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Cheap Mixers Buying Guide
There are several types of cheap mixers on the market these days: cheap hand mixers, cheap stand mixers, and a combination of the two that's known as hand/stand mixers. Most, but not all, cheap mixers are of the hand variety, and prices in the cheap niche start at about $20 and top out at $80.
Three things distinguish high-end mixers from cheap mixers. First is mixer type. According to Mixerbest.com, most pricey mixers are stand mixers. With but a few exceptions, such as the Sunbeam Heritage 2350 350 Watts Stand Mixer (starting at $89, Amazon), few stand mixers qualify as cheap (and this one is barely that). Next comes durability. Cooking.com notes that stand mixers are heavy-duty machines made of heavy-duty materials; cheap hand mixers, on the other hand, are built from less durable motors and parts, and generally don't last as long. Finally, there's power. In short, low-cost hand mixers have less power than higher-end models.
The good news for frugal shoppers: Hand mixers are less powerful and sport fewer features, but a good cheap hand mixer will whip, beat, mix, and blend like a champ. And a good cheap hand/stand mixer will give you the flexibility to go either way.
During our research we found many reviews for mixers, but most are written by consumers, not experts, and consumers tend to be harsh in their assessments. Virtually no cheap mixer received a perfect score, as consumers seemed to find something wrong with every model.
Cheap Mixers Style.As mentioned above, there are three types of mixers -- hand, stand, and the combination hand/stand. Let's look at each:
Cheap Stand mixersare stationary and meant to be left out on the counter. They are designed more for serious bakers who use the appliance frequently and for heavy batters, such as bread dough. Stand mixers completely free up your hands, and they come with lots of function options and accessories, including at least one dedicated bowl.
Cheap Hand mixersmake more sense for the occasional baker. They are lightweight and taken to the batter, so you can use any bowl you want. Although they typically have less power than stand mixers, the better models give you similar results. Good hand mixers can manage heavy batters and some can even handle bread dough.
Cheap Hand/stand mixersoffer the convenience of both a hand mixer and a stand mixer. They usually come with more accessories than standard hand mixers and are more transportable than traditional stand mixers, in part because the stand is lighter. Also, the head can be removed, so hand/stand mixers are easier to store than stand mixers.
Low-cost Mixers Power.Power is important in a cheap mixer because you want enough to get the batter mixed, but not so much that there'll be more batter splattered about the kitchen than in the bowl. The experts at Best Mixer write that the power ideal is somewhere between 175 watts and 750 watts, with cheap hand mixers coming in at the lower end and stand mixers at the higher end. Of the mixers we researched, all fall between 200 watts and 350 watts. The Sunbeam Heritage 2350 350 Watts Stand Mixer boasts the greatest wattage, while the KitchenAid Artisan 7-Speed Hand Mixer (starting at $69, Amazon) and the KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer KHM5APOB (starting at $38, Amazon) come in at the 200-watt level.
Cheap Mixers Speed Settings.Speed settings help you control how fast and evenly the batter is mixed, a critical issue for some recipes that specify different mixing speeds at various stages of the process. Experts suggest a minimum of six speeds, and ideally, a slow start or soft start option, which lets the speed build up to your chosen level to reduce splatter. Best Mixers points out that the speed setting should be easy to find and program. The KitchenAid Artisan 7-Speed and the Cuisinart HSM-70 Power Advantage Hand/Stand Mixer (starting at $75, Amazon) feature digital touch LED screens for easy speed control, as well as seven speed settings and a slow start. Among cheap mixers, the Sunbeam Heritage 2350 offers the most speed settings (12), while the Kalorik 5-Speed (starting at $27, Amazon) and the KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power KHM5APOB feature, you guessed it, five. The Kalorik 5-Speed is unique in that it comes with a turbo speed option, which means it adds a boost of power to ensure that the ingredients are all evenly mixed. The Hamilton Beach Hand/Stand Mixer 64650 (starting at $38, Amazon) has six speed levels.
Cheap Mixers Weight.Weight has different implications for cheap hand mixers and cheap stand mixers. As Cooking.com explains, hand mixers should be comfortable enough to hold for five to 10 minutes and weigh approximately two pounds. One cheap hand mixer close to that standard is the KitchenAid Artisan 7-Speed, which weighs 2.3 pounds; the KitchenAid 5-Speed, at four pounds, is way heftier. Cheap stand mixers, by contrast, should be heavy to prevent them from moving on the countertop while in use. For these models, Cooking.com recommends weight of about 20 pounds; the Sunbeam Heritage 2350 falls a bit short, weighing in at 15.2 pounds.
We didn't find much mention of the ideal weight for cheap hand/stand mixers. The ones we researched weigh between five and eight pounds with the Kalorik 5-Speed being the lightest at five pounds, and the Cuisinart HSM-70 Power Advantage weighing the most at 8.3 pounds. Note that these weights are for the unit as a whole -- stand and all -- and not solely for the hand-mixer component.
Low-priced Mixers Accessories.Mixers at all price points come with a variety of accessories; in our research we found that cheap hand mixers come with one or more accessories while cheap hand/stand mixers come with as many as four accessories. Beaters, of course, are the number one priority. Cooking.com notes that old beater models have a post down the middle but newer, better models don't; instead, they're made of stainless steel curved wire. The KitchenAid Artisan 7-Speed is the only mixer we researched that features these new-style beaters -- but beaters are its only accessory. Another thing to know about the KitchenAid Artisan 7-speed is that you have some choice of color, including pink for Breast Cancer Awareness (a portion of the price is allocated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation). The KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power KHM5APOB comes with two beaters (design unspecified), two dough hooks and a blender rod, which is a lot for a cheap hand mixer -- many only come with beaters.
Even cheap stand mixers offer more accessories than cheap hand mixers. The typical assortment includes two beaters, two flat beaters, two dough hooks, a whisk, and a bowl. You'll want a bowl that's at least 4.5 quarts, which is big enough for a batch of bread or a three-layer cake. The Sunbeam Heritage 2350 350 Watts nearly meets these expectations, with its 4.6-quart bowl, two beaters, and two dough hooks.
Hand/stand mixers typically come with a bowl that is generally smaller than the stand mixer's bowl. Such is the case with the Cuisinart HSM-70 Power Advantage, which features a 3.5- quart bowl, beaters, dough hooks, and a whisk. The Kalorik 5-Speed comes with a slightly larger bowl (four quarts), beaters and a dough hook, but it's missing a whisk. Likewise, the Hamilton Beach 64650 comes with a four-quart bowl as well as beaters and dough hooks, but this one has a whisk.
Best Cheap Mixer
KitchenAid Artisan 7-SpeedThere are several perks with the simple and stylish KitchenAid 7-Speed Hand Mixer: beaters without a rod down the middle, digital touch screen to adjust the seven speeds and slow start option, a sensor to keep the speed accurate even when mixing thicker batters, and a 200-watt motor. Users love this powerful little hand mixer and the big results it produces.
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Good Cheap Mixers
Cuisinart HSM-70 Power AdvantageEase of use defines the Cuisinart HSM-70 Power Advantage Hand/Stand Mixer, with its many accessories (including a 3.5-quart mixing bowl, beaters, dough hooks, and whisk) and LED display screen. This mixer offers the choice of a hand or stand mode and boasts 220 watts of power, seven speed settings, and a slow start setting. Users like the durability and appreciate being able to tilt it back to add ingredients when locked into the standing position.
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Kalorik 5-SpeedAn acceptable hand/stand cheap mixer, the Kalorik 5-Speed comes with a four-quart bowl, two beaters and a dough hook, and features a 210-watt motor and five speed settings, plus an additional turbo speed setting. In standing mode this mixer tilts back on for adding ingredients, but its light weight also makes it a convenient hand mixer. Some users complain that it's made of low-grade plastic although most are satisfied with its mixing ability and value price.
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Don't Bother Cheap Mixer
Hamilton Beach 64650
Don't be fooled by the low price tag on this hand/stand mixer. Even on paper the Hamilton Beach Hand/Stand Mixer seems a little lacking: it has no slow start option and no display screen to easily adjust the speed, although it does feature 290 watts of powers and comes with a four-quart mixing bowl, beaters, dough hooks, and whisk. Users have multiple complaints about this mixer, including durability and a tendency for the motor to die when mixing thick batters.
Cuisinart HSM-70 Power Advantage Review
Kalorik 5-Speed Review
KitchenAid Artisan 7-Speed Review
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