Hand Mixer vs. Stand Mixer: What’s the Difference?

When you’re mixing a batter for baking cakes or preparing dough for cookies, how do you decide between a hand mixer vs. a stand mixer? There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer, but there are definitely some food and cooking jobs that are better suited to one or the other.

Pouring Sugar in Stand Mixer

Here’s an exploration of the advantages and disadvantages of both stand mixers and hand mixers, as well as information on when it’s best to simply mix by hand. Let’s mix it up!

Hand mixers

Red KitchenAid Hand Mixer

What it is:

A handheld mixing device. There are two primary types.

  • Eggbeater: Also called a rotary hand beater, this is a handheld device with a crank on the side that’s connected to beaters (usually two). It is operated using two hands β€” one to hold a handle on the top to keep the beater steady, and the other hand to operate the crank, creating the beating.
  • Electric hand mixer: Basically, this is the more modern version of an eggbeater type mixer, but with a motor. A motor is encased in a top section, which has a handle (not unlike an iron). It’s the motor that moves the beaters, rather than cranking a handle.

Advantages to using a hand mixer:

  • Less expensive than a stand mixer.
  • Quick and easy cleanup.
  • It takes up minimal space in your kitchen.
  • Well suited to quick tasks, such as whipping cream or egg whites.
  • Because the beaters are not fitted to a particular mixing bowl, you can use a hand mixer in any type of bowl.

Disadvantages to using a hand mixer:

  • With a smaller motor, its mixing capability isn’t as strong as a stand mixer.
  • Because the bowl will not be in a fixed position, it can be easy to splash what you’re mixing out of the bowl if you don’t have a steady hand.
  • If a batter is very thick, it can be difficult to maneuver the smaller mixer through it in a mixing bowl.

Stand Mixers

Mint Green Kitchenaid mixer with whisk attachment

What it is:

The Cadillac of mixers. Stand mixers have a frame that acts as the housing for a heavier-duty motor than a hand mixer, as well as the mounting base for a bowl, which is designed to fit the mixer and lock in place during mixing. The bowls on home models will generally hold 4 quarts of liquid, where commercial stand mixers can hold upwards of 100 quarts. Typically, home models will be suitable to be kept on a countertop, whereas commercial models are mounted on the floor.

Usually, stand mixers will have various mixing attachments, including a flat beater (or paddle), which is ideal for creaming and mixing, a whisk attachment, which can be used for whipping cream or egg whites, and a dough hook for kneading heavier dough, such as bread dough.

Advantages to using a stand mixer:

  • The large mixing bowl helps avoid splashing batter out of the bowl.
  • The stable bowl allows you to walk away from the bowl, so if you are mixing something for 6 minutes, you don’t have to be holding the bowl or mixer the whole time.
  • Mixing is much quicker, even with a thick batter or dough.
  • Stand mixers are more likely to comes with bells and whistles, such as timers, automatic stop and other programmable settings.

Disadvantages to using a stand mixer:

  • Cleaning the various parts can be cumbersome.
  • Stand mixers are significantly more expensive than hand mixers.
  • They are heavy and large, and take up a big chunk of kitchen “real estate”.

What about mixing by hand?

Mixing Dough by Hand

Let us not forget that before there were any mixers, we beat things by hand. And even today, if you don’t have a stand or hand mixer, you can technically perform any of the jobs they do by hand. So if you don’t own or have access to a hand or stand mixer, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a recipe.

Why “technically”? Well, if you’ve ever whisked egg whites to firm peaks by hand, you’ll easily understand why it’s nice to have at least an egg beater on hand. Mixing by hand does take significantly longer, and will give you a good cardio workout.

When it’s best to mix by hand:

Sometimes, mixing by hand is the best course of action. Here are some examples:

  • If a recipe calls for eggs “lightly beaten” β€” simply do this in a bowl using a fork or a wire whisk.
  • If a recipe calls to “fold in” an ingredient, it’s often best to do this by hand. For instance: Stirring chocolate chips into cookie batter, or folding egg whites into a cake batter.
  • If the mixing is done over heat. For instance, if you’re melting chocolate and the recipe calls for you to “stir frequently”. Please don’t do this with a hand mixer.

If you’re new to baking, learn the trick to baking perfect cakes every time in The Wilton Method: Baking Basics with Beth Somers.


Chef Linda

Well thanks for this great post, I would definitely prefer stand mixer but in some scenario i cannot get stand mixer with me so i have to use hand mixer there so for me both must be available in kitchen.

Riley Clarke

Very on point comparison! I’ve found that the stand mixers tend to do a much better job than the hand ones. Perhaps that’s because they are on more of a stable base. With that said however, hand mixers tend to be relatively cheaper, much cheaper! Never hurts to have both available though.

Kitchen Master

I agree with Linda’s comment. I’d also add that it might be good to see where an immersion blender would fit into all of this too.

Astro Mesin

Nice Topic, i wanna try to make new article about this with Indonesian language. Good Reference!

Elsa Anderson

My husband and I are looking for a mixer to use in the kitchen and I had no idea that there are so many benefits to using a stand mixer! The fact that you can walk away from the bowl and multi-task is great because this will make the overall baking process faster. Also, you make a great point that mixing is a lot quicker and this is also a benefit because my husband and I never have a lot of time to cook.


Immersion blenders are a completely different animal. A mini submersible blender. Quite different than mixers or beaters. I don’t use stand mixers. While they’re beautiful and useful to bakers, I’m more of a cook and rarely if ever need anything more than a hand beater once in a blue moon. My issue is this: I’m making Sweet Potato Casserole for a get together tomorrow and have always used my hand beater to beat ingredients til fluffy. Not whipping cream or beating egg whites to stiff peaks or anything but need to lighten up the cream cheese, eggs and potatoes a bit before baking so it’s not too dense. There is a stand mixer where I am though but for some reason I don’t think it would be very good at this task (though I could be wrong). I may try by hand..!?


Im so happy i always used a hand one which is so slow when u want to make royal icing with five egg whites and it becomes so slow and flow airbubbles in it and also takes ur time Nowww i get one of those kitchenaid new stand mixers IIIMM SOOO HAPPPY with lots of attachments aaah i love that brand more then my nameπŸ˜‚πŸ˜


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