If you get fed up of standing over a bowl whisking, whipping or kneading by hand, then it may be time to invest in a stand mixer that does all the hard work for you.

Before you make your purchase, consider whether you need a pure stand mixer (that does all those things we’ve just mentioned) or a more comprehensive bit of kit that does even more, such as blending.

Think about the size too – does it have the capacity you need? Will you need to store it away and if so, is it compact enough to do so? Check that the machine feels robust and solid. Is it easy to set up and intuitive to use? How easy is it to keep clean?

Some machines have stronger and weaker points – it might be great at whisking but rubbish at kneading, for instance – so decide on your priorities.

Also remember some cheaper machines only have only one mixing action, whereas higher-priced units have a spiral or rotating action that covers a wider area and gets closer to the side of the bowl – meaning less scraping is needed – although there are exceptions to this.

Pricier machines also tend to have more oomph and more durable parts. Here are our favourites.

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Cuisinart SM50U precision 5.2L stand mixer: £299.95, John Lewis & Partners

Surprisingly, this is Cuisinart’s first stand mixer but boy, is this stunning looking machine worth the wait. Available in black or white, it feels sturdy and well-engineered and it’s a breeze to set up, use and clean and – joy of joys – it doesn’t make a horrid din when in use. Best of all, it whips, whisks and kneads to perfection, with a whopping 12 speed settings for precision control. Despite the hefty price tag, we think it’s as good as some we tested that were nearly double the price. But – as with so many stand mixers – you may have to scrape down the sides if cake ingredients start to stick. Altogether, though, a fabulous all-rounder.

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Swan retro die-cast stand mixer SP33010CN: £179.99, Amazon

Besides coming in a vast number of glorious colours, which makes this another looker you’ll be proud to store on your worktop, this robust five litre capacity machine stands out for ease of use, with three attachments that make particularly good cakes and bread, reaching every part of the bowl so you don’t have to scrape down the ingredients from the side. Don’t overfill it, though, or it makes a shocking mess and it’s a shame the attachments aren’t dishwasher proof. Other mixers on this list are better at whisking as this one is slower than other models.

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Kitchenaid artisan anniversary edition: £699, John Lewis & Partners

The retro-looking Artisan has the wow factor in any colour, but this misty blue and white anniversary edition, inspired by one of the first colours that Kitchenaid used a century ago, will look a picture in any kitchen. Practically, the 4.8 litre white ceramic, textured bowl is as tough as they come and it takes mixing (although makes quite a mess when you add flour), as well as kneading and whipping, to the next level, tackling tasks quickly, quietly and powerfully and in large batches. The parts are dishwasher friendly for easy cleaning afterwards. It couldn’t be simpler to use, with 10 speeds. It’s expensive, though, and you’ll need some serious strength to move it. Mind you, who would want to store this beauty away?

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Lakeland 2 in 1 hand and stand mixer: £49.99, Lakeland

This isn’t going to set the world on fire with its whizzy features, good looks and ability to create large batches of food (the bowl is just 2.8 litre capacity), but it does something the others don’t – it doubles up as a hand mixer, meaning you won’t have to splash out for both. It has five speeds, plus a turbo speed function (we needed to use this quite often) and does a reasonable job at mixing, whipping and kneading, as well as being easy to use and store. If you’re pinching the pennies or want something for a smaller household, this basic machine gets our vote, although be warned you may have to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula a few times along the way.

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Crux bake and blend 5.5L stand mixer with blender jug: £199.99, Lakeland

We’ve tested quite a few products in this Crux range and have been consistently impressed. This one stands out for its large capacity, contemporary American aesthetics and versatility as it doubles up as a blender. We made cakes, bread and meringues galore – all fantastically easy, although we did find we had to occasionally move the cake mixture away from the sides. Meanwhile, the blender does a damn fine smoothie, although pureeing food isn’t its forte. The controls could be better designed and it’s not for a small kitchen as it’s a beast of a machine.

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Morphy Richards evoke stand mixer 400019: £119.99, Amazon

With a five litre stainless steel mixing bowl, six speeds, a turbo function, dust cover and a splash guard, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this affordable and stylish machine. As long as you don’t mind doing a bit of scraping down of the bowl to help the mixture on its way, it’s efficient enough and the attachments are a doddle to fix on and off. It feels a bit flimsier than some of its more expensive contemporaries, so we were grateful for the sucker feet, and be warned that for every 10 minutes you use it you have to let it cool down for 20 minutes.

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Kenwood kmix KMX754: £299.95, John Lewis & Partners

We couldn’t fault the consistency of the whipped cream, whisked egg whites and kneaded dough that this machine produced and it doesn’t make the awful din that so many other stand mixers do. The six speed settings mean you can slowly build up speed to prevent sudden splashing, and you can bung everything in the dishwasher afterwards. It looks good too, with a matching kettle and toaster also available in a range of colours (including rose gold). But the attachments aren’t the easiest to fit on and it’s heavy.

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Bosch MUM9GX5S21 optimum kitchen machine: £599, Amazon

The minute you get this beast (and it is big) out of the box, you know you’ve got a keeper. It’s just so well-built and robust. Performance-wise, it’s great if you’re pushed for time because everything is sensor-controlled and automatic, as well as exceptionally powerful, with the mixer attachment rotating as well as spinning, which makes for a very thorough job with no cake mix sticking to the side of the bowl. Best of all, it doubles up as a blender and food processor and even includes built-in scales. The instructions could be clearer, though.

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Russell Hobbs 23480 stand mixer: £150, Debenhams

You’ll be hard pushed to fault this machine’s whisking abilities – our eggs whites wound up with fabulously fluffy peaks, all ready for some delicious pavlova. Kneading, mixing and whipping come in a close second and there’s a blender thrown in so you can make soups and smoothies too. It’s got 10 speeds, a good-sized bowl and it’s easy to use and clean. But while it claims to collect all the mixture from around the bowl to save regular pausing and scraping down, we didn’t find that to be the case, and other blenders are better at chopping.

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Sage the scraper mixer: £179, Amazon

One of the quietest entry-level machines we tested, this is a boon for those who don’t want to cut all conversation dead the moment they get baking. It comes with two bowls (one glass, one stainless steel) and performs exceptionally well at whipping and kneading, while doing a good job whisking and mixing. But although it claims to be extra fast, we found it a bit slower than other machines. Shame there’s no splashguard included, but given the price tag, it’s a worthy investment.

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Kenwood KVC7300S: £689.99, Lakeland

The first version of this machine was launched back in 1950, but today’s futuristic-looking machine is a world away from the original. Yes, it’s pricey, but we found it excels in every task, is simple to operate and easy to clean, as well as being quiet. It has eight speed settings and there are a vast number of additional accessories you can buy including pasta roller, ice cream maker and meat mincer. It’s a shame that none are included in the price, though, and the whipping function could be a bit quicker.

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The verdict: Stand mixers

For a great all rounder, we recommend the Cuisinart SM50U stand mixer. It looks good on the worktop and is made to last, as well as being versatile and quiet. If you’ve got the dosh, be sure to check out the Kitchenaid artisan anniversary edition too – an absolutely gorgeous version of the already fabulous retro-style Kitchenaid artisan mixer.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.