Are you in the market for a new mixer and trying to decide between a hand and a stand mixer? Each small appliance has its uses, as well as pros and cons. For instance, a stand mixer requires less effort for some jobs, but at the same time, it is large and bulky, making it somewhat inconvenient.
Today we are going to take a look at the differences between a hand mixer vs. stand mixer. Then, you should have the information to decide which small appliance best suits your cooking and baking needs. Let’s get started.
Differences Between Hand Mixers and Stand Mixers
Hand and stand mixers are used for many of the same purposes, but fundamental differences exist. For starters, a hand mixer is just as it sounds – a small hand-held appliance. A stand mixer is large and heavy and is meant to take on bigger mixing jobs that a small hand mixer can’t do.
A hand mixer is held over the bowl as the beaters spin to mix up ingredients in a bowl. Some higher-quality hand mixers come with whisk and dough hook attachments, which means they are more versatile than the less expensive models.
Hand mixers generally have up to five speeds, and all attachments are removable, so they can easily be cleaned. These are small appliances created for convenience. You can grab it off the counter and start mixing immediately without setting anything up. They can also be relatively inexpensive, with some models selling for as little as $20.
A stand mixer is a larger “small” appliance on a countertop or table. While they can be stored to keep them out of the way, many cooks prefer to have them set up and ready to use at all times.
There is a designed bowl to work with the stand mixer, and ingredients are placed in the bowl. Lower the beaters and the mixer does the rest of the work, so you don’t have to (besides scraping the sides of the bowl once in a while).
One advantage of a stand mixer over a hand mixer is that it has a larger motor, which means it has more power for mixing tough blends, including bread dough. They are not as convenient as hand mixers, but they can do much more, and results will be more consistent because these mixers have so much power.
Most stand mixers come with a few attachments, including a beater, a dough hook, and a whisk. You can buy attachments separately, including meat grinders and pasta makers. These attachments are not available for hand mixers, so a stand mixer may be the best option for specialty baking and cooking. A stand mixer can be used in many ways that a hand mixer cannot.
Regarding pricing, stand mixers are far more costly than hand mixers. Unless you buy an off-brand, you can expect to spend upwards of $300 for a good quality stand mixer.
But, if you do a lot of cooking and baking that requires a sturdy mixer, this will likely be your best option. You will have the best of both worlds if you can afford a hand mixer and a stand mixer.
The Pros and Cons of Stand Mixers
Stand mixers can handle much larger capacities than hand mixers but can be challenging to store. Let’s examine some more pros and cons of stand mixers.
- Can hold between 3.5 and 7 quarts
- Can work independently while you are doing other things
- Has lots of power for heavier jobs such as kneading bread dough
- Very versatile with many features; some include lights and scales
- They look great in any kitchen and are available in a wide range of colors
- Heavy and difficult to set up and take apart (most people tend to leave them set up on a countertop or table)
- Much more expensive than a regular hand mixer
The Pros and Cons of Hand Mixers
One of the best things about a hand mixer is that it is lightweight and convenient. But, they may not have the power you need for bigger mixing jobs. Here are some more pros and cons of hand mixers.
- Can be used with one hand and can easily be moved around
- Quick set-up, just plug it in, attach the beaters, and it’s ready to use
- Ideal for smaller mixing jobs, such as cake batter
- Much less expensive than a stand mixer
- Easy to store, and the cord can be wrapped around it or into a built-in case
- Less power than a stand mixer, so not suitable for bread dough and other heavier batters
- You can’t walk away and let it mix like you can with a stand mixer
- More messes are made with a hand mixer because ingredients aren’t as contained
When to Use a Hand Mixer
If you are making a simple cake, using a hand mixer is much easier than setting up a heavy stand mixer. Here are some more kitchen jobs made easier using a hand mixer.
Did you know that you can shred chicken easily with a hand mixer? It will allow you to shred the chicken, which is perfect for chicken salad. You can also use your hand mixer for shredding pork. This will be much faster than if you were trying to do it with a pair of forks.
Whipped Cream and Meringue
There is nothing like homemade whipped cream, which is so easy to make, especially if you have a hand mixer. Here’s a great tip to keep in mind: place the beaters in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before making whipped cream, and make sure the cream itself is nice and cold.
You can also easily make meringue with a hand mixer. It is ideal for getting air into the egg whites, making meringue light and fluffy. It is recommended that you use the whisk attachment for making meringue.
When to Use a Stand Mixer
A stand mixer is ideal for heavier jobs that you can’t do with a smaller, less powerful hand mixer. For instance, you can make heavier batters, such as batter for a fruit cake, without worrying about burning out the motor. Here are some more great uses for stand mixers.
Grind Meat, Cheese, Breadcrumbs, and Stuff Sausages
Not only can you grind meat with a stand mixer, but you can also use it to stuff sausages with the meat you grind. It can also be used to grate hard cheeses and grind up breadcrumbs. You can do this in a stand mixer if you want to grind raw veggies. These are not things you should even consider doing with a hand mixer because it just doesn’t have the same power as a stand mixer.
Knead Bread Dough
There is nothing that tastes or smells better than freshly-baked bread. But it can be annoying to make because so much kneading is involved. This is not an issue when you have a stand mixer.
The hook attachment is explicitly designed for kneading bread dough, so the machine does all the work for you. In fact, you can walk away and let it do the job and then return when the dough is ready.
So, as you can see, there are good and bad things about stand and hand mixers, so the choice will ultimately come down to your particular needs. A stand mixer is the best option if you make a lot of bread and want to experiment with grinding meat, making pasta, etc.
On the other hand, if you only make the odd cake here and there, it probably isn’t necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on a stand mixer you won’t use often, and a hand mixer is the better option.
Before buying a stand mixer, consider your space, its convenience, and what you plan on using it for. Then, make sure you look at the various models of both types of mixers to see what they are capable of. Once you have weighed all the options, you can make the best decision.