mixers For YouBuying Guide: The Best Hand Mixers For You
Which Hand Mixer is Right for You?
We love kitchen time-savers, and mixers are some of our favorite gadgets as they make short work of whipping cream, making meringue or even kneading dough for fresh homemade bread. There are three main types of power mixers on the market: hand mixers, hand blenders and stand mixers. Electric hand mixers make light work of everyday tasks, such as beating eggs, mixing cake batter and creaming butter and sugar together for your signature sugar cookies. We consider them an indispensable tool, especially for home bakers. There are many different brands available with various features and accessories, ranging in price from as little as $10 to more than $100. Learn how to choose a hand mixer from all of the styles and models available to ensure that you purchase the one that does what you need it to do.
How to Choose a Hand Mixer
Hand mixers are a home chef's go-to tool for many different kitchen tasks. They're lightweight, inexpensive, easy to use and efficient. If you're wondering how to choose a hand mixer, you've come to the right place. We've done a number of hand mixer comparisons, and have narrowed down the most important aspects to look for so that you feel comfortable in the knowledge that you have all of the information you need about how to choose a hand mixer.
Wattage is often correlated with power, but experts say that wattage is not necessarily an indication of how strong a motor is. Most of these types of mixers have 200 to 250 watt motors, which is fine for ordinary hand mixer uses like blending batters. When it comes to power, it's a good idea to read reviews by other shoppers who have experience with the model. You want durability, a strong motor, and a good balance of wattage and RPMs. Look for a mixer that can handle thick cookie dough or cooked potatoes without strain.
Don't let wattage be your only guide as you learn how to choose a hand mixer. You should also consider RPMs (revolutions per minute). Most hand mixers can accommodate ranges from 200 to 400 RPMs, but professional models can go as high 10,000. A mid-range on both wattage and RPM will accommodate most hand mixer uses efficiently. Most basic types of hand mixers have at least three speeds, which are really just different RPMs.
We prefer mixers that have a few more options. We particularly like mixers with a "slow start" setting, which lets you gradually incorporate dry ingredients without spattering. A hand mixer's highest speed should be rapid enough to whip egg whites for a meringue or souffle. If you do a lot of baking and need precision mixing results, look for a model with at least five to six speed settings. Some mixers offer as many as nine different speeds. The controls should be clearly marked and easy to read. Check the switch, touch pad or button, too--it should have smooth action and be easy to access one-handed.
A good hand mixer is versatile. While we do recommend adding a stand mixer and a hand blender to your kitchen, you can buy hand mixers that will perform the tasks of all three tools. When choosing a hand mixer, go for maximum functionality. Many come with a selection of attachments and features. Look for:
- Locking power heads: Most models have these, but be sure to check. You don't want your beaters to pop out in the middle of your mixing. Locking heads keep your attachments firmly in place until you press the release button.
- Stainless steel attachments: Unless you do most of your mixing in nonstick cookware, stainless steel is the best material for beaters, whisks and hooks. It's durable, strong, non-reactive and dishwasher safe.
- Beaters without center posts: We fondly remember trying to lick the last bit of batter from the middle of the beaters when we were kids, but modern designs without center posts are much easier to clean and leave more of the ingredients in the bowl.
- A separate whisk attachment: Perfect for whipping cream, beating eggs and forming stiff peaks in your meringue, a wire whisk is essential for aerating ingredients. Whisk attachments can be found in both stainless steel and nonstick-safe materials for added versatility.
- A dough hook: Some hand mixers' motors are not powerful enough to fully knead dense bread dough. However, the hook itself is very useful for blending the ingredients. It's also great for working with heavy cookie dough or folding ingredients into batters.
Comfort and Convenience
When choosing a hand mixer, consider your comfort. Most weigh about 4 to 6 pounds, so you'll want one that's well balanced and ergonomically designed. A good mixer should have a natural, comfortable angle when in use to prevent wrist and shoulder strain, and the handle should provide a firm and stable grip. A soft silicone grip is a nice touch if you do a lot of mixing. Some models offer a swivel cord, which lets you use the mixer both right- and left-handed and is more maneuverable than a stationary cord. When comparing models to buy a hand mixer, don't forget to make sure the cord will be long enough to reach from an outlet to your favorite work space.
Look for features that add convenience, as well. Size is a consideration, as you want a hand mixer that will fit neatly in your cupboard or drawer. Some models offer a handy case that stores your mixer with all of its accessories in one place, a feature we appreciate. Mixers with a smooth, seamless underside will be easier to keep clean. Digital touch pad controls also stay cleaner than knobs or buttons, and some have LED displays that might be easier to read. A "bowl rest" is another nice convenience feature. An indentation on the underside of the mixer, it lets you set the mixer down safely on the edge of the bowl without dripping on your counters. A "release" button lets you eject the beaters or whisk without touching them, making it simple to change attachments.
Whatever levels of power, speed, functionality and comfort you choose, you'll appreciate the convenience and ease a hand mixer offers the next time you want to whip up a batch of double chocolate chip cookies, make a souffle or bake a light and airy angel food cake. Understanding how to choose a hand mixer is the first step to making the right purchase.
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