A mixer is a kitchen appliance intended for mixing, folding, beating, and whipping food ingredients. Mixers come in two major variations, hand mixers and stand mixers.
A hand mixer, as the name implies, is a hand-held mixing device. It typically consists of a handle mounted over a large enclosure containing the motor which drives one or two beaters. The beaters are immersed in the food to be mixed.
A stand mixer is essentially the same as a hand mixer, but is mounted on a stand which bears the weight of the device. Stand mixers are larger and have more powerful motors than their hand-held counterparts. They generally have a special bowl that is locked in place while the mixer is operating. Heavy duty commercial models can have bowl capacities in excess of 100 quarts (95 L), but more typical home and commercial models are equipped with bowls of around 4 quarts (4 L). A typical home stand mixer will include: a wire whip for whisking creams and egg whites; a flat beater for mixing batters; and a dough hook for kneading.
Mixers should not be confused with blenders. Blenders contain sharp blades and typically operate at higher speeds that chop, liquefy, or otherwise break down larger food items. A mixer is a much slower device without blades.
Some modern food processors combine the functions of both a blender and a mixer.