The authors of The New Cooks' Catalogue certainly know what to look for when choosing cooking equipment. These leading culinary experts have been evaluating cooking equipment for over 25 years. The following information is what they consider important when selecting a hand mixer.
The best hand mixers offer at least six speeds plus a "soft" or "slow start" feature to reduce splattering.
Handles that slant up toward the front of the mixer (as opposed to running parallel to the mixer body) are more comfortable to grip and are designed to reduce the strain on your forearm.
Touch pad controls are easy to wipe clean. Avoid models with seams on the underside that can trap ingredients.
Hand mixers will mix, whip, beat, and blend like a stand mixer, but with less power. The best ones can handle a stiff batter like oatmeal-raisin cookie dough without slowing up or stalling.
Hand mixers allow you to bring the power to the place where you need it rather than transferring ingredients to the mixer’s bowl. If you only bake occasionally, a hand mixer makes more sense than a stand mixer. They reduce cleanup and save counter space.
Like stand mixers, hand mixers need at least six different speeds. The slowest is essential for adding dry ingredients without creating a dust storm. The faster speeds will aerate your egg whites before you lose interest in the idea of baked Alaska. Some hand mixers offer an ingenious “soft” or “slow start” feature in which the selected speed is gradually attained (it actually happens in seconds) and helps reduce splatter.
Minimum power should be 175 watts, but a high wattage is not the only indicator of power. The design of the beaters also contributes to its overall performance. Old-style beaters had a thick post down the center, while the best new designs feature two slender beaters of thin, curved stainless steel wire. They work better and are easier to clean.
A mixer should be sturdy and durable but light enough to be held comfortably for 5 to 10 minutes. Around 2 pounds is comfortable for most people. Handles that slant up toward the front of the mixer (as opposed to running parallel to the mixer body) are more comfortable to grip and are designed to reduce the strain on your forearm. If you are left-handed, a model with a swivel cord will make it easier to maneuver the machine.
Mixers without seams on the underside are easier to clean. The surfaces should be smooth with no ingredient-trapping cracks or crevices. Models with touch-pad controls are easy to wipe clean.