The Best Stand Mixer to up Your Baking GameThe Best Stand Mixer to up Your Baking Game

The Best Stand Mixer

Or how to make cookies, cakes and dough like the pros.
Elese Dowden
Words by 
Elese Dowden
Updated 
Sep 18, 2020
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At a glance

We've all been there. Whether it was macarons, swiss meringue buttercream or blueberry brioche - every baker remembers the day they realized. One minute, you're watching Masterchef in your PJs, eating Halo Top with a spoon. 'I can do that,' you think. Next minute, you're up to your elbows in almond meal, trying to whisk sugar syrup into egg whites with your gran's old hand beater. Suddenly, it dawns on you: you need a stand mixer.

Stand mixers are your secret weapon in the kitchen. Not only do they up your baking game, but they're also bread makers, hand mixers, pasta makers, and meat mincers all in one. The best stand mixer has a grunty motor, sturdy mixing attachments, and a bowl big enough for a generous batch of cookies. Psst - if you're thinking of buying one as a gift, rest assured it'll bring more brownies into your life. With only the purest of intentions, we've spent hours poring over stand mixer research. Here's what we found.

Best for most

KitchenAid KSM160 Artisan

There's a reason why KitchenAids are at the top of every self-respecting baker's wishlist. While they might seem pricey, they're the gold standard of mixers, and the go-to for professionals around the world. We love them for their versatility, durability, and of course, their dishy looks.

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KitchenAid KSM160 Artisan
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Pick
Best for budget

Kogan 1200w Premium

At $155, the Kogan 1200w Premium Stand Mixer is an absolute steal. We like that it comes with a blender and meat grinder, too. While some reviewers felt it was a little flimsy, we reckon it's a great value option for those on a budget.

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Kogan 1200w Premium
Best for features

Kenwood Chef XL Titanium

The Kenwood Chef XL Titanium is a powerful mixer for serious business. It's packed with features, and comes with a 10 year warranty. With heaps of attachment options, you'll have Mother's Day gifts sorted for a few years to come.

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Kenwood Chef XL Titanium

How we picked

Elese, Cosier writer extraordinaire, has years of experience selling stand mixers, so we had fair insight into what makes a good one. Most people are firmly in one of two camps: Kenwood, or Kitchenaid. But in recent years, brands like Breville and Smeg have also come to the table. To avoid bias, we started out by checking CHOICE's independent testing. CHOICE are Australia's biggest consumer advocacy group, and they've tested several of the big brands. 

After adding our faves to the list, we had a look at the opinions of real Aussies on ProductReview.com.au.  At the time of writing, there were only 5 stand mixers with over 4 stars across more than 10 reviews. Adding a few CHOICE had missed, we took stock to be sure there was a good mix for different-sized budgets. We included one final wallet-friendly option, and that's how we ended up with our list of Australia's best stand mixers.

Best for most -> KitchenAid KSM160 Artisan

KitchenAid KSM160 Artisan

There's a reason why KitchenAids are at the top of every self-respecting baker's wishlist. While they might seem pricey, they're the gold standard of mixers, and the go-to for professionals around the world. We love them for their versatility, durability, and of course, their dishy looks.

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The KitchenAid KSM160 Artisan Stand Mixer has a reputation that speaks for itself. Looking at these chic, retro mixers, you might think KitchenAid prioritise style over substance. But it's not a gimmick - the KitchenAid was invented 100 years ago, and they've looked the same since the late 1930s. The secret to KitchenAid's success is their direct drive motors. Because the motor is right above the beater, there's no secondary mechanism to wear out, or water down the KitchenAid's grunt.

Just like your grandma's old Singer, this KitchenAid mixer will last years if it's treated right. The KSM160 has a 5-year warranty, with 10 speeds, a 4.8L stainless steel bowl, and a simple lift-up head. Reviewers on ProductReview.com.au love how sturdy they are, with some commenting that the KitchenAid is quieter than others. Some Aussies weren't such big fans of the standard beater attachments, as they don't get everything off the sides. KitchenAid now makes a scraper beater, but it'll cost you extra.

The KitchenAid KSM160 Artisan stand mixer handles bread doughs, although some reviewers had trouble with the dough hook height. You can adjust the beater-to-bowl clearance yourself with the twist of a screw under the head, which gives you precise control over the height of the beater if it's not sitting right. Some reviewers also complained about the cost. Given that most stand mixers are between $600 and $900, the KitchenAid KSM160 is within normal price range. 

The KSM160 comes with both a 4.8L bowl and 2.8L bowl. The KitchenAid Artisan mixers have won awards for best benchtop mixer on ProductReview.com.au 4 years running, and many reviewers said they'd given up on other brands and invested in a KitchenAid. There are numerous attachments available for the KSM160, too, from automatic sifters with in-built scales, to ice cream bowls, to spiralizers... what more could you want?

Why buy the KitchenAid KSM160 Artisan Stand Mixer

Tilt head

Lift the head up for easy access over the top of the bowl.

10 speeds

A great range for slow dough-mixing to speedy meringue-whisking.

Stylish

Iconic retro design in a wide range of colours.

Direct drive

Its 300W motor may seem small compared to other mixers, but the KitchenAid works smarter, not harder. All the mixing power is right above the bowl in the motor, so gears don't wear out so fast. 

Range of attachments

Comes with a dough hook, whisk, and flat beater, but it's compatible with heaps of additional attachments.

Sturdy

A well-made, heavy duty machine that represents quality.

Warranty

5-year parts and labour warranty, but they've been known to last years.

The not-so-good bits

Pricy

KitchenAids retail for around $849, so they're a bit of an investment. The attachments don't come cheap, either.

Customer service

Nearly all of the lower-star reviews for KitchenAids on ProductReview.com.au reflected poor customer service.

Heavy

At just over 10kg, this machine isn't easy to lift.

Storage

Because of their unusual shape and weight, they take up a lot of space both on the benchtop and in storage.

In summary

The KitchenAid KSM160 Artisan is the best stand mixer for baking at home. While they're hefty machines that come at a price, they handle pastas, breads, and cookie dough just as easily as perfect meringue. And you'll be in good company - from Martha Stewart to Julia Child, you can see why it's the mixer of choice for home cooks and professionals across the globe.

Best for budget -> Kogan 1200w Premium

Kogan 1200w Premium

At $155, the Kogan 1200w Premium Stand Mixer is an absolute steal. We like that it comes with a blender and meat grinder, too. While some reviewers felt it was a little flimsy, we reckon it's a great value option for those on a budget.

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The Kogan 1200w Premium Stand Mixer is one of the cheapest mixers we found. For $155, you get a 6-speed mixer, with a generous 6.5L bowl, as well as meat grinder and blender attachments. None of the other machines we reviewed included these attachments, though you can often buy them as additional accessories. It scored nearly 4.5 stars from a handful of reviews on ProductReview.com.au, and reviewers on Kogan felt similarly.

The Kogan 1200w Premium Stand Mixer includes three key attachments for whisking, beating and kneading, as well as a recipe book. Aussie reviewers were stoked with the price, saying it produces pretty good results. Two reviews showed the beater doesn't reach the base of the bowl, which sometimes makes for uneven mixing, and another said the beaters were a little flimsy. While this might not live up to its 'premium' title, this Kogan stand mixer is still a reasonable mixer at an accessible price.

Why buy the Kogan 1200w Premium Stand Mixer

Big bowl

At 6.5L, it should easily manage a double batch.

Attachments

Comes with a blender and meat grinder, as well as a standard dough hook, beater, and whisk.

Tilt head

Makes for easy access when adding ingredients to the bowl.

Cheap

Did we mention it's only $155?!

The not-so-good bits

Warranty

It only comes with a 1-year warranty.

Quality

The price of this machine is reflected in the reviews, with some saying beaters were flimsy, while others were unimpressed with the plastic casing.

Sustainability

The warranty, price, and quality of this machine suggest it might not last more than a couple of years.

In summary

The Kogan 1200w Premium Stand Mixer is our pick for best budget mixer because it's great value for money. While it might not last as long as a KitchenAid or Kenwood, this is a wallet-friendly option for an entry-level stand mixer. We love its generous 6.5L bowl size, as well as the additional attachments. The tilt head also makes it easy to add ingredients on the go.

Best for features -> Kenwood Chef XL Titanium

Kenwood Chef XL Titanium

The Kenwood Chef XL Titanium is a powerful mixer for serious business. It's packed with features, and comes with a 10 year warranty. With heaps of attachment options, you'll have Mother's Day gifts sorted for a few years to come.

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If you're someone who asks a lot of their mixer, the Kenwood Chef XL Titanium could be right up your alley. It's made with accessibility in mind, and has a range of nifty features. The very first Kenwood Chef was invented in 1950, and reviews showed Aussies still trust this big-name brand. The XL Titanium is reviewed by CHOICE, and reviewers on ProductReview.com.au particularly love the little light above the bowl for early morning baking sessions. 

This deluxe mixer has more features than your local cinema, with a stainless steel K-beater, creaming beater, folding tool, whisk, dough hook, splash guard, and spatula. The Kenwood Chef Titanium XL has simple dial controls, thorough instructions, and a big illuminated start button. It also has a spring-loaded head which you can lift for better bowl access between mixes. Its double handles make for easy manoeuvering, and the attachments are dishwasher safe. 

We love that it has a massive 6.7L bowl. Plus, the pouring shield clips onto the motor head to prevent splashing, and the beater height can be adjusted if it's not quite clearing the bowl properly.

The Kenwood Chef Titanium XL scored just over 4 stars from nearly 30 reviews on ProductReview.com.au. Several reviewers commented that they'd chosen a Kenwood after their grandmothers' Kenwoods lasted decades, although there were a few who had been let down by faulty machines and poor after-sales service. 

Why buy the Kenwood Chef Titanium XL KVL8300S

Tilt head

Easy to add ingredients between mixes.

Light feature

Mood lighting in your mixing bowl with a little lamp under the tilt head.

Up to the task

With a huge bowl and a grunty 1700w motor, this mixer should cope with double batches of cookies or bread dough.

Attachments

Comes with 5 mixing attachments, as well as a splash guard and spatula. There's also the option to buy additional attachments for meat grinding, pasta making, juicing, or even a food processor attachment.

Accessibility

Large, simple controls, thorough instructions, and a double-handed bowl.

Warranty

The longest of all the mixers we've seen with a 10-year warranty.

The not-so-good bits

$$$

The Kenwood Chef XL Titanium is a top-of-the-line appliance, retailing at around $1,000.

Hefty

This machine is around 10kg, and it's an awkward shape. This could make it difficult to store.

Faults

A few folks had issues with motor failures, which was a problem consistent across reviews for Kenwood Chefs. Kenwood was sold to DeLonghi in the early 2000s, and newer models appear to be less hardy than our grandmothers' mixers.

In summary

We love the Kenwood Chef XL Titanium because it's packed with features. If you're baking for a bunch of people on the reg, this is the machine for you. Its tilt head, illuminated bowl and simple controls make for stress-free baking, and it comes with enough accessories to keep any home cook busy. With a huge 6.7L capacity and a 10-year warranty, the Kenwood Chef XL Titanium is made to go the distance.

The competition

A stand mixer can be a bit of an investment, and not everyone cooks in the same way. Here are a few more mixers we reckon are worth taking a look at.

Breville The Scraper Mixer

The Breville Scraper Mixer is an entry-level stand mixer at a fair dinkum price. Unlike most standard mixers, it comes with a double-sided scraper beater to get all those pesky bits off the side of the bowl. With 6 speeds and a 900w motor, this is a great basic model that should cater to your weekly hankering for chocolate chip bikkies. It also has a 4.7L bowl, made of a special glass which is resistant to thermal shock, so you can pop it in the microwave to melt butter. 

The Breville Scraper Mixer scored just over 4 stars from 10 reviews on ProductReview.com.au. It comes with a 1 year repair and a 5 year motor warranty. Some reviewers weren't too happy about the plastic make of the scraper attachment, but they do like how smooth and quiet its motor is. The glass bowl may also be a little heavy for some, although it does make it easy to see what you're doing. 

Choose this if…

You're looking for a simple mixer at a reasonable price.

KitchenAid Pro Line KSM7581 Stand Mixer 

The KitchenAid Pro Line KSM7581 Stand Mixer is one of the most powerful KitchenAid mixers available in Australia. It boasts a 6.9L capacity, which is the biggest on our list, and an efficient 500W direct drive motor above the bowl. It weighs just over 11kg, and includes a beater, whisk, dough hook, and stainless steel bowl with pouring shield. 

The warranty is 5 years parts and labour, and you get to choose between candy apple red and frosted pearl. All this comes at a price though - these mixers retail at just over a grand. This KitchenAid Pro Line mixer was reviewed by CHOICE, and the bowl height can be easily adjusted with a screwdriver. While it probably won't whip a single egg white, its near-commercial capacity makes it ideal for large families. It scored nearly 3.5 stars on ProductReview.com.au from just over 10 reviews, and Aussies raved about how powerful it was. 

Our only qualm is the lift-up arm situation. Instead of a tilt head, this mixer uses a level at the side to lift the bowl up and down. This is annoying if you're used to tilt-head mixers, but it's not a dealbreaker for everyone. It may not be the best KitchenAid mixer for everyone, but the Pro Line KSM7581 is a beast of a machine that makes light work of sticky doughs and delicate meringues.

Choose this if…

You need a near-commercial sized machine to feed a crowd on the reg.

Smeg SMF02 Stand Mixer

This Smeg SMF02 stand mixer gives KitchenAid a run for its money in the looks department, and has recently replaced the nearly-identical looking SMF01. The SMF02 has an impressive 800W direct drive motor, with 10 speeds, and comes in a range of pastels, as well as black, cream, silver, and red. Smeg also offers a small range of additional attachments, like an ice cream bowl, pasta accessories, and a food grinder. 

While the latest model doesn't have many reviews at the time of writing, the SMF01 was reviewed by CHOICE, and received nearly 4 stars from just over 10 reviews on ProductReview.com.au. These reviews showed people had issues with the attachments reaching the bottom of the bowl to mix properly, which may be why Smeg has redesigned their mixer accessories with the SMF02. 

This later model comes with a dishwasher-safe dough hook and flat beater, as well as a whisk that has longer wires to maximize bowl coverage. The SMF02 bowl is also thicker, and the base of the mixer has also been improved. Given that the SMF01 had good reviews, we reckon the SMF02 looks like an impressive little mixer that should solve some of the SMF01's teething issues. It's also a little cheaper than the KitchenAid with a similar motor design.

Choose this if…

You don't want to splash out on a KitchenAid, but love the retro look.

Kenwood Chef XL 

The Kenwood Chef XL is a sturdy little machine with a large 6.7L bowl. Its 1200w motor should be enough for single-sized batches of cookies, cupcakes, or pizza dough, and it comes with a K-beater, creaming beater, whisk, and dough hook. We like that it has smooth speed control rather than stepped increases like older-style mixers. It has a 5 year warranty, too.

This Kenwood Chef XL scored nearly 5 stars from a handful of reviews on ProductReview.com.au. Aussies love how easy it is to wash, as well as the big bowl size. One reviewer also loved that their Kenwood Chef XL didn't struggle with tougher doughs. At around $500, we think these mixers represent good value. They're a little noisy, but we reckon they're great mid-range mixers that should stand up to the task.

Choose this if…

You want a reliable, reasonably-priced mixer with a big bowl capacity.

How we picked

Elese, Cosier writer extraordinaire, has years of experience selling stand mixers, so we had fair insight into what makes a good one. Most people are firmly in one of two camps: Kenwood, or Kitchenaid. But in recent years, brands like Breville and Smeg have also come to the table. To avoid bias, we started out by checking CHOICE's independent testing. CHOICE are Australia's biggest consumer advocacy group, and they've tested several of the big brands. 

After adding our faves to the list, we had a look at the opinions of real Aussies on ProductReview.com.au.  At the time of writing, there were only 5 stand mixers with over 4 stars across more than 10 reviews. Adding a few CHOICE had missed, we took stock to be sure there was a good mix for different-sized budgets. We included one final wallet-friendly option, and that's how we ended up with our list of Australia's best stand mixers.

Important features to consider

We know it's tempting to throw caution to the wind and put a shiny new mixer on plastic, but there are some key things to think about first. 

Cost

The price of a benchtop stand mixer can be a dealbreaker for many Aussies. While our budget option weighed in at just over $150, most stand mixers start at around $400, with reliable mid-range mixers costing between $600 and $900.

Storage space

Stand mixers are usually large and difficult to move. It's worth thinking about where you'll store your mixer, or whether you have space to display it on your benchtop. 

Purpose

Are you someone who bakes a killer cupcake, but would never bother with pizza dough? If you're not using your mixer for large batches or heavy-duty dough mixing, you might get away with a lower-powered mixer.

Bowl

Most of the mixers we reviewed come with stainless steel bowls. These are lightweight, easy to move around, and go in the dishwasher. Glass bowls retain temperature much better, and can sometimes go in the microwave, although they may be too heavy for some folks. Most benchtop mixer brands offer additional bowls if you don't like the one it came with.

Accessibility

Some mixers were designed to be easier to use than others. Our favourite mixers had smooth, simple controls, spring-loaded tilt heads, and bowls that were easy to move.

What you get if you spend more

It's easy to spend more when it comes to stand mixers. Here are some features that pricier models had on offer.

Accessories

Most of the models in the upper price range had a large variety of additional attachments and accessories. If you're investing in a benchtop mixer you'll have for at least a decade, you might like to keep your options open.

Reliability

All of the most expensive models on our list had warranties of between 5 and 10 years, and reviewers were happier overall with how grunty their machines were. If you want something you can rely on, it's worth making more of an investment, and getting it serviced regularly.

Capacity

If you need a heavy-duty mixer for daily use, or if you're cooking for a lot of people most of the time, a cheaper mixer might not be up to the task. Stand mixers with larger bowl capacities and gruntier motors are more expensive, but they're made to be more robust than their cheaper cousins.

Height adjustment

Some mixers allow you to change the height of the beater yourself, which saves you a trip to the shops if it's not quite clearing the bowl properly. It might not sound like much, but if you're switching between stainless steel, glass, or ice cream bowls, having the option to DIY can go a long way.

The bottom line

Whether you're a baking whiz or a dough pro, a stand mixer has its place in every kitchen. If you're not convinced you bake enough to justify the investment, consider adding a few accessories to make your benchtop mixer more suitable for your needs. We reckon stand mixers are something worth paying a bit more for, because a good one will save you time and money in the long run.

The KitchenAid KSM160 Artisan Stand Mixer is the best benchtop mixer around. With clever direct drive motors, durable construction, and stylish good looks, these mixers are favoured by both home cooks and professionals the world over. With regular servicing, a KitchenAid mixer could last you decades.

If you're not sold on stand mixers just yet, the Kogan 1200w Premium Stand Mixer is a great entry-level model at a very fair price. For just over $150, you'll get a hefty 6.5L bowl, as well as mincer and blender attachments. They may not outlast your granny's Kenwood, but they're a wallet-friendly way to learn your way around a benchtop mixer.

The Kenwood Chef XL Titanium is one of our faves because it's packed with features. WIth easy-to-use controls and a light over the hefty double-handled bowl, this is a machine that'll handle big tasks. We like that it comes with a 10-year warranty, and are impressed by its powerful motor.

Frequently asked questions

What does a stand mixer do?

A stand mixer, or benchtop mixer, is essentially a kitchen appliance with a motor-powered mixing mechanism that sits over a bowl. They can be used for almost any task that requires stirring, beating, kneading, or whisking - like making pancake batter, kneading brioche dough, or whipping cream. Most mixers come with three attachments: a beater, a whisk, and a dough hook, with a number of additional attachments for different purposes. 

In short, they do anything an electric hand mixer or beater will do, but without the effort of standing over the bowl and putting in tough elbow grease. Stand mixers also tend to have much gruntier motors than electric hand mixers, so they can handle heavier loads. This makes them ideal for dough and pastries. If you've ever wished you had some kind of kitchen elf to help you out, a stand mixer is your answer.

KitchenAids were originally named after one of the original KitchenAid executives asked his wife about their new invention. She reckoned it was the “best kitchen aid" she'd ever had. Stand mixers are essentially designed to make cooking and baking faster, easier, and less stressful. This means you can add ingredients while you mix, or do other prep tasks ahead of time for greater efficiency.

Is a stand mixer worth it?

The short answer is that it depends. If you're a novice baker who likes to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies once every second month, probably not. But if you're someone who gets anxious watching Masterchef contestants pile up croquembouche towers, then yes. Stand mixers are total game-changers, especially when it comes to bread-making, cake decorating, or patisserie tasks. Once you've made buttercream in a stand mixer, it's difficult to go back to hand-mixing. 

They can also be worth it if you make your own pasta or sausages regularly, or if you don't have the upper body strength of the Hulk. There's an array of attachments you can add to KitchenAids and Kenwoods too, which make them real workhorses in the kitchen. Even if you bake once or twice a month, it could be worth the investment if it saves you time grating veges, spiralizing salad ingredients, or making mayonnaise and tomato passata, for example.

Why are stand mixers so expensive?

When you invest in a kitchen mixer, you're investing in a serious piece of well-oiled machinery. Well-established brands like Kenwood and KitchenAid make durable machines that, if serviced regularly, should last years and years. This is why they come with longer warranties. You're also paying for good design - Julia Child's cobalt blue KitchenAid is on display in the Smithsonian, and Kenwood designer Kenneth Grange was knighted for his contribution to the field. 

A good stand mixer is also an impressive piece of engineering. A lot of thought goes into the build of each mixer, and the number of tiny, moving pieces of metal inside these things are why they're usually so heavy. Anyone who's kneaded dough or hand-whisked egg whites before knows how much power it takes to get a good result. Stand mixers are much more than pricey hunks of metal, which is why they're more of an investment than other appliances.

Stand mixer vs food processor

Stand mixers are essentially benchtop food mixers, while food processors are more like benchtop food choppers. A stand mixer is great for mixing small, loose, or liquid ingredients like flours, chocolate chips, oil, or egg whites. On their lowest settings, they move more slowly than food processors, so they're much gentler with your ingredients. This is ideal for folding, whipping, or beating.

Food processors have blades rather than mixing attachments, and the motors are usually below the bowl rather than above. While a food processor is a great way to make pastry, and sometimes dough, they tend to rapidly chop ingredients into a pulp or puree, rather than aerating them into a batter or dough. Both are different from blenders, which are designed to liquefy ingredients by drawing them down a tall chamber towards a spinning blade.

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