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Hand mixer or standing mixer - differences?

What are different applications for hand mixers vs standing countertop mixers? I was thinking of buying a high quality hand mixer as it would save a lot of money - however, I want it to have a variety of uses and if the countertop mixer is more diverse in ways that I would find useful, then I would opt for that one. Any advice?

Also, if I go for a hand mixer, what are some good powerful models? I bake and cook a lot so I want something durable.

Thanks so much!:)

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  1. I prefer the hand mixers...getting involved as much as possible. I think it really helps the texture.

    1. The hand mixer has an advantage in terms of initial cost and the amount of storage space it takes. But for power and durability, a good stand mixer is going to have the edge. The manufacturer can put a big motor in there and not have to worry about it being too heavy to lift. And since the bowl and the powerhead are both held in place, the mixer can work the contents of the bowl a lot harder than is possible with a hand mixer.

      One application where this really comes into play - and one that may matter to you, since you bake - is kneading dough. It's one of the things I use my stand mixer for most often. It lets me make bread much more frequently than I would if kneading by hand was required.

      One other advantage of the stand mixer (at least a KitchenAid stand mixer) is that you can add attachments like a pasta roller, a meat grinder, an ice cream maker, a citrus juicer, etc.

      3 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        Do you mean the cuisinart mixer? I thought that was the one with all the attachments not the kitchenaid?

        Also, for those that use the countertop one, I was thinking of going w cuisinart over kitchenaid. While the latter is more asthetically pleasing, based on my research (and correct me if I am wrong), the cuisinart is a better overall mixer.

        1. re: cups123

          I don't know a lot about Cuisinart mixers but KA has a lot of attachments, just like alanbarnes said. But Cuisinart is apparently offering a very good warranty these days. I have a KA Pro 600 and one of the features I really like on this mixer is the bowl lift. Others prefer tilt heads. As far as power is concerned, I've yet to make anything that was too much for my 600. I guess a lot of this comes down to what you will be using the mixer for the most.

          1. re: cups123

            The big KitchenAid and the big Cuisinart are pretty comparable, especially now that KitchenAid has started using a metal gear housing. They're both very powerful, and they both have lots of attachments available (although KitchenAid may have a slight edge there). If you're going with the top of the line and paying retail, you can't go wrong with either one.

            But if you're looking for bargains, you're going to find more of them on KitchenAids than on Cuisinarts. Even buying at retail, the little KitchenAid Classic is a good mixer (I had one for years) and goes for under $200. But you can often find various KitchenAids available at discount stores and closeout places for significantly reduced prices.

            One other thing, although I don't know that it matters. If you go into a commercial kitchen, you'll find the heavy-duty mixing being done in a big Hobart that sits on the floor. But most places will also have a KitchenAid on the counter. I've never seen a Cuisinart stand mixer in a restaurant kitchen. FWIW.

            Me, I like the KitchenAid mixer, Cuisinart food processor, and Waring blender because they're classics. Each of those manufacturers defined the field for that particular product decades ago. And in my experience, the manufacturer of the iconic mixer/processor/blender will be more likely to make and/or stock replacement parts a decade or more after the sale.

        2. If you use a mixer much at all and can afford the space/money, a stand mixer is a no-brainer, if you ask me. You can get an immersion blender with an attachment or a cheaper hand mixer later if you feel a really need for some reason. I have a stand mixer on semi-permanent loan but made do with a hand mixer for years, but then, I don't use a mixer very often and rarely bake breads I can't mix in the food processor. Fwiw, my KA hand mixer that has held up well for years with light use but is strong enough - sort of - for fairly heavy cookie doughs and semi-cold butter. I hated using it for things like genoises or a Greek butter cookie that have to be beaten forever with a hand-mixer but the KA has survived that among lighter jobs. But if have a place to use a stand mixer without pulling it out from somewhere every time, I'd definitely go for it over the hand mixer.

          1. I have both and I'm glad I do. There are just some things that are easier and quicker to do with the hand mixer - and once in a while I'm using both at the same time. But my stand mixer gets very regular use and I can't imagine being without one now. As others said, if you have the space and the money, and you really see the need, than go for it.

            As far as a hand mixer goes, I have a KA Pro 9 and it rocks. I've had other mixers over the years and nothing came close to this one in terms of power, function and durability.

            1. If you self-identify as baking "a lot," and you've got the space/budget, the stand mixer is probably the way to go. If you have room for both, a hand mixer can be handy as well.

              Of course the countertop mixers have all those handy-dandy attachments (the Cuisinart and the Kitchen Aid both) which can be great if you have use for them.

              Personally, I was an occasional baker and always just used hand mixers. When I got a stand mixer I found myself baking more just to give myself an excuse to use it!