Oster Inspire Review

(From $18.00 Best)

This simple yet powerful hand mixer is available in black (model 2577) or white (2534) and has users talking about its impressive mixing capabilities. It may even have too much oomph for some tasks, but most consumer reviewers seem glad to have found such a high-performing budget model. This mixer has six speed settings, a variety of attachments, and conveniences including a retractable cord and dishwasher-safe beaters.

Positive Oster Inspire reviews combine with a relatively impressive set of features and a very low price to make this the best budget hand mixer. The Oster Inspire (starting at $18, Amazon) comes in two colors with different model numbers: black (2577) and white (2534). At 250 watts, it has more than enough power for all but the thickest of batters. This model held its own in a test by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute of hand mixers at all price points, ably kneading heavy bread dough.

Standard beaters, dough hooks, a balloon whisk, and a drink rod included with this mixer add versatility and allow users to choose the right tool for the best results. Target customers who have posted Oster Inspire reviews on the retailer's website consider this mixer a steal given the number of attachments and features for the price. These include a power burst button and a retractable power cord, which makes for easy storage and prevents a loose cord from hanging out of a cabinet or falling onto a wet surface.

Although Oster Inspire reviews show that this mixer performs well and includes all necessary features (and then some), no budget mixer is without drawbacks. Take the retractable cord, for instance: In mixed reviews on Amazon, some consumers complain that the cord is too short and won't retract all the way unless you fiddle with it on the way in. More common are gripes about speed. The six possible settings suggest a fair amount of variation, but some reviewers say they're all too high, and even the lowest one sends ingredients flying out of the bowl. Then again, other reviewers assert that the cord is plenty long enough and the low speed just fine. They attribute messes to bowls that are too shallow or remind fellow reviewers not to start the mixer unless the beaters are touching the bottom.

Despite some frustration, many users report satisfaction with the mixer's performance, saying it meets basic mixing needs. There aren't many other mixers with high ratings and so many features at this price.

Oster 2500 Review

(From $23.00 Good)

This is a good cheap mixer with a slightly less powerful motor than our other picks. Reviewers appreciate that the lowest of the five speed settings is low enough to keep ingredients safely contained in a bowl -- not a given in this price range. This lightweight mixer has an ergonomic design and comes with dough hooks in addition to traditional beaters.

Oster 2500 reviews on Amazon frequently note that the lowest speed is actually low enough to keep ingredients from splashing or puffing out of the bowl. In our online research, a budget hand mixer with a low first speed proved difficult to find. The variance you might expect from multiple speed settings isn't always a given, according to reviews. Many mixers don't seem to exert much less power on low than on high. Reviews laud the Oster 2500 (starting at $23, Amazon) as one of the few low-cost mixers with a true low speed that prevents huge messes. One reviewer gives thanks in an review on Amazon that she finally found a mixer with a speed slow enough to keep cream cheese and butter from flying out of a bowl. And yet this mixer isn't wanting for power, with 240 watts, a power burst button, and five speed settings.

The lightweight, ergonomic design of this model is another perk that's not usually found in budget mixers. The curvy shape is supposed to provide additional comfort and prevent unnecessary aches or strains. While one Oster 2500 review on Amazon mentions that the handle is comfortable, a few others note that the mixer isn't well-balanced -- it's heavier at the top, causing it to fall over when placed down. Reviews don't indicate that this makes the mixer difficult to manage while mixing, only that the design doesn't allow for times when the mixer is not in use.

The Oster 2500 comes with a set of dough hooks in addition to the standard beaters. It also features an eject button separate from the speed control, a design experts recommend so there's less risk of turning on the mixer by accident when removing attachments. All in all, our research suggests this is a good, cheap, no-mess mixer with all the necessary features and then some.

Hamilton Beach 62650 Review

(From $26.00 Good)

Reviewers describe this mixer as solid, practical, and powerful. With a 290-watt motor, it may be slightly heavy for some users, but many still consider it convenient and easy to use. It comes with two types of beaters, a whisk, and a snap-on case to keep all the attachments together.

Hamilton Beach 62650 reviews suggest that this is a good hand mixer for basic baking and even for thicker dough and batter, thanks to a 290-watt motor -- the most powerful among the mixers we researched. Reviewers also note the sleek stainless-steel design. The Hamilton Beach 62650 (starting at $26, Amazon) has standard features, including traditional beaters, plus additional wire beaters, a whisk, and a storage case for attachments. Reviewers weighing in via Wayfair, an online retailer, have found the case convenient and note that it lessens the chance of losing or misplacing attachments. A bowl rest is designed to balance the mixer on the edge of a bowl in between uses, although we didn't see much mention of how well it works in reviews.

Six settings, along with a power burst button, allow this mixer to perform various mixing duties that call for different speeds. However, it seems to fall victim to a common problem among budget models: Even the lowest speed isn't low enough, according to Hamilton Beach 62650 reviews at Wayfair and on Amazon, and the higher speeds can create virtual volcanoes of ingredients. One reviewer has a simple fix -- a large, deep bowl -- and doesn't consider the speed a deal breaker. Some users also complain that this mixer is on the heavy side; the listed shipping weight is 4.3 pounds.

Users have found this particular hand mixer a good choice for duties too small for a stand mixer. It seems to perform well whether mixing thin batter or thick cookie dough. Overall Hamilton Beach 62650 reviews indicate that this is a powerful, high-quality mixer. Even considering the complaints, you should get your money's worth.

Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer Review

(From $20.00 Think Twice)

This cordless hand mixer has room for only one attachment at a time (as opposed to the usual two beaters). The name refers to the three included attachments: a whisk, a drink mixer, and a standard beater. This mixer may look sleek, lightweight, and convenient, but user and expert reviews suggest it's no substitute for a full-size model.

At first glance, this cordless hand mixer may seem a convenient, compact, versatile tool, but Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer reviews suggest otherwise. At less than 2 pounds and big enough for only one beater, the Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer (starting at $20) can easily be whipped out for quick baking tasks and stored without taking up much room. However, this small mixer is so underpowered that it frustrates many consumers and placed dead last in an expert test conducted with cookie dough and whipping cream.

The Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer is priced no cheaper than many full-size hand mixers that perform much better and provide more power. Other mixers provide a half-dozen speed settings, whereas this one has only two. In Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer reviews on Amazon and Overstock, complaints about power are loudest, but consumers also mention disappointment with the battery, which they have to constantly recharge. A few observe that it lasts around 20 or 25 minutes and then takes 12 to 15 hours to recharge. With a low battery, users either can't get enough power to mix ingredients or must wait while the battery recharges -- the mixer won't work in the meantime.

True to its name, this mixer includes three attachments -- the standard beater, a whisk, and a drink rod -- and has a twisting head that turns it into a straight drink mixer. Unfortunately, Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer reviews indicate it's not good for much beyond mixing drinks. However small and readily accessible this mixer may be, consumers are better off seeking out a more capable full-size mixer for around the same price.

Where to buy

Buying Guide

For the frugal baker, a key ingredient in a delicious dessert or savory side is a good, cheap mixer. With a simple push, toggle, or press, a hand-held electric mixer can easily beat, mix, or whip a recipe to the perfect consistency. Hand mixers start at around $15 and soar upward of $70. The best cheap mixers from brands such as Hamilton Beach, Oster, and Sunbeam have basic design and fewer features than their mid-range rivals but can perform just as well.

Cheap Mixer Buying Guide

Our research points toward Oster for the best cheap mixers -- most notably the Oster Inspire (starting at $18), which comes in black (model 2577) and white (model 2534). The primary complaint in online reviews of this mixer is that it's actually too powerful and could use a lower speed. Otherwise, users generally report that it performs well and appreciate the variety of included attachments. The Oster 2500 (starting at $23) has the right mix of price, features, and precision to earn excellent reviews overall and qualify as a good cheap mixer. One other model to consider is the Hamilton Beach 62650 (starting at $26), with 290 watts of power and a convenient storage case. The compact, cordless design of the Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer (starting at $20) may also appeal, but reviews indicate that this mixer doesn't generate enough power to mix much beyond a drink.

Mid-range hand mixers one rung above these cheap models may represent a step up in quality and power, but not necessarily. A $40 or $50 price is likely to reflect sleek design (which doesn't affect performance) and additional, unnecessary features, such as digital display or self-cleaning beaters.

Stand mixers, which are stationary and meant to be left out on the counter, are known for being more powerful, durable, and versatile but also more expensive than hand mixers. Designed for serious bakers who use the appliance frequently and for heavy duties such as bread dough, stand mixers start at about $70 and come with lots of function options and accessories, including a dedicated bowl. KitchenAid dominates this market segment, selling high-end mixers for around $300 and counting.

Combination hand/stand mixers are far less common than dedicated stand or hand-held mixers but have the flexibility to go either way. They usually come with more accessories than hand mixers and are easier to move and store than traditional stand mixers, in part because the stand is lightweight and the head can be removed. Prices start on the high end of our Cheapism range of $30 or less. One of the least expensive and most widely reviewed combo mixers, the Hamilton Beach 64650 (starting at $29), counts many fans among consumers unwilling to spend big on a stand mixer. However, many reviewers question its durability and criticize the design: As a hand-held mixer it's too heavy, they say, and as a stand mixer the parts don't lock in place and the beaters don't reach the bottom of the bowl, making for ineffective mixing.

Cheap hand mixers make the most sense for the casual user who won't be baking every day. They are lightweight and accommodate any bowl. And they still have the capability to mix common batters, including cake, as well as sauce and (with the right attachments) even thicker recipes such as pizza or bread dough.

Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table

Hand Mixer Reviews

During our research we found many hand mixer reviews online, although most are written by consumers, not experts, and consumers tend to be harsh in their assessments. Virtually no mixer under $30 receives a perfect score, as reviewers seem to find something wrong with every model. Yet the best ones are easy to use and capable of turning out creamy batters, fluffy egg whites, and airy whipped cream.

Mixing Results.

Ingredients are certainly critical to a delicious result, but even the best won't yield a satisfactory outcome if your mixer doesn't perform well. The two Oster models we recommend -- the Inspire (models 2577 and 2534, starting at $18) and the 2500 (starting at $23) -- both seem to have what it takes. The Oster Inspire is noted for its versatility. On the Target website, reviews mention successful meatloaf, bread, cookies, cakes, and muffins. The Hamilton Beach 62650 (starting at $26), another good option, has won over a vast majority of shoppers who have posted hand mixer reviews on the Walmart website. One says it makes quick work of chocolate chip cookie dough. Not so the Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer (starting at $20), which received the lowest score in one expert test with the same type of dough. It was also judged only fair in a test of how fast it could whip heavy cream.

Power and Wattage.

Most hand mixer motors draw 150 to 350 watts and our top budget picks range from 240 to 290 watts. lthough marketing materials may emphasize a powerful motor, only a large difference in wattage (say, between a hand mixer and a stand mixer) is likely to translate to a noticeable difference in power output. Experts do say afewer than 175, but they point out that mixing power depends on a variety of other factors, including the design and motion of the beaters.

Hand mixer reviews can shed more light on how powerful a mixer is. Overall consumers have few complaints about a lack of power from the mixers we recommend. In a review on Newegg, one baker comments that the Oster 2500 (starting at $23) has a strong enough motor to cut through thick batters and another user hasn't needed anything beyond the second speed (out of five). The slightly more powerful Oster Inspire had no problem kneading heavy bread dough in a test by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, which praised the resulting loaves. Reviews of the Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer on Amazon warn that such a feat would not be possible with that diminutive model. It's cut out only for smaller jobs such as mixing drinks and beating eggs.

Ease of Use.

Even if you need a mixer for just a few minutes, you should be able to handle it with ease and comfort. If possible, shop for mixers in person and get a feel for your chosen model before you buy. Look for one that's well-balanced and light enough to hold until you finish the job. Some mixers feature conveniences such as retractable cords, swivel cords (for left-hand use), and extra grip, although consumers shouldn't necessarily expect these from a cheap model.

Based on shipping weight and consumer feedback, the Oster 2500 totals no more than 3 pounds, which is on the low end for a budget mixer. It is one of the few low-cost mixers with an ergonomic design aimed at making the task more comfortable. Not many mixer reviews address the comfort or control of the Oster 2500, but on Amazon one reviewer mentions it has a comfortable handle and another appreciatively notes the compact size. At 4.3 pounds in the box, the Hamilton Beach 62650 weighs enough to draw some complaints in reviews at Walmart. Still, several other reviewers say they don't mind the weight. The Oster Inspire is a little lighter than the Hamilton Beach but still weighs 4 pounds. Although it may be too heavy for some, a few reviewers on Amazon point out that the added heft makes this mixer feel more solidly made than other cheap models. Both of the Oster mixers on our list of top picks have dishwasher-safe beaters for easy cleaning and the Inspire features a retractable cord.

The Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer is the lightest model we researched, at about 1.6 pounds. Users who have posted hand mixer reviews on Amazon find this cordless model easier to call into service than a full-size hand-held or stand mixer for things like beating eggs, smoothing gravy, and whisking oil into made-from-scratch salad dressing. However, some have found it challenging to keep the mixer charged.

Durability.

For the most part, low-cost hand-held mixers seem to last at least several years, depending on how often they're used and how heavy their regular workload. Only a few consumers comment specifically on longevity in hand mixer reviews. One owner of the Hamilton Beach 62650 reports on the Walmart website that the mixer is nearing two years of reliable service. The Oster Inspire is capable of lasting for at least five years, according to one reviewer, who admits on the Target website to not treating appliances very well. It's important to care for your mixer as directed if you want it to last. Mishandling a mixer can also negate the manufacturer's warranty.

Mixer Attachments and Other Features

Generally the more features a given mixer has, the pricier it will be, but the best budget models still come with helpful extras and an array of mixer attachments. In addition to traditional beaters, some hand mixers come with differently shaped wire beaters, whisks, dough hooks, and even milkshake attachments. All mixers should have an eject button (sometimes the same as the speed control) for safely removing and cleaning the attachments. A few additional conveniences include dishwasher-safe beaters and a storage container for mixer attachments. A mixer must have enough settings to provide the precise speed you desire for each recipe. Our three top picks also feature a power burst button. More expensive mixers include a slow start option that lets the speed build up to your chosen level to reduce splatter. As with most products, it might be difficult to find a perfect mixer with every desired feature. Determine what's most important to you before making a purchase.

Mixer Attachments.

Mixers at all price points come with a variety of attachments. Beaters, of course, are the No. 1 priority. The Hamilton Beach 62650 includes both flat beaters and straight wire beaters recommended for heavy use. If you can find curved wire beaters, experts suggest they may be easier to clean than traditional beaters with a post down the middle.

The standard for the best cheap mixers is at least one additional attachment such as a whisk or dough hooks. The Hamilton Beach 62650 and Oster Inspire (models 2577 and 2534) include a whisk and both Oster models on our list of top picks -- the Inspire and the 2500 -- come with dough hooks. The Oster Inspire boasts one more mixer attachment: a drink rod, unusual for a cheap hand mixer. Consumers who have reviewed the Hamilton Beach 62650 on Amazon appreciate that it also comes with a snap-on case for storing the attachments.

The Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer accommodates only one attachment at a time rather than the usual two. That allows it to fit in drinking glasses and other small containers where two beaters won't. True to its name, it comes with three different mixer attachments: a beater, a whisk, and a drink mixer.

Mixer Speed Settings.

Speed settings help you control how fast and evenly the batter is mixed, a critical issue for some recipes that specify different mixing speeds at various stages of the process. A mixer with only a few settings may not be able to provide an ideal speed for all the different recipes you want to make. For example, a low setting might be perfect for mixing dry ingredients into muffin or quick bread dough, while a high setting might be best for creating whipped cream quickly. Some manufacturers mark what each setting is for, so users can accurately adjust the mixer according to the type of batter, while others denote the speeds by number.

For a hand mixer below $30, five to seven speeds is standard. Experts suggest six and, ideally, a slow start or soft start option, although users can mimic this effect simply by starting on the lowest setting and increasing the speed manually. Both the Oster Inspire and the Hamilton Beach 62650 have six speeds and the Oster 2500 has five. The Food Network Digital Hand Mixer (starting at $35) boasts a whopping 10 speeds but falls a little ways out of our price range. On the low end, the Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer offers only two settings.

According to reviews, even the best budget mixers tend to struggle on the settings front in two ways: Sometimes the speed doesn't vary enough from setting to setting and sometimes the low speed is still too high . No cook wants a messy kitchen from a simple mixing job, so it's important to have a setting slow enough to prevent or reduce splattering. Several buyers who have reviewed the Hamilton Beach 62650 on the Walmart website mention that the mixer's lowest speed is too fast and creates clouds of flour, confectioners' sugar, and cocoa powder. One suggests just giving the dry ingredients a quick stir before mixing and others see the speed and power as a positive for a cheap mixer. Reviews of the Oster Inspire on Amazon contain similar sentiments. Many reviewers complain that there's not enough variability among the speeds, which are generally too fast and have thrown liquid all over the kitchen. Experts and other frequent bakers suggest using a deep bowl and remind users to insert mixer attachments all the way to the bottom of the bowl before turning on the machine. The Oster 2500's low speed appears to be slow enough for reviewers on Amazon, some of whom say they bought the mixer specifically for that reason after reading other reviews.

Additional Products We Considered

Food Network Digital Hand Mixer Review

(From $35.00 )

The main feature that comes up in Food Network Digital Hand Mixer reviews and sets this model apart from the pack is its digital display. The Food Network Digital Hand Mixer (starting at $35, Amazon) uses an LCD screen to display the speed settings, rather than text next to the speed control, which can wear off with frequent use. The display is advertised as large and easy to read and one reviewer confirms that on the Kohl's website. Other buyers favor the sleek, modern look of the digital display over less stylish, manually controlled mixers. This mid-range model also offers a choice of 10 speeds, compared with five or six on our top budget picks, promising greater versatility and precision.

Although other features merit mention in Food Network Digital Hand Mixer reviews, they can also be found at a lower price point. This mixer does include an attachment storage bag, for instance, but the Hamilton Beach 62650 likewise comes with a storage case and costs around $20 less. You'll find dishwasher-safe beaters on many cheaper mixers and the extra attachment -- a whisk -- is hardly unique. In fact, manufacturers often include more than one additional attachment with less expensive models.

Most consumers who have posted Food Network Digital Hand Mixer reviews on Kohls.com award this model high ratings and say they would recommend it to others. However, one deems the quality poor and reports that the mixer stopped working after eight months, while another notes that the black body is tough to keep clean.

Overall this seems to be a standard mixer with a couple of slight technological enhancements that put it out of the budget range. If you're searching for a gadget to complement a modern kitchen and need a maximum number of speed settings, this may be a mixer to consider. Otherwise you can score a high-performing model with even more attachments for less money.

Where to buy

Hamilton Beach 64650 Review

(From $29.00 )

Hamilton Beach 64650 reviews warn: Don't be seduced by the low price tag on this hand/stand mixer. On paper the Hamilton Beach 64650 (starting at $29, Amazon) is appealing enough in price and features that it's achieved best-seller status on Amazon. In addition to functioning as either a hand or a stand mixer, it comes with a 4-quart mixing bowl, beaters, dough hooks, and whisk. However, users have multiple complaints about this mixer, including durability and a tendency for the 290-watt motor to die when mixing thick batters.

Like the hand mixers on our list of top picks, this combination hand/stand mixer has six speed levels and a power burst button. Overall Hamilton Beach 64650 reviews on Amazon are, well, mixed. Many consumers say batters stir up smoothly, while others report that this model doesn't mix well in standing mode and is very heavy to use in hand mode. In general this doesn't seem like the most user-friendly mixer. Reviewers point out its faults: It lacks a locking mechanism to hold the head on the stand, the bowl spins if you don't hold it in place, and the lowest speed starts out too fast to keep ingredients in the included bowl. One consumer gripes about the design, pointing out that the short stand makes it hard to add ingredients even when the bowl is pushed to the side.

One final concern is durability. Several users posting Hamilton Beach 64650 reviews on the Target website mention that the motor died within a year of purchase (one specified two months) or after being used for heavy batters. Additional reviewers air similar gripes on Amazon. One user reports that this cheap mixer broke after nine months and only about 10 uses.

All that said, this model claims many satisfied customers. Just don't expect it to handle the heavy-duty tasks you'd normally entrust to a stand mixer. It's no more powerful than the best budget hand mixers.