Whenever I start shopping for mixers, I always have to decide whether I want to purchase a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Both of these mixers are wonderful additions to a kitchen if I wanted to invest in the best of both. However, more often than not, I only want to purchase one mixer.
This makes it all the more important for me to know what the differences between hand mixers and stand mixers are before I invest the time and money in picking out the perfect mixer. While both of these mixers were designed with the same idea in mind of making it easier to mix foods, the capabilities and differences between these two types of mixers are vast and can make an enormous impact on which mixer I need for my purposes. But before I can start looking at the differences between these two mixers, it is a good idea for me to have a solid grasp on what each mixer is designed to do first.
What Makes a Hand Mixer Special?
As the name suggests, a hand mixer is a type of mixer that is designed to be used by hand. Generally, these mixers are smaller and lighter than a stand mixer. After all, if I am going to be mixing something with a device I can hold in my hand, it wouldn’t be very practical for it to be the size and weight of a stand mixer.
Hand mixers can essentially be thought of as a handheld version of a regular stand mixer. Unfortunately, for the added bonuses of being able to carry the mixer around the kitchen with me and being able to store it easily, I have to keep in mind that hand mixers can’t handle certain heavy types of foods. This means that if I want to make meatloaf or pound cake, I will rely on a much more powerful mixer, such as a stand mixer, to get the job done properly.
What Makes a Stand Mixer Special?
Stand mixers, on the other hand, can be considered the heavy-duty variant of the hand mixer. Stand mixers, as the name suggests, are mixers that come with their own stand that I simply need to place a bowl in so that anything I need mixed can be mixed without a problem. These mixers tend to be on the weightier side of things, so it can sometimes be difficult to find a place to store them.
With that being said, stand mixers have a lot more strength when it comes to the actual mixing process. Foods that I might have to spend nearly an hour mixing on my own can be mixed within minutes with a capable stand mixer. I simply have to keep in mind that I often pay for what I get with mixers, and if I want a capable stand mixer that can mix just about anything and everything, it is going to cost a whole lot more than a hand mixer ever could.
Now that I know a little bit more about the differences between these two mixers, I can begin working to decide which mixer is better for certain cooking occasions, and what the biggest differences are. Since these two mixers are almost always fundamentally different, it is easier to look at their differences if I look at the capabilities of each mixer. For example, I could look at portability and the differences that each mixer has under that field. I will be looking at portability, capability, durability, price, and storage.
The Portability of Hand Mixers and Stand Mixers
If I was focusing more on how well I could move these mixers around my kitchen, I would have to go with a hand mixer every single time. Hand mixers, since they are designed to be used by hand, are incredibly easy to move around. If I wanted to go to the other end of the kitchen to mix something up, I could easily pick up the hand mixer and take it with me.
If I had an outlet on my back porch and I wanted to mix some cookies outside, I could just as easily take the hand mixer outside, plug it in, and begin mixing. These mixers, while they have some weight to them, are almost always lighter than stand mixers. This is because nobody wants to hold a mixer that is incredibly heavy in their hands. In a way, the portability of a hand mixer reaches as far as the cord can extend from the outlet.
Stand mixers, on the other hand, are not designed with portability in mind. Usually, once a stand mixer is purchased, it is designed to simply be placed on the countertop. Occasionally, if I wanted to have some more space on my counter, I could move it to a cupboard or cabinet, but aside from that, a stand mixer won’t move much from where it is placed.
This is because stand mixers are pretty heavy, and it can be a pain to move such a heavy appliance around a kitchen. Most stand mixers are also large in size as well, which can make it awkward to move them around the kitchen. If I was looking for something that could become a part of the kitchens appliances such as the microwave and the oven, a stand mixer would fit right in. Otherwise, the more portable mixer is going to be the hand mixer by a long run.
The Capability of Hand Mixers and Stand Mixers
Because hand mixers are designed to be handheld, they are smaller than stand mixers. Because these mixers are smaller than stand mixers, they are also not able to provide as much mixing power as stand mixers are. To put it simply, a hand mixer is not going to have the same capabilities as a stand mixer. Of course, I could whisk some eggs with either mixer if I wanted to.
However, using a hand mixer, I won’t be able to make certain foods such as pound cake or meatloaf. Hand mixers are usually physically incapable of mixing foods that are very dense or heavy. Additionally, because you have to hold the mixer up, they are not well-suited to foods that need to be mixed for a long time, such as certain bakery foods.
With this being said, there are some very powerful hand mixers out there that can combat the issue of thick, heavy foods not being easy to mix. This still doesn’t get rid of the problem that it can be tiring to hold a hand mixer upright and keep the bowl still when I have to mix food for ten or more minutes at a time.
This is where stand mixers really excel. Stand mixers are more or less built to take the heavy work out of mixing foods. In fact, stand mixers also come with a way to attach the bowl to the mixer, so that I don’t have to keep the bowl steady while I mix food.
Stand mixers, because they are larger than hand mixers, have more capacity to mix heavy, thick foods for long periods of time. Whether I am looking to keep certain mixtures light and airy or I am planning to make a thick pound cake, having a mixer take the heavy work out of the mixing is something that cuts down on frustration and annoyance in the kitchen. In addition to this, if I am talking only about capability and mixing power, a stand mixer can do everything that a hand mixer can do, such as beating and whisking eggs, and much more.
The Durability of Hand Mixers and Stand Mixers
The difference between the durability of a hand mixer and a stand mixer can be tricky at times. On one hand, the price of the mixer heavily determines how durable it will be. On the other hand, given that there are price ranges for both mixers, it should be a given that one is inherently more durable than the other, right?
This would be true if price didn’t regulate everything. Hand mixers, because they are generally less powerful than stand mixers, often have to be used longer to achieve my desired mixture when I am cooking. This means that I am going to be using the hand mixer at its full strength more often, which will wear down on the life of the mixer. While the mixer will eventually get the job done, there is a good chance that it might not last as long as a stand mixer.
This is simply because stand mixers are stronger than hand mixers. When my mixer has the settings to mix things more quickly, and it will not affect the outcome of the recipe, there is no reason not to waste time on a lower power setting. This means that overall, I would be using the mixer less than I otherwise would.
It is common knowledge that when someone uses an appliance less, it will last longer. Therefore, it can easily be concluded that not only do stand mixers last longer because of the higher quality of materials used but that they won’t be used for as long as hand mixers will be. In both aspects, stand mixers are generally more durable than hand mixers are, although it will improve the lifespan of my mixers if I remember to use them relatively conservatively.
The Price of Hand Mixers and Stand Mixers
Of course, there will be cheap and expensive versions of both mixers. However, there is a general price range for each mixer, and there is a good reason for this price range. For instance, consider the fact that hand mixers don’t have as many fancy features as stand mixers.
Generally, when I see a hand mixer, they are simply mixers that I would plug in and begin using. This means that hand mixers, on average, are cheaper than stand mixers are. Without the need for special functions or features, hand mixers are exactly what I pay for: a handheld mixer.
These mixers get the job done and that is all that matters. If I am looking for a relatively cheap mixer that I can use once or twice a year to prepare for family gatherings, then I would certainly look at the cheaper end of the spectrum when it comes to hand mixers.
With that being said, there are many people who use mixers on a regular basis. Whether those people use their mixers for home cooking or cooking for a business, there is a good chance that they want to invest in a high-quality, capable mixer. Between hand mixers and stand mixers, stand mixers will have more features than a hand mixer ever could.
There are timers, automatic stops, and countless other programmable settings that I can find on just about any and every stand mixer I see. Because of all these extra features, in addition to the fact that stand mixers are more powerful than handheld ones, there is no doubt that a stand mixer is generally going to be more expensive than a hand mixer. This isn’t a bad thing though, because when it comes to mixers, I generally get what I pay for. If I pay for the ease of use of a high-quality stand mixer, I am going to have a high-quality stand mixer that will last me for years to come.
The Storage of Hand Mixers and Stand Mixers
When I am not using a mixer, chances are good that I’m going to want to keep it out of the way of the rest of my kitchen space, especially if I am already cramped for space. Because of the size and weight of hand mixers, it is generally pretty easy to keep these mixers stored away. Depending on the size of the drawers in my house, I could even place a relatively small hand mixer in one of them without any issue at all.
Some people keep their hand mixers in a drawer or on a shelf, whereas others keep them in a cupboard or cabinet. Regardless of where I want to keep my hand mixer, it should be pretty easy to find a good place to keep my mixer without running the risk of it falling. If I was looking for a mixer that I could keep out of the way when I wasn’t using it, or which I wasn’t planning on using much, I would definitely want to look at hand mixers.
Stand mixers, unfortunately, are not as easy to store. Stand mixers tend to be large in size, as well as a bit hefty. This means that most drawers are going to be out of the question when it comes to storage, as well as many smaller cabinets.
Stand mixers are best stored in a large cabinet, or on an open shelf. However, if I have the space for it, I could easily keep a stand mixer on the countertop, ready to be used. This would work best if I planned to use the stand mixer on a regular basis, as it would be easy for me to reach if I simply kept it there on the counter.
In addition to this, many stand mixers come in a variety of bright, bold colors. This makes it even easier to store on the counter, as I could make the mixer match the rest of my kitchen. If I planned to use a stand mixer regularly and was more than excited to be able to match the color of the mixer to the theme of my kitchen, a stand mixer could find its rightful place being stored on my kitchen counter.
The Major Differences between Hand Mixers and Stand Mixers
To put it simply, hand mixers are a handheld version of mixers, whereas stand mixers are the heavy-duty version. A handheld version of anything is going to be relatively light and small, making it easy for me to hold while I mix up my latest meal. This also means that it will be weaker, and not capable of reaching the same mixing power as a heavy-duty mixer.
However, hand mixers are much easier to store than stand mixers, given that they are lighter and smaller. On the other hand, the heavy-duty mixers, the stand mixers, are wonderful if I plan on cooking a meal that requires a lot of mixing. Stand mixers are generally significantly stronger and more capable than their handheld counterparts.
This also means that for the price of this power, stand mixers are going to be larger and heavier than hand mixers. Not only will this make it hard to carry the mixer around the kitchen if I am desirous of a change of pace and design, but it also severely limits my options for storage, especially if I don’t have a lot of counter space, to begin with. Because of the capabilities of a stand mixer, I would also be paying noticeably more for this mixer than I would be for a handheld model.
These are the major differences between hand mixers and stand mixers, and despite these differences, both of these mixers are capable of getting the job done for most basic cooking needs. Each mixer’s pros and cons give it the ability to be better for mixing some types of food than others, and this is something I will keep in mind next time I go shopping for a mixer.