While there are all manner of gadgets available to tempt a keen cook, an electric hand mixer is one of the more essential kitchen items.
From making light work of beating egg whites to even kneading dough, hand mixers are foolproof culinary aids, particularly when it comes to whipping and aerating. They take up far less space (and cost fewer pennies!) than a countertop mixer, too.
While hand mixers vary across the market, from the most basic to high-tech gadgets, it’s clear that many are now so adept at the task in hand that they can rival most larger countertop counterparts.
Many also offer great value for money, coming with a number of additional attachments such as whisks, dough hooks and beater attachments.
When testing, we looked for a number of criteria, including models that were easy to grip and control (not so light the mixer and batter went everywhere, not so heavy to be cumbersome or arduous), more powerful than a standard hand-held whisk, easy to use and easy to clean.
We also looked at aesthetics, size, sound and storage. In the interest of fairness, we made the same shortbread batter with each hand mixer.
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Breville hand mixer with heatsoft technology VFM021: £69.99, Currys PC World
While this was slightly larger than some of the models we tested, it ticked all of the boxes, making it a clear winner. With its matte grey, white and copper finish, it certainly looks the part, and its functionality also delivers. Its 270w power output is lower than some models on the market, but its easy-to-slide 7-speed control and added “boost” button ensure a powerful and efficient output, all while being ergonomically pleasing to hold.
Proving it's a jack of all trades, the Breville mixer comes with dough hooks, beaters and a whisk, plus a storage case to home them all . A special mention goes to its innovative “heatsoft” button, which heats ingredients such as butter, rather than having to wait for them to reach room temperature, to achieve the ideal bake.
Dualit chrome hand mixer: £68.90, Amazon
Ergonomically pleasing and with a sleek matte white or chrome finish to boot, this is a stylish model that you’ll want to keep on your countertop. With three attachments – a flat beater, balloon whisk and dough hook – it efficiently whisks, beats and mixes with little splashback. It also has a powerful 400w motor, plus four variable speed settings. Its retractable cord tidy and integral plug storage are an added bonus.
KitchenAid 9-speed hand mixer 5KHM9212BAC in 'almond cream': £109.99, Argos
KitchenAid is celebrated for its quality stand mixers, and its hand mixer doesn’t disappoint. With its nine-speed setting and LED indicator, it feels like one of the most advanced models on the market. It also fits the hand well, so you have complete control over whatever you’re mixing. Its 16-wire whisk is ideal for making sauces, puddings and whipped eggs and cream, and it also comes with a mixing rod, dough hooks and turbo beaters – the latter can tackle denser doughs such as cookie dough and cake batter with ease. We also liked the fact that it comes with a handy storage bag for the attachments.
Cuisinart 3in1 cordless hand blender: £114.68, Amazon
Some models we tested had short leads, so it was a delight to test this cordless mixer, which sits conveniently on its compact charging stand on your countertop. It’s a great all-rounder, and also comes with blending and mashing attachments, which you can pop in the dishwasher. We found it easy to use, thanks to its large on/off button and convenient safety lock. Its five-speed settings are easy to zip through, and it’s so powerful you think it might take off, but it is still sturdy and mixing is controlled.
The base isn’t the lightest on the market, but the mixer is easy to hold. The whisk attachment is ideal for achieving light batters, meringues and frothing milk, but you may want to look at a dedicated hand or stand mixer if you’re looking to be more industrious in the kitchen.
Russell Hobbs 24672 desire matte black hand mixer: £36.99, Amazon
With its 350w motor, five variable speed settings and added turbo function, this is surprisingly lightweight, easy to use and hold, and affordable. It also makes beating, mixing and whisking feel like a walk in the park. One of the aspects we enjoyed most is the fact that it can sit on its base in an upright position, so you can keep your countertops free from batter, or store it away efficiently.
Bosch MFQ3030GB hand mixer with 4 accessories: £24, AO
It may not look like much but this is nifty, controlled and one of the quietest mixers we tested, which is surprising considering it boasts a 350w power output. On top of being lightweight, it has a great ergonomic grip, feels sturdy to hold, and you have total control when mixing ingredients. Its four speeds are easy to control with a flick of a thumb, and it has the added bonus of being BPA-free and made from non-toxic plastic.
Wilko white hand mixer: £7, Wilko
For an affordable, functional, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin type model, you can’t go wrong with this Wilko hand mixer which, for its price, is a steal. It’s a basic device, recommended for those who aren’t necessarily seasoned bakers but who want a model which offers a bit more power than a hand whisk. It has a five-speed setting, plus a turbo button for extra oomph, and can fold, whip, cream, beat and even mash potatoes on its highest and turbo setting. Its only attachment is the whisk, so if you’re after additional hooks this isn’t for you. But considering the price, it’s surprisingly lightweight, functional and simple.
Morphy Richards 400512 hand mixer with 2 accessories: £30, AO
Solid and efficient, this mixer comes with a 400w motor, five power settings, and a turbo boost. With additional beaters and dough hooks – and considerable power behind it – it makes light work of basic mixing, beating and creaming, and can also whip up bread doughs and pizza mixes. It’s user-friendly, with the attachments being easy to eject, as well as being dishwasher safe. Overall, it’s controlled, sturdy and ergonomically pleasing, but it does have a relatively short flex wire so you’ll want to stand close to a plug socket when using.
The verdict: Hand mixers
With its sleek finish, convenient storage container and innovative “heatsoft” technology, the Breville hand mixer was a clear winner for us. The KitchenAid also ticked all the boxes – we especially loved its chic design and nine-speed setting.