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Stand mixers are kind of like tissues or soda: When people think of them, they likely think of one brand and one brand only. (C’mon, we all have that friend who asks for a Kleenex anytime he sneezes or requests a Coke, even if she means anything carbonated and caffeinated.) But there are so many options on the market—some as cheap as $32—that you start to wonder if the KitchenAid mixer is really worth it. Should you go with the brand that appears on every wedding registry, simply because it’s the best-known? Or because it’s available in every color you could ever want?

To find out, we researched the top appliances on the market and talked to diehard fans of all types of mixers. For ones with top reviews that our team didn’t already own, we called them in and put them to the test for a month of regular use: How’d they handle light, fluffy batters? What about dense, thick doughs that could run their gears through the ringer? How easy are they to clean and maintain? From there, we narrowed things down to our favorites. Behold, the best stand mixers for every kind of baker.

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Our Picks at a Glance:

The Best Stand Mixers:

Bosch

1. Bosch Universal Plus Mixer

Best for Bread Makers

  • Value: 16/20
  • Functionality: 17/20
  • Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 15/20
  • Mixing Power: 20/20

TOTAL: 88/100

Simply getting your hands on this mixer is a challenge—it’s sold out almost everywhere, and for good reason: It can take a beating and keep right on, well, beating (eggs, bread dough and even that notorious mixer-killer, fondant). Bosch’s Universal Plus Mixer looks unlike most stand mixers, since the beaters are on the bottom of the machine, which offers you an unobstructed view of how a dough or batter comes together. Our reviewer, who’s used the machine for over a year, says that the dual whisks ensure more evenly mixed ingredients and that they’re ideal for heavy-duty baking, like breadmaking.

BUY IT ($459)

Breville

2. Breville Bakery Chef Stand Mixer

Best for Aspiring Christina Tosis

  • Value: 17/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 17/20
  • Mixing Power: 19/20

TOTAL: 92/100

You know when a recipe calls for you to beat the ingredients for three minutes, and you kinda forget halfway through to pay attention to the timing? That won’t happen with the Breville Bakery Chef. It has a built-in timer for that very purpose—and it can count up, so if you’re developing your own recipe, you can time just how long each step takes, delivering consistent results every time. Even better, though, is the machine’s 12-speed dial, with clear labels to show you what power setting you’ll need to hit to knead, cream, beat or even aerate ingredients. Plus, this sturdy lil’ number comes with two bowls and a special beater that essentially scrapes down the sides of the bowl for you.

BUY IT ($400)

3. Dash Everyday Stand Mixer

Best for New Bakers

  • Value: 19/20
  • Functionality: 15/20
  • Ease of Use: 15/20
  • Aesthetics: 18/20
  • Mixing Power: 13/20

TOTAL: 80/100

In a world where most stand mixers clock in at $200 or more, Dash seems too good to be true. It can’t possibly work, you might think. You’d be wrong. Admittedly, there’s a bit of a learning curve if you’ve worked with tilt-head stand mixers before (namely, the “slide” knob at the base of the machine, which is useful for repositioning the bowl if the dough is clumped in one corner and the beaters aren’t reaching it). The Dash features fewer speeds than the typical mixer—six, to be exact—and feels flimsier than the others, but it’s a great fit for people who tend to just use a mixer for the occasional batch of cookies or brownies and holiday cakes. Plus, it’s ideal for apartment dwellers; the three-quart bowl takes up about 65 percent of the space of bulkier, five-quart mixers.

$40 AT AMAZON

HAMILTON BEACH

4. Hamilton Beach Six-Speed Electric Stand Mixer

Best for Occasional Bakers

  • Value: 18/20
  • Functionality: 17/20
  • Ease of Use: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 15/20
  • Durability: 17/20

TOTAL: 86/100

Clocking in with a slightly larger bowl size (3.5 quarts) and motor (300 watts, compared to 250) than the Dash is Hamilton Beach’s Six-Speed Electric Stand Mixer. The design’s a little boxy, but this baby is practically foolproof. Our reviewer has owned hers for four years and still uses it for any and every baking project (though she says it’s particularly useful for making your own pizza dough). Suction cups on the bottom of the machine keep it from dancing around your countertops, even on the most powerful settings, though it’s worth noting that it can be a bit noisy. “Make sure you’re rocking out to music with earbuds,” our reviewer notes.

$85 AT AMAZON

AMAZON

5. Kenwood KMM021 Chef Major

Best for Hardcore Bakers

  • Value: 18/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 17/20
  • Mixing Power: 20/20

TOTAL: 95/100

At 800 watts, this stand mixer is an absolute beast. Its dual ventilation keeps the motor from overheating, so it can stand up to just about anything you dream of making in the kitchen. “I rarely have to go in and scrape down the bowl as the power whisk goes low and wide enough to mix everything,” raved our reviewer, who’s been using it at least once a week for the past three years. Like KitchenAid, you can buy all sorts of attachments for this mixer, using it as a blender, food processor, ice cream machine or pasta maker. It’s not the prettiest option out there, but it sure is powerful—and versatile.

$483 AT AMAZON

KITCHENAID

6. KitchenAid Artisan Series Five-Quart Stand Mixer

Best for Experimental Cooks

  • Value: 18/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Ease of Use: 17/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Mixing Power: 19/20

TOTAL: 94/100

It’s a classic for a reason; the KitchenAid delivers on all fronts. The design is undeniably iconic and it’s available in dozens of colors (including the brand’s “it” shade of the year, Honey). Plus, the more than 10 attachments allow you to make everything from lasagna noodles to your own freshly ground burger blends. Finally, it’s reliable. After eight years of regular use, not a single part has needed to be replaced on our reviewer’s ice blue model. Oh, and in the five-quart size, you can bake up to nine dozen cookies (!) at once. All that said, the machine can be a bit clunky at times, with the springs and knobs being a little hard to use. Some reviewers also complained that the tilt-head was a bit heavy and sometimes tricky to adjust, but overall, this machine is beloved by bakers all-around.

BUY IT ($400)

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