Original publish date: 6/1/21
Last updated 5/6/22
History of the Hand Mixer
If you’re like me, you remember what it was like to have a powerhouse hand mixer growing up. I still have fond memories of the family gathered around the Duncan Hines cake mix, that unmistakeable smell of cake mix, egg, and milk with a slight smell of metal from the American-made motor in the hand mixer, and the sounds the mixer made when mom would scrape the sides of the bowl for every last bit of cake. And of course the best part of all–when mom would take the paddles off and we’d get to lick the batter off.
The first handheld electric mixer was patented by Sunbeam Corporation in 1961. Many of you who like me grew up in the 1970s and 1980s probably had Sunbeam mixers in your homes and ate many a cake mixed by them. Sadly, in the 1990s–before companies could ‘legally’ pad their balance sheets by outsourcing to cheap overseas labor, Sunbeam got into big trouble for massive accounting fraud and went bankrupt. It still exists today as a brand, but of course is a shadow of what it once was.
Are any Hand Mixers not made in China?
I have to admit, this was one category where I was sure I wouldn’t find any examples of products not made in China. The price point of hand mixers is so low that it’s hard to imagine a manufacturing plant outside of China that can produce parts so cheaply. And sure enough, visit Amazon’s page and you’ll find “fake brands” like LILPARTNER, ON2NO, AXUF, SUNDUO, SHARDOR, MIGVELA, AICOK, Elechomes, and a myriad of other Chinese companies masquerading as time-tested kitchen product brands. And speaking of time-tested kitchen brands, forget about Black and Decker, Hamilton Beach, Proctor Silex, Oster, and even Cuisinart and Breville.
However, a few brands surprisingly stood out. One was KitchenAid, which had evidently sent all of its hand mixer manufacturing to China from 2006-2012 before bringing it back to Greenville, Ohio (at least the corded versions–the cordless version look like they’re all made in China). Their stand mixers have always been made in the US, and because the stand mixers ARE what what made KitchenAid, they’re wise to keep manufacturing of their crown jewels stateside, and closely-related devices like hand mixers are probably a natural fit in their manufacturing plant (let’s just hope and pray that clueless consumers aren’t foolish enough to buy knock-offs like KUCCU and COOKLEE even with their fake Amazon reviews).
Another standout was Braun, who manufactures its products in Romania.
1. KitchenAid 5-Speed, 7-Speed and 9-Speed Hand Mixer – Best Overall
5/5/22 Update – I had a scare when Kat left a comment reporting that KitchenAid hand mixers were now made in China. If this was true, it would mean that KitchenAid was once again abandoning Greenville, Ohio and sending manufacturing back to China. It would also leave us down to only one choice of hand mixers not made in China.
Something didn’t seem right, though. On the one hand, I did see that some Amazon product listings now said “China” under Country of Origin where only a few week earlier they said “USA”. But on the other hand, I could see on KitchenAid’s own site that even just a few days earlier their Customer Service team was talking about how their hand mixers were made in the USA.
I decided to reach out directly to them to ask them, point blank, which hand mixer models were made in which countries. Here was their response.
Now I was completely confused. On Amazon’s product page, the 5-Speed KMH512 was still marked as “Made in USA”, but the 7-Speed KHM7210 AND the 9-speed KHM926 were both listed as “Made in China”. I wrote back to KitchenAid asking about this and here was their response.
Of course, this led me to even more questions, as Brittany asserted that “all of our hand mixers are in fact made in Greenville, Ohio” when in the same conversation Tammy listed one model that was made in China.
I run this blog in my spare time, I don’t have the time or resources to chase down the answer here. But there are really only a few possibilities:
- KitchenAid is indeed shifting production to hand mixers to China and didn’t bother telling its customer service team.
- KitchenAid is testing the waters to see if consumers care where their mixers are made.
- KitchenAid is manufacturing in Ohio, but tapping China to meet demand.
- KitchenAid manufactures in both Ohio and China, and chooses to sell the cheap, China-made models through retailers like Amazon.
Clear as mud? Bottom line, I’m not ready to give up on KitchenAid yet–if there are still models being made in Ohio, we need to do what we can to encourage them to keep this factory going. Here’s what I’d suggest.
- The advice I always have — if you have a retailer like Walmart, Best Buy, or Williams Sonoma, visit the physical store and read the box.
- If you must buy online, avoid Amazon. Instead, buy directly from KitchenAid. But get in writing from their customer service team, like I did, which models at the time of your purchase are made in the USA. This way, if they send you a made-in-China model, you can demand that they let you exchange or return it–at their expense.
- If the KitchenAid rep’s note to me was accurate, then the 5-Speed KMH512, the 7-Speed KHM7210, and the 9-speed KHM926 are all still made in Greenvale, and it’s just the cordless version that’s made in China.
Trust, but verify.
Original review (I changed all links to point to KitchenAid directly instead of Amazon).
Just to be clear, KitchenAid is careful to use the phrasing “assembled in the United States” and not “manufactured in the United States”, which implies that most of the parts come from overseas. But that’s pretty much unavoidable these days–when China started to take over the manufacturing sector, it started with the “cheap parts” and then once it dominated those, it started taking over manufacturing of bigger and bigger things. I give points to KitchenAid for at least keeping some American manufacturing jobs (and quality) alive.
his mixer, along with its 6-speed and 5-speed counterparts, really is a throwback to the “indestructible” appliances of yore. I chose the 7-speed as the best because it has a reasonable price point at $59.99 and it has the highest overall reviews.
It comes with both whisk and beater attachments for mixing, whipping, creaming, beating, mashing, and all other baking gerunds that sound slightly naughty. If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, you’ll know how indestructible it is, and you’ll see similar design elements in this design.
Once again on Amazon I see very suspicious review behavior. There are two one-star reviews (which make up 2% of all reviews) that have mysteriously been voted to the point where they show up #1 and #2. The four- and five-star reviews (which make up 92%) don’t show up until way down on the page. Review rankings are definitely being manipulated, likely by shills who work for those “fake” companies trying break into the market (in a future blog post, I’ll explain how).
So do yourself a favor and ignore the poor reviews–most of the low reviews are one-off cases that KitchenAid’s a “no hassle” warranty policy and Amazon’s free returns policy. I’d like see the same from those fake made-in-China brands.
Okay, this is an explanation where you’ll need to fasten your seatbelts.
Braun makes great razors, and amazingly they continue to manufacture them in Germany. If and when I create a “best shavers not made in China” page, Braun will likely dominate.
In the strange world of brand licensing, Braun actually does not make kitchen appliances–it (or more accurately, its parent company Proctor and Gamble) sold the license to its brand name. So every Braun-branded small appliance actually made by De’Longhi.
Even though De’Longhi is an Italian company, most of its products (including its iconic coffee makers) are manufactured in China. Which is why I was surprised to find that this mixer is actually made in Romania. It’s not Germany, but it’s in Europe.
This mixer gets rave reviews for its power (at 350W, it’s at least 100W more powerful than most of its competitors). It also comes with multiple attachments, including dough hooks for kneading. The controls are definitely German engineered–without changing your grip you can use your thumb to adjust the mixing speed. It also claims to require “half the mixing effort”, as measured by tests against competitors when mixing cake batter. Aside from its standard use as a mixer, creamer, whipper, and folder, you can use other included attachments to knead dough (it looks like the only difference with the pricier version is that it contains a 2-cup chopper).
Do you know of other hand mixers that have avoided the China trap? Let us know in the comments!